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  1. Last offseason, the Twins made the decision to move Jorge Polanco to second base. They wanted better defense at the shortstop position. With that in mind, the Twins signed Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal. It didn’t go well. While Simmons provided the solid defense, he did very little with the bat. His .558 OPS was over .100 lower than it had been in all but one of his previous nine MLB seasons. His previous low was .617 in 2014. Even after his rough 2021 season, his career OPS of .683 should make the Twins consider bringing him back on a much lower contract, maybe in the $3 million range. courtesy Byron Buxton Instagram However, there was a shortstop that became available due to Friday’s roster transactions. One would be a player returning to the organization that he spent nearly a decade in and made his big-league debut with. Let’s discuss both, and then in the comments you can tell me if this player should be considered. But before that, I want to point out that my personal opinion is that the Twins need to spend available dollars this offseason on pitching. So while I would love to see the Twins grab one of those big-name, big-dollar free agent shortstops, I’m going to assume that they won’t and that they will spend big on pitching. (maybe not a fair assumption, but one that I will go with for this article.) Niko Goodrum According to MLB Trade Rumors, Niko Goodrum was projected to make $2.9 million in 2022 through arbitration. He wasn’t going to get that coming off of an injury-plagued 2021 season in which he hit just .214/.292/.359 (.651) with 11 doubles and nine home runs. He had several stints on the Injured List with calf and groin injuries. In the Covid-shortened 2020 season, he hit just .184/.263/.335 (.598) with seven doubles and five home runs. These two seasons have been rough for Goodrum offensively, no doubt, but still 10-20% better than what Simmons provided in 2021. That’s obviously a low bar. So why would I personally be interested in bringing Goodrum back to the organization where he debuted in 2017 and went 1-for-17 (.059) in September. He signed with the Tigers and had two really strong seasons. In 2018, he hit .245/.315/.432 (.749) with 29 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he hit .248/.322/.421 (.743) with 27 doubles, five triples and 12 homers. He stole 12 bases in 2018 and 2019, and 14 bases in 2021. Goodrum will turn 30 early in spring training 2022. While the upside may be somewhat limited and include a lot of swing-and more,, there is also great athleticism, tools, speed and power with Goodrum. The Twins drafted and signed Cartier “Niko” Goodrum out of high school in Georgia in 2010. Jorge Polanco had signed a year earlier. The two climbed up the organization ladder together. Goodrum played mostly shortstop while Polanco played shortstop. Could the keystone combination exist again? In 2020, Goodrum was a finalist for an AL Gold Glove at shortstop. He is a natural shortstop with good range and a strong arm. If the Twins signed him and told him to prepare to compete for the team’s starting shortstop job, he might be a terrific choice. Hey, if the other choices right now include a return of Simmons, then I would certainly support giving Goodrum a shot. What would it cost? I would think a one-year, $1.5 to $2.0 million would do it, especially if he was given the opportunity to start most days at shortstop. If he’s given an opportunity to start most every day at shortstop, it’s likely he would just want a one year deal, hope it goes well, and enter free agency again after the 2022 season when it isn’t the greatest free agent shortstop class ever. Because of the dollars, it would be a low-risk deal. Because of his defense, speed and power potential, there is a chance for reward. If it doesn’t go well, he can finish the year as a utility player, capable of playing seven positions (yes, all better than Willians Astudillo). If Royce Lewis is deemed ready-to-go sometime in 2021, Goodrum can become a utility player. In addition, Goodrum might have interest in a return because he has several former teammates from his minor league days with the. He played over his years with Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, and Tommy Watkins was a coach and manager. An added bonus is that Goodrum has always been great in the community, going back to his Twins days when he was a Harmon Killebrew Community Service Award recipient in 2013 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Many times the concept of “Bring Back the Gang” gets a negative connotation. Sometimes that is fair. Other times, it just makes sense. If healthy, Niko Goodrum can provide really good defense at shortstop, some power at the plate and speed. Yes, that comes with some injury risk and a lot of strikeouts. But at the price tag, it is certainly worth strong consideration. So what do you think? Should the Twins consider a reunion with Niko Goodrum?
  2. Brief Overview: Let’s not mince words here, Detroit is a poor team who has somehow even played below the level of the lowly Orioles this year. Their talent is few and far between and even harder to spot after Nick Castellanos and Shane Greene were dealt at the deadline. They currently have no qualified hitters with a wRC+ over 100 and just a small handful of pitchers who would be considered useful on any good team. I’m being harsh here but it really is hard to compliment a team that is 38-87 on the year and has already been eliminated from AL Central contention. What They Do Well: Oh lord, well, I’ll really be stretching what it means to “do well” in something, and liberties will have to be taken given the context of their baseball-reference page. The Tigers do actually have some solid starting pitching as they rank 13th in baseball by fWAR for starters. Most of this is carried by the efforts of Matt Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, and Daniel Norris who have all been able to soak innings with peripherals that range from “good” to “passable” which is truly something to note for a team in this situation. Usually I have more here but honest to God I cannot find anything worth writing about. What They Do Not Do Well: OOOH BABY, how much time do I have? Well, let’s start with the offense that’s about as offensive as Mister Rogers. They have the worst team wRC+ in baseball with a 76 mark which is just one point ahead of Nick Punto’s Twins wRC+. It gets even worse when looking at just the last seven days in which they’ve held a mark of 50 and have struck out an incredible 36.6% of the time. I mentioned before that they currently have no qualified hitters with a mark that is at or above average (100) and the only player above that line is Travis Demeritte and his 109 mark in just 77 plate appearances. “Does it get worse?” My sweet summer child, it always can. Their bullpen FIP is the third highest in baseball at 5.11. You want a comparison for that? Addison Reed had a FIP of 5.11 with the Twins... that’s the most horrific statement I’ve probably ever written. After trading Greene, they’re left with just a single reliever with a FIP under 4.00 who has thrown more than 10 innings. You want to guess who it is? Surprisingly, it isn’t Joe Jiménez but actually the wonderfully named Buck Farmer. But after him, there's a bunch of sketch and not a lot of experience. Individuals Of Note: Matt Boyd has been a good starting pitcher this year with peripherals that suggests an even better pitcher is deep down within him, but the home run problem that has nagged him for months now remains one of the biggest reasons why there is such a difference between his ERA and xFIP. Only 5 qualified starters in the AL have a higher HR/FB % than Boyd’s 17.6% mark. A guy with a homer problem going up against the 2019 Twins? What could go wrong. Although, Boyd was placed on the paternity list recently so his status for this series is up in the air. One of the other starters I mentioned was Spencer Turnbull who can pitch as well as someone named “Spencer Turnbull” should be able to. His FIP of 4.18 is solid but his real talent is the Rick Anderson special-the ground ball, and his GB% of 48.8% would be the seventh highest among qualified AL starters if he were qualified. Ex-Twins’ farmhand (and major leaguer for all of like 5 minutes), Niko Goodrum, is having the only real noteworthy season from a Tigers’ position player as he’s the only one still with the team who is above .3 fWAR (he’s at 1.9) and he also looks to be the only position player on the Tigers to eclipse the 2.0 mark set for “average” major leaguers. Goodrum is currently BABIP-ing his way to a solid year as a multi-positional-weapon as he has logged innings at every position except for catcher and as this article is being written he sits with a respectable wRC+ of 94. As snarkily mentioned before, his BABIP on the year is an above average .341 so he may be due for some regression but even if he is, he remains one of the few bright spots on the Tigers. Recent History: The Twins and Tigers have played a few times this year and the Twins are 6-3 against them but the last series against them came all the way back in the second week of June which might as well be an eternity ago. Recent Trajectories: The Twins are 8-8 over their last 5 series while the Tigers are 6-11 over their last 5 series. Pitching Match-ups: Friday: Berríos vs VerHagen Saturday: Gibson vs Jackson (holy crap it’s Edwin Jackson) Sunday: Pérez vs Boyd (The Tigers rotation is in limbo so this may change) Ending Thoughts: The Tigers are bad, like, really bad. Potentially some weird “baseball-like” thing will occur like it did the other day when they were able to beat Justin Verlander and the Astros at Houston, but there should really be no reason or excuse that the Twins can’t take the series or sweep. In my eyes, a series win is the very least they can do and a sweep should be expected given the difference between the two teams, but I would still lead with some caution given how tricky baseball can be sometimes. Anyway, I will call a sweep despite the fact that I am now on a two-series wrong streak. Hopefully I’ll get back on track.
  3. I argued in my notes on a hypothetical plan for the Twins’ second half that they need to look inward at their talent pool to assess what they have and what they need going forwards. There are three prime examples of the necessity of this practice; Niko Goodrum, Randy Rosario, and Dereck Rodriguez. Niko Goodrum was the Twins second-round pick in 2010. After grinding for seven plus seasons in MiLB, he finally broke into the majors last season with the Twins at age 25. Goodrum received only 18 PA for Minnesota before finding his way onto the Tigers roster in 2018. While it seemed Goodrum was blocked in Minnesota as a middle infielder by Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Ehire Adrianza, he has performed admirably with Detroit, putting together a solid .250/.319/.456 line with a .206 ISO. Goodrum’s isolated power would put him fourth on the Twins, behind only Jake Cave, Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar. Crucially, he’s a RH bat in a very LH dominant lineup, and might have found significant ABs at DH this year with Miguel Sano in Single A, and Logan Morrison a non-contributor. Goodrum is currently a one-win player with Detroit (fWAR) and on his way to a solid first season in the majors. Randy Rosario pitched just 2 1/3 innings with the Twins, struggling mightily in doing so. Rosario was picked up by the Cubs and has logged close to 30 innings for them this year, putting together an impressive 1.95 ERA and stranding an improbable 94 percent of base runners. I will say that Rosario’s peripheral numbers look far less impressive. It seems that early in 2018 he has been extremely lucky. It would appear that he is due for a fairly significant regression with the Cubs in the second half, but with lefty pitchers in such short supply, would it not have served the Twins to take a longer look? Dereck Rodriguez (son of Pudge) put together strong numbers as a starting pitcher throughout his time in the Twins minor league system. He was simply blocked from an opportunity with the Twins and found his way into the Giants organization. In seven starts and some relief work with the Giants, Rodriguez has pitched close to 50 innings to the tune of a 2.89 ERA (3.42 FIP) is striking out a solid 7.14 K/9 and is worth 1.0 fWAR in his limited time. Clearly the Giants see something in Rodriguez the Twins did not, it’s just unfortunate that there are so many players who have left the Twins organization without getting a big league opportunity, who seem to be seizing it elsewhere. There’re plenty of players who would also have made good examples for this article. Aaron Hicks is not a good example. He’s actually a great example of the Twins being patient with a young hitter and giving him ample opportunities at the plate. He just figured it out after the Twins moved on. The Twins gave Hicks 928 plate appearances in Minnesota, in which he put together a 2.5 fWAR. In 361 2018 plate appearances with the Yankees, he already has a 3.3 fWAR. Sometimes things just don’t work out in your favor. With regard to Goodrum, Rosario and Rodriguez, I’m not saying they should have kept one, two, or all of them. Teams don’t always have the luxury of being able to give marginal hitters a few hundred plate appearances, marginal relievers forty major league innings, or marginal starters a five start stretch to prove their worth (particularly in a playoff race in 2017). My point is simply when you do have the opportunity, you should seize it. It seems highly likely the Twins will have that opportunity in the second half of 2018. Moving into 2019. The Twins will likely have core starting pitching arms of Berrios, Gibson, Romero and Odorizzi. They should establish if Aaron Slegers, Zach Littell, Adalberto Mejia, Stephen Gonsalves, or even Trevor May is well positioned to occupy a back end role in 2019. Additionally, they should establish their pecking order for sixth, seventh,and eighth starters (form and health aside) who will inevitably be called on over the course of a long season. Similarly, with their bullpen. Luke Bard, John Curtiss, Gabriel Moya, Jake Reed and Alan Busenitz should all receive some consistent innings, over a period of time without interruption. If even two of this group can be reliable bullpen arms, the front office can focus on other areas this coming winter. It might feel like a long second half, so let’s see what we have, and what we need.
  4. Snapshot (win expectancy chart via FanGraphs) Current record: 21-24 Kyle Gibson: 50 Game Score, 61.9 strike %, 3 K, 1 BB Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 IR, 1 IS, 3 K, 1 BB Lineup: 1-for-4 w/RISP, 6 LOB, 8 K, 4 BB Top three per WPA: Rosario .135, Dozier .070, Hildenberger .039. The Twins scored their run with only one out in the first inning. Brian Dozier hit a ball just inches shy of being a home run to dead center field. It was hit so hard that the ball actually wedged itself in between two sections of the outfield padding, giving Dozier a ground-rule double. Eddie Rosario drove him in with a one-out single. Unfortunately, the Twins wouldn’t score the entire rest of the game. In fact, after the very first three batters, the Twins only tallied three more hits the rest of the game. The Twins’ lineup is just really weird right now. How weird? It’s Jake Cave hitting sixth weird. Gibson turned in his fifth quality start and completed six innings or more for the sixth time in 10 starts this year. Gibby has been leaning more on his four-seam fastball this year, but that wasn’t the case today. There were 47 two-seamers and 11 four-seamers among the 97 total pitches he threw. Detroit’s Michael Fulmer gave up one run over 5 2/3 innings. He’s a former Rookie of the Year and All-Star, so tough to fault a thin Twins lineup for struggling. The Tigers bullpen, however, has the second-worst xFIP in all of baseball. Nevertheless, they shutout the Twins for the final 3 1/3 innings. Eddie Rosario had three of the Twins’ five hits on the afternoon. Byron Buxton looked good on a nice hustle double. The starting pitching has been good, Dozier is starting to heat up and Buxton is looking more and more healthy each game. Good signs of things to come, but this lineup could use a boost. Out of the bullpen for the Twins, Trevor Hildenberger pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, Taylor Rogers was charged with an earned run over 2/3 of a frame and Ryan Pressly pitched a scoreless inning, though he allowed an inherited run from Rogers to score. Next Three Games Thu OFF Fri at SEA, 9:10 pm CT Sat at SEA, 9:10 ppm CT Sun at SEA, 3:10 pm CT Last Three Games MIN 6, DET 0: Lynn Shows Will to Win MIN 4, DET 2: It’s All Coming Up Rosie MIN 3, MIL 1: Odorizzi Ks 10, LoMo Delivers Go-Ahead Hit More From Twins Daily Twins Daily Roundtable: Top Prospect Timelines Twins Organizational Depth Chart: Middle Infielders 2018 MLB Draft Top 50 Prospects: 21-30
  5. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Episode_344_MOY.mp3
  6. To entice Goodrum to stick around, the Twins offered him an invitation to major league spring training. He spent about a month with the club this spring, playing sparingly, but learning from the big league coaches and players. He fought a little shoulder issue in camp, but he hit .375 (6-16) and impressed his manager. Molitor spoke well of Goodrum following a spring game the day that he was sent back to minor league camp. “Niko Goodrum had a shoulder issue midway through camp, but he showed versatility. I really encouraged him to embrace that rather than wondering why he can't find a position because it has value and can open more doors for him. He showed some things." “Versatile” is the key word, and it is the reason that Goodrum will be up right away in September rather than finish out the Red Wings season. With the Red Wings, he has played games at each position except pitcher and catcher this season. He’s started 47 game in right field, 37 games at second base, 20 games at third base, 15 games in center field, nine games at shortstop, three games at first base, and one game in left field. I asked him in spring training if he ever considered getting a catcher’s mitt. “No!” Goodrum announced emphatically. Goodrum will be part of a “first wave” of players coming up from the minor leagues as September call ups to bolster a team fighting with the Yankees, Angels, Mariners and others for two wild card spots. As Derek Falvey explained it. “We’ll have a few come Friday. The question is always if it’s beneficial to get at-bats every day or pitch more regularly rather than being the last guy up here. You can always go get somebody. We’ll have a first wave, and then we’ll make other decisions pending results in Rochester.” Goodrum was signed as the team’s second-round pick in 2010 out of high school near Atlanta, Georgia. His uncle, Otis Nixon, stole 37 bases for the Twins in 1998. Goodrum is an incredible athlete, but he was quite raw in baseball terms. He has been moved through the system accordingly. He spent his draft season in the GCL before spending two seasons in extended spring training and with the Elizabethton Twins. He was the primary shortstop on that talented 2013 Cedar Rapids team and moved up to Ft. Myers for the 2014 season. He split 2015 between the Miracle and Chattanooga. Last year, he started the season with a foot injury that cost him much of the first half. But when he returned, he posted an .808 OPS with the Lookouts. In scouting circles, there is a reason to take great athletes. Goodrum fits into that category. He’s tall, and when drafted, he was thin. He was always fast, and he could play a pretty good shortstop. He is blessed with a strong arm. His speed has allowed him to become a pretty good outfielder as well as he has played out there more in recent years. Scouts would often talk about Goodrum’s “high waist” with the idea that he would eventually add more power. The started to show last year, but this year, he has hit 25 doubles, five triples and 13 home runs in his first season in AAA. Goodrum will have family at the game. His mom and dad, his dad’s wife, his aunt, and his girlfriend will make the trip. In the offseason, he owns Elite Metro Sports and Cages, a baseball and softball facility in his hometown of Fayetteville, Georgia. The indoor facilities and batting cages are open year-round. Goodrum is there during his offseasons and enjoys being able to give back to his community. His dad, Tim, operates the business. Goodrum will likely be used in a utility role over the season’s final month. With the news that Byron Buxton will not need to go on the disabled list and could soon play, Zack Granite will likely be the team’s fourth outfielder, but Goodrum’s ability to play seven positions will allow Molitor to mix and match lineups and moves throughout games.
  7. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 10, Louisville 5 Box Score The Red Wings actually trailed 5-0 after three innings, but the bats went on a tear to make this look like a pretty one-sided affair. Rochester had 17 hits, but nobody shined brighter than Niko Goodrum, who was 3-for 5 with six RBI. Six! Even as late as the eighth inning Rochester held just a one-run lead, but Goodrum delivered a two-run single in the eighth and would later score on a Matt Hague single. And to really drive the nail in the coffin, Niko socked a three-run homer in the ninth. That was Goodrum’s 12th home run of the season, and he also stole his 10th base of the year. It seems like Niko has been around for ages, but he’s still only 25. He was in center field tonight, but has played everywhere on the diamond other than pitcher and catcher this season. Daniel Palka also tallied three hits and Matt Hague, Kennys Vargas, Tommy Field and Leonardo Reginatto all had two hits each. Chris Heston got knocked around over his five innings (10 hits, five earned runs), but the bullpen was excellent. Alex Wimmers threw two perfect innings with three strikeouts. Buddy Boshers got the first two batters out in the eighth, but gave up a double and a walk before being lifted for Jake Reed, who managed to end the threat. Reed walked two batters in the ninth, but he also struck out three, so no worries. It was Reed’s fourth save for Rochester. The win improved the Wings record to 73-53, putting them three games up in the Wild Card race. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Tennessee 6, Chattanooga 4 Box Score Fernando Romero had a rough night, failing to even last his customary 5.0 innings for the first time in eight starts. The 22-year-old gave up six runs for the second-straight start, surrendering eight hits while walking four batters over 4.1 innings. His ERA as gone from 2.60 to 3.30 over his last two appearances. T.J. White hit his 12th homer of the season and Andy Wilkins had a pair of hits and a stolen base. Levi Michael reached base in two of his four plate appearances, and came in to the game with a .359 OBP on the season for the Lookouts. D.J. Baxendale held the Smokies scoreless over the final 3.2 innings. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Tampa 3 Box Score Clark Beeker earned a victory in his FSL debut, but he finally gave up some runs. The right-hander had four-straight scoreless starts for Cedar Rapids prior to his promotion, but he gave up three runs for the Miracle. Thanks to the bats, however, he was pitching with the lead all night, and those runs didn’t hurt the team in the least bit. Zander Wiel hit a three-run homer, his 10th of the year, and Brent Rooker added a solo shot of his own. Rooker, who also had three RBI, now has 15 home runs in 53 professional games. Jermaine Palacios had a pair of hits, lifting his FSL average up to an even .300. Brandon Lopez also had two hits and catcher Kevin Garcia had a hit, a walk and scored twice. Michael Theofanopoulos pitched two scoreless innings before Williams Ramirez finished things off with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Beloit 0 Box Score Travis Blankenhorn hit a homer in the fourth inning and the Kernels pitching staff managed to make that one-run lead stand, as they held the Snappers to just two hits. Charlie Barnes got the start and gave up one hit and a pair of walks over 5.0 innings pitched. The Twins 2017 fourth-rounder out of Clemson struck out four batters, and lowered his Midwest League ERA to 3.18. Logan Lombana pitched the sixth and seventh, Eduardo Del Rosario had a 1-2-3 eighth before Hector Lujan picked up his league-leading 15th save thanks to a huge game-ending 5-4-3 double play completed by the combination of Jordan Gore, Blankenhorn and Lewin Diaz. The homer was Blankenhorn’s ninth of the season. Christian Cavaness was 2-for-3 with a triple and Shane Carrier had the only other hit for the Kernels, extending his hitting streak to 25 games. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Bristol 2 Box Score Down to their last out, the Bristol Pirates got a dramatic game-tying homer to send this on into extras, but the Twins prevailed thanks to a huge 12th inning. Gorge Munoz drove in Matt Albanese to score the go-ahead run, but E-Town would pile on three more runs. Ryley Widell, a seventh-round pick from this year’s draft, gave up just an unearned run over 5.0 innings. He struck out seven, and is now averaging 11.2 K/9 to go with a 2.08 ERA. Moises Gomez gave up that huge game-tying homer, but that was it over his 5.0 innings. Jose Martinez pitched the final 2.0 innings to pick up his fifth win. All the scoring prior to extra innings came from a Jose Miranda two-run homer in the sixth inning, his team-leading ninth home run of the year. Akil Baddoo had two hits, including the team’s only other extra-base knock, a double. T.J. Dixon was 2-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored. GCL TWINS TAKES Twins 8, Red Sox 2 Box Score A trio of big names appeared on the mound for the GCL Twins: Lachlan Wells, Tyler Jay and Blayne Enlow. But it was Jean Carlos Arias who stole the show, going 4-for-5 with his fourth home run and ninth stolen base of the season. Emmanuel Morel also had a big game, going 3-for-5 while stealing is 10th and 11th bases of the year. Wells, pitching for the first time since June, struck out six batters over 4.0 innings of work. He gave up one run on a pair of hits and did not walk a batter. Jay, making just the second appearance of his rehab assignment, had four K's over 1.2 innings. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk, but it was unearned (due to his own error). Enlow finished up the game with 3.1 perfect innings to pick up his second win. He struck out four batters. So over the first 17.1 innings of his career, Enlow has a 1.04 ERA, 9.3 K/9 and a 0.58 WHIP. All together, that trio of hurlers gave up just one earned run on four hit and one walk while striking out 14 batters. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Charlie Barnes, Cedar Rapids (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Niko Goodrum, Rochester (3-for-5, HR, 6 RBI, 2 R, SB) SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Louisville, 12:00 pm CT, Stephen Gonsalves (2.08 ERA, 0.77 WHIP) Chattanooga at Tennessee, 4:30 pm CT, Lewis Thorpe (making Chattanooga debut) Fort Myers at Tampa, 12:00 pm CT, Brady Anderson (4.19 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit, 2:05 pm CT, Tyler Beardsley (5.48 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) Elizabethton vs. Johnson City, 5:00 pm CT, Christian Broussard (8.10 ERA, 1.80 WHIP) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday's games.
  8. Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Wednesday. Let’s start with the transactions of the day: RHP Chris Heston was removed from the Red Wings disabled list. He had made one appearance in the GCL this week. RHP Michael Kohn has been moved from the GCL to Ft. Myers as he tries to return from shoulder surgery. With the Twins postponement on Wednesday, the Twins will play twice on Thursday. The team announced that RHP Aaron Slegers will be the team's 26th man and start the night game. In his last 10 starts, he is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA. (Glen Perkins was activated and Dietrich Enns placed on the DL.) We have also learned that Kohl Stewart will be promoted to Rochester to start on Friday. Yohan Pino was promoted to Rochester on Thursday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Columbus 3 (11 innings) Box Score They had to play a couple of extra innings, but the Red Wings were able to pick up another win on Wednesday night. David Hurlbut started and gave up one run on seven hits over 6.1 innings. He struck out four with no walks. Luke Bard came on and got out of the seventh. The eighth inning was not a good inning for inherited runners. Bard started the inning and gave up a double. He got a ground out for the first out. Mason Melotakis came on to face Tyler Naquin who doubled in a run. Jake Reed came on and got a strikeout before giving up an RBI single. Reed ended up going two innings and struck out two. Alex Wimmers got the final five outs, four of them on strikeouts. Niko Goodrum led the offense. He went 3-5 with his 24th double. Mitch Garver got things going in the first inning with an RBI single. Daniel Palka had RBI singles in the third and eighth innings. In the 11th inning, Mitch Garver hit his 29th double. It was followed shortly by an RBI single from Kennys Vargas which proved to be the game-winner. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 6, Tennessee 3 Box Score The Lookouts put together a lot of hits. They scored six runs and even left nine others on base. Jonathan Rodriguez led the way with another big game. The first baseman went 2-4 with a walk, his 27th double and his 17th home run. Andy Wilkins was 3-5 with his 14th double. Ryan Walker was 2-4 with his 13th double. LaMonte Wade went 2-4 with a walk. Max Murphy was 1-1 but he walked three times in the game as well. Zack Littell improved to 3-0 since joining the Twins and Lookouts. In this game, he gave up just one run on five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four. Ryan Eades gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Nick Anderson got two outs right away to drop his Lookouts ERA to 0.98. Gabriel Moya came on for the ninth and recorded his 20th save of the season. He gave up a hit and struck out two, dropping his season ERA to 0.88. MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1 - Ft. Myers 5, Lakeland 4 Box Score In the first of two, the Miracle came out and scored three in the first inning, followed by single runs the next two innings, and then they held on. Brent Rooker went 2-2 with a walk and his fourth double. Chris Paul was 2-3 with his 17th double. Brandon Lopez was 1-2 with a walk and his sixth double. Tanner English walked twice and stole his 26th bag. Zander Wiel went 1-2 with a sacrifice fly. Playing left field, he also threw out a runner at the plate. Anthony McIver started. The southpaw went the first three innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out three. Michael Kohn, in his first Miracle appearance, gave up a hit but struck out three in his inning. Tom Hackimer struck one out in his inning. Michael Theofanopoulos gave up two runs on two hits but held on for the save. Game 2 - Ft. Myers 3, Lakeland 2 (8 innings) Box Score Randy LeBlanc started the second game for the Miracle. He gave up one run on five hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out seven. Williams Ramirez walked two, but struck out three, over his inning of work. Alex Muren gave up a run in the seventh to send it to an extra inning, but he also got the win by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. In the bottom of the 8th, Sean Miller led off with a triple (his second of the year). After intentional walks to Mitchell Kranson and Brent Rooker, Zander Wiel walked it off with a single. Miller went 2-3 with a walk and added his 16th double to the triple. Jaylin Davis was 2-3 with his eighth double. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Burlington 7 Box Score Tyler Watson made his third start since joining the Kernels. It wasn’t great, but it was his best so far. The left-hander gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out three. Max Cordy pitched the seventh inning and gave up three runs on two hits and two walks. Eddie del Rosario, back from Ft. Myers, worked a perfect inning in relief. After throwing 83.1 innings last year with the Kernels, Del Rosario has thrown 121.1 innings between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. Trey Cabbage led the offense by going 2-4. Jordan Gore added his second triple. Caleb Hamilton hit his 14th double. Royce Lewis went 0-4. There are were two really good Royce Lewis interviews posted on Wednesday. First, Lewis joined the MLB Pipeline podcast with Tim McMaster, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis. He also joined Todd Brommelkamp on KGYM in Cedar Rapids for an extended interview. https://twitter.com/KGYMRADIO/status/897973008727515138 E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton Box Score The Elizabethton Twins had the second of their three days off during their short season. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Rays 2, GCL Twins 4 Box Score To the surprise of most, Tyler Jay made his return to the mound in a rehab start for the GCL Twins. It was his first appearance since May 30th. It went well. The lefty struck out two in a perfect inning. Pedro Garcia came on and gave up one run on two hits over the next five innings. He walked one and struck out five. Jordan Balazovic then gave up one run on two hits over the next 2.2 innings. He walked two and struck out two and walked two. Derek Molina came in for the final out, a strikeout, to record his third save. Benjamin Rodriguez led the offense. He went 3-4 with his 10th double and two RBI. Roni Tapia’s sixth double also drove in a run. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Zack Littell, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jonathan Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Columbus (11:05 CST) - RHP Drew Rucinski (since Aaron Slegers is starting for the Twins) Chattanooga @ Tennessee (6:00 CST) - Dereck Rodriguez (in place of Kohl Stewart) Lakeland @ Ft. Myers (6:30 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen Cedar Rapids @ Burlington (6:30 CST) - RHP Patrick McGuff Elizabethton @ Bristol (4:30 CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00 CST) - RHP Austin Bizzle Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  9. Here are three Rochester Red Wings to pay particular attention to in the coming weeks. MITCH GARVER Those that follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been including the hashtag #CallHimUp on any of the tweets that mention Garver. He’s 26, and he’s put up tremendous numbers. In fact, someone close to the Red Wings said he’s “having one of the best seasons as a catcher in recent Red Wings history.” Through 81 games this season, he is hitting .276/.378/.521 (.898). He’s hit 23 doubles and 16 home runs. Since being drafted in the ninth round of the 2013 draft, after his senior season at the University of New Mexico, he has continued to improve each season. That’s great since he was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2014 while playing in Cedar Rapids. This year, he’s been impressive, showing a strong knowledge of the strike zone and attacking driveable pitches into the gaps and over the fence, to either field. As important in a catcher’s development, he’s improved tremendously behind the plate as well. He’s blessed with a very strong arm, and has always thrown out base stealers at a strong percent. While his pitch framing numbers aren’t as strong this year as last, pitchers rave about his ability to call a good game. My first thought was maybe Wilson Ramos put up some strong numbers for the Red Wings. However, in 71 games for the team in 2010, he hit .241/.280/.345 (.625) with 14 doubles and five home runs (as a 22 year old) in 71 games. In 2014, Josmil Pinto hit .279/.376/.457 (.833) with 17 doubles and six homers in 60 games for the Red Wings. In 2008, Jose Morales hit .315/.348/.426 (.774) with eight doubles and four homers in 54 games. In 2007, Morales hit .311/.366/.399 (.765) with 25 doubles and two homers in 108 games. In 2005, Rob Bowen hit .268/.368/.402 (.770) with 13 doubles and six homers. And that takes us back through the Twins affiliation with Rochester. I think it’s safe to say that the season Mitch Garver is putting together is the best in the last 15 years, to be sure. Meanwhile, Jason Castro is hitting .227/.322/.371 (.693) with 20 doubles and six homers in 80 games for the Twins. Backup Chris Gimenez is hitting .202/.317/.355 (.672) with four doubles and five homers in 47 games. Garver has versatility too. He’s caught in 61 games. He played first base in five games, and he’s played 14 games in left field. While his range may be that of a catcher in left field, he would be a right-handed bench or DH option for the Twins. There is no question that Mitch Garver will be called up for September. There should be little question that he should be given every opportunity next spring to break with the big league club. For good. MICHAEL TONKIN After starting the season 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP through nine games and 11 innings for the Twins, the front office decided it was time to DFA the hard-throwing right-hander. Tonkin was drafted by the Twins in the 30th round of the 2008 draft out of high school in California. He was given some opportunity to start, but in 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He quickly became one of the Twins top relief pitching minor leaguers. Blessed with a 95 mph fastball and a good slider, he showed good control while striking out ten or more batters per nine innings pitched. He got his first taste of the big leagues in 2013, and he went up and down for a few seasons. His first full season in the big leagues was 2016, his first season without options remaining. This spring, he again made the Opening Day roster, primarily due to the options situation. But as we mentioned, by early May, the decision was made to let him go. Fortunately for the club, Tonkin passed through waivers and has been pitching late innings for the Red Wings this season. And he’s been pitching well. In 23 games and 33 innings since joining the Red Wings, he is 3-2 with four saves. He has posted a 1.91 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He’s walking 3.0 batters per nine while striking out an impressive 13.1 per nine (48 strikeouts in 33 innings). More impressive, in his last 15 games (21 innings), he has a 0.86 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He’s walked three batters and struck out 34! Tonkin is already 27, but maybe the extended trip back to AAA allowed him to figure something out. Maybe. Maybe not. But it does feel like he would warrant one last shot with the big league club to see what has stuck. If it looks legit, keep him on the roster. If not, you DFA him and let him become a free agent. TIM MELVILLE Every time the Twins sign someone out of independent leagues or promote a 27+ year old player to Rochester, I can always anticipate a certain faction of the Twins Daily readership cringing. I’m guessing that when the Twins signed RHP Tim Melville from the independent league Long Island Ducks earlier this season, several of you reading this hated it. But Melville has made himself interesting, or at least he should be interesting to Twins fans. The still-just-27-year-old righty is 3-3 with a 2.55 ERA for the Red Wings in 10 games (nine starts) since joining their roster nearly two months ago. He’s got a 1.07 WHIP. In 60 innings, he’s given up 44 hits, walked 20 and struck out 58. If he was 1-2 years younger, we’d be crying out for him to get an opportunity. Instead, Melville has had to live with the “bust” label, fair or not. He was a highly-touted prep player from Missouri. The Royals used a fourth-round draft pick, and a lot of cash ($1.25 million). He was a top prospect until he had Tommy John surgery in 2012. In 2014, he went 2-11 with a 5.50 ERA for the Royals AA affiliate and was let go by the organization. The Tigers swooped in and signed him for 2015. He went 7-10 with a 4.63 ERA in AAA. In 2016, he signed with the Reds. He was called up and made his MLB debut on April 10th. He went 0-1 with an 11.00 ERA in three games (two starts) for the Reds. He was DFAd on April 22nd and went to AAA where he got hurt. He found himself without an offer this spring, so he went the independent route. With the Ducks, he was 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in nine starts when the Twins signed him. While his background doesn’t necessarily convince you that he’d have success if the Twins promoted him, his ‘stuff’ might. In his starts, he has been between 93 and 96 mph and been able to maintain that throughout the game. He’s got a pretty good curveball that can get swings-and-misses, and often gets weak contact. And his changeup is about average. Now, I’m not saying he would come up and insert himself as a mid-rotation starter. Not at all. But maybe he can be the starting pitcher depth that Thad Levine talked about. Maybe he can be a guy at AAA who can make a few starts in the big leagues from time to time. Maybe not. But if the Twins bring him up in September and give him a shot, I certainly won’t feel bad about it. Maybe he can be a stop-gap until the new front office believes that the likes of Gonsalves, Romero, Jorge, Littell, Slegers are more ready for that role. RED WINGS NOTEBOOK OK, so I can’t stop at just three. Here are a few more Red Wings notes of note. Niko Goodrum is setting himself up to be a valuable utility player. So far this year, he has played first base (three games), second base (24 games), third base (16 games), shortstop (nine games), left field (one game), center field (13 games) and right field (40 games). In 106 games, he’s hitting .259/.308/.413 (.721) with 23 doubles, four triples and nine home runs. Matt Hague has quietly been very good for the Red Wings. In 110 games, he’s hit .294/.371/.405 (.777) with 21 doubles and eight homers. Very professional. Since his return from fractured fingers, Daniel Palka has hit .277/.329/.446 (.775) with a double, two triples and two homers in 16 games. Reports indicate that he’s been much better the last week or so and appears to be returning to form. Byungho Park started the season very slow, but he’s come on very strong. The 30-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.428 (.749) with 22 doubles and nine homers. In his last 57 games, he’s hitting .303/.351/.476 (.827) with 14 doubles and six homers. In 18 games since he returned to the Red Wings, Kennys Vargas is hitting .234/.338/.516 (.853). However, in his last two games, he has gone 5-8 with two doubles and a homer, which account for most of that stat line. Mason Melotakis has made 11 appearances (13.1 innings) since coming off the Twins 40-man roster for the Red Wings. He has a 2.03 ERA despite a 1.35 WHIP. Reports are that he’s been quite good despite the fact that his velocity has been way down from where has had been. Jake Reed is 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 14 games (18.2 innings) since joining the Red Wings. He has 16 strikeouts and six walks. He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, so a September call up should happen. John Curtiss has been with the Red Wings for about a month now. In 14 games (17.2 innings), he’s got a 2.04 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He’s got eight walks and 24 strikeouts, so he’s been a bit more wild, but he’s certainly a candidate for a September call up. Aaron Slegers’ eight-game winning streak came to an end with his most recent start, but he’s been terrific and appears to be a very strong candidate for International League Pitcher of the Year. . He is 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 20 starts (123 innings). He’s got 91 strikeouts to go with just 27 walks. While he doesn’t profile as a top prospect because his “stuff” doesn’t grade out real high, Slegers knows how to pitch. He’ll give up some hits, but he won’t hurt himself with walks, and his home run rate has stayed down as well. He’s earned a shot at a September call up. However, the business side of the 40-man roster decisions and the Rule 5 implications may make him a tough choice. So there you have it. A whole bunch on the Twins AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  10. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 7, Indianapolis 1 Box Score Home runs were the name of the game for the Red Wings on Wednesday. Mitch Garver hit his 15th AAA home run this year in the first inning. Niko Goodrum extended the lead to 3-0 with a solo home run in the second inning. Kennys Vargas hit two home runs, a solo and three-run shot, in the later innings to extend the lead even further. Vargas led the team with four RBI. Matt Hague had two doubles and scored both times. J.B. Shuck had three hits including a double. Dillon Gee pitched well, striking out seven over six innings, allowing only one run on six hits. Jake Reed hit a batter, but then got five straight groundball outs in his two innings of work. John Curtiss closed the game, striking out two in a perfect ninth inning At 59-44, the Red Wings are four games behind Lehigh Valley in the wild card race. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 3 Box Score The story of the night was Michael Kopech, stud prospect for the White Sox, who will be a thorn in the Twins' side for a long time. He struck out twelve and spit flames. Jonathan Rodriguez provided most of the offensive punch for the Lookouts with two hits (one double), a walk and the team's only RBI. Levi Michael had two singles. Carlos Paulino had one. Nick Gordon drew two walks and scored the team's only run. Kohl Stewart allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks. He struck out two. Raul Fernandez pitched two scoreless innings. Ryan Eades gave up a run in his two innings of work. At 24-8, the Lookouts have a nice cushion as division leaders. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 2, Lakeland 5 Box Score The Miracle took a one-run lead in the top half of the fourth inning, but allowed five runs in the bottom half to create a deficit from which they couldn’t recover. Sean Poppen made his fifth start since his promotion and had the roughest outing of his young career. In five frames, he gave up five runs on 11 hits and a walk. He struck out four. Keaton Steele struck out one in three scoreless innings. Offensively, the bats were quiet. Tanner English and Zander Wiel each doubled. Wiel drove in Mitch Kranson, who had walked, in the fourth. Jermaine Palacios drove English in with a groundout in the ninth. Brian Navarreto provided the only other base hit. The 19-13 Miracle have gone through a cold stretch and now find themselves 1.5 games out of first place. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids at Peoria - POSTPONED (RAIN) A doubleheader will start at 5:30 on Thursday. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 0, Pulaski 1 Box Score Not a lot to say about this two-hour, action-starved game. Nick Brown gave up a solo home run in the fourth inning, allowing the game’s only run. He yielded only three hits and a walk over six innings, striking out four, but took the loss. Charlie Barnes pitched two innings in relief, striking out one. Offensively, the E-Twins only had four hits: A double by Shane Carrier, his seventh, and singles by Mark Contreras, Rainis Silva and T.J. Dixon. Though they drew four walks, the team hit a collective 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, sealing their fate. The E-Twins have a 1.5 game lead at 20-14. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 1, GCL Orioles 12 Box Score Another game that was lacking in offense for the good team. Four hits produced one (unearned) run. Three of those hits came off the bat of leadoff hitter Emmanuel Morel, two of which were doubles. He scored the only run. But the rest of the lineup went 1-24 (a single by Jared Akins) and that was all she wrote. Glen Perkins did throw another inning. He allowed a hit, a walk and struck out one. Blayne Enlow piggybacked him and threw 3.2 innings, allowing a run on one hit. He struck out three. The trio of Matt Jones, Jose Bermudez and Juan Mojica was bad. Eleven runs on 10 hits and seven walks over four and a third innings. I’m going to leave the specifics out - someone’s family might be reading - but if you’re into blood and gore, you can click the box score above. The GCL Twins drop to 16-11. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Nick Brown, Elizabethton Hitter of the Day – Kennys Vargas, Rochester THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Indianapolis (6:05 CST) - RHP Kyle Gibson (0-2, 2.92 ERA) Chattanooga vs Birmingham (6:15 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (4-1, 2.95 ERA) Fort Myers at Lakeland (5:30 CST) - RHP Eduardo Del Rosario (0-0, -.-- ERA) Cedar Rapids at Peoria (5:30 CST) - RHP Tyler Beardsley (3-4, 5.98 ERA) Cedar Rapids at Peoria (Game 2) - LHP Evan Sanders (1-2, 8.40 ERA) Elizabethton at Pulaski (6:00 CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-0, 1.83 ERA) GCL Twins at GCL Orioles (11:00 AM CST) - TBA Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday’s games.
  11. Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Wednesday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS Check out the transactions through the minor league system from late Friday night and Saturday: Hector Santiago and Phil Hughes were officially added to the Rochester Red Wings roster as rehab guys. Their roster is now at 25 plus the two rehabbers. Most of the 2017 Elizabethton roster was added on Wednesday. As noted in the Elizabethton Twins Roster Preview, there will be more moves in coming days. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Buffalo 1 Box Score Hector Santiago made his rehab start for the Red Wings. The left-hander was given a 60-pitch limit, or four innings, whichever was less. True to Santiago form, he needed 57 pitches to get through three innings. He didn’t give up a hit or a run. He walked two and struck out two. Veteran Kam Mickolio came in to replace him. He got an out, but after making his second pitch to his second batter, he had to leave the game with an apparent injury. Mason Melotakis came into the game, and two pitches later, he finished a walk (credited to Mickolio). But he was able to get the final two outs quickly. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Mitch Garver led off with his sixth homer of the season. Two batters later, Niko Goodrum added his seventh home run to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead. Phil Hughes got the top of the fifth inning. The goal was for him to work one inning, and then this weekend, he’ll work in back-to-back games. He was successful. He walked one, but he got through the inning without allowing a run. Ten of his 19 pitches were strikes. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Zack Granite added his second homer, a third solo homer for the Wings. DJ Baxendale got the next seven outs, giving up a run on two hits. Trevor Hildenberger recorded his sixth save with two strikeouts over the final five outs. He reduced his ERA to 2.05. Garver, Goodrum and Tommy Field each had two hits in the game. Granite was 1-3 with a walk. His .349 batting average leads the International League. The runner-up is at .319. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga Box Score The Lookouts are enjoying the third (and final) day of their All-Star break. Of course, there wasn’t an All-Star Game played due to bad weather. The team will begin their second half of their season on Thursday evening at home. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Jupiter 0 Box Score At the end of last season, Cody Stashak made three starts for Ft. Myers. In 16.2 innings, he gave up just one run (0.54 ERA). That’s where he began this season. However, after his first eight starts this season, he was 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA. He was placed on the disabled list. In his first outing after his return, he threw five shutout innings. On Wednesday night, he threw six shutout innings. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out seven. He got healthy and has returned to form. Andrew Vasquez faced six batters over two innings and struck out five of them. Sam Clay worked the ninth inning. He gave up a two-out double before finishing the game and maintaining the shutout. In the fourth inning, the Miracle got two walks and an infield single to load the bases. Tanner English walked in a run, and then Rafael Valera followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Miracle a 2-0 lead. That’s where the score remained until the 8th inning when another fielding error allowed another run to score. The Miracle had seven hits and walked four more times. Alex Perez went 2-4, the only player with more than one hit. The Miracle also stole five bases in the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids Box Score The Kernels also return from the Midwest League All-Star Game on Thursday night. Eduardo Del Rosario will take on Quad Cities. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cody Stashak, Ft. Myers Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mitch Garver/Niko Goodrum, Rochester THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (6:05 CST) - RHP Yohan Pino Pensacola @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves Ft. Myers @ Florida (6:35) - LHP Lachlan Wells Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:35 CST) - RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Danville @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday’s games.
  12. Transactions: Jake Reed assigned to Chattanooga from Rochester, Ryan Pressly optioned to Rochester from Minnesota, Jason Wheeler designated for assignment from Minnesota, Alex Wimmers promoted to Minnesota from Rochester, Randy LeBlanc promoted to Chattanooga from Fort Myers, Nick Anderson promoted to Chattanooga from Fort Myers, Randy Rosario promoted to Minnesota from Chattanooga, Andrew Vasquez promoted to Fort Myers from Cedar Rapids.Logan Lombana returns to Cedar Rapids from extended spring training. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3 @ Durham 6 Box Score Rochester's bullpen has a 1.08 ERA over the last seven games, including 19.2 consecutive scoreless innings headed into Thursday night’s game and Niko Goodrum has a nine-game hitting streak. The scoreless innings streak came to an end as Alan Busenitz gave up a run in the seventh inning, but Goodrum extended his streak on a 3-4 night that included a double and a pair of RBI. Leonardo Reginatto also had a pair of hits, including a double and a walk, but the rest of the Red Wings squad had just two hits. ByungHo Park was 0-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. The Red Wings were down 6-0 before they pushed three runs across in the eighth to make the final score look respectable. Red Wings starter Nik Turley gave up five runs over 6.1 innings, including three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Turley struck out seven to go along with just one walk. Busenitz was charged with an earned run over 1.2 innings of work, he struck out three and walked none. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1 @ Birmingham 3 Box Score Nick Gordon entered the game leading the Southern League in extra-base hits (23) and got to enjoy the night off in Birmingham. The Lookouts bats sputtered without him, just 1-11 with runners in scoring position, and scoring just a single run despite FIVE doubles. Ryan Strausborger was 2-3 with a double and a run scored, the only Lookout with more than one hit. Lookouts starter Matt Tracy pitched very well, 7.0 innings, just five hits, two runs (both earned) and he struck out four against just one walk. Unfortunately for Tracy, he gave up a pair of solo home runs, and without any run support was tagged with his fourth loss of the season. Mason Melotakis gave up a run on two hits in one inning of relief. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 1 @ Bradenton 5 Box Score Before the game it was announced that Chris Paul, Dereck Rodriguez, Sam Clay, and Brian Navarreto were all selected to the Florida State League All-Star Game. The Miracle could have used some all-star bats on Thursday night as they stranded 13 runners! The Miracle bunched their hits at the top of the order with leadoff man Max Murphy picking up three singles on a 3-5 night (he also scored the lone run), and the next batter up, Nelson Molina, was 3-5 as well. Zander Wiel the third hitter in the lineup, had a pair of hits and a walk on a 2-4 night. The three combined for 8 of the Miracle’s 10 hits. Brady Anderson was tagged with his first loss of the season after giving up four runs (all earned) in 5.0 innings. He gave up nine hits, including a home run, walked two, and struck out three. He was replaced by Tom Hackimer for 2.0 innings. Hackimer gave up three hits, a run and two walks. Michael Theofanopoulos closed out the pitching for the Miracle with three strikeouts in the eighth inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 1 @ Cedar Rapids 11 Box Score The Kernels made up for the lackluster hitter performances in the rest of the system on Thursday night, exploding for 11 runs. Travis Blankenhorn led the way (and hit leadoff, how perfect) with a 2-4 night that included a triple and a home run. Jermaine Palacios had three hits, Jaylin Davis, Mitchell Kranson and Aaron Whitefield each had a pair of hits for the Kernels, and Lewin Diaz and Caleb Hamilton each had a hit of his own. In addition to Blankenhorn’s solo home run in the fifth inning, Aaron Whitefield hit one too. Sean Poppen picked up his fourth win of the year to move to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.12 with 6.1 innings of five-hit baseball. He gave up one run, unearned, struck out five, and did not walk anyone. Logan Lombana went 2.2 perfect innings to finish off the River Bandits, striking out five of the seven batters he faced (he induced a double-play to the first batter he faced in the seventh). TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Matt Tracy, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Niko Goodrum, Rochester Red Wings FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Norfolks (6:05pm) – David Hurlbut (2-3, 3.41) Chattanooga @ Birmingham (7:05pm) – Felix Jorge (5-1, 3.48) Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (5:30pm) - Dereck Rodriguez (3-2, 2.95) Cedar Rapids @ Burlington (6:30pm) – Domenick Carlini (2-3, 5.65) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games.
  13. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Louisville 1 Box Score Jose Berrios was outstanding over eight shutout innings. He allow one runner to reach scoring position and that happened in the second inning. Overall, he allowed two hits, both singles, while striking out seven and walking two. His season ERA dropped to 1.09 following his outstanding pitching performance. Berrios found himself in a pitchers duel with Rochester failing to get on the board until the seventh frame. Matt Hauge started the frame with his third home run of the season. Following a Daniel Palka walk, Niko Goodrum cracked a two-run shot. With two outs in the frame, John Ryan Murphy would collected his first home run to push the lead to 4-0. In the bottom of the eighth, the Wings loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a hit by pitch. Eventually, Niko Goodrum drew a bases-loaded walk to add an insurance run. Drew Rucinski came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. The first batter collected a double and eventually came around to score. He coaxed a double play to end the game. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 9, Jackson 3 Box Score Top pitching prospect Fernando Romero made his fifth Double-A appearance on Sunday. For the third consecutive start, he pitched into the sixth inning and allowed one earned run or less. In this outing, he scattered seven hits over six innings while striking out six. Following this strong start, his ERA dropped to under 3.00 for the first time this season. Chattanooga scored a first inning run after Nick Gordon tripled to start the game. The scoring picked up again in the fourth. Jonathan Rodriguez singled before scoring on a LaMonte Wade double. Wade was driven in by a Dan Gamache triple. Ryan Walker drove in Gamache with a sacrifice fly and the Lookouts were up 4-0. Gamache came up with another big hit in the fifth inning. His two-out double plated two runs. In the sixth, the first three batters collected hits as the Lookouts extended their lead to 8-1. Gamache wasn't done as he doubled to start the seventh and set up another scoring opportunity. Of the last three games, he's had multiple hits in two of them. Ryan Eades ran into a little trouble out of the bullpen. He allowed three runs in the bottom of the seventh as Jackson tried to claw closer. John Curtiss struck out the side to close out the ninth. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Dunedin 6 Box Score Before starting on the comeback trail against Dunedin things were looking bleak for Fort Myers as they were looking at a five run deficit, 6-1, after the top half of the second inning. Max Murphy punched his first two home runs of the season to help the comeback. He started the scoring in the first with a solo shot and added another solo shot in the third. The big inning for Fort Myers came in the bottom of the eighth when the team plated three runs to take the lead. Zack Granite came up with the biggest hit, a run-scoring double. The Miracle also scored a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly and a throwing error by the center fielder. Chris Anderson was making his organizational debut on the mound and it didn't go well. He allowed six earned runs on five hits. Anthony McIver and Sam Clay both pitched three shutout innings. McIver struck out three and walked two while Clay had two strikeouts and two walks. Jonny Drozd earned his second save with a perfect ninth frame. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Peoria 0 (6 Innings) Box Score Weather got in the way again for the Kernels. They were scheduled to play a double-header on Sunday but rain forced an early completion to their first game. The second game was postponed. Clark Beeker was the story of this game. He tossed five shutout innings, allowing one hit. He struck out three and walked none. Beeker, a 2016 33rd round pick is now 3-1 on the season with a tidy 1.69 ERA. This is his first start all season where he's failed to pitch seven innings and only the rain put an end to that streak. Offensively, Cedar Rapids could string together only three hits. In the fourth frame, Lewin Diaz started the inning by being hit by a pitch. Jaylin Davis, the next batter, singled to move Diaz into scoring position. Caleb Hamilton came up with the big hit, a one-out RBI double. This would be the lone run of the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Jose Berrios, Rochester Red Wings Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Fort Myers Miracle MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester- Scheduled Off Day Chattanooga @ Jackson (11:05 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Fort Myers vs. Dayton (5:35 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (0-2, 3.24 ERA) Cedar Rapids- Scheduled Off Day Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  14. Keep reading to find out just how well all the starters threw on Tuesday night, and why it’s the relative unknown who still gets the most glory! RED WINGS REPORT Gwinnett 4, Rochester 5 Box Score Jose Berrios was pretty good in his fourth start of the year, going six innings and allowing just one earned run on four hits and three walks while striking out ten. I apologize for the modest adjective while you read his state line again: 6IP, 2 R’s (1 ER), 4 H’s, 3 BBs, 10 K’s; but you’ll understand why it was just “pretty good” as you go further along in this report. He struck out multiple Braves hitters in the first, third, and sixth innings and at least one in each inning. His day was finished after 102 pitches and he left the game with the Red Wings down 2-0. A passed ball in the third resulted in one of those runs, while a solo home run in the fourth accounted for the other. D.J. Baxendale pitched a one-two-three seventh inning, striking out one before Rochester’s lineup came alive against Gwinnett’s bullpen in the bottom half of the frame. A Niko Goodrum double scored their first run, then an Ehire Adrianza single and Matt Hague sacrifice gave them the lead 3-2. It was Adrianza’s first game with the Red Wings after being assigned to the roster earlier in the day. Trevor Hildenberger came on for the eighth and gave the lead right back on a single, double, and single to consecutive batters before working his way out of the jam. He did strike out two. Now down 4-3 with two outs in the eighth, Tommy Field got a two-out rally started for Rochester with a double, and Goodrum finished it with his second home run of the season to put the Red Wings back out front. https://twitter.com/MorrieSilver8/status/857229498479239170 J.T. Chargois came on for the ninth and picked up his first save of the 2017 season with a one-two-three inning. Adrianza, Daniel Palka, Goodrum and J.B. Shuck had two hits on the night. Field and Goodrum each scored two runs in the victory. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Game 1: Tennessee 2, Chattanooga 0 (7 innings) Box Score In the regularly scheduled game of the double-header, Twins Daily’s #1 Prospect Fernando Romero was on the mound for the Lookouts and got himself into a pitcher’s duel. Unfortunately, his offense didn’t come to bat for him in this one. Nick Gordon led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and was followed by an Engelb Vielma walk to put him in scoring position, but that was one of the few opportunities Chattanooga would get all game. Smokies starter Zach Wedger retired the next ten before Travis Harrison drew a walk in the fourth and Tanner English got to second base after an error and stolen base in the sixth for the rest of the opportunities. Romero matched Wedger until the seventh inning. Through six innings he had allowed just three hits and walked two with four strikeouts. He started the final inning with two more K’s, but a Vielma error at shortstop got the losing wheels spinning. The next batter singled and Romero was removed after 81 pitches and was now responsible for the game without being the one throwing the pitches. I’m guessing he would have rather done the rest himself whichever way it went from there. John Curtiss came on, walked the bases loaded, and gave up a single to score both of Tennessee’s runs on the scoreboard before getting a K to end the inning. The Lookouts proceeded to go down one-two-three as Wedger slammed the door on them like he had all game. In his last two starts, Romero has tossed 12.1 innings and allowed just one earned run on ten hits and three walks, while striking out ten. He’s improved his ERA from 9.00 to 3.44. Game 2: Tennessee 1, Chattanooga 0 (makeup of 4/23 PPD, 7 innings) Box Score Nik Turley made his second start of the season for the Lookouts, and he couldn’t have done more. He was ridiculous. Fourteen K’s in a 7-inning complete game ridiculous. Tennessee got their one run in the top of the first as a walk, stolen base, sac bunt and RBI groundout version of offense was all they would end up needing. From there the 2017 signing out of the independent leagues was literally untouchable. He struck out the side one-two-three in the sixth and seventh innings, and eight in a row going back to the fifth to end the game. He allowed just two hits and two walks to go along with the plethora of strikeouts. Seventy-one of his ninety-seven pitches went for strikes as he was as efficient as you could possibly be sending that many opposing hitters on trots of shame back to the dugout. Unfortunately, it was much of the same in Game 2 for the Chattanooga offense, though they did manage to outhit Tennessee 4-2. Nick Gordon was 2-4, and Edgar Corcino and Dan Gamache added singles to account for the four hits. They did draw six walks as a team, but weren’t able to take advantage. For the day, the Lookouts were just 0-9 with runners in scoring position, and left only ten men on base. I hope the lineup took Romero and Turley out for dinner when their day was finally done. MIRACLE MATTERS Bradenton 3, Fort Myers 7 Box score Fort Myers struck first in this one, as Zander Wiel launched his second home run of the season to lead off the second inning, and starter Dereck Rodriguez took it from there. Through four innings he kept the Marauders off the board with some help from a couple of double-plays. In the fifth a leadoff home run tied the game at one before a triple and an error brought in another for a 2-1 Bradenton lead. Fort Myers got those runs back in the sixth thanks to a Casey Scoggins RBI double and a Max Murphy RBI hit-by-pitch. Rodriguez gave up another home run to the leadoff man in the seventh and got two outs before he reached his pitch limit, exiting the game responsible for a runner on third and having recorded only three strikeouts. Nick Anderson came on and got the next batter to fly out, leaving the game tied 3-3. The Miracle put the game away with four runs in the seventh thanks to singles from Nelson Molina, Alex Perez, and Casey Scoggins along with two errors on the Marauder defense. Anderson finished the game to pick up the victory, allowing two hits in 2.1 innings, striking out two along the way. Fort Myers improves to 9-10 on the season and look to get to .500 against Bradenton Wednesday night. KERNELS NUGGETS Burlington 1, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score If you’ve sensed a theme yet in this report, you should have expected nothing less from starter Eduardo Del Rosario in Cedar Rapids in this one. He blanked the Bees for seven innings, allowing just five hits and one walk while also reaching double-digits in K’s like his upper-level cohorts with ten. The Kernels finally got on the board to support him against Burlington’s bullpen in the sixth inning when scorching hot shortstop and reigning Midwest League Player of the Week Jermaine Palacios led it off with a triple. He later scored on a wild pitch and Jaylin Davis added an RBI single to put the home team up 2-0. Alex Robinson walked one and struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning to pick up his first hold of the season, and Tom Hackimer notched his second save with a hitless ninth. An unearned run did score to make it interesting in the final frame as an error from Travis Blankenhorn and wild pitch put a runner on third with one out before a ground ball got the Bees on the scoreboard. Palacios was 2-4 on the night to put his average above .400 so far on the season, and Mitchell Kranson added his seventh double of the year for the Kernels offense. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Nik Turley, Chattanooga Lookouts (L, CG 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H’s, 2 BB’s, 14 K’s) Hitter of the Day – Niko Goodrum, Rochester Red Wings (2-4, 2 R’s, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Gwinnett @ Rochester (12:35PM CST) – LHP David Hurlbut Tennessee @ Chattanooga (10:15AM CST) – RHP Felix Jorge Bradenton @ Fort Myers (5:35PM CST) – RHP David Fischer (2-0, 0.60 ERA) Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Tyler Wells (1-0, 2.12 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  15. Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Wednesday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 5 Box Score David Hurlbut was the one starting pitcher who hadn’t made a start, until Wednesday. He worked 5.1 innings and was charged with four runs, though none of them were earned. The Red Wings defense committed four errors in the game. Hurlbut gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four. He was replaced by Raul Fernandez, who made his AAA debut. The right-hander allowed the inherited runners to score and later one of his own in 1.2 innings. He struck out two. Buddy Boshers worked a perfect inning, striking out one. Offensively, the Red Wings weren’t able to score until after they were down 5-0. In the eighth, they got RBI singles from Leonardo Reginatto and Matt Hague, but it wasn’t enough. Hague went 2-4. Ben Paulsen was also 2-4. Niko Goodrum went 2-4 and is now hitting .381 on the young season. Chad Allen argued a strike call early in the game. The umpire didn’t like that and ejected the Red Wings hitting coach. With the loss, the Red Wings are now 4-2 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Jacksonville 7 Box Score The Lookouts took their show on the road for the first time this season with a series at Jacksonville against the Jumbo Shrimp. Jacksonville has four players on their roster with Twins ties. LHP Matt Tomshaw will start for them on Thursday. Jeremias Pineda is an outfielder. Omar Bencomo split last season with the Lookouts and Red Wings. He signed with the Marlins after pitching for Venezuela in the WBC. He’ll start on Friday night. Finally, RHP Chris Mazza is also on their roster. The biggest bit of news is from tonight’s game is that Nick Gordon started at second base. After starting all five games in Chattanooga at shortstop, he moved to the other side of second with Engelb Vielma taking over at shortstop. We will see how it plays out over the next weeks and even the next few games. It makes more sense to let them settle in at a position for several games rather than moving back and forth too often. Now to the game. Frankly, it didn’t go well. Kohl Stewart was on the mound for his second start. The right-hander went just 2.1 innings. He was charged with seven runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out three. Just 37 of his 75 pitches were strikes. But the bullpen kept things where they were, combining for 5.2 scoreless innings. Todd Van Steensel came on and struck out six batters in 2.2 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and walked none. Randy Rosario, who came up from the Miracle earlier in the day, worked two perfect innings. Nick Burdi gave up a hit, but struck out two, in a scoreless eighth inning. The offense managed just five hits in the game. Engelb Vielma went 2-4. The Lookouts scored their lone run in the fourth inning. Dan Rohlfing hit a triple and scored on a Jonathan Rodriguez groundout. Dan Gamache was 1-2 with a walk. The loss evened the Lookouts record at 3-3. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 2, Tampa 3 Box Score The Miracle got a tremendous start, and they had a late lead, but in the end, they lost in walk-off fashion. Down 1-0 after three innings, the Miracle scored on in the fourth. Chris Paul and Rafael Valera led off the inning with walks. Brian Navarreto advance them with a bunt, and Trey Vavra drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. An inning later, Casey Scoggins drove in Nelson Molina with a single to give the Miracle a lead. Dereck Rodriguez was terrific. Through seven innings, he gave up just one run. He gave up a solo home run to lead off the top of the eighth inning which tied the game at two. He got through the inning. On the night, Rodriguez went eight innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He struck out six without issuing a walk. In the bottom of the ninth, Michael Theofanopoulos came on. He gave up a one-out double. With two outs, he gave up a single that scored the winning run. The Miracle fell to 1-6 on the young season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Kane County 1 Box Score The Kernels played a morning game, got a win and will start a homestand against Wisconsin on Thursday night. Eddie Del Rosario started out well. He struck out three in the first inning. Through three innings, he faced nine batters and had five strikeouts. However, he struggled in the fifth inning, loading the bases and allowing a run before being removed. His final line was one earned run on three hits, two walks and a hit batter in 4.2 innings. He struck out seven. Andrew Vasquez came on and got out of the fifth and worked three more innings without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out three. Colton Davis worked a perfect ninth frame, striking out two. The offense was pretty spread out. Jermaine Palacios led off and was 2-4 to raise his early-season average to .360. Mitchell Kranson went 2-4, and his first homer of the season came right after Kane County had tied the game at one. Jaylin Davis added his first homer of the year in the eighth inning. He also stole his second base. Ariel Montesino went 1-3 with a walk. The win pushes the Kernels back over .500 at 4-3. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mitchell Kranson, Cedar Rapids Kernels THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (12:05 CST) - RHP Jose Berrios Chattanooga @ Jacksonville - (6:05 CST) - LHP Matt Tracy Ft. Myers @ Daytona (6:05 CST) - RHP Cody Stashak Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – RHP Tyler Wells Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday's games.
  16. To find out how all of the Twins affiliates fared on Tuesday, keep reading! RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Buffalo 0 Box Score 6-10 right-hander and former Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Aaron Slegers took to the hill for the Red Wings Tuesday afternoon, and he pitched like he did for the Indiana Hoosiers back in 2013 when he won that award. In six innings, he walked three and struck out seven in a no-hit effort to keep the Bisons off the board. He struck out three of the last four hitters he faced and ended his day after eighty-one pitches to pick up his first win of 2017. When his day was finished the Red Wings were leading just 1-0, but their lineup got to Buffalo’s bullpen for a run in each of the last four innings. Kennys Vargas gave them the lead with his first home run of the year in the sixth and consecutive doubles from Niko Goodrum and J.B. Shuck in the seventh made it 2-0. A Goodrum double with the bases loaded in the eighth scored two more and the shutout win was punctuated with Tommy Field’s first home run of the year in the ninth. Travor Hildenberger was the first reliever summoned from the bullpen for the seventh inning, and he pitched two scoreless frames allowing two singles and striking out one. Alan Busenitz came on for the ninth and got a double-play ball after a walk to end the game. Goodrum led the offense as he went 3-4 with two doubles, a run scored, and two RBI. He also switched from shortstop to center field in the eighth inning, displaying his ability to be trusted at multiple up-the-middle positions. Ben Paulsen added two hits, including a double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga – Scheduled day off. The Lookout’s had Tuesday off as they travel to Florida for a five-game series with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp starting at 6:05PM (CST) Wednesday night. Kohl Stewart will make his second start of the season in the series opener. (If the nickname “Jumbo Shrimp” is a new one to you too, they switched to this name for the 2017 season. They were formerly the “Suns” and are the AA-affiliate of the Miami Marlins) MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 1, Tampa 2 Box score Left-hander Lachlan Wells made his first start of the year for Fort Myers after pitching two scoreless innings of relief on April 6th against the Jupiter Hammerheads. He went the first five innings and despite allowing seven hits and a walk, gave up just two runs (one earned) and struck out six. Fort Myers jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Casey Scoggins reached base on an error to start the game, and singles from Chris Paul and Alex Perez got him around the bases. The Miracle bats went pretty quiet after that, as it was Paul and Perez who accounted for all seven of their hits on the game. Wells surrendered his two runs in the third inning as a leadoff double was followed by a sacrifice bunt, two singles, and a throwing error from Paul at third base before he took it upon himself to strike out the next two batters and end the threat. Sam Clay pitched the sixth and seventh innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out three. Williams Ramirez pitched a scoreless eighth, giving up a double but striking out the next two hitters to keep the Miracle within one. Paul went 4-4 with two doubles while Perez was 3-4 with the Miracle’s lone RBI. It is kind of a strange lineup to look at in the box score, as three hitters (Daniel Kihle, Paul, and Perez) have a small-sample-size season average of .400 or above, but no one else above .154. This likely contributes to their 1-5 record on the season. The Miracle look to avoid the sweep against the Yankees on Wednesday, as Dereck Rodriguez takes the mound in the series finale. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Kane County 1 Box Score Cedar Rapids scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back as they cruised to the 6-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon. It was the first loss of the season for the Kane County Cougars. Jermaine Palacios started the game with a single, stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error, and then scored on an error off the bat of Lewin Diaz to start the scoring in the first. A Shane Carrier double and Brandon Lopez single scored two more runs and the Kernels spotted starter Tyler Beardsley a 3-0 lead before he took the mound. He retired the Cougar lineup in order the first turn through as the Kernels built their lead to 5-0 with single runs in the second and third innings. It was a Travis Blankenhorn double in the second and a Lopez ground out in the third that scored those runs. Beardsley finally gave up a hit to the leadoff man in the fourth and got into some more trouble from there. After a walk and a single brought in the Cougars first run, a passed ball and hit-batter around a strikeout loaded the bases with two outs. Beardsley buckled down and got a ground out to end the inning. Kane County hardly threatened from there. Blankenhorn continued his early display of power in the Midwest League (pssst) when he added a solo home run in the seventh inning, his third of the season already to stretch the lead to 6-1. Reliever Brady Anderson came on for Beardsley in the sixth inning, and faced the minimum over the final four innings. Only an error in the eighth kept him from a perfect pitching line while picking up the save. He struck out three. On offense, Blankenhorn and Carrier led the way with two hits apiece, and Lopez added two RBI. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Aaron Slegers, Rochester Red Wings (W, 6.0 IP, 0 H’s, 3 BB’s, 7 K’s) Hitter of the Day – Travis Blankenhorn, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:05PM CST) – LHP David Hurlbut (0-0, -.-- ERA) Chattanooga @ Jacksonville (6:05PM CST) – RHP Kohl Stewart (0-1, 0.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Tampa (6:00PM CST) – RHP Dereck Rodriguez (0-1, 8.31 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (11:00AM CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  17. In the clubhouse, players shook hands, gave man-hugs and wished the players sent out best wishes, often encouraging them to keep working and that they hope to see them in the big leagues soon. For several, that is a real possibility. Following Saturday's game, Molitor noted, "We're looking at our departure in less than two weeks. We're trying to do some reduction here." The Minnesota Twins optioned infielder Engelb Vielma, outfielders Zack Granite and Daniel Palka and catcher Mitch Garver to Rochester. They also reassigned infielders Niko Goodrum, Nick Gordon and Leonardo Reginnato and catcher Dan Rohlfing to minor league camp. Zack Granite was the Twins minor league player of the year in 2016 and continued to make a good showing. He certainly impressed his manager and teammates. He played quite a bit, going 6-28 (.231) with a double. He played all three outfield positions. The outlook is certainly positive for Granite. He should start the season in Rochester and has a chance to get to the big leagues if there is an injury. Molitor Note: "I like Zack a lot. I like how he prepares. I like how he competes. It was good to watch him play. He got into actually a lot of games. Made an impression almost every day he played in some capacity." Daniel Palka was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. He struggled early in camp but came on of late. Palka went 3-18 (.167) with a double and a home run in camp. Palka also should start the season in Rochester. He'll need to work on putting the ball in play more frequently, but his immense power makes him intriguing later in the season. Molitor Note: "I thought Palka really handled himself great. He had a bit of a label of practicing his swing in the outfield kind of guy. He got his focus on. Pick got to him a little bit. We heard there might be some adventures out there, I didn't see it. I saw a guy who tracked balls, had good first step and did some things. Had good at bats. I think he leads our team in walks. I think he's got to learn to hit a little better. And there's that power. You can tell that he's a threat. People are really more careful when he's in the box. Those two outfielders handled themselves well." Mitch Garver will head to AAA with a good shot at getting to the big league club in 2017. Garver went 3-13 (.231) with two doubles this spring. Garver should also head to Rochester, where he ended last year. He will do a lot of catching, but when he's not catching, expect to see him continue to get time at first base and DH as well. Molitor noted, "Mitch, I'm very pleased with him. He didn't get a great opportunity here, but what I saw, I continue to like." Shortstop Engelb Vielma was added to the 40-man roster. He didn't play a lot. He went 2-12 (.167) with a double. Obviously a great defender, he could go to Rochester or play in Chattanooga. Molitor Note: "Vielma just needs to get stronger. He can do things you can't really teach with the glove. He just has to make sure he doesn't get sloppy now and then and keep things clean. The defensive player of the year. Brad told him to defend his title." Of the non-roster players sent down, Nick Gordon is the biggest prospect. He had a good showing in big league camp, doing well at second base and shortstop and at the plate. He's got some work to do, but he'll get every day playing time at shortstop in Chattanooga. He went 2-11 (.182) in eight games in spring training. He told me earlier this week that he gained a lot of confidence after his Arizona Fall League season, and gained even more throughout spring training. He said he learned a lot. Molitor Note: "Nick Gordon, maybe one of our best hitting prospects that we have, if you ask me. It was good to see him play. He didn't get a lot of chance, but I think he absorbed a lot. Got the chance to play some at short and second." Niko Goodrum had a nice camp too, at least when he wasn't battling a shoulder issue. He had a big, three-run homer in the game on Wednesday. He showed the ability to play all around the diamond. He went 6-16 (.375) this spring. I thought Goodrum would likely start the season with the Lookouts, and that's probably still the likely scenario, but he did have a very nice showing in big league camp and should move up to AAA at some point in the season. Molitor Note: Niko Goodrum had a shoulder issue midway through camp, but he showed versatility. I really encouraged him to embrace that rather than wondering why he can't find a position because it has value and can open more doors for him. He showed some things." Leonardo Reginnato also had to pack his (WBC-issued) bag this morning. The native of Brazil was on his country's WBC-Qualifier team last spring. He can play both positions on the left side of the diamond. Reginnato went 9-17 this spring (.529). He ended last season in Rochester, and should start there this year. Molitor Note: "Similar to Niko. Doesn't play as many positions, but he still has to be versatile and contribute." Finally, catcher Dan Rohlfing was sent down. It will be interesting to see where he goes, and if he is asked to work with some of the Twins top pitching prospects. He showed a little power this spring again, and he is a very good athlete behind the plate. He went 2-11 (.182) with a home run. Both of his hits came this week. Molitor Note: Rohlfing returned to the organization. "He didn't get much of a chance. He's hopefully going to get a significant amount of playing time wherever he would go. He needs to play." MORE FROM MOLITOR Asked if Gordon can stick at shortstop, Molitor said, "We'll see how it matches up with he and Vielma if they're on the same team. We could split them, and we've got other guys who can play short. I would never say that he's not going to develop into potentially being a shortstop. I mean, that's what he's played. Athletes like that, you want to give them every opportunity to work, I would think. But to get some more experience on the other side of the base would be helpful. I think he only started a handful of games at second last year and one at third. Primarily that's been his spot. Maybe it's only two spots, but you want to make sure that you've got more doors open. I mean, I would want to. You just have to make sure that these seeds are planted so that they don't lose confidence if they're not playing the position they thought they might be. Asked if Rohlfing can be an asset working with pitching prospects, Molitor said, "He's been challenged to follow the role of a guy like (Chris) Gimenez who has made himself valuable by being a good leader, by being a good teammate, by being able to help develop pitchers. They both have a some versatility and can play first base and left field a little bit. He was very clear the first meeting early on that he hasn't given up his dream of playing in the big leagues. So I encourage that. Didn't give you a great chance here, but go out there and keep yourself on the (radar)."
  18. I’ve had the opportunity to watch a few practices and some games down on the minor league fields, and today will share some of what I have seen and heard. As always, I welcome your questions and comments in the forum below. And think of other questions that you would like me to ask players if I run into them this week. As a quick note, I’ll likely be doing some Live Twitter/Periscope broadcasting throughout the next week, so be sure to follow Seth and Twins Daily on Twitter. I’ll be taking a ton of photos too, so be sure to Like Twins Daily on Facebook. On Tuesday, I did a 17-minute Live Twitter in which I walked around the back fields right before the intrasquad games. It was windy, so the audio isn’t great, but it does give a good feel for the lay of the land down there. Also, there are cameos from Todd Van Steensel, Callan Pearce, TJ White, and a short (almost inaudible) interview with Lachlan Wells. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/841684476124102657 INJURY UPDATES: Tommy John rehab and recovery: Andro Cutura, Tyler Benninghoff, Brusdar Graterol and Alex Kirilloff. Kirilloff is back in Ft. Myers following his surgery. I chatted with Tyler Benninghoff a bit on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, he was on the field playing catch from 130 feet. Coaches and trainers were nearby to monitor him. He said he was throwing 70-80% While the scar is impressive, he noted that he is scheduled to throw off of the mound for the first time next Friday (3/24). He is about 8 ½ months after his surgery and on pace. Who knows? He may be able to make his pro debut sometime in the GCL. Zack Jones is also in Ft. Myers rehabbing from his shoulder surgery. Stephen Gonsalves is listed on the DL, though he is expecting to throw a bullpen on Wednesday. Johan Quezada has shoulder impingement and is yet to pitch in spring training. He remains very tall. Right-hander Ryan Mason is fighting some back spasms right now. Brandon Peterson has suffered a lat strain. Vadim Balan continues to deal with his back issues as well. In terms of hitters, as you know, Trey Cabbage is likely out another week with his ankle/foot injury. I told him today that he’s looking too comfortable walking around in his walking boot. He agreed. Catcher Bryant Hayman had ACL surgery, so he’ll be out for a while. GRANITE’S SPEED I have to recommend that you read Phil Miller’s article in the Star-Tribune on Zack Granite and his speed. Miller chatted with Granite and with manager Paul Molitor about Granite. In the article, Miller used several quotes from the manager, but since we aren’t limited by space here, I wanted to include several more quotes. I think it shows just how much of a fan Molitor is of Granite and the type of player that he can become. Molitor is impressed by the speedster’s game. On one play, he was on second base and there was a looping liner to left field. With a runner on third making sure the ball wasn’t caught, Granite cautiously took off toward third. When the left fielder slightly bobbled the ball, Granite took off, rounded third and scored on the play. “You still need guys that can do those things, table set and run the bases. The play today was just... my favorite part about that play was that he made the decision himself. He didn’t come into third and look for help. He peripherally saw the slight bobble and just kicked it into gear. That was a good instinctive play. He’s done that a few times in different situations on the bases.” Not only that, Molitor noticed, “He turned around that 97 mph fastball and hit it up the middle. He’s coming off a really good year with a lot of people speaking very highly of him. I like those kind of players. It’s better when they blend in with guys who can produce in terms of hitting the ball over the fence and drive people in, but there’s a definite place for those guys.” Here are some other phrases that Molitor used to describe Granite: “Shows no fear.” “Strike zone knowledge.” “Defensive awareness.” “He’s thrown the ball well.” “He’s gone to get it.” “There’s a lot of people, but I was looking forward to watching him play.” While Granite remains a long shot to make the Opening Day roster, it’s clear that Granite has fans in important places in the Twins organization, and it’s easy to understand why. NIKO GOODRUM Before Paul Molitor joined the Twins’ big league coaching staff (and then became manager), he was a roving instructor in the Twins minor league system. He’s seen a lot of these younger players develop. On Monday, Niko Goodrum made a start at first base and finished the game in left field. Regarding Goodrum’s evolution since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft, Molitor noted, “It seems like he’s been here a long time. I remember him as a youngster coming in as a prospect, switch-hitter guy who could play around. His body developed. He had some injuries and things along the way, but he re-emerged and found himself back on the map. Molitor noted that he hasn’t played a ton because of a “little shoulder issue that’s plaguing him a bit, but he’s taken good at-bats when he gets the chance.” MORE NOTES Talked briefly with Tanner English, Ryan Walker and LaMonte Wade. All three of them had the opportunity to play for Team USA last Wednesday when they took on the Twins at Hammond Stadium. All three agreed that it was really cool to be in the dugout with that team, and that they were able to glean some good stuff from those players. They didn’t work out or practice with Team USA, but they did spend the morning working out with the Twins. All said it was just a very good day, and are grateful for the opportunity. Wander Javier is pretty impressive. He’s pretty big in person, though he certainly has room to grow. He looks like a guy who could probably stick at shortstop. And, he can hit. On Sunday, he drilled an opposite field double. On Monday, he had a home run against Bethel. He’s got a long ways to go. I would assume he will start in the GCL, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets to Elizabethton by the end of the season. Chatted briefly with Lewis Thorpe. He said he’s supposed to work three innings on Wednesday in a minor league game. He says he feels great and is strong. It’s been a long couple of years for the Australian southpaw. It’s hard to imagine that the Twins would want to start him in the cold of Cedar Rapids, so they could have him start with the Miracle. The wind was blowing out to right field on the field the Miracle and Kernels were playing on. Ben Rortvedt hit a long, long home run to right field that would have been well beyond the fence even without the wind. On Twitter, I estimated that it measured 7,000 feet. I talked to him afterward, and he said that felt pretty good. Through a couple of days of observing, he also appears to be real good defensively. He has the tools to become a very good defensive catcher, but I thought he also showed some real leadership vocally as well. I chatted a little bit with 2016 draft pick Caleb Hamilton. He was by the bullpen waiting his turn to catch a bullpen. I asked him if he had ever caught before coming to the Twins and switching positions in the Instructional League. He said that he had caught a little bit, and caught some bullpens in college at Oregon State. He said that with all of the injuries his team had last year, he played every position but first base. He said he even warmed up in the bullpen once and almost came in to pitch. He’s really enjoying learning to catch and all it entails. While it’s probably more random than anything else, side-winding Trevor Hildenberger was pitching on one field, side-winding Tom Hackimer was pitching on the other field. I took time to watch both from almost right behind home plate. They are very similar. I will say that I was incredibly impressed with Hildenberger’s changeup and how much command he has with that delivery. Hackimer was a little more wild, but I think could move up really fast too. Travis Harrison had the opportunity to travel to Bradenton with the big league club on Sunday. Not only did he travel, but he got to play. He also got two at-bats. He said that he just missed one in his first at-bat, flying out to the warning track in center. He was also (understandably) excited about his second at-bat when he homered. The homer came off of Pirates Rule 5 pick Tyler Webb. It was a lot of fun seeing Kernels pitching coach JP Martinez working with the young pitchers, many in their first spring training. Pitchers stood on the mound and went through their delivery (not throwing). As they did that, Martinez would load a ball into the pitching machine and “shoot” it toward the mound. The pitcher would have to field it and throw it toward second base. A big net was positioned at second base with a strike-zone sized box in the center. The pitcher had to field the ball, turn, and throw to second base. If they didn’t field the ball cleanly or they missed the target, they were “out.” Eddie Del Rosario was the winner of that particular competition. But it was fun to see the creativity and keeping things like PFPs, which are important but can get monotonous, fun. Starting pitchers in minor league camp are hoping to reach three innings (at 45 pitches) in their first outings. In their next start, they hope to go four innings (60 pitches). They will continue to ramp it up to 90 pitches which will likely be their limit for a couple of starts early in the season. Mike Radcliff told me the the team has signed several more minor league free agents than they have in the past. The idea is more players equals more competition equals better baseball. As we know, the new front office regime has talked about expanding the front office. They also want to make sure there are more players in minor league camp. The Twins had their first full minor league practices last Thursday. They had three days of just workouts. The last three days they have worked out in the morning and then played intrasquad games in the afternoon. On Wednesday, they will play their first games against other organizations. Rochester and Chattanooga will host Norfolk and Bowie, the AAA and AA affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles at 1:00 on the back fields. The Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids rosters will travel to Sarasota to take on Frederick and Delmarva (High-A and Low-A affiliates). The affiliates will play all but one day right up until April 3rd when the teams travel to their cities. We’ll be back with more throughout the next week. Again, feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions about this article or things you would like me to dig into on the back fields.
  19. With Trevor May likely out for the 2017 season, the Twins gave Rule 5 pick Justin Haley an opportunity to start for them on Monday afternoon against the Rays. He was going on two-days rest, so it was planned that he wouldn’t go more than two innings. What he was able to do was work on all of his pitches. Haley said, “In two innings, I threw all four pitches several times. Got a good feel for all of them. Threw a couple good changeups. Got a strikeout. Threw a couple of good curveballs. Really wanted to work on the slider today, and I feel like I did that. I feel like I accomplished that.” He saw mixed results. He flashed a fastball that sat between 90 and 92 mph. He has a solid changeup that comes in around 84. And then he drops a slow curveball in the mid-70s. It’s a pitch mix that can and has worked for big league starters many times in the past. His manager noted, “He did OK. Wasn’t consistent with his command today. Obviously two-out, two-run homers are not a thing anyone gets too excited about,” he continued “I don’t think he was as crisp as some other outings today, but it was the first time he’d started too.” Haley has been a starter throughout his full career, so getting an opportunity to start was nice. “I’ve done both (starting and relieving). I enjoy both. It was definitely nice to go through a full warm up. I’m definitely more used to that. But I am just getting used to warming up in a half-inning.” He gave up one run in the first inning. Mallex Smith pushed a perfect bunt past a drawn-in Danny Santana at third base. Haley threw to first baseman Niko Goodrum who missed the throw, allowing Smith to advance to second base. Tim Beckham flew out to right field which was deep enough to advance Smith to third. He then scored when Jake Bauers hit a fly ball to Zack Granite in center. Mallex Smith came up big in the bottom of the first inning as well. Joe Mauer crushed a pitch just to the left of center field. Smith went back to the wall, jumped and made the catch, likely robbing Mauer of a home run. With two outs in the second inning, Haley gave up a first-pitch homer to outfielder Shane Peterson on a curveball. It was a blast to dead center fielder. “I can form into whatever role they need me to. I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well. I hope they appreciate that, as much as I’m putting into it, and looking to earn a spot.” Haley went two innings and gave up the three runs (two earned) on three hits. He didn’t walk any, and he struck out one. With Trevor May’s injury, Haley doesn’t want to overthink today’s start. “If they ask me to do it, I’ll do it and I’ll certainly give it my best. I think I’d be a good candidate, but until they ask me to do it, I can’t say what's going to come of it. Today was a reliever day, and I got chosen to start the reliever day.” Molitor said, “Next time we’ll try to get him more extended.” The Twins had the opportunity to face Rays right-hander Jose De Leon. I would guess that Twins Daily readers are familiar with the right-hander. He was the pitcher offered to the Twins from the Dodgers in the Brian Dozier rumors that only died when De Leon was traded to the Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe. De Leon sat between 90-92 with his fastball, usually closer to 90. His changeup and his slider were both in the mid-80s. He came into the game having only recorded two outs this spring due to minor injury. Paul Molitor said afterward, “Guys were talking about his changeup more than anything. They thought it was a hard pitch to pick up. He threw the ball fairly well.” In the bottom of the second, he gave up a single to Robbie Grossman and then walked Jason Castro. Niko Goodrum came to the plate and on a 1-1 count, he crushed a long home run beyond the wall in right center field wall. Goodrum was asked after the game if he got all of that pitch or something just a little bit less than all of it. His response, with a big grin, “I got all of it!” He continued, “He started me with a changeup that I was just out in front of a little. Then on 1-1, he tried to throw me a fastball.” Before joining the Twins coaching staff and then becoming the manager, Paul Molitor was an instructor in the Twins minor league system. Of Goodrum, he noted, “It seems like he’s been here a long time. I remember him as a youngster coming in as a prospect, a switch-hitter guy who could play (several positions). His body developed, but he had some injuries and things along the way. He has re-emerged and found himself back on the map. I told him after the (second) inning he was +2, gave up one and drove in three. He hasn’t had a ton of playing time because of a little shoulder issue that’s plaguing him a bit, but he’s taken good at-bats when he gets the chance.” He got the start at first base, a position he’d played just eight game at in his seven minor league seasons. He spent the second half of the game in left field. Before the game, I asked him how many gloves he has to bring to the park. He said he has five different gloves. I asked him if he’d ever need a catcher’s mitt. He chuckled and said clearly. “NO!” JT Chargois came in for the third inning for the Twins. He looked strong. His fastball was sitting 95 and touching 96. He struck out the first two batters, both on sliders (at 87 and 88 mph). He gave up a broken bat double to Jake Bauers and then hit Steven Souza (both on 3-2 counts). He got a grounder to short to end the inning. It had the makings of a strong, efficient inning, but getting the third out took some work. Efficiency has been a problem for him in his short major league career. As Molitor said after the game, “When he is a strike thrower and aggressive, the results usually are pretty good. And other times, you look up and he needs 28-pitches to get through an inning.” Alex Wimmers worked two innings. He gave up a run on a couple of doubles in his second inning of work. He did strike out three batters. Ryan O’Rourke pitched a scoreless inning despite an infield single and a tailor-made double play ball turned error. Buddy Boshers pitched the eighth inning. He worked a 1-2-3 inning with a lot of help from his friends. The final out came on a diving play by Leonardo Reginnato. He got up and threw to first where Matt Hague had to stretch and scoop to finish the play and the inning. Asked if any of the lefties competing for a spot have separated themselves at this stage of camp, Molitor said, “I think you go Breslow, O’Rourke and Boshers. They’ve kind of had good outing-bad outing. They’ve all battled. I don’t think it’s separating itself enough to where I’m leaning one way or another.” Randy Rosario pitched the ninth inning. He showed a fastball at 93-96 and a slider at 87. After getting a groundout and a fly out, he gave up a slap-double to left field, he got Justin Williams to strike out. Following the game, the Twins sent two more players down to minor league camp. Read more about those players, including comments from Paul Molitor, in this article. SANTANA TO JOIN DOMINICAN WBC TEAM Ervin Santana will be joining the Dominican Republic team in the WBC tournament. According to Molitor, it was confirmed yesterday morning. Santana was at Hammond Stadium last night packing. He headed to Miami last night and chartered with the team to San Diego this morning. Molitor said that his gut feel is that Santana was recruited a bit. “Players on those teams probably talk a lot. Besides management people, GMs and managers, I think players reached out to him. That’s kind of my feeling. C’mon, man. Come have some fun with us.” Santana is expected to pitch on Wednesday for the Dominican team. As it relates to the Twins, Molitor noted, “He was going to throw five innings in a minor league game here tomorrow.” “Part of the conversations, from what I understand, were that we wanted him to stay as close to his schedule as he could. For us, that means Tuesday or Wednesday. Once it gets past a couple of days, it starts making it tricky to do what we need to do before now and Opening Day.” PERKINS UPDATE The Twins have an off day on Tuesday. Glen Perkins will throw another bullpen on Wednesday. Molitor said, “His pitches aren’t really getting extended much. I think the next one’s going to be 20-25 (pitches), depending on how he feels. He’s still not facing hitters yet, and we’re getting to the end of March.” TUESDAY OFF DAY The Twins don't get many off days during spring training, but Tuesday is one of them. There will be no players or coaches at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday. I will be spending the day down on the minor league fields. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have and I'll try to get them answered for you.
  20. VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE Ryan O'Rourke was back on the mound for a start this week, his third start in Venezuela. He went four innings and gave up one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out four. Overall, he has reduced his season ERA over 13 points in the last two weeks, largely due to the low innings. Overall, he is 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. However, in his three starts, he has a 1.64 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 11 innings. Victor Tademo and Edwar Colina did not play again this week. Niko Goodrum had an 0-5 game on Sunday and was back in Georgia on Tuesday, his six week stint in Venezuela complete. He hit .284/.354/.431 (.785) with eight doubles, three triples, a home run and eight RBI in 116 at bats. Luis Arraez played in three games in the week. He went 8-13 (.615). He had a two-hit game and two, three-hit games. We wrote often in-season about his multi-hit games. How do these stats sound: In his last five games, Luis Arraez is 12-21 (.571) In his last ten games, Luis Arraez is 24-42 (.571). In the month of November (11 games), Luis Arraez is 26-48 (.541). In his last 12 games, Luis Arraez is 28-51 (.549). Overall in 119 at bats, he has hit .387/.414/.546 (.960) with seven doubles and six triples. PUERTO RICO WINTER LEAGUE Juan Centeno was outrighted by the Twins on Friday. No word yet on if he will choose the most likely route, free agency. So, we'll keep him on the list. He played in three games this week and went 2-8 (.250). In 36 at-bats, he is hitting .167/.231/.194 (.425) with a double. Kennys Vargas played in just two games and went 1-8 with four strikeouts. In 40 total at-bats, he is hitting .175/.283/.300 (.583) with two doubles and a homer. JJ Fernandez played in four games. He went 2-12 (.167) with three RBI. He walked twice and struck out six times. Overall, he is hitting .220/.289/.390 (.679) with two doubles, a triple and a homer. Nelson Molina didn't play this week. Lean Marrero pinch ran once. DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE Confesor Lara pitched 1.1 innings in one appearance. He walked one and struck out one without allowing a run. That gives him a 1.80 ERA in 10 games and 10 innings pitched. He has a 0.90 WHIP. Leonardo Reginnato went 1-8 in the three games he played this week. In 33 at-bats, he is hitting .182/.250/.182. Daniel Palka played in five games this week. He was 2-13 (.154) with his third home run. He walked four times and struck out four times. In 73 at-bats he is hitting .205/.280/.370 (.650) He has three doubles to go with the three homers. Palka was added to the 40-man roster on Friday. He let me know that he will be heading back to the States to start his offseason at Thanksgiving. AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE The season began with a single game on Thursday night in Australia (which, of course, in Thursday morning in the States). To this point, the lone Twins minor leaguer to play is Aaron Whitefield. He's playing in the outfield for Brisbane. He finished helping the Australian U23 team to a second-place finish just a week earlier. In his first three games, he is 3-9 (.333) with a double and three RBI heading into Sunday games. Aside from that, there are a lot of former Twins minor leaguers who are playing in Australia. He's a list of who appears on the team rosters: Adelaide - Loek Van Mil, Matthew Williams Sydney - Josh Guyer, Josh Dean, Jacob Younis (He had been named Best Hitter at the U23 tournament) Perth - Luke Hughes is on the roster and is the hitting coach. Melbourne - Peter Moylan is pitching and the pitching coach. Mark Hamburger was their Opening Night starter and recorded the win with five innings of one-run ball. Allan de San Miguel is catching and already has two homers (in two games). Finally, former Twins minor leaguer (and big leaguer) and current GCL Twins pitching coach Virgil Vasquez is also on the roster.
  21. Venezuelan Winter League Report Luis Arraez has been a story all year, since the 19-year-old put together an incredible season in Cedar Rapids where his .347 average led the Midwest League. He was a multi-hit game machine. He had 34 two-hit games, 13 three-hit games, three four-hit games, and a five hit game. In the first two Kernels playoff games, he had a three-hit game and a four-hit game. He's kept it up in the Winter League. Through games on Friday night, Arraez has played 27 games. He is hitting .358/.386/.519 (.905) with seven doubles and five triples. He has 15 RBI and 21 runs scored. He doesn't like to walk (6), but he also doesn't strike out (6). In the past week, he played five games. He went 13-21 (.619) with two doubles and a triple. Over his last seven games played, he has five three-hit games. He's had multiple hits in seven of his last nine games. Niko Goodrum has now played 28 games in Venezuela. He missed the first half of the 2016 season with a stress reaction in his foot, so these at bats are really good for him. He's hitting .297/.368/.450 (.818) with eight doubles, three triples and a homer in 124 plate appearances. He's struck out a fair amount (28 times), but he's also walked 13 times. In this past week, he has played in six games. He's 9-23 (.391) with a double, two triples and a home run. He had four straight games multi-hit games in the middle of the week. In one game, he was a single short of a cycle. Ryan O'Rourke's Venezuelan season started out very poorly, so it's taken some time for him to bring his season ERA down. Overall, he has a 7.82 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP in 12 games and 12.2 innings. He has made two starts. This past week, he pitched twice and made a start on Friday night. In it, he threw four shutout innings. He gave up four hits walked none and struck out three. Victor Tademo and Edwar Colina did not play during the week. Dominican Republic Winter League Report Daniel Palka was our choice for Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. He has now played 15 games in the Dominican. He is hitting .217/.266/.367 (.632) with three doubles, two triples and nine RBI. He has walked four time and struck out 19 times. This past week, he played in four games. He had two hits in 13 at bats (.154). Both hits were doubles. Leonardo Reginnato made his Dominican debut last Friday night. In his seven games so far he is hitting .227/261/.227 (.488) with a walk and a run scored. However, in his past three games, he is 5-11 (.455). Confesor Lara has pitched nine games so far this winter. In 8.2 innings he has a 2.08 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. Over the past week, he worked in one inning of one game. Puerto Rican Winter League Report Kennys Vargas has played in nine games already. He is hitting .188/.297/.344 (.641) with two doubles and a homer. He's got seven RBI and four runs scored. He's walked five times with eight strikeouts. In the last week, he played in five games. He had just four hits in 18 at bats (.222). He had a double, and on Friday night he hit his first home run. JJ Fernandez has also played in nine games. He is 7-29, hitting .241/.290/.483 (.773) with two doubles, a triple and a home run. In six games this past week, Fernandez is 3-18, hitting .167 with a double and a home run. Juan Centeno has played seven games so far. He is 4.28. He's hitting .143/.226/.179 (.404) with a double. This week, he went 3-14 (.214) in three games played. He hit the double and drove in both runs. Nelson Molina had just one plate appearance during the week. He drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Lean Marrero went 0-2 over the two games he played. Dereck Rodriguez is yet to give up a run in his three outings. In 6.2 innings, he gave up two hits, walked one and struck out four. He has a 0.45 WHIP. He pitched in just one inning this past week. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck one out in a scoreless inning. Please feel free to ask questions.
  22. The Twins help players get opportunities in these winter leagues. Early in the season, you will see some of the younger players get some opportunity. As the season moves along, you'll start seeing more veteran types play as they prepare for the playoffs as well as their spring trainings. Some US players head down to these leagues for some extra at-bats or some additional innings. Sometimes a player will spend as little as two weeks with a team. Others will decide to stick around for a while. But especially in the Caribbean Leagues, winning matters. If a player isn't playing well, especially an American, they will be released and sent home. VENEZUELA The Venezuelan Winter League got started a couple of weeks ago already. Here are the Twins players who have spent time there so far. Luis Arraez had a terrific season in Cedar Rapids this year. He went home and has been playing for Navegantes del Magallanes. He is hitting .279/.311/.372 (.683) with two doubles and a triple in 43 at bats. Victor Tademo is a 17-year-old who hit .311/.388/.429 (.817) with 16 doubles, a triple and a home run this year in the Dominican Summer League. He also stole 21 bases in 25 attempts. He's an example of a young guy who will get a little bit of time but will also have the opportunity to watch and work with veterans. He is just 1-3 so far, also for Navegantes del Magallanes. Heiker Meneses split his season between Rochester and Chattanooga. Unfortunately, he also spent nearly half of the season on the disabled list. He is playing for Tiburones de La Guairra. He is hitting .303/.361/.515 (.876) with two doubles, a triple and a homer in 33 at-bats so far. Jairo Rodriguez is catching for Tigres de Aragua. He is hitting .240/.241/.240 (.481) in just 25 at bats so far. Reynaldo Rodriguez already has 57 at-bats this winter for Aguilas de Zulia. He is hitting .333/.333/.561 (.895) with two doubles, a triple and three home runs so far. Wilfredo Tovar was the Red Wings shortstop throughout the 2016 season. For Leones del Caracas, he is hitting .389/.441/.481 (.922) with five doubles in 54 at-bats. I wrote earlier this week that Niko Goodrum has re-signed with the Twins for 2017. He would have become a minor league free agent following the World Series, but he will stay with the Twins (unless he's selected in the Rule 5 draft). He is playing for Caribes de Anzoategui. In 54 at-bats, he is hitting .278/.333/.389 (.722) with four doubles and a triple. While the hitters are spread around the league, there are currently three Twins pitchers in Venezuela and all of them are playing for Bravos de Margarita. This is where you need to consider small sample size. Omar Bencomo, who will be a free agent after the World Series, has pitched 14.1 innings over three starts. He has a 1.88 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. He has one walk and eight strikeouts. Ryan O'Rourke has pitched a total of two innings over five appearances. He has given up six earned runs on four hits and two walks. Nick Greenwood has made one start and went three innings. He gave up five runs on six hits and two walks. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC The Dominican Winter League began its schedule with a game on Thursday and the rest of the schedule began on Friday night. Catcher Carlos Paulino has played two games already and is 1-7 for Gigantes del Cibao. Daniel Palka is playing for Leones del Escogido. On Friday night, he went 1-4. It was a single. Also on the roster is former Twins outfielder Lew Ford. Confesor Lara is playing for Estrellas de Oriente. He signed late in the year and pitched for Ft. Myers. On Friday, Darren Wolfson tweeted the following: https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/789578655999504385 Ruiz gave up three runs on five hits and a walk over the first 4.1 innings. He struck out four. PUERTO RICO The Puerto Rico Winter League begins next weekend. The Twins have several players from the island in the organization. Many of them choose to play in the Winter League. AUSTRALIA The Australian Baseball League will begin November 17. We'll check back from time to time, maybe it'll even be weekly if the readers would like that. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about the players or the leagues.
  23. Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Sunday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Lehigh Valley 4 Box Score With no playoff hopes to play for, the Red Wings put together a solid performance and came away with their 81st win of the season. Omar Bencomo provided a quality start. The right-hander gave up two runs on six hits over the first six innings. He walked one and struck out four. Alan Busenitz came on and gave up one run on two hits and a walk in 1.2 innings. Edward Mujica gave up a run on a hit over the final 1.1 innings. He struck out two and recorded his 26th save of the season. Tanner English had another solid game at the top of the Red Wings lineup. He went 2-4 with a walk and his first double. He also stole his second base. Kennys Vargas went 2-3 with a walk and his 16th double. Leonardo Reginnato went 2-4 with his third double. The double cleared the bases in the Red Wings big four-run 8th inning. Mitch Garver went 2-2 with two walks and his fifth double. Adam Brett Walker knocked his fifth triple. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 5, Jackson 8 Box Score Ryan Eades made his final start of the season. He gave up five runs on four hits, four walks and a hit batter over four innings. He struck out four. Luke Bard walked three and hit a batter over two innings, but he didn’t give up a hit or a run. He struck out two. Randy Rosario got the final two innings. He gave up three runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out four. Niko Goodrum led the offense. He went 3-3 with a walk and his tenth double. He stole two bases. TJ White stayed hot. He went 2-3 with a walk and two runs driven in. Dalton Hicks went 2-4 with his 27th double. Zack Granite stole his 55th base. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 5, Bradenton 2 Box Score The Miracle ended their 2016 season with a 9:35 am start time. Keaton Steele ended his 2016 season strong. For the seventh straight start, he put together a quality start. The right-hander gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out seven. John Curtiss and Nick Anderson finished out the win as each threw a scoreless inning in relief. For Anderson, it was his 10th save with the Miracle. Daniel Kihle, batting ninth, led the Miracle offense. He went 3-3 with a walk, his fourth double and his second home run. AJ Murray went 2-4 including his fourth home run of the year. It was his second straight game with a homer. Alex Perez was also 2-4. Christian Ibarra added his fifth double. The Miracle ended their season 70-68. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 0, Wisconsin 5 Box Score Sam Gibbons took the mound for the Kernels. The right-hander gave up five runs (3 earned) on eight hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out five. Andrew Vasquez struck out three over two perfect innings in relief. JJ Fernandez went 3-4. Casey Scoggins was 2-5 with his sixth double. Christian Cavaness added his third triple. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 8, Johnson City 7 Box Score The E-Twins traveled the four miles from their ballpark to Johnson City for Game 2 of the first round of the Appalachian League playoffs. Following a Game 1 loss at home, the Twins were in a must-win situation. This game went back and forth, but the Twins live to see another day, a Game 3 on Monday night with the winner advancing to the Appy League championship series. Tyler Wells has been terrific of late. However, he gave up six runs on seven hits and a walk in just 3.1 innings in this game. In the third inning, former Gophers standout Matt Fiedler launched a three-run homer to give Johnson City a 4-1 lead. The Twins scored four runs in the top of the fourth on a series of hits and JC errors. The big hit was a two-run double off the bat of Mitchell Kranson. Ryan Mason replaced Wells and was charged with one run on four hits and a walk over the next 3.2 innings. With a one-run lead, Ray Smith turned to his closer Patrick McGuff. McGuff gave up two hits but no runs over the final two innings to notch the save and send the series to a Game 3. Kranson led the offense. He went 3-5 with that double and four big RBIs. Caleb Hamilton had another good playoff game. He was 3-4 with a double. Shane Carrier added a solo home run in the fifth which tied the game at six. Ben Rortvedt was 2-5 with a double. In case you were wondering, with the GCL season complete, Aaron Whitefield has been sent to Tennessee to help the Twins on their playoff run. Alex Kirilloff was again out of the Twins lineup with his shoulder injury. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Omar Bencomo, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mitchell Kranson, Elizabethton Twins MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (12:35 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut Chattanooga @ Jackson (2:05 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Ft. Myers - Season Over Clinton @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 CST) – RHP Eduarldo Del Rosario Playoffs Round 1 Game 3: Elizabethton @ Johnson City (5:00 CST) - RHP Clark Beeker GCL Twins - Season Over Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday's games.
  24. Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Friday night. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 1, Lehigh Valley 7 Box Score The Red Wings came into the final weekend needing to win all four remaining games. The drama of a playoff run ended quickly. The Red Wings were down 5-0 before they even came to bat in the bottom of the first inning. Lefty Jason Wheeler, who has been the Red Wings most consistent starter all season, was able to record only one out. He gave up five runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter. DJ Baxendale came on and went 4.2 innings. He gave up one run on three hits. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Neil Ramirez struck out four in 1.2 scoreless innings. Jake Reed gave up one run on two hits in 1.1 innings. Alan Busenitz struck out two in a perfect ninth inning. One bad inning of pitching isn’t all that hurt the Red Wings on this night. Phillies prospect Ben Lively threw six perfect innings. Joely Rodriguez came on and threw two more no-hit innings, though he walked two. In the ninth, Elvis Araujo got the first two outs, but then he walked James Beresford. Beresford took second on defensive indifference and scored on a Reynaldo Rodriguez single to end the no-hitter and the shutout. Unfortunately the Red Wings playoff hopes also ended on Friday night. It will be the first time in their history that they have won 80 or more games and not made the playoffs. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 5, Jackson 0 Box Score It all starts with pitching, and Aaron Slegers put together another terrific start. Slegers threw seven shutout innings. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out seven. Mason Melotakis and Brandon Peterson each worked a scoreless inning in relief. Niko Goodrum went 3-4 with his ninth double. Dalton Hicks went 2-4 with his 26th double. Travis Harrison wente 2-4 with a walk and his 22nd double. Edgar Corcino contributed his sixth triple. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers , Bradenton Box Score The doubleheader was postponed due to rain. They teams will try to play a doubleheader on Saturday. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Wisconsin 4 (16 innings) Box Score It started out like any other game. A nice 7:00 start time. The score was 4-4 after four innings. And that's where it remained until Nelson Molina again played hero for the Kernels and an unlikely pitcher got his first win of the season. Five hours and 27 minutes after it began, the Kernels ended the game as the winner. Tyler Beardsley started. He threw three no-hit innings but struggled after that. He ended the day having given up four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out two. Michael Cederoth went the next 2.1 innings and gave up only one hit. He struck out two. Anthony McIver struck out four over three shutout innings. He gave up two hits and walked one. Max Cordy threw three shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out five. Colton Davis came on for his first Midwest League appearance. He worked a scoreless 14th inning. And then the fun began. Jake Mauer turned to his backup catcher, Kevin Garcia, and he was good. In two perfect innings, he struck out two and became the winning pitcher. In the top of the 16th, Zander Wiel singled with two outs. It was followed by a Nelson Molina triple. Way back in the second inning, JJ Fernandez hit a solo home run to put the Kernels on the board. It was his ninth of the season. In the 4th inning, Zander Wiel's 16th home run gave the team two additional runs. Manuel Guzman singled in the third run that inning and fourth of the game. Wiel and Fernandez each went 3-8 in the game. Brandon Lopez was also 3-8. Molina went 2-6. The triple was his third of the season. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton Box Score The E-Twins final regular season game was scheduled for Thursday night, but it got rained out. They had Friday off in preparation for their three-game playoff series against Johnson City. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins, GCL Red Sox Box Score Rains remained in Southwest Florida and caused this all-important GCL matchup to be delayed until today (Saturday). It will be the final game of the regular season. The Red Sox and Twins are tied at 32-28. The winner will advance to the playoffs and play the Cardinals on Sunday. The loser will be done for the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Aaron Slegers, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Niko Goodrum, Chattanooga Lookouts SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (5:35 CST) - RHP Tyler Duffey Chattanooga @ Jackson (6:05 CST) -RHP Randy LeBlanc Bradenton @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Clinton @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – RHP Brady Anderson Playoffs Round 1: Johnson City @ Elizabethton (5:00 CST) - RHP Miguel DeJesus GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (9:00 am) - LHP Taylor Clemensia Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday's games.
  25. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 6, Scranton W/B 2 Box Score Tyler Duffey pitched six no-hit innings in his return to AAA before running into trouble in the seventh. He gave up two hits and two runs in that frame and it ended his night. He walked three and struck out five, throwing 97 pitches. Buddy Boshers, who began his rehab assignment, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Jake Reed struck out one in a scoreless ninth inning after allowing a leadoff single. James Beresford led the offense with four hits. He also drew a walk and drove in three runs. John Ryan Murphy and Heiker Meneses both had two-hit games. Byron Buxton was 0-3 with a walk, strikeout and sacrifice fly. Rochester struck out 14 times on Monday night, including a streak of eight straight outs being recorded by strikeout (and 12 of 14). Yet it’s still an improvement from Sunday’s game. (Ouch.) The Red Wings also added catcher Carlos Paulino before the game. At 77-60, Rochester is still fighting for a playoff berth. They trail Lehigh Valley by 3.5 games in the wild card race with seven games to go. The Red Wings close their season with five straight games against Lehigh Valley, so it could be a race to the finish. Stay tuned. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 13, Mississippi 0 Box Score Three big innings - including a five-run first - made this a non-competitive game from the start. Niko Goodrum had four hits - including a three-run home run and a double - and five RBIs. Both D.J. Hicks and Stuart Turner drove in three runs. T.J. White and Hicks both had two-hit games and scored three times. Zach Granite stole his 52nd base. Randy LeBlanc struck out five in seven shutout innings. He walked two and allowed five hits. Randy Rosario closed the game out with two perfect innings which included three strikeouts. With seven games left, the Lookouts trail Montgomery by two games in the fight for a playoff spot. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Palm Beach 5 Box Score Though it was a losing effort, Nick Gordon did something relatively rare, going 5-for-5. He tripled and scored twice. Five other batters got one hit apiece, including a Joe Maloney double. Fort Myers went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and, despite scoring three runs, didn’t produce a single RBI. They scored on an error and two wild pitches. The Miracle went with a bullpen game on Monday using Luke Westphal (three innings), Cam Booser (two innings) and Confesor Lara (three innings). Both Westphal and Lara gave up two runs, Lara gave up one. Booser was the high strikeout guy, with three. With a week remaining in the season, Fort Myers would need to catch both St. Lucie and Jupiter, who are tied atop the FSL South and lead the Miracle by three games. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Clinton 1 Box Score With tonight’s win, the Kernels clinch a berth in the Midwest League playoffs. They’ve accomplished this feat in each of the four season the Twins have been affiliated with the Kernels. The offense got off to a quick start, scoring all six of their runs in the first four innings. Brandon Lopez and Jaylin Davis each had two-hit games. Lopez doubled and drove in two runs. Davis hit a solo home run, his eighth as a Kernel. Both Luis Arraez (.346) and Travis Blankenhorn (.320) collected a hit and have averages over .300. Eduardo Del Rosario gave up one run in 5.2 innings. He struck out seven and allowed seven runners to reach base (three walks, three hits, one HBP). Max Cordy struck out two in 2.1 one-hit innings. Cordy has been a breakout player after being drafted in the 40th round in 2015. Over two levels, he’s struck out 34 in 26 1/3 innings. He does need to work on his control (17 walks) but a 95 mph fastball with an 86 mph slider is a good place to start. Anthony McIver pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out one. This win - the Kernels eighth straight - along with two Burlington losses sends Cedar Rapids to the playoffs. The Kernels will enter the playoffs with the distinction of being the “Second-Half West Winners” and will declare Tuesday which game(s) of the playoffs they host (either Game 1 or Game 2 and 3). Their opponent will likely be Burlington or Wisconsin. E-TOWN E-NOTES Elizabethton 1, Greeneville 2 Box Score Not a lot of offense to speak of Monday. An Ariel Montesino single preceded Caleb Hamilton and MItchell Kranson walks and Montesino scored on an Amaurys Minier grounded out. The only other hit was a single by Luis Martinez, who also walked twice. Clark Beeker pitched well enough to keep the E-Twins in the game, but the two runs over 6.1 innings was one more than his offense could provide. He struck out six and walked two. Johan Quezada recorded five out, two by strikeout. The E-Twins have made the playoffs and will face Johnson City. They could still overtake the Cardinals to be the division champ, but are two games back. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 3 Box Score The GCL Twins missed an opportunity to tie the Red Sox in the standings and remain a game out of first place with three games left. Aaron Whitfield continues to hit (.309) notching a single on Monday. He didn’t steal a base though, surprisingly. Kidany Salva added an RBI double and Akil Baddoo also drove in a run . Tyler Fox gave up a run over six innings, striking out four and left while in line to pick up the win, but Garrett Kelly blew his third save of the season and took the loss after giving up two runs on four hits in three innings. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Randy LeBlanc, Chattanooga Hitter of the Day – Nick Gordon, Fort Myers TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs Syracuse (6:05 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut (0-1, 2.70 ERA) Chattanooga vs Mississippi (6:15 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades (6-5, 4.44 ERA) Fort Myers at Palm Beach (6:05 CST) - RHP Miles Nordgren (1-4, 5.08 ERA) Elizabethton vs Greeneville (6:00 CST) - RHP Alex Schink (5-2, 5.53 ERA) GCL Twins vs GCL Rays (11:00AM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games.
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