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  1. There were close games that went both ways for Minnesota Twins affiliates in their series openers on Tuesday, but it was a slugger in double-A that stole the show with a pair of home runs. This continued a torrid stretch that you need to start paying attention to, if you haven’t been already. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the system heading into Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Buffalo 8 Box Score The Saints jumped out to a big lead with a five-run third inning, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold it late as they fell back to .500 on the season in their series opener with the Bisons. On the mound for St. Paul was right-hander Ronny Henriquez, and he pitched into the sixth inning. As has been the knock on him in his minor league career, the home run ball was an issue, as he allowed two in his 5 1/3 innings. Luckily for him, they were both of the solo variety and were the only runs given up. In total he allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out five in his outing. In their big third inning, the Saints got a bases-clearing double from Tim Beckham, then later a two-run double from Jermaine Palacios to go out front. Palacios was robbed of a grand slam in the fifth, and instead had to settle for a sac fly that made the score 6-1, before he learned his lesson and muscled one further out in the seventh for a solo homer that made it 7-2. The bottom of the seventh is where it started to fall apart. Tyler Viza had come on in relief of Henriquez in the sixth after he walked two consecutive batters and escaped the jam, but very quickly got himself into one in the seventh. Two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases, then a sac fly and single scored two runs before St. Paul had anyone warmed up. Hunter Wood prevented any further damage that inning, but the lead was now 7-4. In the eighth it was Jovani Moran’s turn to shut the Bisons down and he got the first two hitters he faced, but a pair of walks around an RBI double ended his outing in favor of Yennier Cano. Who promptly allowed a go-ahead three-run homer to complete the Buffalo comeback. The Saints went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, and will look to get back on track with Josh Winder on the mound tomorrow, continuing his rehab assignment. Beckham (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K) and Palacios (2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K) led the way for the offense with multiple hits, and Spencer Steer finished 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and run scored out of the leadoff spot. WIND SURGE WISDOM San Antonio 2, Wichita 9 Box Score We need to talk about Matt Wallner. The slugger out of Southern Mississippi got off to a slow start this year, hitting just .200 in the season's first month. But as the weather has warmed up down in the Texas League, so has he. In the month of May he posted a .287/.410/.575 batting line, and after his two home run game tonight, is hitting .345(!)/.500(!!!)/.690(!!!!!) in the month of June. He’s been so good, and getting on-base so often, that he’s been batting in the leadoff spot for the Wind Surge in the last week. That was the case again tonight in the series opener with the San Antonio Missions, and it didn’t take long for him to show up. It was the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first inning to be exact. That blast tied the game at one, and in his second at-bat in the third inning, he put the Wind Surge in the lead with an RBI single. He later scored on a single from Edouard Julien and the home team took a 3-1 lead. The offense broke the game open in the fifth with four-run inning, though Wallner didn’t factor into the outburst this time. A three-run homer from Cole Sturgeon did most of the damage, but Julien tacked on another RBI single and their lead was now 7-2. Wallner was back at it in the eighth, delivering his third hit and a second home run, when he demolished the first pitch of his at-bat for a two-run blast. I’d imagine he’ll be up with St. Paul soon. Making the start for Wichita was Sawyer Gipson-Long, and he picked up his first win in double-A with a five-inning effort. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked zero, and struck out three. Relievers Melvi Acosta (2 IP, H, BB, K), Steven Cruz (1 IP, H, K), and Osiris German (1 IP, 2 H) finished off the final four scoreless innings in the 9-2 win. Joining Wallner in the multi-hit parade for the Wind Surge were Julien (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Anthony Prato (2-for-4, R), and Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B). KERNELS NUGGETS West Michigan 1, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score The Kernels matchup with the Whitecaps on Tuesday was a good old-fashioned pitchers duel, as the starting pitchers battled each other for the first half of the game, allowing only two hits each in their time on the mound. There were just seven hits total in the game between both teams, and the Kernels did not have a runner advance past second base until the eighth inning. But they finally made it count when they did. Right-hander David Festa got the start and while he didn’t rack up strikeouts like he has been known to this season, kept the Whitecaps off balance in his six innings. He allowed two hits, walked four, and struck out three in allowing just one run. He was sitting mid-90’s all game and topped out at 97 MPH while I was listening to the broadcast. Bradley Hanner delivered two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit, and gets credited with his fourth win of the season, as the lineup came through late. They finally got a runner in scoring position after a one-out single from Kennie Taylor was followed by a walk from Alerick Soularie, bringing up Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who has proven to be born for these situations. He delivered an RBI double down the first base line that tied the game at one, and put the go-ahead runner 90-feet away. After an intentional walk to Aaron Sabato, Seth Gray drove a fly ball deep enough into right field to give the Kernels the lead with a sac fly. Derek Molina came on for the bottom of the ninth, and retired the Whitecaps one-two-three, picking up his third save of the season, and punctuating the comeback with a strikeout to end it. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels got a solid start from left-hander Jordan Carr, and the bullpen finished off the battle of pitching staffs to collect their 40th win of the season against the Flying Tigers. Carr picked up his second win with five innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits, two walks, and struck out five. His lone run allowed came in the fifth inning, which made the score 3-1 in favor of Fort Myers. The lineup had put single runs on the scoreboard in each of the second, fourth, and fifth innings to that point. In the second it was a triple from Keoni Cavaco to score Rubel Cespedes, who had led off the inning with a double. In the fourth, a groundout from Cespedes scored Noah Miller from third, who had led off the inning with a walk. Their run in the fifth came courtesy of an errant throw from the catcher that allowed Mikey Perez to score from second. Those three runs would hold up as the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (1 IP, H, BB, K), Anthony Escobar (1 IP, 2 H, 2 K), and Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, ER, BB, K) kept Lakeland at bay over the final four innings. McMahon’s run allowed came on a solo home run in the eighth, but he set the opposition down in order in the bottom of the ninth for his fifth save. The Mighty Mussels were outhit 9-to-6 and drew only one walk as a team, but got enough to steal a win behind their pitching. They were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and left only one man on base for the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Orioles 3, FCL Twins 15 Box Score The FCL Twins knocked out twelve hits and drew ten walks in blowing out the FCL Orioles. They scored multiple runs in each of the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings, led by three hits, including a home run, and five RBI from Yonardy Soto. Andres Centeno also drove in five with a pair of singles and two sacrifice flies. Brayan Medina got the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks in four innings pitched. He struck out two. Miguelangel Boadas added three innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out four. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Angels 4, DSL Twins 5 Box Score The DSL Twins held off a comeback attempt from the DSL Angels to even their record at 6-6 on the season. Shortstop Yilber Herrera led the way on offense with a 2-for-3 effort, including a double and a triple, and drove in three runs. Rafael Cruz and Denyerbe Gervis also added triples to the effort. Miguel Olivares made the start and went the first four innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out six. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Cedar Rapids Kernels (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-2 #5 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #9 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #13 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Buffalo (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 6.75 ERA) San Antonio @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (6-2, 2.41 ERA) West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - LHP Brent Headrick (6-2, 2.55 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (4-2, 2.94 ERA) DSL Braves @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  2. The Minnesota Twins dropped the first game of their series against the Guardians at Target Field in extra innings. Luis Arraez provided a go-ahead three-run home run but the bullpen couldn't hang on and the lineup failed to deliver in extras. Down in the minors, Jermaine Palacios refused to be denied a home run, Matt Wallner hit a pair of homers of his own, Cedar Rapids pulled off a come-from-behind victory and both Ronny Henriquez and Sawyer Gipson-Long had encouraging starts. All that and more in tonight's system recap.
  3. The Minnesota Twins dropped the first game of their series against the Guardians at Target Field in extra innings. Luis Arraez provided a go-ahead three-run home run but the bullpen couldn't hang on and the lineup failed to deliver in extras. Down in the minors, Jermaine Palacios refused to be denied a home run, Matt Wallner hit a pair of homers of his own, Cedar Rapids pulled off a come-from-behind victory and both Ronny Henriquez and Sawyer Gipson-Long had encouraging starts. All that and more in tonight's system recap. View full video
  4. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the system heading into Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Buffalo 8 Box Score The Saints jumped out to a big lead with a five-run third inning, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold it late as they fell back to .500 on the season in their series opener with the Bisons. On the mound for St. Paul was right-hander Ronny Henriquez, and he pitched into the sixth inning. As has been the knock on him in his minor league career, the home run ball was an issue, as he allowed two in his 5 1/3 innings. Luckily for him, they were both of the solo variety and were the only runs given up. In total he allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out five in his outing. In their big third inning, the Saints got a bases-clearing double from Tim Beckham, then later a two-run double from Jermaine Palacios to go out front. Palacios was robbed of a grand slam in the fifth, and instead had to settle for a sac fly that made the score 6-1, before he learned his lesson and muscled one further out in the seventh for a solo homer that made it 7-2. The bottom of the seventh is where it started to fall apart. Tyler Viza had come on in relief of Henriquez in the sixth after he walked two consecutive batters and escaped the jam, but very quickly got himself into one in the seventh. Two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases, then a sac fly and single scored two runs before St. Paul had anyone warmed up. Hunter Wood prevented any further damage that inning, but the lead was now 7-4. In the eighth it was Jovani Moran’s turn to shut the Bisons down and he got the first two hitters he faced, but a pair of walks around an RBI double ended his outing in favor of Yennier Cano. Who promptly allowed a go-ahead three-run homer to complete the Buffalo comeback. The Saints went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, and will look to get back on track with Josh Winder on the mound tomorrow, continuing his rehab assignment. Beckham (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K) and Palacios (2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K) led the way for the offense with multiple hits, and Spencer Steer finished 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and run scored out of the leadoff spot. WIND SURGE WISDOM San Antonio 2, Wichita 9 Box Score We need to talk about Matt Wallner. The slugger out of Southern Mississippi got off to a slow start this year, hitting just .200 in the season's first month. But as the weather has warmed up down in the Texas League, so has he. In the month of May he posted a .287/.410/.575 batting line, and after his two home run game tonight, is hitting .345(!)/.500(!!!)/.690(!!!!!) in the month of June. He’s been so good, and getting on-base so often, that he’s been batting in the leadoff spot for the Wind Surge in the last week. That was the case again tonight in the series opener with the San Antonio Missions, and it didn’t take long for him to show up. It was the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first inning to be exact. That blast tied the game at one, and in his second at-bat in the third inning, he put the Wind Surge in the lead with an RBI single. He later scored on a single from Edouard Julien and the home team took a 3-1 lead. The offense broke the game open in the fifth with four-run inning, though Wallner didn’t factor into the outburst this time. A three-run homer from Cole Sturgeon did most of the damage, but Julien tacked on another RBI single and their lead was now 7-2. Wallner was back at it in the eighth, delivering his third hit and a second home run, when he demolished the first pitch of his at-bat for a two-run blast. I’d imagine he’ll be up with St. Paul soon. Making the start for Wichita was Sawyer Gipson-Long, and he picked up his first win in double-A with a five-inning effort. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked zero, and struck out three. Relievers Melvi Acosta (2 IP, H, BB, K), Steven Cruz (1 IP, H, K), and Osiris German (1 IP, 2 H) finished off the final four scoreless innings in the 9-2 win. Joining Wallner in the multi-hit parade for the Wind Surge were Julien (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Anthony Prato (2-for-4, R), and Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B). KERNELS NUGGETS West Michigan 1, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score The Kernels matchup with the Whitecaps on Tuesday was a good old-fashioned pitchers duel, as the starting pitchers battled each other for the first half of the game, allowing only two hits each in their time on the mound. There were just seven hits total in the game between both teams, and the Kernels did not have a runner advance past second base until the eighth inning. But they finally made it count when they did. Right-hander David Festa got the start and while he didn’t rack up strikeouts like he has been known to this season, kept the Whitecaps off balance in his six innings. He allowed two hits, walked four, and struck out three in allowing just one run. He was sitting mid-90’s all game and topped out at 97 MPH while I was listening to the broadcast. Bradley Hanner delivered two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit, and gets credited with his fourth win of the season, as the lineup came through late. They finally got a runner in scoring position after a one-out single from Kennie Taylor was followed by a walk from Alerick Soularie, bringing up Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who has proven to be born for these situations. He delivered an RBI double down the first base line that tied the game at one, and put the go-ahead runner 90-feet away. After an intentional walk to Aaron Sabato, Seth Gray drove a fly ball deep enough into right field to give the Kernels the lead with a sac fly. Derek Molina came on for the bottom of the ninth, and retired the Whitecaps one-two-three, picking up his third save of the season, and punctuating the comeback with a strikeout to end it. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels got a solid start from left-hander Jordan Carr, and the bullpen finished off the battle of pitching staffs to collect their 40th win of the season against the Flying Tigers. Carr picked up his second win with five innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits, two walks, and struck out five. His lone run allowed came in the fifth inning, which made the score 3-1 in favor of Fort Myers. The lineup had put single runs on the scoreboard in each of the second, fourth, and fifth innings to that point. In the second it was a triple from Keoni Cavaco to score Rubel Cespedes, who had led off the inning with a double. In the fourth, a groundout from Cespedes scored Noah Miller from third, who had led off the inning with a walk. Their run in the fifth came courtesy of an errant throw from the catcher that allowed Mikey Perez to score from second. Those three runs would hold up as the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (1 IP, H, BB, K), Anthony Escobar (1 IP, 2 H, 2 K), and Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, ER, BB, K) kept Lakeland at bay over the final four innings. McMahon’s run allowed came on a solo home run in the eighth, but he set the opposition down in order in the bottom of the ninth for his fifth save. The Mighty Mussels were outhit 9-to-6 and drew only one walk as a team, but got enough to steal a win behind their pitching. They were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and left only one man on base for the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Orioles 3, FCL Twins 15 Box Score The FCL Twins knocked out twelve hits and drew ten walks in blowing out the FCL Orioles. They scored multiple runs in each of the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings, led by three hits, including a home run, and five RBI from Yonardy Soto. Andres Centeno also drove in five with a pair of singles and two sacrifice flies. Brayan Medina got the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks in four innings pitched. He struck out two. Miguelangel Boadas added three innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out four. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Angels 4, DSL Twins 5 Box Score The DSL Twins held off a comeback attempt from the DSL Angels to even their record at 6-6 on the season. Shortstop Yilber Herrera led the way on offense with a 2-for-3 effort, including a double and a triple, and drove in three runs. Rafael Cruz and Denyerbe Gervis also added triples to the effort. Miguel Olivares made the start and went the first four innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out six. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Cedar Rapids Kernels (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-2 #5 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #9 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #13 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Buffalo (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 6.75 ERA) San Antonio @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (6-2, 2.41 ERA) West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - LHP Brent Headrick (6-2, 2.55 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (4-2, 2.94 ERA) DSL Braves @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  5. The pitchers weren't the best on Saturday, but the bats helped make up for that. Read all about that and more in this edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS OF Willie Joe Garry Jr. placed on IL for A+ Cedar Rapids RHP Yennier Cano optioned to AAA St. Paul LHP Jovani Moran recalled by Minnesota Twins RHP Juan Minaya contract selected by Minnesota Twins INF Tim Beckham assigned to Low-A Fort Myers on minor league rehab Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 7 Box Score Ronny Henriquez: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Spencer Steer (2), Jake Cave, (3) Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-for-4) The Saints lost a winnable game on Saturday. Indianapolis jumped all over Ronny Henriquez, scoring five runs before the young starter could complete five innings. Henriquez continues to own great strikeout numbers since joining the Twins organization, but his ERA has yet to follow suit. We shall see which budges first. Spencer Steer continued his assault on baseballs. The high-flying prospect has no desire to stay at AAA and is surprisingly banging on the door of the majors thanks to a .306/.392/.599 slash-line that hints at a rare OBP/power combination oddly reminiscent of Jose Miranda's 2021 season. Of all the prospect risers in the system, few have shot as highly as Steer. Jake Cave also homered, but the total offensive effort was not enough on Saturday. The Saints gave up seven runs but also struck out 15 batters, flashing some punch out upside available in the high minors. Ian Hamilton descended again, lowering his season ERA to 0.84. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has reigned in command issues that plagued him in 2021, walking batters at a passable 9.1% clip while striking them out 36.4% of the time. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 13, Corpus Cristi 14 Box Score Casey Legumina: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Leobaldo Cabrera (4), Matt Wallner, (10), Dennis Ortega (2) Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-6, RBI), Michael Helman (2-for-5, 2 R), DaShawn Kiersey (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Ernie Yake (2-for-5, R, 2 RBI) Wichita lost a heartbreaker on Saturday. A true barn-burner, no lead was safe on Saturday, as both teams traded blows like Muhammad Ali fighting against Joe Frazier; Leobaldo Cabrera was the big winner with his early-game grand slam. Matt Wallner and Dennis Ortega were the other big blasters of the night. It was a tough night for Wind Surge pitchers. Every arm allowed at least two runs, and the team ended up walking more hitters than they struck out, a bad outcome no matter how you slice it. Perhaps something was in the water, or maybe the vibes were off, but Wichita pitchers will undoubtably look to forget their outings on Saturday. Offensively, the 7-9 hitters found an incredible amount of success, with each batter scoring at least two runs and two hits. Usually, the top of the order sets up the middle section, but Saturday proved the opposite, as those bottom hitters wrecked havoc all night long. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 8, Wisconsin 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: Aaron Sabato (6), Alerick Soularie (3) Multi-hit games: Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI), Will Holland (2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI) The Kernels won handily on Saturday. Brent Headrick took the mound and had a rather mortal outing. The lefty had previously well-established himself as a breakout arm, but his start here was forgettable, allowing more baserunners than innings pitched while striking just three. David Festa followed with four quality innings of work, including three strikeouts and one earned run allowed. The offense stole the show on Saturday. Will Holland brought home the earliest runs with a bases-clearing little-league homer that brought the game to a 3-0 advantage for the Kernels. Wisconsin eventually knotted the game, but Aaron Sabato gave Cedar Rapids a massive lead thanks to a three-run homer in the 5th. Alerick Soularie homered and brought home a final run with a sacrifice fly. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 2 Box Score Jaylen Nowlin: 4 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K HR: Emmanuel Rodriguez (7), Tim Beckham (1) Multi-hit games: Emmanuel Rodriguez (2-for-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB), Kala’i Rosario (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI), Luis Baez (2-for-4, R, RBI) Fort Myers won a blowout on Saturday. It was one of those games that could have ended just about as soon as it began. Emmanuel Rodriguez blasted a solo homer in the first inning before the Mighty Mussels put up a five-spot in the following frame. Tim Beckham hit the home run in that inning. Fort Myers scored three more runs in the game, but it hardly mattered. Jaylen Nowlin had the start of the night, striking out nine batters over his four innings of work. Yes, he allowed two runs as well, but acquiring 75% of one’s outs via the strikeout is a far more impressive task. Matt Mullenbach, Juan Mendez, and Niklas Rimmel combined to hold Bradenton scoreless in relief of Nowlin. Although Mendez and Rimmel walked more batters than either pitcher probably cared to, the extra base-runners never came around to score. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jaylen Nowlin Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Leobaldo Cabrera PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-6, RBI #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, R, 2 K (played LF) #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-2, HR, 4 R, RBI, 2 BB, K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 2-for-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB #16 – Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/b IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K #18 – Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (5:07 PM) - RHP Cole Sands Wichita @ Corpus Christi (6:05 PM) - RHP Louie Varland Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - RHP Sean Mooney Fort Myers @ Bradenton (11:00 AM) - TBD View full article
  6. TRANSACTIONS OF Willie Joe Garry Jr. placed on IL for A+ Cedar Rapids RHP Yennier Cano optioned to AAA St. Paul LHP Jovani Moran recalled by Minnesota Twins RHP Juan Minaya contract selected by Minnesota Twins INF Tim Beckham assigned to Low-A Fort Myers on minor league rehab Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 7 Box Score Ronny Henriquez: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Spencer Steer (2), Jake Cave, (3) Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-for-4) The Saints lost a winnable game on Saturday. Indianapolis jumped all over Ronny Henriquez, scoring five runs before the young starter could complete five innings. Henriquez continues to own great strikeout numbers since joining the Twins organization, but his ERA has yet to follow suit. We shall see which budges first. Spencer Steer continued his assault on baseballs. The high-flying prospect has no desire to stay at AAA and is surprisingly banging on the door of the majors thanks to a .306/.392/.599 slash-line that hints at a rare OBP/power combination oddly reminiscent of Jose Miranda's 2021 season. Of all the prospect risers in the system, few have shot as highly as Steer. Jake Cave also homered, but the total offensive effort was not enough on Saturday. The Saints gave up seven runs but also struck out 15 batters, flashing some punch out upside available in the high minors. Ian Hamilton descended again, lowering his season ERA to 0.84. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has reigned in command issues that plagued him in 2021, walking batters at a passable 9.1% clip while striking them out 36.4% of the time. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 13, Corpus Cristi 14 Box Score Casey Legumina: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Leobaldo Cabrera (4), Matt Wallner, (10), Dennis Ortega (2) Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-6, RBI), Michael Helman (2-for-5, 2 R), DaShawn Kiersey (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Ernie Yake (2-for-5, R, 2 RBI) Wichita lost a heartbreaker on Saturday. A true barn-burner, no lead was safe on Saturday, as both teams traded blows like Muhammad Ali fighting against Joe Frazier; Leobaldo Cabrera was the big winner with his early-game grand slam. Matt Wallner and Dennis Ortega were the other big blasters of the night. It was a tough night for Wind Surge pitchers. Every arm allowed at least two runs, and the team ended up walking more hitters than they struck out, a bad outcome no matter how you slice it. Perhaps something was in the water, or maybe the vibes were off, but Wichita pitchers will undoubtably look to forget their outings on Saturday. Offensively, the 7-9 hitters found an incredible amount of success, with each batter scoring at least two runs and two hits. Usually, the top of the order sets up the middle section, but Saturday proved the opposite, as those bottom hitters wrecked havoc all night long. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 8, Wisconsin 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: Aaron Sabato (6), Alerick Soularie (3) Multi-hit games: Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI), Will Holland (2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI) The Kernels won handily on Saturday. Brent Headrick took the mound and had a rather mortal outing. The lefty had previously well-established himself as a breakout arm, but his start here was forgettable, allowing more baserunners than innings pitched while striking just three. David Festa followed with four quality innings of work, including three strikeouts and one earned run allowed. The offense stole the show on Saturday. Will Holland brought home the earliest runs with a bases-clearing little-league homer that brought the game to a 3-0 advantage for the Kernels. Wisconsin eventually knotted the game, but Aaron Sabato gave Cedar Rapids a massive lead thanks to a three-run homer in the 5th. Alerick Soularie homered and brought home a final run with a sacrifice fly. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 2 Box Score Jaylen Nowlin: 4 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K HR: Emmanuel Rodriguez (7), Tim Beckham (1) Multi-hit games: Emmanuel Rodriguez (2-for-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB), Kala’i Rosario (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI), Luis Baez (2-for-4, R, RBI) Fort Myers won a blowout on Saturday. It was one of those games that could have ended just about as soon as it began. Emmanuel Rodriguez blasted a solo homer in the first inning before the Mighty Mussels put up a five-spot in the following frame. Tim Beckham hit the home run in that inning. Fort Myers scored three more runs in the game, but it hardly mattered. Jaylen Nowlin had the start of the night, striking out nine batters over his four innings of work. Yes, he allowed two runs as well, but acquiring 75% of one’s outs via the strikeout is a far more impressive task. Matt Mullenbach, Juan Mendez, and Niklas Rimmel combined to hold Bradenton scoreless in relief of Nowlin. Although Mendez and Rimmel walked more batters than either pitcher probably cared to, the extra base-runners never came around to score. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jaylen Nowlin Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Leobaldo Cabrera PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-6, RBI #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, R, 2 K (played LF) #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-2, HR, 4 R, RBI, 2 BB, K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 2-for-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB #16 – Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/b IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K #18 – Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (5:07 PM) - RHP Cole Sands Wichita @ Corpus Christi (6:05 PM) - RHP Louie Varland Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - RHP Sean Mooney Fort Myers @ Bradenton (11:00 AM) - TBD
  7. The story on the Minnesota Twins farm system Tuesday night was the pitching performance from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. In a combined effort, including a standout start, they blanked their opponent for the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins selected the contracts of RHP Jharel Cotton and OF Mark Contreras in advance of their series opener with the Houston Astros. In Fort Myers, the Mighty Mussels placed RHP Logan Campbell on the 7-day injured list, and in a corresponding move activated RHP Niklas Rimmel. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Columbus 7 (12 innings) Box Score The way these teams traded runs and leads throughout the game, it was no surprise they needed extra-innings to reach a conclusion. The Saints tied or took the lead four different times, and the Clippers did the same. St. Paul got the first run on the scoreboard in the third, when Ernie Yake drove in Caleb Hamilton with a single. They tied the game at three in the top of the seventh, thanks to a 2-run home run from Hamilton, his second of the year. Down 5-3 in the ninth, RBI singles from Derek Fisher and Hamilton sent the game to extra innings. In the tenth, the Saints were able to get their free runner across the plate to take a 6-5 lead courtesy of a Jake Cave single, but Columbus was able to match it in the bottom half to extend it further. That’s where the luck ran out for the good guys. In the twelfth, the Clippers were finally able to walk it off with a two-out double that was just out of the reach of left-fielder Cole Sturgeon. On the pitching front, the Saints got a decent effort from diminutive starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez, who completed 4 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits (one home run) and a walk, while striking out four. JC Ramirez got the next four outs, allowing a home run of his own. Jovani Moran allowed two runs on three hits while striking out one in the seventh. Juan Minaya pitched two scoreless innings to get the game into extra innings, where Trevor Megill took over. He pitched two innings, allowing one of the inherited runners to score, walked one, and struck out two. Wladimir Pinto was charged with the loss after allowing the walk-off double. Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, K), Hamilton (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI), Roy Morales (2-for-5), and Yake (2-for-5, R, RBI) each collected multiple hits in the loss. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, NW Arkansas 7 Box Score The Wind Surge opened their series with the Travelers by sending right-hander Ben Gross to the bump. He went the first two innings, working around a double in the first and a walk in the second for a scoreless outing. He struck out three. Steven Klimek was brought on to start the third inning and ran into a bunch of trouble. Before it was over NW Arkansas had a 4-0 lead, but Klimek was able to come back and deliver a scoreless fourth inning. The Wichita lineup was able to get three of those runs back right away in the top of the fourth, when Matt Wallner led off the inning with a walk. He was followed by back-to-back blasts from Alex Isola and Andrew Bechtold to make it 4-3. From there, the Wind Surge got two scoreless innings of relief from Tyler Viza, who continued his early season dominance with three strikeouts against one walk and one hit allowed. In 18 1/3 innings pitched so far on the season, Viza owns a 0.49 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, while racking up 29 K’s (14.2/9IP). Osiris German came on for the start of the seventh inning, and was greeted by four consecutive hits that led to two more runs and a 6-3 lead for the home team. In the eighth, Alex Scherff gave up a solo home run to account for the final Travelers run on the scoreboard. Wichita was able to add a single run in the eighth, but they had a bigger opportunity for a comeback as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Spencer Steer all got at-bats with the bases loaded. Martin struck out, the lone run scored on a passed ball during Julien’s at-bat (BB), and then Steer flew out to left, so it was not to be. Bechtold (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K) was the only Wind Surge player to pick up multiple hits, but Julien (1-for-2, 3 BB), Martin (1-for-4, BB, 2 K), Isola (1-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), and Leobaldo Cabrera (0-for-2, 2 BB, K) all reached base multiple times. Despite all those opportunities, they were unable to cash them in by going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and leaving 11 men on base for the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Peoria 1 Box Score The Kernels lineup popped often in this one, and along with poor defense from the Chiefs (4 errors), led to a blowout victory on the road in their series opener. Jair Camargo, Will Holland, and Alerick Soularie all hit home runs for Cedar Rapids, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand added a double, and Willie Joe Garry Jr. a triple. Those five extra-base hits were the majority of the Kernels eight hits in the game, and drove in six of their ten runs. Jeferson Morales led the way with three RBI, and Anthony Prato, Soularie, and Holland each scored two runs. Cedar Rapids got another strong start from left-hander Brent Headrick, who went the first five innings to pick up his fourth win. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out six. Headrick has now gone 16 innings without allowing a run over his last three starts. In that time, he’s allowed just six hits, walked two, and struck out 23. Matt Mullenbach allowed the Chiefs lone run in his two innings of relief. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Derek Molina walked one and struck out two in a scoreless inning, and Tyler Palm finished off the win with a scoreless ninth. The Kernels improve to as stellar 20-8 on the season, and lead the Midwest League West division by two games. MUSSEL MATTERS Palm Beach 0, Fort Myers 3 Box Score This game was all about pitching for the Mighty Mussels, as you can’t do much better than a no-hitter! It is the 4th no-hitter in franchise history, with the last coming on September 18th, 2021 when the Mighty Mussels defeated the Tampa Tarpons 3-0. This one was a lot like that one, as it was a combined effort from multiple pitchers. Last year’s 13th-round draft pick, Right-hander David Festa, got the start and was spectacular for the first six innings. He walked the second batter of the game but retired the next 10 in a row before issuing his second walk in the fourth. He picked up two strikeouts in five of his six innings, and finished with 11 on the game, also notably topping out at over 99 MPH with his fastball. With Festa at 84 pitches (52 for strikes, 22 (!) swinging) after the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels went to reliever Jaylen Nowlin, their 19th round draft pick in 2021, to start the seventh. He delivered two more hitless frames, retiring all six men he faced, including three strikeouts of his own. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the ninth to finish it off, and he did just that thanks in part to a nice play of his own. After a leadoff walk, he was able to work around it by getting a groundball out and then snagging a liner right back at him, where he was able to double-off the runner at second base to end the game. In all, Mighty Mussels pitchers combined to allow just three baserunners on walks, and struck out 14 Cardinals. Fort Myers got all the runs they would end up needing in the bottom of the first inning when Noah Miller was able to come around to score on an outfield error after reaching base with a walk. The lineup went on to add single runs in the fifth and eighth innings thanks to a wild pitch and solo home run from Mikey Perez, his second of the season. While as a team they also managed just two hits in the game, the Mighty Mussels were able to take advantage of eight walks, including three from Miller, and two from catcher Dillon Tatum. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 6 IP, 3 BB, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - Caleb Hamilton, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, 2 K #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - L, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4 #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, BB, K #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, R, 3 BB #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-5, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, 3 BB WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.87 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Matt Canterino (0-1, 1.62 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 1.69 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.80 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  8. TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins selected the contracts of RHP Jharel Cotton and OF Mark Contreras in advance of their series opener with the Houston Astros. In Fort Myers, the Mighty Mussels placed RHP Logan Campbell on the 7-day injured list, and in a corresponding move activated RHP Niklas Rimmel. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Columbus 7 (12 innings) Box Score The way these teams traded runs and leads throughout the game, it was no surprise they needed extra-innings to reach a conclusion. The Saints tied or took the lead four different times, and the Clippers did the same. St. Paul got the first run on the scoreboard in the third, when Ernie Yake drove in Caleb Hamilton with a single. They tied the game at three in the top of the seventh, thanks to a 2-run home run from Hamilton, his second of the year. Down 5-3 in the ninth, RBI singles from Derek Fisher and Hamilton sent the game to extra innings. In the tenth, the Saints were able to get their free runner across the plate to take a 6-5 lead courtesy of a Jake Cave single, but Columbus was able to match it in the bottom half to extend it further. That’s where the luck ran out for the good guys. In the twelfth, the Clippers were finally able to walk it off with a two-out double that was just out of the reach of left-fielder Cole Sturgeon. On the pitching front, the Saints got a decent effort from diminutive starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez, who completed 4 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits (one home run) and a walk, while striking out four. JC Ramirez got the next four outs, allowing a home run of his own. Jovani Moran allowed two runs on three hits while striking out one in the seventh. Juan Minaya pitched two scoreless innings to get the game into extra innings, where Trevor Megill took over. He pitched two innings, allowing one of the inherited runners to score, walked one, and struck out two. Wladimir Pinto was charged with the loss after allowing the walk-off double. Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, K), Hamilton (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI), Roy Morales (2-for-5), and Yake (2-for-5, R, RBI) each collected multiple hits in the loss. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, NW Arkansas 7 Box Score The Wind Surge opened their series with the Travelers by sending right-hander Ben Gross to the bump. He went the first two innings, working around a double in the first and a walk in the second for a scoreless outing. He struck out three. Steven Klimek was brought on to start the third inning and ran into a bunch of trouble. Before it was over NW Arkansas had a 4-0 lead, but Klimek was able to come back and deliver a scoreless fourth inning. The Wichita lineup was able to get three of those runs back right away in the top of the fourth, when Matt Wallner led off the inning with a walk. He was followed by back-to-back blasts from Alex Isola and Andrew Bechtold to make it 4-3. From there, the Wind Surge got two scoreless innings of relief from Tyler Viza, who continued his early season dominance with three strikeouts against one walk and one hit allowed. In 18 1/3 innings pitched so far on the season, Viza owns a 0.49 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, while racking up 29 K’s (14.2/9IP). Osiris German came on for the start of the seventh inning, and was greeted by four consecutive hits that led to two more runs and a 6-3 lead for the home team. In the eighth, Alex Scherff gave up a solo home run to account for the final Travelers run on the scoreboard. Wichita was able to add a single run in the eighth, but they had a bigger opportunity for a comeback as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Spencer Steer all got at-bats with the bases loaded. Martin struck out, the lone run scored on a passed ball during Julien’s at-bat (BB), and then Steer flew out to left, so it was not to be. Bechtold (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K) was the only Wind Surge player to pick up multiple hits, but Julien (1-for-2, 3 BB), Martin (1-for-4, BB, 2 K), Isola (1-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), and Leobaldo Cabrera (0-for-2, 2 BB, K) all reached base multiple times. Despite all those opportunities, they were unable to cash them in by going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and leaving 11 men on base for the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Peoria 1 Box Score The Kernels lineup popped often in this one, and along with poor defense from the Chiefs (4 errors), led to a blowout victory on the road in their series opener. Jair Camargo, Will Holland, and Alerick Soularie all hit home runs for Cedar Rapids, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand added a double, and Willie Joe Garry Jr. a triple. Those five extra-base hits were the majority of the Kernels eight hits in the game, and drove in six of their ten runs. Jeferson Morales led the way with three RBI, and Anthony Prato, Soularie, and Holland each scored two runs. Cedar Rapids got another strong start from left-hander Brent Headrick, who went the first five innings to pick up his fourth win. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out six. Headrick has now gone 16 innings without allowing a run over his last three starts. In that time, he’s allowed just six hits, walked two, and struck out 23. Matt Mullenbach allowed the Chiefs lone run in his two innings of relief. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Derek Molina walked one and struck out two in a scoreless inning, and Tyler Palm finished off the win with a scoreless ninth. The Kernels improve to as stellar 20-8 on the season, and lead the Midwest League West division by two games. MUSSEL MATTERS Palm Beach 0, Fort Myers 3 Box Score This game was all about pitching for the Mighty Mussels, as you can’t do much better than a no-hitter! It is the 4th no-hitter in franchise history, with the last coming on September 18th, 2021 when the Mighty Mussels defeated the Tampa Tarpons 3-0. This one was a lot like that one, as it was a combined effort from multiple pitchers. Last year’s 13th-round draft pick, Right-hander David Festa, got the start and was spectacular for the first six innings. He walked the second batter of the game but retired the next 10 in a row before issuing his second walk in the fourth. He picked up two strikeouts in five of his six innings, and finished with 11 on the game, also notably topping out at over 99 MPH with his fastball. With Festa at 84 pitches (52 for strikes, 22 (!) swinging) after the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels went to reliever Jaylen Nowlin, their 19th round draft pick in 2021, to start the seventh. He delivered two more hitless frames, retiring all six men he faced, including three strikeouts of his own. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the ninth to finish it off, and he did just that thanks in part to a nice play of his own. After a leadoff walk, he was able to work around it by getting a groundball out and then snagging a liner right back at him, where he was able to double-off the runner at second base to end the game. In all, Mighty Mussels pitchers combined to allow just three baserunners on walks, and struck out 14 Cardinals. Fort Myers got all the runs they would end up needing in the bottom of the first inning when Noah Miller was able to come around to score on an outfield error after reaching base with a walk. The lineup went on to add single runs in the fifth and eighth innings thanks to a wild pitch and solo home run from Mikey Perez, his second of the season. While as a team they also managed just two hits in the game, the Mighty Mussels were able to take advantage of eight walks, including three from Miller, and two from catcher Dillon Tatum. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 6 IP, 3 BB, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - Caleb Hamilton, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, 2 K #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - L, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4 #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, BB, K #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, R, 3 BB #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-5, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, 3 BB WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.87 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Matt Canterino (0-1, 1.62 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 1.69 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.80 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  9. David Festa struck out 11 batters over six innings to help lead the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels to a combined no-hitter Tuesday. Jaylen Nowlin covered the seventh and eight innings before Hunter McMahon finished it off in the ninth. Highlighted in tonight's video are Ronny Henriquez, Caleb Hamilton and Andrew Bechtold. Also discussed are the early goings of the Twins vs. Astros game and another strong start from Brent Headrick for Cedar Rapids. View full video
  10. David Festa struck out 11 batters over six innings to help lead the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels to a combined no-hitter Tuesday. Jaylen Nowlin covered the seventh and eight innings before Hunter McMahon finished it off in the ninth. Highlighted in tonight's video are Ronny Henriquez, Caleb Hamilton and Andrew Bechtold. Also discussed are the early goings of the Twins vs. Astros game and another strong start from Brent Headrick for Cedar Rapids.
  11. After an injury-ridden 2021, Cedar Rapids pitcher Brent Headrick was electric on Wednesday night. Combine that with an offensive clinic in St. Paul and a nail-biter in Florida, it was an exciting evening across the farm. TRANSACTIONS Ft. Myers announced after their game that infielder Jesus Feliz is going on the 7-Day IL with a right elbow strain. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 8, Iowa 1 Box Score The bats were alive in Lowertown on Wednesday night. Combined with rock-solid pitching, St. Paul used seven hits, two homers, and a pair of doubles to pummel the I-Cubs. The Saints flooded the bases right out of the gate thanks to a pair of first-inning walks from Jake Cave and Curtis Terry. Two batters later, Mark Contreras mashed a three-run homer over the right-field wall to give St. Paul a 3-0 lead. St. Paul scored on a similar sequence to put two more runs on the board in the second inning. After Derek Fisher was hit by a pitch Elliot Soto crushed his first homer of the year to put St. Paul up 5-0. The team would tack on two more runs in the fifth. Terry opened the floodgates with an RBI double that scored Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff to give the Saints a 7-1 lead. Lewis and Kirilloff teamed up to add another run in the seventh when Lewis scored on a Kirilloff single. Starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez was admirable on the night, allowing only one run through 3 1/3 innings. JC Ramirez was even more impressive in relief tossing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball while striking out three. The tandem of Drew Strotman and Yennier Cano teamed up to pitch a perfect final two innings to seal the deal. WIND SURGE WISDOM POSTPONED For the second time in recent days, Wichita’s Wednesday night game was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow evening. The highly-anticipated matchup of brothers Louie and Gus Varland will take place in game one. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Quad Cities 0 Box Score An outstanding starting pitching performance and a myriad of insurance runs propelled Cedar Rapids to a shutout win over rival Quad Cities. Cedar Rapids starting pitcher Brent Headrick was incredible, tossing six innings of scoreless ball. The Braidwood, Illinois, native only surrendered one hit and one walk while fanning a season-high ten strikeouts past the Quad Cities batting order. Headrick has at least five strikeouts in each of his five starts this season and an impressive 38 in total on the young season. Cedar Rapids broke the chess match in the sixth inning. After reaching on a thrower error, Kennie Taylor would find his way around the bases thanks to a Jeferson Morales single, a sac-fly by Anthony Prato, and an RBI single from Christian Encarnacion-Strand. The Kernels would tack on a trio of insurance runs in the seventh. After reaching on a Fielder’s Choice, Alerick Soularie stole second base and would advance to third courtesy of a Will Holland single. The former Tennessee Volunteer then scored thanks to a wild pitch. The bases weren’t clear for long; thanks to the same players that manufactured the run in the sixth inning. After consecutive walks from Taylor and Morales, Prato laced a triple to center field that scored both men to give the Kernels a 4-0 lead. That lead would hold true to the final strike thanks to an efficient bullpen outing courtesy of Orlando Rodriquez and Andrew Cabezas. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 4 Box Score Despite multiple comeback efforts, the Mussels dropped a tight game in the Sunshine State. The Mussels rebounded to tie the game in both the sixth and ninth innings but ultimately fell short in extra innings. Aside from giving up two runs in the first, starting pitcher David Festa was solid through four innings, striking out five and only walking one. Regi Grace followed suit by pitching three innings of scoreless ball, striking out three, and walking one. Down two for the first five innings, Fort Myers fought back with a stellar sixth inning. Highly-touted prospect Noah Miller kicked off the inning with his first triple of the year. Two batters later, Kyler Fedko reached on a Fielder’s Choice that would allow Miller to score from third. Fedko would advance to second thanks to a Lakeland error on the play and a balk in the next at-bat. With two outs, Keoni Cavaco came in clutch with a sharp double to score Fedko from third and give the Mussels a slight lead. The double added his stellar night at the plate. Prior to the at-bat, Cavaco laced a triple in the first. After Lakeland regained the lead in the eighth, the Mussels scrapped back a run in the ninth to tie it up on a wild span of events. With one out Mikey Perez went to first and was later advanced to second thanks to a bunt from Ernie Yake. Yake would eventually be caught stealing second on a play that moved Perez to third and resulted in the ejection of Mussels skipper Brian Meyer. After a pair of substitutions, Perez bolted home to score on a wild pitch to tie the game at three and send the game to extra innings. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day: Elliot Soto (St. Paul)- 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K Pitcher of the Day: Brent Headrick (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, O R, H, BB, 10 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4 #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, SB, B, K #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, 3B, BB, 2 SO #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 3.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 4 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, RBI, K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.70 ERA) Doubleheader Game One :Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (2-1, 3.05 ERA) Game Two: Following Game One Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 2.08 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - TBA View full article
  12. The Minnesota Twins lost to Baltimore 9-4 Wednesday night and former longtime Oriole Dylan Bundy gave up all nine runs. It was a tough night for Jose Miranda but fellow Twins rookie Jovani Moran looked good. Down on the farm, Ronny Henriquez had an encouraging outing, Royce Lewis had another busy night and Brent Headrick was dominant for Cedar Rapids, throwing six shutout innings while tallying 10 strikeouts. Highlights of all that and more in tonight's recap.
  13. The Minnesota Twins lost to Baltimore 9-4 Wednesday night and former longtime Oriole Dylan Bundy gave up all nine runs. It was a tough night for Jose Miranda but fellow Twins rookie Jovani Moran looked good. Down on the farm, Ronny Henriquez had an encouraging outing, Royce Lewis had another busy night and Brent Headrick was dominant for Cedar Rapids, throwing six shutout innings while tallying 10 strikeouts. Highlights of all that and more in tonight's recap. View full video
  14. TRANSACTIONS Ft. Myers announced after their game that infielder Jesus Feliz is going on the 7-Day IL with a right elbow strain. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 8, Iowa 1 Box Score The bats were alive in Lowertown on Wednesday night. Combined with rock-solid pitching, St. Paul used seven hits, two homers, and a pair of doubles to pummel the I-Cubs. The Saints flooded the bases right out of the gate thanks to a pair of first-inning walks from Jake Cave and Curtis Terry. Two batters later, Mark Contreras mashed a three-run homer over the right-field wall to give St. Paul a 3-0 lead. St. Paul scored on a similar sequence to put two more runs on the board in the second inning. After Derek Fisher was hit by a pitch Elliot Soto crushed his first homer of the year to put St. Paul up 5-0. The team would tack on two more runs in the fifth. Terry opened the floodgates with an RBI double that scored Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff to give the Saints a 7-1 lead. Lewis and Kirilloff teamed up to add another run in the seventh when Lewis scored on a Kirilloff single. Starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez was admirable on the night, allowing only one run through 3 1/3 innings. JC Ramirez was even more impressive in relief tossing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball while striking out three. The tandem of Drew Strotman and Yennier Cano teamed up to pitch a perfect final two innings to seal the deal. WIND SURGE WISDOM POSTPONED For the second time in recent days, Wichita’s Wednesday night game was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow evening. The highly-anticipated matchup of brothers Louie and Gus Varland will take place in game one. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Quad Cities 0 Box Score An outstanding starting pitching performance and a myriad of insurance runs propelled Cedar Rapids to a shutout win over rival Quad Cities. Cedar Rapids starting pitcher Brent Headrick was incredible, tossing six innings of scoreless ball. The Braidwood, Illinois, native only surrendered one hit and one walk while fanning a season-high ten strikeouts past the Quad Cities batting order. Headrick has at least five strikeouts in each of his five starts this season and an impressive 38 in total on the young season. Cedar Rapids broke the chess match in the sixth inning. After reaching on a thrower error, Kennie Taylor would find his way around the bases thanks to a Jeferson Morales single, a sac-fly by Anthony Prato, and an RBI single from Christian Encarnacion-Strand. The Kernels would tack on a trio of insurance runs in the seventh. After reaching on a Fielder’s Choice, Alerick Soularie stole second base and would advance to third courtesy of a Will Holland single. The former Tennessee Volunteer then scored thanks to a wild pitch. The bases weren’t clear for long; thanks to the same players that manufactured the run in the sixth inning. After consecutive walks from Taylor and Morales, Prato laced a triple to center field that scored both men to give the Kernels a 4-0 lead. That lead would hold true to the final strike thanks to an efficient bullpen outing courtesy of Orlando Rodriquez and Andrew Cabezas. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 4 Box Score Despite multiple comeback efforts, the Mussels dropped a tight game in the Sunshine State. The Mussels rebounded to tie the game in both the sixth and ninth innings but ultimately fell short in extra innings. Aside from giving up two runs in the first, starting pitcher David Festa was solid through four innings, striking out five and only walking one. Regi Grace followed suit by pitching three innings of scoreless ball, striking out three, and walking one. Down two for the first five innings, Fort Myers fought back with a stellar sixth inning. Highly-touted prospect Noah Miller kicked off the inning with his first triple of the year. Two batters later, Kyler Fedko reached on a Fielder’s Choice that would allow Miller to score from third. Fedko would advance to second thanks to a Lakeland error on the play and a balk in the next at-bat. With two outs, Keoni Cavaco came in clutch with a sharp double to score Fedko from third and give the Mussels a slight lead. The double added his stellar night at the plate. Prior to the at-bat, Cavaco laced a triple in the first. After Lakeland regained the lead in the eighth, the Mussels scrapped back a run in the ninth to tie it up on a wild span of events. With one out Mikey Perez went to first and was later advanced to second thanks to a bunt from Ernie Yake. Yake would eventually be caught stealing second on a play that moved Perez to third and resulted in the ejection of Mussels skipper Brian Meyer. After a pair of substitutions, Perez bolted home to score on a wild pitch to tie the game at three and send the game to extra innings. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day: Elliot Soto (St. Paul)- 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K Pitcher of the Day: Brent Headrick (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, O R, H, BB, 10 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4 #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, SB, B, K #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4, 3B, BB, 2 SO #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 3.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 4 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, RBI, K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.70 ERA) Doubleheader Game One :Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (2-1, 3.05 ERA) Game Two: Following Game One Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 2.08 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - TBA
  15. Jorge Alcalá is out until at least June. Jhon Romero just joined him on the injured list. Tyler Duffey's reliability is very much in question. Taylor Rogers is balling out in San Diego. It's become quickly apparent that the Twins will be needing late-inning reinforcements in short order. Let's take a look at the system to see what they might be able to call upon internally. Although your mileage may vary on the quality levels, there are a ton of different arms in the organization capable of contributing to the Twins bullpen. Some of them bring ample big-league experience, while others bring tantalizing upside. If just a few of these guys can hit, it'd make a huge difference for the Twins bullpen. Below you'll find 13 pitchers with a chance to join the fray this year, listed roughly in order of when you might expect to see them materialize in the big leagues. Jharel Cotton, RHP Cotton was of course a member of the Opening Day bullpen after being claimed off waivers from Texas during the offseason. He tossed a couple innings for the Twins before being sent down to Triple-A in a roster crunch. Coming off a 3.52 ERA in 30.1 IP for the Rangers last year, the 30-year-old is a candidate to return soon, although his removal from the 40-man roster complicates things. Devin Smeltzer, LHP The left-hander looked to be on his way to securing a roster spot this spring, allowing zero runs on five hits in 11 innings, but Smeltzer was surprisingly sent to Triple-A. There he has continued to excel with a 1.29 ERA in 14 frames. The Twins are keeping him stretched out for long relief duty – or possibly even another chance to start – and it's only a matter of time before he resurfaces in Minnesota. Juan Minaya, RHP He pitched extremely well out of the Twins bullpen last year, with a 2.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 rate in 40 innings. He's made more than 150 appearances in the majors. He currently has a 2.48 ERA and 8-to-0 K/BB ratio with the Saints. Doomed with a AAAA-player label he can't seem to shake, Minaya has to keep fighting for his chances, but like with Smeltzer, the good work should earn him another nod soon enough. Jovani Moran, LHP Compared to Cotton, Smeltzer and Minaya, Moran is much more of a prospect, and he has a leg up in that he's already on the 40-man roster. But it's the lack of polish that will force him to wait his turn. He struggled while debuting in the majors late last year, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits and seven walks in eight innings, and the control issues have persisted this year in St. Paul where he's allowed six walks in 6.1 IP. Ronny Henriquez, RHP He initially looked like a toss-in on top of Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the Mitch Garver trade, but there was immediate buzz surrounding Henriquez as an arm the Twins really fancied. His first appearance at Triple-A for the Saints last week did nothing to silence the buzz – Henriquez struck out four over three hitless innings, notching 11 swinging strikes on 47 pitches. Oh, and he's on the 40-man. It wouldn't shock me to see him beat everyone else on this list to the majors, but the Twins probably want to give him some time to settle in and form a rhythm at Triple-A. Yennier Cano, RHP Signed out of Cuba for $750K back in the summer of 2019, Cano was viewed as a potential fast riser with a big heater touching the high 90s. The pandemic year slowed him down, but Cano was excellent in the minors last season with a 3.23 ERA and 11.1 K/9 rate in 69.2 IP between Double-A and Triple-A. Through five appearances at St. Paul this year, he has an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio with zero runs allowed. Cano is already 28, so there's no sense in waiting much longer to give him a look, although he's not yet on the 40-man. I think he and Henriquez are the two pitchers on this list I'm most excited about from a short-term perspective. Trevor Megill, RHP Megill is one of a handful of veteran-ish relievers signed by the Twins to minor-league contracts during the offseason. That group also includes the likes of Jake Petricka, Jake Faria, JC Ramirez, and Dereck Rodriguez (who we've already seen). They've all got their own strengths and weaknesses but are relatively similar in terms of quality and realistic upside. MLB experience is an asset for each. Drew Stotman, RHP The Nelson Cruz trade already looks like a slam-dunk win thanks to Joe Ryan. Imagine if Strotman, the second piece of the deal, develops into an impact reliever. The Twins seem to envision that path, since they kept him on the 40-man roster throughout the offseason after he posted a 7.33 ERA in 12 starts for St. Paul following the trade. He has officially converted into relief duty now, and the early results at Triple-A have been meh (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K). It might take a little time, but the 25-year-old former fourth-rounder has potential. Matt Canterino, RHP One of my favorite arms in the system. Canterino's off to a stellar start in the Wichita rotation, with with a 2.79 ERA and 13.0 K/9, but his innings are being managed with extreme caution (he has 9.2 IP in four starts). Moving him to relief is the only way the Twins can hope to get anything resembling a full season out of him. It wouldn't necessarily need to be a permanent pivot, and would set the stage for a fast track to the majors. Cole Sands, RHP A phenomenal 2021 season at Double-A (2.82 ERA, 10.8 K/9 in 80.1 IP) compelled the Twins to protect Sands from the Rule 5 draft, so he's on the 40-man roster. He reported to St. Paul as a starter and looked brilliant in his first couple turns, allowing one run over 10 innings with 12 strikeouts. Then he gave up 10 earned runs in 1.2 IP over his next two outings. Hopefully everything is okay physically, but either way his ascent to the majors has hit a major speed bump. Chris Vallimont, RHP Added to the 40-man alongside Sands during the offseason, Vallimont's campaign is off to a similarly ugly start, which may endanger his roster spot. He has a 10.29 ERA in three starts at Wichita. Either the Twins are going to try and switch gears with a bullpen role or they're gonna be forced to waive him, barring a drastic turnaround. Given he was already a marginal addition to the 40-man roster, there's no way the team can stay beholden to a 25-year-old who's getting blasted in a Double-A rotation. That said ... there's a reason they liked him. Louie Varland, RHP He was the organization's 2021 pitcher of the year thanks to a sterling 2.10 ERA and 12.4 K/9 across two levels of A-ball. Now Varland is getting his first taste of the upper minors at Wichita, and holding his own with a 4.11 ERA and 18-to-8 K/BB ratio in 15.1 IP. The Twins seem committed to him as a starter, in which case we probably won't see him this year, but a late-season look as a reliever is hardly out of the question. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Widely regarded as a top 100 prospect in the game a year ago, Woods Richardson came over alongside Austin Martin in the José Berríos trade. As one of the younger starting pitchers in Double-A last season, he struggled a fair amount, but this year he's off to a dazzling start at Wichita: 16.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 14 K, zero earned runs. He's only 22, and – like Varland – pretty firmly a starter. But he's got big stuff and composure, and he's also gonna be on a strict innings limit. If Woods Richardson keeps lighting it up all summer, he could be bringing gas out of the Twins bullpen in September. View full article
  16. Although your mileage may vary on the quality levels, there are a ton of different arms in the organization capable of contributing to the Twins bullpen. Some of them bring ample big-league experience, while others bring tantalizing upside. If just a few of these guys can hit, it'd make a huge difference for the Twins bullpen. Below you'll find 13 pitchers with a chance to join the fray this year, listed roughly in order of when you might expect to see them materialize in the big leagues. Jharel Cotton, RHP Cotton was of course a member of the Opening Day bullpen after being claimed off waivers from Texas during the offseason. He tossed a couple innings for the Twins before being sent down to Triple-A in a roster crunch. Coming off a 3.52 ERA in 30.1 IP for the Rangers last year, the 30-year-old is a candidate to return soon, although his removal from the 40-man roster complicates things. Devin Smeltzer, LHP The left-hander looked to be on his way to securing a roster spot this spring, allowing zero runs on five hits in 11 innings, but Smeltzer was surprisingly sent to Triple-A. There he has continued to excel with a 1.29 ERA in 14 frames. The Twins are keeping him stretched out for long relief duty – or possibly even another chance to start – and it's only a matter of time before he resurfaces in Minnesota. Juan Minaya, RHP He pitched extremely well out of the Twins bullpen last year, with a 2.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 rate in 40 innings. He's made more than 150 appearances in the majors. He currently has a 2.48 ERA and 8-to-0 K/BB ratio with the Saints. Doomed with a AAAA-player label he can't seem to shake, Minaya has to keep fighting for his chances, but like with Smeltzer, the good work should earn him another nod soon enough. Jovani Moran, LHP Compared to Cotton, Smeltzer and Minaya, Moran is much more of a prospect, and he has a leg up in that he's already on the 40-man roster. But it's the lack of polish that will force him to wait his turn. He struggled while debuting in the majors late last year, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits and seven walks in eight innings, and the control issues have persisted this year in St. Paul where he's allowed six walks in 6.1 IP. Ronny Henriquez, RHP He initially looked like a toss-in on top of Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the Mitch Garver trade, but there was immediate buzz surrounding Henriquez as an arm the Twins really fancied. His first appearance at Triple-A for the Saints last week did nothing to silence the buzz – Henriquez struck out four over three hitless innings, notching 11 swinging strikes on 47 pitches. Oh, and he's on the 40-man. It wouldn't shock me to see him beat everyone else on this list to the majors, but the Twins probably want to give him some time to settle in and form a rhythm at Triple-A. Yennier Cano, RHP Signed out of Cuba for $750K back in the summer of 2019, Cano was viewed as a potential fast riser with a big heater touching the high 90s. The pandemic year slowed him down, but Cano was excellent in the minors last season with a 3.23 ERA and 11.1 K/9 rate in 69.2 IP between Double-A and Triple-A. Through five appearances at St. Paul this year, he has an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio with zero runs allowed. Cano is already 28, so there's no sense in waiting much longer to give him a look, although he's not yet on the 40-man. I think he and Henriquez are the two pitchers on this list I'm most excited about from a short-term perspective. Trevor Megill, RHP Megill is one of a handful of veteran-ish relievers signed by the Twins to minor-league contracts during the offseason. That group also includes the likes of Jake Petricka, Jake Faria, JC Ramirez, and Dereck Rodriguez (who we've already seen). They've all got their own strengths and weaknesses but are relatively similar in terms of quality and realistic upside. MLB experience is an asset for each. Drew Stotman, RHP The Nelson Cruz trade already looks like a slam-dunk win thanks to Joe Ryan. Imagine if Strotman, the second piece of the deal, develops into an impact reliever. The Twins seem to envision that path, since they kept him on the 40-man roster throughout the offseason after he posted a 7.33 ERA in 12 starts for St. Paul following the trade. He has officially converted into relief duty now, and the early results at Triple-A have been meh (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K). It might take a little time, but the 25-year-old former fourth-rounder has potential. Matt Canterino, RHP One of my favorite arms in the system. Canterino's off to a stellar start in the Wichita rotation, with with a 2.79 ERA and 13.0 K/9, but his innings are being managed with extreme caution (he has 9.2 IP in four starts). Moving him to relief is the only way the Twins can hope to get anything resembling a full season out of him. It wouldn't necessarily need to be a permanent pivot, and would set the stage for a fast track to the majors. Cole Sands, RHP A phenomenal 2021 season at Double-A (2.82 ERA, 10.8 K/9 in 80.1 IP) compelled the Twins to protect Sands from the Rule 5 draft, so he's on the 40-man roster. He reported to St. Paul as a starter and looked brilliant in his first couple turns, allowing one run over 10 innings with 12 strikeouts. Then he gave up 10 earned runs in 1.2 IP over his next two outings. Hopefully everything is okay physically, but either way his ascent to the majors has hit a major speed bump. Chris Vallimont, RHP Added to the 40-man alongside Sands during the offseason, Vallimont's campaign is off to a similarly ugly start, which may endanger his roster spot. He has a 10.29 ERA in three starts at Wichita. Either the Twins are going to try and switch gears with a bullpen role or they're gonna be forced to waive him, barring a drastic turnaround. Given he was already a marginal addition to the 40-man roster, there's no way the team can stay beholden to a 25-year-old who's getting blasted in a Double-A rotation. That said ... there's a reason they liked him. Louie Varland, RHP He was the organization's 2021 pitcher of the year thanks to a sterling 2.10 ERA and 12.4 K/9 across two levels of A-ball. Now Varland is getting his first taste of the upper minors at Wichita, and holding his own with a 4.11 ERA and 18-to-8 K/BB ratio in 15.1 IP. The Twins seem committed to him as a starter, in which case we probably won't see him this year, but a late-season look as a reliever is hardly out of the question. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Widely regarded as a top 100 prospect in the game a year ago, Woods Richardson came over alongside Austin Martin in the José Berríos trade. As one of the younger starting pitchers in Double-A last season, he struggled a fair amount, but this year he's off to a dazzling start at Wichita: 16.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 14 K, zero earned runs. He's only 22, and – like Varland – pretty firmly a starter. But he's got big stuff and composure, and he's also gonna be on a strict innings limit. If Woods Richardson keeps lighting it up all summer, he could be bringing gas out of the Twins bullpen in September.
  17. Johan Santana had the most famous changeup in Twins history, but it took him time to find the pitch. Will any of these players improve their changeup as they get closer to Target Field? When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 5. Steven Hajjar, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55 Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55 Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 3. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup. 1. Jovani Moran, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70 Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Slider Prospects — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects View full article
  18. When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 5. Steven Hajjar, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55 Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55 Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 3. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup. 1. Jovani Moran, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70 Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Slider Prospects — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects
  19. Minnesota's coaching staff has focused heavily on sliders under the tutelage of pitching coach Wes Johnson. Here are the best sliders among the team's top prospects. As pitchers move through a farm system, the organization hopes to use technology and data to help them improve their pitching repertoire. On the 20-80 scouting scale, nearly all of the sliders below have room to grow this season, which can be dangerous for opposing batters. 5. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 50/55 Don't let Henriquez's small stature deceive you. He is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. He joined the Twins organization from Texas as part of the Mitch Garver trade. Last season, he spent time at High- and Double-A, where he posted a 4.71 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings. At both levels, he was more than two years younger than the average age of the competition. Henriquez is already on the 40-man roster, so there is a good chance he will make his debut in 2022. 4. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 50/55 Balazovic has come a long way since he was a lanky Canadian high school pitcher in the 2016 draft. His velocity has increased throughout his professional career, leading to an increased walk rate as he adjusts to his ever-changing repertoire. His slider is one of three pitches with a future grade of 55 or higher. He uses a delivery that makes it tough to pick up the ball, which makes his offspeed offerings even more dangerous. A back injury kept him from debuting until later in the 2021 season. Otherwise, he may have joined Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan at the big-league level. 3. Francis Peguero, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 55/55 Peguero was the prospect included in the Sonny Gray trade with the Reds. Last season, he pitched in relief at High-A, where he had a 4.96 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 32 2/3 innings. His fastball velocity increased from the low-90s to the upper-90s last season. This increase in velocity projects to help his secondary pitches to play better as he moves closer to the big leagues. Even with the better fastball, his strikeout numbers dropped last season, so he will be a player to watch this season. He is 24-years-old, but he will fit into the team's upper-level bullpen pitcher over the next couple of years. 2. Sean Mooney, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 55/60 Mooney may be an unfamiliar name to some Twins fans, but his slider is still one of the system's best. Minnesota selected Mooney in the 12th round back in 2019 from St. John's. He injured his elbow during his collegiate career and had Tommy John surgery. Since returning to the mound, he utilizes a low-slot arm angle that helps him to have a great slider and an above-average changeup. Last season was his professional debut, and he posted a 3.64 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 13 appearances. Over 42 innings, he struck out 71 batters, so a healthy Mooney looks like he can be a pitching weapon. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 55/60 There's a reason Canterino is considered one of the organization's top pitching prospects. His fastball ranks near the top of the farm system, and his top-ranked slider adds even more to his arsenal. He has a four-pitch mix that can make him a dominant starting pitcher, but there have been health concerns throughout his professional career. Minnesota is confident in him bouncing back this season and proving he can stay in a starting role. However, his fastball-slider combination is enough to make him a dominant reliever if the team needs to make future adjustments. Who do you think has the best slider in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects View full article
  20. As pitchers move through a farm system, the organization hopes to use technology and data to help them improve their pitching repertoire. On the 20-80 scouting scale, nearly all of the sliders below have room to grow this season, which can be dangerous for opposing batters. 5. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 50/55 Don't let Henriquez's small stature deceive you. He is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. He joined the Twins organization from Texas as part of the Mitch Garver trade. Last season, he spent time at High- and Double-A, where he posted a 4.71 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings. At both levels, he was more than two years younger than the average age of the competition. Henriquez is already on the 40-man roster, so there is a good chance he will make his debut in 2022. 4. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 50/55 Balazovic has come a long way since he was a lanky Canadian high school pitcher in the 2016 draft. His velocity has increased throughout his professional career, leading to an increased walk rate as he adjusts to his ever-changing repertoire. His slider is one of three pitches with a future grade of 55 or higher. He uses a delivery that makes it tough to pick up the ball, which makes his offspeed offerings even more dangerous. A back injury kept him from debuting until later in the 2021 season. Otherwise, he may have joined Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan at the big-league level. 3. Francis Peguero, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 55/55 Peguero was the prospect included in the Sonny Gray trade with the Reds. Last season, he pitched in relief at High-A, where he had a 4.96 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 32 2/3 innings. His fastball velocity increased from the low-90s to the upper-90s last season. This increase in velocity projects to help his secondary pitches to play better as he moves closer to the big leagues. Even with the better fastball, his strikeout numbers dropped last season, so he will be a player to watch this season. He is 24-years-old, but he will fit into the team's upper-level bullpen pitcher over the next couple of years. 2. Sean Mooney, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 55/60 Mooney may be an unfamiliar name to some Twins fans, but his slider is still one of the system's best. Minnesota selected Mooney in the 12th round back in 2019 from St. John's. He injured his elbow during his collegiate career and had Tommy John surgery. Since returning to the mound, he utilizes a low-slot arm angle that helps him to have a great slider and an above-average changeup. Last season was his professional debut, and he posted a 3.64 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 13 appearances. Over 42 innings, he struck out 71 batters, so a healthy Mooney looks like he can be a pitching weapon. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Slider/Future Slider: 55/60 There's a reason Canterino is considered one of the organization's top pitching prospects. His fastball ranks near the top of the farm system, and his top-ranked slider adds even more to his arsenal. He has a four-pitch mix that can make him a dominant starting pitcher, but there have been health concerns throughout his professional career. Minnesota is confident in him bouncing back this season and proving he can stay in a starting role. However, his fastball-slider combination is enough to make him a dominant reliever if the team needs to make future adjustments. Who do you think has the best slider in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects
  21. Ronny Henriquez was acquired by the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon as part of the trade that sent Mitch Garver to the Rangers. He's a fireballing right-hander with a slight frame, who likely projects as more of a reliever in the long run. But, he’s exactly the type of arm that could excel in the Twins farm system. Age: 21 2021 Stats (High-A and Double-A): 5-7, 4.71 ERA, 21 G, 16 GS, 93 2/3 IP, 105 K, 25 BB, 17 HR ETA: Late 2022 out of the bullpen, 2023 as a potential starter National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: NR | ATH: NR | BP: NR What’s to Like Despite being listed at 5’10” — a liberal measure of his height, to be sure — and 155 pounds, Henriquez boasts a fastball that consistently hits the mid-90s. Although its spin rate and other concrete metrics are elusive, its overall shape is consistent with successful fastballs in the modern MLB game: It plays best up in the zone and appears to possess good carry, giving it the illusion of rising action. Henriquez accomplishes this by getting on top of his fastball at the point of release. While he utilizes a three-quarter arm slot, a concurrent lateral lean of his trunk allows him to get more vertical spin on his heater, giving it that illusion of carry. His secondary stuff needs some work — more on that in a little bit — but his fastball will be a legitimate MLB offering, if it isn’t already. What’s Left to Work On Henriquez possesses two other offerings in his arsenal: a slider and a changeup. When on, his slider can be an effective pitch, particularly when placed on the outside edge of the plate for a right-handed batter. However, overall the pitch is rather uninspiring at the moment due to his iffy command of it as well as its lack of consistent bite. As for the changeup, well, it’s his third pitch and from the video I’ve seen, he rarely offers it up to right-handers and begrudgingly does so to lefties. In short, Henriquez only has one MLB caliber pitch at the moment, which raises questions about his future as a starter. If he can improve the consistency of at least his slider, he may have a shot at sticking in the rotation. Even so, his overall command can be iffy, even of his fastball. While Henriquez has never posted a strikeout rate less than 26% during his three-season career in the minors, his walk-rate has hovered around 6-7% or roughly three walks per nine innings. Improving his command will be imperative for him if he wants to remain a starter. Additionally, Henriquez is a fly ball pitcher who struggled with the long ball last summer. At Double-A, he surrendered 15 home runs to go along with a 41% fly-ball rate, which equated to a whopping 19.5% home run per fly ball rate, according to FanGraphs. That’s much too high, so it should come as no shock to see that he posted a 4.86 FIP in 69 2/3 innings. His ability to keep the ball in the park while continuing to miss bats will be a large factor in determining his ability to reach the major leagues. Finally, while his motion is rather compact and repeatable, he could probably stand to generate more force from his drive leg. Doing so will allow him to maintain velocity on his fastball while simultaneously cutting down on the force imparted on his shoulder and inner elbow, potentially reducing injury risk. What’s Next Henriquez will likely begin the season with Double-A Wichita and could reach Triple-A St. Paul relatively quickly if he finds success as his fastball is ready to test MLB waters. It wouldn’t come as a total shock if he made his Twins debut during the latter portion of the season out of the bullpen, though, if the Twins wish to continue to develop him as a starter, he likely won’t make his debut until the following summer. The Twins have had success in recent seasons developing young arms with some upside into viable MLB candidates. In many ways, Henriquez is exactly the kind of pitcher the Twins have been able to maximize, not unlike Louie Varland and Josh Winder. While he is not likely to be considered a top 10 prospect in the Twins system, he is the perfect athlete to take a flier on in the trade market. Other's Evaluations Seth chatted with a talent evaluator outside the Twins organization and received the following comments on Henriquez: Evaluator 1: I think the Twins fans will be happy with him. I really like his stuff. He’s undersized, so I don’t know if Starting Pitcher will be a long-term position for him. But he throws strikes with swing-and-miss stuff. Whatever role they decide to put him in, I think he’ll be effective. Don’t be too hung up on his AA numbers from last season. He was a 21-year-old competing at a high level. And friend of Twins Daily, Chris Blessing offered this on Twitter: MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here View full article
  22. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Twins have an agreement with the Texas Rangers to acquire shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa. According to Jeff Passan, the Twins may have found their shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa. As excited as I was to hear about Kiner-Falefa, that positive feeling went out the door when learning that the Twins were dealing Mitch Garver to the Rangers in the deal. Garver is a Silver Slugging catcher who, after an injury-plagued 2020 season, And despite some freak injuries in 2021, he hit .256/.358/.517 (.875) with 15 doubles and 13 homers in 68 games. Defensively, he wasn't going to be a Gold Glover, but as one former coach told me, he went from being perhaps the worst pitch framer in the league to an average, or even above average, pitch framer in a league that had shown improvements across the board. The move certainly puts the pressure on Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt, likely the Twins catchers on Opening Day. Before the lockout, the Rangers made a big splash with signing both Marcus Semien and Corey Seager in free agency. That made Kiner-Falefa available. The 27-year-old played in 158 games for the Rangers in 2021, starting 155 of them at shortstop. In 2020, he won the AL Gold Glove at third base. He is really good defensively. Will he hit? In 2021, he hit .271/.312/.357 (.670) with 25 doubles, three triples and eight home runs. Henriquez split the 2021 season between High-A Hickory, where he was 1-3 with a 3.75 ERA in five starts. The 21-year-old then moved up to Double-A Frisco where he went 4-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 16 games (11 starts). In 93 2/3 combined innings, he struck out 105 batters and walked just 25. He also gave up an alarming 17 home runs. Henriquez is small. He's listed at 5-10 and just 155 pounds. Still plenty of room to gain strength. He has a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 and a good slider. He also throws a changeup that is inconsistent. He has thrown a lot of strikes and shown good control and decent command. Most see him as a long-reliever in the big leagues someday, maybe as early as 2022. He was the Rangers #29-ranked prospect according to Baseball America coming into this season. Mitch Garver ends his Twins tenure having spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues. He was a senior sign as the Twins ninth-round draft pick in 2013 out of the University of New Mexico. In 310 games with the Twins, he hit .256 with 52 doubles, six triples, and 53 home runs. He won that Silver Slugger Award in 2019. In addition, Garver was twice a Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year (2014, Cedar Rapids, 2017, Rochester), and he even came to a Twins Daily Winter Meltdown for awhile. View full article
  23. This offseason, the Minnesota Twins have always been expected to be active on the trade market, but the moves were assumed to be for pitching. After swapping Mitch Garver for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, we now have a whole new angle to figure out in terms of roster construction. Up to this point, the Twins most significant deficiency was starting pitching, with their greatest asset being a potent lineup. Needing a shortstop, Derek Falvey opted to part with one of his best bats in favor of a strong glove at an integral position. Let’s break down the path forward on a position-by-position basis. Catcher There’s very little argument to be made against Mitch Garver being among the best offensive catchers in baseball. He owns a career .835 OPS, with an .894 mark since 2019. Since his debut in 2017, no catcher in baseball has posted a higher OPS. Defensively Garver was always a work in progress. Initially somewhat of a rough receiver, he worked himself to the point of being a successful framer, and in 2021 his 50.5% strike rate ranked 5th in baseball. Working against Garver has been health. In 2020 he appeared in just 23 games and posted a .511 OPS while battling a muscle injury. He played in only 68 games last season after being struck with a foul tip in the groin. It’s hardly fair to tie the second situation to future injury potential, but it is worth noting he recently turned 31-years-old and may benefit from less time behind the plate. Moving off a player like Garver suggests the front office has significant belief in the alternative, which at this point is Ryan Jeffers. A .791 OPS and 119 OPS+ quantified an impressive 26 game debut in 2020. When drafted, Jeffers was thought to be a bat-first player, and there were concerns about whether he could stick behind the dish. Minnesota nabbed him in the second round suggesting a firm belief he would. Last season Jeffers generated a 49.2% strike rate, slightly behind Garver. Of the two, though, he’s still a better defender. Jeffers and Garver provide a level of redundancy when paired together in that they’re both right-handed. There’s no platoon advantage, and Jeffers’ assumed production is higher than a traditional backup. ZiPS doesn’t like Jeffers much this year, projecting just a .671 OPS, but if there’s anything close to what was seen in 2020, he’ll surpass that level with ease. At just 24-years-old Jeffers goes into the season as Minnesota’s clear starter while being backed up by Ben Rortvedt. Rortvedt posted a .750 OPS at Triple-A last year but owned just a .510 OPS in 39 Major League games. He’s got a big arm and brings a solid defensive profile with little ability to contribute offensively. If Rortvedt can get to even a .600 OPS and stay there, a long career in the vein of a Drew Butera type seems plausible. Shortstop Needing a replacement for Andrelton Simmons, the Twins went out and got...Andrelton Simmons, kind of. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a Gold Glove defender that doesn’t hit. A converted catcher, Kiner-Falefa owns a career .670 OPS in 392 Major League games. He’ll be 27-years-old and is under team control for each of the next two seasons. Among qualified shortstops last season, Kiner-Falefa ranked behind only Carlos Correa (20), and Simmons (15) in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 10. Last season was the first year in which he’s primarily played shortstop, but he’s been a defensive asset at third base and second base as well. Statcast’s outs above average had Kiner-Falefa with a -7 mark in 2021, but it’s clear the advanced fielding metrics are generally favorable for him. There was always the thought that Minnesota could opt to move Jorge Polanco back on the other side of the diamond, but both health and production suggested that wasn’t wise. After a breakout in 2021, Polanco’s home appears to now be cemented at second base, and that means Luis Arraez is a utility man at best. With this configuration, it’s also more challenging to see where Jose Miranda fits into the picture at any point in the immediate future. Knowing that pitching can benefit significantly from solid defense, it’s clear the front office is attempting to run it back, with that being the calling card of the infield's most demanding position. Starting Pitcher Team control always comes at a cost, and while Garver has that too, he’s older and has an injury history working against him. Still, though, it’s good to see that Kiner-Falefa’s roster status wasn’t enough for Garver on his own. Texas also sent Ronny Henriquez to Minnesota. Henriquez is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher that sat in the middle of the Rangers top 30 prospects. Making it to Double-A last season, Henriquez put up substantial strikeout numbers and has a 10.9 K/9 in just over 230 minor league innings. His command has also been sharp, with a walk rate of just 2.3 BB/9. Last season the major bugaboo for Henriquez was the long ball, giving up 17 of them in just 93 and 2/3 innings. He’s still at least a year away from the majors, but this is another arm the Twins staff can go to work on. All in all, there are a few takeaways from this deal. First and foremost, it’s that defense remains a priority for Minnesota. Kiner-Falefa can remain at shortstop if Royce Lewis isn’t going to take over, and he has the positional flexibility to move as well. Garver’s bat will sorely be missed, but it’s a clear indication of a big-time belief in Jeffers. The pitching holes probably won’t all be patched up in 2022, and this is a way to help while also looking towards the future. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  24. According to Jeff Passan, the Twins may have found their shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa. As excited as I was to hear about Kiner-Falefa, that positive feeling went out the door when learning that the Twins were dealing Mitch Garver to the Rangers in the deal. Garver is a Silver Slugging catcher who, after an injury-plagued 2020 season, And despite some freak injuries in 2021, he hit .256/.358/.517 (.875) with 15 doubles and 13 homers in 68 games. Defensively, he wasn't going to be a Gold Glover, but as one former coach told me, he went from being perhaps the worst pitch framer in the league to an average, or even above average, pitch framer in a league that had shown improvements across the board. The move certainly puts the pressure on Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt, likely the Twins catchers on Opening Day. Before the lockout, the Rangers made a big splash with signing both Marcus Semien and Corey Seager in free agency. That made Kiner-Falefa available. The 27-year-old played in 158 games for the Rangers in 2021, starting 155 of them at shortstop. In 2020, he won the AL Gold Glove at third base. He is really good defensively. Will he hit? In 2021, he hit .271/.312/.357 (.670) with 25 doubles, three triples and eight home runs. Henriquez split the 2021 season between High-A Hickory, where he was 1-3 with a 3.75 ERA in five starts. The 21-year-old then moved up to Double-A Frisco where he went 4-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 16 games (11 starts). In 93 2/3 combined innings, he struck out 105 batters and walked just 25. He also gave up an alarming 17 home runs. Henriquez is small. He's listed at 5-10 and just 155 pounds. Still plenty of room to gain strength. He has a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 and a good slider. He also throws a changeup that is inconsistent. He has thrown a lot of strikes and shown good control and decent command. Most see him as a long-reliever in the big leagues someday, maybe as early as 2022. He was the Rangers #29-ranked prospect according to Baseball America coming into this season. Mitch Garver ends his Twins tenure having spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues. He was a senior sign as the Twins ninth-round draft pick in 2013 out of the University of New Mexico. In 310 games with the Twins, he hit .256 with 52 doubles, six triples, and 53 home runs. He won that Silver Slugger Award in 2019. In addition, Garver was twice a Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year (2014, Cedar Rapids, 2017, Rochester), and he even came to a Twins Daily Winter Meltdown for awhile.
  25. Up to this point, the Twins most significant deficiency was starting pitching, with their greatest asset being a potent lineup. Needing a shortstop, Derek Falvey opted to part with one of his best bats in favor of a strong glove at an integral position. Let’s break down the path forward on a position-by-position basis. Catcher There’s very little argument to be made against Mitch Garver being among the best offensive catchers in baseball. He owns a career .835 OPS, with an .894 mark since 2019. Since his debut in 2017, no catcher in baseball has posted a higher OPS. Defensively Garver was always a work in progress. Initially somewhat of a rough receiver, he worked himself to the point of being a successful framer, and in 2021 his 50.5% strike rate ranked 5th in baseball. Working against Garver has been health. In 2020 he appeared in just 23 games and posted a .511 OPS while battling a muscle injury. He played in only 68 games last season after being struck with a foul tip in the groin. It’s hardly fair to tie the second situation to future injury potential, but it is worth noting he recently turned 31-years-old and may benefit from less time behind the plate. Moving off a player like Garver suggests the front office has significant belief in the alternative, which at this point is Ryan Jeffers. A .791 OPS and 119 OPS+ quantified an impressive 26 game debut in 2020. When drafted, Jeffers was thought to be a bat-first player, and there were concerns about whether he could stick behind the dish. Minnesota nabbed him in the second round suggesting a firm belief he would. Last season Jeffers generated a 49.2% strike rate, slightly behind Garver. Of the two, though, he’s still a better defender. Jeffers and Garver provide a level of redundancy when paired together in that they’re both right-handed. There’s no platoon advantage, and Jeffers’ assumed production is higher than a traditional backup. ZiPS doesn’t like Jeffers much this year, projecting just a .671 OPS, but if there’s anything close to what was seen in 2020, he’ll surpass that level with ease. At just 24-years-old Jeffers goes into the season as Minnesota’s clear starter while being backed up by Ben Rortvedt. Rortvedt posted a .750 OPS at Triple-A last year but owned just a .510 OPS in 39 Major League games. He’s got a big arm and brings a solid defensive profile with little ability to contribute offensively. If Rortvedt can get to even a .600 OPS and stay there, a long career in the vein of a Drew Butera type seems plausible. Shortstop Needing a replacement for Andrelton Simmons, the Twins went out and got...Andrelton Simmons, kind of. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a Gold Glove defender that doesn’t hit. A converted catcher, Kiner-Falefa owns a career .670 OPS in 392 Major League games. He’ll be 27-years-old and is under team control for each of the next two seasons. Among qualified shortstops last season, Kiner-Falefa ranked behind only Carlos Correa (20), and Simmons (15) in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 10. Last season was the first year in which he’s primarily played shortstop, but he’s been a defensive asset at third base and second base as well. Statcast’s outs above average had Kiner-Falefa with a -7 mark in 2021, but it’s clear the advanced fielding metrics are generally favorable for him. There was always the thought that Minnesota could opt to move Jorge Polanco back on the other side of the diamond, but both health and production suggested that wasn’t wise. After a breakout in 2021, Polanco’s home appears to now be cemented at second base, and that means Luis Arraez is a utility man at best. With this configuration, it’s also more challenging to see where Jose Miranda fits into the picture at any point in the immediate future. Knowing that pitching can benefit significantly from solid defense, it’s clear the front office is attempting to run it back, with that being the calling card of the infield's most demanding position. Starting Pitcher Team control always comes at a cost, and while Garver has that too, he’s older and has an injury history working against him. Still, though, it’s good to see that Kiner-Falefa’s roster status wasn’t enough for Garver on his own. Texas also sent Ronny Henriquez to Minnesota. Henriquez is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher that sat in the middle of the Rangers top 30 prospects. Making it to Double-A last season, Henriquez put up substantial strikeout numbers and has a 10.9 K/9 in just over 230 minor league innings. His command has also been sharp, with a walk rate of just 2.3 BB/9. Last season the major bugaboo for Henriquez was the long ball, giving up 17 of them in just 93 and 2/3 innings. He’s still at least a year away from the majors, but this is another arm the Twins staff can go to work on. All in all, there are a few takeaways from this deal. First and foremost, it’s that defense remains a priority for Minnesota. Kiner-Falefa can remain at shortstop if Royce Lewis isn’t going to take over, and he has the positional flexibility to move as well. Garver’s bat will sorely be missed, but it’s a clear indication of a big-time belief in Jeffers. The pitching holes probably won’t all be patched up in 2022, and this is a way to help while also looking towards the future. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
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