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  1. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS Starting Pitcher of the Year Relief Pitcher of the Year Hitter of the Year SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 1 Box Score The Saints were able to come away with a win Friday night in Indiana behind a stellar pitching performance by Dereck Rodriguez. Rodriguez tossed five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit while walking three and striking out four. At the plate, third baseman Andrew Bechtold led the way, going 2-for-4 with a home run. Michael Helman (1-for-5, RBI) and John Andreoli (1-for-3, 2 RBI) also hit home runs. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado (2-2, 3.54 ERA)
  2. St. Paul was the lone team in action on Friday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS Starting Pitcher of the Year Relief Pitcher of the Year Hitter of the Year SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 1 Box Score The Saints were able to come away with a win Friday night in Indiana behind a stellar pitching performance by Dereck Rodriguez. Rodriguez tossed five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit while walking three and striking out four. At the plate, third baseman Andrew Bechtold led the way, going 2-for-4 with a home run. Michael Helman (1-for-5, RBI) and John Andreoli (1-for-3, 2 RBI) also hit home runs. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado (2-2, 3.54 ERA) View full article
  3. The Twins have continued to battle themselves and the Guardians for the division. Saturday's second game proved the Twins refuse to go down without a fight. Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (82 pitches, 54 strikes (65%)) Home Runs: Nick Gordon (8) Top 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (0.435), Dereck Rodriguez (0.355), Griffin Jax (0.307), Michael Fulmer (0.307) Bottom 3 WPA: Matt Wallner (-0.377), Jermaine Palacios (-0.304), Sandy Leon (-0.286) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Josh Winder and Gary Sanchez started out the first inning finding a rhythm to their game. Winder let a run in immediately in the top of the first but managed to stay in control, finding that stride, and retired the next ten batters through the fourth inning. Winder started his third game against Cleveland this season and his second appearance since coming off the IL for shoulder tightness. The Twins let Winder try and work into the fifth, which was good until a slider to Amed Rosario backed up and didn't break. The red-hot Rosario crushed a three-run home run. Baldelli relieved Winder after Jose Ramirez hit a single and replaced him with Jovani Moran to finish the inning. The bullpen managed to keep the Guardians scoreless after their initial five runs. Even when it got exciting in the ninth and the Guardians made a push with players in scoring position. Steven Kwan was on second when Jorge Lopez uncoiled a wild pitch. Kwan rounded third and slid into home, not realizing that the pitch bounced into a dugout suite. Given another chance, Lopez closed out the inning and sent the game to the tenth. The Twins offense didn't get a hit off of Guardian starter Konor Pilkington until the sixth inning when Jose Miranda recorded a single. That ended the night for the Cleveland lefty. In the seventh inning, they threatened with one out and the bases loaded (after a pitch struck Nick Gordon) but left all three stranded. The Twins haven't been hitting much lately, and when they do get baserunners, they struggle with runners in scoring position. Due to the countless injuries and Triple-A players occupying the roster and line-up, the Twins have the youngest team in MLB. The rookies have received playing time and opportunities. Each has experienced some success to build upon, and each has found plenty of struggles and lessons learned. One player who has really taken advantage of his opportunity in 2022 is Nick Gordon. He regularly played in left of center field most of the season, but with Jorge Polanco on the Injured List and Luis Arraez hobbled, he's been playing a lot of second base of late. Check out this play. Since Terry Francona took over the Guardians coaching position in 2012, the Twins and Guardians have had 194 meetings, with the Twins winning 95 of those and the Guardians winning 99. The Guardians are one of the teams that have consistently given the Twins trouble getting past. The Guardians have been in 25 last-at-bat this season, and seven have been against the Twins. They have also won half of their walk-offs of the season against the Twins (3). Jake Cave came into the game as a pinch hitter and started a five-run eighth inning. After getting to first on an error, the bases loaded up again after Jose Miranda singled and Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch. A Gio Urshela single scored Cave and Miranda and cut the deficit to 5-2. Gary Sanchez scored Correa with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Nick Gordon crushed a two-run homer that tied the game at five. The Twins managed to stay solid, even bringing back veteran and former Twins farmhand Dereck Rodriguez who had one appearance with the big club back on April 13th against the Dodgers. "Son of Pudge" managed to keep the Guardians at bay, giving the Twins a chance. In the 13th inning, it was Gordon again who gave the Twins a short-lived lead at 6-5 with a sacrifice fly that scored Correa. In 89 2/3 innings this season with Saints this season, he had 88 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP to accompany a 7-4 record. Rodriguez wasn’t even at the stadium when the game started, He was on a plane from Minneapolis to Cleveland and suited up and took the field. Right-handed reliever Trevor Megill was placed on the COVID-IL between games with Rodriguez, who is not on the 40-man roster, taking his spot. The Twins management throughout today's games was fantastic and it showed through the remaining portion of the game, but after 24 innings of baseball, the game ended with a Guardians walk-off in the bottom of the 15th inning due to a Jermaine Palacios error on a hard-hit ball from Amed Rosario (of course) allowing Austin Hedges to score, ending the night. With two games left in the series, the Twins remain in an absolutely must-win situation to stay relevant in the division. Do you think they have it in them, or are they done for the season? Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: Sunday 12:40pm CST: Joe Ryan (11-8,3.83 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Morris (0-1,2.79 ERA) Monday 12:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (8-4, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.51 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (82 pitches, 54 strikes (65%)) Home Runs: Nick Gordon (8) Top 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (0.435), Dereck Rodriguez (0.355), Griffin Jax (0.307), Michael Fulmer (0.307) Bottom 3 WPA: Matt Wallner (-0.377), Jermaine Palacios (-0.304), Sandy Leon (-0.286) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Josh Winder and Gary Sanchez started out the first inning finding a rhythm to their game. Winder let a run in immediately in the top of the first but managed to stay in control, finding that stride, and retired the next ten batters through the fourth inning. Winder started his third game against Cleveland this season and his second appearance since coming off the IL for shoulder tightness. The Twins let Winder try and work into the fifth, which was good until a slider to Amed Rosario backed up and didn't break. The red-hot Rosario crushed a three-run home run. Baldelli relieved Winder after Jose Ramirez hit a single and replaced him with Jovani Moran to finish the inning. The bullpen managed to keep the Guardians scoreless after their initial five runs. Even when it got exciting in the ninth and the Guardians made a push with players in scoring position. Steven Kwan was on second when Jorge Lopez uncoiled a wild pitch. Kwan rounded third and slid into home, not realizing that the pitch bounced into a dugout suite. Given another chance, Lopez closed out the inning and sent the game to the tenth. The Twins offense didn't get a hit off of Guardian starter Konor Pilkington until the sixth inning when Jose Miranda recorded a single. That ended the night for the Cleveland lefty. In the seventh inning, they threatened with one out and the bases loaded (after a pitch struck Nick Gordon) but left all three stranded. The Twins haven't been hitting much lately, and when they do get baserunners, they struggle with runners in scoring position. Due to the countless injuries and Triple-A players occupying the roster and line-up, the Twins have the youngest team in MLB. The rookies have received playing time and opportunities. Each has experienced some success to build upon, and each has found plenty of struggles and lessons learned. One player who has really taken advantage of his opportunity in 2022 is Nick Gordon. He regularly played in left of center field most of the season, but with Jorge Polanco on the Injured List and Luis Arraez hobbled, he's been playing a lot of second base of late. Check out this play. Since Terry Francona took over the Guardians coaching position in 2012, the Twins and Guardians have had 194 meetings, with the Twins winning 95 of those and the Guardians winning 99. The Guardians are one of the teams that have consistently given the Twins trouble getting past. The Guardians have been in 25 last-at-bat this season, and seven have been against the Twins. They have also won half of their walk-offs of the season against the Twins (3). Jake Cave came into the game as a pinch hitter and started a five-run eighth inning. After getting to first on an error, the bases loaded up again after Jose Miranda singled and Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch. A Gio Urshela single scored Cave and Miranda and cut the deficit to 5-2. Gary Sanchez scored Correa with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Nick Gordon crushed a two-run homer that tied the game at five. The Twins managed to stay solid, even bringing back veteran and former Twins farmhand Dereck Rodriguez who had one appearance with the big club back on April 13th against the Dodgers. "Son of Pudge" managed to keep the Guardians at bay, giving the Twins a chance. In the 13th inning, it was Gordon again who gave the Twins a short-lived lead at 6-5 with a sacrifice fly that scored Correa. In 89 2/3 innings this season with Saints this season, he had 88 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP to accompany a 7-4 record. Rodriguez wasn’t even at the stadium when the game started, He was on a plane from Minneapolis to Cleveland and suited up and took the field. Right-handed reliever Trevor Megill was placed on the COVID-IL between games with Rodriguez, who is not on the 40-man roster, taking his spot. The Twins management throughout today's games was fantastic and it showed through the remaining portion of the game, but after 24 innings of baseball, the game ended with a Guardians walk-off in the bottom of the 15th inning due to a Jermaine Palacios error on a hard-hit ball from Amed Rosario (of course) allowing Austin Hedges to score, ending the night. With two games left in the series, the Twins remain in an absolutely must-win situation to stay relevant in the division. Do you think they have it in them, or are they done for the season? Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: Sunday 12:40pm CST: Joe Ryan (11-8,3.83 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Morris (0-1,2.79 ERA) Monday 12:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (8-4, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.51 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  5. Making the Hall of Fame is a huge accomplishment. With Rodriguez voted in, it was also a big day for Puerto Rico. He became just the fourth player born in Puerto Rico to be named a Hall of Famer. Consider all of the great players to come from Puerto Rico, only Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Lean Marrero spent his summer playing for the GCL Twins. Very young, he has a lot of athletic talent. Here are his thoughts on this important day for Ivan Rodriguez and for Puerto Rico. “It gives me satisfaction to hear that a Puerto Rican has reached the Hall of Fame. It inspires me to stay focused on what I want my career to be like It serves as an example to always exceed any limitation.” JJ Fernandez, a Twins minor league outfielder who spent his 2016 season in Cedar Rapids and had been a catcher before 2016, was excited for Rodriguez. “For me, he deserves it. He’s one of the best catchers baseball has ever seen. It really means a lot for sure. Everybody in Puerto Rico is very happy and proud.” Another 2016 Kernel, Nelson Molina, was very excited as well. “It means so much to me. Really, it does. Since I was a little kid, he was always my favorite player. I know it’s not only me, but all the young players from Puerto Rico have this feeling of excitement and feel extremely proud, knowing that dreams do come true with hard work, dedication and a lot of sacrifice.” Molina continued, “I got the pleasure of not only meeting him, but to get to know him on a personal level. All I can say is that he is a great human being who has given me advice on how to be a better player. As I mentioned before, I know it’s not only me, but all of Puerto Rico feels extremely proud of Ivan for joining a select group of elite baseball players in the Hall of Fame, and putting our island, Puerto Rico, very high as have Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda.” “It means a lot,” said Dereck Rodriguez, another member of the 2016 Cedar Rapids Kernels roster from Puerto Rico. He continued, “Hopefully there’s one next year too in Edgar Martinez. You never know. It could be one year, five years, twenty years. It’s a very special moment for Puerto Ricans and for the island. I know they’re going crazy right now. I’ve received phone calls and FaceTimed with people. It's nuts over there right now. It’s a fun time.” Dereck Rodriguez is excited for the island of Puerto Rico, where he has been pitching (and well) this winter. But as the son of Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck is understandably excited for his dad and his family. On Tuesday, he flew to Dallas to be with his father. It was important for him to be there. “It means a lot to me. This is where I was born. This is where everything started for him. It’s where things started for him and for me,” he continued, “It was big. I was there from Day 1. I went through the journey with him. I spent a lot of nights with him in the hotel in the summers. It means a lot. It was important for me to be there with him for that special moment.” Just ten minutes before 5:00, the phone rang at Ivan Rodriguez’s home. On the other end, the Hall of Fame. Seconds later, Pudge clenched his fist and raised his arm as tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. The first person to give him a hug was his son, Dereck. Dereck Rodriguez said, “It was a special moment. Yeah, I got the first hug in. It was a very special moment. I couldn’t hold back any tears.” Dereck Rodriguez has a very different perspective on the game of baseball than most people, even most minor leaguers. It might be surprising to some to learn when he realized just how difficult this game is and the challenges it can present. “Before I signed, I always just thought of this as just a game. After I signed and had been in the minor leagues and been through all of the struggles… It’s tough. It’s tough. And to be a Hall of Famer, and to be the caliber of player that he was, it’s not easy. So I understand 100% how he must feel after all of the hard work and sacrifice that he put in. It paid off.” Rodriguez has said before that he spent a lot of time with his dad growing up. He saw it up close. He had a great view of the game and got to know many of his dad’s teammates, but for him, it was about more than that. In fact, other things were likely more important much of the time. “When I used to come to the field when I was younger, I used to spend my time making paintballs and playing pickle and all that stuff with the other kids.” Now? As Dereck Rodriguez stood in the outfield at The Ballpark in Arlington, looking in as his father conducted a press conference on the infield, his mind was racing and full of excitement. “I go to a baseball game, and wow, I want to be here. I’m here standing in the outfield. I’m wishing and hoping. I can’t wait to be hopefully one day be pitching on that mound, in front of this packed stadium, in the town that I lived in and grew up, and it pretty much raised me for a lot of years.” Dereck Rodriguez is one proud son. “The feeling that I have right now for my dad, and me honestly, I can’t believe it that my dad is a Hall of Famer.” That was the sentiment he felt when he posted the following on twitter: Rodriguez noted, “To be honest, it was a longer tweet but you can only put so many characters, so I had to make it shorter.” Drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Florida, Rodriguez spent the first three years of his professional career as a hitter. At that point, Rodriguez and the Twins brass made the decision for him to move to the mound, to become a pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League pitcher of the year. His father gets to a handful of Dereck’s games each year. “He’s been supportive. He tries to make it out there as much as he can.” Ivan Rodriguez is a special assistant to the GM of the Texas Rangers. It’s a title similar to what the Twins recently named Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins. He also does pregame and postgame shows for Fox Sports Southwest during the season. This year, Dereck Rodriguez moved up to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He really struggled for the first two months before taking off. Starting in mid-June, he started pitching much better. In fact, he had a strong six-week stretch for the Kernels and earned a promotion to Ft. Myers where he pitched well in five starts to end the season. “I started throwing the ball down a bit more. It was honestly that confidence. I didn’t have as much confidence as I should. I started throwing the two-seam a lot more, and that helped a lot. Started getting a lot more ground balls instead of fly balls. It was a combination of things. But that main thing was that I just needed to build up my confidence. It paid off. I got moved up to High-A and I just kept doing it up there.” This winter, as we mentioned, he has been working out the bullpen for Mayaguez. He pitches an inning or two each weekend. In 13 games and 17.2 innings, he is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA. He has been very appreciative of the opportunity he was given and gained a lot from it. “It was special. It was fun. They gave me the confidence that they believed in me to throw me in those late-game situations. Puerto Rico, compared to the other leagues, may not be the highest ranked, but it’s really good competition. They have AA, AAA, big league guys playing there. It was a lot of fun. It taught me a lot. I worked on a couple of things. It taught me how to pitch in different situations, key situations late in the game. It taught me a lot.” 2017 is a big year for Rodriguez. At the end of the season, he could become a free agent if he chooses. So what are his goals? “I think any player in the minors, the ultimate goal is to go up as much as he can; AA, AAA, or even the big leagues. I’m taking some time off right now with my arm to give it some rest before getting it going again. Trying to make AA right out of spring training and see what happens from there. Hopefully I do well enough and they see the hard work that I do during the year and then, we’ll see, maybe move up to AAA and maybe the big leagues in September.” He’d like to get a little rest before spring training starts in a little over a month. But the next few days will not allow for it. He is going to be a bit busy, doing some traveling with his dad. They are flying up to New York tonight, expected to arrive in Cooperstown well after midnight. “It’s going to be a couple of fun, hectic days.” Tomorrow afternoon, Ivan Rodriguez will join Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines at the baseball Hall of Fame to see the museum and speak with more press. Dereck says that he has been to Cooperstown before, but this will certainly be different. “I’ve been there before, but as a visitor. Last time I went, I was 12 years old. Now I get to go and see everything, appreciate everything a lot more now that I’m older.” What an experience! Some may say that Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher in baseball history. Some will say that title goes to Yogi Berra. In baseball’s 150-year existence, it is certain that Ivan Rodriguez is right there at or near the top of the list of baseball’s great catchers. His son Dereck is very happy and very proud. As he should be. “He worked his butt off to be where he is today. I honestly don’t think there’s been a harder working person than he has been. During the offseason, his workout program, and even during the season, he was the first one to get to the stadium and the last one to leave. He worked his butt off to get to where he is today.”
  6. Royce Lewis played left field, the Wind Surge almost made an impressive comeback, and Jake Cave blasted a grand slam. If that doesn't excite you, then nothing will. Read all about that and more in this edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS RHP Trevor Megill selected by Minnesota Twins LHP Devin Smeltzer optioned to AAA St. Paul RHP Tyler Bashlor placed on IL (right elbow strain) RHP Jake Petricka placed on COVID-19 related IL RHP Bailey Ober returned to Twins Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Omaha 2 Box Score Dereck Rodriguez: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K HR: Jake Cave (2) Multi-hit games: None The Saints cruised on Saturday. Royce Lewis walked, Alex Kirilloff singled, Jermaine Palacios walked, and Jake Cave brought the family home with a grand slam. You can’t start a game better than that. St. Paul would not score the rest of the game, but they didn’t need to as they received an outstanding effort from their pitching staff. Dereck Rodriguez was on his game. The former, former Twins prospect struck out nine batters over five innings while allowing just six baserunners. His ERA at AAA is now a sparkling 1.74, and one has to imagine that he’ll get another chance in the majors before long. Rodriguez handed the reigns to Ian Hamilton, who out-dueled Omaha hitters to the tune of three strikeouts over five total outs. His ERA is somehow even lower at 1.08. If he continues to quell the walks, his number could be called very soon. Overall it was a pretty quiet game. Cave’s grand slam represented the crucial runs while Omaha never established themselves at the plate. Hey, quiet wins count as much as loud ones. Of note: Royce Lewis played in left field, and it appears that he caught all of one out in the game. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 7, Springfield 9 Box Score Ben Gross: 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, K HR: Andrew Bechtold (5) Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-4, R, RBI, 2 BB), Andrew Bechtold (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB), Chris Williams (3-for-4, R, RBI, BB) Wichita lost a close game on Saturday. It was a classic barn-burner in score but not in game flow. Springfield, at one point, enjoyed a 9-0 lead over Wichita before an explosive six-run 7th inning brought intrigue to a game entirely in the blowout category. Let’s back up. An ugly 2nd inning that included a balk, a few hits, and two errors netted the Cardinals four quick runs. Gross would pitch one more inning afterward, but the damage remained attached to his name. Zach Featherstone put forth his best attempt at controlling the game but was only rewarded with an inflated ERA. A barrage of hits mixed with an error from Michael Helman doubled Springfield’s lead in short order. A solo homer would make the score the aforementioned 9-0 lead, but Wichita’s bats came alive in the 7th. It was a story in two parts: the first being runs scored by traditional hits, the second being patience leading to flourishing rewards. Ernie Yake doubled, Austin Martin singled, and Andrew Bechtold brought everyone home with a three-run blast. Some may see a home run as a rally-killer, yet it was anything but in this inning. An array of walks knocked old friend Kevin Marnon from the game before old friend Johan Quezada came in to establish order. He did not. A wild pitch brought home the inning's fifth run before a walk to Martin netted the sixth and final one. Chris Williams doubled home a run in the following inning, but it was not enough to overcome the brutal 9-0 deficit, and Wichita walked away without a win. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 4, Lake County 12 Box Score John Stankiewicz: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Will Holland (3) Multi-hit games: Seth Gray (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) The Kernels lost handily on Saturday. The Captains jumped on John Stankiewicz as the early innings melted into the middle innings, and the rest of the game’s narrative quickly followed suit. Ryan Shreve and Miguel Rodriguez were unable to stop an offensive movement in the 6th inning, and any scoring after that was a vain attempt at stat-padding. Cedar Rapids was held in check offensively as well. Kernels hitters punched out 14 times while reaching base only nine times; they went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Seth Gray was the big bat of the day, reaching base three times while knocking in half of Cedar Rapids’ runs; Will Holland knocked in the other two when he homered in the 3rd inning. To look for more bright spots, Bradley Hanner continued his ridiculous start to the season with two strikeouts over 1 1/3 scoreless innings. His season ERA is now a sparkling 0.50. Yeah, that’ll play. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 4, Clearwater 5 Box Score Marco Raya: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Mikey Perez (5) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI), Keoni Cavaco (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Dylan Neuse (2-for-3) Fort Myers lost a close one on Saturday. Marco Raya, looking to continue his fine start to the season, took the mound for the Mighty Mussels. The right-hander could not reign in his dominant stuff, and the Threshers made him pay, knocking around eight hits to go with three walks and three earned runs. It will be on to the next start for him. Clearwater’s offense was not a consistent onslaught despite the earned runs, instead evenly distributing their runs one at a time in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th innings, respectively. In fact, the Mighty Mussels held a slight lead after the top of the 7th inning when Mikey Perez blasted an Earl Weaver special to give Fort Myers a 4-3 lead. Although, the Mighty Mussels forgot that defense was part of Weaver’s special equation, and a dodgeball fight involving Noah Cardenas and Perez in the bottom half of the 7th resulted in a tying run scoring for Clearwater. They would score once more the following inning to win. The team shot themselves in the foot offensively as well. While four runs will win a team a fair amount of ballgames, the Mighty Mussels left a small army stranded on base; 11 to be exact. They walked and slashed hits all around the field like a good team is supposed to do but just missed out on a few damaging knocks that could have sealed a win. Altogether, six Mighty Mussels hitters reached base multiple times; Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez walked more than once, while Miller added a base hit for good measure. Regi Grace stood out for Fort Myers pitchers, allowing just one earned run over eight outs, with five of those coming via a strikeout. Because baseball is inherently cruel, he was tagged with the loss. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mikey Perez PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, RBI, 2 BB #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB, R, K #5 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (79 pitches, 51 strikes) #10 – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K #11 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-for-2, R, BB #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, R, 3 BB, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (2:05 PM) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Springfield @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Matt Canterino Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - LHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Clearwater (11:00 AM) - LHP Jaylen Nowlin View full article
  7. TRANSACTIONS RHP Trevor Megill selected by Minnesota Twins LHP Devin Smeltzer optioned to AAA St. Paul RHP Tyler Bashlor placed on IL (right elbow strain) RHP Jake Petricka placed on COVID-19 related IL RHP Bailey Ober returned to Twins Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Omaha 2 Box Score Dereck Rodriguez: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K HR: Jake Cave (2) Multi-hit games: None The Saints cruised on Saturday. Royce Lewis walked, Alex Kirilloff singled, Jermaine Palacios walked, and Jake Cave brought the family home with a grand slam. You can’t start a game better than that. St. Paul would not score the rest of the game, but they didn’t need to as they received an outstanding effort from their pitching staff. Dereck Rodriguez was on his game. The former, former Twins prospect struck out nine batters over five innings while allowing just six baserunners. His ERA at AAA is now a sparkling 1.74, and one has to imagine that he’ll get another chance in the majors before long. Rodriguez handed the reigns to Ian Hamilton, who out-dueled Omaha hitters to the tune of three strikeouts over five total outs. His ERA is somehow even lower at 1.08. If he continues to quell the walks, his number could be called very soon. Overall it was a pretty quiet game. Cave’s grand slam represented the crucial runs while Omaha never established themselves at the plate. Hey, quiet wins count as much as loud ones. Of note: Royce Lewis played in left field, and it appears that he caught all of one out in the game. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 7, Springfield 9 Box Score Ben Gross: 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, K HR: Andrew Bechtold (5) Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-4, R, RBI, 2 BB), Andrew Bechtold (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB), Chris Williams (3-for-4, R, RBI, BB) Wichita lost a close game on Saturday. It was a classic barn-burner in score but not in game flow. Springfield, at one point, enjoyed a 9-0 lead over Wichita before an explosive six-run 7th inning brought intrigue to a game entirely in the blowout category. Let’s back up. An ugly 2nd inning that included a balk, a few hits, and two errors netted the Cardinals four quick runs. Gross would pitch one more inning afterward, but the damage remained attached to his name. Zach Featherstone put forth his best attempt at controlling the game but was only rewarded with an inflated ERA. A barrage of hits mixed with an error from Michael Helman doubled Springfield’s lead in short order. A solo homer would make the score the aforementioned 9-0 lead, but Wichita’s bats came alive in the 7th. It was a story in two parts: the first being runs scored by traditional hits, the second being patience leading to flourishing rewards. Ernie Yake doubled, Austin Martin singled, and Andrew Bechtold brought everyone home with a three-run blast. Some may see a home run as a rally-killer, yet it was anything but in this inning. An array of walks knocked old friend Kevin Marnon from the game before old friend Johan Quezada came in to establish order. He did not. A wild pitch brought home the inning's fifth run before a walk to Martin netted the sixth and final one. Chris Williams doubled home a run in the following inning, but it was not enough to overcome the brutal 9-0 deficit, and Wichita walked away without a win. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 4, Lake County 12 Box Score John Stankiewicz: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Will Holland (3) Multi-hit games: Seth Gray (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) The Kernels lost handily on Saturday. The Captains jumped on John Stankiewicz as the early innings melted into the middle innings, and the rest of the game’s narrative quickly followed suit. Ryan Shreve and Miguel Rodriguez were unable to stop an offensive movement in the 6th inning, and any scoring after that was a vain attempt at stat-padding. Cedar Rapids was held in check offensively as well. Kernels hitters punched out 14 times while reaching base only nine times; they went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Seth Gray was the big bat of the day, reaching base three times while knocking in half of Cedar Rapids’ runs; Will Holland knocked in the other two when he homered in the 3rd inning. To look for more bright spots, Bradley Hanner continued his ridiculous start to the season with two strikeouts over 1 1/3 scoreless innings. His season ERA is now a sparkling 0.50. Yeah, that’ll play. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 4, Clearwater 5 Box Score Marco Raya: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Mikey Perez (5) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI), Keoni Cavaco (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Dylan Neuse (2-for-3) Fort Myers lost a close one on Saturday. Marco Raya, looking to continue his fine start to the season, took the mound for the Mighty Mussels. The right-hander could not reign in his dominant stuff, and the Threshers made him pay, knocking around eight hits to go with three walks and three earned runs. It will be on to the next start for him. Clearwater’s offense was not a consistent onslaught despite the earned runs, instead evenly distributing their runs one at a time in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th innings, respectively. In fact, the Mighty Mussels held a slight lead after the top of the 7th inning when Mikey Perez blasted an Earl Weaver special to give Fort Myers a 4-3 lead. Although, the Mighty Mussels forgot that defense was part of Weaver’s special equation, and a dodgeball fight involving Noah Cardenas and Perez in the bottom half of the 7th resulted in a tying run scoring for Clearwater. They would score once more the following inning to win. The team shot themselves in the foot offensively as well. While four runs will win a team a fair amount of ballgames, the Mighty Mussels left a small army stranded on base; 11 to be exact. They walked and slashed hits all around the field like a good team is supposed to do but just missed out on a few damaging knocks that could have sealed a win. Altogether, six Mighty Mussels hitters reached base multiple times; Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez walked more than once, while Miller added a base hit for good measure. Regi Grace stood out for Fort Myers pitchers, allowing just one earned run over eight outs, with five of those coming via a strikeout. Because baseball is inherently cruel, he was tagged with the loss. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Mikey Perez PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, RBI, 2 BB #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB, R, K #5 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (79 pitches, 51 strikes) #10 – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K #11 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-for-2, R, BB #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, R, 3 BB, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (2:05 PM) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Springfield @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Matt Canterino Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - LHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Clearwater (11:00 AM) - LHP Jaylen Nowlin
  8. Hits were hard to come by for Twins' affiliates on Tuesday, but they were still able to finish 2-2 on the day as a couple of the pitching staffs picked up the slack with strong efforts. A former top prospect was also back on the field for the first game of a rehab assignment with the St. Paul Saints. Keep reading to see how they and the rest of the Twins prospects fared in this week's series openers! TRANSACTIONS There was just one transaction on the day heading into a new series for each affiliate, but it was a notable one for Twins fans. Twins RF Alex Kirilloff was sent on a rehab assignment with the Saints. He batted second as the designated hitter in their game. SAINTS SENTINEL Nashville 1, St. Paul 4 Box Score Making his second appearance back with the Saints after being with the Twins briefly, starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez was stellar for the first 4 2/3 innings. He allowed just one run on five hits and a walk, while snuffing the Sounds with six strikeouts. St. Paul had a 2-1 lead when he exited the game as they were able to score a run in each of the third and fourth innings. After a Royce Lewis double to put runners on second and third, Nashville’s pitcher uncorked a wild pitch to score their first run of the game, but they were unable to push Lewis across. In the fourth, three consecutive singles from Curtis Terry, Derek Fisher, and Daniel Robertson got them the second run, but the threat was stifled again when Fisher was thrown out at third on the relay. The teams traded zeroes for three innings after that, with Mario Sanchez delivering 2 1/3 scoreless innings after Rodriguez. He walked one and struck out two. Jharrel Cotton pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out one, and Trevor Megill closed it out for his first save of the season, allowing a single, striking out one, and getting a double-play ball to end the game. The Saints added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when four consecutive hitters drew a walk to score one. That was followed by a sac fly from Chance Sisco for the second run. Lewis (2-for-5, 2B) and Terry (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, BB) each had two hits in the win. In his return to the lineup for his rehab assignment, Alex Kirilloff reached base all four times he came to the plate with three walks and a single, batting second behind Lewis as the designated hitter. (Please check out the Brewer Fanatic report on the Nashville/St. Paul game). WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Arkansas 10 Box Score On the road in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Wind Surge started their series with right-hander Chris Vallimont going against the Travelers. He pitched around a pair of singles in the first inning, before being greeted with a home run to open the second that put Arkansas out front early. They added another run in the second before a one-two-three third inning, then broke it open in the fourth with four more before Vallimont was lifted. In all, he lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out five batters. Evan Sisk was the first reliever summoned, and he escaped the fourth with no further damage along with delivering a scoreless fifth. He walked two and struck out three. Bryan Sammons and Zach Featherstone combined to allow two runs each on five hits and two walks over the final three innings to account for all the Travelers runs in the game. Sammons struck out over his two innings, and Featherstone one in the eighth. In the top of the fourth Wichita was able to cut Arkansas’ early 2-0 lead in half thanks to Matt Wallner’s second home run of the season. That would be as close as they would get, however. In the eighth inning, Spencer Steer and Wallner each drove in a run with a double, and in the ninth they added one more via an Edouard Julien RBI groundout to make the final score 10-4. Wallner was the only Wind Surge hitter with two hits (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K), and Julien drew three walks in the game to lead the way for the offense. As a team, they were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 0 Box Score The Kernels got a stellar outing out of their pitching staff in this one, led by starter Cody Laweryson and reliever Andrew Cabezas. They each pitched three innings, with Laweryson giving up just two walks with three K’s, and Cabezas just one hit while striking out four. Bradley Hanner added two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out three. Derek Molina was credited with his first save of the season with a one-two-three ninth inning to close out the win. Cedar Rapids took a 1-0 lead in the top of third when Aaron Sabato drove in Anthony Prato with a sac fly. They made it 2-0 in the seventh thanks to a wild pitch that allowed Wander Javier to scamper home after he had doubled to lead off the inning. Their third run was courtesy of an RBI double from Sabato in the eighth that scored Christian Encarnicion-Strand, who had singled in front of him. Hits were in short supply for both teams in the game, as the Kernels had just six versus the Sky Carp’s three. Neither team had a hit with runners in scoring position and they combined to strand just eleven baserunners on the game. Encarnacion-Strand was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Sabato 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI. MUSSEL MATTERS Clearwater 7, Fort Myers 3 Box Score The Mighty Mussels fell behind early, as starter Steve Hajjar was jumped on by the Threshers for three runs in the first frame. This was largely due to a pair of throwing errors from Hajjar himself. A two-run double and one of those errors led to three runs. He settled down from there and was able to finish four innings with no further damage. In all, he allowed seven hits and two walks along with striking out five batters. The Fort Myers lineup was able to get two of those runs back in the second inning after an RBI single from Ernie Yake, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jake Rucker. Clearwater answered back after Hajjar’s exit, scoring three more in the fifth against reliever Jackson Hicks on three hits and a walk. Hunter McMahon pitched two innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out three. Lefty John Wilson got the final two innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three Threshers. Outfielder Kyler Fedko continued his hot hitting to start the season, collecting two singles to lead the way for the Mighty Mussels and was the only hitter with more than one hit. Emmanuel Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a run scored and drew a walk. As a team, they did not have an extra-base hit, had only four at-bats with runners in scoring position, and left just six men on base. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids Kernels (W, 3 IP, H, 4 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-4 #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, 2B #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-2, K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, 2B, HR (2), 2 RBI, K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-2, R, RBI, 3 BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Fort Myers) - L, 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 5 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Nashville @ St. Paul (1:07 PM CDT) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-1, 1.29 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (1-1, 4.11 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-1, 6.48 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, 7.71 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  9. TRANSACTIONS There was just one transaction on the day heading into a new series for each affiliate, but it was a notable one for Twins fans. Twins RF Alex Kirilloff was sent on a rehab assignment with the Saints. He batted second as the designated hitter in their game. SAINTS SENTINEL Nashville 1, St. Paul 4 Box Score Making his second appearance back with the Saints after being with the Twins briefly, starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez was stellar for the first 4 2/3 innings. He allowed just one run on five hits and a walk, while snuffing the Sounds with six strikeouts. St. Paul had a 2-1 lead when he exited the game as they were able to score a run in each of the third and fourth innings. After a Royce Lewis double to put runners on second and third, Nashville’s pitcher uncorked a wild pitch to score their first run of the game, but they were unable to push Lewis across. In the fourth, three consecutive singles from Curtis Terry, Derek Fisher, and Daniel Robertson got them the second run, but the threat was stifled again when Fisher was thrown out at third on the relay. The teams traded zeroes for three innings after that, with Mario Sanchez delivering 2 1/3 scoreless innings after Rodriguez. He walked one and struck out two. Jharrel Cotton pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out one, and Trevor Megill closed it out for his first save of the season, allowing a single, striking out one, and getting a double-play ball to end the game. The Saints added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when four consecutive hitters drew a walk to score one. That was followed by a sac fly from Chance Sisco for the second run. Lewis (2-for-5, 2B) and Terry (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, BB) each had two hits in the win. In his return to the lineup for his rehab assignment, Alex Kirilloff reached base all four times he came to the plate with three walks and a single, batting second behind Lewis as the designated hitter. (Please check out the Brewer Fanatic report on the Nashville/St. Paul game). WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Arkansas 10 Box Score On the road in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Wind Surge started their series with right-hander Chris Vallimont going against the Travelers. He pitched around a pair of singles in the first inning, before being greeted with a home run to open the second that put Arkansas out front early. They added another run in the second before a one-two-three third inning, then broke it open in the fourth with four more before Vallimont was lifted. In all, he lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out five batters. Evan Sisk was the first reliever summoned, and he escaped the fourth with no further damage along with delivering a scoreless fifth. He walked two and struck out three. Bryan Sammons and Zach Featherstone combined to allow two runs each on five hits and two walks over the final three innings to account for all the Travelers runs in the game. Sammons struck out over his two innings, and Featherstone one in the eighth. In the top of the fourth Wichita was able to cut Arkansas’ early 2-0 lead in half thanks to Matt Wallner’s second home run of the season. That would be as close as they would get, however. In the eighth inning, Spencer Steer and Wallner each drove in a run with a double, and in the ninth they added one more via an Edouard Julien RBI groundout to make the final score 10-4. Wallner was the only Wind Surge hitter with two hits (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K), and Julien drew three walks in the game to lead the way for the offense. As a team, they were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 0 Box Score The Kernels got a stellar outing out of their pitching staff in this one, led by starter Cody Laweryson and reliever Andrew Cabezas. They each pitched three innings, with Laweryson giving up just two walks with three K’s, and Cabezas just one hit while striking out four. Bradley Hanner added two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out three. Derek Molina was credited with his first save of the season with a one-two-three ninth inning to close out the win. Cedar Rapids took a 1-0 lead in the top of third when Aaron Sabato drove in Anthony Prato with a sac fly. They made it 2-0 in the seventh thanks to a wild pitch that allowed Wander Javier to scamper home after he had doubled to lead off the inning. Their third run was courtesy of an RBI double from Sabato in the eighth that scored Christian Encarnicion-Strand, who had singled in front of him. Hits were in short supply for both teams in the game, as the Kernels had just six versus the Sky Carp’s three. Neither team had a hit with runners in scoring position and they combined to strand just eleven baserunners on the game. Encarnacion-Strand was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Sabato 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI. MUSSEL MATTERS Clearwater 7, Fort Myers 3 Box Score The Mighty Mussels fell behind early, as starter Steve Hajjar was jumped on by the Threshers for three runs in the first frame. This was largely due to a pair of throwing errors from Hajjar himself. A two-run double and one of those errors led to three runs. He settled down from there and was able to finish four innings with no further damage. In all, he allowed seven hits and two walks along with striking out five batters. The Fort Myers lineup was able to get two of those runs back in the second inning after an RBI single from Ernie Yake, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jake Rucker. Clearwater answered back after Hajjar’s exit, scoring three more in the fifth against reliever Jackson Hicks on three hits and a walk. Hunter McMahon pitched two innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out three. Lefty John Wilson got the final two innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three Threshers. Outfielder Kyler Fedko continued his hot hitting to start the season, collecting two singles to lead the way for the Mighty Mussels and was the only hitter with more than one hit. Emmanuel Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a run scored and drew a walk. As a team, they did not have an extra-base hit, had only four at-bats with runners in scoring position, and left just six men on base. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids Kernels (W, 3 IP, H, 4 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-4 #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, 2B #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-2, K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, 2B, HR (2), 2 RBI, K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-2, R, RBI, 3 BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Fort Myers) - L, 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 5 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Nashville @ St. Paul (1:07 PM CDT) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-1, 1.29 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (1-1, 4.11 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-1, 6.48 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, 7.71 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  10. Kepler Got His Groove Back? Max Kepler had a rough season after contracting the Covid-19 virus in early 2021. Not only was his physical appearance worn and thin, but his defense and at-bats were also not what they used to be. Over the past two series, Kepler has increased his plate discipline. Savant showed his zone contact is 90.9% which helped him at least in this series, garnering him both a home run and a double. He may be batting .188 right now, but the average doesn't say it all. He is on track for a good season and getting better the more plate appearances he has, and he's undoubtedly rounding out his efforts by adding in good defensive play. Kepler has been making impressive defensive plays in the right field in a Buxton-like fashion. He is not Buxton, but his commitment to the hustle and making key plays like the out in the bottom of the fifth getting Chris Taylor out was beautiful. Admittedly I thought trading Kepler would have been a good idea at the beginning of the season, but he continues to show the staff and the fans that he is not done yet and won't go down without a fight, or up his trade value. Situational Hitting Gets an "F" The Dodgers pitching lineup was too much for the Twins bats. Over the two-game series, the Twins' offense could only get six hits. I'd rather get a root canal than sit through another series like that again. The Dodgers' pitching is one of the best in the league, but there is no reason the Twins bats couldn't make contact more than they did, at a minimum in game one. Byron Buxton and Gio Urshella went 0-for-4, and Luis Arraez, who has been a bright spot, went a dismal 0-for-3. Thank God at least Kepler and Nick Gordon were able to get runs, or this would have been a shutout series, and that's not a good look. Clayton Kershaw, who had never pitched before at Target Field, got comfortable really quick and was off to a combined perfect game, but thankfully Gary Sanchez came into the batter's box in the eighth inning and broke it up with a single to right field. That's probably the best news of the series, considering no one else could get anything going, and the frustration mounted to a peak when Miguel Sano busted his bat after going 0-for-3 and striking out twice. We are all Miguel Sano right now. I like Josh Winder, but... It was not a shock to me when Josh Winder made the 28-man roster out of spring training. During the shortened spring training, Winder showed confidence and capability to be a part of the rotation. Coming into his first MLB appearance facing one of the best lineups in MLB was not an easy task. He pitched to Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Chris Taylor, and his first MLB strikeout went to Will Smith in his debut. Of all the hitters he had to debut with, he kept his head together, not getting phased and letting the defense do their part. Even if a sacrifice fly earned one run, that's all the rookie allowed in his first appearance. Winder's fastball averaged 94.5 MPH, which is excellent, but he needs to keep it in the zone. As he continues to have more mound appearances, there is room for control growth. As he can get control of his fastball, he will be a great mid-reliever. The rest of the pitching was sad. Chris Archer held his own after a jittery first inning, but Chris Paddack had one of the worst first innings I have seen in a while. While he was able to calm himself down and get out of the innings and continue on, both days the bullpen allowed multiple runs. Dereck Rodriguez looked like he was going to be able to keep it together and then gave up three home runs in a row in his fourth inning of the day. The bullpen definitely needs to see more batters to improve thanks to a lockout and short spring training but hopefully not at the cost of losing multiple series. I couldn't imagine that there would be a worse series for the Twins the rest of the season, but I have been wrong before. What's next? Hopefully, a series win in Boston instead of a repeat of last season where Boston won four of the series' five games. What were your lasting impressions from the Dodgers series? Leave a comment below.
  11. The brutality of the Dodger series certainly will outweigh the few shining bright spots, but I managed to find a few, but kept it real as we lick our wounds and move forward to Boston. Kepler Got His Groove Back? Max Kepler had a rough season after contracting the Covid-19 virus in early 2021. Not only was his physical appearance worn and thin, but his defense and at-bats were also not what they used to be. Over the past two series, Kepler has increased his plate discipline. Savant showed his zone contact is 90.9% which helped him at least in this series, garnering him both a home run and a double. He may be batting .188 right now, but the average doesn't say it all. He is on track for a good season and getting better the more plate appearances he has, and he's undoubtedly rounding out his efforts by adding in good defensive play. Kepler has been making impressive defensive plays in the right field in a Buxton-like fashion. He is not Buxton, but his commitment to the hustle and making key plays like the out in the bottom of the fifth getting Chris Taylor out was beautiful. Admittedly I thought trading Kepler would have been a good idea at the beginning of the season, but he continues to show the staff and the fans that he is not done yet and won't go down without a fight, or up his trade value. Situational Hitting Gets an "F" The Dodgers pitching lineup was too much for the Twins bats. Over the two-game series, the Twins' offense could only get six hits. I'd rather get a root canal than sit through another series like that again. The Dodgers' pitching is one of the best in the league, but there is no reason the Twins bats couldn't make contact more than they did, at a minimum in game one. Byron Buxton and Gio Urshella went 0-for-4, and Luis Arraez, who has been a bright spot, went a dismal 0-for-3. Thank God at least Kepler and Nick Gordon were able to get runs, or this would have been a shutout series, and that's not a good look. Clayton Kershaw, who had never pitched before at Target Field, got comfortable really quick and was off to a combined perfect game, but thankfully Gary Sanchez came into the batter's box in the eighth inning and broke it up with a single to right field. That's probably the best news of the series, considering no one else could get anything going, and the frustration mounted to a peak when Miguel Sano busted his bat after going 0-for-3 and striking out twice. We are all Miguel Sano right now. I like Josh Winder, but... It was not a shock to me when Josh Winder made the 28-man roster out of spring training. During the shortened spring training, Winder showed confidence and capability to be a part of the rotation. Coming into his first MLB appearance facing one of the best lineups in MLB was not an easy task. He pitched to Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Chris Taylor, and his first MLB strikeout went to Will Smith in his debut. Of all the hitters he had to debut with, he kept his head together, not getting phased and letting the defense do their part. Even if a sacrifice fly earned one run, that's all the rookie allowed in his first appearance. Winder's fastball averaged 94.5 MPH, which is excellent, but he needs to keep it in the zone. As he continues to have more mound appearances, there is room for control growth. As he can get control of his fastball, he will be a great mid-reliever. The rest of the pitching was sad. Chris Archer held his own after a jittery first inning, but Chris Paddack had one of the worst first innings I have seen in a while. While he was able to calm himself down and get out of the innings and continue on, both days the bullpen allowed multiple runs. Dereck Rodriguez looked like he was going to be able to keep it together and then gave up three home runs in a row in his fourth inning of the day. The bullpen definitely needs to see more batters to improve thanks to a lockout and short spring training but hopefully not at the cost of losing multiple series. I couldn't imagine that there would be a worse series for the Twins the rest of the season, but I have been wrong before. What's next? Hopefully, a series win in Boston instead of a repeat of last season where Boston won four of the series' five games. What were your lasting impressions from the Dodgers series? Leave a comment below. View full article
  12. Clayton Kershaw had never pitched in Minnesota before, yet he couldn’t have been more comfortable at Target Field. The superstar Dodgers starter pitched seven perfect innings against the Twins while being supported by four home runs, resulting in a Los Angeles blowout. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Paddack, 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (73 pitches, 49 strikes, 67.1%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Paddack (-.152), Byron Buxton (-.074), Miguel Sanó (-.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Paddack has a rough start, done after four Chris Paddack’s first start as a Twin got off to a rough start. With a career 7.07 ERA against the Dodgers, the Texas native struggled with his command and getting ahead in the counts right in the first inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases quickly, and Justin Turner pushed the first two runs across on a ground ball. It took Paddack thirty pitches to get through the first inning, and only 56.6% of them were strikes. His second time through the order, during the second inning, wasn’t any easier. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman reached, and Trea Turner hit a sac-fly to score Betts, making it 3-0 Dodgers. Thankfully, he settled down and tossed a couple of scoreless frames on 24 pitches – less than half of what it took him to pitch the first two innings, including a nine-pitch 1-2-3 fourth. With his pitch count surpassing 70, Rocco Baldelli decided to pull him. Kershaw pitches seven perfect frames. Pulled too early? Making his first start of the season and his first-ever start against the Twins, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was out of this world this afternoon. With a killer slider that resulted in swings and misses 63% of the time, he pitched seven perfect innings on 80 pitches, striking out 13 batters. The closest a Twins hitter got to breaking his perfect game bid was when Gio Urshela hit a grounder that ricocheted off the mound past Kershaw, but it was fielded in time by Gavin Lux. It had a .420 xBA, the highest against Kershaw in the game. To the disappointment of baseball fans all over the world, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided not to bring Kershaw back for the eighth inning. How did you feel about the move? Rodríguez tosses three solid innings, gets blown out in the eighth After Paddack was pulled from the game, righty Dereck Rodríguez took over, making his Twins debut almost 11 years after being drafted by Minnesota. He became a free agent and left the organization in 2017, and was signed to a minor league contract this summer. The Texas native no-hit the Dodgers for three innings and pretty much kept the Twins’ chances alive. However, everything fell apart in the eighth, when he gave up three consecutive home runs to the bottom third of the Dodger lineup, putting the game out of reach. Called up yesterday to replace Jorge Alcalá, Griffin Jax made his season debut in the ninth and allowed Los Angeles’ fourth home run of the game, a solo shot to Max Muncy, which gave the game its final numbers. What’s Next? The Twins have their first day off of the season this Thursday, and they start a four-game series against the Red Sox in Boston on Friday, their home opener. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm CDT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Rodríguez 0 0 0 0 59 59 Thielbar 18 0 19 18 0 55 Romero 0 15 0 34 0 49 Smith 20 0 19 3 0 42 Duffey 18 0 14 0 0 32 Pagán 0 10 0 20 0 30 Coulombe 0 15 0 14 0 29 Winder 0 0 0 28 0 28 Jax 0 0 0 0 22 22 Duran 0 0 11 0 0 11 View full article
  13. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Paddack, 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (73 pitches, 49 strikes, 67.1%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Paddack (-.152), Byron Buxton (-.074), Miguel Sanó (-.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Paddack has a rough start, done after four Chris Paddack’s first start as a Twin got off to a rough start. With a career 7.07 ERA against the Dodgers, the Texas native struggled with his command and getting ahead in the counts right in the first inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases quickly, and Justin Turner pushed the first two runs across on a ground ball. It took Paddack thirty pitches to get through the first inning, and only 56.6% of them were strikes. His second time through the order, during the second inning, wasn’t any easier. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman reached, and Trea Turner hit a sac-fly to score Betts, making it 3-0 Dodgers. Thankfully, he settled down and tossed a couple of scoreless frames on 24 pitches – less than half of what it took him to pitch the first two innings, including a nine-pitch 1-2-3 fourth. With his pitch count surpassing 70, Rocco Baldelli decided to pull him. Kershaw pitches seven perfect frames. Pulled too early? Making his first start of the season and his first-ever start against the Twins, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was out of this world this afternoon. With a killer slider that resulted in swings and misses 63% of the time, he pitched seven perfect innings on 80 pitches, striking out 13 batters. The closest a Twins hitter got to breaking his perfect game bid was when Gio Urshela hit a grounder that ricocheted off the mound past Kershaw, but it was fielded in time by Gavin Lux. It had a .420 xBA, the highest against Kershaw in the game. To the disappointment of baseball fans all over the world, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided not to bring Kershaw back for the eighth inning. How did you feel about the move? Rodríguez tosses three solid innings, gets blown out in the eighth After Paddack was pulled from the game, righty Dereck Rodríguez took over, making his Twins debut almost 11 years after being drafted by Minnesota. He became a free agent and left the organization in 2017, and was signed to a minor league contract this summer. The Texas native no-hit the Dodgers for three innings and pretty much kept the Twins’ chances alive. However, everything fell apart in the eighth, when he gave up three consecutive home runs to the bottom third of the Dodger lineup, putting the game out of reach. Called up yesterday to replace Jorge Alcalá, Griffin Jax made his season debut in the ninth and allowed Los Angeles’ fourth home run of the game, a solo shot to Max Muncy, which gave the game its final numbers. What’s Next? The Twins have their first day off of the season this Thursday, and they start a four-game series against the Red Sox in Boston on Friday, their home opener. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm CDT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Rodríguez 0 0 0 0 59 59 Thielbar 18 0 19 18 0 55 Romero 0 15 0 34 0 49 Smith 20 0 19 3 0 42 Duffey 18 0 14 0 0 32 Pagán 0 10 0 20 0 30 Coulombe 0 15 0 14 0 29 Winder 0 0 0 28 0 28 Jax 0 0 0 0 22 22 Duran 0 0 11 0 0 11
  14. The daily Minor League Reports have been back for three days already, but tonight feels a little more special. It is Opening Night for the Wichita Wind Surge, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. There was a big-time Minnesota connection in Wichita. The Kernels had a hitter make a very strong first impression. A couple of first-rounders had big nights in Ft. Myers and they held on for a close win. Oh, and the Saints got another win as a former prospect returned to the organization and pitched well. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS On Friday, Cedar Rapids announced that seven players have been added to their roster, but on the Injured List. Added to the 60-Day IL are right-handed pitchers Jon Olsen (Tommy John), Luis Rijo (Tommy John), and lefty Zarion Sharpe (forearm strain). Placed on the 7-Day IL are right-handed pitchers Owen Griffith (forearm strain), Francis Peguero (low back strain), Ryan Shreve (shoulder impingement), and catcher Pat Winkel (low back strain). SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Louisville1 Box Score Derek Rodriguez officially made his return to the organization when he made his first start of the season for the St. Paul Saints. The former outfielder-turned-pitcher who spent parts of three seasons pitching for the Giants after leaving the Twins via free agency went the first four innings. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out five batters without allowing a run. He threw 58 pitches (32 strikes). Drew Strotman came on in his new bullpen role. He provided three innings and gave up just one run on one hit. He walked three and struck out two batters. Wladimir Pinto struck out two batters over the final two innings. Jake Cave continues to lead the Saints’ offense. He led off tonight with Jose Miranda getting the game off. Cave went 2-for-3 with two walks and a triple in this game. He is currently hitting .500 with an OPS of 1.397. Royce Lewis had a single in five at bats. Trevor Larnach recorded his first hit of the season, and he also drove in the Saints first run with a sacrifice fly. Mark Contreras provided the big hit in a three-run third inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, he hit a solid single up the middle to drive in two runs. The Saints are now 3-1. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Tulsa 5 Box Score Lots of Minnesota connections in this one, but let’s talk about the game first. Matt Canterino made the start for the Wind Surge. He really struggled at the start. His game started rough. He gave up a single, then walked a batter. He gave up a run on a double. Then he walked another batter to load the bases. He got a pop up and a couple of strikeouts to get out of the inning, but he needed to throw 30 pitches. He did get a second inning, and recorded a third strikeout, but that was the end to his night. Louie Varland came in to start the third inning. He got the same strike zone that Canterino and the Drillers starting pitcher got. He went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs on five hits and five walks. He walked four batters. Evan Sisk got the next four outs without any more damage despite two walks. Steven Cruz pitched a scoreless ninth frame. That Drillers starter was none other than Louie’s brother Gus Varland. It had to be fun for the 19 or more family members that made the trek to Wichita. He went 4 1/3 scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He walked four batters and struck out five. In addition, Inver Grove Heights native Michael Busch, a Dodgers top prospect, went 0-for-3 and walked twice. The Wind Surge didn’t get much offense and were unable to do much, until very late in the game. Down 5-0, the Wind Surge scored a run in the seventh inning. And in the eighth inning, outfielder Cole Sturgeon hit a three-run homer to cut the deficit to just one run. Michael Helman led the offense. He went 0-for-1 but walked three times. Forest Lake’s Matt Wallner walked twice in the game, as did Andrew Bechtold. However, in the ninth inning, the Tulsa closer struck out the side to end any walkoff hopes for the Wind Surge. Here is the Twins Spotlight episode with Louie and Gus Varland from before spring training if you missed it. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 12, Beloit 5 Box Score Pro ball is Christian Encarnacion-Strand’s world. That is all. Since the Twins selected him with their fourth-round pick last summer out of Oklahoma State, he has hit. In 22 games last year in Ft. Myers, he hit .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with two doubles, two triples, and four home runs. Now fast-forward to 2022, he is promoted to High-A Cedar Rapids, and despite freezing, cold temperatures, he went 4-for-5 with a grand slam in the seven-run fourth inning and a three-run homer in the sixth inning. He ended the game with nine RBI. Hey, guess who is going to be the minor-league hitter of the day? And how about the Kernels LED lights that they installed last season! Anthony Prato led off for the Kernels. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. He also stole a base. Batting ninth was Kennie Taylor went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Lefty Aaron Rozek started and went the first five innings to earn the Win in this game. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out six batters. Bradley Hanner came on and walked two over two scoreless, hitless innings. He struck out two batters. Tyler Palm worked the final two innings. He gave up two runs on four hits while striking out four batters. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Clearwater 5 Box Score The Mighty Mussels got their season going with a nice win. They jumped out to a 6-2 lead through five innings and then held on for a one-run win. John Stankiewicz was the starter of the Mussels. The Fordham alum gave up two runs on two hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out eight batters and earned his first win of the season. Hunter McMahon came on and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out two batters. Matthew Swain came on and tossed two perfect innings to record the save. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out three batters. Ft. Myers got on the board in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded, Keoni Cavaco drilled a bases-clearing double. He went 3-for-5 in the game. In the fifth inning, Kala’i Rosario tripled in a run and then scored on a Kyler Fedko sacrifice to give the Mussels their sixth run. Noah Miller went 3-for-5 in the game as the team’s leadoff hitter. He also stole a base. Kyle Schmidt went 2-4 with the other RBI. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Every day, we will select one hitter of the day and one pitcher of the day, and you can discuss who it should have been. Hopefully many days we will have many good options! Pitcher of the Day – John Stankiewicz (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 4-5, 2 R, 9 RBI 2 HR PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-5, 2 K, 2 Es #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, K, SB (3) #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-5, R, SB (1) #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, 2 BB, R, K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-4 SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (12:05PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer Tulsa @ Wichita (6:05PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Clearwater (5:05 PM CST) - RHP David Festa Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  15. Sure, the Saints played their fourth game of the season tonight, but for the Wind Surge, the Kernels and the Mighty Mussels, Happy Opening Day!! The Twins played an exciting opener at Target Field, and there were some good games and strong performances in the minor leagues The daily Minor League Reports have been back for three days already, but tonight feels a little more special. It is Opening Night for the Wichita Wind Surge, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. There was a big-time Minnesota connection in Wichita. The Kernels had a hitter make a very strong first impression. A couple of first-rounders had big nights in Ft. Myers and they held on for a close win. Oh, and the Saints got another win as a former prospect returned to the organization and pitched well. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS On Friday, Cedar Rapids announced that seven players have been added to their roster, but on the Injured List. Added to the 60-Day IL are right-handed pitchers Jon Olsen (Tommy John), Luis Rijo (Tommy John), and lefty Zarion Sharpe (forearm strain). Placed on the 7-Day IL are right-handed pitchers Owen Griffith (forearm strain), Francis Peguero (low back strain), Ryan Shreve (shoulder impingement), and catcher Pat Winkel (low back strain). SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Louisville1 Box Score Derek Rodriguez officially made his return to the organization when he made his first start of the season for the St. Paul Saints. The former outfielder-turned-pitcher who spent parts of three seasons pitching for the Giants after leaving the Twins via free agency went the first four innings. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out five batters without allowing a run. He threw 58 pitches (32 strikes). Drew Strotman came on in his new bullpen role. He provided three innings and gave up just one run on one hit. He walked three and struck out two batters. Wladimir Pinto struck out two batters over the final two innings. Jake Cave continues to lead the Saints’ offense. He led off tonight with Jose Miranda getting the game off. Cave went 2-for-3 with two walks and a triple in this game. He is currently hitting .500 with an OPS of 1.397. Royce Lewis had a single in five at bats. Trevor Larnach recorded his first hit of the season, and he also drove in the Saints first run with a sacrifice fly. Mark Contreras provided the big hit in a three-run third inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, he hit a solid single up the middle to drive in two runs. The Saints are now 3-1. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Tulsa 5 Box Score Lots of Minnesota connections in this one, but let’s talk about the game first. Matt Canterino made the start for the Wind Surge. He really struggled at the start. His game started rough. He gave up a single, then walked a batter. He gave up a run on a double. Then he walked another batter to load the bases. He got a pop up and a couple of strikeouts to get out of the inning, but he needed to throw 30 pitches. He did get a second inning, and recorded a third strikeout, but that was the end to his night. Louie Varland came in to start the third inning. He got the same strike zone that Canterino and the Drillers starting pitcher got. He went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs on five hits and five walks. He walked four batters. Evan Sisk got the next four outs without any more damage despite two walks. Steven Cruz pitched a scoreless ninth frame. That Drillers starter was none other than Louie’s brother Gus Varland. It had to be fun for the 19 or more family members that made the trek to Wichita. He went 4 1/3 scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He walked four batters and struck out five. In addition, Inver Grove Heights native Michael Busch, a Dodgers top prospect, went 0-for-3 and walked twice. The Wind Surge didn’t get much offense and were unable to do much, until very late in the game. Down 5-0, the Wind Surge scored a run in the seventh inning. And in the eighth inning, outfielder Cole Sturgeon hit a three-run homer to cut the deficit to just one run. Michael Helman led the offense. He went 0-for-1 but walked three times. Forest Lake’s Matt Wallner walked twice in the game, as did Andrew Bechtold. However, in the ninth inning, the Tulsa closer struck out the side to end any walkoff hopes for the Wind Surge. Here is the Twins Spotlight episode with Louie and Gus Varland from before spring training if you missed it. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 12, Beloit 5 Box Score Pro ball is Christian Encarnacion-Strand’s world. That is all. Since the Twins selected him with their fourth-round pick last summer out of Oklahoma State, he has hit. In 22 games last year in Ft. Myers, he hit .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with two doubles, two triples, and four home runs. Now fast-forward to 2022, he is promoted to High-A Cedar Rapids, and despite freezing, cold temperatures, he went 4-for-5 with a grand slam in the seven-run fourth inning and a three-run homer in the sixth inning. He ended the game with nine RBI. Hey, guess who is going to be the minor-league hitter of the day? And how about the Kernels LED lights that they installed last season! Anthony Prato led off for the Kernels. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. He also stole a base. Batting ninth was Kennie Taylor went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Lefty Aaron Rozek started and went the first five innings to earn the Win in this game. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out six batters. Bradley Hanner came on and walked two over two scoreless, hitless innings. He struck out two batters. Tyler Palm worked the final two innings. He gave up two runs on four hits while striking out four batters. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Clearwater 5 Box Score The Mighty Mussels got their season going with a nice win. They jumped out to a 6-2 lead through five innings and then held on for a one-run win. John Stankiewicz was the starter of the Mussels. The Fordham alum gave up two runs on two hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out eight batters and earned his first win of the season. Hunter McMahon came on and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out two batters. Matthew Swain came on and tossed two perfect innings to record the save. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out three batters. Ft. Myers got on the board in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded, Keoni Cavaco drilled a bases-clearing double. He went 3-for-5 in the game. In the fifth inning, Kala’i Rosario tripled in a run and then scored on a Kyler Fedko sacrifice to give the Mussels their sixth run. Noah Miller went 3-for-5 in the game as the team’s leadoff hitter. He also stole a base. Kyle Schmidt went 2-4 with the other RBI. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Every day, we will select one hitter of the day and one pitcher of the day, and you can discuss who it should have been. Hopefully many days we will have many good options! Pitcher of the Day – John Stankiewicz (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 4-5, 2 R, 9 RBI 2 HR PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-5, 2 K, 2 Es #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, K, SB (3) #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-5, R, SB (1) #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, 2 BB, R, K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-4 SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (12:05PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer Tulsa @ Wichita (6:05PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Clearwater (5:05 PM CST) - RHP David Festa Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  16. Dereck Rodríguez will always draw ties to his Hall of Fame father, Ivan, but he has made his own professional path. Now, the Twins have re-signed Rodríguez and brought him back to the organization that drafted him. Minnesota selected Rodríguez with a sixth-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft out of high school in Florida. At the time, the organization drafted him as an outfielder, and that’s where he started his professional career. From 2011-2013, he played regularly as an outfielder in the rookie leagues while hitting .216/.279/.336 (.615) in 129 games. Rodríguez was a good athlete with a big arm, so the organization shifted him to the mound. He spent all of 2014 with Elizabethton and posted a 1.05 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP. All of his appearances were from the bullpen, and he combined for a 19 to 8 strikeout to walk ratio in 25 2/3 innings. During the 2015 seasons, he pitched as a starter at three different levels and reached High-A by posting a 3.35 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 75 1/3 innings. Over the next two seasons, he continued to move up the ladder and finished the 2017 season at the Double-A level. Rodríguez was making improvements, but now another team took notice. Because he started his pro career as an outfielder, Minnesota lost organizational control of Rodríguez following the 2017 season. He quickly signed with the San Francisco Giants as a minor league free agent. He began the next season at Triple-A, where he posted a 3.40 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP with 53 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings over nine starts before making his big-league debut. His rookie campaign made it look like the Twins made a mistake in their evaluation process. He posted a 2.81 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with 89 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings over 19 starts. While his numbers looked great on the surface, some outlying numbers pointed to a potential decline. He struck out fewer than seven batters per nine innings and posted a 3.73 FIP. Rodríguez saw his big-league numbers decline over the next two seasons. He began the 2019 season in the Giant rotation and struggled with an ERA north of 5.00 in eight starts. In late May, he returned to the majors as a reliever, and he’d filled that role for the remainder of the season. As a reliever at the big-league level, he has pitched 31 innings and posted a 6.39 ERA with a 1.65 WHIP. Even though he was still under team control through 2024, San Francisco parted ways with him following the 2020 campaign. Last season, Rodríguez pitched the entire season as a starter at the Triple-A level in the Rockies organization. In 85 2/3 innings, he posted a 6.72 ERA and 1.66 WHIP with an 87 to 30 strikeout to walk ratio. These numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but Rodríguez has a reputation as a hard worker and a good teammate. Minnesota will likely extend him a non-roster invite for spring training, especially with questions surrounding the team’s pitching staff in 2022. What are your thoughts on the Rodríguez signing? Do you think he can impact the 2022 Twins? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or emai View full article
  17. Minnesota selected Rodríguez with a sixth-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft out of high school in Florida. At the time, the organization drafted him as an outfielder, and that’s where he started his professional career. From 2011-2013, he played regularly as an outfielder in the rookie leagues while hitting .216/.279/.336 (.615) in 129 games. Rodríguez was a good athlete with a big arm, so the organization shifted him to the mound. He spent all of 2014 with Elizabethton and posted a 1.05 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP. All of his appearances were from the bullpen, and he combined for a 19 to 8 strikeout to walk ratio in 25 2/3 innings. During the 2015 seasons, he pitched as a starter at three different levels and reached High-A by posting a 3.35 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 75 1/3 innings. Over the next two seasons, he continued to move up the ladder and finished the 2017 season at the Double-A level. Rodríguez was making improvements, but now another team took notice. Because he started his pro career as an outfielder, Minnesota lost organizational control of Rodríguez following the 2017 season. He quickly signed with the San Francisco Giants as a minor league free agent. He began the next season at Triple-A, where he posted a 3.40 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP with 53 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings over nine starts before making his big-league debut. His rookie campaign made it look like the Twins made a mistake in their evaluation process. He posted a 2.81 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with 89 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings over 19 starts. While his numbers looked great on the surface, some outlying numbers pointed to a potential decline. He struck out fewer than seven batters per nine innings and posted a 3.73 FIP. Rodríguez saw his big-league numbers decline over the next two seasons. He began the 2019 season in the Giant rotation and struggled with an ERA north of 5.00 in eight starts. In late May, he returned to the majors as a reliever, and he’d filled that role for the remainder of the season. As a reliever at the big-league level, he has pitched 31 innings and posted a 6.39 ERA with a 1.65 WHIP. Even though he was still under team control through 2024, San Francisco parted ways with him following the 2020 campaign. Last season, Rodríguez pitched the entire season as a starter at the Triple-A level in the Rockies organization. In 85 2/3 innings, he posted a 6.72 ERA and 1.66 WHIP with an 87 to 30 strikeout to walk ratio. These numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but Rodríguez has a reputation as a hard worker and a good teammate. Minnesota will likely extend him a non-roster invite for spring training, especially with questions surrounding the team’s pitching staff in 2022. What are your thoughts on the Rodríguez signing? Do you think he can impact the 2022 Twins? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or emai
  18. I argued in my notes on a hypothetical plan for the Twins’ second half that they need to look inward at their talent pool to assess what they have and what they need going forwards. There are three prime examples of the necessity of this practice; Niko Goodrum, Randy Rosario, and Dereck Rodriguez. Niko Goodrum was the Twins second-round pick in 2010. After grinding for seven plus seasons in MiLB, he finally broke into the majors last season with the Twins at age 25. Goodrum received only 18 PA for Minnesota before finding his way onto the Tigers roster in 2018. While it seemed Goodrum was blocked in Minnesota as a middle infielder by Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Ehire Adrianza, he has performed admirably with Detroit, putting together a solid .250/.319/.456 line with a .206 ISO. Goodrum’s isolated power would put him fourth on the Twins, behind only Jake Cave, Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar. Crucially, he’s a RH bat in a very LH dominant lineup, and might have found significant ABs at DH this year with Miguel Sano in Single A, and Logan Morrison a non-contributor. Goodrum is currently a one-win player with Detroit (fWAR) and on his way to a solid first season in the majors. Randy Rosario pitched just 2 1/3 innings with the Twins, struggling mightily in doing so. Rosario was picked up by the Cubs and has logged close to 30 innings for them this year, putting together an impressive 1.95 ERA and stranding an improbable 94 percent of base runners. I will say that Rosario’s peripheral numbers look far less impressive. It seems that early in 2018 he has been extremely lucky. It would appear that he is due for a fairly significant regression with the Cubs in the second half, but with lefty pitchers in such short supply, would it not have served the Twins to take a longer look? Dereck Rodriguez (son of Pudge) put together strong numbers as a starting pitcher throughout his time in the Twins minor league system. He was simply blocked from an opportunity with the Twins and found his way into the Giants organization. In seven starts and some relief work with the Giants, Rodriguez has pitched close to 50 innings to the tune of a 2.89 ERA (3.42 FIP) is striking out a solid 7.14 K/9 and is worth 1.0 fWAR in his limited time. Clearly the Giants see something in Rodriguez the Twins did not, it’s just unfortunate that there are so many players who have left the Twins organization without getting a big league opportunity, who seem to be seizing it elsewhere. There’re plenty of players who would also have made good examples for this article. Aaron Hicks is not a good example. He’s actually a great example of the Twins being patient with a young hitter and giving him ample opportunities at the plate. He just figured it out after the Twins moved on. The Twins gave Hicks 928 plate appearances in Minnesota, in which he put together a 2.5 fWAR. In 361 2018 plate appearances with the Yankees, he already has a 3.3 fWAR. Sometimes things just don’t work out in your favor. With regard to Goodrum, Rosario and Rodriguez, I’m not saying they should have kept one, two, or all of them. Teams don’t always have the luxury of being able to give marginal hitters a few hundred plate appearances, marginal relievers forty major league innings, or marginal starters a five start stretch to prove their worth (particularly in a playoff race in 2017). My point is simply when you do have the opportunity, you should seize it. It seems highly likely the Twins will have that opportunity in the second half of 2018. Moving into 2019. The Twins will likely have core starting pitching arms of Berrios, Gibson, Romero and Odorizzi. They should establish if Aaron Slegers, Zach Littell, Adalberto Mejia, Stephen Gonsalves, or even Trevor May is well positioned to occupy a back end role in 2019. Additionally, they should establish their pecking order for sixth, seventh,and eighth starters (form and health aside) who will inevitably be called on over the course of a long season. Similarly, with their bullpen. Luke Bard, John Curtiss, Gabriel Moya, Jake Reed and Alan Busenitz should all receive some consistent innings, over a period of time without interruption. If even two of this group can be reliable bullpen arms, the front office can focus on other areas this coming winter. It might feel like a long second half, so let’s see what we have, and what we need.
  19. With that, let’s take a look at my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. #30 SS Jelfry Marte Marte is one of the more intriguing names on this prospect list. Signed in July out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, most believe that he has the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got good speed, range and a strong arm. While he is currently about 5-10 and 140 pounds, it is believed that he will grow. There are mixed opinions about his offensive potential While many believe that he will likely be a bottom of the order hitter, some think that he could grow and eventually add some power. He could begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, though it’s possible he’ll move up to the GCL. #29 RHP Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez recently became a free agent. He was drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Florida. He spent the first three seasons of his pro career as an outfielder in the rookie leagues. He started the transition to pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.56 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was an All Star for the Miracle in 2017, going 5-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He moved up to AA where he went 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Last offseason, he helped win a championship in the Puerto Rico Winter League and was then named an alternate for the talented Puerto Rico WBC team. He’s 25 but continues to take strides forward. He throws 90-93, touching 94. He’s got a good slider as well and a changeup. He was able to get more ground balls. He even got to attend his father’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown in August. #28 3B Andrew Bechtold Bechtold was the Twins fifth-round draft pick this year out of junior college powerhouse Chipola College. Coming out of high school, he went to Maryland. He made seven starts before getting hurt and getting a medical redshirt. In 2017, he hit .419/.532/.676 with 12 homers. He had committed to LSU but instead signed with the Twins. At Elizabethton, he hit .299/.406/.424 with ten doubles and two homers. At 6-1 and 195 pounds, Bechtold was moved to third base at Chipola (though he may have played shortstop at LSU). He already has shown his ability to work the count and take walks. He also has a chance to hit for a lot of power. #27 RHP Griffin Jax Jax made a start in Elizabethton this summer before making four starts in Cedar Rapids. That marked his three-week leave from the Air Force. When he left, he headed to Cape Canaveral where he is an acquisitions officer. His duty will be complete next summer, though he may be able to make the trek to Ft. Myers on weekends in the summer. Jax, whose dad played in the NFL for a decade, was the Twins third-round pick in 2016. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and has a good slider and a changeup to go with it. He will turn 23 in two weeks, so his career will be delayed by two years. We’ll have to be patient, but he has the stuff to be good. (Get to know him.) #26 OF Aaron Whitefield The Twins have done well with toolsy hitters in the past. In the Twins minor league system, there are not players more athletic than the outfielder from Australia. He’s only been playing baseball for about three years after spending most of his youth playing softball at a high level. Defensively, he can cover ground in center field with anyone (not named Byron Buxton). Offensively, he’s still working on things, but he hit .268/.318/.414 (.732) with 18 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He also stole 33 bases. He’ll need to adjust and put the ball in play more, but he’s definitely a sleeper. (Get to know him.) So there you have Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, prospects 26-30. Be sure to check out Part 1 (41-50) and Part 2 (31-40), and feel free to discuss any of these players or ask questions below.
  20. In Part 1, I gave my selections for Twins prospects 41-50. Earlier this week, Part 2 reviewed Twins prospects 31-40. Today, the countdown continues with Part 3, my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. This is an interesting group of prospects. While there is a free agent whom I would hope the Twins would want to bring back, the four other players are high-ceiling types but very raw and inexperienced. They are the types of players who could move up this list a lot in 2018.With that, let’s take a look at my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. #30 SS Jelfry Marte Marte is one of the more intriguing names on this prospect list. Signed in July out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, most believe that he has the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got good speed, range and a strong arm. While he is currently about 5-10 and 140 pounds, it is believed that he will grow. There are mixed opinions about his offensive potential While many believe that he will likely be a bottom of the order hitter, some think that he could grow and eventually add some power. He could begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, though it’s possible he’ll move up to the GCL. #29 RHP Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez recently became a free agent. He was drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Florida. He spent the first three seasons of his pro career as an outfielder in the rookie leagues. He started the transition to pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.56 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was an All Star for the Miracle in 2017, going 5-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He moved up to AA where he went 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Last offseason, he helped win a championship in the Puerto Rico Winter League and was then named an alternate for the talented Puerto Rico WBC team. He’s 25 but continues to take strides forward. He throws 90-93, touching 94. He’s got a good slider as well and a changeup. He was able to get more ground balls. He even got to attend his father’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown in August. #28 3B Andrew Bechtold Bechtold was the Twins fifth-round draft pick this year out of junior college powerhouse Chipola College. Coming out of high school, he went to Maryland. He made seven starts before getting hurt and getting a medical redshirt. In 2017, he hit .419/.532/.676 with 12 homers. He had committed to LSU but instead signed with the Twins. At Elizabethton, he hit .299/.406/.424 with ten doubles and two homers. At 6-1 and 195 pounds, Bechtold was moved to third base at Chipola (though he may have played shortstop at LSU). He already has shown his ability to work the count and take walks. He also has a chance to hit for a lot of power. #27 RHP Griffin Jax Jax made a start in Elizabethton this summer before making four starts in Cedar Rapids. That marked his three-week leave from the Air Force. When he left, he headed to Cape Canaveral where he is an acquisitions officer. His duty will be complete next summer, though he may be able to make the trek to Ft. Myers on weekends in the summer. Jax, whose dad played in the NFL for a decade, was the Twins third-round pick in 2016. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and has a good slider and a changeup to go with it. He will turn 23 in two weeks, so his career will be delayed by two years. We’ll have to be patient, but he has the stuff to be good. (Get to know him.) #26 OF Aaron Whitefield The Twins have done well with toolsy hitters in the past. In the Twins minor league system, there are not players more athletic than the outfielder from Australia. He’s only been playing baseball for about three years after spending most of his youth playing softball at a high level. Defensively, he can cover ground in center field with anyone (not named Byron Buxton). Offensively, he’s still working on things, but he hit .268/.318/.414 (.732) with 18 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He also stole 33 bases. He’ll need to adjust and put the ball in play more, but he’s definitely a sleeper. (Get to know him.) So there you have Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, prospects 26-30. Be sure to check out Part 1 (41-50) and Part 2 (31-40), and feel free to discuss any of these players or ask questions below. Click here to view the article
  21. Thanks for following the updates throughout the day. It was fun to keep tabs on the goings on in the Twins minor leagues throughout the day. So for those who are seeing this for the first time, the format is obviously quite different from what you normally see here, but more frequent updates can be good too. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Buffalo 3 (FINAL) Box Score Aaron Slegers starts for the Red Wings at 12:35. At 76-57, the Red Wings have been eliminated from winning their division. However, they have a two game lead over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the Wild Card race. Their magic number coming into the day is 8. 12:47 UPDATE: In the top of the first inning, Slegers hit the leadoff batter. With two outs, 1B Rowdy Tellez doubles in the runner to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead. 12:58 UPDATE: In the top of the second inning, Slegers gave up a solo home run to SS Shane Opitz. Red Wings down 2-0. 1:04 UPDATE: Following Niko Goodrum getting hit by a pitch, Leonardo Reginnato doubled him in to put the Red Wings on the scoreboard. Through two innings, Red Wings 1, Bisons 2. 1:30 UPDATE: With two on and one out in the 4th, Slegers gave up a run-scoring single to Opitz to make the score 3-1 Bisons. While he's given up three runs, Slegers does have six strikeouts, including the third out of this inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd. 2:16 UPDATE: With two outs, and just after Chad Allen got ejected, Anthony Recker singled in Niko Goodrum to cut the Red Wings deficit to 3-2. Goodrum had singled and stolen second base. It was his 11th steal of the game. 2:24 UPDATE: He's at 89 pitches, so I don't know if he's done, but after two strikeouts in the 7th, Aaron Slegers now has nine strikeouts in the game. 2:35 UPDATE: Engelb Vielma led off the 7th with a walk. Two outs later, Daniel Palka singled him in and after an error, he also scored to give the Red Wings a 4-3 lead. Here it is... an absolutely crazy "Little League Home Run." https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/901894690072657920 2:40 UPDATE: Aaron Slegers' 102nd pitch gave him his 10th strikeout of the game. He's likely done, having given up only those three early runs. A very impressive outing. 2:52 UPDATE: Michael Tonkin coming in for the ninth to protect a 4-3 Red Wings lead. 2:57 UPDATE: Tonkin had a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his fifth save. Aaron Slegers is now 14-4 (he was 4-4 at one point) on the season. https://twitter.com/JoshWhetzel/status/901902396468727808 Multi-Hit Games: Leonardo Reginnato (2-3, walk, 2B (14), Anthony Recker (2-4)) PLAYOFF UPDATE: The Red Wings won. Lehigh Valley was shutout/one-hit on Sunday, so the Red Wings Magic Number drops to six. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 0, Jackson 3 (FINAL) Box Score Dereck Rodriguez starts for the Lookouts. Game starts at 2:05. After going 42-28 and clinching a playoff berth in the first half, the Lookouts are now 43-18 in the 2nd half. They have a seven game lead in the division with a magic number of 3. 2:45 UPDATE: Jackson starter Brad Keller is yet to give up a hit through three innings. He's struck out three and walked one. Dereck Rodriguez has been hittable (4 hits), but equaled Keller with three zeroes on the board. Rodriguez is at 34 pitches while Keller is at 36 pitches through three innings. 3:03 UPDATE: Through five innings, Brad Keller still has not given up a hit. Only base runner has been LaMonte Wade, who walked. 3:09 UPDATE: In the bottom of the 5th, Rodriguez gave up a solo home run to Daniel Lockhart, his first AA home run. A couple of batters later, long-time part-time big leaguer Emelio Bonafacio hit his first AA homer of the year. He started the season with Atlanta. 3:24 UPDATE: No hit for the Lookouts through six innings for Brad Keller so far today. 3:32 UPDATE: Dereck Rodriguez gave up two singles to start the bottom of the 6th. After coaxing a pop-up, he walked a batter to load the bases. At that point, Randy Rosario came in to replace him. 3:38 UPDATE: The first batter rolled a ball toward third base. TJ White's only play was to first base. Another run scored off of Rodriguez. A walk re-loaded the bases. Rosario got a strikeout for the third out. Final line for Dereck Rodriguez: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. 3:44 UPDATE: Jonathan Rodriguez singled off of Keller, the first hit of the game (in the 7th inning) against Keller. 4:15 UPDATE: Mason McCullough replaced Keller. He issued a walk in the 8th inning, but that was it. Nick Anderson replaces Randy Rosario in the bottom of the 8th inning. Rosario gave up two hits and a walk in 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Just one of the three runners he inherited in the sixth inning scored. 4:22 UPDATE: One hit, but no runs for Nick Anderson in the 8th inning. The Lookouts need to score three runs off of Joey Krehbiel in the 9th to tie the game. 4:29 UPDATE: Edgar Corcino led off the ninth with a double, his 17th. But the next three batters got out, ending the game. Multi-Hit Games: I mean, the team only had two hits, so there were no multi-hit games. PLAYOFF UPDATE: The Lookouts Magic Number remains three. Montgomery plays tonight. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers, Charlotte (Doubleheader Postponed) Box Score Lewis Thorpe starts game one at 1:00. The Miracle went 33-35 in the first half, third in their division. However, in the second half, they have taken off. They are 39-21, four games ahead of Charlotte. Their magic number is six, so a double header sweep could do wonders. 12:30 UPDATE: The Miracle have announced that rain and poor field conditions have force the doubleheader to be delayed. They said that the gates will not open until at least 3:00 central time. Hopefully they can get the games in. 2:45 UPDATE: Press release from the Miracle regarding today's postponement and what it means for the upcoming schedule. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 9 (FINAL) Box Score Tyler Beardsley is on the mound for the Kernels. Game time is 1:15. The Kernels clinched a playoff spot by finishing second in their division in the first half with a 39-31 record. In the second half, they are 32-30, tied for second place in their division with Peoria, eight games back of first place. 1:20 UPDATE: Batting second, Travis Blankenhorn hit his 12th home run of the season for the Kernels to give them a 1-0 lead. 1:26 UPDATE: With two outs, Lewin Diaz singled, and then Caleb Hamilton scored him with a triple, his fourth of the season. 1:50 UPDATE: Shane Carrier and Travis Blankenhorn walked in the 2nd inning, with a Jordan Gore single in between. Carrier scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Aaron Whitefield. Lewin Diaz then singled to score Gore with the second run of the inning. Diaz then stole second and when the throw was mishandled, Whitefield scored from third. Kernels 5-0 after 1 1/2 inning. 2:19 UPDATE: Tyler Beardsley cruised through the first two innings, but with one out in the third, he gave up a three-run homer to catcher Chuckie Robinson, his 15th of the season for Quad Cities. 2:22 UPDATE: Abraham Toro-Hernandez followed with his ninth home run, cutting the Kernels lead to 5-4. 3:04 UPDATE: Tyler Beardley's day is done with one out in the fifth inning and a pair of RBI singles has put the Kernels down 6-5. Logan Lombana comes in with runners on first and second. 3:12 UPDATE: Lombana threw a wild pitch to advance the runners. He got the third out, but not before a sacrifice fly made it 7-5 Cedar Rapids. Tyler Beardsley's final line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. 3:21 UPDATE: The Kernels responded with a run in the top of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Aaron Whitefield grounded into a double play, but Jordan Gore scored to make it 7-6. 3:37 UPDATE: Lombana gave up two runs on three singles in the bottom of the 6th inning. 3:49 UPDATE: Eddie Del Rosario replaces Lombana. Lombana is charged with two runs on three hits over 1.2 innings. 4:08 UPDATE: Rosario has thrown two perfect innings. They head to the ninth inning with the Kernels needing to score three runs to keep it going. 4:18 UPDATE: The Kernels had one base runner, but they were unable to score in the top of the ninth inning and fall 9-6. Multi-Hit Games: Lewin Diaz 3-4, BB - Trey Cabbage 2-4, BB - Jordan Gore 2-5. Travis Blankenhorn added his 12th homer and walked twice. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 2 (FINAL) Box Score Edwar Colina was named to the Appy League All Star team this week. At 5:00, he'll take the mound again for the Twins. On Saturday night, the E-Twins clinched a playoff berth again. They are 38-25 and 4 1/2 games ahead of Johnson City in the division. 5:50 UPDATE: It took until the fourth inning, but the E-Twins got on the scoreboard first. Carson Crites singled in the top of the inning. Nick Brown started (not Colina) and has given up just one hit through the first three innings. 5:57 UPDATE: Still in the top of the fourth frame, Gorge Munoz cleared the bases with a double to put the Twins up 4-0. Munoz then scored on an Akil Baddoo single to make it 5-0. 6:03 UPDATE: Yes, it's still the fourth frame, and here's another update. Following a pitching change, Jose Miranda singled in Akil Baddoo, who had stolen second base. 6-0 Twins. 6:12 UPDATE: Not as much fun to report or write about, but I suppose I should. Nick Brown gave up two runs (1 earned) in the bottom of the fourth inning. It's now 6-2 through four innings. 6:34 UPDATE: In the top of the 6th inning, there were one-out singles from Gorge Munoz and Akil Baddoo. Ariel Montesino grounded to third, but Munoz scored on the fielder's choice when the throw was bad. Then Baddoo scored when Jose Miranda flew out to deep-enough left field. 8-2 Twins. 6:45 UPDATE: The E-Twins have clinched the division title: https://twitter.com/AppyLeague/status/901953767406481408 7:02 UPDATE: Nick Brown was done after six innings. Two runs (1 earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out two. Jared Finkel came on for the 7th. 7:27 UPDATE: Jared Finkel got the final nine outs for the three-inning save. He gave up two hits and struck out two. Multi-Hit Games: Akil Baddoo, 2-4, BB - Gorge Munoz, 2-3, BB, 2B (1) - Rainis Silva, 2-5. PLAYOFF UPDATE: On Saturday, they clinched a playoff spot. On Sunday, they clinched the top spot in their division. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins Box Score No Game Scheduled on Sundays in the GCL. In a little news, Twins 2nd round pick RHP Landon Leach has left the team and joined the Canadian U18 team at the World Cup. In previous years, Lachlan Wells and Lewis Thorpe have left the team to play in the World Cup as well. The GCL Twins are currently 31-21 and hold a 5 1/2 game lead in their division. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is just three. Additionally, the Twins Dominican Summer League team is 49-22 and they clinched a playoff berth last week. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Aaron Slegers, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Cedar Rapids Kernels MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (6:05 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Chattanooga @ Jackson (6:05 CST) - RHP DJ Baxendale Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:35 CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  22. Sunday's minor league report looks a bit different than normal. Maybe you've been following along all day, but if not, this article was live-blogged throughout the day on Sunday with updates when there were scores, or other events. There has been some talk about how strong Twins affiliates have been this season. All seven Twins minor league affiliates either have already clinched a playoff berth or currently are the team in the lead for a playoff spot. The minor league seasons will all be complete on Labor Day. The Twins front office and manager have continued to say that they are thrilled with the minor league success, but the big league club will be the priority. We've seen that already as the Twins have called up the likes of Kennys Vargas, Mitch Garver, Zack Granite and John Curtiss within the last week from Rochester to help the big league club despite the Red Wings having a chance to make the playoffs. Below, you will be able to see where each of the affiliates currently stands in their playoff hopes. (before the game, but after each game, they've been updated, when needed) At this point, we know of no transactions in the organization on Sunday.Thanks for following the updates throughout the day. It was fun to keep tabs on the goings on in the Twins minor leagues throughout the day. So for those who are seeing this for the first time, the format is obviously quite different from what you normally see here, but more frequent updates can be good too. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Buffalo 3 (FINAL) Box Score Aaron Slegers starts for the Red Wings at 12:35. At 76-57, the Red Wings have been eliminated from winning their division. However, they have a two game lead over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the Wild Card race. Their magic number coming into the day is 8. 12:47 UPDATE: In the top of the first inning, Slegers hit the leadoff batter. With two outs, 1B Rowdy Tellez doubles in the runner to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead. 12:58 UPDATE: In the top of the second inning, Slegers gave up a solo home run to SS Shane Opitz. Red Wings down 2-0. 1:04 UPDATE: Following Niko Goodrum getting hit by a pitch, Leonardo Reginnato doubled him in to put the Red Wings on the scoreboard. Through two innings, Red Wings 1, Bisons 2. 1:30 UPDATE: With two on and one out in the 4th, Slegers gave up a run-scoring single to Opitz to make the score 3-1 Bisons. While he's given up three runs, Slegers does have six strikeouts, including the third out of this inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd. 2:16 UPDATE: With two outs, and just after Chad Allen got ejected, Anthony Recker singled in Niko Goodrum to cut the Red Wings deficit to 3-2. Goodrum had singled and stolen second base. It was his 11th steal of the game. 2:24 UPDATE: He's at 89 pitches, so I don't know if he's done, but after two strikeouts in the 7th, Aaron Slegers now has nine strikeouts in the game. 2:35 UPDATE: Engelb Vielma led off the 7th with a walk. Two outs later, Daniel Palka singled him in and after an error, he also scored to give the Red Wings a 4-3 lead. Here it is... an absolutely crazy "Little League Home Run." 7:02 UPDATE: Nick Brown was done after six innings. Two runs (1 earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out two. Jared Finkel came on for the 7th. 7:27 UPDATE: Jared Finkel got the final nine outs for the three-inning save. He gave up two hits and struck out two. Multi-Hit Games: Akil Baddoo, 2-4, BB - Gorge Munoz, 2-3, BB, 2B (1) - Rainis Silva, 2-5. PLAYOFF UPDATE: On Saturday, they clinched a playoff spot. On Sunday, they clinched the top spot in their division. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins Box Score No Game Scheduled on Sundays in the GCL. In a little news, Twins 2nd round pick RHP Landon Leach has left the team and joined the Canadian U18 team at the World Cup. In previous years, Lachlan Wells and Lewis Thorpe have left the team to play in the World Cup as well. The GCL Twins are currently 31-21 and hold a 5 1/2 game lead in their division. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is just three. Additionally, the Twins Dominican Summer League team is 49-22 and they clinched a playoff berth last week. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Aaron Slegers, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Cedar Rapids Kernels MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (6:05 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Chattanooga @ Jackson (6:05 CST) - RHP DJ Baxendale Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:35 CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) - RHP Edwar Colina GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games. Click here to view the article
  23. Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Saturday. Let’s start with the transactions of the day: You might have heard. Royce Lewis, the first overall pick this June, was promoted to Cedar Rapids from the GCL. Aaron Whitefield was also removed from the disabled list for the Kernels. To make room for his return, Hank Morrison was released. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Norfolk 2 Box Score Rochester got yet another strong start from Aaron Slegers, and used some power to take this win. Slegers won his ninth straight decision (10 starts). He gave up just two runs on eight hits over 7.1 innings. He struck out six. Mason Melotakis recorded his first Red Wings save by getting the final five outs, two on strikeouts. Byungho Park put the Red Wings on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, his 10th of the season. In the sixth, Mitch Garver added his 17th home run to give the team a lead they’d hold on to. Garver added his 27th double later and walked once. Kennys Vargas was 2-4. Zack Granite added a single and a walk. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 0 Box Score The Lookouts faced White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech for the fourth time on Saturday night. In his three previous starts, he had struck out nine, ten and twelve batters. In this game, the flame-throwing righty struck out ten again. Fortunately, Dereck Rodriguez was up to the challenge. On a night when his dad was honored by the Texas Rangers, who retired his number, Dereck Rodriguez was fantastic. He outpitched Kopech, just without the same number of strikeouts. Rodriguez threw seven shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out five. He improved to 5-2 on the season with the Lookouts. Rodriguez said that he just had things working tonight. “I was getting ahead of hitters and throwing my pitches for strikes.” That it was opposite a talent like Michael Kopech didn’t faze Rodriguez. “It could have been Nolan Ryan on the mound. Rodriguez continued with a chuckle, “It didn't matter to me... I don't have to face him.” Todd Van Steensel worked out of trouble in the eighth inning. He gave up a hit, walked one and hit a batter, but somehow did not give up a run. Nick Anderson picked up his sixth save with a scoreless ninth frame. The Lookouts scored their run in the seventh inning. Ryan Walker hit his 12th double. Nick Gordon singled, and Walker scored on an error on the play. Jonathan Rodriguez added his 26th double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 9, Dunedin 6 Box Score Brent Rooker stayed hot and gave the Miracle a big lead in the first inning again on Saturday night. He hit a three-run homer, his sixth with the Miracle. And when he’s hit them of late, he’s picked some big moments. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/896499294609559552 Eduardo Del Rosario was given run support, but he wasn’t able to fully take advantage. He gave up four runs on five hits and four walks in four innings. He struck out three before being removed. Williams Ramirez struck out four over two scoreless innings. Alex Robinson gave up a run in his inning. Michael Theofanopoulos gave up nothing over the final two innings to finish it off. Jaylin Davis went 2-4 with two RBI. Sean Miller had a single and a walk and scored twice. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Quad Cities 1 Box Score Royce Lewis was the big story in the Twins minor league system on Saturday, and he came as advertised, so let’s start with the rest. Shane Carrier continues to absolutely rake. He went 2-4 and hit his fourth home run, a two-run shot to put the Kernels on the board. Jimmy Kerrigan went 2-3 including his third home run and two RBI. Jordan Gore went 1-2 with two walks. https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896525758620868608 And how good has Carrier been of late? https://twitter.com/jeje66/status/896537522133749760 Lefty Anthony Marzi started and gave up just one run on four hits over six innings. He walked three and hit two, but limited damage. Max Cordy bent but didn’t break.He gave up a hit and walked five, but somehow didn’t give up a run over his two innings. He struck out three. Hector Lujan struck out two in the final inning. OK, on to the Royce Lewis portion. Lewis led off and played shortstop for the Kernels. In his first at-bat, he lined a single to left field. Soon after, he stole second base. We won’t mention though that he was then picked off. In his second at-bat, he lined a single to right field after fouling off several tough pitches. In his third at-bat, he drove in a run with another single to right field. His fourth at-bat, he had a line-drive-in-the-book, even if it really was a pop up that landed right between the right fielder, the second baseman and the first baseman. OK, he proved human in his fifth at-bat, striking out. But 4-5 with a run, an RBI, a stolen base and no errors is pretty good, I’d say! First hit: https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896524709558407168 Third hit: https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896545299358994433 Fourth hit: https://twitter.com/TCAnelle/status/896554287152713730 Oh, and the Kernels had one of their theme nights. It was Beach Night and the Kernels wore special jerseys that get auctioned off by silent bid through the sixth inning. Royce Lewis’s jersey went for $900. Here’s a fun look at that jersey: https://twitter.com/Mr_Shucks/status/896511028623749120 E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Johnson City 12 Box Score It was a rough night all around for the E-Twins on Saturday. Offensively, they managed just five hits. Jose Miranda hit his first triple. Ariel Montesino added his third double. JJ Robinson drove in two of the team’s runs. Ryley Widell started for the Twins. In 3.1 innings, the left-hander gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked two, hit two and struck out five. Moises Gomez gave up six runs on three hits and three walks in just one innings. Blair Lakso went two innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and three walks. Jose Martinez got the final five outs (two on strikeouts) and gave up just one hit. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Red Sox 5 Box Score Henry Centeno made another rehab start in the GCL. The right-hander walked one over three, no-hit innings. He struck out three. Matt Jones was next up. The left-hander gave up two unearned runs on three hits and two walks in three innings. He struck out three. Kevin Marnon gave up one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three.Derek Molina gave up one run on one hit and one walk in his inning. Zach Featherstone came in and got two outs, but gave up an unearned run to take the loss. Victor Tademo led the offense. He went 2-4 with his fourth double. Ricky De La Torre was also 2-4 and drove in two runs. Alex Robles went 2-3. Chris Paul had a double in five at-bats. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Norfolk @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - RHP Tim Melville Chattanooga @ Birmingham (3:00 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - RHP Brady Anderson Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes Elizabethton @ Johnson City (6:00 CST) - RHP Melvi Acosta GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  24. Yes, the big news of the day was the promotion of #1 overall pick from June, Royce Lewis, to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. I’ll leave just a teaser here. He had an impressive Kernels debut. But there was a lot more happening throughout a busy Saturday in the Twins system. First, you’ll want to see how Dereck Rodriguez performed on a night his Dad’s jersey was retired by the Rangers. He opposed Michael Kopech and matched zeroes with him. Read his thoughts on probably his best performance of the year. Brent Rooker stayed hot, coming up with yet another big hit for the Miracle. Shane Carrier had a huge hit for the Kernels and has been raking for over a month now. And Aaron Slegers was terrific again for the Red Wings, keeping a streak alive. He was helped by another big game from Mitch (#CallHimUp) Garver.Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Saturday. Let’s start with the transactions of the day: You might have heard. Royce Lewis, the first overall pick this June, was promoted to Cedar Rapids from the GCL.Aaron Whitefield was also removed from the disabled list for the Kernels. To make room for his return, Hank Morrison was released.RED WINGS REPORTRochester 3, Norfolk 2 Box Score Rochester got yet another strong start from Aaron Slegers, and used some power to take this win. Slegers won his ninth straight decision (10 starts). He gave up just two runs on eight hits over 7.1 innings. He struck out six. Mason Melotakis recorded his first Red Wings save by getting the final five outs, two on strikeouts. Byungho Park put the Red Wings on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, his 10th of the season. In the sixth, Mitch Garver added his 17th home run to give the team a lead they’d hold on to. Garver added his 27th double later and walked once. Kennys Vargas was 2-4. Zack Granite added a single and a walk. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 0 Box Score The Lookouts faced White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech for the fourth time on Saturday night. In his three previous starts, he had struck out nine, ten and twelve batters. In this game, the flame-throwing righty struck out ten again. Fortunately, Dereck Rodriguez was up to the challenge. On a night when his dad was honored by the Texas Rangers, who retired his number, Dereck Rodriguez was fantastic. He outpitched Kopech, just without the same number of strikeouts. Rodriguez threw seven shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out five. He improved to 5-2 on the season with the Lookouts. Rodriguez said that he just had things working tonight. “I was getting ahead of hitters and throwing my pitches for strikes.” That it was opposite a talent like Michael Kopech didn’t faze Rodriguez. “It could have been Nolan Ryan on the mound. Rodriguez continued with a chuckle, “It didn't matter to me... I don't have to face him.” Todd Van Steensel worked out of trouble in the eighth inning. He gave up a hit, walked one and hit a batter, but somehow did not give up a run. Nick Anderson picked up his sixth save with a scoreless ninth frame. The Lookouts scored their run in the seventh inning. Ryan Walker hit his 12th double. Nick Gordon singled, and Walker scored on an error on the play. Jonathan Rodriguez added his 26th double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 9, Dunedin 6 Box Score Brent Rooker stayed hot and gave the Miracle a big lead in the first inning again on Saturday night. He hit a three-run homer, his sixth with the Miracle. And when he’s hit them of late, he’s picked some big moments. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Johnson City 12 Box Score It was a rough night all around for the E-Twins on Saturday. Offensively, they managed just five hits. Jose Miranda hit his first triple. Ariel Montesino added his third double. JJ Robinson drove in two of the team’s runs. Ryley Widell started for the Twins. In 3.1 innings, the left-hander gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked two, hit two and struck out five. Moises Gomez gave up six runs on three hits and three walks in just one innings. Blair Lakso went two innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and three walks. Jose Martinez got the final five outs (two on strikeouts) and gave up just one hit. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Red Sox 5 Box Score Henry Centeno made another rehab start in the GCL. The right-hander walked one over three, no-hit innings. He struck out three. Matt Jones was next up. The left-hander gave up two unearned runs on three hits and two walks in three innings. He struck out three. Kevin Marnon gave up one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three.Derek Molina gave up one run on one hit and one walk in his inning. Zach Featherstone came in and got two outs, but gave up an unearned run to take the loss. Victor Tademo led the offense. He went 2-4 with his fourth double. Ricky De La Torre was also 2-4 and drove in two runs. Alex Robles went 2-3. Chris Paul had a double in five at-bats. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Dereck Rodriguez, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Norfolk @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - RHP Tim Melville Chattanooga @ Birmingham (3:00 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - RHP Brady Anderson Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes Elizabethton @ Johnson City (6:00 CST) - RHP Melvi Acosta GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games. Click here to view the article
  25. At 5:00 on Wednesday, Jeff Idelson announced that three players had been voted to become the 2017 Hall of Fame class. Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines made it after falling just short a year ago. On his first ballot, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez also was named a Hall of Famer, baseball’s highest honor. Certainly it was a huge day for all three new Hall of Famers. Certainly a big day for Puerto Rico. And without question, it was a big day for Dereck Rodriguez, Twins prospect and son of the first-ballot Hall of Famer. Making the Hall of Fame is a huge accomplishment. With Rodriguez voted in, it was also a big day for Puerto Rico. He became just the fourth player born in Puerto Rico to be named a Hall of Famer. Consider all of the great players to come from Puerto Rico, only Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Lean Marrero spent his summer playing for the GCL Twins. Very young, he has a lot of athletic talent. Here are his thoughts on this important day for Ivan Rodriguez and for Puerto Rico. “It gives me satisfaction to hear that a Puerto Rican has reached the Hall of Fame. It inspires me to stay focused on what I want my career to be like It serves as an example to always exceed any limitation.” JJ Fernandez, a Twins minor league outfielder who spent his 2016 season in Cedar Rapids and had been a catcher before 2016, was excited for Rodriguez. “For me, he deserves it. He’s one of the best catchers baseball has ever seen. It really means a lot for sure. Everybody in Puerto Rico is very happy and proud.” Another 2016 Kernel, Nelson Molina, was very excited as well. “It means so much to me. Really, it does. Since I was a little kid, he was always my favorite player. I know it’s not only me, but all the young players from Puerto Rico have this feeling of excitement and feel extremely proud, knowing that dreams do come true with hard work, dedication and a lot of sacrifice.” Molina continued, “I got the pleasure of not only meeting him, but to get to know him on a personal level. All I can say is that he is a great human being who has given me advice on how to be a better player. As I mentioned before, I know it’s not only me, but all of Puerto Rico feels extremely proud of Ivan for joining a select group of elite baseball players in the Hall of Fame, and putting our island, Puerto Rico, very high as have Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda.” “It means a lot,” said Dereck Rodriguez, another member of the 2016 Cedar Rapids Kernels roster from Puerto Rico. He continued, “Hopefully there’s one next year too in Edgar Martinez. You never know. It could be one year, five years, twenty years. It’s a very special moment for Puerto Ricans and for the island. I know they’re going crazy right now. I’ve received phone calls and FaceTimed with people. It's nuts over there right now. It’s a fun time.” Dereck Rodriguez is excited for the island of Puerto Rico, where he has been pitching (and well) this winter. But as the son of Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck is understandably excited for his dad and his family. On Tuesday, he flew to Dallas to be with his father. It was important for him to be there. “It means a lot to me. This is where I was born. This is where everything started for him. It’s where things started for him and for me,” he continued, “It was big. I was there from Day 1. I went through the journey with him. I spent a lot of nights with him in the hotel in the summers. It means a lot. It was important for me to be there with him for that special moment.” Just ten minutes before 5:00, the phone rang at Ivan Rodriguez’s home. On the other end, the Hall of Fame. Seconds later, Pudge clenched his fist and raised his arm as tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. The first person to give him a hug was his son, Dereck. Dereck Rodriguez said, “It was a special moment. Yeah, I got the first hug in. It was a very special moment. I couldn’t hold back any tears.” Dereck Rodriguez has a very different perspective on the game of baseball than most people, even most minor leaguers. It might be surprising to some to learn when he realized just how difficult this game is and the challenges it can present. “Before I signed, I always just thought of this as just a game. After I signed and had been in the minor leagues and been through all of the struggles… It’s tough. It’s tough. And to be a Hall of Famer, and to be the caliber of player that he was, it’s not easy. So I understand 100% how he must feel after all of the hard work and sacrifice that he put in. It paid off.” Rodriguez has said before that he spent a lot of time with his dad growing up. He saw it up close. He had a great view of the game and got to know many of his dad’s teammates, but for him, it was about more than that. In fact, other things were likely more important much of the time. “When I used to come to the field when I was younger, I used to spend my time making paintballs and playing pickle and all that stuff with the other kids.” Now? As Dereck Rodriguez stood in the outfield at The Ballpark in Arlington, looking in as his father conducted a press conference on the infield, his mind was racing and full of excitement. “I go to a baseball game, and wow, I want to be here. I’m here standing in the outfield. I’m wishing and hoping. I can’t wait to be hopefully one day be pitching on that mound, in front of this packed stadium, in the town that I lived in and grew up, and it pretty much raised me for a lot of years.” Dereck Rodriguez is one proud son. “The feeling that I have right now for my dad, and me honestly, I can’t believe it that my dad is a Hall of Famer.” That was the sentiment he felt when he posted the following on twitter: Rodriguez noted, “To be honest, it was a longer tweet but you can only put so many characters, so I had to make it shorter.” Drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Florida, Rodriguez spent the first three years of his professional career as a hitter. At that point, Rodriguez and the Twins brass made the decision for him to move to the mound, to become a pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League pitcher of the year. His father gets to a handful of Dereck’s games each year. “He’s been supportive. He tries to make it out there as much as he can.” Ivan Rodriguez is a special assistant to the GM of the Texas Rangers. It’s a title similar to what the Twins recently named Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins. He also does pregame and postgame shows for Fox Sports Southwest during the season. This year, Dereck Rodriguez moved up to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He really struggled for the first two months before taking off. Starting in mid-June, he started pitching much better. In fact, he had a strong six-week stretch for the Kernels and earned a promotion to Ft. Myers where he pitched well in five starts to end the season. “I started throwing the ball down a bit more. It was honestly that confidence. I didn’t have as much confidence as I should. I started throwing the two-seam a lot more, and that helped a lot. Started getting a lot more ground balls instead of fly balls. It was a combination of things. But that main thing was that I just needed to build up my confidence. It paid off. I got moved up to High-A and I just kept doing it up there.” This winter, as we mentioned, he has been working out the bullpen for Mayaguez. He pitches an inning or two each weekend. In 13 games and 17.2 innings, he is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA. He has been very appreciative of the opportunity he was given and gained a lot from it. “It was special. It was fun. They gave me the confidence that they believed in me to throw me in those late-game situations. Puerto Rico, compared to the other leagues, may not be the highest ranked, but it’s really good competition. They have AA, AAA, big league guys playing there. It was a lot of fun. It taught me a lot. I worked on a couple of things. It taught me how to pitch in different situations, key situations late in the game. It taught me a lot.” 2017 is a big year for Rodriguez. At the end of the season, he could become a free agent if he chooses. So what are his goals? “I think any player in the minors, the ultimate goal is to go up as much as he can; AA, AAA, or even the big leagues. I’m taking some time off right now with my arm to give it some rest before getting it going again. Trying to make AA right out of spring training and see what happens from there. Hopefully I do well enough and they see the hard work that I do during the year and then, we’ll see, maybe move up to AAA and maybe the big leagues in September.” He’d like to get a little rest before spring training starts in a little over a month. But the next few days will not allow for it. He is going to be a bit busy, doing some traveling with his dad. They are flying up to New York tonight, expected to arrive in Cooperstown well after midnight. “It’s going to be a couple of fun, hectic days.” Tomorrow afternoon, Ivan Rodriguez will join Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines at the baseball Hall of Fame to see the museum and speak with more press. Dereck says that he has been to Cooperstown before, but this will certainly be different. “I’ve been there before, but as a visitor. Last time I went, I was 12 years old. Now I get to go and see everything, appreciate everything a lot more now that I’m older.” What an experience! Some may say that Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher in baseball history. Some will say that title goes to Yogi Berra. In baseball’s 150-year existence, it is certain that Ivan Rodriguez is right there at or near the top of the list of baseball’s great catchers. His son Dereck is very happy and very proud. As he should be. “He worked his butt off to be where he is today. I honestly don’t think there’s been a harder working person than he has been. During the offseason, his workout program, and even during the season, he was the first one to get to the stadium and the last one to leave. He worked his butt off to get to where he is today.” View full article
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