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  1. Tonight at 8:00 (central time), Episode 4 of Seth's Twins On Deck Podcast will go live. Tonight, he'll be joined by three Minnesota Twins prospects, including one with a strong opportunity to start the season with the big league club, and another senior on the Minnesota Gophers roster. Tonight, he'll also be joined by a gentleman who scouted a lot of Chattanooga Lookouts games in 2017. Tune in at 8:00 tonight to listen live. If you can't listen live, it will be available at the same link shortly following the show's completion. You can also search iTunes and subscribe to it. (search Minnesota Sports Weekly)Tune in live at 8:00 central time tonight when Seth will again be joined by five guests. Leading off will be a guy who could be in the Twins leadoff position at times throughout the 2018 season, Zack Granite. He burst onto the prospect scene when he was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2016. He built upon that success with another strong 2017 which included his MLB debut and a spot on the Twins playoff roster. Baseball in Puerto Rico continues to be very strong. On this show, we'll be joined by infielder Nelson Molina who spent most of the 2017 season in Ft. Myers with the Miracle, though he also got some games in Chattanooga. Lewis Thorpe missed two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and illness, but he made his return in 2017 and pitched very well with the Miracle. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster and recently participated in his first Twins Fest. Chris Blessing is a prospect writer for Baseball HQ and USA Today Sports Media. One of the teams he saw most frequently was the Chattanooga Lookouts. We'll discuss some Lookouts players for his thoughts, but also about the art and science of scouting a ballplayer. Finally, we will be joined by another member of the Minnesota Gophers baseball program. (Still awaiting verification and will update with a name at that time. If you have any questions for any of these guests, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I'll ask them during the show. If you are listening during the live show, I will also ask for questions on my Twitter feed, so you can ask questions there as well. You can listen live, or you can listen later. Either way, you'll want to listen and learn more about some Twins minor leaguers and more. PREVIOUS EPISODES Episode 1: Twins (LaMonte Wade, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Wells), Gophers (Luke Pettersen), MLB.com's prospect guru Jonathan Mayo. Episode 2: Twins (Aaron Slegers, Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Royce Lewis), Gophers (Toby Hanson) Episode 3: Twins (Bryan Sammons, Ryley Widell, Zack Littell, Travis Blankenhorn), Gophers (Alex Boxwell) Click here to view the article
  2. Tune in live at 8:00 central time tonight when Seth will again be joined by five guests. Leading off will be a guy who could be in the Twins leadoff position at times throughout the 2018 season, Zack Granite. He burst onto the prospect scene when he was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2016. He built upon that success with another strong 2017 which included his MLB debut and a spot on the Twins playoff roster. Baseball in Puerto Rico continues to be very strong. On this show, we'll be joined by infielder Nelson Molina who spent most of the 2017 season in Ft. Myers with the Miracle, though he also got some games in Chattanooga. Lewis Thorpe missed two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and illness, but he made his return in 2017 and pitched very well with the Miracle. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster and recently participated in his first Twins Fest. Chris Blessing is a prospect writer for Baseball HQ and USA Today Sports Media. One of the teams he saw most frequently was the Chattanooga Lookouts. We'll discuss some Lookouts players for his thoughts, but also about the art and science of scouting a ballplayer. Finally, we will be joined by another member of the Minnesota Gophers baseball program. (Still awaiting verification and will update with a name at that time. If you have any questions for any of these guests, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I'll ask them during the show. If you are listening during the live show, I will also ask for questions on my Twitter feed, so you can ask questions there as well. You can listen live, or you can listen later. Either way, you'll want to listen and learn more about some Twins minor leaguers and more. PREVIOUS EPISODES Episode 1: Twins (LaMonte Wade, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Wells), Gophers (Luke Pettersen), MLB.com's prospect guru Jonathan Mayo. Episode 2: Twins (Aaron Slegers, Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Royce Lewis), Gophers (Toby Hanson) Episode 3: Twins (Bryan Sammons, Ryley Widell, Zack Littell, Travis Blankenhorn), Gophers (Alex Boxwell)
  3. The big league team continues to disappoint, and while the first half of the season was pretty fun, the Twins are now just a pair of games ahead of the Tigers and have won just twice in their last 10 games. The stretch run could be pretty brutal, but that means we should see plenty of September call-ups. In the minors, we had some strong performances from Felix Jorge, a rehabbing Glen Perkins, and a big day at the plate from J.B. Shuck.Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Thursday. RED WINGS REPORT Lehigh Valley 2 @ Rochester 5 Box Score Hector Santiago struck out 9 over 5.2 innings. He gave up a run on five hits, the damage coming via a solo home run. He walked just one. Big league cast-off Michael Tonkin gave the Red Wings 1.2 innings of relief. He gave up a couple of hits and a run, but pitched well enough to earn a hold. John Curtiss came in for a five-out save, gave up a hit, and walked two to earn his sixth save of the season. J.B. Shuck led the way for the Red Wings with the bat, he was 3-4 with a double and a run scored. Daniel Palka was 2-4 with a home run, his 10th of the year. ByungHo Park was 2-5 with a run scored and has 13 hits in his last nine games, including a pair of home runs. He’s also struck out 15 times over that same span, so maybe he isn’t hitting his way back to the Twin Cities any time soon. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4 @ Montgomery 0 Box Score What a nice day from Felix Jorge. The little stud-muffin gave up just four hits over 7.2 innings, and kept the Montgomery Biscuits off the board. He walked two, and struck out five. After back to back starts in the middle of July when he gave up six earned runs, he’s turned in two great performances, including a complete game one-run game less than a week ago. Nick Anderson came in to help Jorge finish the eighth, and grabbed himself his fifth save of the year by making quick work of Montgomery over 1.1 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.19. Ryan Walker did most of the work for the Lookouts, with a run scoring single in the second, and a two-run double in the top of the ninth to extend the lead. Centerfielder Levi Michael added the other RBI for the Lookouts, going 1-4 with a K. He’s hitting well lately and has tallied 17 hits in his last 9 games, raising his average 25 points. MIRACLE MATTERS Jupiter 3 @ Fort Myers 4 Box Score The Miracle won on Thursday in a back and forth game that saw the Miracle take the lead in the fifth, again in the seventh after the game was tied, lose the lead in the top of the eighth, and then walked-off with a Nelson Molina home run to start the ninth! Molina was 2-4 with that home run and a pair of runs scored. Following the walk-off, Nelson Molina told Twins Daily, "It's a unique feeling. It's so great really. I just thank God for that great feeling." Recent draftee Brent Rooker was 1-4 with two strikeouts. On the bump, Glen Perkins pitched a clean first inning in his rehab start. He was replaced by Brady Anderson who gave the Miracle 5.0 innings of one-run baseball, giving up four hits, and he struck out two. Then it was an inning each from Tom Hackimer (one hit, no runs scored), Andrew Vasquez (one hit, two runs scored, a walk, and a blown save), and Alex Muren (a hit, two strikeouts, and the all-important W, thanks to Molina). In giving up a pair of runs, Vasquez broke a 24-inning scoreless streak to start his Miracle career. KERNELS NUGGETS Kane County 6 @ Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score The Kernels gave up 15 (FIFTEEN!) hits to Kane County and fell just 6-1 only because the Cougars were just 2-13 with men in scoring position. Tyler Watson was tagged with the loss after 5.1 innings of seven-hit, four-run baseball. He walked one and struck out four. He was replaced by Patrick McGuff who gave up a pair of runs over 1.2 innings. And Ryan Mason finished the game off with, 2.0 innings, four hits, and three strikeouts. Like the Cougars, the Kernels squandered some scoring chances. They were just 2-12 with RISP and stranded 11 runners. The Cedar Rapids 3-4-5 hitters were a combined 1-11 with no walks and three strikeouts. Jimmy Kerrigan was 2-5 at the top of the order, and Travis Blankenhorn was 2-4 with a walk, really the only bright spots on the night. E-Twins E-Notes Burlington 4 @ Elizabethton 1 Box Score The E-Town Twins were down 4-0 before they pushed a run across in the bottom of the seventh, but ultimately squandered too many chances on Thursday night, going 0-8 with runners in scoring position and stranding six runners. All eight of the Twins’ hits were singles, and they lost another out on the basepaths when Akil Baddoo was caught stealing in the bottom of the sixth. Baddoo, however, led the team offensively, going 2-4 with a walk, reaching three times. Starter Edwar Colina turned in a quality start, giving up three runs over 6.0 innings. HE gave up four hits, walked 3three and struck out six. He was replaced by Jared Finkel (or was it ?*), who gave up a run and two hits in 2.0 innings, also giving up a walk and striking out a pair. Jovani Moran pitched the ninth, giving up no hits, but he walked a pair and struck out a pair. GCL Twins Takes GCL Rays 2 @ GCL Twins 3 Box Score Tyler Wells started for the Twins and faced just nine batters over 3.0 perfect innings. He struck out three batters as a bonus. He was replaced by Matt Jones, who gave up an unearned run over 3.1 innings of two-hit baseball and collected the win. He walked three and struck out two. Amilcar Cruiz earned a hold and gave up an earned run without giving up a hit when one of his runners scored after he (Cruiz) was lifted from the game after walking the first two batters in the ninth. Zach Featherstone earned his second save of the year coming in for Cruiz in the ninth. He struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up a double that scored two runs to make it a 3-2 game with a man on second and one out. Featherstone promptly struck out the next two batters to preserve the save, and the victory, for the Twins. The Twins had just six hits on the night, and no one had more than a pair of hits. Luckily for the Twins, Jean Carlos Arias scored a pair of runs with a two-run home run in the sixth, and Colton Burns accounted for the third run on a solo shot in the seventh. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – J.B. Shuck, Rochester Red Wings FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (4:05pm, Double header) – Game 1: TBD, Game 2: Dietrich Enns (1-1, 2.29 Jackson @ Chattanooga (6:15pm) - Stephen Gonsalves (7-3, 2.90) Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:05pm) – Lewis Thorpe (2-4, 3.06) Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35pm) – Clark Beeker (10-3, 2.31) Elizabethton (6:00pm) – Brusdar Graterol (0-0, 4.50) GCL Twins (11:00am) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games. Click here to view the article
  4. Find out everything that happened in the Twins minor league system on Thursday. RED WINGS REPORT Lehigh Valley 2 @ Rochester 5 Box Score Hector Santiago struck out 9 over 5.2 innings. He gave up a run on five hits, the damage coming via a solo home run. He walked just one. Big league cast-off Michael Tonkin gave the Red Wings 1.2 innings of relief. He gave up a couple of hits and a run, but pitched well enough to earn a hold. John Curtiss came in for a five-out save, gave up a hit, and walked two to earn his sixth save of the season. J.B. Shuck led the way for the Red Wings with the bat, he was 3-4 with a double and a run scored. Daniel Palka was 2-4 with a home run, his 10th of the year. ByungHo Park was 2-5 with a run scored and has 13 hits in his last nine games, including a pair of home runs. He’s also struck out 15 times over that same span, so maybe he isn’t hitting his way back to the Twin Cities any time soon. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4 @ Montgomery 0 Box Score What a nice day from Felix Jorge. The little stud-muffin gave up just four hits over 7.2 innings, and kept the Montgomery Biscuits off the board. He walked two, and struck out five. After back to back starts in the middle of July when he gave up six earned runs, he’s turned in two great performances, including a complete game one-run game less than a week ago. Nick Anderson came in to help Jorge finish the eighth, and grabbed himself his fifth save of the year by making quick work of Montgomery over 1.1 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.19. Ryan Walker did most of the work for the Lookouts, with a run scoring single in the second, and a two-run double in the top of the ninth to extend the lead. Centerfielder Levi Michael added the other RBI for the Lookouts, going 1-4 with a K. He’s hitting well lately and has tallied 17 hits in his last 9 games, raising his average 25 points. MIRACLE MATTERS Jupiter 3 @ Fort Myers 4 Box Score The Miracle won on Thursday in a back and forth game that saw the Miracle take the lead in the fifth, again in the seventh after the game was tied, lose the lead in the top of the eighth, and then walked-off with a Nelson Molina home run to start the ninth! Molina was 2-4 with that home run and a pair of runs scored. Following the walk-off, Nelson Molina told Twins Daily, "It's a unique feeling. It's so great really. I just thank God for that great feeling." Recent draftee Brent Rooker was 1-4 with two strikeouts. On the bump, Glen Perkins pitched a clean first inning in his rehab start. He was replaced by Brady Anderson who gave the Miracle 5.0 innings of one-run baseball, giving up four hits, and he struck out two. Then it was an inning each from Tom Hackimer (one hit, no runs scored), Andrew Vasquez (one hit, two runs scored, a walk, and a blown save), and Alex Muren (a hit, two strikeouts, and the all-important W, thanks to Molina). In giving up a pair of runs, Vasquez broke a 24-inning scoreless streak to start his Miracle career. KERNELS NUGGETS Kane County 6 @ Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score The Kernels gave up 15 (FIFTEEN!) hits to Kane County and fell just 6-1 only because the Cougars were just 2-13 with men in scoring position. Tyler Watson was tagged with the loss after 5.1 innings of seven-hit, four-run baseball. He walked one and struck out four. He was replaced by Patrick McGuff who gave up a pair of runs over 1.2 innings. And Ryan Mason finished the game off with, 2.0 innings, four hits, and three strikeouts. Like the Cougars, the Kernels squandered some scoring chances. They were just 2-12 with RISP and stranded 11 runners. The Cedar Rapids 3-4-5 hitters were a combined 1-11 with no walks and three strikeouts. Jimmy Kerrigan was 2-5 at the top of the order, and Travis Blankenhorn was 2-4 with a walk, really the only bright spots on the night. E-Twins E-Notes Burlington 4 @ Elizabethton 1 Box Score The E-Town Twins were down 4-0 before they pushed a run across in the bottom of the seventh, but ultimately squandered too many chances on Thursday night, going 0-8 with runners in scoring position and stranding six runners. All eight of the Twins’ hits were singles, and they lost another out on the basepaths when Akil Baddoo was caught stealing in the bottom of the sixth. Baddoo, however, led the team offensively, going 2-4 with a walk, reaching three times. Starter Edwar Colina turned in a quality start, giving up three runs over 6.0 innings. HE gave up four hits, walked 3three and struck out six. He was replaced by Jared Finkel (or was it ?*), who gave up a run and two hits in 2.0 innings, also giving up a walk and striking out a pair. Jovani Moran pitched the ninth, giving up no hits, but he walked a pair and struck out a pair.GCL Twins Takes GCL Rays 2 @ GCL Twins 3 Box Score Tyler Wells started for the Twins and faced just nine batters over 3.0 perfect innings. He struck out three batters as a bonus. He was replaced by Matt Jones, who gave up an unearned run over 3.1 innings of two-hit baseball and collected the win. He walked three and struck out two. Amilcar Cruiz earned a hold and gave up an earned run without giving up a hit when one of his runners scored after he (Cruiz) was lifted from the game after walking the first two batters in the ninth. Zach Featherstone earned his second save of the year coming in for Cruiz in the ninth. He struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up a double that scored two runs to make it a 3-2 game with a man on second and one out. Featherstone promptly struck out the next two batters to preserve the save, and the victory, for the Twins. The Twins had just six hits on the night, and no one had more than a pair of hits. Luckily for the Twins, Jean Carlos Arias scored a pair of runs with a two-run home run in the sixth, and Colton Burns accounted for the third run on a solo shot in the seventh. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – J.B. Shuck, Rochester Red Wings FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (4:05pm, Double header) – Game 1: TBD, Game 2: Dietrich Enns (1-1, 2.29 Jackson @ Chattanooga (6:15pm) - Stephen Gonsalves (7-3, 2.90) Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:05pm) – Lewis Thorpe (2-4, 3.06) Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35pm) – Clark Beeker (10-3, 2.31) Elizabethton (6:00pm) – Brusdar Graterol (0-0, 4.50) GCL Twins (11:00am) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games.
  5. At 5:00 on Wednesday, Jeff Idelson announced that three players had been voted to become the 2017 Hall of Fame class. Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines made it after falling just short a year ago. On his first ballot, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez also was named a Hall of Famer, baseball’s highest honor. Certainly it was a huge day for all three new Hall of Famers. Certainly a big day for Puerto Rico. And without question, it was a big day for Dereck Rodriguez, Twins prospect and son of the first-ballot Hall of Famer.Making the Hall of Fame is a huge accomplishment. With Rodriguez voted in, it was also a big day for Puerto Rico. He became just the fourth player born in Puerto Rico to be named a Hall of Famer. Consider all of the great players to come from Puerto Rico, only Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Lean Marrero spent his summer playing for the GCL Twins. Very young, he has a lot of athletic talent. Here are his thoughts on this important day for Ivan Rodriguez and for Puerto Rico. “It gives me satisfaction to hear that a Puerto Rican has reached the Hall of Fame. It inspires me to stay focused on what I want my career to be like It serves as an example to always exceed any limitation.” JJ Fernandez, a Twins minor league outfielder who spent his 2016 season in Cedar Rapids and had been a catcher before 2016, was excited for Rodriguez. “For me, he deserves it. He’s one of the best catchers baseball has ever seen. It really means a lot for sure. Everybody in Puerto Rico is very happy and proud.” Another 2016 Kernel, Nelson Molina, was very excited as well. “It means so much to me. Really, it does. Since I was a little kid, he was always my favorite player. I know it’s not only me, but all the young players from Puerto Rico have this feeling of excitement and feel extremely proud, knowing that dreams do come true with hard work, dedication and a lot of sacrifice.” Molina continued, “I got the pleasure of not only meeting him, but to get to know him on a personal level. All I can say is that he is a great human being who has given me advice on how to be a better player. As I mentioned before, I know it’s not only me, but all of Puerto Rico feels extremely proud of Ivan for joining a select group of elite baseball players in the Hall of Fame, and putting our island, Puerto Rico, very high as have Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda.” “It means a lot,” said Dereck Rodriguez, another member of the 2016 Cedar Rapids Kernels roster from Puerto Rico. He continued, “Hopefully there’s one next year too in Edgar Martinez. You never know. It could be one year, five years, twenty years. It’s a very special moment for Puerto Ricans and for the island. I know they’re going crazy right now. I’ve received phone calls and FaceTimed with people. It's nuts over there right now. It’s a fun time.” Dereck Rodriguez is excited for the island of Puerto Rico, where he has been pitching (and well) this winter. But as the son of Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck is understandably excited for his dad and his family. On Tuesday, he flew to Dallas to be with his father. It was important for him to be there. “It means a lot to me. This is where I was born. This is where everything started for him. It’s where things started for him and for me,” he continued, “It was big. I was there from Day 1. I went through the journey with him. I spent a lot of nights with him in the hotel in the summers. It means a lot. It was important for me to be there with him for that special moment.” Just ten minutes before 5:00, the phone rang at Ivan Rodriguez’s home. On the other end, the Hall of Fame. Seconds later, Pudge clenched his fist and raised his arm as tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. The first person to give him a hug was his son, Dereck. Dereck Rodriguez said, “It was a special moment. Yeah, I got the first hug in. It was a very special moment. I couldn’t hold back any tears.” Rodriguez noted, “To be honest, it was a longer tweet but you can only put so many characters, so I had to make it shorter.” Drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Florida, Rodriguez spent the first three years of his professional career as a hitter. At that point, Rodriguez and the Twins brass made the decision for him to move to the mound, to become a pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League pitcher of the year. His father gets to a handful of Dereck’s games each year. “He’s been supportive. He tries to make it out there as much as he can.” Ivan Rodriguez is a special assistant to the GM of the Texas Rangers. It’s a title similar to what the Twins recently named Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins. He also does pregame and postgame shows for Fox Sports Southwest during the season. This year, Dereck Rodriguez moved up to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He really struggled for the first two months before taking off. Starting in mid-June, he started pitching much better. In fact, he had a strong six-week stretch for the Kernels and earned a promotion to Ft. Myers where he pitched well in five starts to end the season. “I started throwing the ball down a bit more. It was honestly that confidence. I didn’t have as much confidence as I should. I started throwing the two-seam a lot more, and that helped a lot. Started getting a lot more ground balls instead of fly balls. It was a combination of things. But that main thing was that I just needed to build up my confidence. It paid off. I got moved up to High-A and I just kept doing it up there.” This winter, as we mentioned, he has been working out the bullpen for Mayaguez. He pitches an inning or two each weekend. In 13 games and 17.2 innings, he is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA. He has been very appreciative of the opportunity he was given and gained a lot from it. “It was special. It was fun. They gave me the confidence that they believed in me to throw me in those late-game situations. Puerto Rico, compared to the other leagues, may not be the highest ranked, but it’s really good competition. They have AA, AAA, big league guys playing there. It was a lot of fun. It taught me a lot. I worked on a couple of things. It taught me how to pitch in different situations, key situations late in the game. It taught me a lot.” 2017 is a big year for Rodriguez. At the end of the season, he could become a free agent if he chooses. So what are his goals? “I think any player in the minors, the ultimate goal is to go up as much as he can; AA, AAA, or even the big leagues. I’m taking some time off right now with my arm to give it some rest before getting it going again. Trying to make AA right out of spring training and see what happens from there. Hopefully I do well enough and they see the hard work that I do during the year and then, we’ll see, maybe move up to AAA and maybe the big leagues in September.” He’d like to get a little rest before spring training starts in a little over a month. But the next few days will not allow for it. He is going to be a bit busy, doing some traveling with his dad. They are flying up to New York tonight, expected to arrive in Cooperstown well after midnight. “It’s going to be a couple of fun, hectic days.” Tomorrow afternoon, Ivan Rodriguez will join Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines at the baseball Hall of Fame to see the museum and speak with more press. Dereck says that he has been to Cooperstown before, but this will certainly be different. “I’ve been there before, but as a visitor. Last time I went, I was 12 years old. Now I get to go and see everything, appreciate everything a lot more now that I’m older.” What an experience! Some may say that Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher in baseball history. Some will say that title goes to Yogi Berra. In baseball’s 150-year existence, it is certain that Ivan Rodriguez is right there at or near the top of the list of baseball’s great catchers. His son Dereck is very happy and very proud. As he should be. “He worked his butt off to be where he is today. I honestly don’t think there’s been a harder working person than he has been. During the offseason, his workout program, and even during the season, he was the first one to get to the stadium and the last one to leave. He worked his butt off to get to where he is today.” Click here to view the article
  6. Making the Hall of Fame is a huge accomplishment. With Rodriguez voted in, it was also a big day for Puerto Rico. He became just the fourth player born in Puerto Rico to be named a Hall of Famer. Consider all of the great players to come from Puerto Rico, only Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Lean Marrero spent his summer playing for the GCL Twins. Very young, he has a lot of athletic talent. Here are his thoughts on this important day for Ivan Rodriguez and for Puerto Rico. “It gives me satisfaction to hear that a Puerto Rican has reached the Hall of Fame. It inspires me to stay focused on what I want my career to be like It serves as an example to always exceed any limitation.” JJ Fernandez, a Twins minor league outfielder who spent his 2016 season in Cedar Rapids and had been a catcher before 2016, was excited for Rodriguez. “For me, he deserves it. He’s one of the best catchers baseball has ever seen. It really means a lot for sure. Everybody in Puerto Rico is very happy and proud.” Another 2016 Kernel, Nelson Molina, was very excited as well. “It means so much to me. Really, it does. Since I was a little kid, he was always my favorite player. I know it’s not only me, but all the young players from Puerto Rico have this feeling of excitement and feel extremely proud, knowing that dreams do come true with hard work, dedication and a lot of sacrifice.” Molina continued, “I got the pleasure of not only meeting him, but to get to know him on a personal level. All I can say is that he is a great human being who has given me advice on how to be a better player. As I mentioned before, I know it’s not only me, but all of Puerto Rico feels extremely proud of Ivan for joining a select group of elite baseball players in the Hall of Fame, and putting our island, Puerto Rico, very high as have Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda.” “It means a lot,” said Dereck Rodriguez, another member of the 2016 Cedar Rapids Kernels roster from Puerto Rico. He continued, “Hopefully there’s one next year too in Edgar Martinez. You never know. It could be one year, five years, twenty years. It’s a very special moment for Puerto Ricans and for the island. I know they’re going crazy right now. I’ve received phone calls and FaceTimed with people. It's nuts over there right now. It’s a fun time.” Dereck Rodriguez is excited for the island of Puerto Rico, where he has been pitching (and well) this winter. But as the son of Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck is understandably excited for his dad and his family. On Tuesday, he flew to Dallas to be with his father. It was important for him to be there. “It means a lot to me. This is where I was born. This is where everything started for him. It’s where things started for him and for me,” he continued, “It was big. I was there from Day 1. I went through the journey with him. I spent a lot of nights with him in the hotel in the summers. It means a lot. It was important for me to be there with him for that special moment.” Just ten minutes before 5:00, the phone rang at Ivan Rodriguez’s home. On the other end, the Hall of Fame. Seconds later, Pudge clenched his fist and raised his arm as tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. The first person to give him a hug was his son, Dereck. Dereck Rodriguez said, “It was a special moment. Yeah, I got the first hug in. It was a very special moment. I couldn’t hold back any tears.” https://twitter.com/Pudge_Rodriguez/status/821858997431107584 Dereck Rodriguez has a very different perspective on the game of baseball than most people, even most minor leaguers. It might be surprising to some to learn when he realized just how difficult this game is and the challenges it can present. “Before I signed, I always just thought of this as just a game. After I signed and had been in the minor leagues and been through all of the struggles… It’s tough. It’s tough. And to be a Hall of Famer, and to be the caliber of player that he was, it’s not easy. So I understand 100% how he must feel after all of the hard work and sacrifice that he put in. It paid off.” Rodriguez has said before that he spent a lot of time with his dad growing up. He saw it up close. He had a great view of the game and got to know many of his dad’s teammates, but for him, it was about more than that. In fact, other things were likely more important much of the time. “When I used to come to the field when I was younger, I used to spend my time making paintballs and playing pickle and all that stuff with the other kids.” Now? As Dereck Rodriguez stood in the outfield at The Ballpark in Arlington, looking in as his father conducted a press conference on the infield, his mind was racing and full of excitement. “I go to a baseball game, and wow, I want to be here. I’m here standing in the outfield. I’m wishing and hoping. I can’t wait to be hopefully one day be pitching on that mound, in front of this packed stadium, in the town that I lived in and grew up, and it pretty much raised me for a lot of years.” Dereck Rodriguez is one proud son. “The feeling that I have right now for my dad, and me honestly, I can’t believe it that my dad is a Hall of Famer.” That was the sentiment he felt when he posted the following on twitter: https://twitter.com/DereckrodRF3/status/821865982935252992 Rodriguez noted, “To be honest, it was a longer tweet but you can only put so many characters, so I had to make it shorter.” Drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Florida, Rodriguez spent the first three years of his professional career as a hitter. At that point, Rodriguez and the Twins brass made the decision for him to move to the mound, to become a pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appalachian League pitcher of the year. His father gets to a handful of Dereck’s games each year. “He’s been supportive. He tries to make it out there as much as he can.” Ivan Rodriguez is a special assistant to the GM of the Texas Rangers. It’s a title similar to what the Twins recently named Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins. He also does pregame and postgame shows for Fox Sports Southwest during the season. This year, Dereck Rodriguez moved up to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He really struggled for the first two months before taking off. Starting in mid-June, he started pitching much better. In fact, he had a strong six-week stretch for the Kernels and earned a promotion to Ft. Myers where he pitched well in five starts to end the season. “I started throwing the ball down a bit more. It was honestly that confidence. I didn’t have as much confidence as I should. I started throwing the two-seam a lot more, and that helped a lot. Started getting a lot more ground balls instead of fly balls. It was a combination of things. But that main thing was that I just needed to build up my confidence. It paid off. I got moved up to High-A and I just kept doing it up there.” This winter, as we mentioned, he has been working out the bullpen for Mayaguez. He pitches an inning or two each weekend. In 13 games and 17.2 innings, he is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA. He has been very appreciative of the opportunity he was given and gained a lot from it. “It was special. It was fun. They gave me the confidence that they believed in me to throw me in those late-game situations. Puerto Rico, compared to the other leagues, may not be the highest ranked, but it’s really good competition. They have AA, AAA, big league guys playing there. It was a lot of fun. It taught me a lot. I worked on a couple of things. It taught me how to pitch in different situations, key situations late in the game. It taught me a lot.” 2017 is a big year for Rodriguez. At the end of the season, he could become a free agent if he chooses. So what are his goals? “I think any player in the minors, the ultimate goal is to go up as much as he can; AA, AAA, or even the big leagues. I’m taking some time off right now with my arm to give it some rest before getting it going again. Trying to make AA right out of spring training and see what happens from there. Hopefully I do well enough and they see the hard work that I do during the year and then, we’ll see, maybe move up to AAA and maybe the big leagues in September.” He’d like to get a little rest before spring training starts in a little over a month. But the next few days will not allow for it. He is going to be a bit busy, doing some traveling with his dad. They are flying up to New York tonight, expected to arrive in Cooperstown well after midnight. “It’s going to be a couple of fun, hectic days.” Tomorrow afternoon, Ivan Rodriguez will join Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines at the baseball Hall of Fame to see the museum and speak with more press. Dereck says that he has been to Cooperstown before, but this will certainly be different. “I’ve been there before, but as a visitor. Last time I went, I was 12 years old. Now I get to go and see everything, appreciate everything a lot more now that I’m older.” What an experience! Some may say that Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher in baseball history. Some will say that title goes to Yogi Berra. In baseball’s 150-year existence, it is certain that Ivan Rodriguez is right there at or near the top of the list of baseball’s great catchers. His son Dereck is very happy and very proud. As he should be. “He worked his butt off to be where he is today. I honestly don’t think there’s been a harder working person than he has been. During the offseason, his workout program, and even during the season, he was the first one to get to the stadium and the last one to leave. He worked his butt off to get to where he is today.”
  7. Today we look at the Ft. Myers Miracle players and coaching staff. We try to figure out a solid everyday lineup, and discuss the top prospects. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the team or roster, and ask as many questions as you would like. COACHING STAFF The last time Ft. Myers fans saw Doug Mientkiewicz in a Miracle uniform, he was leading the team to the 2014 Florida State League championship. He was moved up to Chattanooga where he helped the Lookouts to the 2015 Southern League championship. In 2017, he is back in his home state of Florida with the Miracle. In his four seasons as a minor league manager, he has an impressive 312-239 record. With the retirement of Jim Dwyer, the Miracle will have a new hitting coach for the first time since 2006. Dwyer had been a coach in the Twins system dating back to 1991. Steve Singleton takes over as the team’s new hitting coach after spending 2016 with the GCL Twins. He reached AAA with the Twins during his six seasons as a player in the organization. Henry Bonilla will be in his second season as the team’s pitching coach. It is his sixth season as a coach in the organization. He pitched in the Twins organization for seven minor league seasons. ROSTERS Here is a look at the Ft. Myers Miracle Opening Day roster. 16 of the players spent at least some time with the Miracle last year. One player, Randy Rosario, is on the 40-man roster. HITTERS Catchers: Kevin Garcia, Brian Navarreto, AJ Murray (DL), Infielders: Trey Vavra, Zander Wiel, Luis Arraez, Sean Miller, Nelson Molina, Alex Perez, Chris Paul, Brian Olson (DL), Outfielders: Daniel Kihle, Max Murphy, Rafael Valera PITCHERS Starting Pitchers: Randy LeBlanc, Dereck Rodriguez, Cody Stashak, Keaton Steele, Lachlan Wells, Andro Cutura (DL-elbow), Henry Centeno (DL) Relief Pitchers: Sam Clay, Jonny Drozd, Anthony McIver, Alex Muren (DL), Williams Ramirez, Randy Rosario, Michael Theofanopoulos, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Anderson (DL), Cameron Booser (DL), Michael Cederoth (DL), Henry Centeno (DL) POTENTIAL LINEUP 2B - Luis Arraez SS - Nelson Molina 1B - Trey Vavra DH - Zander Wiel 3B - Chris Paul CF - Daniel Kihle RF - Max Murphy C - AJ Murray LF - Rafael Valera TOP PROSPECTS Luis Arraez - He can flat-out hit. He has hit everywhere he’s played, including the Venezuelan Winter League. His .347 average led the Midwest League a year ago. Lachlan Wells - The Australian posted a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts (71.1 innings) as a 19-year-old last year. Pitched for Team Australia in the WBC. Randy Rosario - Rosario has a strong showing in big league spring training, but he was also moved to the bullpen full time and will start with the Miracle. Cody Stashak - Not a big guy, but Stashak just gets the job done well. He sits 91-92 with a fastball. He has good control of three good pitches. Under-the-radar prospect. Nelson Molina - had a breakout season in 2016, hitting .300 with a strong OBP in Cedar Rapids. STORIES TO WATCH The Australian starter Lachlan Wells will be fun to watch. Wells is 20. He put up strong numbers as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids. Wells, along with fellow Australian (who should pitch for the Miracle sometime in 2017) could be Top 10 Twins prospects by season’s end. And who knows, maybe Todd Van Steensel will help secure a couple of their wins. What can Luis Arraez do in the Florida State League. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but will he continue to be able to post incredible batting average with the bigger ballparks? As a prospect, however, he’ll have to improve his defense. But again, the batting average will be something to watch. Alex Muren missed the entire 2016 season due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. He will start the season on the DL, but he’s one reliever who could advance quickly to Chattanooga when ready and needed. The same can be said of Van Steensel and Randy Rosario. A lot was made of Tyler Jay’s move to the bullpen. The club’s decision to move Randy Rosario was made less than a week earlier, and Rosario was happy about that. Before spring training, the organization also decided to move another left-handed starter, Sam Clay, to the bullpen. He was a reliever in college and really struggled with command. He should see an improvement in stuff and velocity with the move, but he’ll have to improve his control. Dereck Rodriguez was the Twins 6th round pick in 2011 out of high school. He spent three years as a hitter. He has now spent the last three seasons as a pitcher, the last two as a starter. He moved up to Ft. Myers for the final two months of last season, and then he pitched out of the bullpen throughout the offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Can he take a step forward on the mound again in 2017? Enough for the Twins to add him to the 40-man roster after the season? Please feel free to discuss this roster. Ask lots of questions and check back often. What stories will you be following?
  8. A year ago, the Miracle had an overall record of 78-61, and yet they did not make the playoffs as they did not win their division in each half. Manager Jeff Smith took the job of Twins first base coach, and a familiar face returned to lead the Miracle in 2017. While this team may not have a lot of the big-name prospects, there is a lot of talent on the roster and it should be a competitive team again.Today we look at the Ft. Myers Miracle players and coaching staff. We try to figure out a solid everyday lineup, and discuss the top prospects. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the team or roster, and ask as many questions as you would like. COACHING STAFF The last time Ft. Myers fans saw Doug Mientkiewicz in a Miracle uniform, he was leading the team to the 2014 Florida State League championship. He was moved up to Chattanooga where he helped the Lookouts to the 2015 Southern League championship. In 2017, he is back in his home state of Florida with the Miracle. In his four seasons as a minor league manager, he has an impressive 312-239 record. With the retirement of Jim Dwyer, the Miracle will have a new hitting coach for the first time since 2006. Dwyer had been a coach in the Twins system dating back to 1991. Steve Singleton takes over as the team’s new hitting coach after spending 2016 with the GCL Twins. He reached AAA with the Twins during his six seasons as a player in the organization. Henry Bonilla will be in his second season as the team’s pitching coach. It is his sixth season as a coach in the organization. He pitched in the Twins organization for seven minor league seasons. ROSTERS Here is a look at the Ft. Myers Miracle Opening Day roster. 16 of the players spent at least some time with the Miracle last year. One player, Randy Rosario, is on the 40-man roster. HITTERS Catchers: Kevin Garcia, Brian Navarreto, AJ Murray (DL), Infielders: Trey Vavra, Zander Wiel, Luis Arraez, Sean Miller, Nelson Molina, Alex Perez, Chris Paul, Brian Olson (DL), Outfielders: Daniel Kihle, Max Murphy, Rafael Valera PITCHERS Starting Pitchers: Randy LeBlanc, Dereck Rodriguez, Cody Stashak, Keaton Steele, Lachlan Wells, Andro Cutura (DL-elbow), Henry Centeno (DL) Relief Pitchers: Sam Clay, Jonny Drozd, Anthony McIver, Alex Muren (DL), Williams Ramirez, Randy Rosario, Michael Theofanopoulos, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Anderson (DL), Cameron Booser (DL), Michael Cederoth (DL), Henry Centeno (DL) POTENTIAL LINEUP 2B - Luis Arraez SS - Nelson Molina 1B - Trey Vavra DH - Zander Wiel 3B - Chris Paul CF - Daniel Kihle RF - Max Murphy C - AJ Murray LF - Rafael Valera TOP PROSPECTS Luis Arraez - He can flat-out hit. He has hit everywhere he’s played, including the Venezuelan Winter League. His .347 average led the Midwest League a year ago.Lachlan Wells - The Australian posted a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts (71.1 innings) as a 19-year-old last year. Pitched for Team Australia in the WBC.Randy Rosario - Rosario has a strong showing in big league spring training, but he was also moved to the bullpen full time and will start with the Miracle.Cody Stashak - Not a big guy, but Stashak just gets the job done well. He sits 91-92 with a fastball. He has good control of three good pitches. Under-the-radar prospect.Nelson Molina - had a breakout season in 2016, hitting .300 with a strong OBP in Cedar Rapids.STORIES TO WATCH The Australian starter Lachlan Wells will be fun to watch. Wells is 20. He put up strong numbers as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids. Wells, along with fellow Australian (who should pitch for the Miracle sometime in 2017) could be Top 10 Twins prospects by season’s end. And who knows, maybe Todd Van Steensel will help secure a couple of their wins.What can Luis Arraez do in the Florida State League. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but will he continue to be able to post incredible batting average with the bigger ballparks? As a prospect, however, he’ll have to improve his defense. But again, the batting average will be something to watch.Alex Muren missed the entire 2016 season due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. He will start the season on the DL, but he’s one reliever who could advance quickly to Chattanooga when ready and needed. The same can be said of Van Steensel and Randy Rosario.A lot was made of Tyler Jay’s move to the bullpen. The club’s decision to move Randy Rosario was made less than a week earlier, and Rosario was happy about that. Before spring training, the organization also decided to move another left-handed starter, Sam Clay, to the bullpen. He was a reliever in college and really struggled with command. He should see an improvement in stuff and velocity with the move, but he’ll have to improve his control.Dereck Rodriguez was the Twins 6th round pick in 2011 out of high school. He spent three years as a hitter. He has now spent the last three seasons as a pitcher, the last two as a starter. He moved up to Ft. Myers for the final two months of last season, and then he pitched out of the bullpen throughout the offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Can he take a step forward on the mound again in 2017? Enough for the Twins to add him to the 40-man roster after the season?Please feel free to discuss this roster. Ask lots of questions and check back often. What stories will you be following? Click here to view the article
  9. Below you will find a smorgasbord of topics regarding the Twins minor leagues. Although it is not known for sure, the assumption is that the Twins will make their first big league roster cuts on Monday. On Sunday, the Twins will play a split doubleheader so they’ll need all the players they can get. Expect the first cut to involve a lot of players. 40-man roster guys who aren’t going to compete for a big league job will likely be in that first group. Also starting pitchers who aren’t really competing for an Opening Day roster spot should also be sent down. They need to start building up their pitch count to be ready to throw 80-90 pitches in a game by Opening Day. So, who is in minor league camp will certainly change several times. Dereck Rodriguez is on the Puerto Rico WBC roster, but you may have seen pictures of him in Ft. Myers. He is an alternate on the Puerto Rico team, and so he is staying in Ft. Myers to continue to work and prepare himself for the season. If Puerto Rico advances to the second round (pretty likely, I would think) Rodriguez could join them then. Tommy Watkins saw me at the end of practice on Friday. I congratulated him on getting an opportunity to manage. He is very excited for the opportunity. He’s been working with minor league players the last couple of months. He said that almost 100 players reported before minor league report day. Again, the academy is creating an opportunity for players to put in work before they even have to. Watkins also said that they were doing community events three to four times a week. They visited hospitals and schools and conducted a couple of camps. Trey Cabbage injured his foot in minor league camp. He called it a “stupid freak accident.” He hopes to get back on the field within a couple of weeks. Trevor Hildenberger threw a bullpen today. He said it went well and his elbow is “all good” and he’s going “full bore.” Speaking of guys returning, Lewis Thorpe was back on the mound, and he is ‘full-go’ to do all spring training activities. He was a Top 10 Twins prospect before he missed two seasons with, first, Tommy John surgery and then a season-long illness. He could certainly get back to that status by the end of the year. It will be an interesting season for him. Will he start in extended spring training to avoid Cedar Rapids in April? Could he just start with the Miracle? It’ll be interesting to see his innings limit, but he’s essentially where Fernando Romero was a year ago at this time so that’s probably a good barometer. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/840590775616450560 I met Nelson Molina last May in Cedar Rapids. The infielder had spent a month with the Kernels and was off to a good start. He ended the year hitting .300/.374/.381 (.755) and was named to the Twins Daily Minor League All-Star team as a third baseman. As I mentioned in the Twins Minor League Primer earlier this week, Molina was coming back from injury. He had a broken hamate bone. At the end of practice, Molina came over to me and we discussed the injury. It was in his right hand. He was playing in his first game in the Puerto Rico Winter League and he flew out to left field in an at-bat and felt pain in his hand. His doctor told him that the bone was already broken and he didn’t even know it. He said he is almost thankful that it happened in the winter so that he could have surgery right away. Had he not played in Puerto Rico, he would have come to spring training and it would have broken early in spring training. Instead of just now having surgery, he is 100% and ready for the season. Like so many, Molina was up late on Friday night watching Team Puerto Rico beat Venezuela in the WBC. At the Twins Academy, the WBC has become must-watch TV. https://twitter.com/HackAttackimer/status/840713479468269568 And the most important thing I’ve learned through one-plus days of minor league camp… The Twins got rid of their old rule that minor leaguers could not have beards. Young adults can be treated like adults. They can be individuals. Next up, maybe baseball will let minor leaguers get paid a fair wage. One thing at a time, right? The last three days, the minor leaguers have been working in four work groups.On Sunday, they will work out in the morning and then at noon there will be intrasquad games. Rochester will take on Chattanooga on one field, and Fort Myers will challenge Cedar Rapids on the other field. The same thing will happen on Monday, though the “GCL Twins” will take on Bethel University again this year. Bethel, as you recall, is coached by former Gopher and former Twins player Brian Raabe. Tuesday will be more afternoon intrasquad games. Starting Wednesday, the teams will start playing against other teams. It will be AAA vs AAA, and AA vs AA and so on. They will play teams of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. On those days, two teams will travel and two teams will play on the back fields. We’ll be back with more throughout the next week. Again, feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions about this article or things you would like me to dig into on the back fields.
  10. Twins Daily is the place to go for Twins minor league information. While I am down here, I am hoping to cover both the big league club and the minor league side of things. Nick did a great job today of covering the unfortunate Trevor May news and the Twins 13-0 win over a split Boston Red Sox club. I’m going to provide my first Minor League Report from the Fort tonight. Please feel free to ask any questions you would like, and I will answer them as I am able. I also encourage you to ask questions that you would like me to dig into while I am here. I will try to answer (or get answered) as many as I can. As a quick note, I’ll likely be doing some Live Twitter/Periscope broadcasting throughout the next week, so be sure to follow Seth and Twins Daily on Twitter. I’ll be taking a ton of photos too, so be sure to Like Twins Daily on Facebook.Below you will find a smorgasbord of topics regarding the Twins minor leagues. Although it is not known for sure, the assumption is that the Twins will make their first big league roster cuts on Monday. On Sunday, the Twins will play a split doubleheader so they’ll need all the players they can get. Expect the first cut to involve a lot of players. 40-man roster guys who aren’t going to compete for a big league job will likely be in that first group. Also starting pitchers who aren’t really competing for an Opening Day roster spot should also be sent down. They need to start building up their pitch count to be ready to throw 80-90 pitches in a game by Opening Day. So, who is in minor league camp will certainly change several times. Dereck Rodriguez is on the Puerto Rico WBC roster, but you may have seen pictures of him in Ft. Myers. He is an alternate on the Puerto Rico team, and so he is staying in Ft. Myers to continue to work and prepare himself for the season. If Puerto Rico advances to the second round (pretty likely, I would think) Rodriguez could join them then. Tommy Watkins saw me at the end of practice on Friday. I congratulated him on getting an opportunity to manage. He is very excited for the opportunity. He’s been working with minor league players the last couple of months. He said that almost 100 players reported before minor league report day. Again, the academy is creating an opportunity for players to put in work before they even have to. Watkins also said that they were doing community events three to four times a week. They visited hospitals and schools and conducted a couple of camps. Trey Cabbage injured his foot in minor league camp. He called it a “stupid freak accident.” He hopes to get back on the field within a couple of weeks. Trevor Hildenberger threw a bullpen today. He said it went well and his elbow is “all good” and he’s going “full bore.” Speaking of guys returning, Lewis Thorpe was back on the mound, and he is ‘full-go’ to do all spring training activities. He was a Top 10 Twins prospect before he missed two seasons with, first, Tommy John surgery and then a season-long illness. He could certainly get back to that status by the end of the year. It will be an interesting season for him. Will he start in extended spring training to avoid Cedar Rapids in April? Could he just start with the Miracle? It’ll be interesting to see his innings limit, but he’s essentially where Fernando Romero was a year ago at this time so that’s probably a good barometer. And the most important thing I’ve learned through one-plus days of minor league camp… The Twins got rid of their old rule that minor leaguers could not have beards. Young adults can be treated like adults. They can be individuals. Next up, maybe baseball will let minor leaguers get paid a fair wage. One thing at a time, right? The last three days, the minor leaguers have been working in four work groups.On Sunday, they will work out in the morning and then at noon there will be intrasquad games. Rochester will take on Chattanooga on one field, and Fort Myers will challenge Cedar Rapids on the other field. The same thing will happen on Monday, though the “GCL Twins” will take on Bethel University again this year. Bethel, as you recall, is coached by former Gopher and former Twins player Brian Raabe. Tuesday will be more afternoon intrasquad games. Starting Wednesday, the teams will start playing against other teams. It will be AAA vs AAA, and AA vs AA and so on. They will play teams of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. On those days, two teams will travel and two teams will play on the back fields. We’ll be back with more throughout the next week. Again, feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions about this article or things you would like me to dig into on the back fields. Click here to view the article
  11. On Tuesday morning, Minnesota Twins minor league spring training officially begins with the first full-squad workouts. Granted, a majority of the minor leaguers have taken advantage of the Twins academy and arrived anywhere from a week to a month ago. But on Tuesday just over 140 players will be working out on the back fields, not counting the six Twins minor leaguers participating in the World Baseball Classic.Today, I thought it would be fun to put together a bit of a primer for some things to look for as minor league camp starts. COACHING STAFFS There were several changes in the coaching ranks within the organizations. With Jeff Smith getting the Twins first base coaching job, there was an opening. Here are the 2017 Twins Minor League coaches, including some very familiar names. Rochester Red Wings: Manager - Mike Quade, Hitting Coach - Chad Allen, Pitching Coach - Stu Cliburn Chattanooga Lookouts: Manager - Jake Mauer, Hitting Coach - Javier Valentin, Pitching Coach - Ivan Arteaga Ft. Myers Miracle: Manager - Doug Mientkiewicz, Hitting Coach - Steve Singleton, Pitching Coach - Henry Bonilla Cedar Rapids Kernels: Manager - Tommy Watkins, Hitting Coach - Brian Dinkelman, Pitching Coach - JP Martinez Elizabethton Twins: Manager - Ray Smith, Hitting Coach - Jeff Reed, Pitching Coach - Luis Ramirez GCL Twins: Manager - Ramon Borrega, Hitting Coaches - Toby Gardenhire & Jose Marzan, Pitching Coach - Virgil Vasquez, Cibney Bello WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC The World Baseball Classic is beginning in various places around the globe. While four players (Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas, Hector Santiago and Jose Berrios) left Twins big league camp to head to Mexico and play for Team Puerto Rico, they aren’t the only WBC participants in the organization. (Here is a list of current, former and future Twins in the WBC.) Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez is also a member of that Puerto Rican team. As you would expect, the Australian team is full of current and former Twins members. Lefty Lachlan Wells, righty Todd Van Steensel and outfielder Aaron Whitefield represent the Twins on Team Australia this spring. Reynaldo Rodriguez and Yohan Pino (who re-signed with the Twins for his third stint with the team) will play for Team Colombia. RETURNING FROM INJURY Injuries happen in baseball. We all know that. However, there are several players this year returning from injury. We’ll want to watch each. Trevor Hildenberger missed the final month of the season with soreness in his elbow. He’s been full-go for a while now. Nick Burdi missed most of last season with a bone bruise in his elbow. Alex Muren had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery early last season and missed the full year. Lewis Thorpe has missed the last two years after having Tommy John surgery. Jovani Moran had bone chips removed last year. LaMonte Wade had two stints on the disabled list including one stint at the end of the season. He’s been in Ft. Myers since early January and is ready to go. Jermaine Palacios’s season came to an end early when he was hit by a pitch and broke a bone in his hand. Nelson Molina broke his hamate bone in his hand early in the Puerto Rico Winter League. He had surgery and is healthy for spring training. Matt Albanese is excited to get on the field after a fractured wrist and some tendon injuries cost him most of his junior season and all of the Twins short season. Joe Cronin’s pro debut ended early with a hamstring injury. Brusdar Graterol is likely to start the season in extended spring training. He missed all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery and pitched in the Instructional League (hitting 100 with the fastball). Vadim Balan missed all of 2016 with a stress fracture in his back. He also will start in extended spring before pitching in real games, likely in Elizabethton. As we learned last week, Alex Kirilloff will be having Tommy John surgery on Wednesday and will miss the 2017 season. Tyler Benninghoff had Tommy John right after the June draft. He might see some time in the GCL late in the year. Andro Cutura had Tommy John surgery in August and will miss the 2017 season as well. Zack Jones had shoulder surgery last September and is likely to miss most, if not all, of 2017. Kerby Camacho missed the 2016 season due to his PED suspension. He has served his time and will be eligible to play right away in 2017. MINNESOTANS IN A TWINS UNIFORM There are several Minnesotans in the Twins system. Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins are two on the big league roster. The following players from Minnesota will be in minor league camp. Recently, the Twins signed former Gophers reliever Seth Rosin (Arden Hills, Mounds View HS). He pitched in four big league games between 2014 and 2015, with Texas and Philadelphia. Brandon Peterson (Savage, Burnsville HS) split the season between Chattanooga and Ft. Myers. Nick Anderson (Crosby, Brainerd HS) was signed by the Twins in August of 2015 and spent last year between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. Bo Hellquist (Edina, Burnsville HS) signed with the Twins last year after a strong career at Minnesota-Duluth. The one hitter on this list is Max Murphy (Robbinsdale, Robbinsdale Cooper HS). POSITION CHANGES It seems as though every year there are a few pitchers who switch positions for whatever reason. Maybe it’s just to accentuate their tools, or just to try something different. Sam Clay is going to be moved to the bullpen. The other noteworthy changes involve players moving behind the plate. Rafael Valera went to Instructional League the last couple of years and spent some time catching. However, he didn’t do any catching last year before his season-ending injury. Caleb Hamilton was drafted last year out of Oregon State. For Elizabethton, he played all over the diamond, mostly around the infield. He will add a catcher’s mitt to his bag of gloves this year. Mitch Kranson was a slugging third baseman/DH type for California. He worked a lot behind the plate and hopes to be catching throughout the season. He’ll need to work on it and will likely have the bat to keep him in the lineup even when he isn’t catching. TWINS MINOR LEAGUE SIGNINGS WITH MLB SPRING TRAINING INVITE You know these names already. These guys were signed to minor league deals, but they have been in big league spring training. Catchers: Chris Gimenez, Eddy Rodriguez, Dan Rohlfing Infielders: Matt Hague, Ben Paulsen, Benji Gonzalez Outfielders: JB Shuck, Drew Stubbs Pitchers: Ryan Vogelsong, Nick Tepesch, Craig Breslow, Drew Rucinski TWINS MINOR LEAGUE SIGNINGS WITHOUT MLB SPRING TRAINING INVITE Catchers: Jose Gonzalez Infielders: Jonathan Rodriguez, Dan Gamache, Tom Belza, Shane Kennedy Outfielders: Quintin Berry, Leandro Castro, Josh Romanski, Ryan Strausborger Starting Pitchers: Matt Tracy, Nik Turley, Yohan Pino, Henry Centeno Relief Pitchers: Jim Miller Seth Rosin, Jonny Drozd, David Fischer, Evan Sanders Here are a few more links you can use as you get excited about the Twins minor league camp open. 2016 TWINS MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS Here is a quick rundown of the 2016 Minor League Award winners: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All StarsTwins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year - Daniel PalkaTwins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year - Stephen GonsalvesTwins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year - Trevor HildenbergerTwins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year - Lewin DiazTwins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year- Huascar Ynoa2017 Twins Daily Top Prospects 20. Justin Haley, RHP 19. Ben Rortvedt, C 18. Engelb Vielma, SS 17. Nick Burdi, RHP 16. Zack Granite, OF 15. LaMonte Wade, OF 14. Daniel Palka, OF 13. JT Chargois, RHP 12. Felix Jorge, RHP 11. Mitch Garver, C 10. Lewin Diaz, 1B 9. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B 8. Kohl Stewart, RHP 7. Adalberto Mejia, LHP 6. Wander Javier, SS 5. Tyler Jay, LHP 4. Nick Gordon, SS 3. Alex Kirilloff, OF 2. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP 1. Fernando Romero, RHP 2017 Roster Projections Recently, I made my 2017 Roster Projections for the start of the season. The Twins have signed a couple of minor league deals since then, but you can read them here: The Catchers The Outfielders The Middle Infielders The Corner Infielders The Starting Pitchers The Relief Pitchers The minor league seasons will begin just days after the MLB Opening Day. There are plenty of story lines, as you would expect, when there are 200 players in the organization all hanging out around the Century Link Sports Complex. We’ll be sure to cover them, starting this weekend when Seth travels to Ft. Myers. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this 2017 Twins minor league primer and feel free to ask any questions you might have. Click here to view the article
  12. Today, I thought it would be fun to put together a bit of a primer for some things to look for as minor league camp starts. COACHING STAFFS There were several changes in the coaching ranks within the organizations. With Jeff Smith getting the Twins first base coaching job, there was an opening. Here are the 2017 Twins Minor League coaches, including some very familiar names. Rochester Red Wings: Manager - Mike Quade, Hitting Coach - Chad Allen, Pitching Coach - Stu Cliburn Chattanooga Lookouts: Manager - Jake Mauer, Hitting Coach - Javier Valentin, Pitching Coach - Ivan Arteaga Ft. Myers Miracle: Manager - Doug Mientkiewicz, Hitting Coach - Steve Singleton, Pitching Coach - Henry Bonilla Cedar Rapids Kernels: Manager - Tommy Watkins, Hitting Coach - Brian Dinkelman, Pitching Coach - JP Martinez Elizabethton Twins: Manager - Ray Smith, Hitting Coach - Jeff Reed, Pitching Coach - Luis Ramirez GCL Twins: Manager - Ramon Borrega, Hitting Coaches - Toby Gardenhire & Jose Marzan, Pitching Coach - Virgil Vasquez, Cibney Bello WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC The World Baseball Classic is beginning in various places around the globe. While four players (Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas, Hector Santiago and Jose Berrios) left Twins big league camp to head to Mexico and play for Team Puerto Rico, they aren’t the only WBC participants in the organization. (Here is a list of current, former and future Twins in the WBC.) Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez is also a member of that Puerto Rican team. As you would expect, the Australian team is full of current and former Twins members. Lefty Lachlan Wells, righty Todd Van Steensel and outfielder Aaron Whitefield represent the Twins on Team Australia this spring. Reynaldo Rodriguez and Yohan Pino (who re-signed with the Twins for his third stint with the team) will play for Team Colombia. RETURNING FROM INJURY Injuries happen in baseball. We all know that. However, there are several players this year returning from injury. We’ll want to watch each. Trevor Hildenberger missed the final month of the season with soreness in his elbow. He’s been full-go for a while now. Nick Burdi missed most of last season with a bone bruise in his elbow. Alex Muren had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery early last season and missed the full year. Lewis Thorpe has missed the last two years after having Tommy John surgery. Jovani Moran had bone chips removed last year. LaMonte Wade had two stints on the disabled list including one stint at the end of the season. He’s been in Ft. Myers since early January and is ready to go. Jermaine Palacios’s season came to an end early when he was hit by a pitch and broke a bone in his hand. Nelson Molina broke his hamate bone in his hand early in the Puerto Rico Winter League. He had surgery and is healthy for spring training. Matt Albanese is excited to get on the field after a fractured wrist and some tendon injuries cost him most of his junior season and all of the Twins short season. Joe Cronin’s pro debut ended early with a hamstring injury. Brusdar Graterol is likely to start the season in extended spring training. He missed all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery and pitched in the Instructional League (hitting 100 with the fastball). Vadim Balan missed all of 2016 with a stress fracture in his back. He also will start in extended spring before pitching in real games, likely in Elizabethton. As we learned last week, Alex Kirilloff will be having Tommy John surgery on Wednesday and will miss the 2017 season. Tyler Benninghoff had Tommy John right after the June draft. He might see some time in the GCL late in the year. Andro Cutura had Tommy John surgery in August and will miss the 2017 season as well. Zack Jones had shoulder surgery last September and is likely to miss most, if not all, of 2017. Kerby Camacho missed the 2016 season due to his PED suspension. He has served his time and will be eligible to play right away in 2017. MINNESOTANS IN A TWINS UNIFORM There are several Minnesotans in the Twins system. Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins are two on the big league roster. The following players from Minnesota will be in minor league camp. Recently, the Twins signed former Gophers reliever Seth Rosin (Arden Hills, Mounds View HS). He pitched in four big league games between 2014 and 2015, with Texas and Philadelphia. Brandon Peterson (Savage, Burnsville HS) split the season between Chattanooga and Ft. Myers. Nick Anderson (Crosby, Brainerd HS) was signed by the Twins in August of 2015 and spent last year between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. Bo Hellquist (Edina, Burnsville HS) signed with the Twins last year after a strong career at Minnesota-Duluth. The one hitter on this list is Max Murphy (Robbinsdale, Robbinsdale Cooper HS). POSITION CHANGES It seems as though every year there are a few pitchers who switch positions for whatever reason. Maybe it’s just to accentuate their tools, or just to try something different. Sam Clay is going to be moved to the bullpen. The other noteworthy changes involve players moving behind the plate. Rafael Valera went to Instructional League the last couple of years and spent some time catching. However, he didn’t do any catching last year before his season-ending injury. Caleb Hamilton was drafted last year out of Oregon State. For Elizabethton, he played all over the diamond, mostly around the infield. He will add a catcher’s mitt to his bag of gloves this year. Mitch Kranson was a slugging third baseman/DH type for California. He worked a lot behind the plate and hopes to be catching throughout the season. He’ll need to work on it and will likely have the bat to keep him in the lineup even when he isn’t catching. TWINS MINOR LEAGUE SIGNINGS WITH MLB SPRING TRAINING INVITE You know these names already. These guys were signed to minor league deals, but they have been in big league spring training. Catchers: Chris Gimenez, Eddy Rodriguez, Dan Rohlfing Infielders: Matt Hague, Ben Paulsen, Benji Gonzalez Outfielders: JB Shuck, Drew Stubbs Pitchers: Ryan Vogelsong, Nick Tepesch, Craig Breslow, Drew Rucinski TWINS MINOR LEAGUE SIGNINGS WITHOUT MLB SPRING TRAINING INVITE Catchers: Jose Gonzalez Infielders: Jonathan Rodriguez, Dan Gamache, Tom Belza, Shane Kennedy Outfielders: Quintin Berry, Leandro Castro, Josh Romanski, Ryan Strausborger Starting Pitchers: Matt Tracy, Nik Turley, Yohan Pino, Henry Centeno Relief Pitchers: Jim Miller Seth Rosin, Jonny Drozd, David Fischer, Evan Sanders Here are a few more links you can use as you get excited about the Twins minor league camp open. 2016 TWINS MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS Here is a quick rundown of the 2016 Minor League Award winners: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year - Daniel Palka Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year - Stephen Gonsalves Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year - Trevor Hildenberger Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year - Lewin Diaz Twins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year - Huascar Ynoa 2017 Twins Daily Top Prospects 20. Justin Haley, RHP 19. Ben Rortvedt, C 18. Engelb Vielma, SS 17. Nick Burdi, RHP 16. Zack Granite, OF 15. LaMonte Wade, OF 14. Daniel Palka, OF 13. JT Chargois, RHP 12. Felix Jorge, RHP 11. Mitch Garver, C 10. Lewin Diaz, 1B 9. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B 8. Kohl Stewart, RHP 7. Adalberto Mejia, LHP 6. Wander Javier, SS 5. Tyler Jay, LHP 4. Nick Gordon, SS 3. Alex Kirilloff, OF 2. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP 1. Fernando Romero, RHP 2017 Roster Projections Recently, I made my 2017 Roster Projections for the start of the season. The Twins have signed a couple of minor league deals since then, but you can read them here: The Catchers The Outfielders The Middle Infielders The Corner Infielders The Starting Pitchers The Relief Pitchers The minor league seasons will begin just days after the MLB Opening Day. There are plenty of story lines, as you would expect, when there are 200 players in the organization all hanging out around the Century Link Sports Complex. We’ll be sure to cover them, starting this weekend when Seth travels to Ft. Myers. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this 2017 Twins minor league primer and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
  13. Nelson Molina began the 2016 season in extended spring training. However, before the end of April, he was playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He had a very nice season and was arguably one of the most improved prospects in the Twins system. ----------------------------- For more information on Nelson Molina, Get To Know Him in this article from May. ----------------------------- In 94 games for the Kernels, he hit .300/.374/.381 (.755) with 15 doubles, three triples and two home runs. He primarily played third base. Due to injuries, he played his natural position, shortstop, during the Kernels playoff run. At season’s end, Twins Daily named him as a Twins Minor League All-Star. Of his 2016 season, Molina said, “ I feel great. I feel really happy about it. I worked really hard in the past offseason to prepare myself physically and mentally to have a great season and accomplish all the goals. Also the opportunity of helping my team to make the playoffs and have a great season as a group, it's an amazing feeling. We became a family during the year.” He was equally impressive off the field with the Kernels, and for it he was recognized as the Kernels recipient of the Killebrew Award for Community Service. Ryne George is the Kernels’ Community Relations Manager. He said, “Player appearances were evenly spread out this year for the Cedar Rapids Kernels players so at first it was a little tough to choose the Harmon Killebrew Award winner out of a great group of guys. Looking back through the over 40 player appearances we did this year, Nelson Molina kept standing out to me.” On a board in the Kernels clubhouse, there is a sign-up sheet where players are able to volunteer to go to schools and read with kids. Every time I have been there, the list has been filled. George continued, “In his first two days of being in Cedar Rapids Nelson volunteered to go along with me to visit two schools for our Summer Reading Program. English is not his first language so to volunteer to stand in front of 400 kids, talk to the kids about the importance of reading and then to read a goofy book showed me that Nelson loved giving back to the community.” Molina really relishes the opportunities to work in the communities, especially with kids. He said, “To win the Harmon Killebrew Award for community service means a lot to me because I always love to help the people one way or the other. It is something that I’ve liked to do since I was a child. Now I have the opportunity to do community service with the Twins organization. I really enjoy it a lot, so to be recognized for doing that is really special for me.” Molina was quite active. “In Cedar Rapids this year, I did different types of outings like visiting different schools and read books to the kids, visit summer camps, and play different sports with the kids. We do baseball clinics at the stadium with a lot of kids, teaching them the primary things about baseball. I also went to talk to a softball team about the game, discipline and the importance of chemistry in a team.” That was an event that stood out to George too. “My favorite appearance Nelson did was his visit to a girls softball team with ages ranging from 8 to 14 years old. He is very active in youth baseball back in his home country of Puerto Rico and even sponsors a club! I knew he would be a great influence on the girls, and he did not disappoint. Nelson met with the team and talked to them about leadership, teamwork, the importance of practice and how that translates into the real world outside of sports. After the appearance, I heard nothing but great things from the parents and coaches from the softball club. The girls really took what Nelson talked about to heart and it really brought that team together.” While Molina was drafted by the Twins two years after Harmon Killebrew passed away, he knows how important Killebrew is in the Twins history. Molina hopes to build off of a solid 2016 season. “In this offseason, I’ve got a really good plan to get myself bigger and stronger and gain speed. I also am going to play winter ball to get more experience as a ball player." George concluded with the following, “It was a pleasure to work with Nelson this year and I wish him the best of luck in his career. He has a bright future on and off the field!”
  14. 11 All-Star appearances. 573 home runs. An American League MVP. Enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Harmon Killebrew was an all-time great on the baseball field. Yet most people who met the man said that his on-field accomplishments pale in comparison to the man he was off the baseball field and in his community. When Killebrew passed away, the Minnesota Twins announced that one player from each of their four full-season affiliates would be the recipient of the Harmon Killebrew Award for community service. At the time, Twins Minor League Director Brad Steil said, “In partnership with our minor league affiliates, we encourage our players to be active in their community and emphasize the importance of having a positive impact in society beyond the playing field. In the minor leagues, our players take part in all kinds of activities, including school reading programs, hospital visits, working with disabled youth, and youth baseball clinics. These experiences help our players understand responsibility, compassion, and giving back. Ultimately it helps them mature and grow as people.” The 2016 Harmon Killebrew Award recipient for Cedar Rapids is Nelson Molina.Throughout the week, we’ll write about the winners for the Twins other affiliates. Cedar Rapids Kernels: Nelson Molina Ft. Myers Miracle: Chattanooga Lookouts: Rochester Red Wings:Nelson Molina began the 2016 season in extended spring training. However, before the end of April, he was playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He had a very nice season and was arguably one of the most improved prospects in the Twins system. ----------------------------- For more information on Nelson Molina, Get To Know Him in this article from May. ----------------------------- In 94 games for the Kernels, he hit .300/.374/.381 (.755) with 15 doubles, three triples and two home runs. He primarily played third base. Due to injuries, he played his natural position, shortstop, during the Kernels playoff run. At season’s end, Twins Daily named him as a Twins Minor League All-Star. Of his 2016 season, Molina said, “ I feel great. I feel really happy about it. I worked really hard in the past offseason to prepare myself physically and mentally to have a great season and accomplish all the goals. Also the opportunity of helping my team to make the playoffs and have a great season as a group, it's an amazing feeling. We became a family during the year.” He was equally impressive off the field with the Kernels, and for it he was recognized as the Kernels recipient of the Killebrew Award for Community Service. Ryne George is the Kernels’ Community Relations Manager. He said, “Player appearances were evenly spread out this year for the Cedar Rapids Kernels players so at first it was a little tough to choose the Harmon Killebrew Award winner out of a great group of guys. Looking back through the over 40 player appearances we did this year, Nelson Molina kept standing out to me.” On a board in the Kernels clubhouse, there is a sign-up sheet where players are able to volunteer to go to schools and read with kids. Every time I have been there, the list has been filled. George continued, “In his first two days of being in Cedar Rapids Nelson volunteered to go along with me to visit two schools for our Summer Reading Program. English is not his first language so to volunteer to stand in front of 400 kids, talk to the kids about the importance of reading and then to read a goofy book showed me that Nelson loved giving back to the community.” Molina really relishes the opportunities to work in the communities, especially with kids. He said, “To win the Harmon Killebrew Award for community service means a lot to me because I always love to help the people one way or the other. It is something that I’ve liked to do since I was a child. Now I have the opportunity to do community service with the Twins organization. I really enjoy it a lot, so to be recognized for doing that is really special for me.” Molina was quite active. “In Cedar Rapids this year, I did different types of outings like visiting different schools and read books to the kids, visit summer camps, and play different sports with the kids. We do baseball clinics at the stadium with a lot of kids, teaching them the primary things about baseball. I also went to talk to a softball team about the game, discipline and the importance of chemistry in a team.” That was an event that stood out to George too. “My favorite appearance Nelson did was his visit to a girls softball team with ages ranging from 8 to 14 years old. He is very active in youth baseball back in his home country of Puerto Rico and even sponsors a club! I knew he would be a great influence on the girls, and he did not disappoint. Nelson met with the team and talked to them about leadership, teamwork, the importance of practice and how that translates into the real world outside of sports. After the appearance, I heard nothing but great things from the parents and coaches from the softball club. The girls really took what Nelson talked about to heart and it really brought that team together.” While Molina was drafted by the Twins two years after Harmon Killebrew passed away, he knows how important Killebrew is in the Twins history. Molina hopes to build off of a solid 2016 season. “In this offseason, I’ve got a really good plan to get myself bigger and stronger and gain speed. I also am going to play winter ball to get more experience as a ball player." George concluded with the following, “It was a pleasure to work with Nelson this year and I wish him the best of luck in his career. He has a bright future on and off the field!” Click here to view the article
  15. It was a big day in Rochester on Friday. Twins interim-GM Rob Antony has been in town to see and evaluate players. However, on Friday, he completed a trade, signed a minor league veteran, and was on hand to help the Red Wings announce a two-year extension to their current Player Development Contract with the Twins, keeping the Twins AAA affiliate in upstate New York through the 2018 season. Let’s start with the trade. Chris Cotillo was first to announce that the Twins had traded Red Wings left-handed reliever Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a player to be named later, or cash. It’ll likely be a few dollars. Burnett, a former big league All-Star, came to the Twins after opting out of his Braves minor league deal. While he had a mid-June opt-out with the Twins, he stuck with the organization with the understanding that if another team offered him a big league opportunity, the Twins would accommodate it. The Nationals are going to send Burnett to their AAA affiliate in Syracuse, but he is going to be called up to the big league club for September. During the Red Wings game, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle beat writer Kevin Oklozija tweeted that veteran Edward Mujica was warming up in the Red Wings bullpen. He was throwing a side-session, having just arrived in Rochester that day. Mujica is a 32-year-old right-hander who was an All-Star in 2013 and has ten years of time in the big leagues. From an affiliate standpoint, arguably the biggest news of the day was that the Red Wings and Twins agreed to continue their player development contract two more years, through the 2018 season. Representatives from the Red Wings and the Twins were very happy about the news. Red Wings President, CEO and COO Naomi Silver said, ““The Twins have been an outstanding partner to the Red Wings. With a Major League affiliation, a Minor League club hopes for three important things: a competitive team, having future Major Leaguers and top draft picks being a part of that team, and a Big League team that values the importance of the Minor League system. The Twins have been great to us in each of these areas. They’ve regularly fielded winning teams here and we’ve seen a lot of great players come through Rochester. Every month someone from the Twins top management comes to town to see their players and to consult with field personnel and our front office. They rely on their Minor League system to develop young players, and we are the ones who benefit from that. We consider ourselves lucky that the Minnesota Twins respect and appreciate our organization and want to continue this affiliation.” Rob Antony noted, ““It’s been a tremendous partnership that we’ve had with Rochester. The biggest things you look for in an affiliate are A. you want good ownership, Rochester has that, B. you want good facilities, Rochester has that, and C. you want a good fan base and the fans in Rochester have been very supportive of this club.”The Red Wings also hosted several members of the Miracle on Ice, the 1980 Gold Medal hockey team from the USA. Hockey legend Dave Christian “threw out the first pitch” before the game by using his hockey stick to ‘shoot’ the ball to the catcher. The Red Wings wore red, white and blue uniforms with USA across the chest. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Burlington 4 Box Score This game went back and forth until the ninth inning. Tied at four, Ariel Montesino singled and was bunted over to second base. Shane Carrier came through with an RBI single to give them a lead they would hold on to. Montesino went 3-5 with his fourth stolen base. Carrier went 3-5 with his 13th double. Mitchell Kranson went 3-5 with his third home run. Andre Jernigan went 2-3 with a walk and his fifth double. Hank Morrison hit his second triple. (I won’t mention the other side of the ledger, but if I did, it might show that Amaurys Minier went 0-5 with five strikeouts). Jose Martinez started and went the first four innings. He gave up four runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out two. Alex Robinson struck out four over three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and, most important, walked none. Austin Tribby has done a great job as a vulture for the E-Twins. He threw a scoreless eighth inning so when the E-Twins scored in the top of the ninth and held on for the win, Tribby improved to 5-0. Patrick McGuff picked up his seventh save for the E-Twins with a scoreless ninth. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, Red Sox 5 Box Score While several of the Twins affiliates found a way to win a close game at the end, the opposite was true for the GCL Twins. They went into the bottom of the ninth holding a 4-3 lead and walked off the field with a 5-4 loss. Huascar Ynoa started. He gave up three runs on five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out two. Garrett Kelly came on and threw two scoreless innings. Onas Farfan came on for the ninth. He’s been quite good this year, returning from Tommy John surgery. On this day he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk, and recorded just two outs to take the loss. The Twins had 11 hits on the day. Jose Miranda went 2-3 with two walks and a triple. Lean Marrero went 2-4 with his third double. Jhon Alvarez went 2-4. Brian Olson added his third double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Kohl Stewart, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Nelson Molina, Cedar Rapids Kernels SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Gwinnett (6:05 CST) - LHP Adalberto Mejia Montgomery @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Omar Bencomo Jupiter @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - LHP Sam Clay Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – Tyler Beardsley Elizabethton @ Burlington (6:00 CST) - RHP Miguel DeJesus GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (9:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday's games. Click here to view the article
  16. The Red Wings also hosted several members of the Miracle on Ice, the 1980 Gold Medal hockey team from the USA. Hockey legend Dave Christian “threw out the first pitch” before the game by using his hockey stick to ‘shoot’ the ball to the catcher. The Red Wings wore red, white and blue uniforms with USA across the chest. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/766788403505434625 And then the Red Wings actually played a game, and it ended in exciting fashion as well. It was a full day in the Twins farm system, so let’s get to Friday’s action. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Buffalo 2 Box Score With USA hockey heroes in attendance, several Red Wings players stepped up to play hero. Down by a run in the bottom of the 9th, Mitch Garver stepped to the plate and singled in Byron Buxton, who had pinch run earlier in the inning, to tie the game and send it to extra innings. With a runner on in the bottom of the tenth inning, Daniel Palka ended it in style with a long, two-run blast. The homer was his 11th as a Red Wings player and his 32nd overall this season. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/766831874161258497 David Hurlbut made his second start of the season with the Red Wings and he was terrific. He gave up a run in the first inning but that was it. He gave up one run on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out three and didn’t issue a walk. He was replaced by Jake Reed who pitched a scoreless eighth inning. In the ninth, Pat Light gave up a run which put the Red Wings down one. He worked two innings giving up the run on two hits a walk and a hit batter. Adam Brett Walker went 2-3 with a walk and his 19th double. He stole his sixth base. Leonardo Reginnato also added his first AAA double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 2, Montgomery 1 Box Score Just like the Red Wings, the Lookouts had a close game and were able to come up big in dramatic late-inning fashion. Kohl Stewart was on the mound for the Lookouts and was very good. He gave up just one run on five hits over the game’s first eight innings. He walked two and struck out five. He gave up a run in the 2nd inning, but then settled in and finished with six straight scoreless frames. However, Stewart walked off the mound after the top of the eighth inning with his team losing 1-0. The Lookouts loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, and Travis Harrison stepped to the plate. The outfield lined a single which plated two runners and gave the Lookouts a 2-1 lead. Raul Fernandez completed the ninth inning without allowing any runs to record the save. Stewart improved to 7-6 and reduced his ERA to 3.05 on the year. Zach Granite led the way. The leadoff man went 3-4 and is now hitting .299. Engelb Vielma went 1-2 with a walk. Ryan Walker added his fourth triple. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Jupiter 4 Box Score The Miracle jumped out to 3-0 lead after the first three innings but were unable to hold the lead and fell to the Hammerheads. Dereck Rodriguez put together yet another quality start. The right-hander worked the first six innings. He gave up three runs (1 earned) on ten hits. He didn’t walk anyone though he did strike out one. Michael Theofanopoulos gave up one run on four hits and a walk over the next two innings. He struck out two. John Curtiss worked a quiet ninth inning. The Miracle bats managed just five hits in the game. Tanner English went 2-3 and stole his ninth base. Sean Miller went 2-4 with his second double and his first stolen base. Joe Maloney drove in two of the three Miracle runs. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 0 Box Score It was University of Iowa Night on Friday in Cedar Rapids. The Kernels wore some ugly black and white football-looking jerseys with huge numbers. (see Steve Buhr’s photo below) As happens often at Kernels games, the special jerseys are auctioned off during the game and handed to the winners by the players after the game. Speaking of the game, the Kernels played a very good, all-around game for the shutout. Most important, they got some terrific pitching in the shutout. Lachlan Wells went the first 5.2 innings. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out five. Williams Ramirez came on and walked two over 2.1 scoreless frames. He struck out one. Anthony McIver picked up his ninth save with a scoreless ninth inning. Nelson Molina led the offense with his first career, four-hit game. He added his 13th double and drove in two runs. He is now hitting .315 on the season. Luis Arraez went 2-3 with a walk. He is now hitting .349. Travis Blankenhorn was 2-4 with his first MWL stolen base. Jaylin Davis added his tenth double. https://twitter.com/JimCrikket/status/766778521419079682 E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Burlington 4 Box Score This game went back and forth until the ninth inning. Tied at four, Ariel Montesino singled and was bunted over to second base. Shane Carrier came through with an RBI single to give them a lead they would hold on to. Montesino went 3-5 with his fourth stolen base. Carrier went 3-5 with his 13th double. Mitchell Kranson went 3-5 with his third home run. Andre Jernigan went 2-3 with a walk and his fifth double. Hank Morrison hit his second triple. (I won’t mention the other side of the ledger, but if I did, it might show that Amaurys Minier went 0-5 with five strikeouts). Jose Martinez started and went the first four innings. He gave up four runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out two. Alex Robinson struck out four over three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and, most important, walked none. Austin Tribby has done a great job as a vulture for the E-Twins. He threw a scoreless eighth inning so when the E-Twins scored in the top of the ninth and held on for the win, Tribby improved to 5-0. Patrick McGuff picked up his seventh save for the E-Twins with a scoreless ninth. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, Red Sox 5 Box Score While several of the Twins affiliates found a way to win a close game at the end, the opposite was true for the GCL Twins. They went into the bottom of the ninth holding a 4-3 lead and walked off the field with a 5-4 loss. Huascar Ynoa started. He gave up three runs on five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out two. Garrett Kelly came on and threw two scoreless innings. Onas Farfan came on for the ninth. He’s been quite good this year, returning from Tommy John surgery. On this day he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk, and recorded just two outs to take the loss. The Twins had 11 hits on the day. Jose Miranda went 2-3 with two walks and a triple. Lean Marrero went 2-4 with his third double. Jhon Alvarez went 2-4. Brian Olson added his third double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Kohl Stewart, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Nelson Molina, Cedar Rapids Kernels SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Gwinnett (6:05 CST) - LHP Adalberto Mejia Montgomery @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Omar Bencomo Jupiter @ Ft. Myers (5:05 CST) - LHP Sam Clay Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – Tyler Beardsley Elizabethton @ Burlington (6:00 CST) - RHP Miguel DeJesus GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (9:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Friday's games.
  17. It was a beautiful Saturday across the upper Midwest. There was a full slate of games in the Twins system. While there weren't any standout performances there were a lot of players worthy of recognition on this night. Please feel free to ask questions about anything you read today or anything in the Twins farm system in the comments.Continue reading to find out more detail about Saturday in the Twins farm system: RED WINGS REPORT Rochester @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs Box Score Kind of a forgettable night for the Red Wings, except for Trevor Plouffe, who played first base and hit third. He was 2-4 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. Unfortunately the rest of the Red Wings went a combined 1-26 with 12 strikeouts. Byung Ho Park was 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Starter Andrew Albers was tagged with his fifth loss of the year to fall to 9-5 after four innings of five-run ball. He gave up eight hits, walked three, and didn't bother to strike anyone out. He also gave up a pair of home runs. D.J. Baxendale pitched great in relief, giving up just a pair of hits over 3.0 scoreless innings. J.T.Chargois gave up two runs (one earned) in the eighth inning to finish things up for the Red Wings staff. Final: Red Wings 2, IronPigs 7 LOOKOUTS LOOK-IN Jacksonville Suns @ Chattanooga Box Score Chattanooga scored all of their runs in one inning, putting a three-spot on the board in the bottom of the sixth. That sixth inning included a Levi Michael triple, a hit batsman, a sacrifice bunt that left the bunter on second base, a single, a pitching change, a stolen base, a strikeout, a ground out, a walk, another stolen base, and it finally ended with a strikeout of the eighth man in the inning to bat. Starter Kohl Stewart picked up the win to move to 6-5 with eight innings of solid work. Stewart struck out just two and walked four and gave up seven hits, including a home run, but yielded just two runs. Jake Reed came on for the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to earn his third save of the year. Final: Jacksonville 2, Lookouts 3 MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers @ Charlotte Stone Crabs Box Score The Miracle used a three-run first to get out in front of the Stone Crabs, but then did not score again. Their pitching staff gave up a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first, another run in the second, and fell behind after giving up another run in the third. They would give up one more run in the eighth, to give Charlotte some insurance. No Miracle hitter had more than one hit, but DH Tanner English (hitting leadoff) picked up three walks as part of an 0-2 night and T.J. White hit a two-run home run as part of that three-run first inning. Starting pitcher Fernando Romero pitched only three innings, giving up five hits, four runs, three earned, with two walks, one strike out and zero home runs (if only he had managed to pitch 6 innings we'd have a lovely 6/5/4/3/2/1/0 line). Todd Van Steensel gave the Miracle 2.1 scoreless innings, Randy Rosario did the same over 1.2, and then Luke Bard gave up a run in the eighth to end the night. Final: Miracle 3, Stone Crabs 5 KERNELS KORNER Peoria Chiefs @ Cedar Rapids Box Score Christian Ibarra (2-4 with a home run, a walk, and two runs scored) led the way for the Kernels in defeat, and Nelson Molina (3-4 with an RBI) helped out, but otherwise the Kernels bats were quiet, garnering just one more hit from the rest of the team. Starter Lachlan Wells earned a no-decision despite leaving after seven innings while down three runs when the Kernels rallied to tie the game in the eighth. Reliever Logan Lombana pitched a scoreless eighth. Unfortunately the Chiefs got to reliever Anthony McIver in his second frame, the tenth inning, giving up three runs on three hits and a pair of walks. He struck out one. Final: Chiefs 7, Kernels 4 E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton @ Johnson City Cardinals Box Score Not much doing in Elizabethton as the Twins lost by three runs (and committed three errors), despite out-hitting the Cardinals 9-6. The Twins didn't manage any extra- base hits, just 9 singles. Lewin Diaz was 2-4 and Roberto Gonzalez was also 2-4, the only hitters with multiple hits. Twins starter Sean Poppen fell to 2-3 with the loss, pitching 5.0 innings giving up six hits, five runs, four earned. He struck out four, walked two and gave up a home run. He was replaced by Austin Tribby and eventually Tribby gave way to Quin Grogan. The two relievers combined to throw 3.0 innings of no-hit baseball, but the game was already out of hand. Final: E-Twins 2, Cardinals 5 GCL TWINS TALK GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins Box Score Ten hits for the GCL Twins, including a 3-4 night from Justin Hazard (great name), which included a double. Heiker Meneses had a nice night as well, going 2-4 with a walk. Bo Hellquist had a nice start, giving up one run over 6.0 innings. He gave up five hits, walked no one and struck out a pair. Callan Pearce was tagged with the loss giving up a run in 2.1 innings or relief. Garrett Kelly recorded the final two outs of the night and gave up a run as well. Final: GCL Red Sox 3, GCL Twins 2 DSL TWINS TAKES DSL Twins @ DSL D-backs2 Box Score The DSL Twins pitched a one-hitter, giving up a double to the leadoff batter in the bottom of the ninth inning. I'm not sure what happened, and sometimes weird things happen in the DSL, but despite not recording any outs in the bottom half of the ninth inning, the game ended after the double. Juan Mojica pitched six innings of no-hit ball, walked one, and struck out six to start the night for the Twins. Frandy Torres pitched two more hitless innings, and then Amilcar Cruz gave up the only hit of the game, that leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth. Four DSL Twins had 2-4 nights, as the Twins racked up 11 hits and two walks against just four strike outs. Darling Cuesto and Antonio Tovar each had identical 2-4 nights with a run scored, a double, and an RBI. Jorge Parra was 1-3 with a double and three RBIs. Final: DSL Twins 6, DSL D-backs2 0 TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day - Trevor Plouffe, Rochester Red Wings Pitchers of the Day - DSL Twins Staff SUNDAY'S PROBABLES Rochester - Jason Wheeler (9-2, 2.81) Chattanooga - Omar Bencomo (3-6, 4.41) Fort Myers - Dereck Rodriguez (Fort Myers Debut) Cedar Rapids - Tyler Beardsley (Cedar Rapids Debut) E-Twins - TBD GCL Twins - OFF DSL Twins - OFF Please ask questions and discuss the Saturday games. -ERolf Click here to view the article
  18. Continue reading to find out more detail about Saturday in the Twins farm system: RED WINGS REPORT Rochester @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs Box Score Kind of a forgettable night for the Red Wings, except for Trevor Plouffe, who played first base and hit third. He was 2-4 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. Unfortunately the rest of the Red Wings went a combined 1-26 with 12 strikeouts. Byung Ho Park was 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Starter Andrew Albers was tagged with his fifth loss of the year to fall to 9-5 after four innings of five-run ball. He gave up eight hits, walked three, and didn't bother to strike anyone out. He also gave up a pair of home runs. D.J. Baxendale pitched great in relief, giving up just a pair of hits over 3.0 scoreless innings. J.T.Chargois gave up two runs (one earned) in the eighth inning to finish things up for the Red Wings staff. Final: Red Wings 2, IronPigs 7 LOOKOUTS LOOK-IN Jacksonville Suns @ Chattanooga Box Score Chattanooga scored all of their runs in one inning, putting a three-spot on the board in the bottom of the sixth. That sixth inning included a Levi Michael triple, a hit batsman, a sacrifice bunt that left the bunter on second base, a single, a pitching change, a stolen base, a strikeout, a ground out, a walk, another stolen base, and it finally ended with a strikeout of the eighth man in the inning to bat. Starter Kohl Stewart picked up the win to move to 6-5 with eight innings of solid work. Stewart struck out just two and walked four and gave up seven hits, including a home run, but yielded just two runs. Jake Reed came on for the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to earn his third save of the year. Final: Jacksonville 2, Lookouts 3 MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers @ Charlotte Stone Crabs Box Score The Miracle used a three-run first to get out in front of the Stone Crabs, but then did not score again. Their pitching staff gave up a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first, another run in the second, and fell behind after giving up another run in the third. They would give up one more run in the eighth, to give Charlotte some insurance. No Miracle hitter had more than one hit, but DH Tanner English (hitting leadoff) picked up three walks as part of an 0-2 night and T.J. White hit a two-run home run as part of that three-run first inning. Starting pitcher Fernando Romero pitched only three innings, giving up five hits, four runs, three earned, with two walks, one strike out and zero home runs (if only he had managed to pitch 6 innings we'd have a lovely 6/5/4/3/2/1/0 line). Todd Van Steensel gave the Miracle 2.1 scoreless innings, Randy Rosario did the same over 1.2, and then Luke Bard gave up a run in the eighth to end the night. Final: Miracle 3, Stone Crabs 5 KERNELS KORNER Peoria Chiefs @ Cedar Rapids Box Score Christian Ibarra (2-4 with a home run, a walk, and two runs scored) led the way for the Kernels in defeat, and Nelson Molina (3-4 with an RBI) helped out, but otherwise the Kernels bats were quiet, garnering just one more hit from the rest of the team. Starter Lachlan Wells earned a no-decision despite leaving after seven innings while down three runs when the Kernels rallied to tie the game in the eighth. Reliever Logan Lombana pitched a scoreless eighth. Unfortunately the Chiefs got to reliever Anthony McIver in his second frame, the tenth inning, giving up three runs on three hits and a pair of walks. He struck out one. Final: Chiefs 7, Kernels 4 E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton @ Johnson City Cardinals Box Score Not much doing in Elizabethton as the Twins lost by three runs (and committed three errors), despite out-hitting the Cardinals 9-6. The Twins didn't manage any extra- base hits, just 9 singles. Lewin Diaz was 2-4 and Roberto Gonzalez was also 2-4, the only hitters with multiple hits. Twins starter Sean Poppen fell to 2-3 with the loss, pitching 5.0 innings giving up six hits, five runs, four earned. He struck out four, walked two and gave up a home run. He was replaced by Austin Tribby and eventually Tribby gave way to Quin Grogan. The two relievers combined to throw 3.0 innings of no-hit baseball, but the game was already out of hand. Final: E-Twins 2, Cardinals 5 GCL TWINS TALK GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins Box Score Ten hits for the GCL Twins, including a 3-4 night from Justin Hazard (great name), which included a double. Heiker Meneses had a nice night as well, going 2-4 with a walk. Bo Hellquist had a nice start, giving up one run over 6.0 innings. He gave up five hits, walked no one and struck out a pair. Callan Pearce was tagged with the loss giving up a run in 2.1 innings or relief. Garrett Kelly recorded the final two outs of the night and gave up a run as well. Final: GCL Red Sox 3, GCL Twins 2 DSL TWINS TAKES DSL Twins @ DSL D-backs2 Box Score The DSL Twins pitched a one-hitter, giving up a double to the leadoff batter in the bottom of the ninth inning. I'm not sure what happened, and sometimes weird things happen in the DSL, but despite not recording any outs in the bottom half of the ninth inning, the game ended after the double. Juan Mojica pitched six innings of no-hit ball, walked one, and struck out six to start the night for the Twins. Frandy Torres pitched two more hitless innings, and then Amilcar Cruz gave up the only hit of the game, that leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth. Four DSL Twins had 2-4 nights, as the Twins racked up 11 hits and two walks against just four strike outs. Darling Cuesto and Antonio Tovar each had identical 2-4 nights with a run scored, a double, and an RBI. Jorge Parra was 1-3 with a double and three RBIs. Final: DSL Twins 6, DSL D-backs2 0 TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day - Trevor Plouffe, Rochester Red Wings Pitchers of the Day - DSL Twins Staff SUNDAY'S PROBABLES Rochester - Jason Wheeler (9-2, 2.81) Chattanooga - Omar Bencomo (3-6, 4.41) Fort Myers - Dereck Rodriguez (Fort Myers Debut) Cedar Rapids - Tyler Beardsley (Cedar Rapids Debut) E-Twins - TBD GCL Twins - OFF DSL Twins - OFF Please ask questions and discuss the Saturday games. -ERolf
  19. On Tuesday, many returned to work after celebrating Independence Day on Monday. Of course, the Twins and their minor league affiliates all had to work. They were all back in action again on Tuesday. Continue reading below for an update on everything that happened throughout the organization.Let’s start with a couple of pieces of news and transactions: Brad Hartong was promoted from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers.Luis Martinez was returned to the GCL from Ft. Myers.Jaylin Davis was promoted from Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids.The Kernels also activated catcher Kevin Garcia. OF Austin Diemer was placed on the disabled list.Wander Javier re-aggravated his hamstring and will miss more time.RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 8 Box Score It was a rough night for the Red Wings. Andrew Albers started and recorded just six outs. He faced six batters in the third inning without recording an out. In all, he gave up four runs on five hits and four walks. He struck out three. Nick Greenwood came in and gave up two runs on five hits over the next 3.1 innings. He walked two and struck out one. Sean Burnett gave up just a hit over 1.1 innings. JT Chargois gave up two runs on three hits over 1.1 innings. He struck out two. Alex Wimmers pitched a scoreless ninth. Darin Mastroianni went 3-4. Adam Brett Walker went 2-4 with his 12th double. Buck Britton added his 12th double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 9 Box Score Ryan Eades was terrific in June, but his first start in July didn’t go well. He gave up six runs on eight hits over four innings. He walked three and struck out three. Corey Williams came on and threw three shutout innings. He walked two and struck out two.Luke Westphal then gave up three runs on five hits and a walk over the final two innings. He struck out four. Mitch Garver went 1-1 with two walks and his 16th double. Dalton Hicks went 2-4. Levi Michael went 1-2 with a walk. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 14, St. Lucie 0 Box Score The Miracle had Felix Jorge on the mound, so they probably didn’t need too much run support. However, the offense came through big time in this 20-hit effort. Trey Vavra went hitless, but all of the other eight spots in the lineup had at least two hits. Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade were each 3-6 in the game. Alex Perez was 3-4 with a walk and his third and fourth doubles since his promotion to the MIracle. TJ White went 2-6. Brian Navarreto went 2-5 with his third double. Tanner Witt went 2-4 with his sixth double. Edgar Corcino played half the game and went 2-3. Joe Maloney hit his third double and drove in two runs. He was replaced by the newest member of the Miracle, Brad Hartong, who went 2-2. Then again, Felix Jorge was on the mound. The right-hander improved to 9-3 with a 1.55 ERA with seven shutout innings. He gave up six hits, walked none and struck out three. Nick Anderson struck out three over the final two innings. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Wisconsin 6 Box Score Miles Nordgren was back on the mound for the Kernels. He gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Tom Hackimer came on and gave up a run on one hit over two innings. He walked two and struck out two. Nelson Molina led the offense. He went 3-3 with a walk. Zander Wiel connected for his fifth home run. Jermaine Palacios was 2-4. Luis Arraez played left field in this game as the team awaits Jaylin Davis’s arrival. He hit his 18th double. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Johnson City 4 Box Score Tyler Beardsley made his first start as a pro. He went the first 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out two. Andrew Vasquez came on and was charged with two runs (one earned) on four hits. He walked one and struck out two. Johan Quezada picked up his first save for Elizabethton. He threw two perfect innings and struck out three. Travis Blankenhorn led the offense. He went 3-5 with his second double. Mitchell Kranson went 3-4. He was hit by a pitch and added his fourth double. Ariel Montesino went 2-5 with his first double. Brandon Lopez went 2-3 with a walk, his second double and his first stolen base. Caleb Hamilton went 1-3 with a walk and his second double. Alex Kirilloff went 1-4 with his second double and two RBI. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 3 Box Score Jean Carlos Arias went 2-5 with his second double and first triple. Jose Miranda went 2-3. Zach Featherstone was 1-3 with a walk and his first triple. Manuel Guzman, still on rehab, went 1-4 and stole two bases. Taylor Clemensia started and gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits over 4.1 innings. He walked four and struck out two. Clark Beeker came on and threw 3.2 scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out seven. Onas Farfan picked up his first save with a perfect ninth inning. 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 – Alex Perez, Ft. Myers Miracle WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) - LHP Jason Wheeler Birmingham @ Chattanooga (10:15 am CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves (vs Carson Fulmer) Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) - RHP Keaton Steele Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Elizabethton @ Bristol (6:00 CST) - RHP Domenick Carlini GCL Rays @ GCL Twins (11:00am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Tuesday's games. Click here to view the article
  20. Let’s start with a couple of pieces of news and transactions: Brad Hartong was promoted from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers. Luis Martinez was returned to the GCL from Ft. Myers. Jaylin Davis was promoted from Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids. The Kernels also activated catcher Kevin Garcia. OF Austin Diemer was placed on the disabled list. Wander Javier re-aggravated his hamstring and will miss more time. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 8 Box Score It was a rough night for the Red Wings. Andrew Albers started and recorded just six outs. He faced six batters in the third inning without recording an out. In all, he gave up four runs on five hits and four walks. He struck out three. Nick Greenwood came in and gave up two runs on five hits over the next 3.1 innings. He walked two and struck out one. Sean Burnett gave up just a hit over 1.1 innings. JT Chargois gave up two runs on three hits over 1.1 innings. He struck out two. Alex Wimmers pitched a scoreless ninth. Darin Mastroianni went 3-4. Adam Brett Walker went 2-4 with his 12th double. Buck Britton added his 12th double. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Birmingham 9 Box Score Ryan Eades was terrific in June, but his first start in July didn’t go well. He gave up six runs on eight hits over four innings. He walked three and struck out three. Corey Williams came on and threw three shutout innings. He walked two and struck out two.Luke Westphal then gave up three runs on five hits and a walk over the final two innings. He struck out four. Mitch Garver went 1-1 with two walks and his 16th double. Dalton Hicks went 2-4. Levi Michael went 1-2 with a walk. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 14, St. Lucie 0 Box Score The Miracle had Felix Jorge on the mound, so they probably didn’t need too much run support. However, the offense came through big time in this 20-hit effort. Trey Vavra went hitless, but all of the other eight spots in the lineup had at least two hits. Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade were each 3-6 in the game. Alex Perez was 3-4 with a walk and his third and fourth doubles since his promotion to the MIracle. TJ White went 2-6. Brian Navarreto went 2-5 with his third double. Tanner Witt went 2-4 with his sixth double. Edgar Corcino played half the game and went 2-3. Joe Maloney hit his third double and drove in two runs. He was replaced by the newest member of the Miracle, Brad Hartong, who went 2-2. Then again, Felix Jorge was on the mound. The right-hander improved to 9-3 with a 1.55 ERA with seven shutout innings. He gave up six hits, walked none and struck out three. Nick Anderson struck out three over the final two innings. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Wisconsin 6 Box Score Miles Nordgren was back on the mound for the Kernels. He gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Tom Hackimer came on and gave up a run on one hit over two innings. He walked two and struck out two. Nelson Molina led the offense. He went 3-3 with a walk. Zander Wiel connected for his fifth home run. Jermaine Palacios was 2-4. Luis Arraez played left field in this game as the team awaits Jaylin Davis’s arrival. He hit his 18th double. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Johnson City 4 Box Score Tyler Beardsley made his first start as a pro. He went the first 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out two. Andrew Vasquez came on and was charged with two runs (one earned) on four hits. He walked one and struck out two. Johan Quezada picked up his first save for Elizabethton. He threw two perfect innings and struck out three. Travis Blankenhorn led the offense. He went 3-5 with his second double. Mitchell Kranson went 3-4. He was hit by a pitch and added his fourth double. Ariel Montesino went 2-5 with his first double. Brandon Lopez went 2-3 with a walk, his second double and his first stolen base. Caleb Hamilton went 1-3 with a walk and his second double. Alex Kirilloff went 1-4 with his second double and two RBI. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 3 Box Score Jean Carlos Arias went 2-5 with his second double and first triple. Jose Miranda went 2-3. Zach Featherstone was 1-3 with a walk and his first triple. Manuel Guzman, still on rehab, went 1-4 and stole two bases. Taylor Clemensia started and gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits over 4.1 innings. He walked four and struck out two. Clark Beeker came on and threw 3.2 scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked one and struck out seven. Onas Farfan picked up his first save with a perfect ninth inning. 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 – Alex Perez, Ft. Myers Miracle WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) - LHP Jason Wheeler Birmingham @ Chattanooga (10:15 am CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves (vs Carson Fulmer) Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) - RHP Keaton Steele Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Elizabethton @ Bristol (6:00 CST) - RHP Domenick Carlini GCL Rays @ GCL Twins (11:00am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Tuesday's games.
  21. After being drafted, Molina went to the Gulf Coast League where he struggled with the bat, hitting just .110. He returned to the GCL in 2014 and hit .243. Last season, Molina moved up to Elizabethton where he hit .207. Having seen Molina in spring training the last three years he was very intriguing. At 6-3 and lean Molina looks the part of a shortstop prospect. With the glove he is smoooth and has a strong arm. At the plate, he has a good stance with a good swing. He has a good approach at the plate. For some reason, the numbers just didn’t show up during games in the rookie leagues.And he knows it, so his goals for 2016 were clear. “My goal every season is to have a good year and help the team every time I can. Mostly this year I was trying to get a better average. I wanted to help my team offensively, hitting more. I’m doing good now, and I’m really excited about it.” In 36 games since his promotion to the Cedar Rapids Kernels in late April, Molina has hit .291 with a .380 on-base percentage. In the last couple of weeks, he has been batting fifth for the Kernels and on Tuesday, he came through with a big two-run single in their 2-1 win. “I was doing really good in extended (spring training), thank God. I was trying to increase my career, working hard every day to be a better player. I was trying to get here as soon as possible. It was what I had in mind. I think I earned it. Now I’m here and enjoying the moment.” What did he credit for his success in his start with the Kernels? He said it was a combination of his years of experience, but also credits some mechanical changes. “It’s a little bit of both. I think I’ve been getting a lot of experience during the years and that’s helped me a lot. It’s another Nelson Molina in the batter’s box now. I’m thinking, I’m going with another plan with another view of the game. Also, it’s a lot of work. I’ve been working a lot on my hitting mechanics since Puerto Rico. When I got to spring training, I started to work with the coaches down there and they helped me a lot. Everything is going really good now. I’m really excited about it. Very happy about it.” It is always fun hearing about a player’s draft-day experience, and when I asked Molina about the draft, his eyes brightened and his smile increased. “That was, I can say, one of the best moments of my life, for real. I was expecting to be (drafted higher), but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a special moment. I was in my house with my family. They were following the draft on the computer. I really didn’t want to follow. I was just sitting on the couch. I remember that I had a bat in my hands. In the 11th round they usually have the pick first on the computer and then they announce it. That pick they didn’t put in the computer. I asked my dad, ‘what is going on?’ He said ‘Man, nothing’s coming. They haven’t put anything yet.’ Then the speaker started, and I just heard, ‘Nelson Molina.’ What? My dad started laughing, and I said, ‘That’s me?’ ‘Yeah that’s you that’s you, that’s you’. I just started jumping all over the house. It was a great moment. My dad was really proud. I think that was the proudest moment of my life. Seeing my family’s faces.” It’s such a big moment for these kids because it is something they have worked for all of their still-young lives. “All my life, I started playing at three years old. Since I Was 15, I was working really hard to be a pro player. That was a good feeling, for real.” Molina went to Antonio Luchetti school in Puerto Rico. It is a public school and not one of baseball academies in Puerto Rico. “In Puerto Rico, we have three baseball academies right now. My high school was just a normal high school. It was an academic school. I got into a routine. I went to school 8:00 to 3:00 and right when I got out of school, I trained until 7 or 8 p.m. I played with two teams there, and the league is all around the year.” Nelson Molina speaks English nearly fluently and credits his school for that, as well as what the Twins are doing for the Latin American players. Jake Mauer said that English classes are mandatory in the Twins Academy in Ft. Myers, but players in Cedar Rapids are also required to take English classes in Cedar Rapids. When the new academy in the Dominican Republic is complete, they will have better facilities and classrooms for their classes as well. “In Puerto Rico, they give you English classes since kindergarten. I started speaking it regularly in high school. When I got here, it was pretty easy. I started taking the classes with the Twins. I tried to speak to other guys, and they would say you need to say this instead of this. That was a good way to learn. I learned really fast that way.” Molina is not the only player in the Twins organization who attended Antonio Luchetti. Current Twins backup catcher Juan Centeno also went to the school and was drafted six years before Molina. Molina noted that Centeno was a guy who returned to his hometown and school and that was motivation for students and baseball players there. “Yeah, of course. He’s from the same city as me. I remember when I was playing back in Puerto Rico in the leagues at 15, 16 years old. Centeno was with the Mets at the time. He gave us batting gloves and bats all the time and would say ‘Hey, keep working hard and you can do the same thing as me.’ He’s a great guy. He’s a good player too. We know each other well. I know his family. He’s a really good guy.” There is a real pride in Puerto Rico for its baseball players. It’s real, and the players are very happy when others get to the big leagues. “When (Jose) Berrios, (Kennys) Vargas and (Eddie) Rosario were up, it was real exciting for us. For me, it was a good moment because I got real excited for them. I know how they have to work to get there. Berrios played with me back in Puerto Rico. He was a year older than me, but he we faced him. To see a guy like that get to the big leagues is very nice. I was really proud of Puerto Rico.” Molina played this winter for Indios de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico Winter League. “That was a great experience. It’s a big reason for what I’m doing right now. You get a lot of experience. You meet a lot of big leaguers, a lot of great guys.” He credited former big leaguer Ruben Gotay for really helping him out, talking to him about hitting, defense, situations and the mental part of the game. He is a natural shortstop, but he has played all over the field in his four seasons in the organization. He says he feels comfortable on the left side of the infield. “For real, I feel comfortable at all three (infield positions). I played shortstop all my life. But third base, I’ve been playing every day now and I feel very comfortable. I think it’s easier to go from shortstop to third base than the other way.” For now, Molina is working hard every day with one goal in mind for the rest of the season. Well, he has a couple of goals, but it is clear in talking to him that one goal trumps the rest. “Main goal is win the ring. Work hard every day, and have good numbers at the end of the season, help win that ring and bring it home.”
  22. The Twins drafted shortstop Nelson Molina in the 11th round of the 2013 draft out of Antonio Luchetti High School in Puerto Rico. He was a wiry, 17 years old known for his glove work. It’s three years later and Molina finds himself making his full-season debut with the Kernels. On my recent trip to Cedar Rapids, I had the opportunity to meet Molina and spend a little time chatting with the talented 21-year-old.After being drafted, Molina went to the Gulf Coast League where he struggled with the bat, hitting just .110. He returned to the GCL in 2014 and hit .243. Last season, Molina moved up to Elizabethton where he hit .207. Having seen Molina in spring training the last three years he was very intriguing. At 6-3 and lean Molina looks the part of a shortstop prospect. With the glove he is smoooth and has a strong arm. At the plate, he has a good stance with a good swing. He has a good approach at the plate. For some reason, the numbers just didn’t show up during games in the rookie leagues.And he knows it, so his goals for 2016 were clear. “My goal every season is to have a good year and help the team every time I can. Mostly this year I was trying to get a better average. I wanted to help my team offensively, hitting more. I’m doing good now, and I’m really excited about it.” In 36 games since his promotion to the Cedar Rapids Kernels in late April, Molina has hit .291 with a .380 on-base percentage. In the last couple of weeks, he has been batting fifth for the Kernels and on Tuesday, he came through with a big two-run single in their 2-1 win. “I was doing really good in extended (spring training), thank God. I was trying to increase my career, working hard every day to be a better player. I was trying to get here as soon as possible. It was what I had in mind. I think I earned it. Now I’m here and enjoying the moment.” What did he credit for his success in his start with the Kernels? He said it was a combination of his years of experience, but also credits some mechanical changes. “It’s a little bit of both. I think I’ve been getting a lot of experience during the years and that’s helped me a lot. It’s another Nelson Molina in the batter’s box now. I’m thinking, I’m going with another plan with another view of the game. Also, it’s a lot of work. I’ve been working a lot on my hitting mechanics since Puerto Rico. When I got to spring training, I started to work with the coaches down there and they helped me a lot. Everything is going really good now. I’m really excited about it. Very happy about it.” It is always fun hearing about a player’s draft-day experience, and when I asked Molina about the draft, his eyes brightened and his smile increased. “That was, I can say, one of the best moments of my life, for real. I was expecting to be (drafted higher), but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a special moment. I was in my house with my family. They were following the draft on the computer. I really didn’t want to follow. I was just sitting on the couch. I remember that I had a bat in my hands. In the 11th round they usually have the pick first on the computer and then they announce it. That pick they didn’t put in the computer. I asked my dad, ‘what is going on?’ He said ‘Man, nothing’s coming. They haven’t put anything yet.’ Then the speaker started, and I just heard, ‘Nelson Molina.’ What? My dad started laughing, and I said, ‘That’s me?’ ‘Yeah that’s you that’s you, that’s you’. I just started jumping all over the house. It was a great moment. My dad was really proud. I think that was the proudest moment of my life. Seeing my family’s faces.” It’s such a big moment for these kids because it is something they have worked for all of their still-young lives. “All my life, I started playing at three years old. Since I Was 15, I was working really hard to be a pro player. That was a good feeling, for real.” Molina went to Antonio Luchetti school in Puerto Rico. It is a public school and not one of baseball academies in Puerto Rico. “In Puerto Rico, we have three baseball academies right now. My high school was just a normal high school. It was an academic school. I got into a routine. I went to school 8:00 to 3:00 and right when I got out of school, I trained until 7 or 8 p.m. I played with two teams there, and the league is all around the year.” Nelson Molina speaks English nearly fluently and credits his school for that, as well as what the Twins are doing for the Latin American players. Jake Mauer said that English classes are mandatory in the Twins Academy in Ft. Myers, but players in Cedar Rapids are also required to take English classes in Cedar Rapids. When the new academy in the Dominican Republic is complete, they will have better facilities and classrooms for their classes as well. “In Puerto Rico, they give you English classes since kindergarten. I started speaking it regularly in high school. When I got here, it was pretty easy. I started taking the classes with the Twins. I tried to speak to other guys, and they would say you need to say this instead of this. That was a good way to learn. I learned really fast that way.” Molina is not the only player in the Twins organization who attended Antonio Luchetti. Current Twins backup catcher Juan Centeno also went to the school and was drafted six years before Molina. Molina noted that Centeno was a guy who returned to his hometown and school and that was motivation for students and baseball players there. “Yeah, of course. He’s from the same city as me. I remember when I was playing back in Puerto Rico in the leagues at 15, 16 years old. Centeno was with the Mets at the time. He gave us batting gloves and bats all the time and would say ‘Hey, keep working hard and you can do the same thing as me.’ He’s a great guy. He’s a good player too. We know each other well. I know his family. He’s a really good guy.” There is a real pride in Puerto Rico for its baseball players. It’s real, and the players are very happy when others get to the big leagues. “When (Jose) Berrios, (Kennys) Vargas and (Eddie) Rosario were up, it was real exciting for us. For me, it was a good moment because I got real excited for them. I know how they have to work to get there. Berrios played with me back in Puerto Rico. He was a year older than me, but he we faced him. To see a guy like that get to the big leagues is very nice. I was really proud of Puerto Rico.” Molina played this winter for Indios de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico Winter League. “That was a great experience. It’s a big reason for what I’m doing right now. You get a lot of experience. You meet a lot of big leaguers, a lot of great guys.” He credited former big leaguer Ruben Gotay for really helping him out, talking to him about hitting, defense, situations and the mental part of the game. He is a natural shortstop, but he has played all over the field in his four seasons in the organization. He says he feels comfortable on the left side of the infield. “For real, I feel comfortable at all three (infield positions). I played shortstop all my life. But third base, I’ve been playing every day now and I feel very comfortable. I think it’s easier to go from shortstop to third base than the other way.” For now, Molina is working hard every day with one goal in mind for the rest of the season. Well, he has a couple of goals, but it is clear in talking to him that one goal trumps the rest. “Main goal is win the ring. Work hard every day, and have good numbers at the end of the season, help win that ring and bring it home.” Click here to view the article
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