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  1. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION Tyler Duffey - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 11.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP. Matt Magill - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP. Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 8 G, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP Todd Van Steensel - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIP THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Kevin Marnon - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 14 K Kevin Marnon went undrafted last year after his college career, a career that took him to East Tennessee State, Akron and Ball State. He went to the USPBL, but soon after, the Twins called him and he signed. The 6-8 left-hander began the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. As you can see, he did a nice job out of the Kernels bullpen. He worked two innings most times and once worked in five innings in an extra-innings game. As the calendar changed from April to May, Marnon learned that he had been promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle. #4 - John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 17 K Curtiss was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas. In college, he had both thoracic outlet surgery and Tommy John surgery. He missed time his first full season in the minor leagues. However, the last two seasons, he has been as good as any other pitcher in the system and moved up very quickly. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and ended the year with nine games with the Twins. He had a really good April with the Red Wings and earned his promotion to the Twins at the end of the month. He was returned to Rochester last night where he’ll jump back into late-inning relief work. #3 - DJ Baxendale - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G (2 GS), 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 9 K Baxendale was the Twins 10th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas. He began his career as a starter, but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent years. He’s worked in many roles including short-relief, long-relief and spot starting, a role he has continued to have in 2018. Baxendale was very good in April. While he isn’t a strikeout pitcher, he works fast and has a real good slider and good control. #2 - Ryan Mason - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 19 K Mason led all Twins minor league relievers in innings pitched in April. It’s impressive, in part, because he received a promotion to Ft. Myers mid-month. He moved up and didn’t miss a beat. He’s mostly been working two to three innings late in games. He went 2-1 with three saves in his eight outings. At 6-6, he was drafted in the 13th round out of Cal-Berkeley in 2016. He’s got a good fastball, and he can throw as many as four pitches thanks to his college years as a starter. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – RHP Nick Anderson - 6 G, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 17 K Anderson won this month award a couple of times in 2017 and was a finalist for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He spent most of 2017 in Chattanooga, but he jumped right to Rochester to start the 2018 season. He continues to do what he has done since signing with the Twins. He throws a lot of strikes. He throws hard, mid-90s, touching 97. He’s got a wipeout slider. He’s able to miss bats. Opponents hit just .162 off of him for the month. While he is not on the 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see if he is given an opportunity with the big league club in 2018. For those still unaware, Anderson’s is a great story. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud State for three years before heading to Mayville State for a season. The Brewers drafted him, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. After working in the indy leagues for a few seasons, the Twins signed him late in 2015, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever wherever he’s played. He is in his first season with the Rochester Red Wings. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in April throughout the Twins minor league system. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April 2018, Nick Anderson.
  2. April was an interesting month for baseball, in the big leagues and in the minor leagues. Weather effected many teams including the Rochester Red Wings and the Cedar Rapids Kernels. But we have a month worth of games, so it’s time to post our first monthly minor league award. Today, we start with the Twins minor league relief pitchers of the month. We’ll count down the Top 5 Twins minor league relievers, and there are enough good bullpen performances that we’ll include some honorable mentions.Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION Tyler Duffey - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 11.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP.Matt Magill - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP.Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 8 G, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIPTodd Van Steensel - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIPTHE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Kevin Marnon - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 14 K Kevin Marnon went undrafted last year after his college career, a career that took him to East Tennessee State, Akron and Ball State. He went to the USPBL, but soon after, the Twins called him and he signed. The 6-8 left-hander began the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. As you can see, he did a nice job out of the Kernels bullpen. He worked two innings most times and once worked in five innings in an extra-innings game. As the calendar changed from April to May, Marnon learned that he had been promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle. #4 - John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 17 K Curtiss was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas. In college, he had both thoracic outlet surgery and Tommy John surgery. He missed time his first full season in the minor leagues. However, the last two seasons, he has been as good as any other pitcher in the system and moved up very quickly. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and ended the year with nine games with the Twins. He had a really good April with the Red Wings and earned his promotion to the Twins at the end of the month. He was returned to Rochester last night where he’ll jump back into late-inning relief work. #3 - DJ Baxendale - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G (2 GS), 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 9 K Baxendale was the Twins 10th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas. He began his career as a starter, but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent years. He’s worked in many roles including short-relief, long-relief and spot starting, a role he has continued to have in 2018. Baxendale was very good in April. While he isn’t a strikeout pitcher, he works fast and has a real good slider and good control. #2 - Ryan Mason - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 19 K Mason led all Twins minor league relievers in innings pitched in April. It’s impressive, in part, because he received a promotion to Ft. Myers mid-month. He moved up and didn’t miss a beat. He’s mostly been working two to three innings late in games. He went 2-1 with three saves in his eight outings. At 6-6, he was drafted in the 13th round out of Cal-Berkeley in 2016. He’s got a good fastball, and he can throw as many as four pitches thanks to his college years as a starter. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – RHP Nick Anderson - 6 G, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 17 K Anderson won this month award a couple of times in 2017 and was a finalist for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He spent most of 2017 in Chattanooga, but he jumped right to Rochester to start the 2018 season. He continues to do what he has done since signing with the Twins. He throws a lot of strikes. He throws hard, mid-90s, touching 97. He’s got a wipeout slider. He’s able to miss bats. Opponents hit just .162 off of him for the month. While he is not on the 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see if he is given an opportunity with the big league club in 2018. For those still unaware, Anderson’s is a great story. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud State for three years before heading to Mayville State for a season. The Brewers drafted him, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. After working in the indy leagues for a few seasons, the Twins signed him late in 2015, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever wherever he’s played. He is in his first season with the Rochester Red Wings. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in April throughout the Twins minor league system. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April 2018, Nick Anderson. Click here to view the article
  3. Last year at this time, there were five players from the 2011 draft still in the Twins minor league system. At the end of the 2017 season, they became minor league free agents if they were not on a 40-man roster. None of those five players remains in the Twins organization at this time. The 2012 draft has produced several major leaguers already. There are nine players from that draft who are still in the Twins organization. Let’s take a look at those players.Players can become a minor league free agents after having played six full season of minor league ball, unless they are added to the 40-man roster. So it is fair to say that it is a big year for a handful of Twins minor leaguers. Let’s start by considering the players from the 2012 draft who are currently on the Twins 40-man roster. It was an impressive draft, despite the fact that injuries have really hurt several of the players. With the #2 overall pick, the Twins selected outfielder Byron Buxton. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Buxton broke out late in the 2017 season and won a Gold Glove and the Platinum Glove as the best defensive player in the big leagues. The Twins also received the 32nd overall pick because of losing Michael Cuddyer to free agency. With the pick, the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios. He debuted in 2016. He began 2017 in Rochester (in large part due to his participation in the WBC), but he came up soon and pitched well much of the season. The Twins received another supplemental draft pick, the 42nd pick, for having lost Jason Kubel to free agency. With that pick, they took right-hander Luke Bard from Georgia Tech. While he fought injuries the first several years of his career, he really took off in 2016 and then struck out a ton of batters between AA and AAA in 2017. He was selected by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in December, but he could return to the Twins if he is not on the Angels big league roster all season. The Twins received an additional second -ound pick from the Rockies because of the Cuddyer signing. With the pick, they selected hard-throwing right-hander JT Chargois out of Rice University. He missed the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He worked back in 2015 and debuted with the Twins in 2016. Unfortunately, he missed the 2017 season as well. With their fifth-round pick, the Twins selected Chargois’s co-closer at Rice, Tyler Duffey. He came up in 2015 and was impressive in the rotation. In 2016, he struggled, and in 2017, he moved to the bullpen. Finally, in the 11th round, the Twins selected left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers. He worked his way up the system as a starter, but when the Twins had a need early in the 2016 season, they called Rogers up to work out of the bullpen. He pitched well as a rookie. He was tremendous in the first half of 2017, though he may have tired due to overuse in the second half. He may be the top left-hander in the Twins bullpen in 2018 and could learn more from Zack Duke. The Twins have had five players from their 2012 draft already play in the big leagues, which is remarkable. Clearly Buxton and Berrios are the stars, but Rogers, Chargois and Duffey have a chance to contribute for years to come too. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So while it would be great for these players to have big seasons in 2018 and force the Twins hand, doors could open up for them after the season via free agency, or they could choose to stay in the Twins organization. MASON MELOTAKIS The Twins first second-round pick was Melotakis, 63rd overall out of Northwestern State in Louisiana. The Twins gave him the opportunity to start, but in early 2014, he was moved to the bullpen. Following that season, he had Tommy John surgery and missed the 2015 season. He was added to the 40-man roster after the 2015 season. However, early in 2017, he was removed from the roster and cleared waivers. He split the 2017 season between Chattanooga and Rochester. He’ll likely begin 2018 with the Red Wings with the hopes of getting a shot to get added back to the 40-man roster and get to the big leagues. ZACK JONES The Twins foourth-round pick in 2012 out of San Jose State, Jones burst onto the season late that year when he was hitting triple digits in Beloit. Really since then Jones has spent more time on the disabled list than on the field. He’s had a variety of injuries in and around his shoulder. He was selected by the Brewers in the Rule 5 draft and went to spring training with Milwaukee in 2016. Unfortunately, he was hurt and had to rehab. After a couple of appearances with the Brewers AA team, he was returned to the Twins. He had shoulder surgery after the 2016 season and as he was set to return in 2017, he needed another surgery. When healthy, he’s got a big arm and a sharp slider. DJ BAXENDALE Baxendale was selected by the Twins in the 10th round out of the University of Arkansas after leading them to the College World Series. In less than a year, he was starting at AA Chattanooga. Things kind of plateaued for Baxendale there, and he fought some lingering injuries. But in 2016, he made the Southern League All-Star Game as a starter. He moved up to AAA and moved to the bullpen. He’s had some good success in that role. In 2017, he worked in a variety of roles from middle relief to long relief to making spot starts. ALEX MUREN Muren was the Twins 12th-round pick out of Cal State-Northridge. He put up great numbers in the lower levels despite a low strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he missed the 2016 season after having thoracic outlet surgery. He returned, but was limited some, in 2017. When on, Muren is a ground ball machine. Earlier, he would be brought on with runners on with the goal of getting a double play. In addition to the draft picks, a couple of players who signed as international free agents in 2012 will also become free agents. JHON ALVAREZ The Twins signed Alvarez out of Venezuela in July of 2012. He spent three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, and has spent the last two seasons in the Gulf Coast League. He did play one game for the Miracle in 2017 as well. RAINIS SILVA Like Alvarez, the Twins signed Silva in July of 2012, also out of Venezuela. A defense-first catcher, Silva played 11 games for the Kernels in 2015, and spent his 2016 in Cedar Rapids as well. As a 21-year-old in 2017, he played for Elizabethton, and he showed some offense. He hit .356/446/.446 (.892) for the E-Twins with four doubles, a triple and a homer. He will turn 22 right before Opening Day and should spend the year with a full-season affiliate. The Twins will hopefully have a tough decision to make on him. TODD VAN STEENSEL Finally, Australian Todd Van Steensel can finally become a minor league free agent following the 2018 season if he’s not added to the 40-man roster. The right-hander spent a year with the Phillies, and then a year with the Twins, and then he didn’t pitch for an affiliated team for a few years. He returned to the Twins in 2014 and pitched in Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He spent all of 2015 with the Miracle as well and posted a 2.32 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 66 innings. For some reason, he went back to the MIracle for most of 2016 but ended the year with a handful of outings in Chattanooga. That’s where he spent the 2017 season where he posted a 1.38 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. While he doesn’t show up on prospect lists, he continues to put up great numbers every year. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Obviously all of these guys are “prospects’ as they have yet to play in the big leagues. It’s a big year for each of them. Not only are they working for a big league opportunity with the Twins, but they will have another season to be monitored by scouts and coaching staffs from the other 29 organizations as well.. So what are your hopes or expectations for these guys? Will any of them get to the big leagues in 2018? Could any be found on the 40-man roster after the 2018 season? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LOOKING BACK Levi Michael went back to Chattanooga before ending the season with a month in Rochester. He has not yet signed a 2018 contract.Travis Harrison wasn’t able to get the bat going and was released with about a month to go in the season. He has not yet signed a minor league contract.Dereck Rodriguez had another solid campaign, splitting the year between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga. He has signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants.Jason Wheeler made his major league debut for the Twins in May but was DFAd and claimed by the Dodgers after pitching twice. Soon after, they DFAd him and he was claimed by the Orioles where he ended the season. After the season, he signed a one year deal with the Hanwha Eagles in Korea.David Hurlbut put together a full season at Rochester. Following the season, he signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. Click here to view the article
  4. Players can become a minor league free agents after having played six full season of minor league ball, unless they are added to the 40-man roster. So it is fair to say that it is a big year for a handful of Twins minor leaguers. Let’s start by considering the players from the 2012 draft who are currently on the Twins 40-man roster. It was an impressive draft, despite the fact that injuries have really hurt several of the players. With the #2 overall pick, the Twins selected outfielder Byron Buxton. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Buxton broke out late in the 2017 season and won a Gold Glove and the Platinum Glove as the best defensive player in the big leagues. The Twins also received the 32nd overall pick because of losing Michael Cuddyer to free agency. With the pick, the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios. He debuted in 2016. He began 2017 in Rochester (in large part due to his participation in the WBC), but he came up soon and pitched well much of the season. The Twins received another supplemental draft pick, the 42nd pick, for having lost Jason Kubel to free agency. With that pick, they took right-hander Luke Bard from Georgia Tech. While he fought injuries the first several years of his career, he really took off in 2016 and then struck out a ton of batters between AA and AAA in 2017. He was selected by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in December, but he could return to the Twins if he is not on the Angels big league roster all season. The Twins received an additional second -ound pick from the Rockies because of the Cuddyer signing. With the pick, they selected hard-throwing right-hander JT Chargois out of Rice University. He missed the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He worked back in 2015 and debuted with the Twins in 2016. Unfortunately, he missed the 2017 season as well. With their fifth-round pick, the Twins selected Chargois’s co-closer at Rice, Tyler Duffey. He came up in 2015 and was impressive in the rotation. In 2016, he struggled, and in 2017, he moved to the bullpen. Finally, in the 11th round, the Twins selected left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers. He worked his way up the system as a starter, but when the Twins had a need early in the 2016 season, they called Rogers up to work out of the bullpen. He pitched well as a rookie. He was tremendous in the first half of 2017, though he may have tired due to overuse in the second half. He may be the top left-hander in the Twins bullpen in 2018 and could learn more from Zack Duke. The Twins have had five players from their 2012 draft already play in the big leagues, which is remarkable. Clearly Buxton and Berrios are the stars, but Rogers, Chargois and Duffey have a chance to contribute for years to come too. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So while it would be great for these players to have big seasons in 2018 and force the Twins hand, doors could open up for them after the season via free agency, or they could choose to stay in the Twins organization. MASON MELOTAKIS The Twins first second-round pick was Melotakis, 63rd overall out of Northwestern State in Louisiana. The Twins gave him the opportunity to start, but in early 2014, he was moved to the bullpen. Following that season, he had Tommy John surgery and missed the 2015 season. He was added to the 40-man roster after the 2015 season. However, early in 2017, he was removed from the roster and cleared waivers. He split the 2017 season between Chattanooga and Rochester. He’ll likely begin 2018 with the Red Wings with the hopes of getting a shot to get added back to the 40-man roster and get to the big leagues. ZACK JONES The Twins foourth-round pick in 2012 out of San Jose State, Jones burst onto the season late that year when he was hitting triple digits in Beloit. Really since then Jones has spent more time on the disabled list than on the field. He’s had a variety of injuries in and around his shoulder. He was selected by the Brewers in the Rule 5 draft and went to spring training with Milwaukee in 2016. Unfortunately, he was hurt and had to rehab. After a couple of appearances with the Brewers AA team, he was returned to the Twins. He had shoulder surgery after the 2016 season and as he was set to return in 2017, he needed another surgery. When healthy, he’s got a big arm and a sharp slider. DJ BAXENDALE Baxendale was selected by the Twins in the 10th round out of the University of Arkansas after leading them to the College World Series. In less than a year, he was starting at AA Chattanooga. Things kind of plateaued for Baxendale there, and he fought some lingering injuries. But in 2016, he made the Southern League All-Star Game as a starter. He moved up to AAA and moved to the bullpen. He’s had some good success in that role. In 2017, he worked in a variety of roles from middle relief to long relief to making spot starts. ALEX MUREN Muren was the Twins 12th-round pick out of Cal State-Northridge. He put up great numbers in the lower levels despite a low strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he missed the 2016 season after having thoracic outlet surgery. He returned, but was limited some, in 2017. When on, Muren is a ground ball machine. Earlier, he would be brought on with runners on with the goal of getting a double play. In addition to the draft picks, a couple of players who signed as international free agents in 2012 will also become free agents. JHON ALVAREZ The Twins signed Alvarez out of Venezuela in July of 2012. He spent three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, and has spent the last two seasons in the Gulf Coast League. He did play one game for the Miracle in 2017 as well. RAINIS SILVA Like Alvarez, the Twins signed Silva in July of 2012, also out of Venezuela. A defense-first catcher, Silva played 11 games for the Kernels in 2015, and spent his 2016 in Cedar Rapids as well. As a 21-year-old in 2017, he played for Elizabethton, and he showed some offense. He hit .356/446/.446 (.892) for the E-Twins with four doubles, a triple and a homer. He will turn 22 right before Opening Day and should spend the year with a full-season affiliate. The Twins will hopefully have a tough decision to make on him. TODD VAN STEENSEL Finally, Australian Todd Van Steensel can finally become a minor league free agent following the 2018 season if he’s not added to the 40-man roster. The right-hander spent a year with the Phillies, and then a year with the Twins, and then he didn’t pitch for an affiliated team for a few years. He returned to the Twins in 2014 and pitched in Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He spent all of 2015 with the Miracle as well and posted a 2.32 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 66 innings. For some reason, he went back to the MIracle for most of 2016 but ended the year with a handful of outings in Chattanooga. That’s where he spent the 2017 season where he posted a 1.38 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. While he doesn’t show up on prospect lists, he continues to put up great numbers every year. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Obviously all of these guys are “prospects’ as they have yet to play in the big leagues. It’s a big year for each of them. Not only are they working for a big league opportunity with the Twins, but they will have another season to be monitored by scouts and coaching staffs from the other 29 organizations as well.. So what are your hopes or expectations for these guys? Will any of them get to the big leagues in 2018? Could any be found on the 40-man roster after the 2018 season? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LOOKING BACK Levi Michael went back to Chattanooga before ending the season with a month in Rochester. He has not yet signed a 2018 contract. Travis Harrison wasn’t able to get the bat going and was released with about a month to go in the season. He has not yet signed a minor league contract. Dereck Rodriguez had another solid campaign, splitting the year between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga. He has signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants. Jason Wheeler made his major league debut for the Twins in May but was DFAd and claimed by the Dodgers after pitching twice. Soon after, they DFAd him and he was claimed by the Orioles where he ended the season. After the season, he signed a one year deal with the Hanwha Eagles in Korea. David Hurlbut put together a full season at Rochester. Following the season, he signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.
  5. DJ Baxendale was the Twins 11th round draft pick in 2012 out of Arkansas. After pitching in the College World Series that year, he pitched out of the bullpen at Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. He spent the next three seasons as a starting pitcher. He made the Southern League All Star team in 2016 as a starter, but following the All Star game, he moved up to Rochester and worked primarily out of the bullpen. While he didn’t get invited to big league camp, Baxendale pitched a couple of times for the Twins in spring training. He even got to pitch against the Twins, for Team USA, in an exhibition game. He spent most of this season in Rochester this year where he posted a 2.98 ERA in 54.1 innings. He was sent back to Chattanooga late in the season where he did some spot starting and helped the Lookouts to a share of the Southern League championship. Baxendale also assisted his community in Rochester and for his efforts, he earned a 2017 Harmon Killebrew Award. When told of the honor, Baxendale told Twins Daily, “Harmon Killebrew was not only a great baseball player but also one of, if not the greatest humans to ever play the game of baseball. To be honored with an award that accompanies his name is truly one of the greatest honors I could ever receive. He epitomized what it means to be a Minnesota Twin and to play the game on and off the field the ‘Twins Way.’” According to Dan Mason, the GM of the Rochester Red Wings, Baxendale was one of many members of the Red Wings roster that kept busy in the community. “It was a tough call this year because we had some other guys that did a lot of work in the community as well but he did more than anyone.” Baxendale said that he participated in many community service events, “ranging from baseball camps at the field to player appearances throughout the city.” He added, “Some of the most memorable experiences for me were working with the local Miracle League in camps and events with special needs children and adults. It really puts into perspective how lucky we are to play baseball professionally, a game that all people enjoy and love.” Mason described even more of the activities that Baxendale did in Rochester. “DJ was a tremendous representative for the Red Wings in the community participating in countless events around town including but not limited to visits to schools, area hospitals, client events, youth baseball clinics, fundraisers for non-profits, our Challenger Baseball event, and the City of Rochester Clean Sweep where he volunteered to pick up debris around town. He treated his adopted hometown (Rochester ) as if it were his own and gave back to so many people and organizations in our community. We were fortunate to have many outstanding baseball players like DJ on the Red Wings this season but even more fortunate to have some phenomenal PEOPLE represent us, the Twins, and the game of baseball in such an incredibly positive manner.” Baxendale understands the role he has and has a strong perspective on what he can do with it. “I feel that it is important for me to give back because of my platform. I have the unique ability to be able to reach out to people because I am a professional baseball player. All of our fans stay loyal to the team regardless of who is playing and I want to show them that we care about them and their community as much as they care about us. Life is all about reciprocity. I want to always give back as much if not more as people give to me.” It’s a good lesson for all of us. We all have a platform, whether it’s 10s of thousands of twitter followers or family and friends in your community. We too need to find ways to be helpful in our communities. Cedar Rapids Kernels: Hector Lujan Ft. Myers Miracle: Kevin Garcia Chattanooga Lookouts: Rochester Red Wings: DJ Baxendale
  6. Eight times in his Hall of Fame career Harmon Killebrew hit over 40 home runs. Six times he led his league in homers. He played on 11 All Star teams. However, it was off the field where Killebrew made a name for himself during and after his career. His kindness was evident during his career, and he worked tirelessly after his career as well to help those in need. When Killebrew passed away in 2011, the Twins initiated the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service. Each of the Twins four full-season affiliates would have one recipient each year. Today, we will share the story of the Rochester Red Wings 2017 recipient, DJ Baxendale.DJ Baxendale was the Twins 11th round draft pick in 2012 out of Arkansas. After pitching in the College World Series that year, he pitched out of the bullpen at Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. He spent the next three seasons as a starting pitcher. He made the Southern League All Star team in 2016 as a starter, but following the All Star game, he moved up to Rochester and worked primarily out of the bullpen. While he didn’t get invited to big league camp, Baxendale pitched a couple of times for the Twins in spring training. He even got to pitch against the Twins, for Team USA, in an exhibition game. He spent most of this season in Rochester this year where he posted a 2.98 ERA in 54.1 innings. He was sent back to Chattanooga late in the season where he did some spot starting and helped the Lookouts to a share of the Southern League championship. Baxendale also assisted his community in Rochester and for his efforts, he earned a 2017 Harmon Killebrew Award. When told of the honor, Baxendale told Twins Daily, “Harmon Killebrew was not only a great baseball player but also one of, if not the greatest humans to ever play the game of baseball. To be honored with an award that accompanies his name is truly one of the greatest honors I could ever receive. He epitomized what it means to be a Minnesota Twin and to play the game on and off the field the ‘Twins Way.’” According to Dan Mason, the GM of the Rochester Red Wings, Baxendale was one of many members of the Red Wings roster that kept busy in the community. “It was a tough call this year because we had some other guys that did a lot of work in the community as well but he did more than anyone.” Baxendale said that he participated in many community service events, “ranging from baseball camps at the field to player appearances throughout the city.” He added, “Some of the most memorable experiences for me were working with the local Miracle League in camps and events with special needs children and adults. It really puts into perspective how lucky we are to play baseball professionally, a game that all people enjoy and love.” Mason described even more of the activities that Baxendale did in Rochester. “DJ was a tremendous representative for the Red Wings in the community participating in countless events around town including but not limited to visits to schools, area hospitals, client events, youth baseball clinics, fundraisers for non-profits, our Challenger Baseball event, and the City of Rochester Clean Sweep where he volunteered to pick up debris around town. He treated his adopted hometown (Rochester ) as if it were his own and gave back to so many people and organizations in our community. We were fortunate to have many outstanding baseball players like DJ on the Red Wings this season but even more fortunate to have some phenomenal PEOPLE represent us, the Twins, and the game of baseball in such an incredibly positive manner.” Baxendale understands the role he has and has a strong perspective on what he can do with it. “I feel that it is important for me to give back because of my platform. I have the unique ability to be able to reach out to people because I am a professional baseball player. All of our fans stay loyal to the team regardless of who is playing and I want to show them that we care about them and their community as much as they care about us. Life is all about reciprocity. I want to always give back as much if not more as people give to me.” It’s a good lesson for all of us. We all have a platform, whether it’s 10s of thousands of twitter followers or family and friends in your community. We too need to find ways to be helpful in our communities. Cedar Rapids Kernels: Hector Lujan Ft. Myers Miracle: Kevin Garcia Chattanooga Lookouts: Rochester Red Wings: DJ Baxendale Click here to view the article
  7. Yesterday, Nick Anderson was named our Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month. Today, we’ll find out which starters had solid performances in August. There have been some months where it’s been difficult to decide the winner. There have been months with strong performances but an easy choice at the top. This month, there were several solid performers, but the choice wasn’t easy. You’ll see that there are several relievers who made starts due to injury, prepping for playoffs, promotions, shutdowns or other reasons.Before we get to our Top 5 starting pitchers for the month of August, here is a list of a couple of others who deserve to be recognized for a solid final month of the season. HONORABLE MENTION Charlie Barnes - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 17.0 IP, 2-0, 3.71 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 12 H, 6 BB, 15 KNick Brown - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 28.0 IP, 3-0, 2.89 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 28 H, 7 BB, 26 K.Felix Jorge - Rochester Red Wings - 6 GS, 37.0 IP, 2-2, 3.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 37 H, 10 BB, 29 K.Lewis Thorpe - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 6 GS, 30.0 IP, 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 25 H, 12 BB, 36 K.THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS #5 - DJ Baxendale - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 4 GS, 0-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20 H, 4 BB, 21 K In late July, Baxendale was sent from Rochester to Chattanooga despite putting up decent numbers out of the bullpen. With the Lookouts, he has also made some spot starts and long relief outings. And he’s pitched well, as you would hope, against AA competition after success in AAA. But maybe a step back is exactly what Baxendale will need to take a step forward. In August, batters hit just .244/.273/.317 (.590) off of him. He had nearly a strikeout an inning and showed good control. #4 - Randy Dobnak - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 22 K Shortly after the rookie league seasons began, the Twins made a call to Randy Dobnak. The Pennsylvania native attended Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. He went undrafted, so he signed with the Utica Unicorns of the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Six weeks later, he signed with the Twins and was sent to Elizabethton. He was very good. As you can see, he made starts after beginning in the bullpen. He threw strikes, he missed some bats, and opponents just .198/.252/.313 (.565) against him during the month of August. He made his first start for the Kernels in September and will work with them in the playoffs. #3 - Anthony Marzi - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 2-0, 1.57 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 13 K Marzi was a graduate of the University of Connecticut in 2014. He went undrafted, but that winter he signed with the New York Yankees. In 2015, he pitched in six games for the GCL Yankees and then was released in March of 2016. He tried out for the independent New Britain Bees of the independent Atlantic League and did well in 2016 and 2017. In late June, he was signed by the Twins because they needed starters in Cedar Rapids. He made nine starts for the Kernels and pitched well enough that his final regular season start came for the Ft. Myers Miracle. While the left-hander does not throw hard or miss a lot of bats, he can be effective by hitting his spots. He has been able to do that since signing. #2- Carlos Suniaga - GCL Twins - 5 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 1.07 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 25.1 IP, 21 H, 4 BB, 19 K The Twins signed Suniaga out of the Dominican in September of 2014. He spent the last two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. Still just 20, Suniaga began the season with one appearance in Elizabethton before joining the GCL Twins for the rest of the season. He pitched well, particularly in August. He worked a lot of innings. He threw strikes. He had a solid strikeout rate. Opponents hit just .223/.272/.330 (.602) off of him in the month. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Chattanooga Lookouts - RHP Zack Littell - 7 GS, 5-0, 2.81 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 41.2 IP, 33 H, 18 BB, 33 K Zack Littell was the 11th-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2013 out of high school in North Carolina. He spent a year in the rookie Arizona League (similar to the GCL). Then he spent a season in the Appalachian League. Then he spent the 2015 season in the Midwest League. That’s where he began the 2016 season again, and things went much better. He took his step forward. He split the season between the Midwest League and the Florida State League. Last offseason, he was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees organization in exchange for lefty reliever James Pazos. He began this season in the Florida State League. For Tampa, he went 9-1 with a 1.77 ERA. He was promoted to AA Trenton of the Eastern League. There, he went 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA. He was supposed to make a start in late July but was scratched. Hours later, news came out that he had been traded, along with lefty Dietrich Enns, in exchange for Jaime Garcia. He was assigned to Chattanooga in the Southern League. For the Lookouts, he has gone 5-0 with a 2.81 ERA. So overall this season, he has gone 19-1 with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. In 157 innings, he has given up 135 hits, walked 41 and struck out 142 batters. He was good in August too, posting a 5-0 record. Opponents hit just .223/.324/.331 (.655) off of him. The Twins will most likely add him to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Chattanooga starter Zack Littell. Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like. It wasn’t as easy a decision as you might think. There were several solid starters in August. Click here to view the article
  8. Before we get to our Top 5 starting pitchers for the month of August, here is a list of a couple of others who deserve to be recognized for a solid final month of the season. HONORABLE MENTION Charlie Barnes - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 17.0 IP, 2-0, 3.71 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 12 H, 6 BB, 15 K Nick Brown - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 28.0 IP, 3-0, 2.89 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 28 H, 7 BB, 26 K. Felix Jorge - Rochester Red Wings - 6 GS, 37.0 IP, 2-2, 3.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 37 H, 10 BB, 29 K. Lewis Thorpe - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 6 GS, 30.0 IP, 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 25 H, 12 BB, 36 K. THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS #5 - DJ Baxendale - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 4 GS, 0-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20 H, 4 BB, 21 K In late July, Baxendale was sent from Rochester to Chattanooga despite putting up decent numbers out of the bullpen. With the Lookouts, he has also made some spot starts and long relief outings. And he’s pitched well, as you would hope, against AA competition after success in AAA. But maybe a step back is exactly what Baxendale will need to take a step forward. In August, batters hit just .244/.273/.317 (.590) off of him. He had nearly a strikeout an inning and showed good control. #4 - Randy Dobnak - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 22 K Shortly after the rookie league seasons began, the Twins made a call to Randy Dobnak. The Pennsylvania native attended Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. He went undrafted, so he signed with the Utica Unicorns of the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Six weeks later, he signed with the Twins and was sent to Elizabethton. He was very good. As you can see, he made starts after beginning in the bullpen. He threw strikes, he missed some bats, and opponents just .198/.252/.313 (.565) against him during the month of August. He made his first start for the Kernels in September and will work with them in the playoffs. #3 - Anthony Marzi - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 2-0, 1.57 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 13 K Marzi was a graduate of the University of Connecticut in 2014. He went undrafted, but that winter he signed with the New York Yankees. In 2015, he pitched in six games for the GCL Yankees and then was released in March of 2016. He tried out for the independent New Britain Bees of the independent Atlantic League and did well in 2016 and 2017. In late June, he was signed by the Twins because they needed starters in Cedar Rapids. He made nine starts for the Kernels and pitched well enough that his final regular season start came for the Ft. Myers Miracle. While the left-hander does not throw hard or miss a lot of bats, he can be effective by hitting his spots. He has been able to do that since signing. #2- Carlos Suniaga - GCL Twins - 5 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 1.07 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 25.1 IP, 21 H, 4 BB, 19 K The Twins signed Suniaga out of the Dominican in September of 2014. He spent the last two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. Still just 20, Suniaga began the season with one appearance in Elizabethton before joining the GCL Twins for the rest of the season. He pitched well, particularly in August. He worked a lot of innings. He threw strikes. He had a solid strikeout rate. Opponents hit just .223/.272/.330 (.602) off of him in the month. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Chattanooga Lookouts - RHP Zack Littell - 7 GS, 5-0, 2.81 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 41.2 IP, 33 H, 18 BB, 33 K Zack Littell was the 11th-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2013 out of high school in North Carolina. He spent a year in the rookie Arizona League (similar to the GCL). Then he spent a season in the Appalachian League. Then he spent the 2015 season in the Midwest League. That’s where he began the 2016 season again, and things went much better. He took his step forward. He split the season between the Midwest League and the Florida State League. Last offseason, he was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees organization in exchange for lefty reliever James Pazos. He began this season in the Florida State League. For Tampa, he went 9-1 with a 1.77 ERA. He was promoted to AA Trenton of the Eastern League. There, he went 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA. He was supposed to make a start in late July but was scratched. Hours later, news came out that he had been traded, along with lefty Dietrich Enns, in exchange for Jaime Garcia. He was assigned to Chattanooga in the Southern League. For the Lookouts, he has gone 5-0 with a 2.81 ERA. So overall this season, he has gone 19-1 with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. In 157 innings, he has given up 135 hits, walked 41 and struck out 142 batters. He was good in August too, posting a 5-0 record. Opponents hit just .223/.324/.331 (.655) off of him. The Twins will most likely add him to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Chattanooga starter Zack Littell. Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like. It wasn’t as easy a decision as you might think. There were several solid starters in August.
  9. One of the great things about being a baseball fan is you can always find plenty to be positive about if you’re willing to look hard enough. While 2016 has been a bleak year for the Twins, having 100-plus players in the organization means there are 100-plus opportunities to find some bright spots. It’s no secret that the biggest issue for the Twins has been their pitching. While some of the prospects like Jose Berrios and J.T. Chargois have struggled in their brief time in the major leagues, there are plenty of other pitchers in the system trending in the right direction.If you’re looking for the brightest stars shining in the system, Stephen Gonsalves (1.97 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.9 K/9) and Fernando Romero (1.89 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) are having as good of seasons as anyone in the entire minor leagues. But there has been and will be plenty of coverage about those two as they rocket their way up the Twins prospect rankings. Digging a bit deeper, you can find a few less heralded pitchers who have really put things together over the past couple of months. Unlike Gonsalves and Romero, these guys aren’t going to be in the running for pitcher of the year awards or sit atop any prospect lists, but what they’re doing shouldn’t be ignored. Here is a list of one pitcher from each of the Twins’ top four affiliates who has turned things up as the minor league season is winding down. Rochester: D.J. Baxendale Baxendale began the season in the Chattanooga Lookouts’ rotation and pitched well enough to be named a midseason Southern League All-Star. He had a 3.44 ERA and displayed excellent control (1.8 BB/9), which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. That performance earned him a promotion, but it wasn’t to the Rochester rotation. Along with a new team, Baxendale shifted to a new role out in the bullpen. After averaging 6.6 K/9 as a starter in Double A, the Arkansas product is now averaging over a strikeout per inning out of the Rochester pen. Over 30.1 innings with the Red Wings, Baxendale has a 1.19 ERA and 34 strikeouts. He’s pitched at least two innings in seven of his 22 appearances. A former 10th-round pick, the 25-year-old Baxendale has never been viewed as much of a prospect, but the way he’s pitched at the highest level of the minor leagues has to have captured the attention of the front office. With a new regime expected to take over, however, it’s anyone’s guess whether Baxendale will remain in relief or go back to starting next season. Chattanooga: Ryan Eades Eades’ totals for the year don’t look like much to get excited about, but since returning to the Lookouts’ rotation, he has been on a nice roll. The former second-round pick was bumped to the bullpen in early July and saw his ERA balloon to 5.13 in the middle of that month. He smoothed things out and managed to get back into the rotation on Aug. 14, partially due to performance but luck also played a big role. While he may not have technically earned his way back into the rotation, he’s certainly pitched like he intends to stay there since. Maybe being sent to the pen was a wake-up call, maybe he learned some things out there, maybe it’s as simple as he has a fresh arm ... whatever it is Eades has looked like a different pitcher. Over four starts, the LSU product has a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and four times as many strikeouts (20) than walks (5). His 8.1 K/9 over that period is a nice increase over his career mark of 6.6. Eades hasn’t lived up to his impressive college resume or $1.3 million bonus up to this point, and this could just be him getting hot over a small sample, but I wonder if we are seeing his turning point. Fort Myers: Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez started the year in Cedar Rapids and got off to a rough start. Coming off a season in which he was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, Rodriguez looked lost, pitching to a 7.71 ERA through June 2. From there he really turned things around. The Twins took notice and quickly bumped him up to Fort Myers. The 24-year-old has carried that momentum over, and through four starts in the Florida State League has a 2.36 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over 26.2 innings. He isn’t posting as many strikeouts since the promotion (just 5.1 K/9), but he has issued just two walks. That’s not two walks as in per nine rate, that’s two walks as in total. While the FSL is a notorious pitcher’s haven, that kind of control is impressive no matter the setting. Since hitting that low point in early June, Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in all 13 of his starts. That’s an especially impressive feat considering this is just his second season as a starting pitcher and third overall since being converted from the outfield. Cedar Rapids: Eduardo Del Rosario Much like Rodriguez, Del Rosario’s 2016 got off to a rotten start. His season started in June, but the lanky 21-year-old didn’t really get rolling until the start of July. Here’s a breakdown his numbers by month. June: 6.58 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 5.2 K/9 July: 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 Aug.: 1.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11.5 K/9 Del Rosario has pitched out of his mind over his last eight starts in particular, tallying a total of 58 K's against just 14 walks over that stretch of 44.2 innings. He is far and away the most intriguing prospect on this list, but it’s important that Del Rosario keeps logging innings and developing his body before he really shoots his way up the rankings. Regardless, he has definitely established himself as a guy to keep an eye on. Aside from Berrios and Chargois, there has been plenty of frustration over the lack of progress from other highly-touted prospects like Tyler Jay, Kohl Stewart, Nick Burdi and the handful of other relievers the Twins took with high draft picks. But luckily in baseball hope springs eternal. All those guys will get another shot to break out next year. But in the meantime, Gonsalves and Romero are reason enough to be excited and there are plenty of under-the-radar guys beyond the four listed above taking big steps forward right before our eyes. Click here to view the article
  10. If you’re looking for the brightest stars shining in the system, Stephen Gonsalves (1.97 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.9 K/9) and Fernando Romero (1.89 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) are having as good of seasons as anyone in the entire minor leagues. But there has been and will be plenty of coverage about those two as they rocket their way up the Twins prospect rankings. Digging a bit deeper, you can find a few less heralded pitchers who have really put things together over the past couple of months. Unlike Gonsalves and Romero, these guys aren’t going to be in the running for pitcher of the year awards or sit atop any prospect lists, but what they’re doing shouldn’t be ignored. Here is a list of one pitcher from each of the Twins’ top four affiliates who has turned things up as the minor league season is winding down. Rochester: D.J. Baxendale Baxendale began the season in the Chattanooga Lookouts’ rotation and pitched well enough to be named a midseason Southern League All-Star. He had a 3.44 ERA and displayed excellent control (1.8 BB/9), which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. That performance earned him a promotion, but it wasn’t to the Rochester rotation. Along with a new team, Baxendale shifted to a new role out in the bullpen. After averaging 6.6 K/9 as a starter in Double A, the Arkansas product is now averaging over a strikeout per inning out of the Rochester pen. Over 30.1 innings with the Red Wings, Baxendale has a 1.19 ERA and 34 strikeouts. He’s pitched at least two innings in seven of his 22 appearances. A former 10th-round pick, the 25-year-old Baxendale has never been viewed as much of a prospect, but the way he’s pitched at the highest level of the minor leagues has to have captured the attention of the front office. With a new regime expected to take over, however, it’s anyone’s guess whether Baxendale will remain in relief or go back to starting next season. Chattanooga: Ryan Eades Eades’ totals for the year don’t look like much to get excited about, but since returning to the Lookouts’ rotation, he has been on a nice roll. The former second-round pick was bumped to the bullpen in early July and saw his ERA balloon to 5.13 in the middle of that month. He smoothed things out and managed to get back into the rotation on Aug. 14, partially due to performance but luck also played a big role. While he may not have technically earned his way back into the rotation, he’s certainly pitched like he intends to stay there since. Maybe being sent to the pen was a wake-up call, maybe he learned some things out there, maybe it’s as simple as he has a fresh arm ... whatever it is Eades has looked like a different pitcher. Over four starts, the LSU product has a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and four times as many strikeouts (20) than walks (5). His 8.1 K/9 over that period is a nice increase over his career mark of 6.6. Eades hasn’t lived up to his impressive college resume or $1.3 million bonus up to this point, and this could just be him getting hot over a small sample, but I wonder if we are seeing his turning point. Fort Myers: Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez started the year in Cedar Rapids and got off to a rough start. Coming off a season in which he was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, Rodriguez looked lost, pitching to a 7.71 ERA through June 2. From there he really turned things around. The Twins took notice and quickly bumped him up to Fort Myers. The 24-year-old has carried that momentum over, and through four starts in the Florida State League has a 2.36 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over 26.2 innings. He isn’t posting as many strikeouts since the promotion (just 5.1 K/9), but he has issued just two walks. That’s not two walks as in per nine rate, that’s two walks as in total. While the FSL is a notorious pitcher’s haven, that kind of control is impressive no matter the setting. Since hitting that low point in early June, Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in all 13 of his starts. That’s an especially impressive feat considering this is just his second season as a starting pitcher and third overall since being converted from the outfield. Cedar Rapids: Eduardo Del Rosario Much like Rodriguez, Del Rosario’s 2016 got off to a rotten start. His season started in June, but the lanky 21-year-old didn’t really get rolling until the start of July. Here’s a breakdown his numbers by month. June: 6.58 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 5.2 K/9 July: 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 Aug.: 1.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11.5 K/9 Del Rosario has pitched out of his mind over his last eight starts in particular, tallying a total of 58 K's against just 14 walks over that stretch of 44.2 innings. He is far and away the most intriguing prospect on this list, but it’s important that Del Rosario keeps logging innings and developing his body before he really shoots his way up the rankings. Regardless, he has definitely established himself as a guy to keep an eye on. Aside from Berrios and Chargois, there has been plenty of frustration over the lack of progress from other highly-touted prospects like Tyler Jay, Kohl Stewart, Nick Burdi and the handful of other relievers the Twins took with high draft picks. But luckily in baseball hope springs eternal. All those guys will get another shot to break out next year. But in the meantime, Gonsalves and Romero are reason enough to be excited and there are plenty of under-the-radar guys beyond the four listed above taking big steps forward right before our eyes.
  11. One of the fun things about following the minor league season each year and over several years is to see which players take the biggest strides forward from year to year. That can mean different things to different people, of course. It not only can mean jumping up prospect rankings, but it could mean guys who needed to play well to remain in the organization for another year. For instance, a guy like Lachlan Wells was ranked in the high 30s or low 40s in many Top 50 Twins prospect lists. Now, he should be in most people’s Top 25 Twins prospects after pitching very well since his promotion to Cedar Rapids as a 19 year old.My focus is going to be on eight guys, four hitters and four pitchers, who have gone from relative unknowns before the season to guys who may find themselves in the Twins future. Please feel free to add other names to this list, guys who have taken a big step forward in 2016. FOUR HITTERS LUIS ARRAEZ - 19 - 2B As an 18 year old in the GCL last year, Arraez hit .306/.377/.388 (.765) with 15 doubles. It was a solid season and MiLB.com listed him as the second baseman on their Twins post-season all-star team. He played in the Venezuelan Winter League. My assumption was that he would spend the 2016 season in extended spring training before going to Elizabethton. Instead, he began the season in Cedar Rapids. He began the season playing one in three games. It took about a week for him to be in the lineup almost every day. He has just kept hitting. In fact, now he’s hitting third or fourth in the Kernels lineup every game. He hasn’t stopped hitting. He’s now hitting .344/.383/.450 (.833) with 27 doubles, three triples and three home runs. He doesn’t walk a lot, but he also doesn’t strike out often. Before the season, he would have ranked in the 40s in my prospect lists, and now he’s easily in the Top 25 prospects or so. ZACH GRANITE - 23 - OF Granite has always been thought of as a professional, top-of-the-order type of hitter. He had a difficult, injury-plagued 2014 season in Cedar Rapids and played in just 21 games. That’s where he started 2015, but he moved up to Ft. Myers on May 1st because he had a great month. He did all right at Ft. Myers, but he hit .249/.328/.304 (.632) with ten doubles, four triples and a home run. He began 2016 in AA Chattanooga, maybe due to injury to others, but he has been the team’s leadoff hitter from day one. He has hit .295/.351/.385 (.736) with 14 doubles, seven triples and four home runs. He leads the Southern League in stolen bases with 42. He has as many walks as strikeouts. He has put himself into consideration for a 40-man roster spot this offseason. NELSON MOLINA - 21 - IF Molina was the Twins 11th round pick in 2013 draft out of high school in Puerto Rico. He spent two years in the Gulf Coast League where he hit .110 and .243.Last year in Elizabethton, he hit .207. There are rules that say an organization can only have so many players in the rookie leagues for a fourth year, so this was an important year for Molina. He began the season in extended spring training, but the Kernels needed an infielder in late April so he was summoned to Iowa. I’ve always said, at 6-3 and 175 pounds, he looks the part. Molina looks like what you would envision a professional shortstop to look like. At the plate, he has a balanced stance with a nice swing. It just didn’t come together offensively for him in the rookie leagues. However, he has grown both in terms of strength and maturity, and he is seeing the benefits on the field. In 74 games with the Kernels, he is hitting .304/.378/.375 (.754) with 11 doubles, two triples and a home run. He’s still got room to grow, but experiencing the success has to be a huge boost in confidence. RYAN WALKER - 23 - IF He was the Twins 18th round pick in 2013 out of Texas-Arlington. He spent most of that year in E-Town, though he moved up to Cedar Rapids for a week or so at the end of the season. In 76 games in 2014 in Cedar Rapids, he hit .239/.296/.299 (.595). In 2015, he played 83 games in Ft. Myers and hit .269/.311/.312 (.623). He began this year in Ft. Myers and hit just .262 in 24 games before being promoted to AA Chattanooga. He’s played all three infield positions and hit .287/.357/.368 (.725). In talking to him before the season, he pointed out that he worked really hard to add a lot of weight in the offseason. He got up to 185 and hoped to maintain it throughout the season, something players struggle to do. He has always been above average defensively in the infield, but he has improved offensively as he has moved up to AA this year. FOUR PITCHERS DJ BAXENDALE - 25 - RHP Baxendale was the Twins 12th round pick in 2012 out of Arkansas. He’s primarily been a starter. He moved quickly from the Midwest League to the Florida State League. He moved quickly to AA, but he experienced a lot of struggles in AA the last coupele of seasons. This year, he made 14 starts for the Lookouts and went 6-7 with a 3.44 ERA and made the All-Star team. Immediately following the game, he moved up to AAA Rochester. He was put into the bullpen and has been very good since. He has a 1.61 ERA in 17 appearances for the Red Wings. His pitches work very well out of the bullpen. He can add a couple of ticks to his fastball, and his slider can be devastating. He can be a decent starter, but he has a chance to be a quality relief pitcher. SAM CLAY - 23 - LHP Clay was the Twins 4th round pick in 2014 out of Georgia Tech. He began last season in Cedar Rapids, but he really struggled. Through nine games and 18 innings pitched, he had 19 strikeouts but 18 walks. He was sent back to EST where he worked on his control as a starter. He ended the season with three appearances in Cedar Rapids. Clay was much improved when the 2016 season started. In 14 starts for the Kernels, he went 5-4 with a 3.39 ERA. He still is walking too many, but he is striking out over a batter per inning. After starting the All-Star Game in the Midwest League, he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he’s had some ups and downs, some good starts and some bad starts but he continues to get strikeouts. FERNANDO ROMERO - 21 - RHP Romero became a prospect in 2013 when he posted a 1.60 ERA in the Gulf Coast League as an 18-year-old. Reports had him throwing a fastball in the mid-90s. In 2014, he began in EST, but he was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made three starts. Unfortunately, he experienced elbow pain and needed Tommy John. He had the surgery in 2014, and during his rehab in 2015, he needed knee surgery which cost him more time. This spring, he was hitting 94 and 95 consistently. In mid-May, he was sent back to Cedar Rapids. He needed just five starts before he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he posted a 2.39 ERA in nine starts (49 innings). His fastball is touching 97 and 98 mph with regularity. He’s got three quality pitches that have a chance to be plus pitches. He gets strikeouts. He has really good control. He was a Top 30 prospect coming into the season. He was my #7 Twins prospect at midseason, and he will most likely be a Top 5 Twins prospect following the season. JASON WHEELER - 25 - LHP Wheeler was the Twins eighth-round pick in 2011 out of Loyola-Marymount. He worked up the system, one year at a time. Following the 2014 season, the left-hander was added to the Twins 40 man roster. He began 2015 in Rochester, but when he was 1-7 with a 6.58 ERA in 15 starts before being sent back to Chattanooga. He went 4-3 with a 3.92 ERA with the Lookouts and was removed from the 40-man roster. After that, he was really good. In fact, he was the MVP of the Southern League Championship series. He began this season in AA, but after posting a 1.88 ERA in four starts, he moved up to Rochester. He has gone 9-4 with a 3.44 ERA and was the International League’s Starting Pitcher in the AAA All-Star Game. As frustrating as 2015 was for Wheeler, 2016 puts him back on the radar. He’s warranted consideration for a September call up. So there are eight players who have made the most out of their 2016 season and have taken a step forward in their careers. Not all of these guys will show up on Top 30 prospect lists, but they have had very strong seasons. Which prospects make your list? Click here to view the article
  12. My focus is going to be on eight guys, four hitters and four pitchers, who have gone from relative unknowns before the season to guys who may find themselves in the Twins future. Please feel free to add other names to this list, guys who have taken a big step forward in 2016. FOUR HITTERS LUIS ARRAEZ - 19 - 2B As an 18 year old in the GCL last year, Arraez hit .306/.377/.388 (.765) with 15 doubles. It was a solid season and MiLB.com listed him as the second baseman on their Twins post-season all-star team. He played in the Venezuelan Winter League. My assumption was that he would spend the 2016 season in extended spring training before going to Elizabethton. Instead, he began the season in Cedar Rapids. He began the season playing one in three games. It took about a week for him to be in the lineup almost every day. He has just kept hitting. In fact, now he’s hitting third or fourth in the Kernels lineup every game. He hasn’t stopped hitting. He’s now hitting .344/.383/.450 (.833) with 27 doubles, three triples and three home runs. He doesn’t walk a lot, but he also doesn’t strike out often. Before the season, he would have ranked in the 40s in my prospect lists, and now he’s easily in the Top 25 prospects or so. ZACH GRANITE - 23 - OF Granite has always been thought of as a professional, top-of-the-order type of hitter. He had a difficult, injury-plagued 2014 season in Cedar Rapids and played in just 21 games. That’s where he started 2015, but he moved up to Ft. Myers on May 1st because he had a great month. He did all right at Ft. Myers, but he hit .249/.328/.304 (.632) with ten doubles, four triples and a home run. He began 2016 in AA Chattanooga, maybe due to injury to others, but he has been the team’s leadoff hitter from day one. He has hit .295/.351/.385 (.736) with 14 doubles, seven triples and four home runs. He leads the Southern League in stolen bases with 42. He has as many walks as strikeouts. He has put himself into consideration for a 40-man roster spot this offseason. NELSON MOLINA - 21 - IF Molina was the Twins 11th round pick in 2013 draft out of high school in Puerto Rico. He spent two years in the Gulf Coast League where he hit .110 and .243.Last year in Elizabethton, he hit .207. There are rules that say an organization can only have so many players in the rookie leagues for a fourth year, so this was an important year for Molina. He began the season in extended spring training, but the Kernels needed an infielder in late April so he was summoned to Iowa. I’ve always said, at 6-3 and 175 pounds, he looks the part. Molina looks like what you would envision a professional shortstop to look like. At the plate, he has a balanced stance with a nice swing. It just didn’t come together offensively for him in the rookie leagues. However, he has grown both in terms of strength and maturity, and he is seeing the benefits on the field. In 74 games with the Kernels, he is hitting .304/.378/.375 (.754) with 11 doubles, two triples and a home run. He’s still got room to grow, but experiencing the success has to be a huge boost in confidence. RYAN WALKER - 23 - IF He was the Twins 18th round pick in 2013 out of Texas-Arlington. He spent most of that year in E-Town, though he moved up to Cedar Rapids for a week or so at the end of the season. In 76 games in 2014 in Cedar Rapids, he hit .239/.296/.299 (.595). In 2015, he played 83 games in Ft. Myers and hit .269/.311/.312 (.623). He began this year in Ft. Myers and hit just .262 in 24 games before being promoted to AA Chattanooga. He’s played all three infield positions and hit .287/.357/.368 (.725). In talking to him before the season, he pointed out that he worked really hard to add a lot of weight in the offseason. He got up to 185 and hoped to maintain it throughout the season, something players struggle to do. He has always been above average defensively in the infield, but he has improved offensively as he has moved up to AA this year. FOUR PITCHERS DJ BAXENDALE - 25 - RHP Baxendale was the Twins 12th round pick in 2012 out of Arkansas. He’s primarily been a starter. He moved quickly from the Midwest League to the Florida State League. He moved quickly to AA, but he experienced a lot of struggles in AA the last coupele of seasons. This year, he made 14 starts for the Lookouts and went 6-7 with a 3.44 ERA and made the All-Star team. Immediately following the game, he moved up to AAA Rochester. He was put into the bullpen and has been very good since. He has a 1.61 ERA in 17 appearances for the Red Wings. His pitches work very well out of the bullpen. He can add a couple of ticks to his fastball, and his slider can be devastating. He can be a decent starter, but he has a chance to be a quality relief pitcher. SAM CLAY - 23 - LHP Clay was the Twins 4th round pick in 2014 out of Georgia Tech. He began last season in Cedar Rapids, but he really struggled. Through nine games and 18 innings pitched, he had 19 strikeouts but 18 walks. He was sent back to EST where he worked on his control as a starter. He ended the season with three appearances in Cedar Rapids. Clay was much improved when the 2016 season started. In 14 starts for the Kernels, he went 5-4 with a 3.39 ERA. He still is walking too many, but he is striking out over a batter per inning. After starting the All-Star Game in the Midwest League, he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he’s had some ups and downs, some good starts and some bad starts but he continues to get strikeouts. FERNANDO ROMERO - 21 - RHP Romero became a prospect in 2013 when he posted a 1.60 ERA in the Gulf Coast League as an 18-year-old. Reports had him throwing a fastball in the mid-90s. In 2014, he began in EST, but he was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made three starts. Unfortunately, he experienced elbow pain and needed Tommy John. He had the surgery in 2014, and during his rehab in 2015, he needed knee surgery which cost him more time. This spring, he was hitting 94 and 95 consistently. In mid-May, he was sent back to Cedar Rapids. He needed just five starts before he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he posted a 2.39 ERA in nine starts (49 innings). His fastball is touching 97 and 98 mph with regularity. He’s got three quality pitches that have a chance to be plus pitches. He gets strikeouts. He has really good control. He was a Top 30 prospect coming into the season. He was my #7 Twins prospect at midseason, and he will most likely be a Top 5 Twins prospect following the season. JASON WHEELER - 25 - LHP Wheeler was the Twins eighth-round pick in 2011 out of Loyola-Marymount. He worked up the system, one year at a time. Following the 2014 season, the left-hander was added to the Twins 40 man roster. He began 2015 in Rochester, but when he was 1-7 with a 6.58 ERA in 15 starts before being sent back to Chattanooga. He went 4-3 with a 3.92 ERA with the Lookouts and was removed from the 40-man roster. After that, he was really good. In fact, he was the MVP of the Southern League Championship series. He began this season in AA, but after posting a 1.88 ERA in four starts, he moved up to Rochester. He has gone 9-4 with a 3.44 ERA and was the International League’s Starting Pitcher in the AAA All-Star Game. As frustrating as 2015 was for Wheeler, 2016 puts him back on the radar. He’s warranted consideration for a September call up. So there are eight players who have made the most out of their 2016 season and have taken a step forward in their careers. Not all of these guys will show up on Top 30 prospect lists, but they have had very strong seasons. Which prospects make your list?
  13. Wander Javier went just 1-5 in the Dominican on Friday, but that one hit was his first professional home run. The Miracle got back to .500 and in one of their two games, they had a tremendous pitching performance. Another day… Yes… Another Daniel Palka home run, but how did the Lookouts do? And it was a very special night in Rochester thanks to the efforts of one of their starting pitchers. Day 2 of the draft is complete. Be sure to read Jeremy’s thoughts on all eight Twins picks between rounds three and ten. Check back and we’ll update you on Saturday as the Twins make their 11th through 40th round draft picks. Jeremy joined John Bonnes for a special draft edition of Twins Weekly on Friday night. They discussed the first ten rounds of Twins picks and were able to spend a segment chatting with top pick Alex Kirilloff.With that, let’s get to Friday night’s minor league update. Please be sure to read the entire Rochester report, at least. The big news came mid-Friday afternoon when Mike Berardino tweeted that JT Chargois was on his way to Minneapolis to join the Twins. With Phil Hughes and Trevor May going on the DL, Chargois was summoned (and Kyle Gibson reinstated from the DL). RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 7, Toledo 9 Box Score Looking at the final score, you probably wouldn’t assume that the Red Wings got a quality start in this game. They did. Jason Wheeler continues his impressive season. He went the first six innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out three. Marcus Walden came in and gave up three runs on two walks and two hits over just one inning. Sean Burnett started the eighth. He gave up two runs on two hits and got just one out. Alex Wimmers returned to the team and made his first appearance since becoming a first-time father. He got the next two outs, but not before giving up two more runs on three hits. Ryan O’Rourke struck out one in a perfect ninth. James Beresford was the Red Wings catalyst at the top of the order. He went 3-5 with his ninth double. Kennys Vargas was 1-3 with a walk. He drove in two runs in with a triple. Eddie Rosario went 2-3 with a WALK (this is not an error). He added his fourth home run. John Ryan Murphy went 1-2 with two walks. ------------------------------------------------------ It was a very special night in Rochester. For the second straight year Logan Darnell organized an Alzheimer’s Awareness Night. He personally ordered (and designed) new game jerseys for the Red Wings players that were auctioned off and handed over to the fans with the winning bids after the game. The Twins and others helped contribute other items that were auctioned off. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Alzheimer’s Association in Rochester and Alzheimer’s Research. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. June 10th is the birthday of Darnell’s mother. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012. Darnell, who has received a Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service each of the last two years wanted to do something in her honor. The Red Wing and the Twins have been very supportive. Congratulations to Darnell on another successful, special event. First report from Rochester indicates that they made about $3800 just on the game-used jerseys and other collectibles. photo by Rochester Red Wings CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 6, Tennessee 2 Box Score Daniel Palka’s remarkable June continued on this night. He went 2-4 in this game with his third triple, and his 15th home run. In 10 games in June, Palka has hit eight home runs. Mitch Garver hit his fourth home run and it was a big one. Up 3-1 in the eighth, Garver hit a three run homer to put the game out of reach. Zach Granite and Stuart Turner each hit their seventh doubles of the season. DJ Baxendale put together another strong start, a quality start. He gave up one run on five hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out five.Jake Reed came on and struck out two over two perfect innings. Raul Fernandez gave up one run on three hits in his inning. He struck out one. Travis Harrison was 0-1 with three walks. MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1 - Ft. Myers 4, Brevard County 1 Box Score The Miracle got four runs in the first inning, all with two outs. Chris Paul drove in two with a single. Then Alex Perez and Logan Wade each added an RBI with singles. The team was able to hold that lead. Perez and Wade were each 2-4. Wade stole his fourth base of the year. Nick Gordon was 2-4 and stole his eighth base. Brian Olson hit his first Miracle double. Keaton Steele has struggled of late, but he was good on Friday night. The right-hander gave up just one run over the first five innings. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out five. John Curtiss struck out two in a perfect sixth inning. Nick Anderson struck out one in a perfect seventh to record his first save with the Miracle. Game 2 - Ft. Myers 2, Brevard County 0 Box Score Fresh of finding out he was in my midseason Top Ten Twins Prospect rankings, Felix Jorge put in a tremendous outing. He went all seven innings. He gave up no runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out eight batters. He improved to 5-3 and dropped his ERA to 1.64. Trey Vavra went 2-3 with his fifth stolen base. Edgar Corcino walked twice. However, the big hit came in the top of the first inning when Joe Maloney knocked in Corcino and TJ White with a double, his first with the Miracle. The sweep pushed the Miracle record back to .500 at 30-30. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 5 Box Score Cody Stashak started for the Kernels. The righthander from St. Johns gave up three runs on seven hits over 6.1 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Anthony McIver came in and gave up two runs on three hits, including a home run. Nelson Molina went 2-3 and drove in a run. Daniel Kihle was 2-4. Zander Wiel walked twice. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Daniel Palka, Chattanooga Lookouts SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:05 p.m. CST) - RHP Jose Berrios Jacksonville @ Tennessee(6:05 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades Ft. Myers @ Brevard County (5:35 CST) – LHP Randy Rosario Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday games. Click here to view the article
  14. With that, let’s get to Friday night’s minor league update. Please be sure to read the entire Rochester report, at least. The big news came mid-Friday afternoon when Mike Berardino tweeted that JT Chargois was on his way to Minneapolis to join the Twins. With Phil Hughes and Trevor May going on the DL, Chargois was summoned (and Kyle Gibson reinstated from the DL). RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 7, Toledo 9 Box Score Looking at the final score, you probably wouldn’t assume that the Red Wings got a quality start in this game. They did. Jason Wheeler continues his impressive season. He went the first six innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out three. Marcus Walden came in and gave up three runs on two walks and two hits over just one inning. Sean Burnett started the eighth. He gave up two runs on two hits and got just one out. Alex Wimmers returned to the team and made his first appearance since becoming a first-time father. He got the next two outs, but not before giving up two more runs on three hits. Ryan O’Rourke struck out one in a perfect ninth. James Beresford was the Red Wings catalyst at the top of the order. He went 3-5 with his ninth double. Kennys Vargas was 1-3 with a walk. He drove in two runs in with a triple. Eddie Rosario went 2-3 with a WALK (this is not an error). He added his fourth home run. John Ryan Murphy went 1-2 with two walks. ------------------------------------------------------ It was a very special night in Rochester. For the second straight year Logan Darnell organized an Alzheimer’s Awareness Night. He personally ordered (and designed) new game jerseys for the Red Wings players that were auctioned off and handed over to the fans with the winning bids after the game. The Twins and others helped contribute other items that were auctioned off. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Alzheimer’s Association in Rochester and Alzheimer’s Research. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. June 10th is the birthday of Darnell’s mother. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012. Darnell, who has received a Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service each of the last two years wanted to do something in her honor. The Red Wing and the Twins have been very supportive. Congratulations to Darnell on another successful, special event. First report from Rochester indicates that they made about $3800 just on the game-used jerseys and other collectibles. photo by Rochester Red Wings CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 6, Tennessee 2 Box Score Daniel Palka’s remarkable June continued on this night. He went 2-4 in this game with his third triple, and his 15th home run. In 10 games in June, Palka has hit eight home runs. Mitch Garver hit his fourth home run and it was a big one. Up 3-1 in the eighth, Garver hit a three run homer to put the game out of reach. Zach Granite and Stuart Turner each hit their seventh doubles of the season. DJ Baxendale put together another strong start, a quality start. He gave up one run on five hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out five.Jake Reed came on and struck out two over two perfect innings. Raul Fernandez gave up one run on three hits in his inning. He struck out one. Travis Harrison was 0-1 with three walks. MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1 - Ft. Myers 4, Brevard County 1 Box Score The Miracle got four runs in the first inning, all with two outs. Chris Paul drove in two with a single. Then Alex Perez and Logan Wade each added an RBI with singles. The team was able to hold that lead. Perez and Wade were each 2-4. Wade stole his fourth base of the year. Nick Gordon was 2-4 and stole his eighth base. Brian Olson hit his first Miracle double. Keaton Steele has struggled of late, but he was good on Friday night. The right-hander gave up just one run over the first five innings. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out five. John Curtiss struck out two in a perfect sixth inning. Nick Anderson struck out one in a perfect seventh to record his first save with the Miracle. Game 2 - Ft. Myers 2, Brevard County 0 Box Score Fresh of finding out he was in my midseason Top Ten Twins Prospect rankings, Felix Jorge put in a tremendous outing. He went all seven innings. He gave up no runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out eight batters. He improved to 5-3 and dropped his ERA to 1.64. Trey Vavra went 2-3 with his fifth stolen base. Edgar Corcino walked twice. However, the big hit came in the top of the first inning when Joe Maloney knocked in Corcino and TJ White with a double, his first with the Miracle. The sweep pushed the Miracle record back to .500 at 30-30. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 5 Box Score Cody Stashak started for the Kernels. The righthander from St. Johns gave up three runs on seven hits over 6.1 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Anthony McIver came in and gave up two runs on three hits, including a home run. Nelson Molina went 2-3 and drove in a run. Daniel Kihle was 2-4. Zander Wiel walked twice. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Daniel Palka, Chattanooga Lookouts SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:05 p.m. CST) - RHP Jose Berrios Jacksonville @ Tennessee(6:05 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades Ft. Myers @ Brevard County (5:35 CST) – LHP Randy Rosario Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday games.
  15. Check out everything that happened on Saturday in the Twins farm system. Let’s take a look. TRANSACTIONS There were also a couple of minor league transactions: The Twins signed minor league free agent Tommy FIeld and assigned him to Rochester. With Heiker Meneses placed on the DL a day ago, the Red Wings were down to just one bench option. The Twins actually claimed Field in November of 2012, but in December that year they tried to pass him through waivers and he was claimed by the Angels. Since 2011, he has had cups of coffee with the Rockies, Angels and the Rangers. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 8, Syracuse 3 Box Score Let’s start with this. Byron Buxton went 0-3 with two strikeouts and in the fifth inning, he left the game. Of course there was speculation, but Darren Wolfson tweeted later that he left the game with back spasms. Buxton was replaced by Tommy Fields who played right field and Max Kepler moved over to center. Things got off to a quick start for the Red Wings. Buck Britton cleared the bases in the first inning with his fifth double of the year. James Beresford was the catalyst throughout the game. He went 4-5 and scored three runs. Max Kepler went 0-2, but he walked three times. Kennys Vargas was a triple short of the cycle. He was 3-5 with his fifth double and third home run. Wilfredo Tovar went 2-5. Logan Darnell started. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits. In five innings, he walked one and struck out five. Taylor Rogers came on and struck out three batters in two scoreless innings. JT Chargois returned to the mound and struck out five batters in two scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 5, Biloxi 2 Box Score DJ Baxendale continues to make his case for a promotion to AAA. In six innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out nine. Corey Williams struck out two in a scoreless seventh innings. Trevor Hildenberger struck out three over two scoreless innings to end the game. It was his second save since joining the Lookouts. Zach Granite led the offense. From the leadoff spot, he went 4-4 and stole his 16th base. In the first inning, Granite singled and scored on a Shannon Wilkerson double. Daniel Palka then hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to give the Lookouts a quick 3-0 lead. Wilkerson and Ryan Walker were each 2-3 as well. Travis Harrison missed his second straight game since his outfield collision with Shannon Wilkerson. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 2, St. Lucie 3 (11 innings) Box Score They needed extra innings to decide this game. It was a tight pitcher’s dual. Randy Rosario started and gave up two runs on five hits and a walk in 5.2 innings. He struck out four. John Curtiss struck out two of the four batters he faced. Yorman Landa walked two and struck out three in two scoreless innings. Luke Bard pitched a scoreless tenth inning, but the winning run scored against him with two outs in the 11th. Of the five outs he got, three were strikeouts. Max Murphy went 3-5 with his first stolen base. Chris Paul was 2-5 with his fifth double. He drove in both Miracle runs. Austin Diemer was 2-5 with his first double. Nick Gordon went 1-3 with a walk and his fifth stolen base. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 14, Wisconsin 6 Box Score The Kernels scored 12 runs on Friday night. They played again early Saturday and the hits just kept on coming. AJ Murray went 5-5 with a walk and two homers Friday night. He got the scoring started on Saturday with a sacrifice fly. It was the first of seven runs scored in the first inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Wisconsin scored five runs to cut the lead to 7-5. But in the sixth inning, the Kernels responded with five of their own and added on from there. Dereck Rodriguez got his first win of the season, to improve to 1-4. He needed the run support as he gave up six runs on six hits in six innings. He used 98 pitches and walked three and struck out three. Mike Theofanopoulos recorded his first save of the year with three innings of shutout relief. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out six. Brian Olson went 3-5 with a walk and his second double. Alex Perez went 3-5 with a walk. Aside from the sacrifice fly, AJ Murray added his ninth and tenth doubles. Daniel Kihle went 2-4, walked, was hit by a pitch and added his second double. Sean Miller was 2-5 with four RBI, three scored on a bases-clearing triple. Christian Cavaness went 2-5. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – DJ Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Kennys Vargas, Rochester Red Wings SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Syracuse @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - LHP Tommy Milone Biloxi @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (12:00 CST) – LHP Stephen Gonsalves Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:05 CST) – RHP Miles Nordgren Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games.
  16. It was a full and entertaining day in the Twins minor league system. Most important, the big league club ended an eight-game losing streak. Cedar Rapids scored in double figures in Wisconsin for the second straight day. Three of the four affiliates got wins on Saturday. It took extra innings to beat the fourth. Two players had four-hit games. Four guys had three-hit games. One starter had nine strikeouts. It was a good day in the Twins minor leagues.Check out everything that happened on Saturday in the Twins farm system. Let’s take a look. TRANSACTIONS There were also a couple of minor league transactions: The Twins signed minor league free agent Tommy FIeld and assigned him to Rochester. With Heiker Meneses placed on the DL a day ago, the Red Wings were down to just one bench option. The Twins actually claimed Field in November of 2012, but in December that year they tried to pass him through waivers and he was claimed by the Angels. Since 2011, he has had cups of coffee with the Rockies, Angels and the Rangers.RED WINGS REPORTRochester 8, Syracuse 3 Box Score Let’s start with this. Byron Buxton went 0-3 with two strikeouts and in the fifth inning, he left the game. Of course there was speculation, but Darren Wolfson tweeted later that he left the game with back spasms. Buxton was replaced by Tommy Fields who played right field and Max Kepler moved over to center. Things got off to a quick start for the Red Wings. Buck Britton cleared the bases in the first inning with his fifth double of the year. James Beresford was the catalyst throughout the game. He went 4-5 and scored three runs. Max Kepler went 0-2, but he walked three times. Kennys Vargas was a triple short of the cycle. He was 3-5 with his fifth double and third home run. Wilfredo Tovar went 2-5. Logan Darnell started. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits. In five innings, he walked one and struck out five. Taylor Rogers came on and struck out three batters in two scoreless innings. JT Chargois returned to the mound and struck out five batters in two scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 5, Biloxi 2 Box Score DJ Baxendale continues to make his case for a promotion to AAA. In six innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out nine. Corey Williams struck out two in a scoreless seventh innings. Trevor Hildenberger struck out three over two scoreless innings to end the game. It was his second save since joining the Lookouts. Zach Granite led the offense. From the leadoff spot, he went 4-4 and stole his 16th base. In the first inning, Granite singled and scored on a Shannon Wilkerson double. Daniel Palka then hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to give the Lookouts a quick 3-0 lead. Wilkerson and Ryan Walker were each 2-3 as well. Travis Harrison missed his second straight game since his outfield collision with Shannon Wilkerson. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 2, St. Lucie 3 (11 innings) Box Score They needed extra innings to decide this game. It was a tight pitcher’s dual. Randy Rosario started and gave up two runs on five hits and a walk in 5.2 innings. He struck out four. John Curtiss struck out two of the four batters he faced. Yorman Landa walked two and struck out three in two scoreless innings. Luke Bard pitched a scoreless tenth inning, but the winning run scored against him with two outs in the 11th. Of the five outs he got, three were strikeouts. Max Murphy went 3-5 with his first stolen base. Chris Paul was 2-5 with his fifth double. He drove in both Miracle runs. Austin Diemer was 2-5 with his first double. Nick Gordon went 1-3 with a walk and his fifth stolen base. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 14, Wisconsin 6 Box Score The Kernels scored 12 runs on Friday night. They played again early Saturday and the hits just kept on coming. AJ Murray went 5-5 with a walk and two homers Friday night. He got the scoring started on Saturday with a sacrifice fly. It was the first of seven runs scored in the first inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Wisconsin scored five runs to cut the lead to 7-5. But in the sixth inning, the Kernels responded with five of their own and added on from there. Dereck Rodriguez got his first win of the season, to improve to 1-4. He needed the run support as he gave up six runs on six hits in six innings. He used 98 pitches and walked three and struck out three. Mike Theofanopoulos recorded his first save of the year with three innings of shutout relief. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out six. Brian Olson went 3-5 with a walk and his second double. Alex Perez went 3-5 with a walk. Aside from the sacrifice fly, AJ Murray added his ninth and tenth doubles. Daniel Kihle went 2-4, walked, was hit by a pitch and added his second double. Sean Miller was 2-5 with four RBI, three scored on a bases-clearing triple. Christian Cavaness went 2-5. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – DJ Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Kennys Vargas, Rochester Red Wings SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Syracuse @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - LHP Tommy Milone Biloxi @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (12:00 CST) – LHP Stephen Gonsalves Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:05 CST) – RHP Miles Nordgren Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games. Click here to view the article
  17. TRANSACTIONS It was another busy day of transactions, and it actually started immediately following Tuesday night’s Twins game in Houston. Alex Meyer was optioned to Rochester with JR Graham replacing him on the Twins roster. Graham will likely only be on the roster until Saturday when Ervin Santana comes off of the disabled list. In Chattanooga, Engelb Vielma went back on the disabled list, this time with a strained oblique. Ryan Walker was promoted to the Lookouts from Ft. Myers. As a results of his Tuesday night collision with Chad Christensen, Nick Gordon was placed on the 7-day concussion list. Sean MIller was promoted from Cedar Rapids. The Twins also signed 25-year-old free agent infielder Tanner Witt. Witt spent time in the independent leagues the last couple of years and also saw time in the Orioles and Cubs systems. Taking Miller’s spot in Cedar Rapids was infielder Alex Perez. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 8. Syracuse 2 Box Score The Red Wings played an early morning game. They jumped out to an early lead, in part thanks to Adam Brett Walker’s fourth home run of the year. They got a solid start and some really impressive relief work. They then added on in the late innings. Pat Dean recorded his first win of the season. The southpaw gave up two runs on nine hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out three. He left the game in the seventh inning after giving up a single and a walk. Brandon Kintzler came in and gave up a first-pitch single to load the bases. However, he struck out the side to end the Syracuse threat. Kintzler worked a perfect eighth inning. Marcus Walden came in to pitch a scoreless ninth inning to end the game. Five Red Wings hitters had two hits. The team had 12 hits and walked five times. Byron Buxton went 2-4 with a walk and two doubles. He already has four two-baggers. He is now hitting .302. James Beresford went 2-5 with his fifth double. Max Kepler went 2-4 with his second triple to bring his batting average back to .205. Kennys Vargas went 2-4 and is now at .217. Adam Brett Walker went 2-3 with a walk and his fourth homer. The Red Wings are now 12-15 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 0, Mobile 1 Box Score I think it’s fair to say that DJ Baxendale deserved better. The right-hander gave up just one run over eight innings and took the loss. He gave up just four hits. He walked one and struck out five. His ERA dropped to 2.92. The Lookouts had eight hits, but they just were not able to get a run across the plate. Nine-hitter, Leonardo Reginnato went 3-3. Dalton Hicks went 2-4 in the game. The Lookouts did not draw a walk and struck out 14 times, including eight combined K's from their 2, 3 and 4 hitters. The team is now 11-15 on the season. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Palm Beach 0 Box Score Coming off of a really rough start, Tyler Jay certainly wanted to improve this time out. He did. The hard-throwing left-hander threw 6.1 scoreless innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out seven for the win. Brandon Peterson walked one and struck one out over the next 1.2 innings. Luke Bard recorded his second save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Edgar Corcino stayed hot. After going 2-4 with a walk, a home run and four RBI each of the last two games, Corcino went 3-4 in this game. So in his last three games he is 7-12 with two walks, two homers and eight RBI which, I believe, could be categorized as “pretty good.” In addition, Chris Paul went 1-3 with a walk. Trey Vavra added his fifth double. The game was completed in 1 hour and 55 minutes. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 8, Lansing 2 Box Score Andro Cutura put together a quality start and was helped by plenty of offense on this night. The right-hander went the first six innings and gave up just two runs. He gave up five hits, walked three and struck out five to improve to 3-1. Logan Lombana worked the final two innings without giving up a run. The bottom of the ninth was not played due to rain. The Kernels offense had ten hits and walked another five times. Luis Arraez led the way going 3-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Nelson Molina went 2-4. Zander Wiel and JJ Fernandez each added a double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Jay, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Luis Arraez, Cedar Rapids Kernels THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Pawtucket (6:05 CST) - LHP Andrew Albers Chattanooga @ Mobile (6:35 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – RHP Keaton Steele Cedar Rapids @ Great Lakes (4:05 CST) – RHP Sam Gibbons Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Wednesday games.
  18. If you watched the Twins game, you might think that was a minor league game. It was a long game! Consider Wednesday night’s Ft. Myers game was complete in one hour and 55 minutes. “El Corzo” stayed hot, while one of the organization’s top pitching prospects had a nice response to his first bad start. Continue on for much more on the events in the Twins farm system throughout Wednesday.TRANSACTIONS It was another busy day of transactions, and it actually started immediately following Tuesday night’s Twins game in Houston. Alex Meyer was optioned to Rochester with JR Graham replacing him on the Twins roster. Graham will likely only be on the roster until Saturday when Ervin Santana comes off of the disabled list. In Chattanooga, Engelb Vielma went back on the disabled list, this time with a strained oblique. Ryan Walker was promoted to the Lookouts from Ft. Myers. As a results of his Tuesday night collision with Chad Christensen, Nick Gordon was placed on the 7-day concussion list. Sean MIller was promoted from Cedar Rapids. The Twins also signed 25-year-old free agent infielder Tanner Witt. Witt spent time in the independent leagues the last couple of years and also saw time in the Orioles and Cubs systems. Taking Miller’s spot in Cedar Rapids was infielder Alex Perez. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 8. Syracuse 2 Box Score The Red Wings played an early morning game. They jumped out to an early lead, in part thanks to Adam Brett Walker’s fourth home run of the year. They got a solid start and some really impressive relief work. They then added on in the late innings. Pat Dean recorded his first win of the season. The southpaw gave up two runs on nine hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out three. He left the game in the seventh inning after giving up a single and a walk. Brandon Kintzler came in and gave up a first-pitch single to load the bases. However, he struck out the side to end the Syracuse threat. Kintzler worked a perfect eighth inning. Marcus Walden came in to pitch a scoreless ninth inning to end the game. Five Red Wings hitters had two hits. The team had 12 hits and walked five times. Byron Buxton went 2-4 with a walk and two doubles. He already has four two-baggers. He is now hitting .302. James Beresford went 2-5 with his fifth double. Max Kepler went 2-4 with his second triple to bring his batting average back to .205. Kennys Vargas went 2-4 and is now at .217. Adam Brett Walker went 2-3 with a walk and his fourth homer. The Red Wings are now 12-15 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 0, Mobile 1 Box Score I think it’s fair to say that DJ Baxendale deserved better. The right-hander gave up just one run over eight innings and took the loss. He gave up just four hits. He walked one and struck out five. His ERA dropped to 2.92. The Lookouts had eight hits, but they just were not able to get a run across the plate. Nine-hitter, Leonardo Reginnato went 3-3. Dalton Hicks went 2-4 in the game. The Lookouts did not draw a walk and struck out 14 times, including eight combined K's from their 2, 3 and 4 hitters. The team is now 11-15 on the season. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Palm Beach 0 Box Score Coming off of a really rough start, Tyler Jay certainly wanted to improve this time out. He did. The hard-throwing left-hander threw 6.1 scoreless innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out seven for the win. Brandon Peterson walked one and struck one out over the next 1.2 innings. Luke Bard recorded his second save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Edgar Corcino stayed hot. After going 2-4 with a walk, a home run and four RBI each of the last two games, Corcino went 3-4 in this game. So in his last three games he is 7-12 with two walks, two homers and eight RBI which, I believe, could be categorized as “pretty good.” In addition, Chris Paul went 1-3 with a walk. Trey Vavra added his fifth double. The game was completed in 1 hour and 55 minutes. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 8, Lansing 2 Box Score Andro Cutura put together a quality start and was helped by plenty of offense on this night. The right-hander went the first six innings and gave up just two runs. He gave up five hits, walked three and struck out five to improve to 3-1. Logan Lombana worked the final two innings without giving up a run. The bottom of the ninth was not played due to rain. The Kernels offense had ten hits and walked another five times. Luis Arraez led the way going 3-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Nelson Molina went 2-4. Zander Wiel and JJ Fernandez each added a double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Jay, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Luis Arraez, Cedar Rapids Kernels THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Pawtucket (6:05 CST) - LHP Andrew Albers Chattanooga @ Mobile (6:35 CST) - LHP David Hurlbut St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – RHP Keaton Steele Cedar Rapids @ Great Lakes (4:05 CST) – RHP Sam Gibbons Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Wednesday games. Click here to view the article
  19. Continue on to read about the pitchers and the hitter highlights from Saturday’s games. TRANSACTIONS On Saturday afternoon, not terribly long before the Red Wings and Twins afternoon starts, we learned that due to a sore back, Ervin Santana will not make his scheduled Sunday start. Instead, Tyler Duffey, who was supposed to start Saturday in Rochester, will come up and start on Sunday in our nation’s capital. Following the Twins game, the move became official. The corresponding move was Jorge Polanco returning to the Red Wings. Also on Saturday, the Detroit Tigers announced that they had claimed catcher John Hicks from the Twins. This would certainly explain the Twins decision a couple of days ago to promote Carlos Paulino to the Red Wings. The Twins 40-man roster is now at 39. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 10 Box Score With the Duffey news coming so abruptly this morning, the Red Wings had to scramble. They decided to have RHP Loek Van Mil make the start. The right-hander from The Netherlands went the first two innings and gave up five runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out two. Taylor Rogers then gave up four runs on five hits over the next two innings. He walked one and struck out two. Buddy Boshers calmed things down a bit. The left-hander worked three scoreless innings, striking out four. Dan Runzler gave up two hits and hit another batter, but he gave up just one unearned run (on his own error) over two innings. Offensively, there wasn’t much positive either. The team had just five hits. Reynaldo Rodriguez went 1-3 with a walk and a double. Carlos Paulino made his first Red Wings start of the year and went 1-3 with a double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 0, Birmingham 6 Box Score Through six innings, this was quite the pitcher's duel between DJ Baxendale and White Sox first-round pick from 2015, Carson Fulmer. The two right-handers had matching lines. They both worked six shutout innings and gave up four hits. Neither walked a batter and they each struck out six. With a scoreless game going into the seventh, Alex Wimmers came into the game. He gave up two runs on four hits in the 7th inning which proved to be enough to take the loss. Nick Burdi made his 2016 debut with a perfect inning. He needed just 12 pitches, nine of them strikes, to get three ground balls. Jake Reed came on for the ninth inning and got the first two batters out. He then issued a walk and it was followed by a double. After that, there were a couple of Engelb Vielma errors and a triple, so Reed was charged with four runs but just one was earned. Offensively the Lookouts had seven hits but were unable to bunch many together. No one had more than one hit, and Dalton Hicks had the only extra base hit, his second double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 1, Charlotte 0 (11 innings) Box Score Through 10 innings, the Miracle had just one hit, a 5th inning single by Nick Gordon. With one out in the 11th, Brian Navarreto singled. He advanced to second on a balk, and Austin Diemer came in to replace him. One batter later, Edgar Corcino singled him in with the winning run. Just three hits in the game, but a win is a win. The credit goes to the pitchers. Felix Jorge was terrific again. He came in to the game with a consecutive scoreless inning streak of 8.2 innings. With seven shutout innings tonight, his streak will continue in his next start at 15.2 innings. He gave up just four hits, walked one and struck out four. Unfortunately, he left without any run support. Trevor Hildenberger came in. He gave up two hits but no runs over the next two innings. Yorman Landa pitched the 10th and 11th innings and was perfect to get the win. Danny Santana played right field in this game. He led off and got three at-bats. He was 0-3 which means through two rehab games with the Miracle, he is 0-6. He is expected to play third base on Sunday. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1 - Cedar Rapids 1, Clinton 2 (18 innings) Box Score As a manager or pitching coach preparing for a doubleheader, even knowing the games are seven innings, the worst possible thing is extra innings. It’s not good at all for the pitching staff. In game one, there was little offense and there were double-digit innings. In fact, the two teams were scheduled to play 14 innings combined in the two games, so when Game 1 went into the 14th inning, I would imagine neither manager was real happy about it. Lefty Sam Clay got the starting nod in Game 1. He had thrown six innings and five innings of shutout ball in his first two starts. However, in this game, he gave up a sacrifice fly to the third batter of the game to end that scoreless streak. However, he put in another terrific start. Clay went six innings and gave up just the one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out six. The Kernels managed to tie the game at one in the top of the seventh when Jermaine Palacios singled to score Manuel Guzman. That was it for scoring for a while. The bullpens took over. Kernels closer Nick Anderson struck out four over the next two innings. Logan Lombana came in for the next four innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out six. Kuo Hua Lo got the next four innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Zack Tillery pitched a scoreless 17th inning. He got the first two outs of the 18th as well, but a double was followed by a single and the game was over. The Kernels had ten hits and seven walks in the 18 innings but just couldn’t get a second run to cross home plate. Jermaine Palacios had three hits and a walk. AJ Murray hit his first three doubles and a walk. Rafael Valera went 2-8 with his fifth double. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 2 - Cedar Rapids 0, Clinton 1 Box Score After a five-hour Game 1, the second game started at about 10:45. Dereck Rodriguez started for the Kernels. He went the first five innings and gave up three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out seven. John Curtiss came in for the sixth. He struck out the side and now has 16 strikeouts in seven innings this year. Offensively, the Kernels had just four hits. JJ Fernandez went 3-3 with his first home run of the year. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – AJ Murray, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Buffalo @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - LHP Pat Dean Birmingham @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) – LHP David Hurlbut Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) – LHP Randy Rosario Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (2:00 CST) – RHP Cody Stashak Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games.
  20. What a day i twas in the Twins minor leagues! A starter scheduled to pitch on Saturday instead got the call to the big leagues. A couple more pitchers continued consecutive scoreless innings streaks. One team played an extra innings game. Another team played two games, and one of them went 18 innings.Continue on to read about the pitchers and the hitter highlights from Saturday’s games. TRANSACTIONS On Saturday afternoon, not terribly long before the Red Wings and Twins afternoon starts, we learned that due to a sore back, Ervin Santana will not make his scheduled Sunday start. Instead, Tyler Duffey, who was supposed to start Saturday in Rochester, will come up and start on Sunday in our nation’s capital. Following the Twins game, the move became official. The corresponding move was Jorge Polanco returning to the Red Wings. Also on Saturday, the Detroit Tigers announced that they had claimed catcher John Hicks from the Twins. This would certainly explain the Twins decision a couple of days ago to promote Carlos Paulino to the Red Wings. The Twins 40-man roster is now at 39. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 10 Box Score With the Duffey news coming so abruptly this morning, the Red Wings had to scramble. They decided to have RHP Loek Van Mil make the start. The right-hander from The Netherlands went the first two innings and gave up five runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out two. Taylor Rogers then gave up four runs on five hits over the next two innings. He walked one and struck out two. Buddy Boshers calmed things down a bit. The left-hander worked three scoreless innings, striking out four. Dan Runzler gave up two hits and hit another batter, but he gave up just one unearned run (on his own error) over two innings. Offensively, there wasn’t much positive either. The team had just five hits. Reynaldo Rodriguez went 1-3 with a walk and a double. Carlos Paulino made his first Red Wings start of the year and went 1-3 with a double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 0, Birmingham 6 Box Score Through six innings, this was quite the pitcher's duel between DJ Baxendale and White Sox first-round pick from 2015, Carson Fulmer. The two right-handers had matching lines. They both worked six shutout innings and gave up four hits. Neither walked a batter and they each struck out six. With a scoreless game going into the seventh, Alex Wimmers came into the game. He gave up two runs on four hits in the 7th inning which proved to be enough to take the loss. Nick Burdi made his 2016 debut with a perfect inning. He needed just 12 pitches, nine of them strikes, to get three ground balls. Jake Reed came on for the ninth inning and got the first two batters out. He then issued a walk and it was followed by a double. After that, there were a couple of Engelb Vielma errors and a triple, so Reed was charged with four runs but just one was earned. Offensively the Lookouts had seven hits but were unable to bunch many together. No one had more than one hit, and Dalton Hicks had the only extra base hit, his second double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 1, Charlotte 0 (11 innings) Box Score Through 10 innings, the Miracle had just one hit, a 5th inning single by Nick Gordon. With one out in the 11th, Brian Navarreto singled. He advanced to second on a balk, and Austin Diemer came in to replace him. One batter later, Edgar Corcino singled him in with the winning run. Just three hits in the game, but a win is a win. The credit goes to the pitchers. Felix Jorge was terrific again. He came in to the game with a consecutive scoreless inning streak of 8.2 innings. With seven shutout innings tonight, his streak will continue in his next start at 15.2 innings. He gave up just four hits, walked one and struck out four. Unfortunately, he left without any run support. Trevor Hildenberger came in. He gave up two hits but no runs over the next two innings. Yorman Landa pitched the 10th and 11th innings and was perfect to get the win. Danny Santana played right field in this game. He led off and got three at-bats. He was 0-3 which means through two rehab games with the Miracle, he is 0-6. He is expected to play third base on Sunday. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1 - Cedar Rapids 1, Clinton 2 (18 innings) Box Score As a manager or pitching coach preparing for a doubleheader, even knowing the games are seven innings, the worst possible thing is extra innings. It’s not good at all for the pitching staff. In game one, there was little offense and there were double-digit innings. In fact, the two teams were scheduled to play 14 innings combined in the two games, so when Game 1 went into the 14th inning, I would imagine neither manager was real happy about it. Lefty Sam Clay got the starting nod in Game 1. He had thrown six innings and five innings of shutout ball in his first two starts. However, in this game, he gave up a sacrifice fly to the third batter of the game to end that scoreless streak. However, he put in another terrific start. Clay went six innings and gave up just the one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out six. The Kernels managed to tie the game at one in the top of the seventh when Jermaine Palacios singled to score Manuel Guzman. That was it for scoring for a while. The bullpens took over. Kernels closer Nick Anderson struck out four over the next two innings. Logan Lombana came in for the next four innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out six. Kuo Hua Lo got the next four innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Zack Tillery pitched a scoreless 17th inning. He got the first two outs of the 18th as well, but a double was followed by a single and the game was over. The Kernels had ten hits and seven walks in the 18 innings but just couldn’t get a second run to cross home plate. Jermaine Palacios had three hits and a walk. AJ Murray hit his first three doubles and a walk. Rafael Valera went 2-8 with his fifth double. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 2 - Cedar Rapids 0, Clinton 1 Box Score After a five-hour Game 1, the second game started at about 10:45. Dereck Rodriguez started for the Kernels. He went the first five innings and gave up three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out seven. John Curtiss came in for the sixth. He struck out the side and now has 16 strikeouts in seven innings this year. Offensively, the Kernels had just four hits. JJ Fernandez went 3-3 with his first home run of the year. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – AJ Murray, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Buffalo @ Rochester (12:35 CST) - LHP Pat Dean Birmingham @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) – LHP David Hurlbut Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) – LHP Randy Rosario Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (2:00 CST) – RHP Cody Stashak Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games. Click here to view the article
  21. One game to rule them all. The Lookouts have combined for quite a season leading into tonight's decisive Game 5. Stud prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton started the season in Chattanooga before eventually making their big league debuts. Max Kepler and Jose Berrios both spent time with the Lookouts before being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter and Starting Pitcher of the Year. A handful of players on this squad are no strangers to the pressure of the postseason. Dalton Hicks, Niko Goodrum, Adam Brett Walker, Max Kepler, DJ Baxendale, and Brett Lee have all been part of two other championship teams, Elizabethton (2012) and Fort Myers (2014). Chattanooga won the first half title in the Southern League North Division and finished the season with an overall record of 76-61. The club was just one game over .500 at home but they were a stunning 42-28 away from AT&T Field. Tonight they played at home with a chance to be crowned kings of the Southern League.CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4, Biloxi 0 Box Score The Lookouts had a chance to jump out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs in the frame, Southern League MVP Max Kepler walked. Travis Harrison followed with a single to give Chattanooga their first chance with runners in scoring position. Adam Brett Walker came up in a big spot but he grounded out to third to end the frame. DJ Baxendale started for the Lookouts and he ran into a little trouble in the top of the second. After a single and a double to start the frame, Baxendale gave up a free pass to load the bases without recording an out. He came up with two big swinging strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the jam. The bottom of the second saw the first runs of the game. Heiker Meneses stepped up to the plate and cracked a triple. Two batters later Stuart Turner drove in Meneses with a double to left field. Shannon Wilkerson followed Turner's double with a RBI-single to stretch the lead to 2-0 in favor of the Lookouts. Max Kepler has been carrying the Lookouts for large portions of the season so it seemed fitting that he would help add to the team's lead in their most important game of the year. He had gone 0-for-7 in the last two games but he led off the third with a solo-home run, his third of the series. Baxendale used 95 pitches to get through five shutout frames before turning the game over to the bullpen. He gave up four hits, three walks and struck out three. Jason Wheeler took over for Baxendale and was outstanding. In four shutout innings, he allowed two base runners and struck out three. The Lookouts picked up a big insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning to push their lead to 4-0. Stuart Turner walked to start the inning and was thrown out at second on a bunt attempt from Shannon Wilkerson. Stephen Wickens stepped to the plate and cracked a double to left field that was deep enough to score Wilkerson from first to add to the lead. Wheeler stayed in for the top of the ninth inning. The first batter popped out to second base and the Lookouts were two outs away. The next batter walked to be only the second base runner against Wheeler. However the next batter hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and the season. Your 2015 Southern League Champions, the Chattanooga Lookouts. Click here to view the article
  22. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4, Biloxi 0 Box Score The Lookouts had a chance to jump out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs in the frame, Southern League MVP Max Kepler walked. Travis Harrison followed with a single to give Chattanooga their first chance with runners in scoring position. Adam Brett Walker came up in a big spot but he grounded out to third to end the frame. DJ Baxendale started for the Lookouts and he ran into a little trouble in the top of the second. After a single and a double to start the frame, Baxendale gave up a free pass to load the bases without recording an out. He came up with two big swinging strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the jam. The bottom of the second saw the first runs of the game. Heiker Meneses stepped up to the plate and cracked a triple. Two batters later Stuart Turner drove in Meneses with a double to left field. Shannon Wilkerson followed Turner's double with a RBI-single to stretch the lead to 2-0 in favor of the Lookouts. Max Kepler has been carrying the Lookouts for large portions of the season so it seemed fitting that he would help add to the team's lead in their most important game of the year. He had gone 0-for-7 in the last two games but he led off the third with a solo-home run, his third of the series. Baxendale used 95 pitches to get through five shutout frames before turning the game over to the bullpen. He gave up four hits, three walks and struck out three. Jason Wheeler took over for Baxendale and was outstanding. In four shutout innings, he allowed two base runners and struck out three. The Lookouts picked up a big insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning to push their lead to 4-0. Stuart Turner walked to start the inning and was thrown out at second on a bunt attempt from Shannon Wilkerson. Stephen Wickens stepped to the plate and cracked a double to left field that was deep enough to score Wilkerson from first to add to the lead. Wheeler stayed in for the top of the ninth inning. The first batter popped out to second base and the Lookouts were two outs away. The next batter walked to be only the second base runner against Wheeler. However the next batter hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and the season. Your 2015 Southern League Champions, the Chattanooga Lookouts.
  23. David Price and the Blue Jays carved up the Twins on Monday afternoon and to make matters worse every affiliate in action on Monday night lost. All of the games were close, with only the Red Wings losing by more than one run, but outside of Elizabethton, there was not a lot of run scoring. Let's get to it.RED WINGS REPORT Rochester Red Wings @ Gwinnett Braves Box Score The Red Wings struck first, a solo home run in the second inning off the bat of Xavier Avery, to put the Rochester up 1-0. Unfortunately, Rochester had just four other hits the rest of the way. James Beresford, Danny Ortiz, Argenis Diaz and Chris Herrmann had the rest of the hits. Danny Ortiz was the only Red Wings player other than Avery to have an extra-base hit, a double. Danny Santana and Oswaldo Arcia were both 0-4, but neither dude struck out. What are the odds?! Jose Berrios pitched seven innings of three-run baseball. He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out four. Unfortunately he also gave up a pair of long balls, a solo shot in the fourth and a two-run dinger in the sixth, both with two outs. Berrios was replaced by A.J. Achter, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, including a strike out. Final: Red Wings 1, Braves 3 LOOKOUTS LOOK-IN Chattanooga Lookouts @ Jackson Generals Box Score The Lookouts had OWNED the Generals this year, holding a 10-1 record against Jackson going into the Monday evening contest. It seemed like the Lookouts would bring that winning attitude again on Monday night, scoring a run in the top of the first on a Jorge Polanco solo home run, but that was the last run the Lookouts scored on Monday, and they recorded just five hits on the evening. No Lookout hitter had multiple hits, though both D.J. Hicks and Stephen Wickens reached safely twice, both 1-3 with a walk. Kennys Vargas was 0-4 with three strikeouts. The big fella is hitting just .232 at AA, but he's still walking a fair amount so his OBP is still north of .350. He has 28 strikeouts in 28 games, which doesn't seem like nearly enough, but he did have a nice stretch of games in the middle of July where he went four games in a row without any whiffs. On the mound the Lookouts received a nice performance from D.J. Baxendale (pictured above) who was saddled with a tough luck loss to fall to 4-3. Baxendale pitched seven innings and gave up just four hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out two. He threw just 85 pitches and set down the side in order in the seventh, but was not given a chance to pitch any deeper into the game. J.T. Chargois pitched a clean eighth inning in relief, recording three straight ground balls. Final: Lookouts 1, Generals 2 MIRACLE MATTERS SCHEDULED OFF DAY KERNELS KORNER SCHEDULED OFF DAY E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton Twins @ Johnson City Cardinals Box Score Down 9-3 in the top of the eighth inning, the E-Town Twins put up a five spot to crawl within one run, but could not score the tying run in the ninth and fell to 19-21 on the season. Leadoff hitter Jermain Palacios was 2-5 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBIs and still could not claim to have had the best night for the Twins. That honor goes to cleanup hitter Chris Paul, who was 2-5 with a double, a home run (of the two-run variety) and FOUR RBIs. A.J. Murray (2-5), and Brad Hartong (2-4) also had multi-hit nights for the Twins. Twins starter Miles Nordgren gave up three runs on eight hits over five innings before giving way to Nate Gercken. Gercken gave up six runs, all earned, in two innings, including a pair of Cardinals home runs. Kuo Hua Lo pitched the eighth, facing the minimum and picking up a strikeout to boot. Final: Twins 8, Cardinals 9 GCL Twins GCL Twins @ GCL Orioles POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day - Chris Paul, Elizabethton Twins Pitcher of the Day - D.J. Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts FRIDAY'S PROBABLES Rochester @ Gwinnett - Michael Bowden (7-3, 2.27) vs. Sugar Ray Marimon Chattanooga @ Jackson - Jason Wheeler (2-2, 3.38) vs. TBD St. Lucie @ Fort Myers - TBD vs. TBD (Chih-Wei Hu's rotation spot) Dayton @ Cedar Rapids - Tejay Antone vs. Keaton Steele (2-3, 3.88) Elizabethton @ Johnson City - Andro Cutura (2-1, 1.03) vs. Ramon Santos Gulf Coast @ Orioles (Double Header) - TBD vs. TBD, TBD vs. TBD Click here to view the article
  24. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester Red Wings @ Gwinnett Braves Box Score The Red Wings struck first, a solo home run in the second inning off the bat of Xavier Avery, to put the Rochester up 1-0. Unfortunately, Rochester had just four other hits the rest of the way. James Beresford, Danny Ortiz, Argenis Diaz and Chris Herrmann had the rest of the hits. Danny Ortiz was the only Red Wings player other than Avery to have an extra-base hit, a double. Danny Santana and Oswaldo Arcia were both 0-4, but neither dude struck out. What are the odds?! Jose Berrios pitched seven innings of three-run baseball. He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out four. Unfortunately he also gave up a pair of long balls, a solo shot in the fourth and a two-run dinger in the sixth, both with two outs. Berrios was replaced by A.J. Achter, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, including a strike out. Final: Red Wings 1, Braves 3 LOOKOUTS LOOK-IN Chattanooga Lookouts @ Jackson Generals Box Score The Lookouts had OWNED the Generals this year, holding a 10-1 record against Jackson going into the Monday evening contest. It seemed like the Lookouts would bring that winning attitude again on Monday night, scoring a run in the top of the first on a Jorge Polanco solo home run, but that was the last run the Lookouts scored on Monday, and they recorded just five hits on the evening. No Lookout hitter had multiple hits, though both D.J. Hicks and Stephen Wickens reached safely twice, both 1-3 with a walk. Kennys Vargas was 0-4 with three strikeouts. The big fella is hitting just .232 at AA, but he's still walking a fair amount so his OBP is still north of .350. He has 28 strikeouts in 28 games, which doesn't seem like nearly enough, but he did have a nice stretch of games in the middle of July where he went four games in a row without any whiffs. On the mound the Lookouts received a nice performance from D.J. Baxendale (pictured above) who was saddled with a tough luck loss to fall to 4-3. Baxendale pitched seven innings and gave up just four hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out two. He threw just 85 pitches and set down the side in order in the seventh, but was not given a chance to pitch any deeper into the game. J.T. Chargois pitched a clean eighth inning in relief, recording three straight ground balls. Final: Lookouts 1, Generals 2 MIRACLE MATTERS SCHEDULED OFF DAY KERNELS KORNER SCHEDULED OFF DAY E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton Twins @ Johnson City Cardinals Box Score Down 9-3 in the top of the eighth inning, the E-Town Twins put up a five spot to crawl within one run, but could not score the tying run in the ninth and fell to 19-21 on the season. Leadoff hitter Jermain Palacios was 2-5 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBIs and still could not claim to have had the best night for the Twins. That honor goes to cleanup hitter Chris Paul, who was 2-5 with a double, a home run (of the two-run variety) and FOUR RBIs. A.J. Murray (2-5), and Brad Hartong (2-4) also had multi-hit nights for the Twins. Twins starter Miles Nordgren gave up three runs on eight hits over five innings before giving way to Nate Gercken. Gercken gave up six runs, all earned, in two innings, including a pair of Cardinals home runs. Kuo Hua Lo pitched the eighth, facing the minimum and picking up a strikeout to boot. Final: Twins 8, Cardinals 9 GCL Twins GCL Twins @ GCL Orioles POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day - Chris Paul, Elizabethton Twins Pitcher of the Day - D.J. Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts FRIDAY'S PROBABLES Rochester @ Gwinnett - Michael Bowden (7-3, 2.27) vs. Sugar Ray Marimon Chattanooga @ Jackson - Jason Wheeler (2-2, 3.38) vs. TBD St. Lucie @ Fort Myers - TBD vs. TBD (Chih-Wei Hu's rotation spot) Dayton @ Cedar Rapids - Tejay Antone vs. Keaton Steele (2-3, 3.88) Elizabethton @ Johnson City - Andro Cutura (2-1, 1.03) vs. Ramon Santos Gulf Coast @ Orioles (Double Header) - TBD vs. TBD, TBD vs. TBD
  25. At first I rarely visited the site, only doing so when he succeeded in persuading me to post an idea I'd have now and then, but, as time went on and baseball came back for good this spring, I got more consistent and even learned to broaden my horizons to other baseball websites and look up more than just the Twins score every day. When this year's minor league season started, my brother was super excited since it was his first year to be able to participate in Twins Daily's "Adopt-a-Prospect" feature. He was hoping to be able to take Kohl Stewart, but though he got on just minutes after the thread started, he was disappointed to see that Stewart had already been claimed by another member. But then he noticed that Byron Buxton, the top prospect in baseball, hadn't yet been claimed; I guess everyone else, like my brother, was assuming that he'd already be taken by the time he had a chance to make a pick. Naturally he immediately jumped at that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and took him. I was pretty excited for him. Writing about baseball was something he'd dreamed about doing for some time, and to get Byron Buxton on such a prestigious website as Twins Daily was a huge deal. He told me that I should take someone, but I kind of shrugged it off and said that I wouldn't have time. However, he kept pushing the point, and finally I decided to just take a look at the prospects still available. At the time, I hardly knew anything about the players, and only recognized the top names from hearing him talk about them so much. I decided to choose in an unorthodox manner; scrolling through the Twins minor league rosters, I looked for a player who wore the number 33 on his jersey. (I go by "always33" on Twins Daily since Justin Morneau has always been my favorite ballplayer, and I thought it would be kind of fun to have my prospect wear 33, too.) The player on the Fort Myers Miracle who wore 33 was at the bottom of the pitchers. It was a name I'd never heard before, Luke Westphal. "Is he any good?" I asked. "Well, it's a kind of cool story," my brother responded. "He's from Wisconsin, but he never got drafted, and then he went to play winter ball in Australia last year, and the Twins signed him during the offseason." That was enough for me. The story caught my attention, and I suddenly wanted to write about this guy. Westphal is a guy who had to go all the way to the other side of the world to sign with a team not four hours from his native town. I signed up and got to work. The next day I spent hours researching Westphal's career from college to independent baseball to Australia winter ball to Fort Myers. I scrolled through pages of Google results and read everything I came across until there wasn't another page to be found. With pages and pages of notes, I organized my information as best I could and put together my first ever Adopt a Prospect page...and my first ever article about a baseball player, much less a minor leaguer who had only made one appearance so far. By the time I was done and had it posted, I was feeling pretty exhausted. My brother, who had also adopted Zach Jones, wanted me to take a second player as well, but I put my foot down and said no. One was enough...at least for the time being. But maybe five weeks later, I became interested in another minor leaguer's career: Trey Vavra, son of Twins' bench coach Joe Vavra. He was terrorizing pitchers in low A and had just been awarded Twins Minor League Player of the Week after posting 10 hits (1 double), 8 runs, 2 RBI, and 6 walks in just 19 at- bats, earning a .560 batting average on the week. I got excited about him and decided to adopt him, too...and then when I started doing research about him I discovered that he not only wore 33 but had been drafted in the 33rd round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. I was pretty thrilled, to say the least. How cool was it that I now had two prospects who shared jersey numbers with my favorite all-time player, however short the time would be that they'd keep them. I got Trey's page up and was rewarded when Seth Stohs, my new writing hero whose articles I always read with enthusiasm almost equal to watching the Twins play, thanked me for doing so and told me that I had done a great job. I don't mean to brag about myself, but I was so excited that I adopted D.J. Baxendale, a starting pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts, not twenty-four hours later, if my memory serves me right. And he wasn't the last one, either. Just a few days ago I got Todd Van Steensel's page going, and now I have four prospects to follow and update on a minimum of a weekly basis. It's been a lot of fun, and while I was right that it would be time consuming, it's well worth it. I've developed a sort of sentimental attachment for each and every one of those players, and it's going to be pretty sad if I can't get them all again next year, for whatever reason. But I'm enjoying following them now (and all the rest of the Twins' minor leaguers, even though I can't adopt them all), and I'm going to relish every moment of it while it lasts. I've included a brief overview of each of my prospects below, and if you're interested in learning more about them, you can click on their names to read their Adopt-a-Prospect pages. It's been a lot of fun reading about their careers, and I hope you enjoy reading the pages I've put together for them! D.J. Baxendale, right-handed starting pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts, was drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arkansas by the Minnesota Twins. Since then, he has worked himself up to Double A, and this year he has made nine starts and posted a 3.47 ERA over 49.1 innings pitched, striking out 42 and walking 16. His record currently stands at 3-1. Luke Westphal, left-handed pitcher for the Fort Myers Miracle, was signed by the Twins in early 2015 after being discovered by Twins scout Howard Norsetter when he was pitching for the Doncaster Dragons of Australia’s Baseball Victoria Summer League where he started 14 games and collected 141 strikeouts with an ERA of 0.49 in 80 innings. He was assigned to High-A to start the season, and so far he has made 12 appearances, starting 5 games and picking up 2 wins and 2 losses. He currently has 20 strikeouts and 13 walks over 29.2 innings pitched. Todd Van Steensel, right-handed closer for the Fort Myers Miracle, has had a somewhat rocky minor league career but was given a second chance with the Minnesota Twins when they signed him to a minor league deal on February 6, 2014. This year he has played in 16 games at Fort Myers and is currently 1-2 with 4 saves in 6 opportunities. He has allowed just 24 hits over 29.1 innings, and he already has 42 strikeouts whilst walking 17. Trey Vavra, first baseman, left fielder, and designated hitter for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, was selected by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Southern College. His father, Joe Vavra, and older brother, Tanner, were already parts of the Twins organization, so it was pretty special for Trey to come to the Twins, too. This year he has played in 42 games at Class A, batting 319./.392/.454 (.846) with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 6 home runs, 28 RBI, and 29 runs scored. Unfortunately he was placed on the 7-day DL on May 27 due to a sprained left ankle after banging into the tarp down the left-field line chasing a foul ball. However, the week is almost up, and I'm eagerly anticipating his return to the field. --- Read full entry here: Twins Daily's "Adopt a Prospect" - How I Became Addicted
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