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  1. Understandably, much of the early off-season Twins conjecture has surrounded trades and free-agent additions the Twins can make to boost their beleaguered pitching staff. The promotion of Jovani Moran and his dynamic changeup is indicative of another direction the organization will have to succeed at if they are to compete in 2022, promoting from within. Twins fans have bemoaned the organization's poor returns on developing its own pitching for as long as I can remember. 2022 will be the year that narrative begins to change. It’s well known that the Twins have a stable (sorry PETA) of young arms in AA and above, with Josh Winder, Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, Chris Vallimont, Jordan Balazovic approaching major league consideration. What about bullpen options? Here are three names Twins fans should be familiar with who will likely feature in the major league bullpen during the 2022 season. Ian Hamilton Ian Hamilton is perhaps the best known of the trio to Twins fans. A former White Sox top prospect, Hamilton has made a remarkable recovery from a minor car accident and being struck in the face by a batted ball in 2019. Hamilton struck out 33.5% of hitters he faced in 2021 (13.1 K/9) and has enough velocity to be a high-leverage arm. Control was Hamilton’s issue in 2021, with a 15.2% BB%. Hamilton spoke of the challenges of regaining confidence in his mechanics after his injuries. If he can return to the type of command he showed in the 2018 season 5.1% BB%, he could be a huge boon to the Twins bullpen in 2022. Ryan Mason Conversely, Ryan Mason is the name on this list least well known by Twins fans. It’s time to pay attention. Mason was drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 draft out of UC-Berkley. The 6’6 California native was promoted to the Saints at the end of July, after impressing at AA Wichita. Mason combined for 54 innings across two minor-league levels with the Twins and got better when he was promoted to St. Paul. He struck out 29.4% of the batters he faced at AAA (12.1 K/9) and managed a 3.47 FIP. Similarly to Hamilton, it’s control that will be a decisive factor for Mason. At AAA in 2021, he walked 11.8% of hitters (4.8 BB/9). Also like Hamilton, he has a history of good control prior to a pandemic-lost 2020 season (1.6 BB/9 in 92 2/3 innings between 2018-2019). Mason is another MLB-caliber arm to watch out for in 2022. Yennier Cano Cano is an unusual bullpen prospect. The 27-year-old out of Cuba throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and offers a fastball, slider, splitter combination which he executed to great effect in St. Paul in 2021. Cano’s ascent through the Twins MiLB ranks is impressive. He has moved from Rookie ball to AAA in just two seasons, with a season off in-between due to the pandemic. Cano struck out 25.7% of hitters he faced in 51 AAA innings (10.2 K/9). Cano struggled with his control at AAA with a 12.8% BB%, compared to just 6.2% at AA. Similar to Hamilton and Mason, Cano has shown the stuff and performance to be a high-leverage arm, if he can arrive at a greater level of consistency. These three internal options for the Twins bullpen have striking similarities. Excellent arms, excellent stuff, and a need to develop more consistent control. Whether that need arose through injury, or simply missed development time, it’s critical the Twins begin to show the type of success developing their own relievers as many have predicted for their starters in forthcoming seasons. While there is work to be done for all three, make no mistake. Help for the major-league arm barn is on the way from St. Paul.
  2. It was already over by May 1st. The futility of the Twins 2021 season was summed up by the first-half performance of its pitching staff. The Twins hurlers collected a pitifully sad 4.4 fWAR in the first half of the season, good for 29th in MLB. For the sake of comparison, the White Sox, who had the best first half, came in at 16.1 fWAR. The bullpen itself finished 26th. This is one of the occasions where the eye test and the numbers match up. We all remember April, Alexander Colome being sent out night after night, like an unsuspecting contestant in ‘Red Light, Green Light’ from Squid Game. It ended the same on almost every occasion, a sad, predictable massacre. There was an improvement, however. The Twins finished middle of the pack by most metrics in the second half, although their outcomes belied some of the processes, with a cumulative K/9 in the bottom third of the league and vastly better BaBIP, the Twins bullpen is an important area of focus if the team is to compete in 2022. Similarly to last week, when I wrote about starting pitching free-agent options, I’m choosing to make some assumptions for the sake of looking at some targets in this piece. The Twins have some strong pieces in place. Assuming their return, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Caleb Thielbar provide the bullpen with a strong spine. They have some effective pieces in place, a couple of high-leverage arms, and are all set on lefties. The Twins have strong options at AA and AAA. Jovani Moran and his deadly changeup made their major league debut in September. The Twins have additional high-quality, high-velocity arms that performed well at AAA, including Yennier Cano, Ian Hamilton, and Ryan Mason. Those three alone combined for 235 strikeouts in 183 MiLB innings in 2021. In addition to Moran, that’s a group that should be counted on for 1-2 spots in the 2022 season. 2021 will not scare the front office away from waiver wire pickups. The Twins did not show an ability to tweak or develop any waiver-wire pickups in 2021, a la Matt Wisler in 2020. That doesn’t mean that they should, or will, stop looking for value. The Twins need to try and add some stability to the bullpen through free agency. The organization is presented with a difficult challenge, then. Add stability to the solid bullpen foundation already in place with some consistent, reliable free-agent additions. Relief pitchers are notoriously fickle, so fleshing out the bullpen will present a tricky off-season challenge. There is no shortage of options available in the relief pitching market. I counted 92 free agent relief pitchers, with two-thirds of those having positive 2021 seasons. So who are some possibilities the Twins may target? Kendall Graveman Graveman made just $1.25 million in 2021 with the Mariners and Astros, so is due for a solid raise in advance of the 2022 season. He made all kinds of breakthroughs this season with his average fastball velocity climbing from 94.2 mph to 96.5 mph and his K/9 increasing from 7.23 to 9.80. Graveman finished the season with an xERA of 3.65 in 56 innings pitched and was acquired by the Astros at the deadline. Archie Bradley Bradley was a popular addition candidate with Twins fandom in 2020. He signed for Philadelphia on a 1-year, $6 million deal and should get a similar AAV in 2022. Bradley has strong velocity in the mid-90s but did see some concerning drop-offs in 2021. His K/9 fell to 7.1 (from a previous high of 10.9) and his control was inconsistent. It’s also worth noting that Philadelphia seems to be where relief pitching goes to die. Bradley would be a strong possibility for the Twins if the front office sees something they can tweak in his approach, as the stuff and the track record is there. Corey Knebel Knebel rebounded in 2021 after a dreadful 2020. Unsurprisingly, it was the Dodgers who helped him find his best stuff again. Knebel put together a 2.96 xERA in 25 2/3 innings, maintaining a healthy 10.5 K/9. Knebel is a true two-pitch reliever (fastball/curveball) who can run it up into the high 90s. The Dodgers trusted him to open a critical Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. Knebel was tied to the Dodgers on a 1-year, $5.25 million deal in 2021. Which of these candidates do you like or not like for the Twins bullpen? Which other free-agent relief pitchers would you like to see the Twins target?
  3. TRANSACTIONS There were no reported transactions today. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 10, Indianapolis 5 Box Score One of just three teams in the Triple-A Midwest Division with a winning record, the Saints looked to gain ground on Toledo (41-30) against Indianapolis on Wednesday night. After Indy put two on the board in the top of the first, the Saints responded with a run of their our in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Rob Refsnyder laced a double to right field to continue his red-hot rehab assignment. Ben Rortvedt followed suit with a single to left that scored Refsnyder to cut the lead to one. And while the run in the first got the party started, the main act took place in the third and fourth innings for St. Paul, racking up seven runs in the two innings. Sensational prospect Jose Miranda led off the third inning with his ninth home run on the season to knot the game at two. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Sherman Johnson knocked his fifth double of the year, plating all three runners to give the Saints a 5-2 lead. Miranda once again led the offensive forge in the fourth inning, knocking a double to left. After a Mark Contreras walk, Refsnyder crushed a homer over the right field wall to expand the St. Paul lead to 8-2. And while extra-base hits and the long ball dictated the Saints’ scoring early on, the club would add two more insurance runs in the seventh thanks to a pair of singles from Rortvedt and Jimmy Kerrigan. Miranda, Rortvedt, and Refsynder all tallied multi-hit games for the Saints. Miranda now has a .355 batting average, the highest on the team. The offensive at CHS Field was nothing short of spectacular for the Saints on Wednesday night. Yet many fans may wonder why starting pitcher Charlie Barnes only tossed one inning on the night. No, it’s not an injury or trade situation. It’s probable that the Twins will need Barnes’ arm later this week given the excess of pitchers the major league club has used in the past few days and the trade deadline. And while Barnes wasn’t amazing in his one inning, the Saints bullpen sure was. Yennier Cano (W, 1-1), Jovani Moran, Ian Hamilton, and Kyle Barraclough combined for eight innings of three run ball, giving up only three hits and striking out nine. Well done, gentlemen! The Saints’ second straight win puts them at 39-34 on the season. Unfortunately for St. Paul, Toledo also won on the evening, keeping the club three games above the Saints in the standings. Yet if there’s one thing for sure it’s that the Saints are starting to get hot when it matters. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 8, NW Arkansas 5 Box Score A night after scoring a season-high 18 runs the Wind Surge brought the bats to the Walmart-state once again on Wednesday night. Andrew Bechtold got the frenzy started in the second inning thanks to a leadoff double. BJ Boyd followed that up with his own double, scoring Bechtold from second. Aussie Aaron Whitefield decided to one-up Bechtold and Boyd with his fourth triple on the year, scoring Boyd. Whitefield scored on the next at-bat thanks to a failed pick-off move. Boyd continued his hot night with an RBI single in the third, scoring Spencer Steer from second to make it 4-0. After NW Arkansas gained a run back in the fourth, the Surge turned on the jets in the fifth for a four-run inning. Spencer Steer knocked a two-run homer to extend the lead to 6-1 and BJ Boyd followed up with a solo-shot of his own. Trey Cabbage finished off the strong inning by doubling in Aaron Whitefield to give Wichita an 8-1 lead. Starting pitcher Austin Schulfer was excellent through five innings, giving up only three hits and one run while striking out eight. Schulfer ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up back-to-back homers before striking out his final batter of the night. Schulfer has been an absolute workhorse for the Surge all season, leading his team with 16 total starts. After Schulfer left the game the Wichita bullpen sprung into action. Zach Neff, Jordan Gore, and Ryan Mason were electric, allowing zero runs in 3.2 innings while striking out six. Mason now has six saves on the year. Wichita’s win puts them at 43-31 on the year, a steady 3.5 games ahead of Arkansas for the lead in the Double-A Central North Division. The Surge are 7-3 in their last ten games and have a +46 run differential on the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Wisconsin 6 (8) Box Score Three-hit performances from Wander Javier and Matt Wallner propelled the Kernels to a high-scoring win over Wisconsin on Wednesday night in a shortened game due to rain. Wallner continued his dominant return with a two-run homer and a double and Javier laced two singles and a triple to push the Kernels to a 42-32 record in the High-A Central West division. The Kernels got things going in the second inning thanks to a Jair Camargo double that scored Yunior Severino to put the Kernels on the board. And after Wisconsin plated three of their own runs in the third, Cedar Rapids responded with seven runs in the fifth and six innings. Michael Helman led off the fifth with a leadoff first-pitch triple to center field to get the rally started. Two batters later Edouard Julien launched a homer over the right-center field wall to tie the game at three. Seth Gray followed suit with a single and was later scored by Javier’s triple. The fifth inning was only a sneak peak to what the sixth inning would offer from the Kernels’ bats. After a Helman walk Max Smith smacked his fifth homer of the year to give Cedar Rapids an 8-5 lead. Matt Wallner would follow suit with his own two-run shot in the inning to add some insurance to the Kernels’ lead. Wednesday proved that the Cedar Rapids offense is firing on as good of cylinders as they have all year. Yet there were still moments of brightness on the pitching staff that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Starting pitcher Jon Olsen struck out four batters, and relievers Derek Molina and Osiris German struck out a combined seven on the night. 11 K’s on the night for a staff? Not bad. MUSSEL MATTERS Game Postponed Wednesday’s scheduled game at Clearwater was postponed due to rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thursday. Game one will begin at 3:00 pm CST and game two will begin shortly after the completion of game one. Both games will be seven innings. COMPLEX CHRONICLES No Game The Florida Complex League Twins had an off day. However, multiple players have had standout seasons so far. Right fielder Ka’lai Rosario is off to a hot start, slashing .293/.333/.533 (.867) in 75 at-bats. The Hawaii native is among league leaders in a number of stats. He’s tied for fourth-most hits (22), is second in RBI (21), and leads the league with four triples. While he doesn’t have the at-bats of Rosario, first basemen Alexander Pena has been electric, slashing .426/.481/.532 (1.013) with 20 hits and five doubles. RHP Giovahniey German has been solid through his first four starts, going 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Opposing hitters have just a .219 AVG when facing German. Throw 'em the heater, Giovahniey! The GCL Twins return to action tomorrow afternoon, facing the FCL Pirates Black at noon. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day- Ryan Mason (Wichita)- (S, 6) 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, SO Hitter of the Day- BJ Boyd (Wichita)- 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, SO PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) –Did not play #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Game postponed #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Did not play #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – Game postponed #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SO, #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) –Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – Game postponed #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 3-for-5, RBI #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 2.77 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05PM CST) – LHP Bryan Sammons (2-3 6.29 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (7:05PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson ( 2-0. 1.87 ERA) Fort Myers @ Clearwater- Game One (3:00PM CST) – LHP Brent Headrick (3-4, 3.44 ERA) Game Two (makeup from July 28) - RHP Landon Leach (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
  4. Rocco Baldelli came into this season expecting to compete for a third straight division title. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, that reality isn’t going to play out. The second half now should be about evaluation for Minnesota. As 40-man and 26-man roster spots open up, it will be imperative for the Twins to look at fresh faces and see what they have. On the pitching side, here are some names to consider: Before individual deep dives, I think the trio of Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic, and Cole Sands all fit here. Winder needs to debut, having already made his way to Triple-A. I can understand not starting the clock on Balazovic and Sands missed time due to injury. Of the names in this article, though, these are all the premier prospect types. There's also the recent call ups and guys with little time that need extended run. Throw Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax, and now Charlie Barnes into this category. Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe (when healthy) would join them as well. Beau Burrows A former first-round pick and solid prospect for the Tigers, Burrows is now a reclamation project for the Twins. He was blown up in his Major League debut, and he was awful at Triple-A Toledo. Still just 24, Burrows is the exact type of prospect a team like the Twins should be taking a flier on. Strikeouts haven’t ever followed him in large quantities, but a new development infrastructure could bear fruit. He’ll need to accumulate a more substantial sample size at Triple-A St. Paul before getting a call but putting him out there with a tweaked repertoire may make for an interesting acquisition. Yennier Cano Signed by Minnesota back in 2019, Cano is now 27 and not a prospect. He was slow-played but has finally made his way to Triple-A St. Paul. The stuff has been legit at each professional level, and he’s currently rocking a 2.37 ERA across 30 1/3 innings between Double and Triple-A this season. With a 12.5 K/9 and just a 3.3 BB/9, that’s shaping up like an arm both Wes Johnson and Rocco Baldelli could utilize in relief. There’s not much reason to continue holding him back at this point, and Cano could resemble a late-blooming pen arm. Ian Hamilton Having been through injury, a car accident, and many hurdles halting his big league career, Hamilton is one of the few waiver claims from this winter that hasn’t shown up in Minnesota. He owns a 1.08 ERA across 25 innings for the Saints, but it comes with a gaudy 18 walks. The strikeouts are there (35), and he’s allowed just three homers which have helped limit the damage. With a high-velocity fastball, this is an arm the Twins need to take a look at before allowing him a new landing spot in 2022. Hector Lujan A 35th round pick back in 2016, Lujan has earned every single opportunity he’s been provided in pro ball. Now at Double-A Wichita, the 26-year-old owns a 2.49 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. His strikeout numbers are modest by today’s standards, but he’s been tremendous at limiting free passes (1.8 career BB/9). He pitched at Double-A back in 2019 and should already be getting run for the Saints. Maybe there isn’t a ton of upside here, but there’s also a seemingly safe floor that could factor in as a nice middle relief piece. Ryan Mason Picked in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, Mason has consistently climbed the ladder for the Twins. He’s at Double-A now and has compiled a 2.67 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. It’s been time for a promotion to Triple-A, and the 4.2 BB/9 in 2021 is uncharacteristic for a guy with a 1.9 BB/9 career mark. He gets his strikeouts, and Mason has never had an ERA north of 2.77 as a reliever. He’ll be 27 in 2022 and is already well above the average age of his current level. You’re probably not getting a high leverage guy here, but there’s no reason Mason can’t be seen as a middle innings gap guy. Jovani Moran Drafted out of school in Puerto Rico back in 2015, Moran is now 24 and playing at Double-A Wichita. It’s his second turn through the level, and he’s been dominant with a 1.91 ERA across 37 2/3 innings. He’s striking out over 15 batters per nine, and the career 4.1 BB/9 is workable in relief. Moran should get a bump to Triple-A in short order, and with some final tweaks, it could be a nice success story through a longer progression for the Twins. Chris Vallimont Minnesota acquired Vallimont alongside Sergio Romo back in 2019. He was a former 5th round draft pick and is now 24 at Double-A. The strikeout stuff has always been good, and while the walks are higher than you’d like for a starter, he’s done well to avoid damage. Vallimont owns a 3.96 ERA for Wichita this year, and despite throwing less than 40 innings, a promotion to Triple-A could make sense soon. Maybe he debuts in the bullpen for Minnesota, but I think this is an arm you’d like to see get some big-league run. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Teams were allowed to invite up to 75 players to spring training this year. 40 of the players were on the roster. Approximately 20 more players were official Non-Roster Invites. But as a means to allow teams to ease their players back into their springs and properly prepare for their seasons, another 14 to 15 players were invited to participate in the depth camp. As spring training started in February, a writer asked manager Rocco Baldelli on Zoom about the depth camp and what they would be doing. The Twins manager said, “The players in depth camp are going to be extremely important to what we do.” He continued, “They will be taking part in a lot of our fundamentals when we need them too. They’re going to be getting their work done by themselves otherwise. But, they’re going to be playing in a lot of games as well. So when these games start, I think we’re going to see our depth camp.” The Twins played 28 spring training games. Aaron Sabato, the team’s first-round draft pick last June, played in 22 of those games. He made a start or two, but in general, he came in during the middle or late innings and played first base and maybe got a plate appearance. Especially early in camp, it’s important to have a lot of pitchers to eat innings in games when the pitchers are all going just an inning or so. I recently chatted with a few of the depth camp pitchers about their experiences. Ryan Mason, a 26-year-old right-hander, went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and seven saves at Double-A Pensacola in 2019 before his season ended with an arm injury. Healthy, he was thrilled to be invited to big-league spring training. He said, “First and foremost, the experience was unforgettable. I enjoyed every moment getting the opportunity to spend time with the big-league club. The highlight for myself was obviously being able to throw in a couple of games and experience the nerves of pitching again, which was long overdue due to the circumstances of last season.” Mason finished out two innings for the Twins during spring training. He faced two batters and struck one of them out. He even recorded a Win. Matt Canterino is one of the Twins top pitching prospects. The 23-year-old was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He was able to work 4 2/3 innings over four games. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits. He walked five batters but struck out seven and certainly showed the stuff, including a 98 mph fastball, that makes him so intriguing. Canterino said, “ I really enjoyed my time on the big league side of things. The highlight for me was definitely just being able to get in some games again against really good competition. I hadn’t faced another squad since the summer of 2019, so seeing a big leaguer with a different uniform on in the batter’s box when I was pitching really got my competitive juices flowing again.” Josh Winder has seen his prospect status skyrocket since hitting 96 and 97 mph at Instructional League last October. The 6-5 right-hander was the Twins seventh round draft pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts in Cedar Rapids during his first full professional season. Winder enjoyed being around the big leaguers and observing. “It was awesome to rub shoulders with the established big league guys and see how they went about their business. The commitment and dedication to their routine/craft was the big thing that stood out to me and motivated me to make some adjustments in my approach to the game.” He also worked in four games including making one start. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on five hits, three walks and struck out five batters. For Tom Hackimer, the team’s fourth round pick in 2016 from St. John’s, he enjoyed doing something that a lot of big league pitchers haven’t been able to do. “The highlight of my spring was managing to strike out Luis Arraez during a live BP one day.” Hackimer knows many of the players on the Twins roster and has been teammates at times with several of them, including Miguel Sano. Hackimer shared a fun story from this spring. “Miguel Sanó has been making fun of how long my arms are since 2018 when he was sent down to the Miracle, then again in 2019 in Fort Myers and Pensacola while he was rehabbing. One day we were doing PFPs, and he made me stop so that he could point out to Nelson Cruz how long my arms are.” Spring Training fun! But the opportunity to observe and learn from the big league veterans and coaching staff is immensely valuable. Mason took advantage of the opportunity. “I tried to connect with as many players as possible and just talk about pretty normal stuff to reaffirm what I already knew, which is big-league players are normal and all-around great people with their own stories. Also, there is not one way to make it. Everyone paved their own path to success.” It might surprise you to read which player Winder and Canterino mentioned when asked about their surreal moment of spring. Winder noted, “Facing Josh Donaldson is Live BP was a surreal moment for me. I’ve watched him on TV for so long it was really weird seeing him up close in the box.” Canterino had a similar experience that turned into an opportunity he will never forget. He said, “One of my coolest experiences with some of the veterans came after I threw a live bullpen to some of the big league hitters. After I finished my outing, I approached Josh Donaldson and asked what he saw when I threw to him. Andrelton Simmons joined the conversation too after a little while. So the three of us ended up talking about hitting approaches and how to attack hitters for about a half hour after that.” David Banuelos, a catcher the Twins acquired in a trade with the Mariners before the 2018 season. He is known as a defense-first catcher, but he considered his first big league spring training (as a Non-Roster Invite) a “great experience,” one he learned a lot from. Banuelos also mentioned the Twins third baseman and former AL MVP.. “Listening to Donaldson talk about hitting was really cool. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit.” One of his two spring hits was a long home run on a Donaldsonic swing. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1375611075970875392 Spencer Steer was the Twins third round pick in 2019 from the University of Oregon. He was not on the original spring roster, but when Chris Williams hurt his shoulder in one of the first spring games, Steer was added to the depth group. He said, “The entire experience was incredible. I went from not knowing when I was reporting to minor league camp, to working out alongside big leaguers within a couple of days. It was a lot of fun to be able to watch the best of the best up close. I was able to learn a lot by just watching how they went about their work everyday.” In 11 games played, he had two hits in eight at bats including a long, opposite field home run. Starting pitchers Winder and Canterino are now in Ft. Myers, working to prepare and stretch out for their 2021 minor league seasons. Banuelos and Steer will be playing their first spring training games today in Ft. Myers. Relievers Mason and Hackimer are in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site preparing for their seasons and preparing themselves and others to possibly help the big-league club as we await the start of the season. More Minor League Notes Just a couple quick Twins minor league notes: Royce Lewis on Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander This week, Twins shortstop prospect Royce Lewis was on the FOX Sports Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander show. Lewis talked about a number of topics from the roles that guys like Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz have played in his life and development. He talked some about his recovery from ACL surgery. He also talks about wine, and many other topics. It’s a fun interview. Twins Sign More International Free Agents When the international signing period opened on January 15th, the Twins signed several players including top shortstop prospects Danny De Andrade and Fredy LaFlor. In the past weeks, the Twins have signed a few more players including right-handed pitcher Jose Olivares. Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote this of Oliveres: “For a while, Olivares trained as an outfielder in Venezuela, but he took off once he moved to the mound, with his velocity popping at games in the Dominican Republic last year. Previously eligible to sign in 2019, Olivares is now an 18-year-old righthander with a sturdy, physically mature frame and a fastball that has been up to 96 mph with lively riding life up in the zone. He pairs it with a good curveball that's more advanced than his changeup.” More Twins minor league coverage to come. Keep checking back.
  6. TRANSACTIONS Hopefully Tyler Duffey hadn’t already boarded a plane back to Rochester, NY after being the 26th man on Saturday and officially being returned yesterday, as he was recalled Monday. To make room on the 25-man roster, Jake Cave was optioned to Rochester. RED WINGS REPORT Scheduled Day Off The Red Wings got the day off on Monday to travel as they end six-day homestand where they went 2-3 and had another game rained out that will be made up on June 21st against the Toledo MudHens. They begin a three-game series on Tuesday against the Charlotte Knights with righthander Zack Littell on the mound, coming off a six-inning scoreless outing his last time out. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Game 1: Pensacola 1, Chattanooga 0 Box Score Starter Jorge Alcala was brilliant for 5 2/3 innings to pick up his fifth win of the year and needed to be as his offense was able to scratch across just one run on the game. Alcala retired nine men in a row from the third through the sixth inning, but a two-out single after consecutive strikeouts to open the sixth inning brought an end to his outing. He allowed just two hits and two walks, struck out four, and threw 49 of his 82 pitches for strikes, including seven swinging. The Blue Wahoos scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning after Taylor Grzelakowski drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on an Ernie De La Trinidad double, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Tanner English. Luis Arraez had three of their eight total hits on the game, a trio of singles but never got farther than second base as Pensacola was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Mason finished the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing a two-out double in the seventh to make it somewhat interesting, but bookending that with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his seventh save of the year. For those keeping track, Mason has now appeared in 11 games, totaling 16 1/3 innings pitched, allowing zero runs on eleven hits and two walks, while striking out 23. That means his ERA is a perfect 0.00, and his WHIP a stellar 0.80 so far on the year. He’s also struck out multiple hitters in his last nine appearances. Game 2: Pensacola 4, Chattanooga 5 (9 innings) Box Score The Blue Wahoos got on the scoreboard first in the fifth inning, taking a 2-0 lead after a couple of walks were followed by consecutive two-out RBI singles from Joe Cronin and Jaylin Davis. They extended that lead to 4-0 in the seventh when Luis Arraez drove in two with a two-out bases-loaded single. Those insurance runs wouldn’t be enough however, as in their final chance the Lookouts got one big swing of the bat to extend the game. After Alex Phillips loaded the bases, lefty Tyler Jay was brought in from the bullpen to face Chattanooga’s cleanup hitter, and he sent an 0-1 pitch into the seats for a game-tying grand slam. Jay was later saved from losing the game by a ground-rule double for escaping to send it to extra innings. He would remain in the game and delivered a scoreless eighth, but the first hitter of the ninth snuck a base hit into center field and the winning run came home. Pensacola took a bullpen approach to game two, with Adam Bray making the start and getting through 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and struck out three. Sam Clay pitched the next 1 2/3 giving up a hit and a walk while striking out one. Phillips was responsible for most of the comeback, as he was charged with three runs on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3. He struck out one. Jay allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in his 1 2/3 innings, striking out two. The lineup for the Blue Wahoos tallied just six singles and three walks on the day and were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. MIRACLE MATTERS Bradenton 2, Fort Myers 8 Box Score Fort Myers poured it on late to put away the Marauders, but before that newly minted pitching phenom Jordan Balazovic chewed through his opposition. For his second start in a row, Balazovic struck out double-digit hitters, but in this one also set a new career high for K’s in a game with 12. He did run up a bit of pitch count to get there, as he only finished five innings with his 94 pitches and also walked four, but is hard to complain about two runs allowed when it’s all said and done with that amount of punchouts. He struck out three hitters in a row on two separate occasions and all three outs via K’s in two other frames. Of his 59 strikes, an astounding 22 were of the swing and miss variety. Calvin Faucher and Anthony Vizcaya combined to toss four innings of scoreless relief (two innings apiece), allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five between them. Faucher notched his fourth hold, while Vizcaya picked up his fourth save. The Miracle took the lead 3-2 in the fourth after a solo home run from Michael Helman, extended it to 4-2 after a Trevor Larnach RBI-double in the seventh, then blew it open with a four run eighth. Helman (single), Royce Lewis (double), Larnach (single), and Ryan Jeffers (double) all drove in a run in the inning. On the game Larnach led the charge by going 4-for-5 with two RBI, while Helman and Ryan Costello each also added two hits to the effort. Lewis scored three runs by chipping in a walk and two stolen bases to go along with his double in a 1-for-4 night at the dish. After hitting just .209 in the month of April, Lewis is at .292 so far in May with five multiple hit games in his last eleven. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Righthander Josh Winder took the mound for the Kernels in game one and followed his eight-inning gem on May 6th with a complete game in this one. Because of the doubleheader it was *only* seven innings, but he kept the River Bandits in check when it mattered, finishing by allowing four earned runs on five hits and four walks, while striking out three. Of his 102 pitches on the game, 65 went for strikes (64%). The Cedar Rapids lineup put things at ease for Winder with two big innings, including the bottom of the first. Three of the first four batters of the game for the Kernels reached by via walk or a hit-by-pitch, then an RBI groundout from Gabe Snyder, an RBI single Gilberto Celestino, and two-RBI single by Gabriel Maciel made it 4-0. In the fourth, a three-run bomb from Snyder and two-RBI double from Andrew Bechtold added five more runs for the home team’s final tally. Game 2: Quad Cities 7, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Cedar Rapids wasn’t able to continue their offensive barrage from the first game of the day, as they were being no-hit through 4 2/3 innings. Gabriel Maciel broke that bid up in the fifth with a two-out single, but that would basically be it for the home team on the game. They had just four chances with runners in scoring position and were unable to capitalize. Gabe Snyder added his fifth double of the year and Yeltsin Encarnacion added a single to account for their three hits in the nightcap. Austin Schulfer got the start for the Kernels and finished three innings. He was hit for three runs in the third after a two-run triple and an RBI single to end his day. He allowed those three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out one. Carlos Suniago chipped in two scoreless innings, striking out three to keep his team within striking distance, but Jose Martinez followed by allowing three more runs in the sixth on two hits and three walks to make it 6-0 Quad Cities. Moises Gomez came on for the final frame, and a leadoff triple led to a sac fly before finishing the game. He struck out one. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic, Fort Myers Miracle (W, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 12 K) Hitter of the Day – Trevor Larnach, Fort Myers Miracle (4-for-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, 3 R, 2B (6), BB, K, 2 SB (8) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 2-for-8, K (2 games) #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-5, R, 2B (12), 2 RBI #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No game #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - No game #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - No game #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Did not play #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - No game #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, 2B (5), RBI BB, K #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - Did not play #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-6, 2 R, BB, K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - No game #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - No game #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - W, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-5, RBI WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Charlotte (6:04PM CST) – RHP Zack Littell (2-2, 3.82 ERA) Pensacola @ Chattanooga (6:15PM CST) - RHP Brusdar Graterol (4-0, 1.91 ERA) Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30PM CST) – RHP Edwar Colina (0-1, 11.57 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Luis Rijo (0-3, 4.05 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Monday’s games!
  7. Normally, we write up a Top 4 or Top 5 and then highlight several honorable mentions. This month, there were six relievers that really stood out. We will profile all six of them. THE TOP SIX RELIEF PITCHERS #6 - Joe Record - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 6 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.27 WHIP, 7.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 15 K I thought about putting Record in an Honorable Mention section only because of the innings, but his numbers when he did pitch were so incredible, so dominant, I wanted to write a bit about him. It is important to remember that after the Twins took Record in the 28th round in 2017 out of UC-Santa Barbara, he soon had Tommy John surgery. So April was his professional debut after missing two years. Obviously the Twins were going to be cautious with him, especially in the cold of the Midwest League, which explains the lack of innings. But in that limited time, batters hit just .040 (.151) against him. He struck out more than two batters per innings. And, after one more scoreless inning, and his fifth save, on May 1st, the 24-year-old was promoted to Ft. Myers. #5 - Cody Stashak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 7 G, 2.53 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 16 K Stashak was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2015 out of St. Johns. He signed and spent his first three pro seasons as a starter. In 2018, he was moved to the bullpen and named to the Twins Daily 2018 Minor League All Star team after a terrific season in Chattanooga. He returns to AA this year with Pensacola and got off to a very good start. As he has done through his career, Stashak throws a lot of strikes, but out of the bullpen, he has been able to increase his velocity some and miss more bats. He limits hard contact. Definitely ready to move up to Rochester. #4 - Dusten Knight - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 7 G, 1.59 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 4 H, 3 BB,14 K Knight came to the Twins last December in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft after spending the first six seasons of his pro career in the Giants organization. The righty was San Francisco’s 28th-round pick in 2013 out of college. He had a great April in the Twins organization. He limited base runners, threw strikes and when he did give up base runners, he limited damage. He pitched in seven games, finished six of them, went 1-0 and completed five saves. At this stage, he is probably best known for his post-saves back flip in front of the mound. Unfortunately, on May 1st, he was placed on the restricted list which typically means that he will be out for the next two months or more. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1116528545847812102 #3 - Tom Hackimer - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 0.68 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 2 H, 7 BB, 23 K Hackimer returned to the mound early in the 2019 season after missing most of the 2018 with an injury. In early October, he had a bicep tendon transfer surgery. He got a late start in spring training but he’s back and he’s been really good. The side-winding right-hander was completely dominant. Not only is he not allowing base runners (other than a few too many walks), but he is missing a lot of bats. Again, Hackimer is a guy who should move up to Double-A quickly. #2 - Alex Phillips - Ft. Myers Miracle - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 20 K Alex Phillips is an interesting case. Out of high school in Texas, he went to Arkansas and was good. He went to a junior college the next year (2015). Unfortunately, he had Tommy John surgery so he didn’t pitch again until 2017 when he attended Baylor. In 2018, he went 7-1 with a 2.40 ERA for Baylor but didn’t get drafted. He went to Evansville in the Frontier League. However, after 16 games there the Twins called and sent him to Ft. Myers. He pitched in two games for the Miracle before pitching more and pitching well in the Miracle’s run to the Florida State League championship. The 24-year-old started this year with the Miracle but as the calendar changed to May, Phillips was promoted to Pensacola. Phillips is blessed with a mid-90s fastball and an ability to throw strikes and miss bats. Most months, this resume and those results would win the top honors. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Pensacola Blue Wahoos – RHP Ryan Mason - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 16 K Ryan Mason was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2016 out of California where he was a starter. Since his first full season of pro ball, he has worked out of the bullpen, and been very good. In 2017, he posted a 2.01 ERA in Cedar Rapids. That’s where he began 2018 but after three games he moved up to Ft. Myers. There he went 9-3 with five saves and a 2.84 ERA over 36 games and 69 2/3 innings. In April alone, Mason had four saves, splitting late-inning duties with Dusten Knight. Mason throws a lot of strikes and he gets a lot of movement. In the month, his 16 strikeouts to one walk ratio was remarkable. He worked high-leverage situations, threw a lot of strikes, missed a lot of bats and didn’t give up runs. Mason can be an intimidating opponent on the mound. He stands 6-6 and is lean and strong. He has a grizzly beard and an animated delivery that makes his low-to-mid 90s fastball appear a little quicker than it is. He is able to keep hitters off balance with solid secondary pitches. He is able to work the eighth or ninth inning, and he is able to eat two or three innings when needed. That is important because when the Twins have a need in the big leagues, it could be for one inning, or three innings, at a time. There were some really strong relief pitcher performances in April throughout the Twins minor league system. I mean, how do you pick between 0.00 ERAs? It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today. Congratulations to Ryan Mason, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April 2019.
  8. Keep reading to find out more on the night in the Twins minor league system on Monday. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS Infielder Leonardo Reginnato was placed on the Rochester disabled list with a fracture in his left hand. Andy Wilkins was promoted from Chattanooga to Rochester. Also, Fernando Romero rejoined the Red Wings. Lewis Thorpe and Alex Kirilloff were removed from the temporary Inactive List of the Lookouts and Miracle, respectively. Infielder Yeltsin Encarnacion and RHP Tanner Howell have been promoted from the GCL Twins to the Elizabethton Twins. RHP Niklas Rimmel has moved from the E-Twins to the GCL. Finally, Miguel Sano was placed on the temporary inactive list. According to Twins farm director Jeremy Zoll, via Mike Berardino on Twitter, Sano has returned to the Dominican Republic due to a “family situation.” Obviously we wish Sano and his family the best. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/1018982883179024384 In addition, Darren “Doogie” Wolfson tweeted that the plan was for Trevor Larnach to get to Elizabethton on Monday and make his pro debut with the E-Twins on Wednesday. https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1018903564377317376 RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 13, Louisville 6 Box Score Zack Littell started and went just 4 1/3 innings. He was charged with five runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out five batters. Gabriel Moya recorded five outs, four of them on strikeouts. Trevor May struck out three over two scoreless innings. Nick Anderson gave up a solo homer in the ninth, but he struck out the other three batters he faced. LaMonte Wade went 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Taylor Motter went 2-for-4 with a walk, his fourth double and his second Red Wings homer. Kennys Vargas had two hits and a walk. Jordan Pacheco also had two hits. Andy Wilkins knocked a grand slam in his first game with the Red Wings. The 29-year-old Wilkins has big league time with the White Sox (2014) and the Brewers (2016). CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Game 1: Chattanooga 7, Montgomery 11 Box Score After completing just two innings on Sunday, these teams resumed the game on Monday. Sean Poppen had started on Sunday and threw two scoreless innings, striking out four. When play resumed Monday, lefty Dietrich Enns was on the mound. It didn’t go well. He was charged with eight earned runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked on and struck out one. Todd Van Steensel came on and was charged with three runs on three hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. William Ramirez struck out two in a scoreless inning. Jaylin Davis led the offense. He went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and stole his second base. Luis Arraez went 2-for-5 with his first double. Tanner English went 2-for-4 with his 11th double. Jordan Gore had two hits, including his first AA double. Zander Wiel also had two hits. Game 2: Chattanooga 8, Montgomery 1 Box Score The regularly-scheduled game was just a seven inning affair. Jaylin Davis had another 3-for-4 game. Tanner English hit his third home run, driving in three runs. Alex Perez had a hit, a walk and was hit by a pitch. Jimmy Kerrigan and Jordan Gore each had two walks. It was a bullpen game for the Lookouts. Tyler Jay started and threw two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and struck out two batters. Ryan Eades gave up one run over the next two innings. He struck out four. Lefties Sam Clay and Ryne Harper combined for three shutout innings. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 7, St. Lucie 4 Box Score Mark Contreras has been a pleasant surprise throughout the season, starting in Cedar Rapids and especially since moving up to Ft. Myers. On this night, he went 3-for-4 with his sixth home run and two RBIs. Travis Blankenhorn went 2-for-3 with a walk, his 17th double and three RBIs. Clark Beeker started and went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out three. Ryan Mason came on and gave up just two hits over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two. Hector Lujan worked a scoreless inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Lake County 4 Box Score Randy Dobnak doing Randy Dobnak things. When the Kernels need innings, Dobnak provides them. He improved to 7-2 with seven solid innings. He was charged with three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out seven. Jared Finkel gave up a solo homer in the ninth innings, but he struck out three over the final two innings. Trey Cabbage was the subject of Steve Buhr’s article this week. The article talked about how well he’s been hitting on the road. Well, in this game, he went 3-for-5 with his 13th and 14th doubles. David Banuelos went 3-for-4 with his 12th double and three RBI. Jose Miranda, fresh off being named the Midwest League’s Player of the Week, went 3-for-4 with his 20th double. Ben Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a walk and his ninth and tenth doubles. Jean Carlos Arias went 2-for-4 with his 11th double. He also stole his sixth base. Ariel Montesino added his first double since joining the Kernels recently. E-TWINS E-TALK Elizabethton 4, Kingsport 14 Box Score After scoring in double digits in five of their last six games, the E-Twins had it done against them. Pedro Garcia started and gave up six runs on five hits and four walks over 2 1/3 innings. He struck out three. Seth Pinkerton came on and went the next 2 1/3 innings. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on two hits and five walks. He struck out four. Juan Gamez then gave up just one run over the next 2 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Tanner Howell made his Appy League debut and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Derek Molina walked two but got the final out. Ryan Jeffers and Alex Robles each went 2-for-4 with a walk. Chris Williams also had two hits. Yunior Severino hit his third home run of the season. GCL TWINS TALK GCL Twins 2, GCL Orioles 9 Box Score The Twins got a solid start from Prelander Berroa on Monday. The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits and two walks over the game’s first five innings. He struck out two. Petru Balan came on and gave up two runs on four hits and two walks over the next two innings. He struck out three. It was his seventh outing of the season, the first in which he gave up any runs. Dylan Stowell came on for the final two innings. He gave up five runs on seven hits. The Twins had six hits and four walks in the game. Agustin Marte went 2-for-4 with his first double of the season. Yeison Perez walked and hit his fifth double. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Jaylin Davis, Chattanooga Lookouts (6-8, R, 3 RBI, K) Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Ryan Mason, Ft. Myers Miracle (3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed. Please note that this Prospect Summary has been updated. #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Ft. Myers) - Did not play. #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch. #4 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 1-5, 2B(10), 2 R, 2 K #5 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Did not pitch. #6 - Trevor Larnach (Elizabethton) - Not playing yet. Could play by Wednesday (per Doogie) #7 - Brent Rooker (Chattanooga) - 0-5, 3 K #8 - Akil Baddoo (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, R, 3 K #9 -Wander Javier - out of for the season #10 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did not pitch. #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch. #12 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 3-4, BB, R, 2 RBI #13 - Travis Blankenhorn (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, BB, 2B(17), 3 RBI, K #14 - Lewis Thorpe (Chattanooga) - Did not pitch. #15 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - Did not play. #16 - Yunior Severino (Elizabethton) - 1-4, BB, HR(3), RBI, 2 R, 2 K #17 - Lewin Diaz (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, 3 K #18 - Ryan Jeffers (Elizabethton) - 2-4, BB, K, R #19 - Jacob Pearson (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, RBI SF, 3 K #20 - Luis Arraez (Chattanooga) - 2-9, 2B(1), R, RBI, K #21 - Jose Miranda (Cedar Rapids) - 3-4, 2B(20), 2 R, *I figured that since Wander Javier is out, I’d add #21 to the list. TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ Rochester (10:05 CST) - LHP Adalberto Mejia (5-2, 2.56 ERA) Chattanooga - No Game Scheduled St. Lucie @ Ft.. Myers (6:00 CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes (3-5, 3.19 ERA) Cedar Rapids - No Game Scheduled Elizabethton - No Game Scheduled GCL Twins @ GCL Orioles (9:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions about Monday’s games, or ask any questions you may have.
  9. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION Tyler Duffey - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 11.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP. Matt Magill - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP. Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 8 G, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP Todd Van Steensel - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIP THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Kevin Marnon - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 14 K Kevin Marnon went undrafted last year after his college career, a career that took him to East Tennessee State, Akron and Ball State. He went to the USPBL, but soon after, the Twins called him and he signed. The 6-8 left-hander began the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. As you can see, he did a nice job out of the Kernels bullpen. He worked two innings most times and once worked in five innings in an extra-innings game. As the calendar changed from April to May, Marnon learned that he had been promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle. #4 - John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 17 K Curtiss was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas. In college, he had both thoracic outlet surgery and Tommy John surgery. He missed time his first full season in the minor leagues. However, the last two seasons, he has been as good as any other pitcher in the system and moved up very quickly. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and ended the year with nine games with the Twins. He had a really good April with the Red Wings and earned his promotion to the Twins at the end of the month. He was returned to Rochester last night where he’ll jump back into late-inning relief work. #3 - DJ Baxendale - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G (2 GS), 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 9 K Baxendale was the Twins 10th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas. He began his career as a starter, but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent years. He’s worked in many roles including short-relief, long-relief and spot starting, a role he has continued to have in 2018. Baxendale was very good in April. While he isn’t a strikeout pitcher, he works fast and has a real good slider and good control. #2 - Ryan Mason - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 19 K Mason led all Twins minor league relievers in innings pitched in April. It’s impressive, in part, because he received a promotion to Ft. Myers mid-month. He moved up and didn’t miss a beat. He’s mostly been working two to three innings late in games. He went 2-1 with three saves in his eight outings. At 6-6, he was drafted in the 13th round out of Cal-Berkeley in 2016. He’s got a good fastball, and he can throw as many as four pitches thanks to his college years as a starter. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – RHP Nick Anderson - 6 G, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 17 K Anderson won this month award a couple of times in 2017 and was a finalist for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He spent most of 2017 in Chattanooga, but he jumped right to Rochester to start the 2018 season. He continues to do what he has done since signing with the Twins. He throws a lot of strikes. He throws hard, mid-90s, touching 97. He’s got a wipeout slider. He’s able to miss bats. Opponents hit just .162 off of him for the month. While he is not on the 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see if he is given an opportunity with the big league club in 2018. For those still unaware, Anderson’s is a great story. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud State for three years before heading to Mayville State for a season. The Brewers drafted him, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. After working in the indy leagues for a few seasons, the Twins signed him late in 2015, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever wherever he’s played. He is in his first season with the Rochester Red Wings. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in April throughout the Twins minor league system. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April 2018, Nick Anderson.
  10. TRANSACTIONS Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Rochester (but you'll be happy to know that he just keeps hitting). Brady Anderson was sent back to Fort Myers from Rochester. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Gwinnett 2 Box Score W: Aaron Slegers (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) SV: Matt Magill (1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) HR: Brock Stassi (1) Multi-hit games: Ryan Lamarre (2-for-3, BB, RBI) Gregorio Petit (2-for-4, 3B, 2 R) It took the Red Wings’ offense some time to get rolling, so it was good Aaron Slegers brought his A game. He pitched six shutout innings in a game that was tied at 0-0 through five innings. Rochester built a 4-0 lead, but Adalberto Mejia ran into some trouble in his relief appearance. He pitched clean innings in the seventh and eighth frames, but things got interesting in the ninth. Mejia issued a leadoff walk, the next batter reached on an error which was followed with an RBI single. Mejia was charged with one earned run on a hit, two walks and a hit batter over his two innings, but he also struck out four batters. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 3, Pensacola 2 Box Score W: Todd Van Steensel (2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) SV: Omar Bencomo (2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) SP: Lewis Thorpe (4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) HR: None Multi-hit games: LaMonte Wade (2-for-4, 2 RBI) Nick Gordon (2-for-4, RBI, SB) The Lookouts entered the fifth inning trailing 2-0 but rallied to take the lead. T.J White led off the frame with a single and Brent Rooker followed suit. Brian Navarreto advanced them both on a sac bunt, then Ryan Walker lived up to his name and drew a base on balls to load ‘em up. Tanner English went down swinging, bringing LaMonte Wade up with the bases juiced and two outs. He delivered a two-run, game-tying single and Nick Gordon capped the inning by driving in the go-ahead run on a single of his own. Lewis Thorpe gave up two runs over four innings, one of them unearned due to his own throwing error. The bullpen shut out the Blue Wahoos from there, with Todd Van Steensel (two innings) Anthony McIver (one inning) and Omar Bencomo (two innings) protecting the one-run lead. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 5, Tampa 4 Box Score W: Phil Hughes (5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) SV: Ryan Mason (2 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) HR: None Multi-hit games: Aaron Whitefield (2-for-4, 2B, R, SB) Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R) Phil Hughes pitched five shutout innings and 44 of his 61 pitches were for strikes (72.1 percent). Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press passed along on Twitter that this lines Hughes up to return April 24 at Yankee Stadium. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/985301370537431041 Similar to the Rochester game, the Miracle also jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Colton Davis, the first man out of the bullpen ran into some trouble, but Ryan Mason righted the ship. Mason, making his first appearance since being called up from Cedar Rapids, entered the game with the Miracle clinging to a one-run lead. There were two men on base and two outs in the seventh inning. Mason struck out the next batter swinging to end the threat. It was Mason’s game from there, as he closed things out to earn his third save already in this young season (he had two with the Kernels). KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids vs. Clinton Postponed (rain) STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Ryan Mason Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: LaMonte Wade TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: #3 Nick Gordon: 2-for-4, RBI, SB #7 Brent Rooker: 1-for-4, R, K #12 Lewis Thorpe: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K #13 Lewin Diaz: 0-for-4, K #14 LaMonte Wade: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, K #17 Travis Blankenhorn: 0-for-3, BB, RBI SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Gwinnett (12:05 pm CT), Fernando Romero Chattanooga at Pensacola (1:05 pm CT), Kohl Stewart Fort Myers vs. Tampa (3:00 pm CT), Clark Beeker Cedar Rapids vs. Clinton (2:05 pm CT), Blayne Enlow Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  11. With that, let’s get to the Minor League Report for Wednesday. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Syracuse 6 Box Score There were some firsts for the Red Wings in this game, but it was also the second Red Wings start for lefty Adalberto Mejia. He gave up five runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Neil Ramirez threw the seventh inning. He gave up one run on two hits and a walk but he struck out one. Alex Wimmers gave up one hit in a scoreless eighth inning. Byron Buxton pinch ran for the Red Wings late in their Tuesday night game. On Wednesday, he made his first start since his demotion. He went 0-3 with two walks and a stolen base. Mitch Garver played in his first AAA game. He batted seventh and was behind the plate. He went 1-3 with a walk. Leonardo was promoted with Garver. He played third base and batted ninth. He also had his first hit. Tommy Field went 3-5 with his 14th double and two RBI. James Beresford went 2-4 with an RBI. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga Box Score It was a scheduled day off on Wednesday for the Lookouts. They will begin a series in Birmingham on Thursday. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 1, St. Lucie 3 Box Score The Miracle were supposed to play two games on Wednesday. They got one in, and the second one was suspended after a half-inning. In the game that was played, the Miracle managed just three hits in the game. Nick Gordon had an RBI single. Joe Maloney went 1-2 with a walk and his fifth stolen base. Randy LeBlanc started. He gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks in four innings. He struck out four. Michael Theofanopoulos struck out two and walked one in two scoreless innings. John Curtiss struck out two in a perfect seventh inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids Box Score The Kernels had the day off as they traveled east to start a series in Kane County. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 4, Kingsport 0 Box Score Ryan Mason put together his best start as a pro. Granted, it was just his sixth start as a pro, but the start on Wednesday night was very good. He threw six shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out three. Alex Robinson walked two and struck out three over two hitless, scoreless innings. Johan Quezada struck out one in a perfect ninth. Alex Kirilloff was at it again on Wednesday. The first-round pick went 2-3 with a walk and two RBI. He’s now hitting .361 on the season. Andre Jernigan went 2-4. Hank Morrison was back in the lineup for the first time in a month. He added his first pro triple. GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1 - GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles 4 Box Score Canadian Jordan Balazovic made another start. The lefty went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on two hits and a walk. He struck out four. Clark Beeker struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits. The Twins had just six hits, no one had more than one. Jorge Munoz hit his seventh double. Jean Carlos Arias then added a pinch-hit double, his fourth. Max Murphy played his first rehab game and went 0-2 with a strikeout. Game 2 - GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 2 Box Score Taylor Clemensia continues to pitch well. In this game, he gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out seven. Onas Farfan picked up his third save. He struck out two over two perfect innings. Aaron Whitefield had another strong game. He went 3-3 with a walk and stole two more bases. He has 24 steals on the season. Lean Marrero went 2-3 with his first triple. Dominic Blanco went 2-3. Emmanuel Morel went 1-1 with his second double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Ryan Mason, Elizabethton Twins Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Tommy Field, Rochester Red Wings THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (5:35 CST) - LHP Nick Greenwood Chattanooga @ Birmingham (7:05 CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Kingsport @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) - RHP Alex Schik GCL Twins @ GCL Orioles (11:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday's games.
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