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  1. A pitcher tossed five no-hit innings. A veteran made the first start of his minor league career and did great. A top prospect continued to power his team's offense. But with the regular season finishing this weekend, a couple of Twins affiliates played games with major playoff implications. TRANSACTIONS Wichita Wind Surge activated RHP Adam Lau from the temporarily inactive list. Cedar Rapids Kernels activated RHP Ryan Shreve from the 7-day injured list. Cedar Rapids Kernels placed RHP Steven Cruz on the 7-day injured list. RHPs Travis Adams and Johnathan Lavallee, both 2021 draft picks, were assigned to the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 0 Box Score Jose Miranda had another big game for the Saints, but when a team tosses a two-hit shutout, we'll lead with that. Veteran Derek Law could have become a free agent when the Twins DFAd him for a second time this season recently. Instead, he accepted his assignment to the Saints and has been extended. In his career, he had pitched in 231 minor league games, all out of the bullpen. On this night, he made the start and worked a career-high four innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd came on, and despite walking three batters and giving up a hit, he did not allow a run. Vinny Nittoli tossed two scoreless before Robinson Leyer completed the shutout with a perfect ninth inning. Back to Miranda because, let's be honest, that's what we're all here for. Miranda went 3-for-5 with his 19th Saints double, and his 15th Saints home run (28th overall). He drove in four of the team's runs. Jimmy Kerrigan was also 3-for-5 on the night. BJ Boyd drove in two runs with a double. Mark Contreras his his 25th double of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 3, Arkansas 2 Box Score Chris Vallimont has had his ups and downs this season, but on Thursday night, he was on the mound with the opportunity to put the Wind Surge in the playoffs. He put together a very solid start. He started with five scoreless innings before allowing a solo homer to Jack Larsen in the top of the sixth inning. Overall, he gave up just the one run in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up just two hits, walked four and struck out four batters. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Ernie de la Trinidad gave the Wind Surge a 2-1 lead with a two-run single. Later in the inning, the Arkansas catcher tried to pick off Andrew Bechtold at third base, but he threw it away allowing Bechtold to score and put Wichita ahead by a score of 3-1. Erik Manoah got the final out of the sixth inning and then worked two more scoreless frames. He struck out four and walked none. Adam Lau came off the IL earlier in the day got the ninth inning. He got the first two outs, on a fly out and a strikeout. However, he walked the next batter. That brought up pinch hitter Joe Rizzo representing the game-tying run. Rizzo drove in a run to cut the lead to 3-2 with a bloop single to center. However, the next batter - another pinch hitter - popped out to center fielder Austin Martin to end the game and place the Wind Surge in the playoffs. Trey Cabbage and Jermaine Palacios each went 2-for-4 in the game. Palacios hit his 17th double. Stevie Berman not only caught a great game, but he went 2-for-3 at the plate with his sixth double. Congratulations to the Wichita Wind Surge on making the playoffs in their first season as a Twins affiliate! KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 1 Box Score Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for second place in the High-A Central League. They were one game ahead of Great Lakes. Just one of those teams will make the playoffs. The game was pretty quiet early. Through the sixth inning, the Kernels found themselves down by a score of 3-1. However, Edouard Julien came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a bases-clearing double to give Cedar Rapids a 4-3 lead. Aaron Sabato then drove in Julien with a sacrifice fly to give the Kernels a 5-3 lead. It was a lead that the Kernels bullpen was able to hold. It was an important win as both Lake County and Great Lakes won their games on Thursday as well. Each team has three games remaining on their schedules. Sean Mooney got the start for the Kernels. He worked the first five innings and did not give up a hit. He was charged with one run on two walks and a hit batter. He struck out seven hitters. Lefty Denny Bentley came in to start the sixth inning. He recorded just one out and was charged with two runs on four hits. Osiris German came on and gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Zach Featherstone recorded the final out of the eighth inning before striking out the side in the ninth inning for the Save. All four outs he recorded came on strikeouts. Matt Wallner went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the team's first run with a single in the fourth inning. Jair Camargo was also 2-for-3 with a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers, Tampa (Suspended in 1st inning) Box Score Rains have won the day most of the time in recent weeks down in Florida. On Thursday, night, right-hander Jackson Hicks made his Mussels debut, but after just seven pitches and a single to the one batter he faced, the game was suspended. It will be continued on Friday. Unfortunately, the second game of Thursday's doubleheader has simply been cancelled. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday night. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 6, FCL Twins 4 Box Score Two extra-base hits from Endy Rodriguez wasn't enough to propel the FCL Twins to a win on Thursday afternoon in the Sunshine State. Rodriguez tallied two hits and two runs in the loss. The first of those hits came in the third inning when Rodriguez launched a triple to right field. He scored on the next at-bat thanks to a single from Noah Miller. After walking in the seventh, Rodriguez scored on a groundout fielder's choice from Kal'ai Rosario, who had a double on the day. Rodriguez also doubled with two outs in the ninth inning but did not score. Twins starter Travis Adams went 1 1/3 innings in his professional debut. He gave up three runs on two hits while walking two and striking out three batters. Jordan Carr came on and was charged with an unearned run in 1 2/3 innings. Johnathan Lavallee came on for his pro debut. He worked two innings. He gave up one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three batters with no walks. Erasmo Moreno carried the bulk of the Twins bullpen, tossing four innings of one-run, two hit ball while striking out four hitters. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Derek Law (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, BB #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, BB, RBI, K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-4, BB, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - No Game (Paternity List) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4 FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Jason Garcia (0-0, 14.40 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (3-2, 2.63 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (First Kernels Start, 4-2, 3.02 ERA in Ft. Myers) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (6:00 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! View full article
  2. TRANSACTIONS Wichita Wind Surge activated RHP Adam Lau from the temporarily inactive list. Cedar Rapids Kernels activated RHP Ryan Shreve from the 7-day injured list. Cedar Rapids Kernels placed RHP Steven Cruz on the 7-day injured list. RHPs Travis Adams and Johnathan Lavallee, both 2021 draft picks, were assigned to the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 0 Box Score Jose Miranda had another big game for the Saints, but when a team tosses a two-hit shutout, we'll lead with that. Veteran Derek Law could have become a free agent when the Twins DFAd him for a second time this season recently. Instead, he accepted his assignment to the Saints and has been extended. In his career, he had pitched in 231 minor league games, all out of the bullpen. On this night, he made the start and worked a career-high four innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd came on, and despite walking three batters and giving up a hit, he did not allow a run. Vinny Nittoli tossed two scoreless before Robinson Leyer completed the shutout with a perfect ninth inning. Back to Miranda because, let's be honest, that's what we're all here for. Miranda went 3-for-5 with his 19th Saints double, and his 15th Saints home run (28th overall). He drove in four of the team's runs. Jimmy Kerrigan was also 3-for-5 on the night. BJ Boyd drove in two runs with a double. Mark Contreras his his 25th double of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 3, Arkansas 2 Box Score Chris Vallimont has had his ups and downs this season, but on Thursday night, he was on the mound with the opportunity to put the Wind Surge in the playoffs. He put together a very solid start. He started with five scoreless innings before allowing a solo homer to Jack Larsen in the top of the sixth inning. Overall, he gave up just the one run in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up just two hits, walked four and struck out four batters. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Ernie de la Trinidad gave the Wind Surge a 2-1 lead with a two-run single. Later in the inning, the Arkansas catcher tried to pick off Andrew Bechtold at third base, but he threw it away allowing Bechtold to score and put Wichita ahead by a score of 3-1. Erik Manoah got the final out of the sixth inning and then worked two more scoreless frames. He struck out four and walked none. Adam Lau came off the IL earlier in the day got the ninth inning. He got the first two outs, on a fly out and a strikeout. However, he walked the next batter. That brought up pinch hitter Joe Rizzo representing the game-tying run. Rizzo drove in a run to cut the lead to 3-2 with a bloop single to center. However, the next batter - another pinch hitter - popped out to center fielder Austin Martin to end the game and place the Wind Surge in the playoffs. Trey Cabbage and Jermaine Palacios each went 2-for-4 in the game. Palacios hit his 17th double. Stevie Berman not only caught a great game, but he went 2-for-3 at the plate with his sixth double. Congratulations to the Wichita Wind Surge on making the playoffs in their first season as a Twins affiliate! KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 1 Box Score Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for second place in the High-A Central League. They were one game ahead of Great Lakes. Just one of those teams will make the playoffs. The game was pretty quiet early. Through the sixth inning, the Kernels found themselves down by a score of 3-1. However, Edouard Julien came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a bases-clearing double to give Cedar Rapids a 4-3 lead. Aaron Sabato then drove in Julien with a sacrifice fly to give the Kernels a 5-3 lead. It was a lead that the Kernels bullpen was able to hold. It was an important win as both Lake County and Great Lakes won their games on Thursday as well. Each team has three games remaining on their schedules. Sean Mooney got the start for the Kernels. He worked the first five innings and did not give up a hit. He was charged with one run on two walks and a hit batter. He struck out seven hitters. Lefty Denny Bentley came in to start the sixth inning. He recorded just one out and was charged with two runs on four hits. Osiris German came on and gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Zach Featherstone recorded the final out of the eighth inning before striking out the side in the ninth inning for the Save. All four outs he recorded came on strikeouts. Matt Wallner went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the team's first run with a single in the fourth inning. Jair Camargo was also 2-for-3 with a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers, Tampa (Suspended in 1st inning) Box Score Rains have won the day most of the time in recent weeks down in Florida. On Thursday, night, right-hander Jackson Hicks made his Mussels debut, but after just seven pitches and a single to the one batter he faced, the game was suspended. It will be continued on Friday. Unfortunately, the second game of Thursday's doubleheader has simply been cancelled. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday night. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 6, FCL Twins 4 Box Score Two extra-base hits from Endy Rodriguez wasn't enough to propel the FCL Twins to a win on Thursday afternoon in the Sunshine State. Rodriguez tallied two hits and two runs in the loss. The first of those hits came in the third inning when Rodriguez launched a triple to right field. He scored on the next at-bat thanks to a single from Noah Miller. After walking in the seventh, Rodriguez scored on a groundout fielder's choice from Kal'ai Rosario, who had a double on the day. Rodriguez also doubled with two outs in the ninth inning but did not score. Twins starter Travis Adams went 1 1/3 innings in his professional debut. He gave up three runs on two hits while walking two and striking out three batters. Jordan Carr came on and was charged with an unearned run in 1 2/3 innings. Johnathan Lavallee came on for his pro debut. He worked two innings. He gave up one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three batters with no walks. Erasmo Moreno carried the bulk of the Twins bullpen, tossing four innings of one-run, two hit ball while striking out four hitters. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Derek Law (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, BB #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, BB, RBI, K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-4, BB, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - No Game (Paternity List) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4 FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Jason Garcia (0-0, 14.40 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (3-2, 2.63 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (First Kernels Start, 4-2, 3.02 ERA in Ft. Myers) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (6:00 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games!
  3. Bailey Ober wasn’t a top prospect headed into 2021 but now looks like a fixture in the 2022 rotation. While not a highly-touted arm, Ober has vaulted himself into the Twins plans. Who could be the next Bailey Ober in 2022? There appear to be plenty of innings to go around in 2022. While we hope to see prospects such as Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran debut, Bailey Ober is proof that it isn’t always the shiny top prospect that storms into the Major Leagues. The Twins have a few arms in the minors who could be a pleasant surprise to the MLB club next season. Drew Strotman - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 17 The less-hyped player in the Nelson Cruz return this summer, Strotman went straight to St. Paul upon his arrival where it appears he’ll finish his season. Once a strong control pitcher, Strotman has had a walk rate over 12% this year. The Twins may be able to attribute this to his 2018 Tommy John surgery and inability to knock off the last of the rust with the lack of a 2020 season. Still, Strotman has plenty to like. He can hit the mid-90s as a starter with his best offering being a cutter with a decent curveball to pair with it. He was striking out nearly 25% of his hitters faced with a mid-3s ERA with Tampa’s AAA team in Durham before struggling across the board with the Saints, possibly a result of him hitting an innings wall in his first full season back. Strotman will be 25 next season and already possesses a 40-man roster spot. He’s in the most convenient spot of all three of these pitchers to get one of the first calls next season, especially if he comes out on fire to open the season. Cole Sands - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 19 Sands has spent 2021 exclusively at AA after a brief debut there in 2019. Despite his 10.4% walk rate this year, he’s long had the reputation as a strike-thrower, never before walking more than 6.3% of hitters. It’s a safe bet on Sands regaining that control which would bode well for his future considering he’s maintained a strikeout rate of 30% in 2021. Sands has also limited the long ball in his minor league career. 2021 is his career-worst with a still-respectable 0.93 HR/9. With a 2.93 ERA at AA this year, Sands will get the call to the next level sooner rather than later. At that point, his high floor for strikeouts, low walk totals and limiting homers puts him in a great spot to get an opportunity when the Twins need innings filled in 2022. It’s the same baseline of skills that Bailey Ober used to get to the big leagues. Chris Vallimont - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 21 In some ways, 2021 has been a disappointment for Chris Vallimont who’s sporting a 6.00 ERA at the AA level through 78 innings. He hadn’t shown a huge control problem prior to this year but has walked 14.4% of batters faced. He used to limit homers but has allowed a 1.27 per 9 innings this year. Still, that 6.00 ERA indicates a bit of bad luck according to his 4.40 FIP and 4.62 xFIP. Vallimont still shows a strong ability to strike out opponents, and has done so at a 32.1% rate. If he can return to his career norms in terms of walks and homers allowed, he could move aggressively to the MLB level as he’ll be 25 to begin 2022. He seems to have the raw stuff to dominate hitters if he can manage to iron out some kinks. If there’s one thing we can expect from the pitching staff next season, it’s that there will be plenty of opportunities. Bailey Ober appears to be a diamond in the rough, thrown into a trial by fire due to a pitching staff that completely turned over by season’s end. Could one of these three be the next development arm to take this route to success? Could it be one not listed here? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  4. There appear to be plenty of innings to go around in 2022. While we hope to see prospects such as Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran debut, Bailey Ober is proof that it isn’t always the shiny top prospect that storms into the Major Leagues. The Twins have a few arms in the minors who could be a pleasant surprise to the MLB club next season. Drew Strotman - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 17 The less-hyped player in the Nelson Cruz return this summer, Strotman went straight to St. Paul upon his arrival where it appears he’ll finish his season. Once a strong control pitcher, Strotman has had a walk rate over 12% this year. The Twins may be able to attribute this to his 2018 Tommy John surgery and inability to knock off the last of the rust with the lack of a 2020 season. Still, Strotman has plenty to like. He can hit the mid-90s as a starter with his best offering being a cutter with a decent curveball to pair with it. He was striking out nearly 25% of his hitters faced with a mid-3s ERA with Tampa’s AAA team in Durham before struggling across the board with the Saints, possibly a result of him hitting an innings wall in his first full season back. Strotman will be 25 next season and already possesses a 40-man roster spot. He’s in the most convenient spot of all three of these pitchers to get one of the first calls next season, especially if he comes out on fire to open the season. Cole Sands - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 19 Sands has spent 2021 exclusively at AA after a brief debut there in 2019. Despite his 10.4% walk rate this year, he’s long had the reputation as a strike-thrower, never before walking more than 6.3% of hitters. It’s a safe bet on Sands regaining that control which would bode well for his future considering he’s maintained a strikeout rate of 30% in 2021. Sands has also limited the long ball in his minor league career. 2021 is his career-worst with a still-respectable 0.93 HR/9. With a 2.93 ERA at AA this year, Sands will get the call to the next level sooner rather than later. At that point, his high floor for strikeouts, low walk totals and limiting homers puts him in a great spot to get an opportunity when the Twins need innings filled in 2022. It’s the same baseline of skills that Bailey Ober used to get to the big leagues. Chris Vallimont - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 21 In some ways, 2021 has been a disappointment for Chris Vallimont who’s sporting a 6.00 ERA at the AA level through 78 innings. He hadn’t shown a huge control problem prior to this year but has walked 14.4% of batters faced. He used to limit homers but has allowed a 1.27 per 9 innings this year. Still, that 6.00 ERA indicates a bit of bad luck according to his 4.40 FIP and 4.62 xFIP. Vallimont still shows a strong ability to strike out opponents, and has done so at a 32.1% rate. If he can return to his career norms in terms of walks and homers allowed, he could move aggressively to the MLB level as he’ll be 25 to begin 2022. He seems to have the raw stuff to dominate hitters if he can manage to iron out some kinks. If there’s one thing we can expect from the pitching staff next season, it’s that there will be plenty of opportunities. Bailey Ober appears to be a diamond in the rough, thrown into a trial by fire due to a pitching staff that completely turned over by season’s end. Could one of these three be the next development arm to take this route to success? Could it be one not listed here? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  5. TRANSACTIONS RHP Joe Ryan was officially promoted to the Twins, and made his MLB debut Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs. Ryan was excellent besides a one inning blip, as he set the Cubs down in order in four of his five innings, striking out five and walking just one in the process. RHP Vinny Nittoli was assigned to the St. Paul Saints, rejoining them after pitching with the Saints during the 2017-18 season while in the American Association. He joins infielder Drew Stankiewicz and LHP Chris Nunn as players to suit up for the Saints as independent and affiliated players. C Stevie Berman was assigned to the Wichita Wind Surge roster after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever LHP Andrew Vasquez. SS Ruben Santana was released from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels roster. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 9, Columbus 2 Box Score St. Paul's lineup jumped all over Columbus starter Kirk McCarty with a five-run first inning that would prove to be more than enough for Bryan Sammons and the Saints bullpen on Wednesday night. Jose Miranda and Trevor Larnach got a rally started from the jump, with both delivering a single on the first pitches of their at bats. Mark Contreras got the first run on the board with a sac fly to score Miranda two batters later, then Gilberto Celestino made it 2-0 with a double to score Larnach from first. Jimmy Kerrigan then reached on an error and a Drew Maggi walk loaded the bases before Damek Tomscha and JT Riddle delivered back-to-back singles to score three more for the 5-0 lead. Sammons recorded 1-2-3 innings in the first and third, sandwiching the second inning where he struck out three and walked one, before facing his first challenge in the fourth. A walk, and two one-out singles loaded the bases before an awkward swinging bunt resulted in a force out at home, but a throwing error from catcher Tomas Telis to third then allowed two unearned runs to score. Sammons dusted himself off and struck out the next batter to keep the score at 5-2. Sammons would finish five innings on the night to pick up his first triple-A win, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out four Clippers. The bullpen trio of Luke Farrell, Derek Law, and Robinson Leyer then finished the game with a combined four scoreless innings. Farrell walked one in his one inning, Law allowed two hits and two walks in two frames, and Leyer walked one and struck out one in the ninth inning. The Saints added two runs to their final total in each of the third and seventh innings. Drew Maggi hit his 13th home run of the season in the third, a two-run shot, and in the seventh Celestino delivered an RBI double that was followed by a sac fly from Kerrigan. In all the good guys collected ten hits and four walks on the night, with Miranda (2-for-5, R) and Celestino (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) collecting multiple hits. Maggi and Tomscha also added two RBI to the effort. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 3, Arkansas 4 Box Score The Wind Surge were able to build a 2-0 lead for starter Chris Vallimont after four innings, thanks to an RBI double from Roy Morales in the third to score Aaron Whitefield, and an RBI groundout from Jermaine Palacios in the top of the fourth. Vallimont was solid in his five innings, allowing only a single run on three hits and four walks, while striking out nine Travelers. He worked around some walks over the first four innings with some big strikeouts, and struck out the side in the fourth inning. Evan Sisk was brought on to start the sixth inning, and struck out three in the frame although one of those reached base as his pitch got past the catcher. Back out for the seventh, a single and a walk put an end to Sisk’s outing, and Erik Manaoh gave up a two-run double to the first hitter he faced allowing Arkansas to tie the game at three. He would then escape that inning with the game still tied after inducing a double-play ball and a pop out to the next two hitters. Wichita had taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a sacrifice fly from Spencer Steer to score Morales, who had singled to lead off the inning, before Arkansas was able to tie it up. Manoah remained in the game for the bottom of the eighth and after a one-out double, he sent an errant throw toward second base on a comebacker that allowed the go-ahead run to score. Trey Cabbage and Aaron Whitefield drew walks in the ninth to put the tying run in scoring position, but Caleb Hamilton’s 103 MPH line drive with two outs found the shortstop’s glove to end the game. Both teams collected six hits on the game, but the Travelers drew seven walks compared to three from the Wind Surge, and had three hits with runners in scoring position while the good guys were 0-for-8. Morales led the way for Wichita with three hits out of the leadoff spot, including a double. He scored a run and drove in one. Spencer Steer also added a triple to the effort and scored a run. Wichita still remains the top dog in the Double-A Central Texas League, with a four game lead over Arkansas in their division. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels and their second best record in the High-A Central Midwest League faced off against the team ahead of them in the standings in the West Division, the Quad Cities River Bandits on Wednesday night. While there’s very little hope for them to catch the River Bandits in the division standings over the last three weeks of the season (11.0 games behind entering play tonight), the series is still big in terms of securing a playoff matchup with them as the Kernels hold a one game lead over the next team in the league standings, the Great Lakes Loons of the East Division. Cedar Rapids had right-hander Sawyer Gipson-Long on the mound for his fourth start with the team, and he did as much as he could to keep his team in second place in the standings. Over six total innings he allowed just one hit, but it was a big one for Quad Cities as it left the yard for a two-run shot in the fifth frame. He also walked three and struck out four on the night and retired the first twelve men he faced, including three K’s in the second inning. Unfortunately, he was bettered by his opposing starter, Christian Cosby, who held the Kernels lineup to just two hits and struck out six over six shutout innings. The home team got leadoff hits from Edouard Julien (single) and Michael Helman (double) in the fourth and fifth innings but were unable to make anything else happen afterward. Reliever Denny Bentley was the first man up from the bullpen to start the seventh inning and worked around a pair of walks for a scoreless inning. Back out for the eighth he immediately ran into trouble however, loading the bases with one out before a single made the score 3-0 and Osiris German was summoned. He escaped that jam without allowing another run, but in the ninth also allowed a run of his own. Bentley went 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while German finished the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit and a walk along with picking up one strikeout. Alex Isola tried to get a two-out rally started in the bottom of the ninth with a double, but Matt Wallner would swing-and-miss on three straight pitches to end the game. In all, the Kernels managed just three hits, were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and left only three men-on-base for the game. They also did not draw a single walk compared to seven for the River Bandits. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 2, Daytona 3 Box Score The Mighty Mussels went with a bit of a bullpen game on Wednesday night, with right-hander Matthew Swain making his first start of the 2021 season. He went the first three innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while punching out six Tortugas hitters. Matt Mullenbach went the next three innings and was just as good, allowing only one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four. Zaquiel Puentes got the final two innings, and allowed just an unearned run on three walks while striking out four more Daytona hitters, while being saddled with the loss. That was because the Mighty Mussels were unable to put any further runs on the board outside of the third inning, when Christian Encarnacion-Strand delivered a two-run home run that scored Alerick Soularie, who had doubled to lead off the inning. Jake Rucker added another double to the effort, but Fort Myers had just six hits as a team, were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and left seven men on base for the game. They drew just one walk compared to 16 strikeouts on the night, with six of their nine hitters striking out two or more times on the night. Soularie, out of the leadoff spot, was the only hitter in the lineup not to be sent walking back to the dugout on the game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Chris Vallimont, Wichita Wind Surge (5 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 BB, 9 K) Hitter of the Day - Gilberto Celestino, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, R #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - MLB Debut: L, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, 2 K #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - No game #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-2, HBP #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 2 K #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 3B, RBI, 2 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (11:05 AM CST) - RHP Chandler Shepherd (6-5, 5.56 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (2-1, 2.93 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (1-4, 4.75 ERA) Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (0-0, 2.45 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!
  6. The big story from a minor league perspective on Wednesday night, was perhaps the MLB debut of Joe Ryan for the Minnesota Twins. But since that is not actually the minor leagues, you’ll have to settle for a 1-3 night on the farm for Twins affiliates. Besides the St. Paul Saints, it was tough sledding for the lineups throughout the organization on Wednesday as they were unable to reward most of their pitchers for some solid efforts. TRANSACTIONS RHP Joe Ryan was officially promoted to the Twins, and made his MLB debut Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs. Ryan was excellent besides a one inning blip, as he set the Cubs down in order in four of his five innings, striking out five and walking just one in the process. RHP Vinny Nittoli was assigned to the St. Paul Saints, rejoining them after pitching with the Saints during the 2017-18 season while in the American Association. He joins infielder Drew Stankiewicz and LHP Chris Nunn as players to suit up for the Saints as independent and affiliated players. C Stevie Berman was assigned to the Wichita Wind Surge roster after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever LHP Andrew Vasquez. SS Ruben Santana was released from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels roster. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 9, Columbus 2 Box Score St. Paul's lineup jumped all over Columbus starter Kirk McCarty with a five-run first inning that would prove to be more than enough for Bryan Sammons and the Saints bullpen on Wednesday night. Jose Miranda and Trevor Larnach got a rally started from the jump, with both delivering a single on the first pitches of their at bats. Mark Contreras got the first run on the board with a sac fly to score Miranda two batters later, then Gilberto Celestino made it 2-0 with a double to score Larnach from first. Jimmy Kerrigan then reached on an error and a Drew Maggi walk loaded the bases before Damek Tomscha and JT Riddle delivered back-to-back singles to score three more for the 5-0 lead. Sammons recorded 1-2-3 innings in the first and third, sandwiching the second inning where he struck out three and walked one, before facing his first challenge in the fourth. A walk, and two one-out singles loaded the bases before an awkward swinging bunt resulted in a force out at home, but a throwing error from catcher Tomas Telis to third then allowed two unearned runs to score. Sammons dusted himself off and struck out the next batter to keep the score at 5-2. Sammons would finish five innings on the night to pick up his first triple-A win, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out four Clippers. The bullpen trio of Luke Farrell, Derek Law, and Robinson Leyer then finished the game with a combined four scoreless innings. Farrell walked one in his one inning, Law allowed two hits and two walks in two frames, and Leyer walked one and struck out one in the ninth inning. The Saints added two runs to their final total in each of the third and seventh innings. Drew Maggi hit his 13th home run of the season in the third, a two-run shot, and in the seventh Celestino delivered an RBI double that was followed by a sac fly from Kerrigan. In all the good guys collected ten hits and four walks on the night, with Miranda (2-for-5, R) and Celestino (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) collecting multiple hits. Maggi and Tomscha also added two RBI to the effort. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 3, Arkansas 4 Box Score The Wind Surge were able to build a 2-0 lead for starter Chris Vallimont after four innings, thanks to an RBI double from Roy Morales in the third to score Aaron Whitefield, and an RBI groundout from Jermaine Palacios in the top of the fourth. Vallimont was solid in his five innings, allowing only a single run on three hits and four walks, while striking out nine Travelers. He worked around some walks over the first four innings with some big strikeouts, and struck out the side in the fourth inning. Evan Sisk was brought on to start the sixth inning, and struck out three in the frame although one of those reached base as his pitch got past the catcher. Back out for the seventh, a single and a walk put an end to Sisk’s outing, and Erik Manaoh gave up a two-run double to the first hitter he faced allowing Arkansas to tie the game at three. He would then escape that inning with the game still tied after inducing a double-play ball and a pop out to the next two hitters. Wichita had taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a sacrifice fly from Spencer Steer to score Morales, who had singled to lead off the inning, before Arkansas was able to tie it up. Manoah remained in the game for the bottom of the eighth and after a one-out double, he sent an errant throw toward second base on a comebacker that allowed the go-ahead run to score. Trey Cabbage and Aaron Whitefield drew walks in the ninth to put the tying run in scoring position, but Caleb Hamilton’s 103 MPH line drive with two outs found the shortstop’s glove to end the game. Both teams collected six hits on the game, but the Travelers drew seven walks compared to three from the Wind Surge, and had three hits with runners in scoring position while the good guys were 0-for-8. Morales led the way for Wichita with three hits out of the leadoff spot, including a double. He scored a run and drove in one. Spencer Steer also added a triple to the effort and scored a run. Wichita still remains the top dog in the Double-A Central Texas League, with a four game lead over Arkansas in their division. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels and their second best record in the High-A Central Midwest League faced off against the team ahead of them in the standings in the West Division, the Quad Cities River Bandits on Wednesday night. While there’s very little hope for them to catch the River Bandits in the division standings over the last three weeks of the season (11.0 games behind entering play tonight), the series is still big in terms of securing a playoff matchup with them as the Kernels hold a one game lead over the next team in the league standings, the Great Lakes Loons of the East Division. Cedar Rapids had right-hander Sawyer Gipson-Long on the mound for his fourth start with the team, and he did as much as he could to keep his team in second place in the standings. Over six total innings he allowed just one hit, but it was a big one for Quad Cities as it left the yard for a two-run shot in the fifth frame. He also walked three and struck out four on the night and retired the first twelve men he faced, including three K’s in the second inning. Unfortunately, he was bettered by his opposing starter, Christian Cosby, who held the Kernels lineup to just two hits and struck out six over six shutout innings. The home team got leadoff hits from Edouard Julien (single) and Michael Helman (double) in the fourth and fifth innings but were unable to make anything else happen afterward. Reliever Denny Bentley was the first man up from the bullpen to start the seventh inning and worked around a pair of walks for a scoreless inning. Back out for the eighth he immediately ran into trouble however, loading the bases with one out before a single made the score 3-0 and Osiris German was summoned. He escaped that jam without allowing another run, but in the ninth also allowed a run of his own. Bentley went 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while German finished the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit and a walk along with picking up one strikeout. Alex Isola tried to get a two-out rally started in the bottom of the ninth with a double, but Matt Wallner would swing-and-miss on three straight pitches to end the game. In all, the Kernels managed just three hits, were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and left only three men-on-base for the game. They also did not draw a single walk compared to seven for the River Bandits. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 2, Daytona 3 Box Score The Mighty Mussels went with a bit of a bullpen game on Wednesday night, with right-hander Matthew Swain making his first start of the 2021 season. He went the first three innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, while punching out six Tortugas hitters. Matt Mullenbach went the next three innings and was just as good, allowing only one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four. Zaquiel Puentes got the final two innings, and allowed just an unearned run on three walks while striking out four more Daytona hitters, while being saddled with the loss. That was because the Mighty Mussels were unable to put any further runs on the board outside of the third inning, when Christian Encarnacion-Strand delivered a two-run home run that scored Alerick Soularie, who had doubled to lead off the inning. Jake Rucker added another double to the effort, but Fort Myers had just six hits as a team, were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and left seven men on base for the game. They drew just one walk compared to 16 strikeouts on the night, with six of their nine hitters striking out two or more times on the night. Soularie, out of the leadoff spot, was the only hitter in the lineup not to be sent walking back to the dugout on the game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Chris Vallimont, Wichita Wind Surge (5 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 BB, 9 K) Hitter of the Day - Gilberto Celestino, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, R #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - MLB Debut: L, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, 2 K #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - No game #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-2, HBP #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 2 K #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 3B, RBI, 2 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (11:05 AM CST) - RHP Chandler Shepherd (6-5, 5.56 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (2-1, 2.93 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (1-4, 4.75 ERA) Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (0-0, 2.45 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! 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  7. On Monday, Twins Daily revealed prospects 26-30 in our post-draft and trade deadline updated rankings. We continue today with prospects 21-25. 25. RHP Chris Vallimont (24-years-old) Season Stats (High-A + Double-A): 4-4, 4.76 ERA, 64 1/3 IP, 102 K, 40 BB, 6 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 20, 2021 Preseason: NR Chris Vallimont has the physical profile of a modern day pitcher. He stands nearly 6-foot-6-inches tall with an athletic 220 pound frame that he uses to generate fastballs in the mid-90s to go along with a hammer curve (as well as the occasional slider and changeup). When he's on, there's a strong argument to be made that he has some of the most dynamic stuff in the Twins' system. However, he is a bit of an enigma. His peripheral numbers suggest that he is a better pitcher than what the surface-level stats say, the main anchor dragging him down being his walks. If he hones his command, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he develops into, say, a No. 3 starter. If he doesn't, he may wind up in the bullpen long-term. There are few prospects in the Twins' system with more future outcome variance than Vallimont. 24: RHP Louie Varland (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 6-2, 1.70 ERA, 69 IP, 98 K, 25 BB, 2 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Louie Varland is one of those Twins prospects who has shot up the rankings this season due to sustained dominance. Varland was an unknown prospect when the Twins selected him in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul. He started out the 2021 season with the Low-A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels before earning a promotion to the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels where he rattled off nearly 20 straight innings of scoreless ball to begin his run at that level. Varland primarily relies on a fastball-curveball pitch mix. His fastball plays well both up and low in the zone; it presents with decent rise when elevated and greater sinking action when down. His most likely future role is as a reliever, but he has the raw stuff — and performance, to this point — to suggest he'll be effective in the high minors and, possibly, the big leagues. 23: UTIL Nick Gordon (25-years-old) Season Stats (MLB): .250/.301/.333, 37 G, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB, 26/5 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NR, 2021 Preseason: NR To say that Nick Gordon was an after thought on the minds of Twins' fans entering the 2021 season would be an understatement. However, a strong showing at Triple-A combined with a fast start when promoted to the parent squad quickly got him back into people's minds. Gordon primarily played shortstop in the minors; however, the rash of injuries suffered by Twins' outfielders thrust Gordon into some minutes in centerfield. While he didn't provide Gold Glove caliber defense, he did show enough to suggest that he may have a brighter future as a true utility man than most thought. Gordon doesn't do anything great, but also doesn't do anything well-below average. He may not be an everyday-type of player, but he should find himself with a role in the majors — though perhaps ultimately not with the Twins — for years to come. 22: 1B/DH Aaron Sabato (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .181/.365/.309, 75 G, 13 2B, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 101/67 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 9, 2021 Preseason: 8 The tale of Aaron Sabato is virtually the opposite of that of Varland and Gordon. Sabato was known as a bopper with a good eye at the plate when the Twins selected him with the 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft but so far only his peepers have translated. Sabato has struggled to keep pace with Low-A pitching. His strikeout numbers are through the roof and his power has evaporated compared to what he displayed while with the Tar Heels. To put it bluntly, not many minor leaguers have struggled as much as he has to date and proceeded to carve out a productive major league career. Sabato's walk totals are encouraging, but he needs to show more the rest of the way. 21: INF Edouard Julien (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): .251/.423/.449, 78 G, 21 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 25 SB, 98/73 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Alright, back to being positive. Edouard Julien is an on-base machine with some pop who has displayed the ability to play multiple positions defensively, though he is probably best at second base. He's also stolen far more bases this year than many thought possible when he came out of Auburn University. Julien's overall productivity has declined some since his promotion to Cedar Rapids — and, thus, the removal of Robo-umps — however, he has done more than enough to justify his placement on this list. Not bad for a former 18th round pick. What do you think of this set of five prospects? Future big-leaguers? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. 25. RHP Chris Vallimont (24-years-old) Season Stats (High-A + Double-A): 4-4, 4.76 ERA, 64 1/3 IP, 102 K, 40 BB, 6 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 20, 2021 Preseason: NR Chris Vallimont has the physical profile of a modern day pitcher. He stands nearly 6-foot-6-inches tall with an athletic 220 pound frame that he uses to generate fastballs in the mid-90s to go along with a hammer curve (as well as the occasional slider and changeup). When he's on, there's a strong argument to be made that he has some of the most dynamic stuff in the Twins' system. However, he is a bit of an enigma. His peripheral numbers suggest that he is a better pitcher than what the surface-level stats say, the main anchor dragging him down being his walks. If he hones his command, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he develops into, say, a No. 3 starter. If he doesn't, he may wind up in the bullpen long-term. There are few prospects in the Twins' system with more future outcome variance than Vallimont. 24: RHP Louie Varland (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 6-2, 1.70 ERA, 69 IP, 98 K, 25 BB, 2 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Louie Varland is one of those Twins prospects who has shot up the rankings this season due to sustained dominance. Varland was an unknown prospect when the Twins selected him in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul. He started out the 2021 season with the Low-A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels before earning a promotion to the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels where he rattled off nearly 20 straight innings of scoreless ball to begin his run at that level. Varland primarily relies on a fastball-curveball pitch mix. His fastball plays well both up and low in the zone; it presents with decent rise when elevated and greater sinking action when down. His most likely future role is as a reliever, but he has the raw stuff — and performance, to this point — to suggest he'll be effective in the high minors and, possibly, the big leagues. 23: UTIL Nick Gordon (25-years-old) Season Stats (MLB): .250/.301/.333, 37 G, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB, 26/5 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NR, 2021 Preseason: NR To say that Nick Gordon was an after thought on the minds of Twins' fans entering the 2021 season would be an understatement. However, a strong showing at Triple-A combined with a fast start when promoted to the parent squad quickly got him back into people's minds. Gordon primarily played shortstop in the minors; however, the rash of injuries suffered by Twins' outfielders thrust Gordon into some minutes in centerfield. While he didn't provide Gold Glove caliber defense, he did show enough to suggest that he may have a brighter future as a true utility man than most thought. Gordon doesn't do anything great, but also doesn't do anything well-below average. He may not be an everyday-type of player, but he should find himself with a role in the majors — though perhaps ultimately not with the Twins — for years to come. 22: 1B/DH Aaron Sabato (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .181/.365/.309, 75 G, 13 2B, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 101/67 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 9, 2021 Preseason: 8 The tale of Aaron Sabato is virtually the opposite of that of Varland and Gordon. Sabato was known as a bopper with a good eye at the plate when the Twins selected him with the 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft but so far only his peepers have translated. Sabato has struggled to keep pace with Low-A pitching. His strikeout numbers are through the roof and his power has evaporated compared to what he displayed while with the Tar Heels. To put it bluntly, not many minor leaguers have struggled as much as he has to date and proceeded to carve out a productive major league career. Sabato's walk totals are encouraging, but he needs to show more the rest of the way. 21: INF Edouard Julien (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): .251/.423/.449, 78 G, 21 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 25 SB, 98/73 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Alright, back to being positive. Edouard Julien is an on-base machine with some pop who has displayed the ability to play multiple positions defensively, though he is probably best at second base. He's also stolen far more bases this year than many thought possible when he came out of Auburn University. Julien's overall productivity has declined some since his promotion to Cedar Rapids — and, thus, the removal of Robo-umps — however, he has done more than enough to justify his placement on this list. Not bad for a former 18th round pick. What do you think of this set of five prospects? Future big-leaguers? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. TRANSACTIONS No transactions today. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 1, Louisville 0 Box Score The Saints’ pitchers were untouchable tonight and the Louisville arms were only a little bit less untouchable in this pitchers duel. Saint Paul gets Louisville back for last night, winning this one 1-0. Chandler Shepherd was nothing short of dominant in his start tonight. The St. Paul starter went six full innings and didn’t allow a run. Unfortunately for the Saints, Shepherd’s Louisville counterpart, Michael Mariot, matched his every move (literally) and when Shepherd gave way to Yennier Cano to start the seventh, both starters had allowed four hits and no runs. Mariot was taken out after the seventh and Sherman Johnson, for one, was happy to see him go. Johnson gave the Saints the first lead of the ballgame in the eighth with a clutch solo shot to right center. In contrast to their opponents, the Saints bullpen did not let them down tonight. Cano walked his first two batters in the seventh but struck out a couple to get out of the inning unscathed. Then, Kyle Barraclough hurled a hitless eighth and Nick Vincent closed the game with a strong ninth. One run was all the Saints needed in this one. Thomas Telis and home run hero Sherman Johnson had the only multi-hit games for the St. Paul. Winder Shut Down Saints starter and Twins Daily’s #8 prospect Josh Winder will be shut down for the following few weeks with shoulder fatigue. Winder hasn’t pitched since July 21st and the Twins have decided to protect their asset by resting him an additional two or three weeks. Thorpe Finishes Rehab Stint In positive news, Lewis Thorpe finished his rehab stint with the FCL Twins and is set to start for the Saints on Sunday. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 11, Midland 4 Box Score Trey Cabbage led the Wind Surge bats to a big night and Chris Vallimont was an exciting watch on the mound. It was a good night for Wichita as they take this one in blowout fashion. The best way to start a ballgame is to put a crooked number up in the first, and that’s exactly what the Wind Surge did tonight. Wichita put up four in the opening frame, with an RBI each coming on Cabbage and Jermaine Palacios singles and two runs scoring on Andrew Bechtold’s double. After giving up a four spot to hard-hit Wichita liners, Midland got one back in the third off a weak infield single from Devin Foyle. However, Cabbage responded with two more RBI on a deep blast to right that extended the Wichita lead to 6-1. Midland got an additional run back in the fourth, but Cabbage had another two-run shot up his sleeve in the fifth, giving him his fourth and fifth RBI of the night. While Cabbage and the Surge were mashing, Vallimont was dealing on the mound. He struggled a bit with walks (he had four, two came around to score), but his swing-and-miss stuff was on full display as he had eight strikeouts over five innings. Just check out the Rock Hounds’ facial expressions for confirmation for how filthy he was tonight: Midland got a two-run homer of their own in the seventh, but, like they did all night, the Wichita bats had an answer. Austin Martin drove in two with a double in the eighth, and this one ended 11-4 in Wichita’s favor. After Vallimont left the ballgame, Alex Phillips allowed two earned runs over two innings and Jordan Gore took care of the eighth and ninth without allowing a baserunner. Cabbage's big night was the only multi-hit showing for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Quad Cities 2 Box Score The Kernels jumped in front early and held on for the rest of the game, taking a tight one tonight, 4-2. The Kernels’ first trip to the plate was quite a productive one, as they sent eight men to bat and pushed three runs across. The big hit came in the form of a two-run Yunior Severino single, and Seth Gray also notched an RBI on a groundout. Matt Wallner helped Cedar Rapids add on in the second, with an RBI single of his own. Quad Cities finally got on the board in the fifth, using a Maikel Garcia triple to score Gavin Stupienski from first for their first run. Then, in the sixth, Jake Means doubled and drove in another run to cut the Cedar Rapids lead to 4-2. Kernels’ starter Louie Varland left the ballgame shortly after. At the end of his outing Varland had gone 5 ⅔ innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. The bullpen took over from there for Cedar Rapids. Melvi Acosta grabbed the last out of the sixth and pitched a hitless seventh, and Zach Featherstone allowed the bases to fill in the eighth, but got out of the inning without allowing a run. Then, Featherstone shut down the River Bandits one more time, securing the 4-2 win for Cedar Rapids. Alex Isola and Severino had multi-hit games for the Kernels tonight. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 3 Box Score This one looked to be headed towards slugfest territory after the first inning, but in what turned out to be a quiet offensive game, the Mussels edge out the Blue Jays, 4-3 Dunedin got two runs right away in the top of the first, with RBI coming on a Jesus Feliz fielding error and a P.K. Morris sac fly. But, Fort Myers had a first-inning run of their own, on a Charles Mack RBI groundout that scored Misael Urbina. The score stayed at 2-1 until the fourth, when the Mussels grabbed a run to tie it up. Urbina was involved again, this time driving in a run on a sac fly. After the rocky first inning, Mussel’s starter Bobby Milacki settled down well and allowed no runs over the next three innings, and when Matthew Swain took over in the fifth, he dominated the Blue Jays bats with three hitless innings and five strikeouts. The solid pitching paid off in the seventh, when Fort Myers took their first lead of the ballgame. Jeferson Morales hit his seventh bomb of the year, driving in himself and Charles Mack to give the Mussels a two-run advantage. However, that lead got cut in half in the eighth, after a Miguel Hiraldo sacrifice fly scored Dunedin’s third run of the game. Dunedin got two baserunners on in the ninth, but they couldn’t bring them across. Denny Bentley gets credit for the six-out save and the Mussels win 4-3. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Red Sox 5, FCL Twins 5 (Suspended/7) Box Score Today’s game between the Twins’ and Red Sox’ Complex League sides was suspended due to lightning with no outs and one man on in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the score tied at five runs apiece. Of note in this one, is that Alerick Soularie made his pro debut for the FCL Twins. So far, he is 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. The game will be resumed tomorrow, so check back in tomorrow’s report for a full recap! TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Chandler Shepherd (St. Paul) 6 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day - Trey Cabbage (Wichita) 3-for-4, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR (9), 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 pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 1-for-4 #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 1-for-4, K #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 1-for-3 #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – Did not play #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, BB #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 0-for-5, K #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-2, R, RBI #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-for-3, 2 R, K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-4, K #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – 0-for-3, BB, K (game suspended) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Ian Hamilton (2-1, 2.61 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer (3-7, 4.58 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Tyler Beck (2-1, 2.06 ERA) Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (6:00PM CST) – RHP Miguel Rodriguez (2-2, 3.62 ERA) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. All four full-season clubs collected wins at home tonight, and the FCL Twins haven't lost yet, so come celebrate by reading tonight's Minor League Report! TRANSACTIONS No transactions today. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 1, Louisville 0 Box Score The Saints’ pitchers were untouchable tonight and the Louisville arms were only a little bit less untouchable in this pitchers duel. Saint Paul gets Louisville back for last night, winning this one 1-0. Chandler Shepherd was nothing short of dominant in his start tonight. The St. Paul starter went six full innings and didn’t allow a run. Unfortunately for the Saints, Shepherd’s Louisville counterpart, Michael Mariot, matched his every move (literally) and when Shepherd gave way to Yennier Cano to start the seventh, both starters had allowed four hits and no runs. Mariot was taken out after the seventh and Sherman Johnson, for one, was happy to see him go. Johnson gave the Saints the first lead of the ballgame in the eighth with a clutch solo shot to right center. In contrast to their opponents, the Saints bullpen did not let them down tonight. Cano walked his first two batters in the seventh but struck out a couple to get out of the inning unscathed. Then, Kyle Barraclough hurled a hitless eighth and Nick Vincent closed the game with a strong ninth. One run was all the Saints needed in this one. Thomas Telis and home run hero Sherman Johnson had the only multi-hit games for the St. Paul. Winder Shut Down Saints starter and Twins Daily’s #8 prospect Josh Winder will be shut down for the following few weeks with shoulder fatigue. Winder hasn’t pitched since July 21st and the Twins have decided to protect their asset by resting him an additional two or three weeks. Thorpe Finishes Rehab Stint In positive news, Lewis Thorpe finished his rehab stint with the FCL Twins and is set to start for the Saints on Sunday. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 11, Midland 4 Box Score Trey Cabbage led the Wind Surge bats to a big night and Chris Vallimont was an exciting watch on the mound. It was a good night for Wichita as they take this one in blowout fashion. The best way to start a ballgame is to put a crooked number up in the first, and that’s exactly what the Wind Surge did tonight. Wichita put up four in the opening frame, with an RBI each coming on Cabbage and Jermaine Palacios singles and two runs scoring on Andrew Bechtold’s double. After giving up a four spot to hard-hit Wichita liners, Midland got one back in the third off a weak infield single from Devin Foyle. However, Cabbage responded with two more RBI on a deep blast to right that extended the Wichita lead to 6-1. Midland got an additional run back in the fourth, but Cabbage had another two-run shot up his sleeve in the fifth, giving him his fourth and fifth RBI of the night. While Cabbage and the Surge were mashing, Vallimont was dealing on the mound. He struggled a bit with walks (he had four, two came around to score), but his swing-and-miss stuff was on full display as he had eight strikeouts over five innings. Just check out the Rock Hounds’ facial expressions for confirmation for how filthy he was tonight: Midland got a two-run homer of their own in the seventh, but, like they did all night, the Wichita bats had an answer. Austin Martin drove in two with a double in the eighth, and this one ended 11-4 in Wichita’s favor. After Vallimont left the ballgame, Alex Phillips allowed two earned runs over two innings and Jordan Gore took care of the eighth and ninth without allowing a baserunner. Cabbage's big night was the only multi-hit showing for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Quad Cities 2 Box Score The Kernels jumped in front early and held on for the rest of the game, taking a tight one tonight, 4-2. The Kernels’ first trip to the plate was quite a productive one, as they sent eight men to bat and pushed three runs across. The big hit came in the form of a two-run Yunior Severino single, and Seth Gray also notched an RBI on a groundout. Matt Wallner helped Cedar Rapids add on in the second, with an RBI single of his own. Quad Cities finally got on the board in the fifth, using a Maikel Garcia triple to score Gavin Stupienski from first for their first run. Then, in the sixth, Jake Means doubled and drove in another run to cut the Cedar Rapids lead to 4-2. Kernels’ starter Louie Varland left the ballgame shortly after. At the end of his outing Varland had gone 5 ⅔ innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. The bullpen took over from there for Cedar Rapids. Melvi Acosta grabbed the last out of the sixth and pitched a hitless seventh, and Zach Featherstone allowed the bases to fill in the eighth, but got out of the inning without allowing a run. Then, Featherstone shut down the River Bandits one more time, securing the 4-2 win for Cedar Rapids. Alex Isola and Severino had multi-hit games for the Kernels tonight. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 3 Box Score This one looked to be headed towards slugfest territory after the first inning, but in what turned out to be a quiet offensive game, the Mussels edge out the Blue Jays, 4-3 Dunedin got two runs right away in the top of the first, with RBI coming on a Jesus Feliz fielding error and a P.K. Morris sac fly. But, Fort Myers had a first-inning run of their own, on a Charles Mack RBI groundout that scored Misael Urbina. The score stayed at 2-1 until the fourth, when the Mussels grabbed a run to tie it up. Urbina was involved again, this time driving in a run on a sac fly. After the rocky first inning, Mussel’s starter Bobby Milacki settled down well and allowed no runs over the next three innings, and when Matthew Swain took over in the fifth, he dominated the Blue Jays bats with three hitless innings and five strikeouts. The solid pitching paid off in the seventh, when Fort Myers took their first lead of the ballgame. Jeferson Morales hit his seventh bomb of the year, driving in himself and Charles Mack to give the Mussels a two-run advantage. However, that lead got cut in half in the eighth, after a Miguel Hiraldo sacrifice fly scored Dunedin’s third run of the game. Dunedin got two baserunners on in the ninth, but they couldn’t bring them across. Denny Bentley gets credit for the six-out save and the Mussels win 4-3. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Red Sox 5, FCL Twins 5 (Suspended/7) Box Score Today’s game between the Twins’ and Red Sox’ Complex League sides was suspended due to lightning with no outs and one man on in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the score tied at five runs apiece. Of note in this one, is that Alerick Soularie made his pro debut for the FCL Twins. So far, he is 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. The game will be resumed tomorrow, so check back in tomorrow’s report for a full recap! TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Chandler Shepherd (St. Paul) 6 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day - Trey Cabbage (Wichita) 3-for-4, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR (9), 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 pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 1-for-4 #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 1-for-4, K #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 1-for-3 #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – Did not play #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, BB #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 0-for-5, K #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-2, R, RBI #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-for-3, 2 R, K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-4, K #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – 0-for-3, BB, K (game suspended) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Ian Hamilton (2-1, 2.61 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer (3-7, 4.58 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Tyler Beck (2-1, 2.06 ERA) Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (6:00PM CST) – RHP Miguel Rodriguez (2-2, 3.62 ERA) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. We are officially past the halfway point in the minor league season. By the next time we provide a Week in Review, the trade deadline will have passed, we will post our July minor league awards, and it is likely the Twins will add more prospects to the organization. . Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the Transactions and the FCL Twins game on Monday: Infielder Yunior Severino was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. Right-Handed Pitcher Cole Bellair was sent from Ft. Myers to the Complex. FCL Twins Talk On Monday, the FCL Twins game against the FCL Orioles Black was suspended in the first inning. With that, let’s look at Week 12 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-2, @ Omaha), overall (37-34) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (4-2, @ Arkansas), overall (41-31) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Beloit), overall (40-32) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, hosting Daytona), overall (39-33) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-4), overall (5-14) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: All Four Teams Over .500 Tuesday: Balazovic Extends Scoreless Streak Wednesday: Dingers Galore, Nick Vincent Shines Thursday: Little Bit of Everything One Prospect the Twins Should be Willing to Trade Friday: Close Games Across the Board Twins Minor League Pitching Report: Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman Finding Hope for a 2022 Bullpen Saturday: Some Strong Corn Sunday: Fantastic Feliz! This Saints Outfielder is Making his Mark Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 12 performances Twins Player of the Week: Trey Cabbage, Wichita Wind Surge Trey Cabbage was the Twins choice for Hitter of the Week. He played in all six games for the Wind Surge. He hit .304/.320/.652 (.972) with two doubles and two home runs. Cabbage was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He began the season in High-A Cedar Rapids. In 40 games, he hit .266/.342/.538 (.880) with 10 doubles and nine home runs. In 25 games for Wichita, he has hit .231/.317/.451 (.768) with five doubles and five more home runs. His 15 doubles this season is fifth in the Twins system, and his 14 homers ranks fourth. His 49 RBI ranks third in the organization this year. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Kernels In his second start with the Kernels, Varland tossed five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out nine batters. In his first start for Cedar Rapids, he threw six shutout innings. Overall this year, he is 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has walked 20 and struck out 90 batters. Varland, who has a diploma from North St. Paul High School, was the Twins 15th round pick in 2019 out of Concordia University in St. Paul. His brother Gus Varland pitches for Tulsa, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Highlights St. Paul Saints It’s the highlights list, so of course Jose Miranda needs to be here. In six games last week, he hit .321/.345/.714 (1.059) with two doubles, three homers and six RBI. Roberto Pena doesn’t play a ton, but he went 3-for-9 with a double and a homer. He also walked three times. Jimmy Kerrigan played in five games and hit .300/.533/.800 (1.333) with two doubles, a homer and five walks. Andrew Albers gave up one run on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd gave up one runover five innings in his outing. He struck out six as well. Andrew Vasquez came out of the Saints’ bullpen three times and recorded seven outs, three on strikeouts. Wichita Wind Surge Along with Cabbage, the Wind Surge’s top performers last week were hitters signed to minor league contracts before or during the season. Catcher/First Baseman Roy Morales played in all six games and hit .500/.571/.636 (1.208) with a double, a triple and five walks. Jermaine Palacios was limited to three games, but he hit .308/.357/.769 (1.126) with two home runs. DJ Burt played four games and went 8-for-15 (.533) with a double and a triple. Adam Lau made a spot start for the Wind Surge. He went 3 2/3 scoreless innings and gave up just one hit and walk. He struck out six. Continuing his return to the mound, Cole Sands struck out four batters over three shutout innings. Chris Vallimont was very good in his start. He tossed six scoreless innings, gave up three hits, three walks and struck out eight batters. On Tuesday, Jordan Balazovic tossed seven shutout innings to extend his streak to 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless frames. He wasn’t as strong in his second start of the week. He gave up three runs on five hits and five walks in five innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels The highlight of the week for the Kernels, at least from a Twins/Player Development standpoint, has to be the return of Matt Wallner from his hamate bone injury. He played in five games and hit .278/.381/.611 (.992) with two home runs. Gabriel Maciel played in four games and hit .500/.571/.583 (1.155) with a double and three big RBI. Kyle Schmidt played in three games and went 5-for-11 (.455). Along with Louie Varland, the Kernels had some really good starts. Ben Gross struck out eight batters in five shutout innings. Jon Olsen gave up just three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Cody Laweryson and Tyler Watson both gave up one run on three hits in their five-inning starts. The sixth Kernels starter, Tyler Beck gave up two runs (and struck out seven batters) in five innings. Melvi Acosta struck out six batters in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up only an unearned run. Zach Featherstone struck out six batters in 2 2/3 one-hit innings. Erik Manoah struck out five batters in three no-hit innings. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Charlie Mack played in five games last week. He hit .333/.429/.500 (.929) with three walks, a homer and four RBI. Jesus Feliz posted an .807 OPS, but he also provided the team with a walk-off homer on Sunday. Lefty Zarion Sharpe had his best start. He gave up two hits over five shutout innings. He struck out five. Sawyer Gipson-Long had a Quality Start. He gave up two runs on six hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out 11 batters. Denny Bentley pitched in three games. He got a Win and two Saves. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up one hit, walked three and struck out seven batters. FCL Twins Luis Baez went 6-for-15 (.400) with a double and a triple last week. Alexander Pena went 5-for-11 (.455) with a double. LaRon Smith, Malfrin Sosa, Argenis Jimenez and Kala’i Rosario each hit a home run. Develson Aria and Juan Mendez each tossed three scoreless innings. Aria struck out six and gave up only one hit. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints It has certainly been a struggle of late for JT Riddle. He played all six games last week, but went just 1-for-19 (.053). Ian Hamilton has been fantastic for the Saints for a couple of months, but he had a rough week. He came into three games and was charged with four runs on one hit and four walks. That said, he also was 2-for-2 in Save Opportunities. Yennier Cano gave up five runs (4 earned) on nine hits over just 3 2/3 innings. Wichita Wind Surge Last week, we highlighted catcher Chris Williams. This week, he only played twice and went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Aaron Whitefield went 2-for-17 (.118, .308 OPS). Spencer Steer went 3-for-22 (.136) with a homer (.409 OPS). Bryan Sammons gave up four runs on two hits and four walks in three innings in his appearance. Joe Kuzia made one appearance and gave up three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter in just 2/3 of an innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels A lot of Kernels struggled at the plate last week. Wander Javier went 2-for-20 (.100) with eight strikeouts. Edouard Julien went 2-for-24 (.083) with 11 strikeouts. Max Smith went 1-for-11 (.091). DaShawn Keirsey went 1-for-12 (.083). Luis Rijo made one appearance out of the bullpen. In 1 2/3 innings, he gave up four runs on five hits and a walk. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Justin Washington played four games and went 1-for-12 (.083). Willie Joe Garry was hitless in 14 at bats, but he did walk five times for a .300 on-base percentage. Keoni Cavaco played in four games in his return to the lineup after missing a week. He went 3-for-19 (.158) with eight strikeouts. Aaron Sabato went 2-for-16 (.125) with ten strikeouts in five games. He did walk seven times and had an on-base percentage of .391. Bobby Milacki gave up five runs (4 earned) on five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Juan Pichardo gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in two innings. FCL Twins 31-year-old lefty Sean Gilmartin pitched in 81 games in the big leagues from 2015 through 2020. The Twins signed him a few weeks ago, probably with the plan of getting him up to the Double-A or Triple-A level soon. In three games and 4 1/3 innings, he has given up nine runs (8 earned) on ten hits, two walk sand eight strikeouts. It’s been a tough season for righty from The Netherlands, Donny Breek. He pitched in four games with the Mighty Mussels earlier this year. He gave up 11 runs on six hits and 12 walks in just 3 2/3 innings. For the FCL Twins, he has now worked 1 2/3 innings and gave up nine runs (4 earned) on zero hits and seven walks. Overall, that’s a 25.31 ERA and a 4.69 WHIP in 5 1/3 innings. He’s given up six hits, walked 19, hit four and struck out three batters. Trending Storyline The trade deadline is Friday afternoon at three o’clock. The team has already made one trade, acquiring Triple-A right-handed pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman from the Rays for Nelson Cruz. There is a good chance that by the next time you read this, the Twins will have acquired several more prospect for us to research and discuss. Along with the draft picks that have signed, we may even be in need of a new prospect rankings. PROSPECT SUMMARY We have now updated this Prospect Summary to show our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings… #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 10 GS, 49.1 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 61 K, 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 71 games, .342/.405/.610 (1.015) with 16 doubles, 21 homers, 60 RBI, 28 BB, 43 K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 42 games, .264/.343/.346 (.689) with 6 doubles, 2 triple, 1 homer, 19 RBI, 18 BB, 52 K, 6 SB #7 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 70 games, .185/.370/.290 (.660) with 13 doubles, 4 homers, 26 RBI, 66 BB, 97 K #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 24 games, .322/.380/.600 (.980) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers, 16 RBI, 7 BB, 36 K. #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (10 GS, 43.1 IP, 42 H, 13 BB, 45 K, 5.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 9 GS, 36.2 IP, 25 H, 18 BB, 49 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (12 games, .136/.191/.386 (375) with 2 double, 3 homers, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 18 K) #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 64 games, .208/.310/.308 (618) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 3 homer, 42 RBI, 34 BB, 56 K, 10 SB) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 68 games, .244/.356/.465 (.821) with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 16 homers, 37 RBI, 42 BB, 59 K) #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 66 games, .215/.274/.400 (.674) with 11 doubles, 5 triples, 9 homers, 36 RBI, 18 BB, 96 K) #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured) #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 12 GS, 51.0 IP, 46 H, 28 BB, 82 K, 3.88 ERA, 1.45 WHIP LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers @ Clearwater (Sawyer Gipson-Long, Brent Headrick, Landon Leach, TBD, TBD): Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin:(Louie Varland, Jon Olsen, Tyler Watson, Ben Gross, Cody Laweryson, Tyler Beck) Wichita @ NW Arkansas: (Chris Vallimont (Cole Sands), Austin Schulfer, Bryan Sammons, Jordan Balazovic, TBD, Chris Vallimont) Indianapolis @ St. Paul: (Beau Burrows, Charlie Barnes, Matt Shoemaker, Griffin Jax, Drew Strotman, Beau Burrows): Feel free to ask any questions you like. View full article
  12. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the Transactions and the FCL Twins game on Monday: Infielder Yunior Severino was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. Right-Handed Pitcher Cole Bellair was sent from Ft. Myers to the Complex. FCL Twins Talk On Monday, the FCL Twins game against the FCL Orioles Black was suspended in the first inning. With that, let’s look at Week 12 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-2, @ Omaha), overall (37-34) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (4-2, @ Arkansas), overall (41-31) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Beloit), overall (40-32) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, hosting Daytona), overall (39-33) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-4), overall (5-14) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: All Four Teams Over .500 Tuesday: Balazovic Extends Scoreless Streak Wednesday: Dingers Galore, Nick Vincent Shines Thursday: Little Bit of Everything One Prospect the Twins Should be Willing to Trade Friday: Close Games Across the Board Twins Minor League Pitching Report: Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman Finding Hope for a 2022 Bullpen Saturday: Some Strong Corn Sunday: Fantastic Feliz! This Saints Outfielder is Making his Mark Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 12 performances Twins Player of the Week: Trey Cabbage, Wichita Wind Surge Trey Cabbage was the Twins choice for Hitter of the Week. He played in all six games for the Wind Surge. He hit .304/.320/.652 (.972) with two doubles and two home runs. Cabbage was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He began the season in High-A Cedar Rapids. In 40 games, he hit .266/.342/.538 (.880) with 10 doubles and nine home runs. In 25 games for Wichita, he has hit .231/.317/.451 (.768) with five doubles and five more home runs. His 15 doubles this season is fifth in the Twins system, and his 14 homers ranks fourth. His 49 RBI ranks third in the organization this year. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Kernels In his second start with the Kernels, Varland tossed five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out nine batters. In his first start for Cedar Rapids, he threw six shutout innings. Overall this year, he is 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has walked 20 and struck out 90 batters. Varland, who has a diploma from North St. Paul High School, was the Twins 15th round pick in 2019 out of Concordia University in St. Paul. His brother Gus Varland pitches for Tulsa, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Highlights St. Paul Saints It’s the highlights list, so of course Jose Miranda needs to be here. In six games last week, he hit .321/.345/.714 (1.059) with two doubles, three homers and six RBI. Roberto Pena doesn’t play a ton, but he went 3-for-9 with a double and a homer. He also walked three times. Jimmy Kerrigan played in five games and hit .300/.533/.800 (1.333) with two doubles, a homer and five walks. Andrew Albers gave up one run on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd gave up one runover five innings in his outing. He struck out six as well. Andrew Vasquez came out of the Saints’ bullpen three times and recorded seven outs, three on strikeouts. Wichita Wind Surge Along with Cabbage, the Wind Surge’s top performers last week were hitters signed to minor league contracts before or during the season. Catcher/First Baseman Roy Morales played in all six games and hit .500/.571/.636 (1.208) with a double, a triple and five walks. Jermaine Palacios was limited to three games, but he hit .308/.357/.769 (1.126) with two home runs. DJ Burt played four games and went 8-for-15 (.533) with a double and a triple. Adam Lau made a spot start for the Wind Surge. He went 3 2/3 scoreless innings and gave up just one hit and walk. He struck out six. Continuing his return to the mound, Cole Sands struck out four batters over three shutout innings. Chris Vallimont was very good in his start. He tossed six scoreless innings, gave up three hits, three walks and struck out eight batters. On Tuesday, Jordan Balazovic tossed seven shutout innings to extend his streak to 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless frames. He wasn’t as strong in his second start of the week. He gave up three runs on five hits and five walks in five innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels The highlight of the week for the Kernels, at least from a Twins/Player Development standpoint, has to be the return of Matt Wallner from his hamate bone injury. He played in five games and hit .278/.381/.611 (.992) with two home runs. Gabriel Maciel played in four games and hit .500/.571/.583 (1.155) with a double and three big RBI. Kyle Schmidt played in three games and went 5-for-11 (.455). Along with Louie Varland, the Kernels had some really good starts. Ben Gross struck out eight batters in five shutout innings. Jon Olsen gave up just three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Cody Laweryson and Tyler Watson both gave up one run on three hits in their five-inning starts. The sixth Kernels starter, Tyler Beck gave up two runs (and struck out seven batters) in five innings. Melvi Acosta struck out six batters in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up only an unearned run. Zach Featherstone struck out six batters in 2 2/3 one-hit innings. Erik Manoah struck out five batters in three no-hit innings. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Charlie Mack played in five games last week. He hit .333/.429/.500 (.929) with three walks, a homer and four RBI. Jesus Feliz posted an .807 OPS, but he also provided the team with a walk-off homer on Sunday. Lefty Zarion Sharpe had his best start. He gave up two hits over five shutout innings. He struck out five. Sawyer Gipson-Long had a Quality Start. He gave up two runs on six hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out 11 batters. Denny Bentley pitched in three games. He got a Win and two Saves. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up one hit, walked three and struck out seven batters. FCL Twins Luis Baez went 6-for-15 (.400) with a double and a triple last week. Alexander Pena went 5-for-11 (.455) with a double. LaRon Smith, Malfrin Sosa, Argenis Jimenez and Kala’i Rosario each hit a home run. Develson Aria and Juan Mendez each tossed three scoreless innings. Aria struck out six and gave up only one hit. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints It has certainly been a struggle of late for JT Riddle. He played all six games last week, but went just 1-for-19 (.053). Ian Hamilton has been fantastic for the Saints for a couple of months, but he had a rough week. He came into three games and was charged with four runs on one hit and four walks. That said, he also was 2-for-2 in Save Opportunities. Yennier Cano gave up five runs (4 earned) on nine hits over just 3 2/3 innings. Wichita Wind Surge Last week, we highlighted catcher Chris Williams. This week, he only played twice and went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Aaron Whitefield went 2-for-17 (.118, .308 OPS). Spencer Steer went 3-for-22 (.136) with a homer (.409 OPS). Bryan Sammons gave up four runs on two hits and four walks in three innings in his appearance. Joe Kuzia made one appearance and gave up three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter in just 2/3 of an innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels A lot of Kernels struggled at the plate last week. Wander Javier went 2-for-20 (.100) with eight strikeouts. Edouard Julien went 2-for-24 (.083) with 11 strikeouts. Max Smith went 1-for-11 (.091). DaShawn Keirsey went 1-for-12 (.083). Luis Rijo made one appearance out of the bullpen. In 1 2/3 innings, he gave up four runs on five hits and a walk. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Justin Washington played four games and went 1-for-12 (.083). Willie Joe Garry was hitless in 14 at bats, but he did walk five times for a .300 on-base percentage. Keoni Cavaco played in four games in his return to the lineup after missing a week. He went 3-for-19 (.158) with eight strikeouts. Aaron Sabato went 2-for-16 (.125) with ten strikeouts in five games. He did walk seven times and had an on-base percentage of .391. Bobby Milacki gave up five runs (4 earned) on five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Juan Pichardo gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in two innings. FCL Twins 31-year-old lefty Sean Gilmartin pitched in 81 games in the big leagues from 2015 through 2020. The Twins signed him a few weeks ago, probably with the plan of getting him up to the Double-A or Triple-A level soon. In three games and 4 1/3 innings, he has given up nine runs (8 earned) on ten hits, two walk sand eight strikeouts. It’s been a tough season for righty from The Netherlands, Donny Breek. He pitched in four games with the Mighty Mussels earlier this year. He gave up 11 runs on six hits and 12 walks in just 3 2/3 innings. For the FCL Twins, he has now worked 1 2/3 innings and gave up nine runs (4 earned) on zero hits and seven walks. Overall, that’s a 25.31 ERA and a 4.69 WHIP in 5 1/3 innings. He’s given up six hits, walked 19, hit four and struck out three batters. Trending Storyline The trade deadline is Friday afternoon at three o’clock. The team has already made one trade, acquiring Triple-A right-handed pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman from the Rays for Nelson Cruz. There is a good chance that by the next time you read this, the Twins will have acquired several more prospect for us to research and discuss. Along with the draft picks that have signed, we may even be in need of a new prospect rankings. PROSPECT SUMMARY We have now updated this Prospect Summary to show our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings… #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 10 GS, 49.1 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 61 K, 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 71 games, .342/.405/.610 (1.015) with 16 doubles, 21 homers, 60 RBI, 28 BB, 43 K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 42 games, .264/.343/.346 (.689) with 6 doubles, 2 triple, 1 homer, 19 RBI, 18 BB, 52 K, 6 SB #7 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 70 games, .185/.370/.290 (.660) with 13 doubles, 4 homers, 26 RBI, 66 BB, 97 K #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 24 games, .322/.380/.600 (.980) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers, 16 RBI, 7 BB, 36 K. #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (10 GS, 43.1 IP, 42 H, 13 BB, 45 K, 5.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 9 GS, 36.2 IP, 25 H, 18 BB, 49 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (12 games, .136/.191/.386 (375) with 2 double, 3 homers, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 18 K) #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 64 games, .208/.310/.308 (618) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 3 homer, 42 RBI, 34 BB, 56 K, 10 SB) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 68 games, .244/.356/.465 (.821) with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 16 homers, 37 RBI, 42 BB, 59 K) #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 66 games, .215/.274/.400 (.674) with 11 doubles, 5 triples, 9 homers, 36 RBI, 18 BB, 96 K) #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured) #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 12 GS, 51.0 IP, 46 H, 28 BB, 82 K, 3.88 ERA, 1.45 WHIP LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers @ Clearwater (Sawyer Gipson-Long, Brent Headrick, Landon Leach, TBD, TBD): Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin:(Louie Varland, Jon Olsen, Tyler Watson, Ben Gross, Cody Laweryson, Tyler Beck) Wichita @ NW Arkansas: (Chris Vallimont (Cole Sands), Austin Schulfer, Bryan Sammons, Jordan Balazovic, TBD, Chris Vallimont) Indianapolis @ St. Paul: (Beau Burrows, Charlie Barnes, Matt Shoemaker, Griffin Jax, Drew Strotman, Beau Burrows): Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  13. Yet another week of minor league baseball is in the books and it was yet another week in which I spent time breaking down video of some of the more intriguing arms in the Minnesota Twins’ farm system. Below are some takeaways on the performance and film of three pitchers that caught my eye in particular. Louie Varland (High-A Cedar Rapids) Twins Daily Ranking: Honorable Mention MLB Pipeline Ranking: N/a FanGraphs Ranking: N/a Weekly Stats: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K Varland made his well-earned High-A debut earlier this week after putting up some stellar numbers in Low-A. His 14.45 K/9 rate and 4.75 K:BB ratio in 47 ⅓ innings for the Mighty Mussels were not only among the best on the team, but the Twins’ system in general, which is not something that many expected for the team’s 15th-round pick in 2019. Varland owns a compact windup with repeatable mechanics and a three-quarter arm slot. Although he has primarily been utilized as a starter both in college - at NCAA Division II Concordia University, St. Paul - as well as in the minors, his pitch mix primarily consists of a fastball and curveball, which is typically better suited out of the bullpen. The fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, plays best up in the zone where it stays flat with a little bit of tailing action. However, as he moves it lower in the zone, the amount of sink increases and, along with it, a diminished command. The curveball has potential to be a plus second pitch if he can refine his command. While he unleashes it frequently to miss bats, his feel for the pitch is fairly average, highlighted by often leaving it hanging middle-middle, which is something he can get away with in A-ball but will get slapped around at higher levels. However, when he locates it low, it’s a very difficult ball to square up, especially when piggybacking off a fastball up in the zone. Varland’s lack of a third pitch, whether that be another off-speed offering or improved command of his fastball down, will likely limit him to a relief role should he make it to the majors. Regardless, his performance to date should get his name placed on the major Twins prospect ranking lists come the end of the season. Chris Vallimont (Double-A Wichita) Twins Daily Ranking: No. 20 MLB Pipeline Ranking: No. 18 FanGraphs Ranking: No. 18 Weekly Stats: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K Chris Vallimont looks every bit the part of a major league pitcher. Standing at 6-foot-5-inches tall with an athletic frame and a left arm full of tattoos, Vallimont was acquired along with former Twin Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league slugger Lewin Diaz. He shot up the Twins prospect rankings due in large part to his projectability and solid fastball/curve repertoire; he’ll also mix in the occasional changeup and slider, though his command, which isn’t necessarily anything to write home about to begin with, of the latter two pitches is pretty poor. However, since joining the system, he has been a bit of an enigma. Vallimont has always boasted huge strikeout numbers and that has continued this season. He currently is cutting down batters at an impressive 14.57 K/9 clip, which translates to 68 strikeouts in 42 innings at the Double-A level. However, the sheen of these numbers are muted a bit due to his propensity to dish out free passes (5.36 BB/9) and hard contact (9.1% HR:FB ratio). Making things even more murky is the fact that Vallimont’s standard and advanced statistics largely paint two distinct pictures. His 4.71 ERA is ugly, but his 3.24 FIP is much prettier, for example. He also is getting BABIP’d to death (.402), which is unsustainable. Basically, the beauty of Vallimont’s future is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, though as of now, he’s more likely to end up as a reliever than a starter in the long-term. Jordan Gore (Double-A Wichita) Twins Daily Ranking: N/a MLB Pipeline Ranking: N/a FanGraphs Ranking: N/a Weekly Stats: 3 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K The success of Jordan Gore is simply a good story. Taken in the 19th round of the 2017 draft as an infielder, Gore converted to relief pitching full-time this season after serving as a two-way player for the previous two. In 46 career innings across rookie ball, A-ball, and Double-A, Gore has struck out 62, walked 24, and allowed only two home runs. Much like the two other pitchers discussed above, Gore is a right-hander who primarily relies on his fastball and curveball. The fastball won’t necessarily blow anyone away, but the curve plays well off of it. If he continues to perform as he has to this point, he may find himself in the Twins’ bullpen at some point next summer. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  14. Louie Varland (High-A Cedar Rapids) Twins Daily Ranking: Honorable Mention MLB Pipeline Ranking: N/a FanGraphs Ranking: N/a Weekly Stats: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K Varland made his well-earned High-A debut earlier this week after putting up some stellar numbers in Low-A. His 14.45 K/9 rate and 4.75 K:BB ratio in 47 ⅓ innings for the Mighty Mussels were not only among the best on the team, but the Twins’ system in general, which is not something that many expected for the team’s 15th-round pick in 2019. Varland owns a compact windup with repeatable mechanics and a three-quarter arm slot. Although he has primarily been utilized as a starter both in college - at NCAA Division II Concordia University, St. Paul - as well as in the minors, his pitch mix primarily consists of a fastball and curveball, which is typically better suited out of the bullpen. The fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, plays best up in the zone where it stays flat with a little bit of tailing action. However, as he moves it lower in the zone, the amount of sink increases and, along with it, a diminished command. The curveball has potential to be a plus second pitch if he can refine his command. While he unleashes it frequently to miss bats, his feel for the pitch is fairly average, highlighted by often leaving it hanging middle-middle, which is something he can get away with in A-ball but will get slapped around at higher levels. However, when he locates it low, it’s a very difficult ball to square up, especially when piggybacking off a fastball up in the zone. Varland’s lack of a third pitch, whether that be another off-speed offering or improved command of his fastball down, will likely limit him to a relief role should he make it to the majors. Regardless, his performance to date should get his name placed on the major Twins prospect ranking lists come the end of the season. Chris Vallimont (Double-A Wichita) Twins Daily Ranking: No. 20 MLB Pipeline Ranking: No. 18 FanGraphs Ranking: No. 18 Weekly Stats: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K Chris Vallimont looks every bit the part of a major league pitcher. Standing at 6-foot-5-inches tall with an athletic frame and a left arm full of tattoos, Vallimont was acquired along with former Twin Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league slugger Lewin Diaz. He shot up the Twins prospect rankings due in large part to his projectability and solid fastball/curve repertoire; he’ll also mix in the occasional changeup and slider, though his command, which isn’t necessarily anything to write home about to begin with, of the latter two pitches is pretty poor. However, since joining the system, he has been a bit of an enigma. Vallimont has always boasted huge strikeout numbers and that has continued this season. He currently is cutting down batters at an impressive 14.57 K/9 clip, which translates to 68 strikeouts in 42 innings at the Double-A level. However, the sheen of these numbers are muted a bit due to his propensity to dish out free passes (5.36 BB/9) and hard contact (9.1% HR:FB ratio). Making things even more murky is the fact that Vallimont’s standard and advanced statistics largely paint two distinct pictures. His 4.71 ERA is ugly, but his 3.24 FIP is much prettier, for example. He also is getting BABIP’d to death (.402), which is unsustainable. Basically, the beauty of Vallimont’s future is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, though as of now, he’s more likely to end up as a reliever than a starter in the long-term. Jordan Gore (Double-A Wichita) Twins Daily Ranking: N/a MLB Pipeline Ranking: N/a FanGraphs Ranking: N/a Weekly Stats: 3 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K The success of Jordan Gore is simply a good story. Taken in the 19th round of the 2017 draft as an infielder, Gore converted to relief pitching full-time this season after serving as a two-way player for the previous two. In 46 career innings across rookie ball, A-ball, and Double-A, Gore has struck out 62, walked 24, and allowed only two home runs. Much like the two other pitchers discussed above, Gore is a right-hander who primarily relies on his fastball and curveball. The fastball won’t necessarily blow anyone away, but the curve plays well off of it. If he continues to perform as he has to this point, he may find himself in the Twins’ bullpen at some point next summer. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. Josh Winder pitched like a future MLB starter en route to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month for June. Honorable Mentions: LHP Brent Headrick, Low-A: 1-1, 1.71 ERA, 21 IP, 30 K, 10 BB, 1.24 WHIP RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, Low-A, 3-0, 2.91 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 31 K, 5 BB, 1.25 WHIP Number 5: RHP Chris Vallimont, Double-A Stats: 2-2, 3.22 ERA, 22 1/3 IP, 34 K, 10 BB, 1.39 WHIP On the surface, Vallimont's numbers from May are arguably better than the ones he posted in June. However, the big difference was his uptick in innings. Vallimont faced exactly twice as many batters in June as he did in May - 96 versus 48 - and essentially maintained his strikeout rate. While he wasn't fantastic, he was good, which was enough to come in fifth in the vote. Number 4: RHP Ben Gross, High-A Stats: 2-0, 1.54 ERA, 23 1/3 IP, 29 K, 10 BB, 1.37 WHIP Gross will be 25-years-old before the end of the season meaning the odds that he ever reaches the majors are dwindling with each passing day. That said, his performance during the month of June was rather encouraging. Compared to May, Gross pitched six more innings, struck out seven more batters, allowed four fewer runs, and dropped his overall ERA from 4.15 to 2.66. Number 3: RHP Austin Schulfer, Double-A Stats: 1-1, 1.75 ERA, 25 2/3 IP, 28 K, 8 BB, 1.29 WHIP Like Gross, Schulfer saw his performance improve dramatically as the calendar turned from May to June. A 19th-round pick in the 2018 draft, Schulfer dropped his ERA from 5.31 to 3.33 after allowing seven less earned runs and striking out twice as many batters in 5 1/3 more innings. Again, his future may not be in the majors as he is already 25-years-old and owns a FIP north of 3.50 in his minor league career, however, it's always intriguing anytime a player posts a month as successful as Schulfer. Number 2: RHP Louie Varland, Low-A Stats: 1-0, 0.40 ERA, 22 1/3 IP, 29 K, 5 BB, 0.90 WHIP For as mediocre as Varland's May was, his June was absolutely superb. Piling up strikeouts has never been an issue for the former Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bear, but what changed for the 23-year-old in June was his ability to combine his punch outs with preventing the long ball. Varland struck out 29 batters in June compared to his 28 in May while seeing his home runs allowed (0 versus 2) and walks issued (5 versus 10) drop precipitously subsequent to a 59% increase in innings pitched (22 1/3 versus 14). Varland owns the raw stuff to be a contributor in some capacity at the major league level. The key with him, as is the case with many minor league pitchers, is improving his command to the point he did in June. If he can keep the walks low and and long ball few and far between, he could find himself pitching at Target Field someday. Number 1: RHP Josh Winder, Double-A (recently promoted to Triple-A) Stats: 2-0, 2.37 ERA, 30 1/3 IP, 35 K, 4 BB, 0.96 WHIP In a Twins' farm system that is replete with talent, perhaps no pitching prospect is more under-appreciated than Josh Winder. Winder, who did not even crack Twins Daily's Top 20 prospect list prior to the start of the season, finished in second place during last month's Starting Pitcher of the Month race after posting some ridiculous numbers and he continued his streak of dominance as spring turned to summer en route to winning this past month's honors. Unlike contemporaries Matt Canterino and Jhoan Duran, Winder possesses fluid mechanics with a consistent, repeatable motion. He get's good push off from his back leg which reduces the strain placed on his shoulder and elbow. He's only been placed on the injured list once in his minor league career, a stint that lasted exactly one week. Winder's owns a classic pitch arsenal consisting of a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s, though it can touch as high as 96 mph, and is graded as a 50-55 on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale according to FanGraphs. While he doesn't have one pitch that stands out as more impressive than the others, all four are at least average offerings, which has the benefit of raising his floor as a prospect. It this fact, along with his string of consistent positive performances, that drove Winder to be named to the 2021 Futures Game alongside a host of top-tier MLB prospects. Winder may never find himself among the Twins' top-10 prospects, however, arguably no pitcher in the system has risen their stock more than he has compared to prior to the season beginning. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  16. Honorable Mentions: LHP Brent Headrick, Low-A: 1-1, 1.71 ERA, 21 IP, 30 K, 10 BB, 1.24 WHIP RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, Low-A, 3-0, 2.91 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 31 K, 5 BB, 1.25 WHIP Number 5: RHP Chris Vallimont, Double-A Stats: 2-2, 3.22 ERA, 22 1/3 IP, 34 K, 10 BB, 1.39 WHIP On the surface, Vallimont's numbers from May are arguably better than the ones he posted in June. However, the big difference was his uptick in innings. Vallimont faced exactly twice as many batters in June as he did in May - 96 versus 48 - and essentially maintained his strikeout rate. While he wasn't fantastic, he was good, which was enough to come in fifth in the vote. Number 4: RHP Ben Gross, High-A Stats: 2-0, 1.54 ERA, 23 1/3 IP, 29 K, 10 BB, 1.37 WHIP Gross will be 25-years-old before the end of the season meaning the odds that he ever reaches the majors are dwindling with each passing day. That said, his performance during the month of June was rather encouraging. Compared to May, Gross pitched six more innings, struck out seven more batters, allowed four fewer runs, and dropped his overall ERA from 4.15 to 2.66. Number 3: RHP Austin Schulfer, Double-A Stats: 1-1, 1.75 ERA, 25 2/3 IP, 28 K, 8 BB, 1.29 WHIP Like Gross, Schulfer saw his performance improve dramatically as the calendar turned from May to June. A 19th-round pick in the 2018 draft, Schulfer dropped his ERA from 5.31 to 3.33 after allowing seven less earned runs and striking out twice as many batters in 5 1/3 more innings. Again, his future may not be in the majors as he is already 25-years-old and owns a FIP north of 3.50 in his minor league career, however, it's always intriguing anytime a player posts a month as successful as Schulfer. Number 2: RHP Louie Varland, Low-A Stats: 1-0, 0.40 ERA, 22 1/3 IP, 29 K, 5 BB, 0.90 WHIP For as mediocre as Varland's May was, his June was absolutely superb. Piling up strikeouts has never been an issue for the former Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bear, but what changed for the 23-year-old in June was his ability to combine his punch outs with preventing the long ball. Varland struck out 29 batters in June compared to his 28 in May while seeing his home runs allowed (0 versus 2) and walks issued (5 versus 10) drop precipitously subsequent to a 59% increase in innings pitched (22 1/3 versus 14). Varland owns the raw stuff to be a contributor in some capacity at the major league level. The key with him, as is the case with many minor league pitchers, is improving his command to the point he did in June. If he can keep the walks low and and long ball few and far between, he could find himself pitching at Target Field someday. Number 1: RHP Josh Winder, Double-A (recently promoted to Triple-A) Stats: 2-0, 2.37 ERA, 30 1/3 IP, 35 K, 4 BB, 0.96 WHIP In a Twins' farm system that is replete with talent, perhaps no pitching prospect is more under-appreciated than Josh Winder. Winder, who did not even crack Twins Daily's Top 20 prospect list prior to the start of the season, finished in second place during last month's Starting Pitcher of the Month race after posting some ridiculous numbers and he continued his streak of dominance as spring turned to summer en route to winning this past month's honors. Unlike contemporaries Matt Canterino and Jhoan Duran, Winder possesses fluid mechanics with a consistent, repeatable motion. He get's good push off from his back leg which reduces the strain placed on his shoulder and elbow. He's only been placed on the injured list once in his minor league career, a stint that lasted exactly one week. Winder's owns a classic pitch arsenal consisting of a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s, though it can touch as high as 96 mph, and is graded as a 50-55 on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale according to FanGraphs. While he doesn't have one pitch that stands out as more impressive than the others, all four are at least average offerings, which has the benefit of raising his floor as a prospect. It this fact, along with his string of consistent positive performances, that drove Winder to be named to the 2021 Futures Game alongside a host of top-tier MLB prospects. Winder may never find himself among the Twins' top-10 prospects, however, arguably no pitcher in the system has risen their stock more than he has compared to prior to the season beginning. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. On Thursday night (6:00 central time), Seth will be chatting with Twins minor league RHP Chris Vallimont on a new episode of Twins Spotlight. The discussion was live on the Twins Daily social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins at the July 2019 trade deadline. Along with Sergio Romo, Vallimont came from the Marlins organization in exchange for first baseman Lewin Diaz. He finished that season with four starts for the Ft. Myers Miracle. Then came 2020 and we'll find out how that year was for the lanky right-hander. The Erie, Pennsylvania, native stayed home after high school and attended Division II Mercyhurst College. As a junior, he struck out 147 batters in 80 1/3 innings and led his team to the Division II World Series. The Marlins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. He's an intriguing prospect who has good size, a big arm with a fastball that sits 95 and 96 but has touched 98 at times, a changeup, and of course, both a slider and a curveball that can be very good. Join us live at 6:00 to watch and participate by sending your questions. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at 6pm (central time) tonight on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. More on Chris Vallimont: Get to know: RHP Chris Vallimont (August 2019) Follow Chris on Twitter at @Valli_Swag7. Follow Chris on Instagram at @valliswag7. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 7: Matt Wallner Episode 8: Brent Rooker Episode 9: Bailey Ober Episode 10: Talkin' Torii (with Jacque Jones, Royce Lewis, Niko Guardado) Episode 11: Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota Episode 12: Charlie Mack Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells Episode 15: Sawyer Gipson-Long Episode 16: Adam Bray Episode 17: Chris Vallimont View full article
  18. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins at the July 2019 trade deadline. Along with Sergio Romo, Vallimont came from the Marlins organization in exchange for first baseman Lewin Diaz. He finished that season with four starts for the Ft. Myers Miracle. Then came 2020 and we'll find out how that year was for the lanky right-hander. The Erie, Pennsylvania, native stayed home after high school and attended Division II Mercyhurst College. As a junior, he struck out 147 batters in 80 1/3 innings and led his team to the Division II World Series. The Marlins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. He's an intriguing prospect who has good size, a big arm with a fastball that sits 95 and 96 but has touched 98 at times, a changeup, and of course, both a slider and a curveball that can be very good. Join us live at 6:00 to watch and participate by sending your questions. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at 6pm (central time) tonight on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. More on Chris Vallimont: Get to know: RHP Chris Vallimont (August 2019) Follow Chris on Twitter at @Valli_Swag7. Follow Chris on Instagram at @valliswag7. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 7: Matt Wallner Episode 8: Brent Rooker Episode 9: Bailey Ober Episode 10: Talkin' Torii (with Jacque Jones, Royce Lewis, Niko Guardado) Episode 11: Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota Episode 12: Charlie Mack Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells Episode 15: Sawyer Gipson-Long Episode 16: Adam Bray Episode 17: Chris Vallimont
  19. Over the past week, Minnesota had an opportunity to solidify its legitimacy as contenders with matchups against quality competition in front of home crowds at Target Field. Instead, the Twins stumbled through their worst week of the year, casting serious doubt on their championship viability while watching a long-held division lead evaporate. Let's assess the damage. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/5 through Sun, 8/11 *** Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 71-47) Run Differential Last Week: -14 (Overall: +127) Standing: Tied for 1st Place in AL Central Willians Watch: Out Indefinitely Exactly one week after losing Byron Buxton to a shoulder injury that will likely sideline him through at least the end of August, the Twins sustained another devastating blow with the loss of Nelson Cruz, who came up wincing on a swing-and-miss in Thursday's opener against Cleveland. Prior to last week, Cruz had almost single-handedly powered Minnesota through a 7-2 stretch against the Marlins, White Sox, and Royals with eight homers and 19 RBIs. His diagnosis of a ruptured tendon is actually being portrayed as relatively positive news, but we'll see. The Twins have fumbled away an opportunity to show something against quality competition since the All-Star break, sandwiching their successful run against the aforementioned basement-dwellers with a 7-12 record against the Mets, A's, Yankees, Braves, and Indians. The lack of effectiveness against these teams is going to make it hard for anyone to feel confident in Minnesota's outlook for the postseason, even if they're able to ride a soft remaining schedule to a division title or wild-card berth. Outside of Cruz going down, the past week in roster moves was a medley of pitching switches. Cody Stashak was optioned on Tuesday to make room for Kohl Stewart, who himself was sent back down the next day in exchange for Randy Dobnak. On Friday, Stashak was recalled to fill Cruz's vacant roster spot. The Twins aren't exactly trafficking distinguished arms here, but Dobnak's excellent debut on Friday was (as we'll discuss shortly) a shining beam of positivity amidst a pall of darkness. HIGHLIGHTS The week started on a high note, as Miguel Sano extended his resurgent offensive tear with one of the season's biggest hits: a walk-off, two-run homer to beat the Braves at Target Field on Monday. He entered the game with a .901 OPS since the start of June – trailing only Cruz (1.145) and Max Kepler (.909) among Twins hitters. Sano's production tailed off in the latter part of the week, as he went 1-for-14 with with seven strikeouts against Cleveland, but he has rightfully earned his way up to the No. 3 spot in the order with a discerning, punishing plate approach that closely resembles the pre-injury version of himself. Sano's return to form, along with the continuing emergence of Luis Arraez (six more hits last week, including the ninth-inning single that set up Sano's walk-off), has been hugely invigorating for an offense that's otherwise seen several important contributors get hurt or cool off. Sano and Arraez are the straws stirring the drink right now. Pitching-wise it was not a good week in general, but Jake Odorizzi certainly deserves credit for coming up with his best start in two months on Monday, when he held Atlanta to one run over six innings, even though it took him a season-high 109 pitches to accomplish it. He followed with another strong – albeit inefficient – effort on Saturday, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings while showing renewed life on his splitter and compiling 17 whiffs. Odorizzi has rebounded nicely after his nine-run clunker against the Yankees in late July, allowing two runs (and only one homer) over 17 1/3 innings in three starts since. The other big highlight of the week, especially for those who love a good underdog story, was the arrival of Dobnak. The 24-year-old right-hander originally came to the Twins organization from an independent league after going undrafted out of college. Despite lacking standout stuff or big strikeout rates, Dobnak rapidly cruised through the minors, opening this season at Single-A and jolting to the majors within four months on the strength of his stifling performance: 11-3 with a 2.02 ERA and 0.98 WHIP between three levels. In his MLB debut on Friday, Dobnak lived up to his statistical profile. He got a few swings and misses but was more dependent on weak contact, unleashing a bevy of sinkers in the zone en route to four shutout innings. When Eddie Rosario went deep with a solo shot on Friday night, it marked a new franchise record for home runs, surpassing the 225 benchmark set by Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, and the 1963 Twins. With more than seven weeks remaining on the schedule, this was undeniably a remarkable and impressive feat, but somehow it felt hollow amidst another frustrating week that exposed Minnesota's inability to overcome quality opponents on the basis of this one-dimensional advantage. LOWLIGHTS Outside of Odorizzi, we saw the bottom fall out for the Twins rotation last week. A feisty and tenacious offense did its part but could not dig out of the massive holes built by starters who simply wilted against good lineups in critical spots. On Tuesday, Jose Berrios turned in one of the worst starts of his career, coughing up a whopping nine runs (all earned) over 5 2/3 innings against the Braves. His night started with a home run on the first pitch to Ronald Acuna, and hardly got any better from there as he issued a season-high four walks while yielding nine hits. In his second start of the week on Sunday, Berrios showed improvement, getting through six frames with three runs allowed, but still looked nothing like the ace Minnesota needs him to be. Fighting through diminished velocity and a scarcity of swinging strikes, Berrios is setting off alarm bells right now. On Wednesday, Martin Perez dropped yet another dud, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in six innings versus Atlanta. It was the lefty's third time in his last four starts allowing 5+ ER and 3 HR, further endangering a seemingly precarious rotation spot. After coming up with five quality starts in his first seven turns through May 17th, Perez has since delivered only three QS in 13 starts. Bumping him to the bullpen would be a mere formality at this point if a clear upgrade were readily available. But Michael Pineda remains on the IL and Devin Smeltzer tarnished his case on Friday with a thrashing at the hands of Cleveland, coughing up seven runs (six earned) in just 4 1/3 innings in a game that could've taken a major toll on the bullpen if not for Dobnak. We've seen a lot of good from Smeltzer this year, but his two letdowns have been exceedingly painful since both came against the Indians. Makes it a little tough to count on him. All those lowlights aside, the biggest flub of the week from my perspective was Kyle Gibson's start on Thursday to kick off the Cleveland series. It wasn't the worst performance we saw from a Twins pitcher but given all the circumstances, I view it as maybe the low point of Gibson's career in Minnesota. All of Gibson's worst traits were on display in a tone-setting struggle against Cleveland's lineup. He was constantly timid around the zone, piling up six walks in 4 1/3 innings while throwing more balls (43) than strikes (42). His tenseness on the mound manifested in the second when he botched a pickoff throw, allowing a run to score. I've always considered myself a Gibby defender. He's a homegrown, drafted-and-developed pitcher who's been a quality organizational citizen – a likable guy that embraced analytics and outside-the-box techniques to reinvent himself. He's an above-average starter who occasionally flashes dominance, and I personally believe he has earned the opportunity to play a key role in Minnesota's first real playoff push since he's been in the majors. But he's running out of time to alter the narrative that he can't get it done against dangerous lineups when the team really needs him to step up. This latest outing was unfortunately the kind that may well end up defining his legacy with the Twins. There are few series remaining against offenses that pose a real threat, and if Gibson can't buck his trend and come through in those opportunities (starting with Milwaukee on Wednesday), he probably won't get a chance to bolster his legacy – and free agent stock – in the postseason. TRENDING STORYLINE Our worst fears have been realized. The Twins have seen what was once an 11.5-game lead in the AL Central vanish entirely. Despite some grumblings to the contrary, this is due to Cleveland's torrid play more than any ostensible "collapse" from Minnesota, whose degradation from unstoppable force in the early months to a merely mortal and solid unit still leaves them 24 games above .500, and on a 97-win pace. With that said, this team is clearly confronting a moment of truth. They are watching their once-firm grasp on the Central disappear before their very eyes. The Twins are playing their worst ball of the season as the Indians play their best, and as a result, a division title – and even a playoff entry – are very much in doubt. The front office didn't take especially decisive action at the deadline, and while your mileage may vary on this strategy, I'm okay with protecting prime minor-league assets. Sustainability is an important consideration. Having said that, this is a crucial window of opportunity. You can't assume you'll find yourself in this position next year. The Twins need to do whatever they can to maximize their chances, not just of reaching October but of making a run there. Does that mean taking the drastic step of, say, calling up Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach from Double-A? Larnach has been raking in August and Kirilloff's pure raw talent supersedes his ordinary numbers. These are lightning-in-a-bottle type additions capable of sparking a lineup that feels very incomplete sans Buxton and Cruz. An even more intriguing option, given the club's needs, would be Brusdar Graterol, the flame-throwing righty who returned to the Double-A mound last week, striking out three of the six batters he faced in a relief appearance for the Blue Wahoos. This pitching staff needs a difference-maker. Graterol could be it. And the silver lining of his shoulder injury, which sidelined him for more than two months, is that the downtime kept his innings total in check. The problem, in any of these scenarios, is twofold: First, you're talking about throwing inexperienced youngsters who are still acclimating to the Double-A level into a major-league pennant race. It's an insane amount of pressure, and the kind of thing that could adversely affect development if it goes poorly. Second, you're starting the service clock on players who are still probably a ways away from being full-time big-league contributors. In the case of Graterol, who's still just 20 years old, you'd be setting him up to potentially be out of options by age 23. Then again, those are the kinds of risks you necessarily take when you're in it. And the Twins are very much in it. We'll see hold bold this regime can be. DOWN ON THE FARM If the Twins were feeling hints of buyer's remorse for the Sergio Romo trade, which sent prospect Lewin Diaz to the Marlins, they might have gotten some relief over the weekend. Yes, Diaz has been on an absolute tear since joining Miami's Double-A affiliate, with five home runs in 13 games. And the pitching prospect Minnesota got back in the swap, Chris Vallimont, was shelled in his first start for the Miracle. But Romo's been very good and Vallimont bounced back in a big way on Friday, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth and finishing with seven superlative innings. Diaz definitely looks like a player, but all-in-all, the Twins will happily swap out a defensively limited hitter for pitching upside at this point. Vallimont has some real steam in prospect circles and in his second start with his new organization, he showed why. Speaking of pitchers, one other development worth watching on the minor-league front: Trevor Hildenberger opened up a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday, logging a scoreless inning against the Red Sox affiliate. It was his first official appearance since June 8th. Who knows what to expect from Hildenberger at this point, but if he can find any semblance of his old form it could provide a much-needed infusion for the big-league bullpen. Stephen Gonsalves also returned to the mound in the GCL following a long injury layoff, but seems much less likely to be a factor for the Twins down the stretch. LOOKING AHEAD Another tough week awaits, with Minnesota heading across the border to face Christian Yelich and the Brewers, then traveling south for four games against Texas in the August Arlington heat. These aren't great teams, but they're good teams, and both will present a brisk challenge for the reeling Twins. Afterwards, the schedule gets much easier – 12 straight games against the White Sox and Tigers – but a winning week ahead will be important, both for keeping pace with the unrelenting Indians, and for restoring confidence. TUESDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ BREWERS – LHP Martin Perez v. RHP Chase Anderson WEDNESDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Gio Gonzalez THURSDAY, 8/15: TWINS @ RANGERS – LHP Devin Smeltzer v. RHP Pedro Payano FRIDAY, 8/16: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. LHP Mike Minor SATURDAY, 8/17: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Ariel Jurado SUNDAY, 8/18: TWINS @ RANGERS – LHP Martin Perez v. RHP Lance Lynn Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 112 | MIN 5, ATL 3: May Throws Fire, Sano Launches a Walk-Off Bomb in Twins WinGame 113 | ATL 12, MIN 7: Berrios Bad Night Leads to Braves BlowoutGame 114 | ATL 11, MIN 7: Perez Struggles and Offense is Too Late in Rubber MatchGame 115 | CLE 7, MIN 5: Gibson Struggles, Late-Inning Rallies Fall ShortGame 116 | CLE 6, MIN 2: Twins Set Home Run Record, Lose to ClevelandGame 117 | MIN 4, CLE 1: Odorizzi Solid, Offense Takes Advantage of Key OpportunitiesGame 118 | CLE 7, MIN 3: Frustrating Loss Marred by Heartbreaking Moments Click here to view the article
  20. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/5 through Sun, 8/11 *** Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 71-47) Run Differential Last Week: -14 (Overall: +127) Standing: Tied for 1st Place in AL Central Willians Watch: Out Indefinitely Exactly one week after losing Byron Buxton to a shoulder injury that will likely sideline him through at least the end of August, the Twins sustained another devastating blow with the loss of Nelson Cruz, who came up wincing on a swing-and-miss in Thursday's opener against Cleveland. Prior to last week, Cruz had almost single-handedly powered Minnesota through a 7-2 stretch against the Marlins, White Sox, and Royals with eight homers and 19 RBIs. His diagnosis of a ruptured tendon is actually being portrayed as relatively positive news, but we'll see. The Twins have fumbled away an opportunity to show something against quality competition since the All-Star break, sandwiching their successful run against the aforementioned basement-dwellers with a 7-12 record against the Mets, A's, Yankees, Braves, and Indians. The lack of effectiveness against these teams is going to make it hard for anyone to feel confident in Minnesota's outlook for the postseason, even if they're able to ride a soft remaining schedule to a division title or wild-card berth. Outside of Cruz going down, the past week in roster moves was a medley of pitching switches. Cody Stashak was optioned on Tuesday to make room for Kohl Stewart, who himself was sent back down the next day in exchange for Randy Dobnak. On Friday, Stashak was recalled to fill Cruz's vacant roster spot. The Twins aren't exactly trafficking distinguished arms here, but Dobnak's excellent debut on Friday was (as we'll discuss shortly) a shining beam of positivity amidst a pall of darkness. HIGHLIGHTS The week started on a high note, as Miguel Sano extended his resurgent offensive tear with one of the season's biggest hits: a walk-off, two-run homer to beat the Braves at Target Field on Monday. He entered the game with a .901 OPS since the start of June – trailing only Cruz (1.145) and Max Kepler (.909) among Twins hitters. Sano's production tailed off in the latter part of the week, as he went 1-for-14 with with seven strikeouts against Cleveland, but he has rightfully earned his way up to the No. 3 spot in the order with a discerning, punishing plate approach that closely resembles the pre-injury version of himself. Sano's return to form, along with the continuing emergence of Luis Arraez (six more hits last week, including the ninth-inning single that set up Sano's walk-off), has been hugely invigorating for an offense that's otherwise seen several important contributors get hurt or cool off. Sano and Arraez are the straws stirring the drink right now. Pitching-wise it was not a good week in general, but Jake Odorizzi certainly deserves credit for coming up with his best start in two months on Monday, when he held Atlanta to one run over six innings, even though it took him a season-high 109 pitches to accomplish it. He followed with another strong – albeit inefficient – effort on Saturday, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings while showing renewed life on his splitter and compiling 17 whiffs. Odorizzi has rebounded nicely after his nine-run clunker against the Yankees in late July, allowing two runs (and only one homer) over 17 1/3 innings in three starts since. The other big highlight of the week, especially for those who love a good underdog story, was the arrival of Dobnak. The 24-year-old right-hander originally came to the Twins organization from an independent league after going undrafted out of college. Despite lacking standout stuff or big strikeout rates, Dobnak rapidly cruised through the minors, opening this season at Single-A and jolting to the majors within four months on the strength of his stifling performance: 11-3 with a 2.02 ERA and 0.98 WHIP between three levels. In his MLB debut on Friday, Dobnak lived up to his statistical profile. He got a few swings and misses but was more dependent on weak contact, unleashing a bevy of sinkers in the zone en route to four shutout innings. When Eddie Rosario went deep with a solo shot on Friday night, it marked a new franchise record for home runs, surpassing the 225 benchmark set by Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, and the 1963 Twins. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1160358103545798658 With more than seven weeks remaining on the schedule, this was undeniably a remarkable and impressive feat, but somehow it felt hollow amidst another frustrating week that exposed Minnesota's inability to overcome quality opponents on the basis of this one-dimensional advantage. LOWLIGHTS Outside of Odorizzi, we saw the bottom fall out for the Twins rotation last week. A feisty and tenacious offense did its part but could not dig out of the massive holes built by starters who simply wilted against good lineups in critical spots. On Tuesday, Jose Berrios turned in one of the worst starts of his career, coughing up a whopping nine runs (all earned) over 5 2/3 innings against the Braves. His night started with a home run on the first pitch to Ronald Acuna, and hardly got any better from there as he issued a season-high four walks while yielding nine hits. In his second start of the week on Sunday, Berrios showed improvement, getting through six frames with three runs allowed, but still looked nothing like the ace Minnesota needs him to be. Fighting through diminished velocity and a scarcity of swinging strikes, Berrios is setting off alarm bells right now. On Wednesday, Martin Perez dropped yet another dud, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in six innings versus Atlanta. It was the lefty's third time in his last four starts allowing 5+ ER and 3 HR, further endangering a seemingly precarious rotation spot. After coming up with five quality starts in his first seven turns through May 17th, Perez has since delivered only three QS in 13 starts. Bumping him to the bullpen would be a mere formality at this point if a clear upgrade were readily available. But Michael Pineda remains on the IL and Devin Smeltzer tarnished his case on Friday with a thrashing at the hands of Cleveland, coughing up seven runs (six earned) in just 4 1/3 innings in a game that could've taken a major toll on the bullpen if not for Dobnak. We've seen a lot of good from Smeltzer this year, but his two letdowns have been exceedingly painful since both came against the Indians. Makes it a little tough to count on him. All those lowlights aside, the biggest flub of the week from my perspective was Kyle Gibson's start on Thursday to kick off the Cleveland series. It wasn't the worst performance we saw from a Twins pitcher but given all the circumstances, I view it as maybe the low point of Gibson's career in Minnesota. All of Gibson's worst traits were on display in a tone-setting struggle against Cleveland's lineup. He was constantly timid around the zone, piling up six walks in 4 1/3 innings while throwing more balls (43) than strikes (42). His tenseness on the mound manifested in the second when he botched a pickoff throw, allowing a run to score. I've always considered myself a Gibby defender. He's a homegrown, drafted-and-developed pitcher who's been a quality organizational citizen – a likable guy that embraced analytics and outside-the-box techniques to reinvent himself. He's an above-average starter who occasionally flashes dominance, and I personally believe he has earned the opportunity to play a key role in Minnesota's first real playoff push since he's been in the majors. But he's running out of time to alter the narrative that he can't get it done against dangerous lineups when the team really needs him to step up. This latest outing was unfortunately the kind that may well end up defining his legacy with the Twins. There are few series remaining against offenses that pose a real threat, and if Gibson can't buck his trend and come through in those opportunities (starting with Milwaukee on Wednesday), he probably won't get a chance to bolster his legacy – and free agent stock – in the postseason. TRENDING STORYLINE Our worst fears have been realized. The Twins have seen what was once an 11.5-game lead in the AL Central vanish entirely. Despite some grumblings to the contrary, this is due to Cleveland's torrid play more than any ostensible "collapse" from Minnesota, whose degradation from unstoppable force in the early months to a merely mortal and solid unit still leaves them 24 games above .500, and on a 97-win pace. With that said, this team is clearly confronting a moment of truth. They are watching their once-firm grasp on the Central disappear before their very eyes. The Twins are playing their worst ball of the season as the Indians play their best, and as a result, a division title – and even a playoff entry – are very much in doubt. The front office didn't take especially decisive action at the deadline, and while your mileage may vary on this strategy, I'm okay with protecting prime minor-league assets. Sustainability is an important consideration. Having said that, this is a crucial window of opportunity. You can't assume you'll find yourself in this position next year. The Twins need to do whatever they can to maximize their chances, not just of reaching October but of making a run there. Does that mean taking the drastic step of, say, calling up Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach from Double-A? Larnach has been raking in August and Kirilloff's pure raw talent supersedes his ordinary numbers. These are lightning-in-a-bottle type additions capable of sparking a lineup that feels very incomplete sans Buxton and Cruz. An even more intriguing option, given the club's needs, would be Brusdar Graterol, the flame-throwing righty who returned to the Double-A mound last week, striking out three of the six batters he faced in a relief appearance for the Blue Wahoos. This pitching staff needs a difference-maker. Graterol could be it. And the silver lining of his shoulder injury, which sidelined him for more than two months, is that the downtime kept his innings total in check. The problem, in any of these scenarios, is twofold: First, you're talking about throwing inexperienced youngsters who are still acclimating to the Double-A level into a major-league pennant race. It's an insane amount of pressure, and the kind of thing that could adversely affect development if it goes poorly. Second, you're starting the service clock on players who are still probably a ways away from being full-time big-league contributors. In the case of Graterol, who's still just 20 years old, you'd be setting him up to potentially be out of options by age 23. Then again, those are the kinds of risks you necessarily take when you're in it. And the Twins are very much in it. We'll see hold bold this regime can be. DOWN ON THE FARM If the Twins were feeling hints of buyer's remorse for the Sergio Romo trade, which sent prospect Lewin Diaz to the Marlins, they might have gotten some relief over the weekend. Yes, Diaz has been on an absolute tear since joining Miami's Double-A affiliate, with five home runs in 13 games. And the pitching prospect Minnesota got back in the swap, Chris Vallimont, was shelled in his first start for the Miracle. But Romo's been very good and Vallimont bounced back in a big way on Friday, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth and finishing with seven superlative innings. Diaz definitely looks like a player, but all-in-all, the Twins will happily swap out a defensively limited hitter for pitching upside at this point. Vallimont has some real steam in prospect circles and in his second start with his new organization, he showed why. Speaking of pitchers, one other development worth watching on the minor-league front: Trevor Hildenberger opened up a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday, logging a scoreless inning against the Red Sox affiliate. It was his first official appearance since June 8th. Who knows what to expect from Hildenberger at this point, but if he can find any semblance of his old form it could provide a much-needed infusion for the big-league bullpen. Stephen Gonsalves also returned to the mound in the GCL following a long injury layoff, but seems much less likely to be a factor for the Twins down the stretch. LOOKING AHEAD Another tough week awaits, with Minnesota heading across the border to face Christian Yelich and the Brewers, then traveling south for four games against Texas in the August Arlington heat. These aren't great teams, but they're good teams, and both will present a brisk challenge for the reeling Twins. Afterwards, the schedule gets much easier – 12 straight games against the White Sox and Tigers – but a winning week ahead will be important, both for keeping pace with the unrelenting Indians, and for restoring confidence. TUESDAY, 8/13: TWINS @ BREWERS – LHP Martin Perez v. RHP Chase Anderson WEDNESDAY, 8/14: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Gio Gonzalez THURSDAY, 8/15: TWINS @ RANGERS – LHP Devin Smeltzer v. RHP Pedro Payano FRIDAY, 8/16: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. LHP Mike Minor SATURDAY, 8/17: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Ariel Jurado SUNDAY, 8/18: TWINS @ RANGERS – LHP Martin Perez v. RHP Lance Lynn Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 112 | MIN 5, ATL 3: May Throws Fire, Sano Launches a Walk-Off Bomb in Twins Win Game 113 | ATL 12, MIN 7: Berrios Bad Night Leads to Braves Blowout Game 114 | ATL 11, MIN 7: Perez Struggles and Offense is Too Late in Rubber Match Game 115 | CLE 7, MIN 5: Gibson Struggles, Late-Inning Rallies Fall Short Game 116 | CLE 6, MIN 2: Twins Set Home Run Record, Lose to Cleveland Game 117 | MIN 4, CLE 1: Odorizzi Solid, Offense Takes Advantage of Key Opportunities Game 118 | CLE 7, MIN 3: Frustrating Loss Marred by Heartbreaking Moments
  21. TRANSACTIONS Twins recalled RHP Cody Stashak from Rochester. LHP Charlie Barnes promoted to Rochester. RHP Bailey Ober promoted to Pensacola. RED WINGS REPORT Louisville 3, Rochester 1 Box Score Adam Bray: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 59.7% strikes (40 of 67 pitches) HR: Tomas Telis (8) Multi-hit games: None A great pitching performance from the Red Wings staff was squandered by a quiet night from the bats and a slip up from Fernando Romero. Adam Bray pitched four shutout innings before Jake Reed followed with a pair of clean frames of his own. Romero gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits over 1 2/3 innings. The only Rochester run came on a homer from catcher Tomas Telis. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 8, Mobile 5 Box Score Edwar Colina: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 56.7% strikes (51 of 90 pitches) HR: Alex Kirilloff (7), Trevor Larnach (4), Ryan Costello (5), Mark Contreras (8), Royce Lewis (1) Multi-hit games: Kirilloff (2-for-4, HR, HBP), Larnach (2-for-4, HR, BB), Travis Blankenhorn (2-for-5, 3B), Jordan Gore (2-for-4) What a first inning for Pensacola. Alex Kirilloff led things off with a home run, Travis Blankehorn added a one-out triple and Trevor Larnach brought him around on a two-run homer. The Blue Wahoos continued to serve up tater trot hotdish, as Ryan Costello, Mark Contreras and Royce Lewis would all also homer. It was Lewis’ first Double-A home run. Edwar Colina lasted just 3 1/3 innings, but the Pensacola pen stepped up. Jovani Moran (five outs), Jorge Alcala (six outs), Andrew Vasquez (two outs) and Jonathan Cheshire (four outs) combined to cover the final 5 2/3 innings. That quartet gave up just three hits and Vasquez was the only one of them to surrender a run. MIRACLE MATTERS Jupiter 9, Fort Myers 1 Box Score Chris Vallimont: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 67.9% strikes (55 of 81 pitches) HR: Ernie De La Trinidad (3) Multi-hit games: None Life comes at you fast. Chris Vallimont carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the Miracle ended up getting blown out. Baseball can be cruel sometimes. Vallimont, who came over from Miami along with Sergio Romo in the Lewin Diaz trade, didn’t make the best first impression with his new org, giving up six runs over 2 2/3 innings in his first start. Tonight, he was brilliant. Entering the eighth inning, the only baserunner Vallimont allowed reached on a walk. Unfortunately, his first pitch of the eighth inning was hit into left field for a single. The next batter hit a double and that was it for Vallimont. Joe Record, who was recently named Twins Daily’s Reliever of the Month for July, couldn’t stop the skid, and the Hammerheads ended up scoring eight runs that inning. Ouch. KERNELS NUGGETS Kane County 10, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Matt Canterino: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 62.3% strikes (38 of 61 pitches) HR: Gabe Snyder (14) Multi-hit games: Tyler Webb (4-for-5), Snyder (2-for-5, HR) Cedar Rapids entered the top of the ninth inning trailing 6-4. Spencer Steer hit a two-run double to tie the game and Gabe Snyder added a sacrifice fly to put the Kernels up. The Cougars managed to answer and these two teams continued to go blow-for-blow in extras. Both teams scored in the 10th inning, Cedar Rapids added another run in the 11th, but Kane County answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to win on a walk-off. E-TWINS E-NOTES Johnson City 8, Elizabethton 7 Box Score Ryley Widell: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K HR: Willie Joe Garry Jr. (4) Multi-hit games: Matt Wallner (3-for-5, 2B), Janingson Villalobos (2-for-4), Charles Mack (2-for-5) This was a back-and-forth affair. E-Town fell behind 4-1, stormed back to take the lead in the fourth inning, gave it up and fell behind 7-5 in the sixth, tied the game in the bottom of that inning thanks to a Willie Joe Garry Jr. two-run homer, but then relinquished the lead for good in the top of the seventh. Frandy Torres did his best to keep the E-Twins in it, closing things out with four strikeouts over three no-hit innings. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 5, GCL Red Sox 2 (8 innings) Box Score Donny Breek: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Malique Ziegler (2-for-4), Francisco Martinez (2-for-4, 2B) Scheduled to be Game 1 of a doubleheader, this game was only supposed to go seven innings. The Red Sox managed to knot things up at 2-2 in the bottom of that inning, forcing this one into extras. Though it was only the eighth inning. Minor league doubleheaders get weird. Anyway, Victor Heredia, Malique Ziegler and Franscico Martinez all recorded hits to open the top of the eighth and the Twins managed to tally three runs that inning. Donny Breek gave up one unearned run over his 5 1/3 innings, dropping his ERA to 0.59. Bradley Hanner gave up one run over the final 2 2/3 innings. To make things all the more weird, game 2, which was the makeup of a game originally scheduled for last Sunday, was suspended in the bottom of the first inning and will be completed tomorrow. Third time’s the charm? STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Chris Vallimont, Fort Myers Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Alvor Larnilloff, Pensacola (I couldn't pick one, you decide between Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: 1. Royce Lewis (PNS): 1-for-4, HR, BB, R, 3 RBI, 2 K 2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 2-for-4, HR, HBP, 2 R, RBI, K 4. Trevor Larnach (PNS): 2-for-4, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI 5. Wander Javier (CR): 1-for-4, 2 BB, 2 R, E (throw) 7: Keoni Cavaco (GCL): 0-for-4, R, K 15. Matt Wallner (ELZ): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, K 16. Ben Rortvedt (PNS): 0-for-4, BB, 2 K 18. Jorge Alcala (PNS): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 59.0% strikes (23 of 39 pitches) 20. Travis Blankenhorn (PNS): 2-for-5, 3B, R SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Louisville, 6:05 pm CT (Charlie Barnes) Pensacola at Mobile, 7:05 pm CT (TBD) Fort Myers vs. Jupiter, 5:00 pm CT (Blayne Enlow) Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit, 6:35 pm CT (Tyler Palm) Elizabethton vs. Johnson City, 5:30 pm CT (Tyler Benninghoff) GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox, 9:00 am CT (TBD) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  22. Chris Vallimont carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, Donny Breek had another outstanding start in the GCL, and the prospect-packed Pensacola lineup hit five home runs. Come check out what else happened across the Twins minor league system Friday.TRANSACTIONS Twins recalled RHP Cody Stashak from Rochester. LHP Charlie Barnes promoted to Rochester. RHP Bailey Ober promoted to Pensacola. RED WINGS REPORT Louisville 3, Rochester 1 Box Score Adam Bray: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 59.7% strikes (40 of 67 pitches) HR: Tomas Telis (8) Multi-hit games: None A great pitching performance from the Red Wings staff was squandered by a quiet night from the bats and a slip up from Fernando Romero. Adam Bray pitched four shutout innings before Jake Reed followed with a pair of clean frames of his own. Romero gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits over 1 2/3 innings. The only Rochester run came on a homer from catcher Tomas Telis. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 8, Mobile 5 Box Score Edwar Colina: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 56.7% strikes (51 of 90 pitches) HR: Alex Kirilloff (7), Trevor Larnach (4), Ryan Costello (5), Mark Contreras (8), Royce Lewis (1) Multi-hit games: Kirilloff (2-for-4, HR, HBP), Larnach (2-for-4, HR, BB), Travis Blankenhorn (2-for-5, 3B), Jordan Gore (2-for-4) What a first inning for Pensacola. Alex Kirilloff led things off with a home run, Travis Blankehorn added a one-out triple and Trevor Larnach brought him around on a two-run homer. The Blue Wahoos continued to serve up tater trot hotdish, as Ryan Costello, Mark Contreras and Royce Lewis would all also homer. It was Lewis’ first Double-A home run. Edwar Colina lasted just 3 1/3 innings, but the Pensacola pen stepped up. Jovani Moran (five outs), Jorge Alcala (six outs), Andrew Vasquez (two outs) and Jonathan Cheshire (four outs) combined to cover the final 5 2/3 innings. That quartet gave up just three hits and Vasquez was the only one of them to surrender a run. MIRACLE MATTERS Jupiter 9, Fort Myers 1 Box Score Chris Vallimont: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 67.9% strikes (55 of 81 pitches) HR: Ernie De La Trinidad (3) Multi-hit games: None Life comes at you fast. Chris Vallimont carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the Miracle ended up getting blown out. Baseball can be cruel sometimes. Vallimont, who came over from Miami along with Sergio Romo in the Lewin Diaz trade, didn’t make the best first impression with his new org, giving up six runs over 2 2/3 innings in his first start. Tonight, he was brilliant. Entering the eighth inning, the only baserunner Vallimont allowed reached on a walk. Unfortunately, his first pitch of the eighth inning was hit into left field for a single. The next batter hit a double and that was it for Vallimont. Joe Record, who was recently named Twins Daily’s Reliever of the Month for July, couldn’t stop the skid, and the Hammerheads ended up scoring eight runs that inning. Ouch. KERNELS NUGGETS Kane County 10, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Matt Canterino: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 62.3% strikes (38 of 61 pitches) HR: Gabe Snyder (14) Multi-hit games: Tyler Webb (4-for-5), Snyder (2-for-5, HR) Cedar Rapids entered the top of the ninth inning trailing 6-4. Spencer Steer hit a two-run double to tie the game and Gabe Snyder added a sacrifice fly to put the Kernels up. The Cougars managed to answer and these two teams continued to go blow-for-blow in extras. Both teams scored in the 10th inning, Cedar Rapids added another run in the 11th, but Kane County answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to win on a walk-off. E-TWINS E-NOTES Johnson City 8, Elizabethton 7 Box Score Ryley Widell: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K HR: Willie Joe Garry Jr. (4) Multi-hit games: Matt Wallner (3-for-5, 2B), Janingson Villalobos (2-for-4), Charles Mack (2-for-5) This was a back-and-forth affair. E-Town fell behind 4-1, stormed back to take the lead in the fourth inning, gave it up and fell behind 7-5 in the sixth, tied the game in the bottom of that inning thanks to a Willie Joe Garry Jr. two-run homer, but then relinquished the lead for good in the top of the seventh. Frandy Torres did his best to keep the E-Twins in it, closing things out with four strikeouts over three no-hit innings. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 5, GCL Red Sox 2 (8 innings) Box Score Donny Breek: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Malique Ziegler (2-for-4), Francisco Martinez (2-for-4, 2B) Scheduled to be Game 1 of a doubleheader, this game was only supposed to go seven innings. The Red Sox managed to knot things up at 2-2 in the bottom of that inning, forcing this one into extras. Though it was only the eighth inning. Minor league doubleheaders get weird. Anyway, Victor Heredia, Malique Ziegler and Franscico Martinez all recorded hits to open the top of the eighth and the Twins managed to tally three runs that inning. Donny Breek gave up one unearned run over his 5 1/3 innings, dropping his ERA to 0.59. Bradley Hanner gave up one run over the final 2 2/3 innings. To make things all the more weird, game 2, which was the makeup of a game originally scheduled for last Sunday, was suspended in the bottom of the first inning and will be completed tomorrow. Third time’s the charm? STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Chris Vallimont, Fort Myers Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Alvor Larnilloff, Pensacola (I couldn't pick one, you decide between Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: 1. Royce Lewis (PNS): 1-for-4, HR, BB, R, 3 RBI, 2 K 2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 2-for-4, HR, HBP, 2 R, RBI, K 4. Trevor Larnach (PNS): 2-for-4, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI 5. Wander Javier (CR): 1-for-4, 2 BB, 2 R, E (throw) 7: Keoni Cavaco (GCL): 0-for-4, R, K 15. Matt Wallner (ELZ): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, K 16. Ben Rortvedt (PNS): 0-for-4, BB, 2 K 18. Jorge Alcala (PNS): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 59.0% strikes (23 of 39 pitches) 20. Travis Blankenhorn (PNS): 2-for-5, 3B, R SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Louisville, 6:05 pm CT (Charlie Barnes) Pensacola at Mobile, 7:05 pm CT (TBD) Fort Myers vs. Jupiter, 5:00 pm CT (Blayne Enlow) Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit, 6:35 pm CT (Tyler Palm) Elizabethton vs. Johnson City, 5:30 pm CT (Tyler Benninghoff) GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox, 9:00 am CT (TBD) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games. Click here to view the article
  23. Last Saturday, we heard that the Minnesota Twins had acquired reliever Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins. Soon after, news trickled in that the Twins had dealt 1B Lewin Diaz to the Marlins. But it didn’t take long for us to learn that the Twins had also acquired a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later. That pitcher is Chris Vallimont, and recently we were able to chat with the hard-throwing right-hander.On Saturday night, the Jupiter Hammerheads were playing in Tampa against the Yankees’ Florida State League affiliate. Jupiter’s manager, former long-time big league catcher Todd Pratt, called Vallimont over and told him that he had just been traded to the Twins. “At first, it caught me off guard. I really didn’t know what to think. But then I realized that it was going to be a better for me in the long run.” Vallimont said his goodbyes, and the next 24 hours were a bit hectic. He noted, “That night, I had to Uber from Tampa to Jupiter. The next morning, I packed up my car and drove to Ft. Myers.” He got to the Miracle game in the seventh inning. He was able to meet his new teammates and coaches. After the game, he met the rest of the team. And maybe the best thing that could have happened, the Miracle had an off day on Monday so he could kind of catch his bearings. On Thursday night, he made his first Miracle start in Game 2 of a doubleheader. ------------------------------------------------------ Chris Vallimont was born in 1997 in Erie, Pennsylvania. And Twins fans probably won’t want to hear about which team he liked as he grew up. “Erie is right in the middle of Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. My grandparents and members of my family great up as Cleveland fans. Also with them having pro baseball, football and basketball, it made it easy to cheer for one city.” We won’t discuss the Cleveland baseball team here, but Vallimont excitedly said, “I’m so excited for the Browns this year!” That isn’t something heard nationally often, at least not until this year. But Vallimont and his family have been life-long fans, not just fair-weather fans. “It’s been rough for a little bit, but I’m very excited to be at the stadium to watch some games this year. ------------------------------------------------------ At Mercyhurst Prep, Vallimont played football his freshman year. He played basketball and baseball all four years. He wasn’t a big prospect coming out of high school. He went to a couple of showcases, but he was unable to garner much attention from college baseball coaches. He received scholarship offers from his hometown school, Mercyhurst, and two other Division II colleges in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. He recalls, “Other schools just weren’t interested and didn’t offer anything. When I committed (to Mercyhurst), they were already 15-0. I couldn’t be more have to go there.” As a junior, Vallimont went 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA. In 80 1/3 innings, he struck out 147 batters and led his team to the Division II World Series. The team went 0-2 in the tournament, but the experience is one he will never forget. “It was an unbelievable experience, going down there with all of my brothers. We played in Cary, North Carolina, at the Team USA facilities.” That June (2018), he was watching the MLB draft with his parents, with his college coach Joe Spano and some friends. In the 5th round, he heard his name taken by the Miami Marlins. “I was kind of expecting it, from talking to coach Joe Spano, and talking with Dan Altavilla. But even having that idea, it still was an unforgettable moment.” Altavilla has pitched in parts of the past four seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He was a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Mercyhurst, a couple of years before Vallimont arrived. He has been helpful to Vallimont. “I have his number. When I need anything, I text him and he’ll help me out. He has been a mentor through that draft process and since.” At Mercyhurst, Vallimont played one season with RHP Colin McKee. He was the Astros 18th round pick in 2016. He has worked his way up to their Triple-A affiliate. “He has been my biggest mentor… ----------------------------------------------------- During his three summers, Vallimont played summer college baseball. The first two years, he played in the Perfect Game Collegiate League. He said that he played about 50 minutes from his home in Erie. He also pitched briefly in the Cape Cod League. Of those experiences, he said, “It got me ready for the upcoming seasons at Mercyhurst, facing a lot of D1 players and a lot of good prospects, “ After his first season at Mercyhurst, Vallimont decided to visit and workout at Driveline Baseball. “Me and a couple of buddies went out there to learn a couple of the throws. It was awesome, just learning from them and from the technology.” Vallimont has continued to go to Driveline as a pro and intends to go back every year.. “I think it formed me into having the mentality that I have. In high school, I didn’t really throw that hard. Once I started doing it, I saw a jump in velo every year. It gave me the mentality that I was going to go out and throw hard. I think it made me a better pitcher overall, not just with velocity but tunneling my pitches. I think it cleaned up some mechanics as well.” ----------------------------------------------------- Vallimont has immense talent and some really good stuff. He stands 6-5 and about 230 pounds. He can be an intimidating presence on the mound. When asked to describe himself as a pitcher, Vallimont was clear that is about “the right mentality for a pitcher where it’s always Attack Mode. I will go after you with whatever I have working that day. I don’t care who is in the box, I am going to go after you with my best stuff.” He later added, “I have a bulldog mentality. I’ll go after you with my best stuff.” He throws four pitches. Fastball - It sits 95-96 mph, but he has been able to touch 98. “I’m very confident with my fastball.” Curveball - “I am also confident in my curveball.” Vallimont added, “It’s a 12-6 curveball with some depth.” Changeup - His changeup was a work-in-progress, but he has become much more confident in it this year. “I”ve been getting a lot more confident with it just by throwing it more and using it in the right situations. I really worked on it this offseason, figuring out new ways to throw it and finding a consistent grip that I like. This season, it’s come a long way. Now I find myself on the mounce actually shaking to a changeup.” Slider - “It’s a little hit-and-miss. I just throw it hard and hope it moves.” While confident, he understands. “Everything is still a work in progress at this point.” Like most power-armed starting pitcher prospects, the easy thing to say is that he will likely move to the bullpen at some point. We see that in many prospect rankings and from every outlet. That may be determined in the coming years and likely will be dependent upon further development of his third and fourth pitches. One person with the Twins organization said of Vallimont, “We think he can start.” And he will get that opportunity, starting with the Miracle. ---------------------------------------------- Away from the game of baseball, Vallimont is a sports junkie, but he also is a video game player. “Really, NHL and Fortnite.” “Other than that, I watch sports. I follow sports. Football, baseball and basketball. I think basketball is my favorite sport, other than baseball. I’m pretty big into that. ----------------------------------------------- The remainder of the 2019 season will be a good learning experience for Chris Vallimont. Coming to a new organization means that he will meet a lot of new people. He noted that the only player that he knew from the Twins organization was catcher/first baseman Chris Williams. The two met in mid-June at the Midwest League All Star weekend in South Bend. “It made it easier just knowing someone here.” But it is an exciting time for the hard-throwing right-hander, and he’s ready and excited for the opportunity. “This is a great situation for me to move around and get into my routine and work. I couldn’t be more happy to be with the Twins.” Welcome Chris Vallimont to the Minnesota Twins organization! Feel free to welcome him in the Comments and ask questions if you have any. You can follow Chris Vallimont on Twitter at @Valli_Swag7. 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  24. On Saturday night, the Jupiter Hammerheads were playing in Tampa against the Yankees’ Florida State League affiliate. Jupiter’s manager, former long-time big league catcher Todd Pratt, called Vallimont over and told him that he had just been traded to the Twins. “At first, it caught me off guard. I really didn’t know what to think. But then I realized that it was going to be a better for me in the long run.” Vallimont said his goodbyes, and the next 24 hours were a bit hectic. He noted, “That night, I had to Uber from Tampa to Jupiter. The next morning, I packed up my car and drove to Ft. Myers.” He got to the Miracle game in the seventh inning. He was able to meet his new teammates and coaches. After the game, he met the rest of the team. And maybe the best thing that could have happened, the Miracle had an off day on Monday so he could kind of catch his bearings. On Thursday night, he made his first Miracle start in Game 2 of a doubleheader. ------------------------------------------------------ Chris Vallimont was born in 1997 in Erie, Pennsylvania. And Twins fans probably won’t want to hear about which team he liked as he grew up. “Erie is right in the middle of Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. My grandparents and members of my family great up as Cleveland fans. Also with them having pro baseball, football and basketball, it made it easy to cheer for one city.” We won’t discuss the Cleveland baseball team here, but Vallimont excitedly said, “I’m so excited for the Browns this year!” That isn’t something heard nationally often, at least not until this year. But Vallimont and his family have been life-long fans, not just fair-weather fans. “It’s been rough for a little bit, but I’m very excited to be at the stadium to watch some games this year. ------------------------------------------------------ At Mercyhurst Prep, Vallimont played football his freshman year. He played basketball and baseball all four years. He wasn’t a big prospect coming out of high school. He went to a couple of showcases, but he was unable to garner much attention from college baseball coaches. He received scholarship offers from his hometown school, Mercyhurst, and two other Division II colleges in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. He recalls, “Other schools just weren’t interested and didn’t offer anything. When I committed (to Mercyhurst), they were already 15-0. I couldn’t be more have to go there.” As a junior, Vallimont went 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA. In 80 1/3 innings, he struck out 147 batters and led his team to the Division II World Series. The team went 0-2 in the tournament, but the experience is one he will never forget. “It was an unbelievable experience, going down there with all of my brothers. We played in Cary, North Carolina, at the Team USA facilities.” That June (2018), he was watching the MLB draft with his parents, with his college coach Joe Spano and some friends. In the 5th round, he heard his name taken by the Miami Marlins. “I was kind of expecting it, from talking to coach Joe Spano, and talking with Dan Altavilla. But even having that idea, it still was an unforgettable moment.” Altavilla has pitched in parts of the past four seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He was a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Mercyhurst, a couple of years before Vallimont arrived. He has been helpful to Vallimont. “I have his number. When I need anything, I text him and he’ll help me out. He has been a mentor through that draft process and since.” At Mercyhurst, Vallimont played one season with RHP Colin McKee. He was the Astros 18th round pick in 2016. He has worked his way up to their Triple-A affiliate. “He has been my biggest mentor… ----------------------------------------------------- During his three summers, Vallimont played summer college baseball. The first two years, he played in the Perfect Game Collegiate League. He said that he played about 50 minutes from his home in Erie. He also pitched briefly in the Cape Cod League. Of those experiences, he said, “It got me ready for the upcoming seasons at Mercyhurst, facing a lot of D1 players and a lot of good prospects, “ After his first season at Mercyhurst, Vallimont decided to visit and workout at Driveline Baseball. “Me and a couple of buddies went out there to learn a couple of the throws. It was awesome, just learning from them and from the technology.” Vallimont has continued to go to Driveline as a pro and intends to go back every year.. “I think it formed me into having the mentality that I have. In high school, I didn’t really throw that hard. Once I started doing it, I saw a jump in velo every year. It gave me the mentality that I was going to go out and throw hard. I think it made me a better pitcher overall, not just with velocity but tunneling my pitches. I think it cleaned up some mechanics as well.” https://twitter.com/drivelinebases/status/1155346225010360320 ----------------------------------------------------- Vallimont has immense talent and some really good stuff. He stands 6-5 and about 230 pounds. He can be an intimidating presence on the mound. When asked to describe himself as a pitcher, Vallimont was clear that is about “the right mentality for a pitcher where it’s always Attack Mode. I will go after you with whatever I have working that day. I don’t care who is in the box, I am going to go after you with my best stuff.” He later added, “I have a bulldog mentality. I’ll go after you with my best stuff.” He throws four pitches. Fastball - It sits 95-96 mph, but he has been able to touch 98. “I’m very confident with my fastball.” Curveball - “I am also confident in my curveball.” Vallimont added, “It’s a 12-6 curveball with some depth.” Changeup - His changeup was a work-in-progress, but he has become much more confident in it this year. “I”ve been getting a lot more confident with it just by throwing it more and using it in the right situations. I really worked on it this offseason, figuring out new ways to throw it and finding a consistent grip that I like. This season, it’s come a long way. Now I find myself on the mounce actually shaking to a changeup.” Slider - “It’s a little hit-and-miss. I just throw it hard and hope it moves.” While confident, he understands. “Everything is still a work in progress at this point.” Like most power-armed starting pitcher prospects, the easy thing to say is that he will likely move to the bullpen at some point. We see that in many prospect rankings and from every outlet. That may be determined in the coming years and likely will be dependent upon further development of his third and fourth pitches. One person with the Twins organization said of Vallimont, “We think he can start.” And he will get that opportunity, starting with the Miracle. ---------------------------------------------- Away from the game of baseball, Vallimont is a sports junkie, but he also is a video game player. “Really, NHL and Fortnite.” “Other than that, I watch sports. I follow sports. Football, baseball and basketball. I think basketball is my favorite sport, other than baseball. I’m pretty big into that. ----------------------------------------------- The remainder of the 2019 season will be a good learning experience for Chris Vallimont. Coming to a new organization means that he will meet a lot of new people. He noted that the only player that he knew from the Twins organization was catcher/first baseman Chris Williams. The two met in mid-June at the Midwest League All Star weekend in South Bend. “It made it easier just knowing someone here.” But it is an exciting time for the hard-throwing right-hander, and he’s ready and excited for the opportunity. “This is a great situation for me to move around and get into my routine and work. I couldn’t be more happy to be with the Twins.” Welcome Chris Vallimont to the Minnesota Twins organization! Feel free to welcome him in the Comments and ask questions if you have any. You can follow Chris Vallimont on Twitter at @Valli_Swag7.
  25. The Twins and Marlins reached an agreement. The Twins will send 1B Lewin Diaz to the Miami Marlins in exchange for veteran Sergio Romo. Per Passan: "The Minnesota Twins are deep into talks with the Miami Marlins on a deal that would send reliever Sergio Romo to Minnesota, sources with knowledge of the situation tell ESPN. The expectation is a trade will soon be finalized." Moments later, Passan tweeted: "One Marlins source says the deal should be completed soon. It would add a much-needed bullpen piece to the Twins, who continue to be aggressive in pursuit of help to their pitching staff." The 36-year-old Romo is in his 12th MLB season. He has 17 saves this season in 18 opportunities and a 3.58 ERA. Want a Winner? Romo was part of three World Series championship teams with the San Francisco Giants. Romo is excited to join a team that is making a pennant push. https://twitter.com/DaniAlvarez_16/status/1155291606402179072 Lewin Diaz had a tremendous 2019 season, returning to his prospect status. He began the year in Ft. Myers and has continued to mash since being promoted to the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos. https://twitter.com/MarianaGuzzy/status/1155289081351430145 Chris Vallimont is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who was 4-4 with a 2.99 ERA in 13 starts with the Clinton LumberKings. He has now made six starts for Jupiter, the Marlins High-A Florida State League affiliate, and is 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA. Combined, he has 122 strikeouts in 105+ innings this year. He is likely to join the Kernels in Cedar Rapids. He was the Marlins 5th round pick in 2018 out of Mercyhurst. ANALYSIS... OK, Opinion While I believe that Lewin Diaz can be a solid MLB 1B starting sometime in 2020, I don't have any problem with this trade. Diaz has had a nice bounce-back season in 2019 after a disappointing 2018 ended early with an injury. However, he is behind CJ Cron, Miguel Sano, Brent Rooker, Zander Wiel and Alex Kirilloff in the Future 1B pecking order. Sergio Romo isn't dominant, by any means, but he is a successful veteran who has won a lot of games and even three World Series championships (if you think that matters anymore). He's not a hard-thrower anymore, but he is crafty and gets the job done, especially lately. Chris Villamont is an intriguing prospect. He can throw pretty hard, especially if he were to be moved to the bullpen at some point. He may be a similar prospect (Ranking-Wise) to Diaz, and yet he doesn't need to be added to the 40-man roster for two more years. And hey, if he goes to the Miracle, it's possible that they could lose a starting pitcher or two over the next four days. Finally, the Twins will also get a Player to be Named Later, a lottery pick, if you like. So to summarize, for Diaz (who likely wouldn't have been added to the 40-man roster this coming offseason), the Twins will get 2+ months of a competent, quality veteran reliever, a hard-throwing pitcher currently starting in the Florida State League after being drafted just a year ago, and another minor leaguer. Hard to argue with that.
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