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  1. Top prospect Royce Lewis and 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year Jose Miranda headline the additions. In addition, starting pitchers Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Blayne Enlow and Chris Vallimont were also added to the roster. Despite missing the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, Royce Lewis was an easy choice to add. The #1 pick in the 2017 draft (and current Twins Daily #1 prospect) remains a top prospect in the organization as well as in all of baseball. He participated at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul in 2020. Lewis should start the 2022 season at Double-A Wichita and from there we’ll just see how his knee and his swing and his glove respond. It's possible that Lewis ends the season with the Twins. Following the announcement, Lewis said he is excited. "It means a lot! I really appreciate any sort of opportunity." And after a lost season and lots of recovery, he added, "Always great to hear any good news!" Jose Miranda was a second-round pick in 2016 out of school in Puerto Rico. He’s always had good power potential and contact skills, but things really came together in 2021 when he hit a combined .343 with 30 doubles and 30 home runs between Wichita and St. Paul. Depending on other offseason moves, Miranda should start the 2022 season in St. Paul, hopefully continue mashing and be ready for an opening at third base, or second base, or first base with the Twins. Miranda was the Twins Daily #6 prospect in August. After hearing the news, Miranda told Twins Daily, "It means a lot, especially after a lost season last year. (I'm) excited and pumped for what the future holds, and this makes me want to work harder!" Josh Winder broke out in 2021 as well. After impressing coaches at Instructional League a year ago and at big-league spring training this year, he was fantastic in Wichita before starting out strong after his promotion to St. Paul. He pitched in the Futures Game before being shut down with shoulder issues. Assuming health, Winder may be competing for a big-league job in spring training. He’s likely to start in St. Paul but could be ready for The Call whenever needed. Winder is Twins Daily’s #11 prospect. Winder was the team’s seventh-round pick in 2018 from VMI. Two rounds earlier, the Twins selected Cole Sands out of Florida State. Although he missed a few starts with minor injuries, he had a terrific season in Double-A Wichita. Sands should start 2021 in St. Paul and could be ready by midseason. Sands is the #19 Twins Daily prospect. Chris Vallimont had an ERA over six and he walked far too many batters in 2021, but the former Marlins prospect was added to the 40-man roster because he has electric stuff. While there may be questions about if he’ll be a starter long-term, the worst case is he can be a strong bullpen arm. Vallimont is the Twins Daily #25-ranked prospect. Blayne Enlow was certainly a more difficult choice, but the team decided to believe in the future of their 2017 third-round pick. His potential, even as he continues to rehab from his May 2021 Tommy John surgery, remains very high. In 2021, he was throwing harder, mixed all of his pitches and was missing a lot more bats than he previously had. If all goes well, maybe he is making rehab appearances in June or July. If things go well and he continues to progress, he could debut by the end of the 2023 season. He ranked #17 on Twins Daily's prospect list. After hearing the news, Enlow told Twins Daily he's "just getting started." The goal, of course, is to avoid a situation like a year ago when the Twins lost Akil Baddoo to the Tigers and Tyler Wells to the Orioles. Both not only made their team out of spring training, but they both became important contributors. Last year, due to Covid, there were no minor league games in which to evaluate players. At least this year, they have game video and stats and more with which to do their evaluations. But, that doesn’t make all of the decisions easy. Here are several players at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Austin Schulfer is a potential Rule 5 pick. As a starter in 2021 in Wichita, he was touching 96 mph with good secondary pitches. Again, he might end up a reliever, but there is certainly potential in his right arm Others who could be at-risk to be selected in the Rule 5 draft include shortstop-turned-pitcher Jordan Gore who was Twins Daily’s Right-Handed Relief Pitcher All Star for his work in Cedar Rapids and Wichita in his first season on the mound. St. Paul Saints relievers Ian Hamilton and Ryan Mason are also now eligible to be Rule 5d next month. Both found success in Triple-A in 2021 and could contribute in the big leagues when called upon. Other relievers that could be selected include lefties Kody Funderburk and Zach Featherstone, along with recently-acquired Alex Scherff. Utility players are often taken in the Rule 5 draft. The Twins could potentially lose Jermaine Palacios (who re-signed with the Twins quickly this offseason), Michael Helman (who broke out power this year while playing six positions well), and Yunior Severino (former big-time prospect who hit well when he joined Cedar Rapids late in the season). In addition, Mark Contreras was left unprotected after hitting 30 doubles and 20 home runs, mostly in Triple-A St. Paul in 2021. He could be a team’s fourth outfielder right now if selected. For more information on the players added or left unprotected, click here. In order to make room, the Twins dropped several players from their 40-man roster. While the players added to the 40-man roster are very excited, the players removed from the 40-man roster are on the opposite end of the excitement spectrum. The Twins have signed OF Jake Cave to an MLB deal. They outrighted LHP Devin Smeltzer and outfielder Kyle Garlick to Triple-A St. Paul. Lefty Charlie Barnes and C/IF Willians Astudillo have been DFAd. The 40-man roster is now at 40. Jake Cave was a very productive fourth outfielder for the Twins in 2018 and 2019. Over those two seasons, he hit .262/.329/.466 (.795) with 27 doubles and 21 homers in 163 games. Over the past two seasons, he has played in 118 games and hit just .202/.263/.332 (.595) with nine doubles and seven homers. His OPS+ over those two seasons was just 64. As an arbitration-eligible player, it is likely that he agreed to a deal at the Twins terms. Willians Astudillo (aka, La Tortuga) has been a fan favorite since he was first called up to the Twins and his .355 in 29 games in 2018. He has spent time with the Twins each of the past four years, but taking out that first season, he hit just .251/.278/.382 (.659) in 138 games since the beginning of the 2019 season. That is an OPS+ of just 77, 23% below league average. Will he clear waivers? Will there be a team that thinks his ability to stand at five positions, as well as squat behind the plate, provides value? Kyle Garlick was claimed by the Twins before spring training in 2021. His ability to his left-handed pitching gave him and chance and he took full advantage of it. He hit well against southpaws, until he got hurt. He tried to rehab and come back, but he ended up having surgery on a sports hernia. He was drafted in 2015, so he could become a free agent. Devin Smeltzer made an impressive first impression in his debut in 2019. He tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut against the Brewers and had a 3.86 ERA over 49 innings. Unfortunately, he pitched to an ERA over six in just seven games in the shortened 2020 season. In 2021, He was hurt after just one appearance and missed the rest of the season (though he did toss 4 2/3 scoreless innings). He cleared waivers. Charlie Barnes made nine appearances (8 starts) for the Twins in 2021, usually spot starts, he went 0-3 with a 5.92 ERA. However, he went 6-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 16 starts for the St. Paul Saints, so I'm sure the Twins hope that he passes through waivers unclaimed and they can outright him to Triple-A. Let's discuss the Twins additions and subtractions from the 40-man roster.
  2. For the second consecutive year, baseball will have an interesting offseason, filled with uncertainty. Along with the normal questions, such as: When will free agents sign? Will anything much happen before February? Which players will be non-tendered? Baseball’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires at midnight on December 2nd. At that point, the offseason will come to a halt. For how long? That is the question. We obviously hope that a new, long-term, equitable deal can be reached before 2022 spring training is scheduled to start in mid-February, but we don’t know. If there is a work stoppage, will there be a Winter Meetings, and if not, will there be a Rule 5 draft? Certainly, but when? That is what we are here today to talk about.. The Rule 5 draft and which players the Twins may need to add to their 40-man roster or leave susceptible to the Rule 5 draft. Last year, the Twins lost both Akil Baddoo and Tyler Wells in the major-league portion, and the likes of Sam Clay, Jose Miranda, Griffin Jax and Charlie Barnes were left exposed as well. Teams have until Friday, November 19th, to add players to their 40 man roster. At the completion of the World Series, the Twins have been able to remove their free agents - Andrelton Simmons and Michael Pineda - from the 40-man roster. Alex Colome also became a free agent when the Twins declined their half of the mutual option for 2022. The Twins have claimed right-hander Jharel Cotton. The Twins are currently at 38 players on their 40-man roster. Several players will likely need to be removed in order to make room for this new group. The Twins still have to make decisions on several arbitration-eligible players as well. Offseason roster manipulation is incredibly fascinating from afar, but it has to provide most front offices with stress and headaches. With that as the backdrop, the Twins could potentially add as many as eight or even nine players from their system to their 40-man roster (pending others being removed from the 40-man), but it is more likely they add four to six players on Friday. So, here is a quick reminder of what players will be eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2017 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2018. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted in 2015 became free agents after the World Series was complete. That list includes Aaron Whitefield (who quickly signed with the Angels), Trey Cabbage, Hector Lujan, Tyler Watson, Leobaldo Cabrera and more. So, let’s take a look at the eligible players: There are always a lot of difficult decisions as it relates to adding players to the 40-man roster. That said, there are usually some Givens, then some intriguing options due to injury or age or something else. When so few players get selected in the Rule 5 draft, is it necessary to protect as many players? Or, are so few players selected because more (or the right) players get added to 40-man rosters? While I have this group ranked by how I would consider adding them, I think the Twins should have a good conversation to consider each. (which they most certainly have) THE GIVENS SS Royce Lewis - After the Twins took him with the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in California, Royce Lewis moved pretty quickly up the organizational ladder through the 2019 season. He was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League after the season. Then came 2020, a missed season for minor leaguers, but Lewis was able to participate at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. He was excited for the 2021 season, but shortly after he arrived in Ft. Myers for spring training, he was diagnosed with a torn ACL and had season-ending surgery. His rehab has gone smoothly, and his elite tools are still very clear and his ceiling remains high. Lewis is an easy choice to add to the roster. IF Jose Miranda - The 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft from Puerto Rico, Jose Miranda has hit some and always displayed a lot of power potential. In 2021, things came together for Miranda. He didn’t chase as many pitches outside the zone and made a lot of hard contact. He hit a combined .343 between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul with 30 doubles and 30 home runs. The Twins are lucky he wasn’t selected last year and he’s a certainty to be added this year. RH SP Josh Winder - He was the Twins seventh round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute. After missing 2020, Josh Winder jumped straight to Double-A Wichita and posted a 1.98 ERA and had 65 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his first game. He pitched in the Futures Game and was then shut down with some shoulder issues. He sits 95-97 with his fastball and has four pitches. Easy choice. RH SP Cole Sands - Sands was the team’s fifth round pick in 2018 out of Florida State. In 2019, he started in Low-A and ended the season with a start in Double-A. That’s where he spent the 2021 season. He went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA. He struck out 96 batters in 80 1/3 innings. Cole Sands has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a really good curveball. While he may not be a Given, he is more than Intriguing. I think the only chance he isn’t added is if the Twins only add three players. THE INTRIGUING RHP Blayne Enlow - The most interesting case for consideration. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in early June. Normally that would mean missing the rest of the season and all of the 2022 season. However, the success of Rich Hill’s elbow surgery procedure has given the Twins confidence in its success and Enlow had that surgery which puts him on the nine-to-12 month plan. Obviously the Twins will want to be extra cautious with a pitcher as talented as Enlow. His fastball velocity has improved, his changeup has become a solid third pitch, and he’s always had a really good breaking ball. In his brief 2021 season, he was starting to show the ability to miss bats which is very encouraging. If it was me, I would add Enlow. There are a lot of things to consider though. RH SP Chris Vallimont - Chris Vallimont was the Marlins fifth-round pick in 2018 out of Mercyhurst. The Twins acquired him with Sergio Romo at the 2019 trade deadline in exchange for first baseman Lewin Diaz. The hard-throwing right-hander made 21 starts for the Wind Surge in 2021. He went 5-7 with a 6.03 ERA. In 91 innings, he walked 61 (way too many) but struck out 130 batters (an impressive 12.9 K/9). “Control” is the key. In the past, he has had good control. The stuff is really good, but can he throw enough strikes? RH RP Jordan Gore - Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina, and he played shortstop until near the end of the 2019 season. That’s when he began the process of becoming a pitcher. In 2021, he finally got the chance to show what he could do. Jordan Gore was impressive. At Cedar Rapids, he had 58 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. He moved up to Wichita and struck out 30 batters in 28 innings. He combined to go 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He had seven saves including six at Wichita. More importantly, while his fastball sat between 93 and 96, what was impressive is that he has a good changeup and a solid breaking ball. RH SP Austin Schulfer - Another college pitcher from the 2018 draft, Austin Schulfer was the team’s 19th round pick out of UW-Milwaukee. While he split time between starting and the bullpen in 2018 and 2019, he was a starter for Double-A Wichita in 2021. He went 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA. In 110 innings, he struck out 105 batters and walked 49. In 2021, Schulfer was hitting 96 and even 97 at times with a strong three-pitch mix. While not a known prospect, Schulfer is close to MLB ready and could work out of a big-league bullpen. RH RP Ian Hamilton - The former White Sox reliever (14 games between 2018 and 2020) was Chicago’s 11th round pick in 2016 out of Washington State. The Twins claimed him last offseason and later in the year they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to St. Paul. Because it was his first outright, he could not yet become a free agent. But, while he has control and command concerns, Ian Hamilton has really good stuff and had 86 strikeouts in 59 innings this year for the Saints. He can pitch in the big leagues, and has, which might make the right team intrigued by his stuff. SS Jermaine Palacios - Palacios originally signed with the Twins in 2013. In 2017, he became a top shortstop prospect, and the Twins were able to trade him to Tampa for Jake Odorizzi. In 2018 and 2019, he really struggled offensively. He didn’t play in 2020, and while he was offered more by other teams, Palacios decided to sign with the Twins last summer. He responded with strong shortstop defense at Double-A and hit .259/.340/.439 (.779) with 17 doubles and 19 homers. He could have become a free agent after the World Series, but he re-signed with the Twins. At 25, Jermaine Palacios could fill a utility role somewhere. THE “SETH, YOU RANKED BAILEY OBER 11th LAST YEAR” CATEGORY RH RP Ryan Mason - Went 3-2 with six saves with Wichita. In 35 1/3 innings, he struck out 38 batters (9.7 K/9). He finished the season with 13 games in St. Paul. He was 1-0 with a save. In 18 2/3 innings, Ryan Mason walked ten and struck out 25 batters. While he profiles as a low-leverage reliever, he is ready now for a big-league opportunity. RH RP Steven Cruz - When it comes to big arms, this is the one. Steven Cruz (22) sat 96-100 for Ft. Myers this year. He also has a split-change and a slider that are both 90+ on the radar too. In 46 2/3 innings with the Mussels, he walked 30 and struck out 76 (14.7 K/9). Too many walks, and struggled late in the season in two games for Cedar Rapids. Great stuff, but probably too far away from being ready to stick on a roster. C Jair Camargo - He came to the Twins in the Kenta Maeda/Brusdar Graterol trade. So 2021 was his debut in the organization. In Cedar Rapids, he hit .236/.279/.418 (.697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Jair Camargo is a solid catcher defensively and athletic with a strong arm. Offensively, he’s got power, but he doesn’t like to take too many pitches. 2B Yunior Severino - Enough of an international prospect that he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. He fractured his thumb early in the 2019 season and there was no 2020 season. Yunior Severino began 2021 with 63 games in Ft. Myers where he posted a .740 OPS. He moved up to Cedar Rapids and in 35 games, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907). Combined, he had 29 doubles and eight homers. Beyond second base, he can also play third base. It’s hard to imagine he would be able to stick on a big-league roster. UT Michael Helman - The Twins selected Michael Helman in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Texas A&M. He took major strides forward in 2021 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 111 games, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles and 19 homers. He also stole 21 bases. In addition, he can play three infield positions and had significant time at all three outfield positions in 2021. He is in the Arizona Fall League, continuing to play all over the diamond. One position that has been selected in past Rule 5 drafts are utility players. OF Mark Contreras - A ninth round pick in 2017 after four years at UC-Riverside. After winning a minor league Gold Glove, but struggling with the bat in 2019, 2021 was a big year. He played 19 games in Double-A before playing 95 games with the Saints. Combined, he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles and 20 home runs. Mark Contreras can be a fourth outfielder in the big leagues right now, but that profile isn’t what typically gets selected in the Rule 5. IF Jesus Feliz - Call me intrigued by Jesus Feliz. I was impressed with him when I saw him at spring training in 2020, so when he hit six doubles and seven homers in the less-than-hitter-friendly Ft. Myers league. He can play shortstop, but probably profiles more at third base. The power is real. He hit just .222/.289/.380, so he’s not in a position to stick on a big-league roster, but he’s one to watch. RH RP Alex Scherff - Alex Scherff has yet to pitch in the Twins organization after coming from the Red Sox in the Hansel Robles trade. Before that, he had pitched at High-A and Double-A and went 3-1 with four saves and a 2.45 ERA. In 29 1/3 innings, he struck out 46 (14.1 K/9) and walked 13. LH RP Kody Funderburk - A 15th round pick in 2018 out of Dallas Baptist, Kody Funderburk was a two-way player in college. He’s been a full-time pitcher since signing. He made 10 starts in Cedar Rapids and posted a 3.18 ERA. He moved up to Wichita and made seven bullpen appearances. He posted a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. Combined, he struck out 82 batters in 67 innings (11.0 K/9). Right now, he’s pitching in the Arizona Fall League being seen by scouts from every organization. He’s got 19 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. LH RP Zach Featherstone - Another two-way player, the Twins drafted Zach Featherstone as a first baseman and outfielder in the 12th round in 2016 from Tallahassee CC. However, the southpaw was moved to the mound in 2017. Unfortunately, he hurt his elbow and had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. He was ready to throw late in 2019, but a hurricane ended his chance. Then a missed 2020 season. In 2021, he pitched in 40 games out of the Kernels bullpen. He went 3-4 with nine saves and a 2.13 ERA. In 55 innings, he walked too many (42) and struck out 93 batters (15.2 K/9). He is now in the AFL and has seven walks and 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. He throws hard, sitting 92-96 mph with a good slider. IF Andrew Bechtold - Andrew Bechtold was the Twins fifth round pick in 2017 from Chipola College. From 2017 through 2019, he had hit 12 combined home runs. In 99 games for Wichita in 2021, he hit .239/.328/.459 (.786) with 23 doubles and 18 home runs. He can play third base and first base, and probably some second base. The fact that he is adding ‘Catching’ to his game makes him more versatile and more valuable to a team potentially. He is currently in the AFL as well. Others in their first year of eligibility: Luis Baez, Denny Bentley, Andrew Cabezas, DaShawn Keirsey, Landon Leach, Jeferson Morales, Danny Moreno, Zach Neff, Jon Olsen, Tyler Palm, Alexander Pena, Alex Phillips, Seth Pinkerton, Miguel Rodriguez, Evan Sisk, Gabe Snyder, Wander Valdez, Chris Williams. Others returning to Rule 5 eligibility after 2021. Melvi Acosta, David Banuelos, Stevie Berman, Ernie De La Trinidad, Osiris German, Caleb Hamilton, Wander Javier, Jimmy Kerrigan, Gabriel Maciel, Josh Mitchell, Derek Molina, Daniel Ozoria, Luis Rijo, Bryan Sammons, Jesus Toledo. SUMMARY The Twins again have several interesting players to consider adding to the 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Like the rest of the offseason, it’s hard to feel confident about anything that’s going to happen, including the Rule 5 draft, due to a potential December 2nd work stoppage. But it will happen at some point before the 2022 season begins... we think. PREDICTION It is pretty clear that the Givens to be added are (or should be) Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Josh Winder and Cole Sands. I then think they will add two of the Enlow, Vallimont, Gore and Schulfer grouping, and based on my rankings, I would guess Enlow and Vallimont. The 40-man roster currently sits at 38 players. A quick glance tells me that as many as eight or nine more players could come off of it, if needed. Obviously not that many will be dropped at this time to allow for DFAs later in the offseason, as needed to make room for free agents. I think they’ll be busy in free agency and will want those roster spots available to them. They may be busy with trades too, including some of the mentioned players.. What do you think?
  3. Virginia Military Institute has had a solid college baseball program at times, but if Twins right-handed pitching prospect Josh Winder makes it up to the big leagues, he will become just the third player in school history to do so. The most recent, pitcher Reed Garrett, pitched in 13 games for the 2019 Detroit Tigers. He has spent the past two seasons pitching in Japan. Winder was the Twins seventh-round draft pick in 2018. He went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts for Elizabethton that summer. In 2019, he moved up to Cedar Rapids, and while several of his teammates were promoted to Ft. Myers, Winder spent the whole season in Iowa. In 21 starts, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 125 2/3 innings. Then came 2020. The pandemic. A lost season. However, it is clear that Winder took advantage of his time. When he reported to Instructional League, coaches took notice. Ramon Borrego, who would be his 2021 manager in Wichita, was in Ft. Myers for Instructs. This spring when asked about Winder he said, "The first impression that he gave me... they (the organization's reports) say he throws a slider and a fastball 90-93. When I saw him throwing to the mound and he was hitting 97-98, I was like "Oh my god!" Really good frame, strong guy, really hard working. I remember talking to Alex Hassan and saying 'This guy can be really good!' He's a really good competitor and has a very good slider." Those quotes came after he made just one start in Wichita. He went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA over ten starts with the Wind Surge. In 54 2/3 innings, he walked just 10 and struck out 65 batters. He was promoted to Triple-A St. Paul and started with six no-hit innings in his first outing. He represented the Twins in the Futures Game in Denver, pitching for manager LaTroy Hawkins. Unfortunately, just four starts into his stint with the Saints, he was shut down with some shoulder tightness, ending his season. He rehabbed in Ft. Myers and is now back home for his offseason. We'll find out what else he is up to and how he feels about his season, about his progress, and his goals as he looks forward to the 2022 season. And later this month, he's a lock to be added to the Twins 40-man roster. Join us as we go live at 12:00 pm central time. You can participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics over about 20-25 minutes. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE today at 12:00 pm (central time) on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. You can even ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. For more on Josh Winder: Follow him on Instagram at @j.winder36. Click here for Twins Daily articles on Josh Winder. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 36: Jose Miranda Episode 37: Kala'i Rosario Episode 38: Bailey Ober Episode 39: Simeon Woods Richardson
  4. Back in August, Lucas Seehafer provided a comprehensive breakdown of some roster decisions facing the Twins. Some of those players have already made their big-league debuts, and others have completed their seasons. The 40-man roster "locks" category is where we can focus today, and the four names that will soon be elevated are worth noting. Jose Miranda, INF The Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year put up one of the most decorated seasons in recent prospect memory. Miranda posted a .973 OPS across 127 games at Double and Triple-A. I’m still not sure where he fits on the Opening Day roster for the Twins, but it is very evident that he’s ready to make an impact. Miranda could feel a further squeeze if and when Derek Falvey signs a shortstop, but on his own, you can bet he’ll keep pushing his way in. Josh Winder, RHP After a solid pro-debut season in 2019, Winder gained plenty of steam during Spring Training 2021. He did little to stop the hype train when he posted a 1.98 ERA in 10 Double-A starts before a promotion to Triple-A. Winder got just four starts for the Saints before being shut down due to injury. He’ll need to build back up this offseason and return with a clean bill of health, but barring those realities taking place, he should be expected to make starts in Minnesota in 2022. Cole Sands, RHP Another arm with an opportunity to take a further leap in 2022, Sands was a 5th round pick back in 2018. He made 18 starts for Double-A Wichita this season and turned in a 2.46 ERA. Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran drew the initial talk this season, but Sands posted the performance worthy of the hype. His 10.8 K/9 was impressive, and it’s another head-turning set of outcomes following his 2019 season. Like Winder, Sands should find himself as an option for Rocco Baldelli next season. Royce Lewis, SS Once Minnesota’s top prospect and among the best in baseball, Lewis has some work ahead of him. He slumped in 2019 and was set to break out in a big way before an ACL tear ended his 2020 season before it began. Whether it’s at shortstop or in the outfield, his skillset can potentially translate into a franchise cornerstone. Lewis is a high-character guy and will undoubtedly be an asset when it comes to roster construction. I’m not sure how his timeline will look having missed two consecutive seasons worth of games, but the talent could force Minnesota’s hand sooner rather than later. The Twins have more than a handful of options to add to the 40-man roster this offseason, and some of those on the fringes will be tough calls, but it’s this group of four that will certainly be added to the fold. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. The Twins will be faced with several decisions during the offseason concerning the makeup of their roster, beginning with who's placed on and removed from the 40-man. While it may seem as though the team will be confronted with many impossible decisions, the fact of the matter is that the Twins are well-positioned to add critical prospects to the 40-man without losing much in the way of established talent and productivity. Below is a discussion of the Twins 40-man roster, primarily regarding their top prospects. Twins Daily's most recent Top 30 prospect list was used for reference. Already on the 40-man Jordan Balazovic, RHP Jhoan Duran, RHP Drew Strotman, RHP Gilberto Celestino, OF Edwar Colina, RHP Brent Rooker, OF/DH Nick Gordon, UTIL Of the players listed above, only Rooker's future with the team appears to be dubious. Perhaps Gordon's as well. If the Twins were to try to drop them from the 40-man — something that I don't consider to be particularly likely — they both would be claimed. While Rooker and Gordon may not remain as Twins for the long haul, Minnesota likely won't just give them away for free. The remainder of the athletes above will probably fill critical roles with the Twins, if not next summer, then in the summers to follow. Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft or Minor League Free Agency Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Austin Martin, OF/SS Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Keoni Cavaco, INF Misael Urbina, OF Matt Wallner, OF/DH Alerick Soulaire, UTIL Will Holland, INF Marco Raya, RHP Spencer Steer, INF Steve Hajjar, LHP Louie Varland, RHP Noah Miller, INF Chase Petty, RHP All of these guys are going to be sticking around for at least one more season, if not longer. To be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, a player must have spent at least five seasons with the same team if they were signed or drafted during or after high school or at least four seasons if drafted out of college. To be eligible for minor league free agency, an athlete must have spent at least six full seasons with the same team. None of the players above meet the criteria, so they aren't going anywhere unless traded. Additionally, save for perhaps Austin Martin and Matt Canterino, it's unlikely that any of the above athletes will be promoted to the majors at any point next season. The majority are still fairly young or lack professional experience, meaning some more seasoning in the minor leagues is more than warranted. 40-man Locks Jose Miranda, INF Joe Ryan, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Royce Lewis, SS/OF Jovani Moran, LHP There's no chance that the Twins will risk losing any of these guys. Miranda has been the most impressive minor league player in the system — if not all of MiLB — and will likely slot in somewhere in the infield next season. Joe Ryan and Josh Winder will probably be among those competing for a starting rotation spot next spring. Cole Sands has dominated the minors when healthy. Royce Lewis is a potential franchise cornerstone. Jovani Moran is already an MLB-caliber reliever. While all five athletes may not make the Opening Day roster, they will all accumulate service time beginning next summer, if not sooner. 50/50 Chance Blayne Enlow, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Ian Hamilton, RHP Yunior Severino, INF Jermaine Palacios, INF Here's where the Twins need to make some decisions. Enlow was a third-round pick in 2017 out of high school and has been phenomenal during his minor league career. However, he will miss a good chunk of next season — if not the entire season — after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this summer. While that may seem to disqualify him from Rule 5 consideration, a team could select Enlow and easily keep him on the 60-day IL for the entire season. Doing so would save his 40-man roster spot for another athlete and effectively eliminate the chance for Enlow to be returned to the Twins. Because of this, I would not be surprised if the Twins placed him on the 40-man rather than risk losing him for nothing. As I have discussed frequently, Vallimont is an enigma. He has fantastic raw stuff and strikeout numbers, but he lacks command and gives up too many free passes and runs. While he may eventually become an MLB pitcher, he isn't particularly close to being one at the moment. For this reason, I think it would be unlikely that a team would select him in the Rule 5 Draft, and, as such, I could see the Twins keeping him off their 40-man. Cano is an electric bullpen arm that dominated the lower minor leagues but has struggled a little bit since being promoted to Triple-A. That said, he has the raw stuff to carve out a major league career. He's already 27-years-old, but has only spent two seasons in the minors after signing as a free agent in 2019. So while he isn't eligible for the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, one figures that if he's going to make it to the big leagues, he'll likely have to do it soon. I'd be surprised if we don't see him in Minneapolis at some point next season. Odds are that he won't be added to the 40-man until next season if he isn't by the end of this one. Both Severino and Palacios were former highly-touted prospects who failed to live up to expectations, though both have been performing exceptionally well as of late. As was the case with Vallimont, neither are ready to face MLB pitchers consistently. However, both still have a fair amount of potential, especially if their recent output remains. Palacios would be eligible for free agency if he is not rostered, while Severino would be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. If I'm the Twins, I place Severino on the 40-man and hope I can re-sign Palacios. Hamilton's situation is akin to that of Palacios. He's a former highly-regarded prospect who will be eligible for free agency if not added to the 40-man. He's shown promise this season at the Triple-A level, hitting 100 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions. Frankly, it's a little surprising that the Twins haven't given him a shot to this point, and, who knows, maybe they'll do so before the summer is over. Regardless, Hamilton has shown that he still has MLB talent and simply letting him walk could prove to be a poor decision. Rather Unlikely Notable Prospects Wander Javier, SS Trey Cabbage, OF/DH Both Javier and Cabbage will be eligible for minor league free agency following the season, though I doubt that the Twins will use that fact as motivation to put them on the 40-man. Javier has been too inconsistent at the plate to justify a roster spot, while Cabbage is a power-hitting corner outfielder/1B/DH-type. Cabbage is in the midst of a career year and does have some value; however, the Twins are loaded with young, power-hitting outfield talent. He could probably fetch something like a potential bullpen arm in a trade, but the odds of a team trading for him when they could try to sign him away from the Twins are low. Impending Free Agents Michael Pineda, RHP Alexander Colome, RHP Andrelton Simmons, SS The Twins may try to re-sign Pineda and Colome this coming winter, but Simmons seems highly unlikely to return, especially with Lewis's arrival right around the corner. I'd put the over/under on open 40-man roster spots from this group at 1.5. 40-Man Spots That May Be Up For Grabs Charlie Barnes, LHP Devin Smeltzer, LHP Beau Burrows, RHP Danny Coulombe, LHP Luke Farrell, RHP Edgar Garcia, RHP Ralph Garza Jr., RHP Juan Minaya, RHP Cody Stashak, RHP Lewis Thorpe, LHP Nick Vincent, RHP Derek Law, RHP Willians Astudillo, UTIL Jake Cave, OF Kyle Garlick, OF Rob Refsnyder, OF The Twins have a bevy of bullpen arms, bench players, and trade candidates that could be on the move this offseason. As such, the team has at least 16 40-man spots — and that may be an underestimate — to play with. Add in the impending free agents, and that number jumps to 19. Subtract the locks, and that number falls to 14. So while it may seem as though the Twins are on the cusp of a roster crunch at first blush, the reality is that the team has plenty of room to play with this coming winter. If the team loses anyone to the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, it's because the team determined that they were of little value to them moving forward. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Read more of Lucas's minor league prospect coverage here
  6. 15. Noah Miller - INF Age: 18 ETA: 2025 2021 Stats: n/a 2021 Mid-Season Ranking: n/a There is little to say about Noah Miller considering the fact that he is just 18, and has not played a game of professional baseball yet. The Twins decided to select Miller with the final pick in the 1st round of the 2021 MLB Draft as they believe in his immense potential as a switch-hitting, athletic shortstop. Oh, and also because he hit .608 as a high school senior. No, that is not a typo. Miller will certainly require a significant amount of time to develop, but the end result could be a truly dynamic middle-infielder who could anchor the top of a lineup for years. Just make sure to keep his name tucked away for future reference. 14. Drew Strotman - RHSP Age: 24 ETA: 2021 2021 Stats: 67 ⅔ IP, 3.59 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 4.14 FIP, 22.8 K%, 13.1 BB% 2021 Mid-Season Ranking: n/a Drew Strotman is perhaps the most polarizing prospect the Twins received at the trade deadline. Fangraphs has him placed optimistically as the team’s 7th best prospect (and on the edge of the top 100 prospect list), while MLB.com ranked him as the franchise's 15th best prospect-a number much closer to what we decided. At any rate, Strotman is an exciting combination of talent and seasoning. A brand new cutter has deepened what was already an intriguing repertoire of major league quality. He has already been added to the 40-man roster so his promotion to the major league club is simply a formality at this point. The walks are high, but Eric Longenhagen wrote that Strotman is “likely a big league starter”. Lord knows that the Twins need as many of those as they can get. 13. Gilberto Celestino - OF Age: 22 ETA: 2021 2021 Stats: (MLB): .136 AVG, .177 OBP, .288 SLG, 23 wRC+ (AA/AAA): .259 AVG, .338 OBP, .431 SLG, 107 WRC+ 2021 Mid-Season Ranking: 7 Gilberto Celestino is the only player from this part of the list to play at the major league level and, well, he certainly seemed overwhelmed. The young outfielder was acquired by the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade three years ago (holy bleep, it’s been three years already?), and it is quite clear that, while Celestino possesses quality tools, he needs more seasoning before he can succeed in the show. But fear not. Celestino is still just 22 years old and, as we all have seen over the past few years, toolsy center fielders often require an extended amount of time to realize their full potential. Celestino will play out the rest of 2021 at AAA (where he owns a 130 wRC+ in a small sample) and will be better prepared to potentially etch out a role on the 2022 Twins. 12. Matt Wallner - OF Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A+): .281 AVG, .338 OBP, .548 SLG, 135 wRC+ 2021 Mid-Season Ranking: 10 Matt Wallner was plucked from the backwoods of Minnesota by the Twins with the 39th overall pick of the 2019 draft. Well, that is not entirely accurate as the Twins neither physically plucked him, like one would with an apple, nor was he taken directly from the state (he played college ball at the University of Southern Mississippi), but the sentence sounds cool so it shall stay. (Editor's Note: Ummmm....) Anyways, Wallner was drafted as a high-strikeout guy with “light tower power,” and so far in his minor league career he has played… like a high strikeout guy with light tower power. He has been frustratingly limited to just over 30 games in 2021 due to a pesky wrist injury that proved to be more serious than previously believed. He had surgery on his hamate bone. But in the time he has played, Wallner has mashed. His nine homers over 148 plate appearances gives him about a 36 home run pace over 600 plate appearances (a typical full season), while his .548 slugging percentage would make him the 11th best qualified major leaguer by that stat. Simply put, a healthy Wallner can absolutely crush. 11. Josh Winder - RHSP Age: 24 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 72 IP, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 3.41 FIP, 29.1 K%, 4.7 BB% 2021 Mid-Season Ranking: 8 Perhaps no prospect throughout the Twins’ system has seen his stock rise higher in 2021 than Josh Winder. Even the noted, uh, “strong opinion-holder”, Keith Law, admitted that he was anticipating watching Winder pitch in 2021. So far, Winder has not disappointed. He saw a tangible uptick in velocity while working out in 2020, and the upgrade has rippled throughout his entire pitch mix. The result was an utterly dominant stint at AA Wichita that saw him strike out more than 30% of the hitters he faced, walk less than 5% of them, and earn a trip to the MLB Futures Game. Batters hit a paltry .207 against him, and I can only imagine that hitters in the AA-Central North division threw an absolute rager of a party to celebrate his promotion to AAA. A shoulder injury has cut Winder’s playtime in AAA to just four meager starts, and it appears that the team is in no rush to bring Winder back in 2021; a mix of injuries and a desire to limit his innings total is the culprit here. In any case, Winder should be on everyone's radar as a starter who will make an impact in 2022.
  7. Honorable Mentions: LHP Brent Headrick, Low-A: 1-1, 1.71 ERA, 21 IP, 30 K, 10 BB, 1.24 WHIP RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, Low-A, 3-0, 2.91 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 31 K, 5 BB, 1.25 WHIP Number 5: RHP Chris Vallimont, Double-A Stats: 2-2, 3.22 ERA, 22 1/3 IP, 34 K, 10 BB, 1.39 WHIP On the surface, Vallimont's numbers from May are arguably better than the ones he posted in June. However, the big difference was his uptick in innings. Vallimont faced exactly twice as many batters in June as he did in May - 96 versus 48 - and essentially maintained his strikeout rate. While he wasn't fantastic, he was good, which was enough to come in fifth in the vote. Number 4: RHP Ben Gross, High-A Stats: 2-0, 1.54 ERA, 23 1/3 IP, 29 K, 10 BB, 1.37 WHIP Gross will be 25-years-old before the end of the season meaning the odds that he ever reaches the majors are dwindling with each passing day. That said, his performance during the month of June was rather encouraging. Compared to May, Gross pitched six more innings, struck out seven more batters, allowed four fewer runs, and dropped his overall ERA from 4.15 to 2.66. Number 3: RHP Austin Schulfer, Double-A Stats: 1-1, 1.75 ERA, 25 2/3 IP, 28 K, 8 BB, 1.29 WHIP Like Gross, Schulfer saw his performance improve dramatically as the calendar turned from May to June. A 19th-round pick in the 2018 draft, Schulfer dropped his ERA from 5.31 to 3.33 after allowing seven less earned runs and striking out twice as many batters in 5 1/3 more innings. Again, his future may not be in the majors as he is already 25-years-old and owns a FIP north of 3.50 in his minor league career, however, it's always intriguing anytime a player posts a month as successful as Schulfer. Number 2: RHP Louie Varland, Low-A Stats: 1-0, 0.40 ERA, 22 1/3 IP, 29 K, 5 BB, 0.90 WHIP For as mediocre as Varland's May was, his June was absolutely superb. Piling up strikeouts has never been an issue for the former Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bear, but what changed for the 23-year-old in June was his ability to combine his punch outs with preventing the long ball. Varland struck out 29 batters in June compared to his 28 in May while seeing his home runs allowed (0 versus 2) and walks issued (5 versus 10) drop precipitously subsequent to a 59% increase in innings pitched (22 1/3 versus 14). Varland owns the raw stuff to be a contributor in some capacity at the major league level. The key with him, as is the case with many minor league pitchers, is improving his command to the point he did in June. If he can keep the walks low and and long ball few and far between, he could find himself pitching at Target Field someday. Number 1: RHP Josh Winder, Double-A (recently promoted to Triple-A) Stats: 2-0, 2.37 ERA, 30 1/3 IP, 35 K, 4 BB, 0.96 WHIP In a Twins' farm system that is replete with talent, perhaps no pitching prospect is more under-appreciated than Josh Winder. Winder, who did not even crack Twins Daily's Top 20 prospect list prior to the start of the season, finished in second place during last month's Starting Pitcher of the Month race after posting some ridiculous numbers and he continued his streak of dominance as spring turned to summer en route to winning this past month's honors. Unlike contemporaries Matt Canterino and Jhoan Duran, Winder possesses fluid mechanics with a consistent, repeatable motion. He get's good push off from his back leg which reduces the strain placed on his shoulder and elbow. He's only been placed on the injured list once in his minor league career, a stint that lasted exactly one week. Winder's owns a classic pitch arsenal consisting of a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s, though it can touch as high as 96 mph, and is graded as a 50-55 on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale according to FanGraphs. While he doesn't have one pitch that stands out as more impressive than the others, all four are at least average offerings, which has the benefit of raising his floor as a prospect. It this fact, along with his string of consistent positive performances, that drove Winder to be named to the 2021 Futures Game alongside a host of top-tier MLB prospects. Winder may never find himself among the Twins' top-10 prospects, however, arguably no pitcher in the system has risen their stock more than he has compared to prior to the season beginning. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. To find out everything that happened with your favorite Twins prospects on MiLB opening day, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins recalled infielder Nick Gordon to take the place of Luis Arraez who was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list. LHP Lachlan Wells was assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 2, Omaha 8 Box Score The Saints debut as a major league and Twins affiliate didn’t quite go to plan, but count me as one who is super excited they are in the fold instead of an independent. Starter Andrew Albers went the first four innings but was touched up for a single run in three of them, and four in the other as the Saints fell behind 7-0 while he was on the mound. He allowed eight hits total and struck out six. Glenn Sparkman came on for the fifth and allowed a solo home run, Omaha’s fourth of the game, but struck out five in his two innings. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the seventh and flummoxed Omaha hitters with his slider that the broadcaster compared to “those wiffle ball pitches you see in your backyard.” He went 1-2-3 in both his innings, striking out three. Saints hitters were also flummoxed by Storm Chasers pitching throughout the game, striking out 15 times and collecting only five hits and two walks. Zander Wiel and Ryan Jeffers led the way with two hits apiece, and Jeffers delivered the first two runs as an affiliate for St. Paul with a two-run homer in the seventh. https://twitter.com/KSTPSports/status/1389756806965174275 WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 0 Box Score Another new affiliate for the Twins, Wichita got their season off on the right foot defeating the Springfield Cardinals 2-0. It's fun for me to see this matchup at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO as it is one of the MiLB stadiums I have had the pleasure of attending, and reminds me of their parent club’s Busch Stadium in mini form. As for this game, it was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the teams trading zeroes until the top of the eighth, when the Wind Surge struck for two runs. Singles from Damek Tomscha and Jose Miranda started the inning, then Mark Contreras and Andrew Bechtold finished it with consecutive RBI singles with two outs to account for the scoring. Josh Winder made the start for Wichita and went the first 4 2/3’s, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 81 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes (70.4%), including 14 swinging strikes. Left-hander Jovani Moran got the last out of the fifth with a K, then struck out two more in a scoreless sixth. Sidewinder Tom Hackimer was next out of the bullpen and added two more scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. International signing out of Cuba in 2019, Yennier Cano, came on for the ninth and bookended a single with a pair of strikeouts to close out the victory. Aaron Whitefield, batting ninth, led the Wind Surge offense with two hits including a double and a stolen base. Contreras finished 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in addition to the RBI. Gilberto Celestino led off the game with a single and finished 1-for-5. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 0, Cedar Rapids 7 Box Score In the Kernels first game as a high-A affiliate, they got the job done on opening night in convincing fashion. They chased Chiefs starter Ian Bedell from the game before he could complete one inning, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk in the opening frame. They would add two more in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 7-0 lead that was more than enough. Kernels pitchers cruised throughout the game, allowing just three hits to Peoria hitters and scattering five walks. Kody Funderburk made the start and went the first three innings, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Andrew Cabezas went the next four innings and picked up the win, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished the game with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two. Leadoff man Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB) was the only Kernels batter with multiple hits, while Matt Wallner, Jair Camargo, and Seth Gray each clubbed a double. Gabe Snyder had an RBI triple in the first and was hit by a pitch twice. While the lineup had just seven hits, they also drew eight walks. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3 Box Score Newly minted as the Twins low-A affiliate and renamed the Mighty Mussels before last year’s MiLB season was cancelled, Fort Myers opened their new era with a 6-3 win over Bradenton. Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started three pitches into the game, launching a home run to right-center for the early 1-0 lead. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1389715977990852609 Fort Myers would leave the bases loaded without adding another run in the opening frame and from there until the seventh inning the pitchers were the story. Mussels starter Regi Grace went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Though he struck out the first two hitters of the fifth, he was lifted as his pitch count reached its limit at 75. He was relieved by Louie Varland who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul, and he would finish the game’s final 4 1/3 with some eye-popping numbers. He gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk among his 16 batters faced, but struck out TEN(!) of them. The runs given up came on a two-run home run that gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead after seven, but the bats would pick him up in the ninth to give him the win. Will Holland led off the top of the ninth with a double and a few walks (one intentional to Garry Jr.) around a strikeout kept the bases loaded for the bulk of it. The first two runs would score on wild pitches, then with two outs Edouard Julien delivered the finishing blow with a two-run single. Garry Jr. (1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Holland (1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB), Keoni Cavaco (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB), and Julien (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led the way for the offense in the win. Aaron Sabato was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in his minor league debut. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 10 K) Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Did not play #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, BB, K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-5, 3 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-for-5, 2 K #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, 3 K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, R, 2B, K #14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, R, BB #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (12:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) – TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – RHP Casey Legumina Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  9. Teams were allowed to invite up to 75 players to spring training this year. 40 of the players were on the roster. Approximately 20 more players were official Non-Roster Invites. But as a means to allow teams to ease their players back into their springs and properly prepare for their seasons, another 14 to 15 players were invited to participate in the depth camp. As spring training started in February, a writer asked manager Rocco Baldelli on Zoom about the depth camp and what they would be doing. The Twins manager said, “The players in depth camp are going to be extremely important to what we do.” He continued, “They will be taking part in a lot of our fundamentals when we need them too. They’re going to be getting their work done by themselves otherwise. But, they’re going to be playing in a lot of games as well. So when these games start, I think we’re going to see our depth camp.” The Twins played 28 spring training games. Aaron Sabato, the team’s first-round draft pick last June, played in 22 of those games. He made a start or two, but in general, he came in during the middle or late innings and played first base and maybe got a plate appearance. Especially early in camp, it’s important to have a lot of pitchers to eat innings in games when the pitchers are all going just an inning or so. I recently chatted with a few of the depth camp pitchers about their experiences. Ryan Mason, a 26-year-old right-hander, went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and seven saves at Double-A Pensacola in 2019 before his season ended with an arm injury. Healthy, he was thrilled to be invited to big-league spring training. He said, “First and foremost, the experience was unforgettable. I enjoyed every moment getting the opportunity to spend time with the big-league club. The highlight for myself was obviously being able to throw in a couple of games and experience the nerves of pitching again, which was long overdue due to the circumstances of last season.” Mason finished out two innings for the Twins during spring training. He faced two batters and struck one of them out. He even recorded a Win. Matt Canterino is one of the Twins top pitching prospects. The 23-year-old was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He was able to work 4 2/3 innings over four games. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits. He walked five batters but struck out seven and certainly showed the stuff, including a 98 mph fastball, that makes him so intriguing. Canterino said, “ I really enjoyed my time on the big league side of things. The highlight for me was definitely just being able to get in some games again against really good competition. I hadn’t faced another squad since the summer of 2019, so seeing a big leaguer with a different uniform on in the batter’s box when I was pitching really got my competitive juices flowing again.” Josh Winder has seen his prospect status skyrocket since hitting 96 and 97 mph at Instructional League last October. The 6-5 right-hander was the Twins seventh round draft pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts in Cedar Rapids during his first full professional season. Winder enjoyed being around the big leaguers and observing. “It was awesome to rub shoulders with the established big league guys and see how they went about their business. The commitment and dedication to their routine/craft was the big thing that stood out to me and motivated me to make some adjustments in my approach to the game.” He also worked in four games including making one start. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on five hits, three walks and struck out five batters. For Tom Hackimer, the team’s fourth round pick in 2016 from St. John’s, he enjoyed doing something that a lot of big league pitchers haven’t been able to do. “The highlight of my spring was managing to strike out Luis Arraez during a live BP one day.” Hackimer knows many of the players on the Twins roster and has been teammates at times with several of them, including Miguel Sano. Hackimer shared a fun story from this spring. “Miguel Sanó has been making fun of how long my arms are since 2018 when he was sent down to the Miracle, then again in 2019 in Fort Myers and Pensacola while he was rehabbing. One day we were doing PFPs, and he made me stop so that he could point out to Nelson Cruz how long my arms are.” Spring Training fun! But the opportunity to observe and learn from the big league veterans and coaching staff is immensely valuable. Mason took advantage of the opportunity. “I tried to connect with as many players as possible and just talk about pretty normal stuff to reaffirm what I already knew, which is big-league players are normal and all-around great people with their own stories. Also, there is not one way to make it. Everyone paved their own path to success.” It might surprise you to read which player Winder and Canterino mentioned when asked about their surreal moment of spring. Winder noted, “Facing Josh Donaldson is Live BP was a surreal moment for me. I’ve watched him on TV for so long it was really weird seeing him up close in the box.” Canterino had a similar experience that turned into an opportunity he will never forget. He said, “One of my coolest experiences with some of the veterans came after I threw a live bullpen to some of the big league hitters. After I finished my outing, I approached Josh Donaldson and asked what he saw when I threw to him. Andrelton Simmons joined the conversation too after a little while. So the three of us ended up talking about hitting approaches and how to attack hitters for about a half hour after that.” David Banuelos, a catcher the Twins acquired in a trade with the Mariners before the 2018 season. He is known as a defense-first catcher, but he considered his first big league spring training (as a Non-Roster Invite) a “great experience,” one he learned a lot from. Banuelos also mentioned the Twins third baseman and former AL MVP.. “Listening to Donaldson talk about hitting was really cool. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit.” One of his two spring hits was a long home run on a Donaldsonic swing. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1375611075970875392 Spencer Steer was the Twins third round pick in 2019 from the University of Oregon. He was not on the original spring roster, but when Chris Williams hurt his shoulder in one of the first spring games, Steer was added to the depth group. He said, “The entire experience was incredible. I went from not knowing when I was reporting to minor league camp, to working out alongside big leaguers within a couple of days. It was a lot of fun to be able to watch the best of the best up close. I was able to learn a lot by just watching how they went about their work everyday.” In 11 games played, he had two hits in eight at bats including a long, opposite field home run. Starting pitchers Winder and Canterino are now in Ft. Myers, working to prepare and stretch out for their 2021 minor league seasons. Banuelos and Steer will be playing their first spring training games today in Ft. Myers. Relievers Mason and Hackimer are in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site preparing for their seasons and preparing themselves and others to possibly help the big-league club as we await the start of the season. More Minor League Notes Just a couple quick Twins minor league notes: Royce Lewis on Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander This week, Twins shortstop prospect Royce Lewis was on the FOX Sports Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander show. Lewis talked about a number of topics from the roles that guys like Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz have played in his life and development. He talked some about his recovery from ACL surgery. He also talks about wine, and many other topics. It’s a fun interview. Twins Sign More International Free Agents When the international signing period opened on January 15th, the Twins signed several players including top shortstop prospects Danny De Andrade and Fredy LaFlor. In the past weeks, the Twins have signed a few more players including right-handed pitcher Jose Olivares. Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote this of Oliveres: “For a while, Olivares trained as an outfielder in Venezuela, but he took off once he moved to the mound, with his velocity popping at games in the Dominican Republic last year. Previously eligible to sign in 2019, Olivares is now an 18-year-old righthander with a sturdy, physically mature frame and a fastball that has been up to 96 mph with lively riding life up in the zone. He pairs it with a good curveball that's more advanced than his changeup.” More Twins minor league coverage to come. Keep checking back.
  10. 5. Cole Sands, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 50/55 Sands gets a lot of life in the upper half of the strike zone. Typically, he is in the low-90s, but he has the ability to hit 95-96 mph. According to FanGraphs, “his fastball will creep into the mid-90s with big time tail, the kind that can run off the hip of left-handed hitters and back over the plate.” His control has improved during his professional career and there is still room for him to make improvements moving forward. 4. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 55/55 Outside of Jhoan Duran (see below), Balazovic is the other pitcher in contention for being the team’s top pitching prospect. His fastball doesn’t have quite the velocity as others on this list, but he typically sits in the low- to mid-90s while topping out at 96 mph. His fastball plays up because hitters have a tough time picking it up out of his hand. He uses it a lot at the top of the zone and that means that the strikeouts will continue to pile up. 3. Josh Winder, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 60/60 During last year’s shutdown, Winder might have earned the award for most improved pitcher in the Twins organization. During the 2019 season, his fastball sat in the low-90s, but he can now hit 98 mph consistently and he proved this during instructs. There is good movement on the pitch too, which helps his off-speed pitches to play up. During the 2021 season, he needs to prove his 2020 development is for real. If he does, fans better be prepared for how fast Winder will fly up prospect lists next off-season. 2. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 65/65 Colina might not be as well known as some of the other names on this list, because he is destined for a role in the bullpen. His fastball consistently sits in the mid- to upper-90s and he can touch 100 mph. Even with this big velocity, his fastball doesn’t have a ton of movement, so hitters have a better chance of putting it in play. There’s a good chance he is part of the Twins bullpen at some point in 2021 and he can fill a late inning role in the years to come. 1. Jhoan Duran, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 70/70 Minnesota acquired Duran as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade and now he is considered one of the team’s best pitching prospects. He has grown into his frame throughout his time in the Twins organization as he now sits at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. His fastball consistently hits in the high 90’s and he can hit triple digits on a regular basis. His four-seam fastball might not even be his best fastball as he has a hybrid “splinker” pitch that can also reach into the mid-90s. His velocity is elite, and the Twins hope he can mix-in more strikeouts as he gets closer to the big leagues this season. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 3, Biloxi 2 (Biloxi leads best of five series 2-1) Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 73.2% strikes (52 of 71 pitches) HR: Alex Kirilloff, Ryan Costello Multi-hit games: Kirilloff (2-for-4, HR) Facing elimination tonight, Pensacola turned to a pair of pitchers making their Double-A debuts. The element of surprise paid off. Jordan Balazovic struck out seven batters in his 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing two runs on three hits. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1170147185297678336 Dakota Chalmers finished off the fifth inning for Balazovic and ended up pitching 3 1/3 no-hit innings while striking out four batters. Quite the first impressions in Pensacola for Balazovic and Chalmers. https://twitter.com/matthew_btwins/status/1170146789753647104 ALex Kirilloff opened the scoring with a solo home run in the third inning, his third homer in as many postseason games for the Blue Wahoos. https://twitter.com/MLBPipeline/status/1170135891937046534 Ryan Costello added a solo homer of his own in the fourth inning. Biloxi tied the game in the top of the fifth inning, but Travis Blankenhorn delivered a key two-out, go-ahead single that plated Royce Lewis and would prove to be the difference in this game. Anthony Vizcaya struck out the side in the ninth inning to earn the save and keep the Blue Wahoo’s 2019 season alive. They still trail in the series 2-1, so they’ll have to win the next two games in order to advance. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Quad Cities 2 (Cedar Rapids wins series 2-1) Box Score Josh Winder: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 71.4% strikes (55 of 77 pitches) HR: Gabe Snyder Multi-hit games: Snyder (2-for-4, HR, 2B), Wander Javier (2-for-4, 3B), DaShawn Keirsey (2-for-4, 2B) Behind big efforts from familiar faces, the Kernels won Friday night to advance in the Midwest League playoffs. Starting pitcher Josh Winder and first baseman Gabe Snyder set the tone in this game. Winder provided Cedar Rapids with six shutout innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter. This is the fourth time in 2019 Winder has gone at least six innings and surrendered zero runs. Winder was pitching with a lead the entire night thanks to Snyder’s home run in the top of the first inning. He added a double in the fourth inning and came around to score on a Chris Williams hit. Winder led the Kernels in virtually every pitching stat while Snyder was the top dog on the team in nearly every hitting stat, so it seemed fitting those two were the catalysts who pushed Cedar Rapids' season into the next round. Wander Javier had a two-hit night that included a triple and an RBI single. DaShawn Kerisey led off the top of the ninth inning with a double and scored a huge insurance run on a Tyler Webb RBI single. Austin Schulfer pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to earn the save. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Josh Winder, Cedar Rapids Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Gabe Snyder, Cedar Rapids TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: 1. Royce Lewis (PNS): 1-for-4, R, K, E (fielding) 2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 2-for-4, HR, R, RBI 4. Trevor Larnach (PNS): 1-for-3, 3B, BB, K 5. Wander Javier (CR): 2-for-4, 3B, R, RBI, K, E (fielding) 6. Jordan Balazovic (PNS): 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 73.2% strikes (52 of 71 pitches) 13. Ryan Jeffers (PNS): 0-for-4 15. Matt Wallner (CR): 0-for-4, 3 K 20. Travis Blankenhorn (PNS): 1-for-3, BB, RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Pensacola at Biloxi, 6:35 pm CT (TBD) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  12. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Six Starters for August, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. There are two pitchers in the Honorable Mention category who had K:BB ratios of 30:2 and 23:3! You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in August. HONORABLE MENTION Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 18 H, 11 BB, 21 K Dakota Chalmers - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 H, 13 BB, 29 K Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16 H, 10 BB, 17 K Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 3 GS, 15.0 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 H, 2 BB, 23 K Andrew Cabezas - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 27.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 21 H, 12 BB, 15 K Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 H, 2 BB, 30 K Donny Breek - GCL Twins - 4 G, 2 GS, 17.1 IP, 0.52 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10 H, 5 BB, 21 K Niklas Rimmel - GCL Twins - 3 G, 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 8 H, 1 BB, 13 K THE TOP SIX STARTING PITCHERS #6 - RHP Chris Vallimont - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 15 H, 4 BB, 28 K Chris Vallimont came to the Twins in the trade deadline deal with the Marlins in which the Twins also received Sergio Romo and Cash in exchange for Lewin Diaz. Vallimont had a strong first month in the Twins organization despite a rough first start in which he gave up six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. However, in three starts since, he has been remarkable. His next two starts came against his former teammates, the Jupiter Hammerheads. In both games, he had a no-hitter into the late innings and completed seven in both games. So, while his ERA is a bit high because of the first start, his ability to limit base runners and that strikeout-to-walk ratio are both quite impressive. We caught up with Vallimont for this story shortly after his trade to the Twins. #5 - RHP Josh Winder- Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 20 H, 6 BB, 28 K Winder was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in June, and he’s been really consistent all season with the Kernels. He was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In August, he worked innings, limited runs and base runners. He also missed bats. Opponents hit just .206 with a .528 OPS against him. Overall this season, Winder went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over 21 starts and 125 2/3 innings. Steve Buhr wrote about Winder earlier this season. #4 - RHP Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 H, 5 BB, 28 K Balazovic began the month in Lima, Peru, where he helped Team Canada to a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. He returned to the MIracle and was very good. In his first start back, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. In his final start of the month, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. Along with the above numbers (which are very impressive), opponents hit just .169 off of him (with a .460 OPS). The lanky right-hander was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Ontario. #3 - RHP Cody Laweryson - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 12 H, 4 BB, 34 K We all remember that 15 strikeout game that Laweryson tossed last week for the E-Twins, but the Twins 14th-round pick from the University of Maine in June was good all month. He began with a spot start in Cedar Rapids where he tossed five shutout innings. In his four E-Twins starts, he gave up earned runs in just one of them. Opponents hit just .143 with a .414 OPS against him in the month. Pretty good first impression for the right-hander. #2 - RHP Matt Canterino - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 6 H, 7 BB, 25 K Canterino was the Twins’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. After tossing 99 1/3 innings this spring for the Owls, the Twins have wisely eased him into pro ball. After some time away from the mound, he went to the GCL where he worked five innings over two games. He moved up to Cedar Rapids at the beginning of the month and they continued to monitor his innings. He averaged just four innings per start and hasn’t thrown more than 72 pitches in any outing. Nevertheless, he has been really impressive. He gave up just three runs, recorded strikeouts and opponents hit just .091 off of him in the month. Learn more about Canterino in this week’s article from Steve Buhr. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - RHP Bailey Ober - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 0.67 ERA, 0.56 HIP, 13 H, 2 BB, 39 K Bailey Ober has put up eye-popping numbers in 2019. Overall, he is 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. In April, he was a very close runner up in our monthly Starting Pitcher of the Month voting. Unfortunately, he ended the month on the Injured List and didn’t return until early July when he made a couple of rehab appearances before rejoining the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, after just four starts there, he earned his promotion to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in early August. He continued to dominate. In his first start, he gave up two hits and one run over seven innings. In his second Blue Wahoos start, he struck out 12 batters over seven shutout innings. His third start? 11 strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings. In his final start of the month, and of the regular season, he gave up one hit over three innings in preparations for the playoffs. For the month, opponents hit just .141 with a .351 OPS against him. Ober was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. In college and as a pro, he has been very good on the mound when healthy. The 6-9 right-hander has a strong four-pitch mix and is certainly one to watch in 2020! Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Bailey Ober. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  13. TRANSACTIONS RHP D.J. Baxendale activated from the 7 day IL at AAA Rochester RHP Edwar Colina transferred to AA Pensacola RHP Adam Bray placed on the 7 day IL at AA Pensacola 1B Chris Williams assigned to A Cedar Rapids from A+ Fort Myers C Kyle Schmidt placed on the 7 day IL at A Cedar Rapids OF Ian Miller will reportedly be called up by the Twins https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1167892292977360897 RHP Brusdar Graterol will reportedly be called up by the Twins sometime in September https://twitter.com/StribSports/status/1167813663543234560 RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Syracuse 3 Box Score D.J. Baxendale: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Ramón Flores (2-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Tomás Telis (4-for-5, 2B, R), Wilin Rosario (2-for-5, R), Alejandro De Aza (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Ronald Torreyes (2-for-3, R), Mike Miller (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) The Red Wings ran a bullpen game against the Syracuse Mets who also ran a bullpen game. I’m sure every reliever got their steps in with all the pitching changes made in the game. Baxendale started the game and was able to go three innings for his first outing off the IL. Jake Reed picked up after him and was able to net seven outs with just one earned run. After Reed, potential call-ups Jorge Alcala and Fernando Romero combined for 11 outs and no earned runs to put the finishing touches on a well- pitched game. While the offense only scored five runs, there were many opportunities to expand that for the Red Wings as they had 16 hits total in the game. Telis was the big winner at the plate with his four hits but there were five other hitters with multi-hit games and every hitter except one had a hit. In total, the only thing that could stop the Red Wings from scoring was themselves as they had a runner on base in every inning except for the ninth. Naturally, there was no ninth because they were the home team and had the lead following the top of the ninth so the bottom of the ninth did not exist, a shame. BLUE WAHOO BITES No game MIRACLE MATTERS Season cancelled KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 1 Box Score Josh Winder: 4 ⅔ IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Matt Wallner (2-for-4, 3B, 2 R) In the only other game that was played in the Twins’ system, their affiliate won again. How’s that for a clean sweep? Josh Winder started the game and continued his excellent season with just one lone earned run given up. His ERA on the year now stands at an excellent 2.65 and he should get a fair amount of consideration for the Twins Daily minor league pitcher of the year. The offense was not loud for the Kernels but it got the job done. A DaShawn Kiersey ground out in the fourth plated their first run of the game and a passed ball in the sixth scored Matt Wallner following his triple earlier in the inning. The lone run scoring base hit came from a seventh inning Spencer Steer single which gave the Kernels an insurance run that was not needed. Not to be out-shined by Winder’s start, Dylan Thomas and Jose Martinez worked in relief and nailed down the game with 4 1/3 scoreless innings combined. As a whole, Winder, Thomas, and Martinez combined for just one earned run and 13 strikeouts on the night. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Tomás Telis PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - No game #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - No Game #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did not pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - No game #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Cancelled season #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Cancelled season #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured list #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - No game #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Cancelled season #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - No game #14 - Luis Arraez (Twins) - 0-for-1, K #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, 2 K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - No game #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Out for year with Tommy John surgery #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - 1 ⅔ IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season over #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - No game SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Syracuse @ Rochester (5:05 P.M.) - TBD Pensacola @ Montgomery (5:05 P.M.) - LHP Charlie Barnes Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (2:00 P.M.) - LHP Kody Funderburk Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  14. AWARDS The Twins announced their weekly Hitter and Pitcher of the Week Hitter of the Week: Alex Kirilloff, Pensacola Kirilloff, 21, played in seven games for Double-A Pensacola this week, hitting .444 (12-for-27) with one double, one home run, five RBI and a 1.075 OPS. Kirilloff was drafted by the Twins 15th overall in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft and represented the Twins at the SiriusXM Futures Game in Cleveland this summer Pitcher of the Week: Bailey Ober, Pensacola Ober, 24, made one start for the Blue Wahoos on Wednesday at Mississippi, pitching 7.0 shutout innings with three hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts. Ober was drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of College of Charleston. TRANSACTIONS LHP Gabriel Moya placed on the IL for Pensacola. OF Byron Buxton began MLB rehab assignment with Cedar Rapids. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Syracuse 11 Box Score Rochester took an early 1-0 lead in this one before falling behind in the middle innings. Wilin Rosario collected an RBI-double in the top of the first to score Ramon Flores. The Red Wings wouldn’t score again until the fourth inning when Brandon Barnes drilled his 29th home run of the year. Zander Wiel lead off the seventh inning with his 37th double and came around to score on a one-out single from Wynston Sawyer. Devin Smeltzer started for Rochester and couldn’t make it out of the fourth frame. He was charged with five earned runs on five hits including three home runs. He struck out five and walked one. Edwar Colina made his Triple-A debut and didn’t find much success. He allowed five runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings. Jorge Alcala limited Syracuse to one hit in almost two innings and he struck out three. Zack Littell walked a pair of batters in the eighth and saw one runner come around to score. Rochester had a chance to gain ground on first-place Scranton/WB. Unfortunately, the Red Wings are four games back with just eight remaining in the season. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 1, Jackson 4 Box Score Griffin Jax was cruising along in a pitcher’s duel before Jackson was able to break things open in the mid to late innings. He pitched six innings and was charged with one earned run (three total runs) with seven strikeouts and one walk. Following Jax, Tom Hackimer gave up one earned run on two hits over two frames. Andrew Vasquez finished off the game with a hitless ninth inning. Fresh off his Player of the Week honors (see above), Alex Kirilloff continued his hot hitting. Kirilloff and LaMonte Wade both finished 2-for-4. Wade added his second double as part of his MLB rehab assignment. Ryan Costello reached base twice and Mark Contreras knocked in a run with his 12th double. Pensacola matched Jackson with six hits but finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers --, Palm Beach – (Cancelled) Rain forced the cancellation of the final game of the three-game series between the Miracle and the Cardinals. Fort Myers won the first two games in the series to stretch their winning streak to five games. Currently, the team is a season high 18 games over .500 (73-55). KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Peoria 9 Box Score Byron Buxton made a quick impression back in Low-A as he stretched what looked like a routine single into a hustle double. He was left at second base, but he would make it around the bases in his second at-bat. With two outs in the third inning, Buxton drew a walk in front of Matt Walner’s second home runs since being promoted from Elizabethton. He would get one more at-bat and he struck out. https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1165759211529297920?s=20 There was more to this game than Buxton cruising around the bases. Josh Winder started and put together another strong outing. He limited Peoria to four hits over six shutout innings with five strikeouts and two walks. His season ERA dropped to 2.68 to go along with a sub-1.00 WHIP. It was his team-high 11th quality start. Dylan Thomas kept the shutout alive by tossing two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out one. Brian Rapp and Austin Schulfer each had a tough time at the end of the game. Rapp couldn’t record an out and was charged with four earned runs on three hits. Schulfer took the loss and the blown save after allowing five earned runs on three hits. Cedar Rapids loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but couldn’t mount a comeback. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 1, Danville 7 Box Score After allowing seven earned runs in his last start, Andriu Marin did much better as he limited Danville to four hits and two runs. He struck out four and walked two. Frandy Torres got hit around in his inning of work. He allowed three earned runs (four total) on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Steven Cruz and Benjamin Dum combined to allow one earned run over the final three innings. Cruz struck out the side in both innings he worked. The E-Twins didn’t have much to speak of on the offensive side of the ball as the team was limited to three hits. Trevor Jensen had the team’s lone extra-base hit, a double. Charles Mack reached base twice and had the team’s only RBI. Overall, the team went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Josh Winder, Cedar Rapids (6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 K, 2 BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Tyler Webb, Cedar Rapids (2-3, 3B, 2 R, BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) – 0-3, BB, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 2-4, K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) – Did not pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) – 1-4 #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 2-5, R, K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) – Game cancelled #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) – No scheduled game #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Injured list #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) – Game cancelled #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, K #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – Did not play #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) – 0-4, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) – 0-2, BB #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – Did not play #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Out for year with Tommy John surgery #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, H, 3 K, 0 BB #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) – No scheduled game #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) – 0-4, K MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:05 CST) – TBD Pensacola vs. Jackson (6:35 CST) – TBD Fort Myers @ Dunedin (4:00 CST) – LHP Lachlan Wells (2-5, 4.30 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (Game 2) – TBD Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (6:35 CST) – LHP Kody Funderburk (0-3, 4.85 ERA) Elizabethton vs. Greeneville (5:30 CST) – TBD GCL Twins vs. GCL Braves (11:00 am CST) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  15. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with some awards and the transactions of the day. AWARDS RHP Chris Vallimont was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. RHP Luis Rijo was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week RHP Andriu Marin was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week. https://twitter.com/AppyLeague/status/1163536494893645830 TRANSACTIONS DH Nelson Cruz was activated from the injured list by the Twins, and they optioned RHP Zack Littell to Rochester. Rochester officially announced that RHPs Brusdar Graterol and Jorge Alcala are now on their roster. To make room for the two new pitchers, RHP Adam Bray was sent down to Pensacola. Also DJ Baxendale was placed on the IL. RHP Cole Sands was promoted to Pensacola and started Game 2 of their doubleheader. C Cole Donaldson and OF Bryson Gandy were placed on the GCL IL. CF Luis Baez was promoted from the Dominican Summer League to the GCL. The Twins also returned to the United Shores Professional Baseball League to sign 3B/C Eric Jones who had played at Davidson University. https://twitter.com/DavidsonBASE/status/1163572156766097408 RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 0, Buffalo 3 Box Score In this game recap, we start with the Red Wings offense… On to the pitching… Griffin Jax was really good for the Red Wings. The righty gave up just one run on four hits over six innings. He walked one, hit two and struck out seven. Sam Clay came on and was charged with two runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings. Fernando Romero got the final five outs. He walked one and struck out one . Clay and Romero each hit a batter. Back to the Red Wings offense. The story was Buffalo starter who worked all nine innings and did not give up a hit. In fact, only a Mike Miller walk and hitting Zander Wiel with a pitch kept him from a perfect game. https://twitter.com/JoshWhetzel/status/1163628572470382592 BLUE WAHOOS BITES Game 1 - Pensacola 0, Mississippi 1 Box Score Bryan Sammons has quietly put together another really solid season, and he showed that again on Monday night. He tossed a complete game for the Blue Wahoos. The left-hander gave up just one hit. Unfortunately, that one hit came off the bat of Braves prospect Riley Unroe and it left the yard. It was the lone run of the game. Sammons worked six innings and walked two and struck out five. Pensacola managed just two hits in the game, one by Willians Astudillo (who DHd) and one by Alex Kirilloff. Over the past five weeks, Sammons has dropped his ERA from 5.26 down to 4.20. Just once in his past seven starts has he given up more than two earned runs. Game 2 - Pensacola 4, Mississippi 2 Box Score Trevor Larnach had a tough Game 1, striking out in each of his three at-bats. But this was Game 2, a new game, and in his first at-bat, he crushed his sixth Pensacola homer. He went 1-for-2 with a walk, and he was hit by a pitch. Larnach hit six home runs in 320 at-bats in Ft. Myers. His sixth homer with the Blue Wahoos came in just his 109th at-bat. Alex Kirilloff went 2-for-4 with his 16th double, and Ryan Jeffers went 2-for-3 with a walk and his third double. Cole Sands made his first Double-A start. The right-hander gave up two runs on four hits over four innings. He walked just one and struck out six batters. Gabriel Moya tossed three shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out three batters. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers Box Score No Game Scheduled. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 2 Box Score The Kernels headed south to Davenport to take on the River Bandits again. Josh Winder got the start and pitched well. He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out nine and did not issue a walk. He passed the 100 strikeout mark on the season, becoming the second Kernels pitcher to reach that number this year. The other pitcher on that list is Austin Schulfer who came out of the bullpen in relief. He gave up one hit, walked and and struck out three batters over two scoreless innings. Dylan Thomas worked a perfect ninth which included a strikeout. The Kernels gave Winder some good run support. OF Tyler Webb led the way by going 4-for-5 with two RBI. Trevor Casanova went 3-for-5 with his eighth and ninth doubles. Spencer Steer went 2-for-4 with a walk and his eighth double. LaMonte Wade, continuing his rehab, went 1-for-4 and walked once. Gilberto Celestino walked twice. E-TWINS E-NOTES E-Twins 2, Princeton 8 Box Score As shown above, E-Twins starter Andriu Marin was named the Appy League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. How did he do as a follow up to his fantastic start? Well, the youngster gave up eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits over just 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Osiris German came in and worked the final 3 1/3 innings. He gave up just one hit, hit a batter and struck out three. Parker Phillips led the offense. He went 2-for-3 with a walk. Ricky De La Torre hit his first E-Twins double of the season. GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1 - GCL Twins 1, GCL Pirates 0 Box Score Right-hander Miguel Rodriguez threw three shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked two, hit one and struck out three. On the year, he now has a 0.90 ERA over 30 innings and has 34 strikeouts. Junior Navas struck out five batters over the next three innings. He gave up just one hit and hit a batter. Evan Gillespie picked up the save with a scoreless seventh inning. The Twins managed just three hits. Jeferson Morales hit his third triple and later scored the game’s lone run on an error. Alec Craig had a walk and a single. Game 2 - Twins 7, GCL Pirates 2 Box Score German-born Niklas Rimmel improved to 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA. He tossed five shutout innings and gave up just three hits. He struck out seven and walked just one. Petru Balan gave up a run on two hits in the sixth inning. Bradley Hanner gave up a run on two hits in the seventh inning, but he struck out three. Luis Milla went 3-for-3 with his second double. Jake Hirabayashi went 2-for-3 with his second home run. Sergio Toribia went 2-for-3 as well. Also, playing his just his second GCL game since being promoted from the DSL, Luis Baez picked up his first stateside hit and stole a base. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Josh Winder, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Tyler Webb, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - Game 1 (Did Not Play), Game 2 (0-4, K) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Game 1 (1-3), Game 2 (2-4, 2B(16), R, RBI, K) #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - Game 1 (0-3, 3 K), Game 2 (1-2, BB, HR(6), HBP, R, 2 RBI) #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-5, R, 3 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - No Game Scheduled #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Did Not Play (quad) #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Injured List (hamstring) #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - Game 1 (Did Not Play), Game 2 (2-3, BB, 2B(3), R) #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 3-5, 2B(8), R #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - 0-3, BB #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - 0-4, BB #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - Game 1 (0-3, K), Game 2 (0-4) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Buffalo @ Rochester (6:05 CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-3, 3.45 ERA) Pensacola @ Mississippi (6:35 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina (4-0, 2.25 ERA) Ft. Myers @ Charlotte (5:30 CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6;35 CST) - LHP Kody Funderburk (0-2, 4.37 ERA) Elizabethton @ Princeton (5:30 CST) - TBD GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (11:00 CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  16. I caught some flak for mentioning the reason on Twitter last night, but I’m going to leave it to you guys to see if you can figure it out after reading Tuesday’s minor league report! TRANSACTIONS There were a few transactions leading into the games on Tuesday: Griffin Jax was promoted to the Rochester Red Wings and would be on normal rest on Wednesday. The Fort Myers Miracle activated pitcher Jordan Balazovic from the temporary inactive list after winning a silver medal at the Pan Am Games with Team Canada. He may start on Wednesday. The Cedar Rapids Kernels activated RHP Josh Winder from the injured list and he made the start. In the Appalachian League, 2B Edouard Julien was also activated from the temporary inactive list after bringing home a silver medal in the Pan Am games. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1158197870627033094 The GCL Twins placed RHP Seth Pinkerton and RHP Rogelio Reyes on the 7-day injured list RED WINGS REPORT Gwinnett 3, Rochester 8 Box Score The Red Wings came out swinging and never looked back as a grand third inning propelled them to an 8-3 victory on Tuesday night. Although they were outhit 13-10 on the game, Rochester got the bigger hits in the form of a grand slam from Alejandro De Aza in that third inning, and a solo home run and two-run double from Ramon Flores. Recent trade acquisition from the Cleveland Indians organization, outfielder Brandon Barnes contributed two hits (2-for-4, R, 2B, BB) to the effort along with Flores (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB). De Aza drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning to start the scoring. Sean Poppen gave the Red Wings 3 2/3 in the start, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks as he ran up his pitch count to 74 (44 strikes). He struck out six. Ryan Eades got the next 1 1/3, allowing one run on four hits and striking out three. Preston Guilmet picked up the win with two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and one walk along with three K’s. Ian Krol finished the game with two scoreless of his own, allowing two hits and striking out two. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Scheduled Day Off The Blue Wahoos took four of five games from the Birmingham Barons at home in the last week, and hit the road on Tuesday toward Mobile, Alabama to face the Southern League South Division bottom-dwelling BayBears on Wednesday. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers @ St. Lucie - Postponed: Wet Grounds Rains wreaked havoc on multiple games in the Florida State League on Tuesday, including the Miracle’s tilt against the Mets in St. Lucie. Dakota Chalmers will make the start in game one, with Jordan Balazovic originally scheduled on Wednesday though the MiLB.com schedule is “TBD” for game two. https://twitter.com/MiracleBaseball/status/1158844401319391233 KERNELS NUGGETS Burlington 5, Cedar Rapids 6 Box Score Starting pitcher Josh Winder retired the first nine Bees hitters he faced, but when an error on first baseman Albee Weiss opened the fourth inning, the game went off the rails for the 2019 standout. Despite finishing the inning, before it was over he had allowed five unearned runs as two singles, a walk, a triple and a home run led to all those runs when three outs should have already been recorded. Those runs came on four hits and one walk while he punched out four. Just as quickly as his defense let him down, his bullpen and offense picked him up. Relievers J.T. Perez, Nate Hadley, and Austin Schulfer combined to shut Burlington out for the rest of the game. Perez allowed two hits and a walk in two innings, striking out two. Hadley walked one and struck out two in his two innings. Shulfer struck out one in a scoreless ninth. Down three runs after Winder’s exit, the lineup closed the gap to 5-4 in the fifth inning via a two-run blast from Wander Javier, his eighth of the season. It remained that way until the bottom of the ninth where Gabe Snyder led off the frame with his thirteenth home run of the season to tie the game at five and ignite a rally. Javier then reached on an error, moved to second on a Jared Akins single before Trevor Casanova drove him in with a double to snuff out the Bees. The Kernels got three hits from Snyder (3-for-5, 2 R, HR, RBI) and Casanova (3-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB). Gilberto Celestino also contributed a solo home run, his eighth of the season in the first inning to put the home team up 1-0 early. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 8, Kingsport 9 Box Score Elizabethton took a big early lead with a crooked number in the third inning as they strung together a walk, and error, three singles, a double, and a sac fly that put four runs on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, starter Andriu Marin ran into even bigger trouble in the bottom of the fourth as before it was all said and done, Kingsport had put seven runs of their own on the board. Marin went 3+ innings, allowing six runs (four earned) all in the fourth, on five total hits and four walks. He did strike out four. Frandy Torres came in to the game with runners on second and third and nobody out and did his best to limit further damage, but one inherited runner scored on a groundout before he gave up a two-run homer. Torres went go on to pitch 2 2/3, being charged with only one earned run. He allowed two hits and struck out two. The E-Twins were then able to mount a comeback, as they scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, then Will Holland delivered a two-run double to take back the lead 8-7 in the seventh. Tyler Beck got Elizabethton through the eighth inning with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out two, then Benjamin Dum was summoned for the bottom of the ninth and his first save opportunity. He struck out the first batter he faced, but a single followed by a double tied the game and saddled him with a blown save. After a mound visit led to a strikeout for the second out, he gave up a run-scoring single to also get charged with the loss. Anthony Prato led the batting order with three hits in five at-bats, including a triple, while scoring two runs. Parker Phillips (2-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB) and Kyle Schmidt (2-for-4, R, RBI) also added two hits in the loss. Willie Joe Garry Jr. also contributed a triple. GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1: GCL Twins 4, GCL Pirates 2 Box Score With yesterday’s game postponed, the Twins and Pirates faced off in a doubleheader hosted by Pirates, with the Twins the visitor in game one. The Twins got on the board in the first inning thanks to an RBI single from Victor Heredia that was followed by an RBI double from Wander Valdez that made it 2-0 early. Righthander Anthony Escobar held the Pirates down for the first four innings, allowing only one run on three hits and a walk, along with striking out three. The run came on a solo home run in his final inning. Niklas Rimmel finished off the game with three innings of work to pick up his first professional win. He allowed one run on one hit while striking out two. Heredia added two more runs in the top of the fifth with a two-run double to account for the final score. He led the way with two hits in four trips to the plate and three RBIs. Valdez and Jeferson Morales also contributed two hits apiece. Game 2: GCL Pirates 0, GCL Twins 1 Box Score It was even more of a pitcher’s duel in game two, as the teams metaphorically swapped dugouts with the Twins as the home team for this one. They got a fantastic start from Miguel Rodriguez, who went the first six scoreless innings, holding the Pirates to four singles while striking out nine. Rodriguez has made a strong initial impression in the States, having now pitched 21 total innings with a 26:6 strikeout to base-on-balls ratio, 1.00 WHIP, and .192 batting average against. He was done with the score still tied at zero in this one though. Bradley Hanner got the seventh inning and with a scoreless frame also picked up his first professional win. He walked one and struck out one. The Twins literally walked this one off thanks to a bases-loaded free pass drawn by Heredia in the bottom of the seventh. Keoni Cavaco and Luis Milla each had two hits to account for all hits on the game for the good guys. They did draw six walks as a team, with Morales drawing two. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Miguel Rodriguez, GCL Twins (6.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 9 K) Hitter of the Day – Alejandro De Aza, Rochester Red Wings (1-for-3, R, GS HR, 5 RBI, BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - No game #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - No game #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Rehab assignment with GCL #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - No game #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) - 2-for-4, K #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List (groin) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Game postponed #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Did not play #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - No game #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - Game in progress #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - Did not play #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - No game #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - No game #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) - Did not play #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - No game WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Gwinnett @ Rochester (6:05PM CST) - LHP Lewis Thorpe (5-4, 5.02 ERA) Pensacola @ Mobile (6:35PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ St. Lucie, Game 1 (3:00PM CST) - RHP Dakota Chalmers (0-0, 36.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ St. Lucie, Game 2 (makeup of 8/6 postponement) - TBD (Jordan Balazovic) Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30PM CST) - LHP Kody Funderbunk (0-2, 5.33 ERA) Elizabethton @ Kingsport (5:30PM CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Orioles, Game 1 (9:00AM CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Orioles, Game 2 (makeup of 7/25 postponement) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  17. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for June, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in June. HONORABLE MENTION Edwar Colina - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 G, 4 GS, 24.0 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 23 H, 6 BB, 17 K (.253/601) Randy Dobnak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 3 GS, 30.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 31 H, 6 BB, 26 K, (267/657) Kody Funderburk - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 3 G, 3 GS, 13.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11 H, 3 BB, 18 K (.220/571) Griffin Jax - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 G, 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 1.40 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 13 H, 3 BB, 11 K, (183/399) Sean Poppen - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 4 GS, 31.0 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 26 H, 12 BB, 36 K (226/686) Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 3 G, 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 0.61 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 K (149/.418) Devin Smeltzer - Rochester Red Wings - 4 G, 4 GS, 20.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 19 H, 3 BB, 30 K (250/739) Kai-Wei Teng - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 3 GS, 21.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 19 H, 7 BB, 23 K (.235/.570) THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS #5 - RHP Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 G, 3 GS, 25.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 18 H, 7 BB, 20 K Enlow had a couple of tough, short starts for Cedar Rapids during the season’s first month, but he has been really good since then. He was a candidate for Starting Pitcher of the Month in May, and was promoted to Ft. Myers at the end of that month. He has been even better since joining the Miracle. He has produced a quality start in all five of his Miracle starts. Enlow is blessed with a low-90s fastball that occasionally pushes to 94 and even 95. He also is known for his breaking ball and ability to spin the ball. The Twins third-round pick in 2017 continues to grow as a pitcher which is exciting as he won’t turn 21 until next March. #4 - RHP Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle - 3 GS, 16.1 IP, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 8 H, 2 BB, 19 K Sands was the Twins fifth-round pick last year after three seasons at Florida State. The Twins just shut him down and didn’t have him pitch at all after the draft. He came to spring this year and pitched well in Cedar Rapids. In his first start of the season, he tossed five hitless innings. He was promoted to the Miracle right before June. He had a short IL stint, and when he returned, he threw five no-hit innings. He has given up just two hits in 11 innings over his past two starts. Sands also works in the low 90s with good secondary pitches as you would expect from a 21-year-old coming out of a quality college baseball program. In his three June starts, opponents hit just .145 off of him with a .409 OPS. #3 - RHP Austin Schulfer - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 4 GS, 21.0 IP, 2.14 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 11 H, 5 BB, 23 K Schulfer was the Twins 19th-round pick a year ago after four years at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He pitched in Elizabethton last year. This year, he began the season in the Cedar Rapids bullpen, though he usually worked multiple innings. He appeared in the April Relief Pitcher of the Month list, and then Brian Dinkelman moved him into the Kernels rotation where he has continued to pitch well. Schulfer doesn’t throw real hard, but he generally throws strikes and stays away from the middle of the plate with each of his pitches. Opponents hit just .151 with a .498 OPS against him in June. #2 - RHP Jhoan Duran - 4 G, 3 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.88 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 15 H, 10 BB, 31 K, Overall this season Jhoan Duran has a record of 1-7. You might think that he must not be pitching well, but that isn’t the case. He has a 3.48 ERA on the season and has 78 strikeouts in 62 innings (26 walks). He has been pretty consistent and his stuff has continued to improve. We often hear about him hitting triple-digits multiple times in his starts. Duran came to the Twins last July in the Eduardo Escobar trade from the Diamondbacks.In June, he went 1-3 with a 1.88 ERA. He gave up one run in three of his starts, and two runs in the other. Duran recently ranked #9 in our midseason Twins top prospect rankings. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Cedar Rapids Kernels - RHP Josh Winder - 5 G, 5 GS, 34.0 IP, 1.32 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 22 H, 6 BB, 28 K (190/520) At the end of May, Steve Buhr wrote an article on Josh Winder that profiled the talented right-hander drafted a year ago out of Virginia Military Academy. He talked about liking to keep his room clean and his head clear, especially on the mound. Winder was pitching well at the time, but he was tremendous in June. In 13 starts so far this season for the Kernels, Winder is 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. As you can see above, he was tremendous in five June starts. All five starts were quality starts. He had a seven-inning shutout performance early in the month at Peoria. He ended his month with eight innings of shutout baseball against Kane County. In that start, he gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out eight. Winder works with a low-90s fastball. He has a good curveball and has worked really hard to make his changeup an effective pitch. And it has become a really good pitch for him. One would think that a promotion to Ft. Myers should be in the near future for Winder. Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of June, Cedar Rapids Kernels right-hander Josh Winder. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  18. TRANSACTIONS RHP Cody Allen transferred to A+ Fort Myers from AA Pensacola RHP Zack Littell optioned to AAA Rochester from the Twins RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 9, Pawtucket 6 Box Score Preston Guilmet: 2 ⅔ IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 66.0% strikes (33 of 50 pitches) HR: Jaylin Davis (4), Wilin Rosario (9) Multi-hit games: Wilin Rosario (2-for-5, HR, 2B, R, 3 RBI), Zander Wiel (2-for-4, RBI), Tomas Telis (3-for-4, 2B, R), Ronald Torreyes (3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) The Red Wings won another game and have clawed their way back to one game under .500 despite their slow start. The Red Wings ran a bullpen game and the five pitchers used combined for four earned runs while punching out eleven batters. Every Red Wings batter reached base in some way and all but one did so by getting a hit. In total, they had six extra-base hits in the game. Jaylin Davis continued to terrorize AAA pitchers as he blasted his fourth AAA home run in just his twelfth game at the level. Unfortunately for him, there are other outfielders on the 40-man roster so a callup in the near future seems unlikely, but it is still great to see him hit well. Video evidence of Wilin Rosario capping off a clutch six run 8th inning: https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1145153976800878592 BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 5, Biloxi 1 Box Score Griffin Jax: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 68.3% (56 of 82 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Lewin Diaz (2-for-4, 2 2B, R), Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R) In the least surprising event of the day, Griffin Jax had another great outing. His ERA on the year now sits at an astonishingly low 1.67. Lewin Diaz continues to rake at the plate as he hit a pair of doubles in the game. His AA OPS sits at .977 now and really I am running out of ways to compliment how well he is doing at the plate. All I can do is pray for whatever poor pitcher has to face him next. Travis Blankenhorn collected an RBI single in the fifth inning and then ended the game with this great play at second base: https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1145151466988085248 MIRACLE MATTERS Game one: Ft. Myers 2, Bradenton 5 (8 innings) Box Score Tyler Watson: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 77.3% strikes (51 of 66 pitches) HR: Royce Lewis (6) Multi-hit games: None The Miracle lost the first game of their doubleheader in extra innings against the Bradenton Marauders. Royce Lewis cracked his sixth home run of the year as he continues to fight through the slump that he has been in for basically the entire season. He has shown signs of breaking free and the recent power surge could be him getting back to the old Royce Lewis we all know and love. Cody Allen came in to the game in the seventh inning and threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout and topped out at 91 MPH on the fastball. The Twins obviously are interested enough in potentially coaxing the old Cody Allen out of him and how he performs in the coming weeks will affect how the Twins work the trade deadline. Game Two: Ft. Myers 1, Bradenton 4 (7 innings) Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 62.2% strikes (51 of 82 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Royce Lewis (2-for-4) The Miracle also unfortunately dropped the second game of their doubleheader against Bradenton. The Marauders became one of the few teams that could actually slow down Jordan Balazovic. I suspect foul play or at the very least some good old-fashioned voodoo as Balazovic has been a buzzsaw for most of the season Royce Lewis built off his home run in the prior game by having a multi-hit game, yet another potential sign that good things are in store in the second half for the young shortstop. Despite slapping seven hits and drawing three walks, the Miracle were only able to put up a single run as they went just 2-for-11 with RISP. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Kane County 0 Box Score Josh Winder: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 67.4% strikes (64 of 95 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Jacob Pearson (2-for-4, 3B, R, RBI), Gilberto Celestino (2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI), Estamy Urena (3-for-4, 2B, 2 R) It was all Cedar Rapids in their impressive 6-0 shutout of Kane County. Josh Winder was spectacular as he threw eight shutout innings while punching out eight. Kane County’s hitters were utterly baffled all night as Winder navigated their lineup with the ability of a grizzled mariner through a stormy sea. The Kernels set the tone early as they put up a four spot in the very first inning thanks to a Yeltsin Encarnacion single and a Gilberto Celestino bases-clearing double. Although, they really just needed the one run with the way Winder tossed the ball in the game. E-Town E-Notes Elizabethton 8, Greeneville 1 Box Score Andriu Marin: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 64.4% strikes (47 of 74 pitches) HR: Albee Weiss 2 (2), Anthony Prato (1) Multi-hit games: Albee Weiss (2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), Matt Wallner (2-for-5, 2 R) The young Twins gave the business to Greeneville in an 8-1 rout. Andriu Marin and Ryan Shreve combined for nine innings without any earned runs and a combined fourteen strikeouts, an outstanding pitching showing from the both of them. There were many Elizabethton batters who performed well in the game, but Albee Weiss stands out as he blasted his first two home runs of the year to help lead the offensive charge. In total, all but two Elizabethton batters reached base safely via a hit and thirteen total hits rained down from the bats of the other Twins. GCL Twins Takes GCL Twins 0, GCL Red Sox 2 Box Score Miguel Rodriguez: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HR: None Multi-hit games: Victor Heredia (2-for-2, BB) Four GCL Twins pitchers threw in the game and they combined for a total of twelve strikeouts. Keoni Cavaco was absent from the lineup after being pulled early from the game yesterday. It is only speculation, but I assume they are playing it safe with the recent first-round draft pick. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Albee Weiss PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-8, HR, R, RBI, K (Two games) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 0-for-3 #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, BB, K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, R, BB, K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 0-for-2, R, 2 BB, 2 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - With the Twins #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Tommy John surgery, out for year #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 1-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-7, BB, 2 K (Two games) #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 0-for-3, BB #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured list #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2K #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - Did not play #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-7, K (Two games) SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Pawtucket @ Rochester (12:05 P.M.) - RHP Kohl Stewart Pensacola @ Mississippi (5:05 P.M.) - RHP Andro Cutura Bradenton @ Fort Myers (12:00 P.M.) - TBD Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 P.M.) - RHP Andrew Cabezas Elizabethton @ Greeneville (4:00 P.M.) - RHP Cody Laweryson Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  19. TRANSACTIONS -INF Jose Miranda placed on the temporary inactive list -RHP Sean Poppen optioned to AAA Rochester -RHP Andro Cutura transferred to AA Pensacola -RHP Cody Allen reportedly signed to a minor league deal, no assignment or official announcement yet https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/1142570022562402304 Not a transaction, but Jordan Balazovic recently moved into the MLB pipeline top 100 list which gives the Twins 5 prospects on the list now (Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach, Jordan Balazovic). https://twitter.com/MLBPipeline/status/1142290230361411584 RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 0, Toledo 2 Box Score Devin Smeltzer: 4 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Red Wings were involved in a low-scoring affair on Saturday which I thought was illegal to do at AAA this year but evidently it is allowed, go figure. The Red Wings were only able to scratch across three hits along with three walks and a hit-by-pitch with just one of those hits going for extra bases. Devin Smeltzer was unable to complete five innings but Cody Stashak, Gabriel Moya, and Ian Krol were able to pick it up after him by not allowing any runs over 3- 1/3 in relief while punching out five. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 2, Jacksonville 3 Box Score Charlie Barnes: 4 ⅔ IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 67.6% strikes (50 of 74 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Lewin Diaz (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) The Blue Wahoos lost a close one this Saturday by just a single run. Lewin Diaz was promoted a few days ago and naturally he has struggled early as he adjusts to the new level… Or not. Diaz went 3-for-4 and his OPS at AA so far is a blistering 1.230, it would be hard to make a case that any other hitter in the Twins system has had a better year than Diaz as he just continues to rake. Anthony Vizcaya took the hard-luck loss as he worked 2 1/3 in relief and gave up just a single run. Unfortunately, that was the go-ahead run and Vizcaya therefore had to take the loss. He still holds 0.64 ERA on the season at AA however so he should not feel too bad. The starter for the Jumbo Shrimp was top prospect Sixto Sanchez who was acquired by the Marlins over the offseason. Sanchez did not disappoint as he allowed just two runs over seven innings. But this is a report for the Blue Wahoos, so the compliments will end there. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 2, Jupiter 7 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 64.0% strikes (55 of 86 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Gabriel Maciel (2-for-2, 2 R, BB, 2 HBP), Royce Lewis (2-for-5), Trevor Larnach (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB) The Miracle lost a rough game on Saturday that was not without a few great individual performances. The top of the Miracle lineup got the job done as the first four batters in the lineup reached base a combined eleven times. After that, the 5-9 batters combined for just three times where a base was reached safely and that came with nine strikeouts. No one told Gabriel Maciel that A+ is supposed to be harder than A because he reached base every single time he came to the plate on Saturday and is off to a flaming start at A+ that comes with an OPS of 1.188 in his small sample. Jordan Balazovic labored somewhat but still ended his outing with just a single earned run given up over his five innings of work. Joe Record and Calvin Faucher were not as good as they gave up a combined five earned runs in two innings after Balazovic was taken out. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 5 Box Score Josh Winder: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 65.2% strikes (60 of 92 pitches) HR: Trevor Casanova (1) Multi-hit games: None Josh Winder was great yet again as he continues to rack up the quality starts with great peripherals. His season ERA now sits at an elite 2.66 which is the sixth lowest among qualified starters in the Midwest league. Trevor Casanova blasted his first home run of the year as the association of hitters in the Twins system named “Trevor” continue to impress this year. Casanova was also the only Kernel batter to reach base multiple times in the game. The game was close late but some sloppiness from the Kernels defense allowed the tying run to score in the seventh thanks to an error and the Kernels were walked-off in the ninth because of a stolen base by Peoria that happened to coincide with a wild pitch that allowed the runner to score. E-Town E-Notes Elizabethton 1, Kingsport 5 Box Score Ryan Shreve: 3 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 77.1% strikes (37 of 48 pitches) HR: Charles Mack (1) Multi-hit games: None The other Twins (junior Twins? Diet Twins? I’ll think of more), fell to Kingsport this Saturday to fall to 2-3 on the season so far. The lone little Twins’ run came from Charles Mack’s first professional home run which came in the first inning. Freshly drafted Spencer Steer recorded his first professional hit in the fifth inning with a sharp infield single. The little brother Twins struck out twelve Kingsport hitters over eight total innings but they just could not quite get the BABIP to go their way. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-5, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-for-4, 2B #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 1-for-3, 2 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Tommy John surgery, out for year #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 0-for-4, K #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, RBI, BB, K #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 0-for-3, BB #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured list #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, RBI #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - With the Twins-did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 0-for-3, BB #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - Temporary inactive list SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Toledo (3:05 P.M.) - LHP Lewis Thorpe Pensacola @ Jacksonville (2:05 P.M.) - RHP Jorge Alcala Fort Myers @ Jupiter (12:00 P.M.) - RHP Cole Sands Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (5:05 P.M.) - RHP Andrew Cabezas Elizabethton @ Kingsport (3:00 P.M.) - LHP Brent Headrick Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  20. TRANSACTIONS -Twins recall RHP Zack Littell from Rochester. -RHP Fernando Romero optioned to Rochester. -RHP Jacob Blank retired. -Several more drafted players signed. Again, you can keep up with them on the Twins Daily Draft Signing Tracker article. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 7, Charlotte 6 Box Score Kohl Stewart: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 66.3% strikes (65 of 98 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Willians Astudillo (4-for-5), Luis Arraez (3-for-5, 2B), Jake Cave (2-for-3, BB), Wilin Rosario (2-for-5, 2B) These two teams traded blows, with the lead changing hands four times in the first six innings. Charlotte knotted it up in the eighth, but a Brent Rooker RBI single to score Willians Astudillo in the bottom of that inning was the difference maker. Kohl Stewart surrendered five runs in his 5 1/3 innings, but Gabiriel Moya did a great job stabilizing this game. He provided 1 2/3 perfect innings, striking out three batters in the process. Cody Stashak was credited with both a blown save and the win. He gave up a run in the eighth, but struck out a pair of batters in a scoreless ninth to protect the one-run lead. Astudillo had four singles in this game, and now has a 1.553 OPS since being sent down to Rochester. Jake Cave had another two-hit night, and has a 1.174 OPS so far in June. Luis Arraez had three hits, including a double, lifting his batting average up to .351 in his time with the Red Wings. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 5, Tennessee 4 (11 innings) Box Score Charlie Barnes: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 60.9% strikes (56 of 92 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Travis Blankenhorn (2-for-6, 2B) Tennessee jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning and held that advantage until the bottom of the sixth. A Travis Blankenhorn leadoff double sparked a two-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. The Blue Wahoos still trailed heading into the bottom of the ninth. Michael Davis led off the inning with a six-pitch walk, was bunted over to second base by Jimmy Kerrigan and scored the game-tying run on a Taylor Grzelakowski single. Tyler Palm pitched a scoreless 10th inning, but gave up the go-ahead run in the 11th. The Pensacola bats had one more comeback in them. Kerrigan hit a game-tying RBI single and scored the winning run on a Blankenhorn walk-off single. https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1139739021372993538 Tom Hackimer and Zack Weiss did an excellent job in the middle innings for Pensacola. They both pitched a pair of scoreless innings, Hackimer struck out four batters and Weiss had three punchouts. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers OFF - FSL All-Star break KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Clinton 1 Box Score Josh Winder: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 68.1% strikes (56 of 81 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Jared Akins (2-for-4, 2B) Just three pitchers total were used in this game. Both teams combined. You don’t see that too often in a nine-inning game in the minors. Josh Winder held Clinton to one run over seven innings before Derek Molina came out of the pen to slam the door shut over the final two frames. Molina threw 25 of his 36 pitches for strikes (69.4%), got seven swinging strikes and had four strikeouts. Cedar Rapids scored two in the first inning, thanks to a Wander Javier RBI single and a Chris Williams run-scoring double. Javier was removed from the game in the top of the fourth inning. https://twitter.com/jeje66/status/1139731783937740800 Clinton committed four errors in this game. Their poor starter, George Soriano, pitched a complete game and still got the loss despite giving up zero earned runs. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Josh Winder, Cedar Rapids Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Travis Blankenhorn, Pensacola TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed 5. Wander Javier (CR): 1-for-2, R, RBI, K 6. Brent Rooker (ROC): 1-for-3, 2 RBI, K 11. Nick Gordon (ROC): 1-for-4, BB, R 14. Ben Rortvedt (PNS): 1-for-4, BB, R, RBI, 3 K 16. Gilberto Celestino (CR): 0-for-4, K 18. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 0-for-3, BB SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Charlotte, 6:05 pm CT (Chase De Jong) Pensacola vs. Tennessee, 6:05 pm CT (Jorge Alcala) Fort Myers OFF - FSL All-Star Game, 6:05 pm CT Cedar Rapids vs. Clinton, 6:35 pm CT (Andrew Cabezas) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  21. TRANSACTIONS C Willians Astudillo optioned to AAA Rochester RHP Ryan Eades contract selected by Minnesota RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 6, Pawtucket 2 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 61.1% strikes (55 of 90 pitches) HR: Drew Maggi (6), Wilin Rosario (7) Multi-hit games: Willians Astudillo (3-for-4, RBI, BB), Wilin Rosario (2-for-3, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB), Drew Maggi (2-for-2, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB) The Red Wings pushed their win streak to six games thanks to a consistent offensive attack and a great start from Randy Dobnak who now holds a 2.55 ERA in his time at AAA. Fan favorite Willians Astudillo was demoted to AAA yesterday and apparently took the news in stride as he collected three hits and somehow walked in his first game back in the minors. Four Red Wings hitters (Astudillo, Rooker, Rosario, Maggi) reached base multiple times and all but three hitters reached base at least once during the game. Trevor Hildenberger was called on in the ninth to end the game and gave up a homer in his sole inning of work. His AAA ERA now sits at 8.44 and I truly hope that he can put it back together soon as he has shown that he can be a dominating reliever in the majors. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 2, Biloxi 5 Box Score Charlie Barnes: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 60.3% strikes (44 of 73 pitches) HR: Jaylin Davis (9) Multi-hit games: Michael Davis (2-for-4, 2B) Despite great showings from the Davis brothers (note: Michael and Jaylin are not actual brothers to the best of my knowledge), the Blue Wahoos fell to the Shuckers by a score of 5-2. It was a close 2-1 affair until the Shuckers were able to break through with three runs off Jeff Ames in the bottom of the eighth inning. A Travis Blankenhorn RBI double in the top of the ninth would trim the lead to just three, but the Blue Wahoos were unable to score again by the time their outs ran out. Side-arming reliever Tom Hackimer came into the game in relief of Charlie Barnes and threw a pair of scoreless innings to bring his AA ERA down to a microscopic 1.08. In the end, the Blue Wahoos' inability to get a hit with RISP helped do them in as they went a combined 1-for-8 in opportunities where a man was in scoring position. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 4, Jupiter 2 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 62.2% strikes (51 of 82 pitches) HR: Lewin Diaz (13), Jose Miranda (4), Trey Cabbage (2) Multi-hit games: Lewin Diaz (2-for-3, HR, R, RBI, BB), Trevor Larnach (2-for-4), David Banuelos (2-for-4, RBI) Lewin Diaz continued to make an absolute mockery of the very concept of A+ by launching his 13th homer of the year in support of yet another multi-hit game for the slugging first baseman. The only reason why he hasn’t been promoted to AA is because his bus ticket to Pensacola was lost in the mail (or probably some actual legit reason, who knows). Perhaps the Twins want to give Alex Kirilloff that playing time at first base. In any case, it seems like Diaz will be moving up sooner rather than later because A+ pitchers cannot stop him, they can only hope to contain him. Not to be outdone by Diaz, the baby bombas, Jose Miranda and Trey Cabbage, both launched home runs of their own as every Miracle run came off a hot, fresh, and piping tater. Cole Sands was dealing early in the game but was removed after the first out in the sixth because of a cut in his pitching hand. Hopefully it is more precautionary than anything and Sands can get back out there soon. Aaron Whitefield swiped his 19th base of the season which puts him just behind Vidal Brujan for the FSL lead (Brujan has 21 steals). You also may or may not be surprised by this little tidbit from Marshall Kelner: https://twitter.com/MarshallKelner/status/1137521185296658432 KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 8, Peoria 7 (10 innings) Box Score Josh Winder: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 63.6% strikes (63 of 99 pitches) HR: Wander Javier (2) Multi-hit games: Andrew Bechtold (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB), Gabe Snyder (2-for-5, 2B, R), Estamy Urena (2-for-3, RBI) The Kernels won quite the game this Saturday that took an extra inning to end and went berserk in the bottom of the eighth. Josh Winder was nothing short of outstanding in his start as he went seven full innings without surrendering so much as an extra-base hit, much less a run. The game was a seemingly normal 2-0 affair heading into the bottom half of the eighth but the Chiefs took advantage of Brian Rapp’s wildness by scratching four runs across thanks in part to a hit-by-pitch, walks, and some singles. All seemed lost heading into the ninth but the Kernels were able to put some men on before Gabriel Maciel singled one of them home, giving the Kernels a deficit of just one run. Jacob Pearson struck out, Gilberto Celestino walked, and the bases were loaded for Wander Javier. What did Wander Javier do with those loaded bases? He unloaded them along with himself as he blasted a grand slam to give the Kernels a 7-4 lead. But, the baseball gods were not done as the Chiefs took advantage of some wildness this time from Alex Schick in the bottom of the ninth and tied the game right back. The 10th started with a man on second base and the Kernels were able to take advantage thanks to an Andrew Bechtold RBI single. The Chiefs were not able to capitalize like the Kernels did as Derek Molina slammed the door shut and ended the inning without even allowing the free runner to advance. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Drew Maggi PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured list #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4 #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB, K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 1-for-3, 2B, R, 2 BB, K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Tommy John surgery, out for year #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Did not play #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - Did not play #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 K #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured list #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, R, BB #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - With the Twins-did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - Did not play #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, HR, R, RBI SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Pawtucket: (12:05 P.M.) - RHP Chase De Jong Pensacola @ Tennessee (2:35 P.M.) - RHP Jorge Alcala Fort Myers @ Lakeland (12:00 P.M.) - RHP Edwar Colina Peoria @ Cedar Rapids Game 1 (1:00 P.M.) - RHP Andrew Cabezas Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  22. Trevor Larnach | Oregon State | OF | 1st Round | Current Level: High A Fort Myers Stats: 89 G; .299 AVG; .380 OBP; .471 SLG; 8 HR; 5 SB; 74 K; 43 BB Trevor Larnach had a strong showing last summer, posting an .890 OPS in 42 games between Elizabethon and Cedar Rapids. As a result, he started 2019 in Fort Myers. After a slow month of April, Larnach has found his groove at the High A level in May, as he has a .348/.442/.573 slash line in May. Ryan Jeffers | UNC Wilmington | C | 2nd Round | Current Level: High A Fort Myers Stats: 103 G; .323 AVG; .410 OBP; .471 SLG; 11 HR; 0 SB; 83 K; 46 BB It has been much the same story for Ryan Jeffers as it has been for Larnach. Jeffers tore it up at Elizabethon and Cedar Rapids last summer, but his numbers have been more in check this spring at Fort Myers, as he has a .770 OPS with just 4 home runs in 39 games. DaShawn Keirsey | Utah | OF | 4th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 42 G; .241 AVG; .318 OBP; .323 SLG; 0 HR; 6 SB: 38 K; 19 BB DaShawn Keirsey had a strong debut with Elizabethon last summer and started 2019 in Cedar Rapids. It has been a rough start to the season for Keirsey who has been dealing with some injury issues. Cole Sands | Florida State | RHP | 5th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 8 APP; 8 GS; 41.1 IP; 3.05 ERA; 1.26 WHIP; 10.7 K/9; 2.4 BB/9; 0 HR/9 Cole Sands didn’t make his professional debut until 2019, but he did so in Cedar Rapids, skipping rookie ball all together. Sands has been excellent in 8 starts this spring and has been showing everyone why he was the top pitcher taken by the Twins in last year’s draft. Charles Mack | Williamsville East HS | 3B | 6th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 30 G; .216 AVG; .314 OBP; .275 SLG; 0 HR; 1 SB; 23 K; 13 BB It was a bit of a rough start for 6th round pick Charles Mack last summer in the GCL. The talented third baseman hopes he can turn that around this year. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Josh Winder | Virginia Military Institute | RHP | 7th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 17 APP; 17 GS; 87 IP; 3.41 ERA; 1.08 WHIP; 8.7 K/9; 2.1 BB/9; 0.4 HR/9 The second pitcher taken by the Twins in the 2018 has also shown he can be effective at the professional level. While Winder doesn’t quite have the strikeout numbers that Sands has, he has been effective none the less by pounding the strike zone. Chris Williams | Clemson | C | 8th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 96 G; .240 AVG; .365 OBP; .495 SLG; 23 HR; 2 SB; 87 K; 64 BB So far, Chris Williams has been the power hitting catcher of the two the Twins took in the top 10 rounds. After mashing 15 home runs last summer, he has backed that up with 8 more this spring for the Kernels. Willie Joe Garry Jr. | Pascagoula HS | OF | 9th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 33 G; .160 AVG; .266 OBP; .210 SLG; 0 HR; 5 SB; 28 K; 8 BB Willie Joe Garry struggled at the plate for the GCL Twins last year. He showed very little power as he produced just 4 extra base hits (all doubles) in 33 games. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Regi Grace | Madison Central HS | RHP | 10th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 6 APP; 1 GS; 10.2 IP; 5.06 ERA; 1.59 WHIP; 6.8 K/9; 3.4 BB/9; 0 HR/9 Regi Grace missed some time last summer with an injury, causing him to make only 6 appearances. On the mound he wasn’t all that effective, pitching primarily out of the bullpen. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Michael Helman | Texas A&M | 2B | 11th Round | Current Level: High A Fort Myers Stats: 83 G; .273 AVG; .322 OBP; .383 SLG; 6 HR; 11 SB; 41 K; 20 BB As was the story for Larnach and Jeffers, so to is the same for Michael Helman as he followed them on the express ticket to Fort Myers this year, with excellent stops in both Elizabethon and Cedar Rapids along the way. Unfortunately for Helman, his performance has taken an absolute nosedive as he is still adjusting to High A level pitching. Jon Olsen | UCLA | RHP | 12th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: Has not played Trevor Casanova | Cal State Northridge | C | 13th Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethton Stats: 38 G; .331 BA; .389 OBP; .490 SLG; 3 HR; 2 SB; 38 K; 13 BB Trevor Casanova was the third college catcher taken by the Twins in the early rounds of the 2018 draft, and much like the other two, Casanova played quite well in his professional debut last summer. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Erick Rivera | Escuela Superior Urbana | OF | 14th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 23 G; .246 AVG; .358 OBP; .304 SLG; 0 HR; 1 SB; 22 K; 11 BB In minimal playing time last summer for the GCL Twins, Erick Rivera showed that he has the ability to get on base, drawing 11 walks in just 82 plate appearances. However, he didn’t really show much in the power department. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Kody Funderburk | Dallas Baptist | LHP | 15th Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethon Stats: 11 APP; 9 GS; 38 IP; 4.50 ERA; 1.66 WHIP; 8.1 K/9; 3.8 BB/9; 0.5 HR/9 After what was an okay at best showing in Elizabethon last summer, Kody Funderburk had to wait until May 18th to make his 2019 debut in Fort Myers. Now back in Elizabethon, the Dallas Baptist product hopes to have a better 2019 than he did 2018. Anthony Tuionetoa | Baldwin HS | RHP | 16th Round | Did Not Sign Erik Cha | Cal State Fullerton | LHP | 17th Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethon Stats: 15 APP; 0 GS; 26.1 IP; 1.37 ERA; 1.14 WHIP; 9.9 K/9; 2.4 BB/9; 0.3 HR/9 Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, Erik Cha has shown that he has the strikeout ability that is needed for a relief pitcher to progress through the minors. He has also shown the ability to go multiple innings out of the pen, as he has pitched more than 1 inning in all but 4 of his outings. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Andrew Cabezas | Miami (FL) | RHP | 18th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 18 APP; 16 GS; 82.2 IP; 3.16 ERA; 1.08 WHIP; 8.6 K/9; 3.2 BB/9; 0.8 HR/9 Andrew Cabezas had himself a great first summer of professional baseball and was named the Twins Daily Short-Season Pitcher of the Year as a result. He’s taken a little bit of a step back this year in Cedar Rapids, but has been an effective pitcher for the Kernels none the less. Austin Schulfer |Wisconsin-Milwaukee | RHP | 19th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 22 APP; 10 GS; 73.2 IP; 1.95 ERA; 1.15 WHIP; 9.9 K/9; 4.4 BB/9; 0.1 HR/9 Despite pitching quite effectively primarily as a starter for Elizabethon last summer, Austin Schulfer has been used mostly as a middle innings long reliever in Cedar Rapids this spring. Despite the change in roles, Schulfer has adapted well to the higher level so far. Seth Pinkerton | Hartford | RHP | 20th Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethon Stats: 15 APP; 0 GS; 24.2 IP; 6.57 ERA; 1.82 WHIP; 10.2 K/9; 8.0 BB/9; 1.1 HR/9 After pitching for four years at Hartford, the Ogdensburg, New York native Seth Pinkerton struggled greatly with his control as he made the transition to pro ball. However, Pinkerton did show the ability to strike hitters out, so if he can clean up his mechanics that could go a long way. Gabe Snyder | Wright State | 1B | 21st Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 82 G; .283 AVG; .378 OBP; .420 SLG; 6 HR; 4 SB; 62 K; 36 BB Gabe Snyder has really come into his own this spring in Cedar Rapids. In 34 games so far in 2019, Snyder has a .878 OPS, and has been one of the best everyday players for the 25-25 Kernels. Jacob Blank | Augustana | RHP | 22nd Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethon Stats: 11 APP; 0 GS; 15.2 IP; 2.87 ERA; 1.28 WHIP; 10.9 K/9; 5.2 BB/9; 0 HR/9 Jabob Blank has pitched quite sparingly ever since the Twins drafted him last summer. He has jumped around from EST, to Fort Myers, to Cedar Rapids, and back to EST all this spring. Albee Weiss | Cal State Northridge | 1B | 23rd Round | Current Level: High A Fort Myers Stats: 40 G; .211 AVG; .274 OBP; .368 SLG; 4 HR; 0 SB; 44 K; 10 BB After not making his 2019 debut until May 17th in Cedar Rapids, Albee Weiss hit the ball well over three games there, doubling in all three, and was quickly promoted up to Fort Myers where he has only played in one game since his promotion. Michael Davis | Texas Tech | 2B | 24th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 62 G; .298 AVG; .355 OBP; .534 SLG; 10 HR; 2 SB; 64 K; 18 BB Michael Davis has played very well in 59 games in Cedar Rapids combined between 2018 and 2019. Davis has missed most of the month of May with an injury, but returned back to the Kernels lineup last Saturday. Laron Smith | Foothills Composite | 1B | 25th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 13 G; .205 AVG; .326 OBP; .256 SLG; 0 HR; 1 SB; 9 K; 7 BB The high school batter from Canada, Laron Smith, had some struggles in just 13 games with the GCL Twins last summer. We will have to wait and see if he can get himself turned around this year. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Brian Rapp | Boston College | RHP | 26th Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 21 APP; 7 GS; 63.1 IP; 4.12 ERA; 1.50 WHIP; 8.8 K/9; 3.1 BB/9; 0.6 HR/9 Brian Rapp has seen his walk numbers spike in 2019, as he is walking 4.3 batters per nine innings this spring in Cedar Rapids. That is up from the 2.3 batters per nine innings that he walked last summer in Elizabethon. He will need to fix his control issues if he hopes to progress to higher levels in the Twins farm system. Hunter Lee | High Point | 2B | 27th Round | Current Level: High A Fort Myers Stats: 53 G; .208 AVG; .331 OBP; .309 SLG; 4 HR; 0 SB; 38 K; 24 BB It hasn’t been the best of springs for Hunter Lee, who has a .121/.246/.224 slash line in 20 games for Cedar Rapids. On Saturday Lee was assigned down to Elizabethon, before getting reassigned up to Fort Myers on Tuesday, where he has yet to make his debut for the Miracle. Austin Hale | Stetson | C | 28th Round | Current Level: Retired J.T. Perez | Cincinnati | LHP | 29th Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethon Stats: 15 APP; 0 GS; 21.2 IP; 4.57 ERA; 1.75 WHIP; 11.6 K/9; 5.4 BB/9; 0 HR/9 J.T. Perez split his time between the GCL Twins and Elizabethon last summer, making 10 appearances in the Gulf Coast League and 5 more for Elizabethon. Overall, he had much more success pitching in the GCL where he had a 2.31 ERA vs his 7.20 ERA in Elizabethon. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Seth Halverson | Heritage Christian Academy | RHP | 30th Round | Did Not Sign Zach Neff | Mississippi State | LHP | 31st Round | Current Level: A Cedar Rapids Stats: 29 APP; 0 GS; 49.2 IP; 3.62 ERA; 1.23 WHIP; 10.9 K/9; 3.4 BB/9; 0.5 HR/9 It was a bit of a rocky start for Zach Neff last summer in Elizabethon, though his peripheral metrics said he should have faired much better than he did. This spring he has pitched much better for Cedar Rapids, with a 3.28 ERA and striking out 12.4 batters per nine. Ryan Holgate | Davis HS | OF | 32nd Round | Did Not Sign Denny Bentley | Howard College | LHP | 33rd Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 13 APP; 0 GS; 17.1 IP; 2.60 ERA; 1.27 WHIP; 10.9 K/9; 3.1 BB/9; 1.0 HR/9 Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, Denny Bentley showed signs that he could be an effective pitcher at the professional level. He did give up a couple of home runs, but other than that did excellent job. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Dylan Stowell | California Baptist | RHP | 34th Round | Retired Tanner Howell | Dixie State | RHP | 35th Round | Current Level: Rookie Elizabethon Stats: 17 APP; 0 GS; 32.1 IP; 4.18 ERA; 1.27 WHIP; 8.9 K/9; 2.8 BB/9; 0.8 HR/9 Tanner Howell made 8 appearances with the GCL Twins last summer before being re-assigned to Elizabethon. Howell’s results were much more favorable with the GCL Twins as he gave up only 1 earned run over 12 innings with a 7 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. (Has not made his 2019 debut). Zac Taylor | Illinois | OF | 36th Round | Did Not Sign Luke Ritter | Wichita State | OF | 37th Round | Did Not Sign Dylan Thomas | Hawaii | RHP | 38th Round | Did Not Sign Bryce Collins | Hart HS | RHP | 39th Round | Did Not Sign Tyler Webb | Memphis | OF | 40th Round | Current Level: Rookie GCL Twins Stats: 41 G; .287 AVG; .373 OBP; .336 SLG; 1 HR; 11 SB; 27 K; 14 BB Like Howell, Tyler Webb started off his professional career with the GCL Twins before getting moved to Elizabethon during the summer when they were in need of an outfielder. Webb has excellent speed that helped him steal 11 bases in just 41 games last summer.
  23. “I kind of like cleaning my room,” Winder explained in an interview a day after his most recent start (a seven-inning/seven-strikeout outing on Sunday in which he held Peoria to one earned run on four hits and one walk). “Making sure everything’s in order, kind of clearing my mind out while I’m doing it. Kind of therapeutic almost. I like laying everything out before my start, getting into that mindset on the day of my start, as opposed to going to the game kind of scatterbrained.” That may seem unusual, but then Winder didn’t come to professional baseball via quite the same path as most other college pitchers. When you consider that the Twins drafted him in the seventh round of last June’s amateur draft out of Virginia Military Institute, a habit of cleaning his room shouldn’t be unexpected at all. Winder admits he didn’t choose to attend VMI with the goal of a military career in mind, but primarily to play baseball and get a good education. (He accomplished both, by the way. After last season ended, he returned to school and got his degree in Economics and Business in December.) So how does a guy without a definitive interest in the military end up at Virginia Military Institute? Of course, the obvious answer is that they offered him a baseball scholarship, but there must be more to it than that. “It’s actually a funny story,” the 6’ 5” right-hander said. “We played a travel ball showcase tournament up there. I remember saying to my dad when we were driving away from the campus, ‘I have no idea why anybody would ever come here.’ A couple years later, I ended up going on a visit there. “The coaches saw me at a camp and liked my stuff, liked the way I pitched and everything. They got me on campus, showed me around. Really sold me on all the benefits of the place, all the good attributes and traits you acquire, almost by default, by being around that kind of environment. “Also, I fell in love with the coaching staff and fell in love with the atmosphere, the brotherhood and camaraderie in the locker room. It was something I really wanted to be a part of, and I made that decision, committed in my junior year and honestly, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t make that decision because it ended up being the best place for me.” It was certainly a more structured and disciplined environment than most college campuses and it had immediate effects on Winder. “It kind of changes you without you even realizing it,” he explained. “I remember going home for Christmas break my freshman year. Once I got home, I probably slept the whole first day because I was exhausted. But then after that, I’m cleaning my room, making my bed, kind of like setting out each day and making plans, not even realizing it had changed me into (being) much more disciplined, more on top of things. Planning things out.” Asked if his mother wondered who this stranger was and what he had done with her son, Winder didn’t hesitate. “She wasn’t complaining,” he said. “I was folding all the laundry. Yeah, she wasn’t too upset about it.” On the mound this season, Winder has been working with Kernels pitching coach Virgil Vasquez to rediscover the secrets of how to consistently miss bats and felt that Sunday’s outing might have been his best of the season. “Really good game (Sunday). That’s probably the best I’ve felt on the mound this year,” Winder said. “I’ve kind of been searching for that feeling and really feeling like I can beat guys and get the swings I wanted.” After notching nine strikeouts in a five-inning outing on April 13 against Burlington, the record holder for strikeouts per nine-innings at VMI failed to average a strikeout per inning pitched over his next five starts leading into Sunday’s performance, though most of his other stats were more than acceptable. In fact, in three of his four starts during May, Winder completed seven or more innings of work. “Definitely been very efficient the last few weeks, getting ahead,” he said. “Been working really well with my catchers.” As for the strikeouts… “I’ve been kind of struggling to put guys away,” he conceded. “Haven’t struggled to get to two strikes, but as far as striking people out and putting them away, I’ve kind of struggled. That’s something me and Virgil worked on this week and obviously the work paid off. Seven strikeouts yesterday, so we did a much better job kind of throwing pitches in tougher places to hit with two strikes.” Winder has an effective three-pitch repertoire and his primary focus this spring has been to add a more effective change-up to the mix. “I actually went down to Florida a month early for spring training to work on that change-up,” he said. “Work on that grip and (develop) a consistent pitch for me to add to my curveball. And then I have a cutter-slider, as well, in addition to the four-seam fastball. “So, we’re looking to develop that change-up to keep lefties off balance as well as throw it to righties some the second or third time through the lineup. Get them off my fastball. Just get something else in their head. Keep them off balance, so it complements all my other pitches.” At times, pitchers coming out of college programs get anxious to move up the organizational ladder quickly, but Winder’s not about to be putting that kind of pressure on himself. “No, I really try to stay away from thinking like that,” he said. “It’s still my first full professional season. “My mindset going through this whole journey, this whole process, started last year when I was a junior and got drafted, decided to take the draft instead of going back to school. I just try to approach everything to become the best baseball player I can be and once I become the best baseball player I can be, I’ll see where I end up.” Kernels Notes Since returning from their road trip to the Midwest League’s Eastern Division on May 11, the Kernels have posted a 10-5 record and have moved up to 5th place in the MWL Western Division. They’ve also evened their record on the year at 25-25. They still stand 8 ½ games behind Division leading Quad Cities, but only 3 ½ games behind second place Burlington for the all-important second spot in the first half race, which also qualifies for the postseason. Wander Javier, ranked as the Twins’ #4 prospect by MLB Pipeline and Baseball America, joined the Kernels from Extended Spring Training on Saturday. The local fans haven’t had much of an opportunity to see him, yet, however. He played Saturday night, sat out Sunday’s game and Monday’s holiday matinee was rained out. The Kernels now begin a season-long 14 game road trip (while their home, Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, plays host to the NCAA Division III World Series). Hitting: Jared Akins arrived from EST on May 14 and went 0-3 in his first game. He hasn’t been held hitless since and now holds an 11-game hitting streak in which he has hit .419 with three doubles, two triples and four home runs. The streak is the longest of Akins’ career and the longest of any Kernels hitter this season. Andrew Bechtold has a streak of his own going on. He’s reached base in 17 straight games, going back to May 9. He’s hitting .333 in his last ten games and went 6-10 during the three-game series with Peoria over the weekend. Yeltsin Encarnacion has been hitting .318 in his last ten games, bringing his average for the year up to .270 and his OBP to .343. Pitching: Austin Schulfer and Jose Martinez combined to throw a no-hitter against Burlington on May 22 in the seven-inning nightcap of that day’s doubleheader. In Schulfer’s prior appearance, he struck out eight batters in three innings of relief work. Blayne Enlow held opponents to just three earned runs over a combined 18 innings of work in his last three starts, earning himself a promotion to Fort Myers. Reliever Zach Neff has allowed just two earned runs over 17 innings of work covering his last eight appearances. He has a 24/5 K/BB ratio in that stretch, including a 7K 3-inning performance on May 17. Derek Molina had a tough first couple of relief appearances to start 2019, but in the ten appearances since then, he’s surrendered a grand total of one earned run, striking out 18 in 13 innings of work. If you’d like to read more about the Kernels, check out these articles from The Gazette’s beat reporter Jeff Johnson: Emphatically Back to Break-Even for Cedar Rapids Kernels Jared Akins Just Keeps Raking Zach Neff - One Class Shy of Masters Degree
  24. TRANSACTIONS RHP Sean Poppen promoted to Rochester. C Janigson Villalobos promoted to Fort Myers. OF Trey Cabbage placed on the suspended list with Fort Myers (Suspended by team). AWARDS The Twins announced their weekly Hitter and Pitcher of the Week: Hitter of the Week: Ryan Jeffers, Fort Myers Jeffers played in six games for the Miracle, hitting .400 (8-for-20) with two home runs, four RBI, three walks and a .478 on-base percentage. Jeffers, 21, was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Pitcher of the Week: Austin Schulfer, Cedar Rapids Schulfer made one start his week on Wednesday against Burlington. He and Jose Martinez combined to throw a seven-inning no hitter. He pitched five shutout innings while striking out seven and walking one. Schulfer, 23, was drafted by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 9, Pawtucket 2 (Completion of suspended game 5/25) Box Score Rochester was already up 6-1 before Saturday’s contest got rained out. Randy Dobnak, in his Triple-A debut, had started the original game. He allowed one run on one hit and struck out one. Sean Poppen started on Sunday. He would pick up his second win after he pitched six strong innings. He struck out seven, walked three, and allowed one earned run. Trevor Hildenberger allowed one hit, but he was able to finish off the ninth. Nick Gordon, Tomas Telis, and Jordan Valdespin all went 2-for-4. Telis and Valdespin both collected three RBI and Gordon added his seven double. LaMonte Wade reached base twice knocked his first triple and scored two runs. Rochester 6, Pawtucket 7 (8 Innings) Box Score Rochester got out a head in this one with a couple runs in the third. Jack Cave and LaMonte Wade walked to put two runners on base. Zander Wiel cracked his ninth double to score both runners. Rochester was up 2-0 but the lead wouldn’t last long. Gabriel Moya pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. Fernando Romero took over in the third but he ran into some trouble in the fourth. He allowed four runs on three hits and he didn’t make it out of the inning. Jake Reed allowed one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. This game was supposed to be over after seven frames, but LaMonte Wade wouldn’t let the Red Wings go quietly. With Rochester down two, he smacked his two-run shot to tie the game. Andrew Vasquez quickly saw the lead disappear. A triple with a runner on second was followed by a single to push a second run across and the Red Wings were back down by two. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1132842728205750272 Rochester cause some fuss in the bottom of the final frame, but it wouldn’t be enough this time. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 11, Tennessee 10 Box Score Pensacola scored runs in the final six frames to cap a come from behind victory. Andro Cutura ran into some early trouble as he didn’t make it out of the second inning. He allowed four runs on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts. Jeff Ames calmed things down as he limited Tennessee to one hit over the next two innings. He struck out four and walked two. The next couple relievers didn’t do as well. Cody Stashak allowed three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. He struck out one and surrendered four hits. Ryan Mason pitched less than an inning and allowed three earned runs. Tyler Jay and Williams Ramirez put up zeros over the final two innings to help the Blue Wahoos stay in the game. Travis Blankenhorn provided quite the offensive punch. He finished the night 4-for-6 with a home run and four RBI. His ninth inning home run gave the team the lead for good. Obviously, he wasn’t the only one. Ben Rortvedt drove in three runs and hit his first Double-A home run. Mitchell Kranson almost matched Blankenhorn in hits as he went 3-for-5. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Daytona 5 Box Score Royce Lewis got things started early as he tripled to start the game. Lewin Diaz drove in Lewis with a sacrifice fly. Trevor Larnach followed with his third home run of the season. Fort Myers had an early 2-0 lead. After Daytona tied it up, Jose Miranda hit a solo home run in the fourth. Unfortunately, that was the end of the scoring for the Miracle. Jhoan Duran recorded 18 outs and 14 were by strikeout. He allowed one earned run on one hit. He reached 101 mph on the gun and hit triple-digits four times in the first inning. Calvin Faucher took the loss in this one after he took over for Duran. He allowed three earned runs on four hits. Alex Phillips pitched the final 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. Fort Myers went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 14, Peoria 1 Box Score Cedar Rapids used a huge seven-run second inning to distance themselves from Peoria. The club never looked back from there. Every hitter in the Cedar Rapids line-up collected a hit. In fact, all but two players reached base multiple times. Yeltsin Encarnacion had one of the big hits in the second inning, a three-run home run. He finished 3-for-6 and he scored three runs. Jacob Pearson had a three-run double in the same inning. He led the team with four RBI. Gabe Snyder and Gilberto Celestino joined Encarnacion in the three-hit club. Celestino add a triple, his first of the year. Josh Winder was able to sink into cruise control mode on the mound. He tossed seven strong innings by allowing one run on four hits. He struck out seven and walked one. Jose Martinez tossed two scoreless frames to finish the game. He only allowed two base runners. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Jhoan Duran, Fort Myers (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 14 K, 2 BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Travis Blankenhorn, Pensacola (4-6, HR, 4 RBI, R, 2 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) – 2-4, 3B, R #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 1-5, R, BB, K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, HR, R, RBI #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Injured (wrist) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) – 6.0 IP, ER, H, 14 K, 2 BB #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) – Injured List #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 2-4, 2B, R, BB #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) – Did not pitch #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) – 0-4, 2 K #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) – 3-6, 3B, RBI, 2 R #17 - Zack Littell (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) – 2-7, 3B, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2K #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, HR, R, RBI, 2 K MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Pawtucket (12:05 CST) – RHP Kohl Stewart (3-2, 3.52 ERA) Pensacola – Scheduled Off-Day Fort Myers – Scheduled Off-Day Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (12:05 CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer (4-2, 2.41 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  25. As the Kernels begin a four-game commuter series against the Clinton Lumberkings on Thursday night, they’re pretty well entrenched deep into the lower half of the Midwest League’s eight-team Western Division standings with a 17-22 record. They sit in seventh place, eight games behind Division-leading Quad Cities and six games behind second place Burlington, which is important because the top two finishers in each division during the league’s first half will qualify for the postseason. The Kernels have won just three of the season’s first 13 series and none since they won back-to-back series against Beloit and Wisconsin in mid-April. Their .219 team batting average and .654 OPS place them 14th in each of those offensive categories among the 16 teams in the MWL. There isn’t much in those numbers that shouts “success,” with just over four weeks remaining in the season’s first-half race and, to be sure, Kernels fans and the local front office would love to start seeing more productivity on the field and, frankly, more wins. But when you’re talking about the Class-A minor league level, success is as much, if not more, about developing young ballplayers and preparing them for the challenges awaiting them at the next rung on the professional baseball organizational ladder. And that’s one area where manager Brian Dinkelman and his coaching staff can take justifiable pride in their squad’s success this year. “You like to keep guys here as long as possible to try to win games,” Dinkelman said earlier this week, “but once they’re developed and feel like they’re ready for the next level, then that’s the thing for them to get up to the next level and get them closer to the big leagues.” Already this year, five of the players who came north out of spring training as part of the Kernels’ Opening Day roster have been promoted. Shortstop Joe Cronin is now playing Class Double-A ball with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, while outfielder Trey Cabbage, relief pitcher Joe Record and starting pitcher Jordan Balazovic are all playing key roles with Class High-A Fort Myers. The most recent promotion was catcher David Banuelos, who got his plane ticket to Fort Myers earlier this week after doing excellent work behind the plate for the Kernels and showing some power with seven extra-base hits on his stat line. Banuelos had one hit in four at-bats in his first game with the Miracle. Cronin is still trying to find his groove at the plate in Pensacola after putting up a 1.106 OPS for Cedar Rapids, but all three of the other players the Kernels have sent to the Miracle in Fort Myers have immediately become among their new team’s statistical leaders. In Cedar Rapids, Cabbage was hitting .313 with an OPS of 1.029 and six home runs (which is still good enough to tie him for fourth place in the Midwest League, a full two weeks after his departure from the Kernels) when he was promoted. In his nine games with the Miracle, he’s hit .344 with an OPS of .964. He’s yet to go yard for the Miracle, but he’s knocked four doubles and a triple. “I was happy for Trey,” Dinkelman said. “He’d been (in Cedar Rapids) a couple of years and he got off to a great start for us, was hitting the ball well. We knew it was time for him to move on up there and see what he can do at the next level.” Joe Record didn’t allow even one earned run during his seven appearances out of the Kernels’ bullpen, while notching five saves as the club’s closer and striking out almost two batters per inning pitched. While he can’t boast the same perfect 0.00 ERA in Fort Myers, he’s kept his WHIP down to just 0.95, while continuing to strike out just under one batter per inning. And then there’s Jordan Balazovic. The 6’ 4” 20-year-old pitched well in his four pre-promotion starts for Cedar Rapids, notching a 2.18 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, holding hitters to a .195 batting average and striking out 33 batters in his 20 2/3 innings. All he did in his Miracle debut was throw seven perfect innings. His second outing only lasted five innings and he gave up a pair of earned runs, but he also struck out 12 batters. Those performances impressed his former manager. If he keeps having performances like he had his first two outings, he may not be (in Fort Myers) long,” a smiling Dinkelman said of Balazovic. “Ten strikeouts and 12 strikeouts, something like that. It’s good to see those guys go up there and play well.” And it’s unlikely the flow of talent through the Cedar Rapids-to-Fort Myers pipeline is going to stop any time soon. Their record may not show it, but there are still several individual success stories being written in Cedar Rapids. First baseman Gabe Snyder wasn’t on the Kernels’ Opening Day roster this year, but he arrived just a week into the season and he’s hit .319 with a dozen extra-base hits, including three home runs. The Cedar Rapids rotation misses Balazovic, obviously, but other members of that group have continued to keep the Kernels in games through the first several innings, anyway. “I feel like our starting pitching is giving us a chance,” Dinkelman said. “Now they’re going five or six innings a game, keeping us in the ballgame, giving our offense a chance to put some runs on the board. Starting pitching in baseball is the key. If you can get a starter to go out there and give you six, seven strong innings, keep your team in the game, give you a chance to win, that’s all you can ask for.” Dinkelman is getting that kind of result from several of his starting pitchers. Cole Sands has a 2.59 ERA through six starts, striking out 36 batters in 31 1/3 innings. He has yet to surrender a home run this season. Josh Winder has a 2.97 ERA, also through six starts. He’s notched a 1.05 WHIP while striking out 32 batters in 36 1/3 innings. Andrew Cabezas’ 1-3 record belies his actual performance. His 1.10 WHIP and 30 strikeouts through 32 2/3 innings are among the team’s leaders. His most recent performance, in a start on Wednesday against division-leading Quad Cities, was his best of the year. In seven shutout innings, he surrendered just one hit and issued no walks while striking out nine. Blayne Enlow is the lone top-10 rated organizational prospect in the Kernels roster and, while he’s had a couple of tough outings among his six starts, he’s also shown glimpses of the talent that scouts have been impressed with. In his most recent start on May 9, he struck out six over six innings of work, without surrendering an earned run. (He is scheduled to start Thursday night’s game in Clinton.) It won’t be easy for the Kernels to catch up to the division leaders in time to lock up a postseason berth during the season’s first half, but that’s the beauty of the minor league split-season format. They get to start over on June 20. The locals are hoping that uber-prospect Wander Javier will prove himself healthy enough to provide some spark to the Kernels’ lineup well before that date. So far, however, the young shortstop has not been able to stay on the field long enough for the Twins to feel comfortable sending him to Cedar Rapids. In the end, regardless of what we see in the standings, we can be certain there will be plenty of individual success stories coming through Cedar Rapids during the summer. Kernels Notes Hitting: Gabe Snyder leads all qualifying hitters in the MWL in OPS (.957), is tied for 4th in BA (.319), 2nd in SLG (.542), 5th in OBP (.414) Yeltsin Encarnacion had a 7-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday. Pitching: (We covered the starting pitching pretty thoroughly in the article, but there are a couple of relief arms that are also performing well this month.) Derek Molina has not surrendered an earned run since April 15. In his last 8 appearances, totaling 10 IP, while not giving up an earned run, he has struck out 14 and walked 3. Zach Neff has surrendered just 1 earned run in his last 5 appearances out of the bullpen covering 8 2/3 innings, striking out 14 while walking just 1 in that stretch. Want to read more about the Kernels? Click on these links for stories from The Gazette’s Kernels beat reporter, Jeff Johnson. Kernels coach and former Twins infielder Luis Rodriguez is thinking about Venezuela. RHP Cole Sands was impressive in earning his first professional win. RHP Andrew Cabezas keep hitters off balance with a variety of windups. (This article from JJ includes an imbedded video of one of Cabezas’ most interesting windups this season.)
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