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  1. Every Sunday night, I publish these Week in Review columns. Each of the first 10 editions reported a winning record from the previous seven days, chronicling this club's incredible consistency. Today, that streak finally comes to an end, as the Twins went 3-3 last week on the road. But it still wasn't a losing stretch, and offered plenty of positives amid glimmers of legitimate concern. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 6/3 through Sun, 6/9 *** Record Last Week: 3-3 (Overall: 43-21) Run Differential Last Week: +3 (Overall: +112) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (10.5 GA) Willians Watch: So Long, Old Friend :-( We must begin this week's roster rundown on a somber note: Willians Astudillo has been optioned to Triple-A. This isn't necessarily sad from a competitive standpoint – Astudillo's been the weakest hitter on the team for some time now, and his demotion is well justified with an empty .190 average since the start of May – but if you're like me, you enjoy watching the guy play, interact with teammates, and generally go about his business on the field. He probably won't be gone for too long, as he's already raking down in Rochester (he's 6-for-8 through two games).Called up to replace Astudillo on the roster was right-handed reliever Ryan Eades, who made his major-league debut on Saturday and threw very well in two scoreless frames.The Twins also optioned Devin Smeltzer, who impressed during his two starts, and activated Michael Pineda to start Friday night's game in Detroit.HIGHLIGHTS In the wake of a scorching late-May hot streak, Max Kepler went cold as the calendar flipped, coming up hitless in five games. Then, with the Twins facing a sweep on Thursday in Cleveland, he exploded for three home runs, carrying Minnesota to a 5-4 victory while finishing 4-for-4 with a walk. It'll go down as one of the best offensive performances by a big-leaguer this season. This seems to be the M.O. for Minnesota's lineup: sleeping giants who don't stay asleep for long. Mitch Garver was mostly quiet in his first few games off the Injured List, and had a really tough series in Cleveland with seven strikeouts in 10 plate appearances, but he came alive in Detroit, going 4-for-9 with a homer and four RBIs in two games. Nelson Cruz, another recent reentry from IL, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return on Tuesday, then homered in each of his next four games. Eddie Rosario was 2-for-16 on the week before going 3-for-6 with a mammoth homer on Sunday. This is all to say we probably shouldn't make much of mini-slumps from the likes of Jonathan Schoop (1-for-15 last week and batting .125 in June). He has the luxury of taking a little nap while the rest of the offense powers on, and will almost surely be awakening soon. One guy who doesn't seem to have much let-up in him is Byron Buxton. Every week, and every night, he manages to make a special impact. His past five games brought more of the same: production (6-for-17 with two homers and a double), spectacular defense made to look ordinary, and baserunning prowess that almost defies belief: The Twins leaned on Rogers for a 34-pitch, two-inning save on Thursday, and that's the type of thing they obviously need to avoid. So, the club needs some relief help. And as we've covered, Kimbrel is off the table. What to do? The trade market will become a central focus in the coming weeks, and I do believe there are going to be ample opportunities out there. Unlike with Kimbrel, here the Twins have real leverage: a system filled with intriguing prospects, and a bevy of non-contending teams looking to reload their farms. There's no need to wait until the July 31st deadline to make a move. But here's the thing: Minnesota does have the luxury of a double-digit lead in the standings. Granted, they'll want to win as many games as they can to best position themselves for October, but they aren't fending off anyone in the division. Four of their remaining six series this month are against the Mariners, Royals and White Sox. There's no REAL urgency. As they take a measured approach to the trade market, the Twins can test a few things out internally and work to optimize its existing pieces. The latest to audition is Eades, and he looked promising in his first action (although, to be fair, so did Austin Adams and Zack Littell). Speaking of Littell: After this demotion last week, I opined that he has "a much better chance than the [other Triple-A call-ups who've gotten shelled] of becoming a true bullpen asset. I wonder if the Twins will start letting him develop in that capacity at Rochester." Sure enough, his three appearances since heading down have all been in relief, and he's looked damn good, allowing just one hit (a solo homer) in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. It wouldn't stun me if Eades or Littell eventually settles in as a worthy middle relief option. I like that the Twins are experimenting. But it's unfortunate their other internal options are still flailing. Trevor Hildenberger has an 8.44 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in Rochester. Fernando Romero has been woefully underwhelming as well (opponents hitting .310/.388/.500 in 15 innings since he was optioned). Jorge Alcala, the hard-throwing 23-year-old acquired in last year's Ryan Pressly trade, has been wholly unimpressive at Double-A where he sports a 5.25 ERA. If the Twins want to find a difference-maker for their pen from within, it's probably going to take some creativity. Maybe trying out Smeltzer in a relief role? Or how about fellow Triple-A southpaw Lewis Thorpe, who's tacked up a 25-to-3 K/BB ratio in his last four starts, while averaging fewer than five innings per turn? Looks perfectly suited for a shot at relieving. DOWN ON THE FARM The 2019 MLB Draft took place last week, and saw the Twins add a batch of new young talent heavy on college bats. Their three first-day selections: No. 13 Overall: Keoni Cavaco, INF – Fast-rising prep star out of California who was barely on anyone's radar six months ago. Premium athlete with a high-upside bat who's played shortstop but is likely to end up at third base. Ted posted a Q&A with the Cavaco if you'd like to learn more about him.No. 39 Overall: Matt Wallner, OF – Collegiate slugger out of Southern Mississippi. Wallner will be especially easy for locals to root for because he's a Forest Lake native who was named Minnesota's Mr. Baseball in 2016.No. 54 Overall: Matt Canterino, RHP – The 6-foot-3 righty posted gaudy strikeout numbers at Rice University, unleashing an overpowering fastball/curve combo. His delivery and lack of a changeup suggest some reliever risk, but he's poised to rise quickly.You can learn about the full breadth of Minnesota's latest draft class in Andrew's in-depth recap. Elsewhere in the Twins' system last week: Jhoan Duran turned in his third straight gem for Fort Myers, holding Jupiter to one run over seven innings. Acquired from Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar trade last summer, Duran pitched extremely well after coming over, and drew considerable buzz in camp this spring. His first seven starts at High-A weren't stellar but over his past three the numbers are astounding: 20 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 26 K. The 21-year-old right-hander is starring for the Miracle alongside fellow righty Jordan Balazovic, our Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May who continues to dazzle here in June. In his latest turn on Thursday, he fanned seven over 5 2/3 frames of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to 2.03 in six starts with Fort Myers. Despite Brusdar Graterol's continuing absence (no word on his ailing right shoulder), the Twins have some good things cookin' with arms in the minors. On the hitting side, we covered Trevor Larnach last week and he keeps mashing (10-for-27 last week), but one other guy we need to be paying attention to is Brent Rooker. The 24-year-old shook off his own slow start at Triple-A and has been on a tear since returning from the IL at the beginning of June, batting .433 with 11 RBIs through nine games. Perhaps most importantly, he has an 11-to-8 K/BB ratio during that span, after striking out 43 times with only six walks through his first 97 plate appearances. Rooker has a rep as a smart hitter who handles adversity and makes adjustments. We're seeing that once again, and now he has nowhere else to graduate to but the majors. LOOKING AHEAD Smooth sailing ahead. The Twins have gone a combined 5-1 against Seattle and Kansas City on the road, and now they'll welcome both last-place clubs to Target Field for three games apiece. It'd be disappointing (though hardly panic-inducing) to see Minnesota win fewer than four this next week. TUESDAY, 6/11: MARINERS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Leake v. LHP Martin Perez WEDNESDAY, 6/12: MARINERS @ TWINS – LHP Tommy Milone v. RHP Jose Berrios THURSDAY, 6/13: MARINERS @ TWINS – LHP Marco Gonzales v. RHP Michael Pineda FRIDAY, 6/14: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Brad Keller v. RHP Kyle Gibson SATURDAY, 6/15: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Glenn Sparkman v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SUNDAY, 6/16: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Jakob Junis v. LHP Martin Perez Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 59 | CLE 5, MIN 2: Twins Can’t Figure Out Bieber, Lindor Lifts ClevelandGame 60 | CLE 9, MIN 7: Bullpen Crumbles on Night Kimbrel Signs With CubsGame 61 | MIN 5, CLE 4: Max Power Against BauerGame 62 | MIN 6, DET 3: Offense, Bullpen Come Through Late as Twins Take OpenerGame 63 | DET 9, MIN 3: Third Out Eludes Gibson, Eades DebutsGame 64 | MIN 12, DET 2: No Motown Blues for the Minnesota Twins Click here to view the article
  2. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 6/3 through Sun, 6/9 *** Record Last Week: 3-3 (Overall: 43-21) Run Differential Last Week: +3 (Overall: +112) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (10.5 GA) Willians Watch: So Long, Old Friend :-( We must begin this week's roster rundown on a somber note: Willians Astudillo has been optioned to Triple-A. This isn't necessarily sad from a competitive standpoint – Astudillo's been the weakest hitter on the team for some time now, and his demotion is well justified with an empty .190 average since the start of May – but if you're like me, you enjoy watching the guy play, interact with teammates, and generally go about his business on the field. He probably won't be gone for too long, as he's already raking down in Rochester (he's 6-for-8 through two games). Called up to replace Astudillo on the roster was right-handed reliever Ryan Eades, who made his major-league debut on Saturday and threw very well in two scoreless frames. The Twins also optioned Devin Smeltzer, who impressed during his two starts, and activated Michael Pineda to start Friday night's game in Detroit. HIGHLIGHTS In the wake of a scorching late-May hot streak, Max Kepler went cold as the calendar flipped, coming up hitless in five games. Then, with the Twins facing a sweep on Thursday in Cleveland, he exploded for three home runs, carrying Minnesota to a 5-4 victory while finishing 4-for-4 with a walk. It'll go down as one of the best offensive performances by a big-leaguer this season. This seems to be the M.O. for Minnesota's lineup: sleeping giants who don't stay asleep for long. Mitch Garver was mostly quiet in his first few games off the Injured List, and had a really tough series in Cleveland with seven strikeouts in 10 plate appearances, but he came alive in Detroit, going 4-for-9 with a homer and four RBIs in two games. Nelson Cruz, another recent reentry from IL, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return on Tuesday, then homered in each of his next four games. Eddie Rosario was 2-for-16 on the week before going 3-for-6 with a mammoth homer on Sunday. This is all to say we probably shouldn't make much of mini-slumps from the likes of Jonathan Schoop (1-for-15 last week and batting .125 in June). He has the luxury of taking a little nap while the rest of the offense powers on, and will almost surely be awakening soon. One guy who doesn't seem to have much let-up in him is Byron Buxton. Every week, and every night, he manages to make a special impact. His past five games brought more of the same: production (6-for-17 with two homers and a double), spectacular defense made to look ordinary, and baserunning prowess that almost defies belief: https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1137178212092563456 The Twins currently have two players drawing credible buzz as MVP contenders – Rosario and Jorge Polanco – but I have a strong feeling that by year's end, Buxton will be at the head of the pack. He's only starting to find his next gear. Buxton's success has become so normalized, you probably didn't even notice that the former whiff-machine has struck out only four times in 28 June PAs. His 23% K-rate for the season is down nearly 10 points from his 32% MLB mark prior, and almost exactly at league average. In the rotation, Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios have been as good as any 1-2 tandem in the game. On Sunday, Odorizzi was magnificent as usual, spinning six innings of one-run ball. He struck out eight while picking up his ninth consecutive victory and lowering his ERA (slightly) to 1.92. Berrios delivered his own strong outing three days earlier, holding the Indians to two runs over six frames. The Twins are 11-2 with Berrios on the mound and have won 10 straight games started by Odorizzi. LOWLIGHTS On the same day we learned that coveted free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel was signing with the Chicago Cubs, Blake Parker blew up in Cleveland, coughing up three runs to turn a lead into a deficit in one of Minnesota's most crushing losses of the year. The timing was no doubt painful. Though I personally believe the Twins were wise to stick to their guns on Kimbrel, this bullpen needs help. This is not a new sentiment, but it's becoming clearer than ever as Parker's surprisingly spotless start gives way to hardcore regression. Wednesday marked the third time in his past four appearances allowing multiple runs, and then on Friday he navigated an anxiety-inducing save that saw him walk two batters and bring the tying run to the plate. There's no trusting the guy right now. In fact, the bullpen at large has suddenly become rather untrustworthy. Matt Magill has seen his own charmed run of unexpected excellence fly off the rails, almost exactly in unison with Parker. Joining the team late after a season-opening IL stint, Magill was convincingly dominant through 14 appearances, posting a 1.35 ERA and 18-to-5 K/BB ratio in 13.1 IP while unleashing upper-90s fastballs and upper-80s sliders. The coaching staff's belief in the former minor-league journeyman was being richly rewarded. But in his past three outings, the bottom has fallen out. In 1 2/3 innings, he has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits and three walks. In the space of a week, his ERA spiked from 1.35 to 6.60, and just like that, he might be on the brink of a DFA. The problem is that there aren't a ton of options on hand to replace him. We'll chat more about that below in the Trending Storyline section. Trust is also diminishing in starter Martin Perez, whose magic has gone completely amiss. Wednesday's outing wasn't as disastrous as the previous dud, and poor defense played a role, but Perez was not good in Cleveland, allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings. The lefty posted season-lows in strikeouts (1) and swinging strikes (4). He has issued multiple walks in seven straight starts and has a 7-to-8 K/BB ratio in his past three. TRENDING STORYLINE The bullpen is a mess. It's starting to unravel at the seams with Parker and Magill melting down. Mike Morin and Tyler Duffey may have similar reckonings awaiting. Trevor May is, for whatever reason, seeing very sporadic usage (he's appeared three times in the past 14 days). Taylor Rogers has pretty much been a one-man band and this tweet from AG sorta sums that up: https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/1137022778819788801 The Twins leaned on Rogers for a 34-pitch, two-inning save on Thursday, and that's the type of thing they obviously need to avoid. So, the club needs some relief help. And as we've covered, Kimbrel is off the table. What to do? The trade market will become a central focus in the coming weeks, and I do believe there are going to be ample opportunities out there. Unlike with Kimbrel, here the Twins have real leverage: a system filled with intriguing prospects, and a bevy of non-contending teams looking to reload their farms. There's no need to wait until the July 31st deadline to make a move. But here's the thing: Minnesota does have the luxury of a double-digit lead in the standings. Granted, they'll want to win as many games as they can to best position themselves for October, but they aren't fending off anyone in the division. Four of their remaining six series this month are against the Mariners, Royals and White Sox. There's no REAL urgency. As they take a measured approach to the trade market, the Twins can test a few things out internally and work to optimize its existing pieces. The latest to audition is Eades, and he looked promising in his first action (although, to be fair, so did Austin Adams and Zack Littell). Speaking of Littell: After this demotion last week, I opined that he has "a much better chance than the [other Triple-A call-ups who've gotten shelled] of becoming a true bullpen asset. I wonder if the Twins will start letting him develop in that capacity at Rochester." Sure enough, his three appearances since heading down have all been in relief, and he's looked damn good, allowing just one hit (a solo homer) in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. It wouldn't stun me if Eades or Littell eventually settles in as a worthy middle relief option. I like that the Twins are experimenting. But it's unfortunate their other internal options are still flailing. Trevor Hildenberger has an 8.44 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in Rochester. Fernando Romero has been woefully underwhelming as well (opponents hitting .310/.388/.500 in 15 innings since he was optioned). Jorge Alcala, the hard-throwing 23-year-old acquired in last year's Ryan Pressly trade, has been wholly unimpressive at Double-A where he sports a 5.25 ERA. If the Twins want to find a difference-maker for their pen from within, it's probably going to take some creativity. Maybe trying out Smeltzer in a relief role? Or how about fellow Triple-A southpaw Lewis Thorpe, who's tacked up a 25-to-3 K/BB ratio in his last four starts, while averaging fewer than five innings per turn? Looks perfectly suited for a shot at relieving. DOWN ON THE FARM The 2019 MLB Draft took place last week, and saw the Twins add a batch of new young talent heavy on college bats. Their three first-day selections: No. 13 Overall: Keoni Cavaco, INF – Fast-rising prep star out of California who was barely on anyone's radar six months ago. Premium athlete with a high-upside bat who's played shortstop but is likely to end up at third base. Ted posted a Q&A with the Cavaco if you'd like to learn more about him. No. 39 Overall: Matt Wallner, OF – Collegiate slugger out of Southern Mississippi. Wallner will be especially easy for locals to root for because he's a Forest Lake native who was named Minnesota's Mr. Baseball in 2016. No. 54 Overall: Matt Canterino, RHP – The 6-foot-3 righty posted gaudy strikeout numbers at Rice University, unleashing an overpowering fastball/curve combo. His delivery and lack of a changeup suggest some reliever risk, but he's poised to rise quickly. You can learn about the full breadth of Minnesota's latest draft class in Andrew's in-depth recap. Elsewhere in the Twins' system last week: Jhoan Duran turned in his third straight gem for Fort Myers, holding Jupiter to one run over seven innings. Acquired from Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar trade last summer, Duran pitched extremely well after coming over, and drew considerable buzz in camp this spring. His first seven starts at High-A weren't stellar but over his past three the numbers are astounding: 20 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 26 K. The 21-year-old right-hander is starring for the Miracle alongside fellow righty Jordan Balazovic, our Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May who continues to dazzle here in June. In his latest turn on Thursday, he fanned seven over 5 2/3 frames of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to 2.03 in six starts with Fort Myers. Despite Brusdar Graterol's continuing absence (no word on his ailing right shoulder), the Twins have some good things cookin' with arms in the minors. On the hitting side, we covered Trevor Larnach last week and he keeps mashing (10-for-27 last week), but one other guy we need to be paying attention to is Brent Rooker. The 24-year-old shook off his own slow start at Triple-A and has been on a tear since returning from the IL at the beginning of June, batting .433 with 11 RBIs through nine games. Perhaps most importantly, he has an 11-to-8 K/BB ratio during that span, after striking out 43 times with only six walks through his first 97 plate appearances. Rooker has a rep as a smart hitter who handles adversity and makes adjustments. We're seeing that once again, and now he has nowhere else to graduate to but the majors. LOOKING AHEAD Smooth sailing ahead. The Twins have gone a combined 5-1 against Seattle and Kansas City on the road, and now they'll welcome both last-place clubs to Target Field for three games apiece. It'd be disappointing (though hardly panic-inducing) to see Minnesota win fewer than four this next week. TUESDAY, 6/11: MARINERS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Leake v. LHP Martin Perez WEDNESDAY, 6/12: MARINERS @ TWINS – LHP Tommy Milone v. RHP Jose Berrios THURSDAY, 6/13: MARINERS @ TWINS – LHP Marco Gonzales v. RHP Michael Pineda FRIDAY, 6/14: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Brad Keller v. RHP Kyle Gibson SATURDAY, 6/15: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Glenn Sparkman v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SUNDAY, 6/16: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Jakob Junis v. LHP Martin Perez Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 59 | CLE 5, MIN 2: Twins Can’t Figure Out Bieber, Lindor Lifts Cleveland Game 60 | CLE 9, MIN 7: Bullpen Crumbles on Night Kimbrel Signs With Cubs Game 61 | MIN 5, CLE 4: Max Power Against Bauer Game 62 | MIN 6, DET 3: Offense, Bullpen Come Through Late as Twins Take Opener Game 63 | DET 9, MIN 3: Third Out Eludes Gibson, Eades Debuts Game 64 | MIN 12, DET 2: No Motown Blues for the Minnesota Twins
  3. Kyle Gibson struggled to finish off the Tigers in the second inning, the Twins’ lineup was uncharacteristically quiet against a Detroit staff maneuvering through a bullpen game and Matt Magill made sure there was no drama in the ninth inning. In between all that, Ryan Eades pitched two scoreless innings in his major league debut.Box Score Gibson: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 67.0% strikes (63 of 94 pitches) Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K Home Runs: Cruz (10) Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-3, HR, BB) WPA of +0.1: Cruz .102 WPA of -0.1: Gonzalez -.185, Gibson -.294 Download attachment: Win68.png (chart via FanGraphs) The key moment in this game came in the bottom of the second inning. Kyle Gibson retired the first two batters he faced, then got ahead of the next batter 0-2. One more strike and the good guys are back in the dugout. Gibson’s next two pitches weren’t close enough to chase, however, evening the count at 2-2. Gibson manged to get a chase the fifth pitch, but the batter managed to hit a slider down and away into left field for a single to extend the inning. Gibson lost an eight-pitch battle with the next batter, walking him on a two-seamer that was well outside the zone. He then hung a slider on the second pitch he threw to JaCoby Jones, who crushed a three-run homer. That third out has been elusive for Gibson this season. In addition to the three-run homer, Gibson also gave up a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning. Entering today, opposing hitters had a .720 OPS with no outs, .648 OPS with one out and an .809 OPS with two outs against Gibby. Of the 11 home runs Gibson has now surrendered, six have come with two down. That’s a strange trend, not only generally speaking, but also in comparison to Gibson’s career numbers. With both the 2019 league averages and Gibson’s overall career marks, OPS against shrinks the more outs there are. It’s not like Gibson didn’t have good stuff today. He struck out eight batters and got 18 swinging strikes, which is the third-most whiffs he’s gotten in 12 starts this year. Eades Debuts Gibson’s short start created a nice opportunity for the Twins to get Ryan Eades his MLB debut. We’ve been privileged to some pretty special stories so far this season. Ryne Harper finally making his debut as a 30-year-old and cancer survivor/ultimate underdog Devin Smeltzer making it are about as good as it gets. FSN managed to tug at my heartstrings pretty hard today, as they showed Eades’ wife in the stands, baby wearing their infant, crying her eyes out at seeing her husband on a major league mound for the first time. Beautiful moment to be able to witness. Eades retired the first two men he faced, then walked the next two batters. Wes Johnson came out to the mound and probably said something along the lines of “hey, we’re not paying you by the hour,” and Eades retired the next batter to end the inning. Eades came back out for the seventh and gave up a couple of hits. He was helped out by the combination of a bad send at third base and a good relay from Marwin Gonzalez to Miguel Sano to Jason Castro, but Eades ended up throwing two shutout innings. He struck out three batters and topped out at 95.5 mph. Magill Floundering Matt Magill followed Eades and struggled badly, once again. He gave up four runs on five hits. Over his last three appearances, Magill has surrendered 10 earned runs on 10 hits and three walks over just 1 2/3 innings. Bats Struggle vs. Detroit Pen The Tigers went with a bullpen game today and managed to hold the Twins to three runs on just six hits. They combined to strike out nine batters, Miguel Sano accounting for three of those punch outs. The Twins had just two extra-base hits today, Nelson Cruz’s 10th home run and Jorge Polanco’s 18th double of the season. Really, the Twins as a whole just felt like the came out a little flat in this one. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Pen68.png Next Game Sun at DET, 12:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Carpenter) Last Game MIN 6, DET 3: Offense, Bullpen Come Through Late as Twins Take Opener More from Twins Daily Cali Connection Jumps Draft Boards: Q&A with Keoni Cavaco Minnesota Twins 2019 MLB Draft Recap Area Man to Let Bullpen Ruin His Family's Weekend Click here to view the article
  4. Box Score Gibson: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 67.0% strikes (63 of 94 pitches) Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K Home Runs: Cruz (10) Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-3, HR, BB) WPA of +0.1: Cruz .102 WPA of -0.1: Gonzalez -.185, Gibson -.294 (chart via FanGraphs) The key moment in this game came in the bottom of the second inning. Kyle Gibson retired the first two batters he faced, then got ahead of the next batter 0-2. One more strike and the good guys are back in the dugout. Gibson’s next two pitches weren’t close enough to chase, however, evening the count at 2-2. Gibson manged to get a chase the fifth pitch, but the batter managed to hit a slider down and away into left field for a single to extend the inning. Gibson lost an eight-pitch battle with the next batter, walking him on a two-seamer that was well outside the zone. He then hung a slider on the second pitch he threw to JaCoby Jones, who crushed a three-run homer. That third out has been elusive for Gibson this season. In addition to the three-run homer, Gibson also gave up a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning. Entering today, opposing hitters had a .720 OPS with no outs, .648 OPS with one out and an .809 OPS with two outs against Gibby. Of the 11 home runs Gibson has now surrendered, six have come with two down. That’s a strange trend, not only generally speaking, but also in comparison to Gibson’s career numbers. With both the 2019 league averages and Gibson’s overall career marks, OPS against shrinks the more outs there are. It’s not like Gibson didn’t have good stuff today. He struck out eight batters and got 18 swinging strikes, which is the third-most whiffs he’s gotten in 12 starts this year. Eades Debuts Gibson’s short start created a nice opportunity for the Twins to get Ryan Eades his MLB debut. We’ve been privileged to some pretty special stories so far this season. Ryne Harper finally making his debut as a 30-year-old and cancer survivor/ultimate underdog Devin Smeltzer making it are about as good as it gets. FSN managed to tug at my heartstrings pretty hard today, as they showed Eades’ wife in the stands, baby wearing their infant, crying her eyes out at seeing her husband on a major league mound for the first time. Beautiful moment to be able to witness. Eades retired the first two men he faced, then walked the next two batters. Wes Johnson came out to the mound and probably said something along the lines of “hey, we’re not paying you by the hour,” and Eades retired the next batter to end the inning. Eades came back out for the seventh and gave up a couple of hits. He was helped out by the combination of a bad send at third base and a good relay from Marwin Gonzalez to Miguel Sano to Jason Castro, but Eades ended up throwing two shutout innings. He struck out three batters and topped out at 95.5 mph. Magill Floundering Matt Magill followed Eades and struggled badly, once again. He gave up four runs on five hits. Over his last three appearances, Magill has surrendered 10 earned runs on 10 hits and three walks over just 1 2/3 innings. Bats Struggle vs. Detroit Pen The Tigers went with a bullpen game today and managed to hold the Twins to three runs on just six hits. They combined to strike out nine batters, Miguel Sano accounting for three of those punch outs. The Twins had just two extra-base hits today, Nelson Cruz’s 10th home run and Jorge Polanco’s 18th double of the season. Really, the Twins as a whole just felt like the came out a little flat in this one. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1137508466266796032 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Game Sun at DET, 12:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Carpenter) Last Game MIN 6, DET 3: Offense, Bullpen Come Through Late as Twins Take Opener More from Twins Daily Cali Connection Jumps Draft Boards: Q&A with Keoni Cavaco Minnesota Twins 2019 MLB Draft Recap Area Man to Let Bullpen Ruin His Family's Weekend
  5. The Twins are calling up Ryan Eades to make his MLB debut. He was their second-round pick back in 2013. Here's some video on him: He had a very good spring and was in the running for Sire of Fort Myers, but got off to a poor start down in Rochester. He has a 5.68 ERA and 1.45 WHIP on the year, but an impressive 11.1 K/9. He also had one really bad outing that is weighing down those numbers. He gave up seven runs in 1 1/3 inning back on April 26. He'll also provide the Twins with some length, as Eades has recorded six or more outs in 11 of his 16 appearances.
  6. The Twins wanted to call up Zack Littell last weekend but because the season was not yet ten days old, they were unable to. Instead, they put Chase De Jong back on the 40-man roster and Designed Tyler Austin for Assignment. At the time, the Twins needed someone available in the bullpen who could eat some innings after Jake Odorizzi didn’t get out of the first inning Friday night. De Jong was not needed after all in Philadelphia thanks to good starts by Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios. He got his first opportunity on Tuesday night against the Mets. He came in to finish the ninth inning with the Twins leading 14-4. He needed 46 pitches to finish the ninth and gave up four runs and six base runners. Following the game, he was returned to Rochester since he would be unable to pitch for the Twins for several days. Lefty Andrew Vasquez, the easy choice for 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, was recalled to take De Jong’s spot. Unlike De Jong, Vasquez was thrown right into a tough situation. With two outs in the fifth inning last night, Jake Odorizzi loaded the bases with a walk to opposing starter Noah Syndergaard. With left-handed hitting Brandon Nimmo due up, Rocco Baldelli called on the left-hander who struck out 108 batters in 69+ innings last year. Simply put, it did not go well for Vasquez. He couldn’t throw strikes and frankly, wasn’t close. He hit Nimmo (to put one run on the board). Then he walked both Pete Alonso and Robinson Cano to score two more runs. His fastball topped out at 87 mph and he couldn’t command the slider at all. I will advocate for not giving up on Andrew Vasquez, and I would assume that most of you would look at that outing as a case of nerves in his return to the big leagues. While he had struck out four batters in 1 1/3 innings in his one Red Wings appearance, he also walked two batters and gave up a hit. I’m not advocating that Vasquez needs to be optioned right away, though it would be understandable. But if he is, or on a higher level, if at any time the Twins need to call back to Rochester looking for some relief help, what options are there? Below you’ll find the current group of Red Wings relievers, any of who could be an option at some point this season. THE RELIEVERS IN ROCHESTER (in alphabetical order) AUSTIN ADAMS Age - 32 MLB Experience - Parts of three seasons (2014-16) with Cleveland. 53 games, 58 2/3 innings, 6.29 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K The Twins signed Adams late last year out of independent ball and he pitched briefly for Chattanooga. This year, is hitting 94-96 for the Red Wings in the early goings. Presumably, Derek Falvey is quite familiar with him due to his years in Cleveland. TYLER DUFFEY Age - 28 MLB Experience - Parts of four seasons (2015-18) with the Twins. 111 games (37 starts), 287 innings, 5.46 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Duffey made such a strong impression on Twins fans late in the 2015 season, nearly catapulting a surprising team to the playoffs. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that performance since and was moved to the bullpen a few years ago. He has the curveball and spin rate that teams love. RYAN EADES Age - 27 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Eades made a strong impression during an impressive run in big league spring training this year. He showed a big fastball which reached into the mid-90s. He also showed his array of pitches. Before this season, he had just seven games of Triple-A experience. PRESTON GUILMET Age - 31 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2013-18) with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Toronto, Milwaukee. 27 games, 33 innings. 9.27 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Guilmet has had a long career. He’s pitched for six teams in the big leagues to go with several other organizations in the minor leagues. He’s got enough stuff to keep getting opportunities. MIKE MORIN Age - 27 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2014-18) with Angels. 186 games, 174 innings, 4.66 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Born in Minnesota, his family soon moved to the Kansas City area, but he’s still got family in the area. It would certainly be a thrill for him to play for the Twins. Morin pitched between 47 and 60 games each year out of the Angels bullpen between 2014 and 2016. He’s been hurt the last two years, but he appears to be fully healthy again. He’s a low-90s guy with a really, really good changeup. JAKE REED Age - 26 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Reed moved up to AA really quickly after being drafted by the Twins in 2014. He’s been up and down ever since, but he was remarkable for the Red Wings after June 1st last year (23 G, 37.2 IP, 1.43 ERA, .167 opponents batting average). Walks always a concern, but Reed gets a lot of movement. His fastball is 95-97, and he’s got a sharp slider too. . FERNANDO ROMERO Age - 24 MLB Experience - Debuted with the Twins in 2018. Made 11 starts, 55 2/3 innings. 4.69 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K Romero was really good for his first four MLB starts last year and then struggled the rest of the way. It was surprising that the Twins decided so quickly in spring training that he would pitch out of the bullpen. He struggled in spring training and was optioned to the Red Wings. He’s off to a fast start. In his 3 1/3 hitless, no-walk innings on Wednesday, he was getting swings and misses on 97 and 98 mph fastballs. Currently DJ Baxendale (27) and Zack Weiss (26) are on the Red Wings injured list. *Note that the 2019 Red Wings Stats are for just two games, so the sample size is definitely small. THE STARTERS Chase De Jong returns to the Red Wings starting rotation. The other starters in the Red Wings rotation are 23-year-old RHP Zack Littell, 23-year-old LHP Lewis Thorpe, 24-year-old RHP Kohl Stewart, 25-year-old RHP Sean Poppen and 27-year-old MLB veteran, LHP Justin Nicolino. LHP Stephen Gonsalves is on the IL as well and should be back in early May. These guys are options if and when a long-reliever might be needed. They could also be summoned to the Twins when a starter is needed, such as in a doubleheader situation. THE INJURED LIST As a reminder, right-handers Matt Magill and Addison Reed, along with LHP Gabriel Moya are on the injured list. We haven’t heard updates on them recently. They are also options to join the big league bullpen when they are ready, though a rehab stint would seem very likely for all three as they have not pitched in a long time. THE FREE AGENTS I’ll just throw this tweet from Nick Nelson here: https://twitter.com/NickNelsonMN/status/1116204584656154624 So, do you have a current hierarchy of who the Twins should call up next as they have needs? How about breaking that out between whether they need a long reliever, or a lefty, or a short-term option versus a more long-term guy? Share your thoughts below.
  7. I think we can all agree that the first guys promoted from Rochester to attempt to help the Twins bullpen early this season did not perform well in their first outings. So, who else is in Rochester? Let’s get to know the rest of the Red Wings bullpen.The Twins wanted to call up Zack Littell last weekend but because the season was not yet ten days old, they were unable to. Instead, they put Chase De Jong back on the 40-man roster and Designed Tyler Austin for Assignment. At the time, the Twins needed someone available in the bullpen who could eat some innings after Jake Odorizzi didn’t get out of the first inningFriday night. De Jong was not needed after all in Philadelphia thanks to good starts by Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios. He got his first opportunity on Tuesday night against the Mets. He came in to finish the ninth inning with the Twins leading 14-4. He needed 46 pitches to finish the ninth and gave up four runs and six base runners. Following the game, he was returned to Rochester since he would be unable to pitch for the Twins for several days. Lefty Andrew Vasquez, the easy choice for 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, was recalled to take De Jong’s spot. Unlike De Jong, Vasquez was thrown right into a tough situation. With two outs in the fifth inning last night, Jake Odorizzi loaded the bases with a walk to opposing starter Noah Syndergaard. With left-handed hitting Brandon Nimmo due up, Rocco Baldelli called on the left-hander who struck out 108 batters in 69+ innings last year. Simply put, it did not go well for Vasquez. He couldn’t throw strikes and frankly, wasn’t close. He hit Nimmo (to put one run on the board). Then he walked both Pete Alonso and Robinson Cano to score two more runs. His fastball topped out at 87 mph and he couldn’t command the slider at all. I will advocate for not giving up on Andrew Vasquez, and I would assume that most of you would look at that outing as a case of nerves in his return to the big leagues. While he had struck out four batters in 1 1/3 innings in his one Red Wings appearance, he also walked two batters and gave up a hit. I’m not advocating that Vasquez needs to be optioned right away, though it would be understandable. But if he is, or on a higher level, if at any time the Twins need to call back to Rochester looking for some relief help, what options are there? Below you’ll find the current group of Red Wings relievers, any of who could be an option at some point this season. THE RELIEVERS IN ROCHESTER (in alphabetical order) AUSTIN ADAMS Age - 32 MLB Experience - Parts of three seasons (2014-16) with Cleveland. 53 games, 58 2/3 innings, 6.29 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K The Twins signed Adams late last year out of independent ball and he pitched briefly for Chattanooga. This year, is hitting 94-96 for the Red Wings in the early goings. Presumably, Derek Falvey is quite familiar with him due to his years in Cleveland. TYLER DUFFEY Age - 28 MLB Experience - Parts of four seasons (2015-18) with the Twins. 111 games (37 starts), 287 innings, 5.46 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Duffey made such a strong impression on Twins fans late in the 2015 season, nearly catapulting a surprising team to the playoffs. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that performance since and was moved to the bullpen a few years ago. He has the curveball and spin rate that teams love. RYAN EADES Age - 27 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Eades made a strong impression during an impressive run in big league spring training this year. He showed a big fastball which reached into the mid-90s. He also showed his array of pitches. Before this season, he had just seven games of Triple-A experience. PRESTON GUILMET Age - 31 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2013-18) with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Toronto, Milwaukee. 27 games, 33 innings. 9.27 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Guilmet has had a long career. He’s pitched for six teams in the big leagues to go with several other organizations in the minor leagues. He’s got enough stuff to keep getting opportunities. MIKE MORIN Age - 27 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2014-18) with Angels. 186 games, 174 innings, 4.66 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Born in Minnesota, his family soon moved to the Kansas City area, but he’s still got family in the area. It would certainly be a thrill for him to play for the Twins. Morin pitched between 47 and 60 games each year out of the Angels bullpen between 2014 and 2016. He’s been hurt the last two years, but he appears to be fully healthy again. He’s a low-90s guy with a really, really good changeup. JAKE REED Age - 26 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Reed moved up to AA really quickly after being drafted by the Twins in 2014. He’s been up and down ever since, but he was remarkable for the Red Wings after June 1st last year (23 G, 37.2 IP, 1.43 ERA, .167 opponents batting average). Walks always a concern, but Reed gets a lot of movement. His fastball is 95-97, and he’s got a sharp slider too. . FERNANDO ROMERO Age - 24 MLB Experience - Debuted with the Twins in 2018. Made 11 starts, 55 2/3 innings. 4.69 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K Romero was really good for his first four MLB starts last year and then struggled the rest of the way. It was surprising that the Twins decided so quickly in spring training that he would pitch out of the bullpen. He struggled in spring training and was optioned to the Red Wings. He’s off to a fast start. In his 3 1/3 hitless, no-walk innings on Wednesday, he was getting swings and misses on 97 and 98 mph fastballs. Currently DJ Baxendale (27) and Zack Weiss (26) are on the Red Wings injured list. *Note that the 2019 Red Wings Stats are for just two games, so the sample size is definitely small. THE STARTERS Chase De Jong returns to the Red Wings starting rotation. The other starters in the Red Wings rotation are 23-year-old RHP Zack Littell, 23-year-old LHP Lewis Thorpe, 24-year-old RHP Kohl Stewart, 25-year-old RHP Sean Poppen and 27-year-old MLB veteran, LHP Justin Nicolino. LHP Stephen Gonsalves is on the IL as well and should be back in early May. These guys are options if and when a long-reliever might be needed. They could also be summoned to the Twins when a starter is needed, such as in a doubleheader situation. THE INJURED LIST As a reminder, right-handers Matt Magill and Addison Reed, along with LHP Gabriel Moya are on the injured list. We haven’t heard updates on them recently. They are also options to join the big league bullpen when they are ready, though a rehab stint would seem very likely for all three as they have not pitched in a long time. THE FREE AGENTS I’ll just throw this tweet from Nick Nelson here: So, do you have a current hierarchy of who the Twins should call up next as they have needs? How about breaking that out between whether they need a long reliever, or a lefty, or a short-term option versus a more long-term guy? Share your thoughts below. Click here to view the article
  8. Find out everything that happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the Transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the Twins system on Thursday. Maybe some of you saw that in the past week a couple of Twins minor league pitchers, Colton Davis and Anthony Marzi, chose to retire. Here are the Opening Day Roster Previews for each of the Twins full-season affiliates, in case you missed them on Monday. Rochester Red Wings Pensacola Blue Wahoos Ft. Myers Miracle Cedar Rapids Kernels RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 2 Box Score Ronald Torreyes knows how to start a season. He was the Red Wings second batter in the first inning, and he launched a long home run. It was the first hit in the organization in 2019, the first home run, the first run and the first RBI. Kohl Stewart got the Opening Night call for the Red Wings. Things didn’t go well early for the right-hander. He went walk, strikeout, walk, strikeout with the first four batters of the first inning. He then gave up a bloop single to score run. Then a wild pitch scored a second run. He needed 34 pitches to complete the first frame. The Twins have a rule that if a pitcher throws 35 or more pitches in an inning, he will be done for the night. Stewart was one pitch from being done. He went on to throw four zeroes on the scoreboard and earned the Win in this contest. In his five innings, he gave up the two runs (1 earned) on just three hits. He walked two, hit one and struck out eight batters. Ryan Eades came on and struck out four over two perfect innings. He needed just 18 pitches. Then Tyler Duffey came on and earned the save with two scoreless innings. He struck out four as well, though he did hit one batter. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1113977187953258496 LaMonte Wade led the offense. He went 3-for-4 with a walk in the game. Wilin Rosario went 2-for-5 with a home run. Randy Cesar had a walk and a big, two-run homer that gave the Red Wings the two-run lead late in the game. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola , Mobile Box Score Opening Night was pushed back a day as rains came to Mobile. For Mobile, it means that they will get to face Jorge Alcala and Brusdar Graterol on Friday! MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 11, Charlotte 3 Box Score Hard to believe that in the sixth inning, Jeff Smith’s Charlotte squad tied the game at three. The potent Miracle took off at that point, led by the return of Lewin Diaz. Diaz played half of last season with the Miracle but unfortunately needed wrist surgery and missed the rest of the season. He continued his body transformation in the offseason and his work paid off on Opening Night. The now-slender slugger went 4-for-5 with a double and three RBI to lead the offense. Bryan Sammons gave up an unearned run in the first inning, but he was able to escape danger several times. He gave up just the unearned run on seven hits and two walks over just 4 1/3 innings. He left the game with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth. Anthony Vizcaya came on and struck out the fourth and fifth batters of Charlotte. It was Vizcaya’s first game with an affiliated team since 2014. The Miracle got on the board in the 2nd inning when Lewin Diaz doubled off of the wall in right field to score Travis Blankenhorn. Ben Rortvedt followed with a single to right that scored Diaz. Following the Vizcaya strikeouts in the top of the 5th, the Miracle got back on the board in the bottom of the inning. Akil Baddoo homered to the berm in left field for the first Miracle homer of the season. But as mentioned, the Stone Crabs tied it up in the sixth. The Miracle regained the lead 4-3 and then Royce Lewis put together a long at-bat that culminated in a two-run single that broke the game open. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Miracle really broke things open with a five-run inning. https://twitter.com/HalOstrow/status/1113966209307901954 The loaded Miracle lineup got production from more than just Lewin Diaz. Ben Rortvedt went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI singles. Akil Baddoo added a triple late in the game to go with his homer. Travis Blankenhorn had a walk and a double, and he scored three runs. Vizcaya was clutch to end the fifth inning, but he gave up two runs on two hits and a walk the next inning. Alex Phillips came on and struck out four batters over two scoreless, one-hit innings. He was hitting 95 and 96 mph consistently. Johan Quezada pitched a scoreless ninth frame, and he was hitting 97 a couple of times in the inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 10 Box Score Blayne Enlow returned to the Kernels after a solid showing in his first full pro season in 2018. He earned the Opening Night call for the team this year. Things went all right the first couple of innings. He gave up leadoff walks in the first two innings, but neither came back to hurt him. He did give up a solo homer in the second inning. But then came the third inning. Enlow faced seven batters. He walked one and the other six got hits, the final was a double. Austin Schulfer came on and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. However, he then struck out the next three batters to end the inning. Schulfer was good. He struck out five batters over three scoreless, two-hit innings. Jose Martinez came on next and was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Carlos Suniaga got the final seven outs for the Kernels.He gave up two hits and struck out three. There wasn’t much offense for the Kernels. The team scored two runs in the sixth inning, on RBI singles from Andrew Bechtold and David Banuelos. Yunior Severino led the team with a 2-for-4 game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day –Ryan Eades, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Ft. Myers Miracle (hat tip to LaMonte Wade - Red Wings - as well) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - No Game #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, SF, RBI, K #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No Game #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 0-4, BB, 3 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Pitches Friday #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 3B, HR, 2 K #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, BB, 2B, K, R, 2 RBI, #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, BB, R, 2 RBI, 2 K #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, R #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 3-4, BB, #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Rained out. #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 0-2, 2 BB, HBP, R, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) - RHP Chase De Jong Pensacola @ Mobile (DH starting at 4:05 CST) - RHP, Jorge Alcala, RHP Brusdar Graterol Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (5:30 CST) - RHP Jhoan Duran Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  9. It was Minor League Opening Day on Thursday, one of my favorite days of the year. Instead of just following the MInnesota Twins, we now will have updated from the Rochester Red Wings, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Ft. Myers Miracle and the Cedar Rapids Kernels most days for the next five months. And, every day until the end fo the season, we will post the Twins Minor League Report. Our goal with these reports is to provide Twins Daily readers with a one-spot stop to find everything from the Twins system that day, transactions, notes and game updates. We will highlight how the pitchers perform. We’ll note multi-hit games and extra base hits and provide some other highlights from the game. Please feel free to ask questions if you have any in the comments. If you were at the game, be sure to leave your observations as well.Find out everything that happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the Transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the Twins system on Thursday. Maybe some of you saw that in the past week a couple of Twins minor league pitchers, Colton Davis and Anthony Marzi, chose to retire. Here are the Opening Day Roster Previews for each of the Twins full-season affiliates, in case you missed them on Monday. Rochester Red WingsPensacola Blue WahoosFt. Myers MiracleCedar Rapids KernelsRED WINGS REPORTRochester 4, Lehigh Valley 2 Box Score Ronald Torreyes knows how to start a season. He was the Red Wings second batter in the first inning, and he launched a long home run. It was the first hit in the organization in 2019, the first home run, the first run and the first RBI. Kohl Stewart got the Opening Night call for the Red Wings. Things didn’t go well early for the right-hander. He went walk, strikeout, walk, strikeout with the first four batters of the first inning. He then gave up a bloop single to score run. Then a wild pitch scored a second run. He needed 34 pitches to complete the first frame. The Twins have a rule that if a pitcher throws 35 or more pitches in an inning, he will be done for the night. Stewart was one pitch from being done. He went on to throw four zeroes on the scoreboard and earned the Win in this contest. In his five innings, he gave up the two runs (1 earned) on just three hits. He walked two, hit one and struck out eight batters. Ryan Eades came on and struck out four over two perfect innings. He needed just 18 pitches. Then Tyler Duffey came on and earned the save with two scoreless innings. He struck out four as well, though he did hit one batter. The loaded Miracle lineup got production from more than just Lewin Diaz. Ben Rortvedt went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI singles. Akil Baddoo added a triple late in the game to go with his homer. Travis Blankenhorn had a walk and a double, and he scored three runs. Vizcaya was clutch to end the fifth inning, but he gave up two runs on two hits and a walk the next inning. Alex Phillips came on and struck out four batters over two scoreless, one-hit innings. He was hitting 95 and 96 mph consistently. Johan Quezada pitched a scoreless ninth frame, and he was hitting 97 a couple of times in the inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 10 Box Score Blayne Enlow returned to the Kernels after a solid showing in his first full pro season in 2018. He earned the Opening Night call for the team this year. Things went all right the first couple of innings. He gave up leadoff walks in the first two innings, but neither came back to hurt him. He did give up a solo homer in the second inning. But then came the third inning. Enlow faced seven batters. He walked one and the other six got hits, the final was a double. Austin Schulfer came on and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. However, he then struck out the next three batters to end the inning. Schulfer was good. He struck out five batters over three scoreless, two-hit innings. Jose Martinez came on next and was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Carlos Suniaga got the final seven outs for the Kernels.He gave up two hits and struck out three. There wasn’t much offense for the Kernels. The team scored two runs in the sixth inning, on RBI singles from Andrew Bechtold and David Banuelos. Yunior Severino led the team with a 2-for-4 game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day –Ryan Eades, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Ft. Myers Miracle (hat tip to LaMonte Wade - Red Wings - as well) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - No Game #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, SF, RBI, K #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No Game #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 0-4, BB, 3 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Pitches Friday #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 3B, HR, 2 K #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, BB, 2B, K, R, 2 RBI, #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, BB, R, 2 RBI, 2 K #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, R #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - 3-4, BB, #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Rained out. #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 0-2, 2 BB, HBP, R, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) - RHP Chase De Jong Pensacola @ Mobile (DH starting at 4:05 CST) - RHP, Jorge Alcala, RHP Brusdar Graterol Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (5:30 CST) - RHP Jhoan Duran Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games. Click here to view the article
  10. It’s not really supposed to be like this. The Sire of Fort Myers is intended to be all about shining a light on an unheralded player who realistically has no shot at actually cracking the Opening Day roster. Lucky for us, baseball has a knack for somehow circumventing reality. A year after Ryan LaMarre played his way onto the Twins, it appears Ryne Harper may be on the verge of doing the same.UPDATE: The polls are officially open. Last we checked in, Harper and 35-year-old infielder Adam Rosales had established themselves as the favorites. Well, Rosales cooled off and was released Friday evening. Still, his .278/.350/.694 batting line, a 1.044 OPS, makes him a finalist regardless. He was by far the most impressive hitter among those who qualified for the title. Among the other five names listed in the last update, Lucas Duda was let go and has since signed with the Royals, Tim Collins was also just released Friday night and LaMonte Wade was reassigned to minor league camp. A month ago, I didn’t even list Harper among the top 10 candidates for Sire of Fort Myers. Though most of his competition is no longer in big league camp with the Twins, there are still a few other candidates lingering. They’re also right-handed relief pitchers. Mike Morin has also had a strong spring. While Harper’s big, slow curveball has dazzled, Morin has really turned heads with his changeup. He’s given up four runs on nine hits and two walks over 9 ⅔ innings, striking out nine batters in the process. Preston Guilmet is also still in big league camp with the Twins. He’s given up four earned in 8 ⅔ innings but has an eye-popping 14 strikeouts, which leads the team. Prospect Ryan Eades has also shined. He's only yielded one earned run in seven innings while striking out nine batters. But you can’t get lower than a 0.00 ERA. Harper hasn’t given up an earned run in 10 innings, he’s only surrendered seven hits and hasn’t walked a single batter. He’s also racked up 13 strikeouts. Here’s his outing from Friday night: Harper is now the clear favorite for Sire of Fort Myers, but what about those odds of making the Opening Day roster? Well, it would certainly make for an amazing story. Harper has pitched in more than 300 games in his professional career. He was called up to the Mariners for a couple days in 2017 but did not make his major league debut. He turns 30 on Wednesday. Opening Day is Thursday. Can you imagine what it would mean to him to hear his name announced during intros at Target Field? I’m getting chills just thinking about it! Fernando Romero has already been optioned to the minor leagues. Addison Reed and Matt Magill haven’t pitched in well over a week. A path has been cleared. I’m rooting hard for Harper to break camp with the Twins, but it’s undeniable that those 186 career MLB appearances look really good on Morin’s resume. The final vote for Sire of Fort Myers will take place in the forums section here at Twins Daily on starting on Monday. Make sure your voice is heard. Click here to view the article
  11. UPDATE: The polls are officially open. Last we checked in, Harper and 35-year-old infielder Adam Rosales had established themselves as the favorites. Well, Rosales cooled off and was released Friday evening. Still, his .278/.350/.694 batting line, a 1.044 OPS, makes him a finalist regardless. He was by far the most impressive hitter among those who qualified for the title. Among the other five names listed in the last update, Lucas Duda was let go and has since signed with the Royals, Tim Collins was also just released Friday night and LaMonte Wade was reassigned to minor league camp. A month ago, I didn’t even list Harper among the top 10 candidates for Sire of Fort Myers. Though most of his competition is no longer in big league camp with the Twins, there are still a few other candidates lingering. They’re also right-handed relief pitchers. Mike Morin has also had a strong spring. While Harper’s big, slow curveball has dazzled, Morin has really turned heads with his changeup. He’s given up four runs on nine hits and two walks over 9 ⅔ innings, striking out nine batters in the process. Preston Guilmet is also still in big league camp with the Twins. He’s given up four earned in 8 ⅔ innings but has an eye-popping 14 strikeouts, which leads the team. Prospect Ryan Eades has also shined. He's only yielded one earned run in seven innings while striking out nine batters. But you can’t get lower than a 0.00 ERA. Harper hasn’t given up an earned run in 10 innings, he’s only surrendered seven hits and hasn’t walked a single batter. He’s also racked up 13 strikeouts. Here’s his outing from Friday night: https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1109275849562488833 Harper is now the clear favorite for Sire of Fort Myers, but what about those odds of making the Opening Day roster? Well, it would certainly make for an amazing story. Harper has pitched in more than 300 games in his professional career. He was called up to the Mariners for a couple days in 2017 but did not make his major league debut. He turns 30 on Wednesday. Opening Day is Thursday. Can you imagine what it would mean to him to hear his name announced during intros at Target Field? I’m getting chills just thinking about it! Fernando Romero has already been optioned to the minor leagues. Addison Reed and Matt Magill haven’t pitched in well over a week. A path has been cleared. I’m rooting hard for Harper to break camp with the Twins, but it’s undeniable that those 186 career MLB appearances look really good on Morin’s resume. The final vote for Sire of Fort Myers will take place in the forums section here at Twins Daily on starting on Monday. Make sure your voice is heard.
  12. Grapefruit League play is officially over. The Twins have two more games scheduled prior to Opening Day, but they're against the Triple-A roster and the Colorado Rockies, who spend their spring in the Cactus League. So it's time to vote for this year's Sire of Fort Myers. Among those who qualified, who had the most impressive performance during Spring Training? Ryne Harper: 11.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 K (0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11.5 K/9) Adam Rosales: 10-for-36, 3 2B, 4 HR, 6 R, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, .278/.350/.694 (1.044 OPS) Ryan Eades: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 11.6 K/9) Preston Guilmet: 9.2 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 15 K (3.72 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 14.0 K/9) Mike Morin: 10.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 10 K (4.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.4 K/9)
  13. There are very few spots up for grabs on the 25-man roster, but there are still plenty of players who have a lot to gain from having strong spring showings. This is their chance to not only be seen by top members of the Twins’ staff but also the other 29 MLB teams, overseas and independent leagues. So who is eligible to be named Sire of Fort Myers? Anybody who’s not on the 40-man roster, even guys with several years of MLB service time, and anyone on the 40-man roster who hasn’t made their MLB debut also qualifies. This is not about identifying the player most likely to break camp with the team, or the player who has the highest upside. It’s all about performance. The mantra this time of year is “spring training stats don’t matter.” That’s definitely true in the case of established major leaguers, but there are some players who have something to gain from a strong spring. Top Hitters Ryan LaMarre was crowned the inaugural Sire of Fort Myers after hitting .475/.511/.775 (1.286 OPS) in 45 plate appearances. It’d be crazy to expect anyone to replicate those video game numbers, right? Well … Adam Rosales, 35, IF .385/.429/.962 (1.390 OPS) 10-for-26, 3 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB, 3 K Rosales has been bouncing around as a Quad-A type player for years now. He’s seen major league time with six different teams over the past 11 seasons. He’s shown good power with the Twins, both at the plate and in regard to his throwing arm. Most of his time has been spent at third base, but he’s also played some second and even got a start at shortstop. Get a load of that slugging percentage. Wow. He’s shown almost no pop in the majors (.365 career slugging), but Rosales did hit 18 home runs in 114 games for Cleveland’s Triple-A team last year. The Twins have no shortage of multi-positional players in camp, or whatever Rocco Baldelli prefers to call them, so it’s likely Rosales is playing for an opportunity elsewhere every bit as much as he’s trying to make a good impression on the Twins. But it’s fair to point out that it was almost impossible to imagine Ryan LaMarre making the Opening Day roster at this point last season, so anything’s possible. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1105999332149465094 Lucas Duda, 33, 1B .333/.448/.458 (.907 OPS) 8-for-24. 3 2B, 5 BB, 9 K I tabbed Dude as the hands-down favorite in my Sire of Fort Myers preview, and while he trails a few other players, he has not disappointed. Duda has a lot of pressure on him this spring, a poor performance could have been very damaging to his hopes of landing on a major league roster this season. It’s a bit difficult to see Duda cracking the Twins’ Opening Day roster, but he’s done a nice job at showcasing his skills to other teams that may be searching for a lefty bat. LaMonte Wade, 25, OF .296/.375/.556 (.931 OPS) 8-for-27, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 BB, 5 K How great is this to see? After struggling in his first taste of Triple A toward the end of last season, Wade has put a positive spin on the start to his 2019 season. He was optioned to Rochester after Tuesday’s game, but I felt it was still well worth mentioning his efforts to this point. Honorable mentions among hitters include Nick Gordon, Brian Navarreto and Jimmy Kerrigan. Top Pitchers The bullpen is the biggest question mark in terms of the major league club. It seems like the guys on the outside looking in smell blood in the water. Ryne Harper, 29, RHP 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 39.1 K% 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K Harper always put up great numbers in the minor leagues but never could find an opportunity even above Double A for years. He came up in the Braves’ system before being dealt to Seattle in December of 2015. After a great first season in the Mariners’ system, Harper finally appeared to be getting his shot. He was called up May 28, 2017. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to pitch and was sent back to Triple A just three days later. Harper became a minor league free agent after that season and signed with the Twins. In 65 innings between Chattanooga and Rochester, Harper posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. What really jumps off the page is his sterling strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.60. He averaged 11.9 K/9 while issuing just 1.4 BB/9. The Twins brought him back on another minors deal this offseason. Including winter leagues, Harper has pitched in more than 300 minor league games in his career. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1105681142596931584 Ryan Eades, 27, RHP 0.00 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 35.0 K% 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K We go from a former 37th-round pick in Harper to the Twins’ second-round pick from the 2013 Draft. Eades has been pitching primarily out of the bullpen the past two seasons and really took a step forward in 2018. Over his final 30 1/3 innings, Eades gave up just three earned runs (0.89 ERA), struck out 34 batters and walked just five (6.8 K:BB ratio). https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1102405680819027969 Preston Guilmet, 31, RHP 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 39.1 K% 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K Guilmet has 27 big league appearances under his belt, spreading those across six organizations. That’s a lot of cups of coffee. He was drafted twice, traded once and selected off waivers five times. In all, he’s pitched for 22 different teams in his professional career, including one in Japan (2017 with the Yakult Swallows). He had a 1.60 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 in 33 2/3 Triple-A innings last season. Mike Morin, 27, RHP 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 27.3 K% 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K Here’s another reliever who’s bounced around quite a bit. Morin had a great rookie year in 2014 as a 23-year-old with the Angels, pitching to a 2.90 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 59 innings. Things haven’t gone as well since. He was claimed off waivers by the Royals, then again by the Mariners. He made three appearances with Seattle but spent most of the season in Triple A, where he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Morin was born in Andover but played his high school ball in Kansas before attending the University of North Carolina. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1102314523569074178 For more on Morin, La Velle E. Neal III wrote a nice profile on him and his changeup over at the Star Tribune. Honorable mentions among pitchers include Justin Nicolino, Jake Reed and Tim Collins. So there you have it, the top contenders for 2019 Sire of Fort Myers as we head down the stretch. Coronation day will be in a few short weeks.
  14. We’re only two weeks from Opening Day. Can you believe it? We’ve reached the point of spring training where the rosters are starting to get trimmed down. Now 18 games into the spring slate, it’s a good time to check in and get a pulse on who the top contenders for Sire of Fort Myers are. We have a fun field this year, topped by a couple guys trying to keep the dream alive.There are very few spots up for grabs on the 25-man roster, but there are still plenty of players who have a lot to gain from having strong spring showings. This is their chance to not only be seen by top members of the Twins’ staff but also the other 29 MLB teams, overseas and independent leagues. So who is eligible to be named Sire of Fort Myers? Anybody who’s not on the 40-man roster, even guys with several years of MLB service time, and anyone on the 40-man roster who hasn’t made their MLB debut also qualifies. This is not about identifying the player most likely to break camp with the team, or the player who has the highest upside. It’s all about performance. The mantra this time of year is “spring training stats don’t matter.” That’s definitely true in the case of established major leaguers, but there are some players who have something to gain from a strong spring. Top Hitters Ryan LaMarre was crowned the inaugural Sire of Fort Myers after hitting .475/.511/.775 (1.286 OPS) in 45 plate appearances. It’d be crazy to expect anyone to replicate those video game numbers, right? Well … Adam Rosales, 35, IF .385/.429/.962 (1.390 OPS) 10-for-26, 3 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB, 3 K Rosales has been bouncing around as a Quad-A type player for years now. He’s seen major league time with six different teams over the past 11 seasons. He’s shown good power with the Twins, both at the plate and in regard to his throwing arm. Most of his time has been spent at third base, but he’s also played some second and even got a start at shortstop. Get a load of that slugging percentage. Wow. He’s shown almost no pop in the majors (.365 career slugging), but Rosales did hit 18 home runs in 114 games for Cleveland’s Triple-A team last year. The Twins have no shortage of multi-positional players in camp, or whatever Rocco Baldelli prefers to call them, so it’s likely Rosales is playing for an opportunity elsewhere every bit as much as he’s trying to make a good impression on the Twins. But it’s fair to point out that it was almost impossible to imagine Ryan LaMarre making the Opening Day roster at this point last season, so anything’s possible. For more on Morin, La Velle E. Neal III wrote a nice profile on him and his changeup over at the Star Tribune. Honorable mentions among pitchers include Justin Nicolino, Jake Reed and Tim Collins. So there you have it, the top contenders for 2019 Sire of Fort Myers as we head down the stretch. Coronation day will be in a few short weeks. Click here to view the article
  15. Before we get into it, here’s a look back at the players I’ve covered in this series so far: Jhoan Duran Alex Kirilloff Lewis Thorpe Royce Lewis Each of the previous installments of this series focuses on a specific aspect of a player's game or homes in on a particular performance. This will be more of an overview. We’re in the era of the 13-man pitching staff. Every team in baseball cycles through a great number of relievers each season, but there figure to be plenty of opportunities in the Twins’ bullpen this coming season. Relief Candidates on the 40-Man Roster The only relief pitcher who still has prospect status is Andrew Vasquez, but there are also all those starting pitchers who debuted last season who appear to be on the outside looking in. Might it make sense to give one of Chase De Jong, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart or Lewis Thorpe a shot in the bullpen? None of those guys have pitched much in relief, and some don’t fit a typical reliever profile, but it wasn’t long ago you could have said those same things about Taylor Rogers. There’s already been some talk of Fernando Romero (who is no longer technically a prospect) getting a look in the pen, maybe the Twins will consider a conversion for one of these prospects. Romero may have the most tantalizing arsenal of that group, but it's interesting to note that both Littell and Gonsalves had better strikeout rates in Triple A last season. Romero averaged 6.8 K/9 in 90 2/3 innings with Rochester while Gonsalves was at 8.5 K/9 in 100 1/3 innings and Littell had 8.3 K/9 in 106 innings. Back to Vasquez, in terms of true relievers, he ranks third on the lefty depth chart behind Rogers and Gabriel Moya. There's a great chance he'll see time in the majors again if that remains the case. The Vasquatch has dominated the minor leagues, pitching to a 1.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 13.4 K/9. Who’s Next on the Farm? Before we get to the prospects, there are a few minor league veteran guys who have an outside chance at working their way up into a low-leverage role. Guys like Ryne Harper, Dario Alvarez, Mike Morin, Zack Weiss and Jeffery Ames. I’m sure the Twins will add a few other relievers on minor league deals. Some of those guys won’t even last through spring training, but others will get an opportunity to show what they’ve got in Rochester. This front office seems to be intrigued by fringy relief pitchers, though they’ve mostly acquired them through waivers (Matt Magill, Oliver Drake, David Hale, Dillon Gee, Nik Turley and Drew Rucinski among others). I assume they’ll continue to be active on that front as well. The guys this front office do not seem to like are all the relief pitchers drafted in the earlier rounds under Terry Ryan. Jake Reed is pretty much the last man standing among that group. He’s 26-years-old and has 61 Triple-A appearances under his belt, so what are they waiting for? Well, behind Reed’s sterling 1.92 ERA in the 89 innings he’s pitched for the Red Wings the past two seasons is a less impressive 8.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Still, production is production, and Reed should be the first man up if the front office is in the position where they need to add a relief arm to the 40-man roster. It’d be a shame if he doesn’t get a look at some point. Another name of note in Triple A is Ryan Eades. Drafted in the second round as a starter back in 2013, Eades has primarily worked out of the bullpen the past two seasons. After posting just a 6.9 K/9 in 2017, he hiked that all the way up to 10.4 K/9 last season. The really great part was that he also lowered his walk rate from 3.4 BB/9 to 2.6 BB/9 last year. Eades was outstanding in the six starts he made, posting a 0.45 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, but the longest he went was four innings. Could he be the perfect opener? Eades is 27-years-old, so there’s really no use in leaving him in the minors should an opportunity present itself. Behind Reed and Eades is another bunch of guys who’ve only reached Double A. Tyler Jay is certainly the highest-profile name among them. For me, the question is does the velocity come back? If it does, I could see Jay move up very quickly. If not, well, he didn’t exactly inspire confidence by posting a 4.22 ERA and 1.58 WHIP last season. So let’s forget about Jay for a minute. The name I really want you to come away from this article with is Cody Stashak. The Twins converted him to the bullpen last season and it was a roaring success. The 24-year-old right-hander was one of the best pitchers in all of Double A. It’s not like Stashak was a failed starter by any means. In 2017, Stashak had a 3.89 ERA, 1.10 WHIP over 16 starts. His strikeout rate was a fairly modest 7.8 K/9, but he was certainly getting the job done. Stashak was forced to the DL in late July, had a few rehab appearances out of the bullpen with the GCL Twins, then made his final three outings of the year in relief for Chattanooga. I’m not sure the reasoning behind why they decided to keep him in the bullpen, but it’s looking like a very wise decision. In 2018, Stashak had a 2.87 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 11.2 K/9. He also continued to have very good control, posting a 2.3 BB/9, giving him a K:BB ratio of 4.93. There were 289 players who pitched 50 innings or more in Double A last season. Stashak ranked fifth in K-BB%, eighth in FIP, 12th in strikeout rate and 16th in swinging strike rate. It was basically your dream scenario when you move a guy to the pen. Here’s a quick look back at one of Stashak appearances from last year just to give you an idea of who he is. This is every single pitch of this particular outing, so there’s no sugar coating involved. I’d hoped to pull some more video on him, but MiLB.tv was malfunctioning, so this also wasn’t a cherry-picked outing. It just happened to be the one I was able to get. https://twitter.com/BaseballByTom/status/1087101499073839109 Stashak also ended the year particularly strong, allowing just two earned runs over his final 23 innings (0.78 ERA). If he carries that performance over to this season, he may be knocking at the door for his major league debut. This front office has made some eyebrow-raising decisions with relief prospects, but most of the guys they’ve passed over had some degree of wildness. That hasn’t been an issue for Stashak. Speaking of guys who moved from the rotation to the bullpen, there’s also Devin Smeltzer, a lefty who the Twins acquired from the Dodgers in the Brian Dozier trade. He didn’t have the same type of dynamite transition as Stashak, but his strikeout rate did see an incredible jump. After striking out just 53 batters in 70 1/3 innings as a starter (6.8 K/9), Smeltzer rung up 30 batters in just 25 1/3 innings out of the bullpen (10.7 K/9) in 2018. One guy who could be a huge x-factor is Jorge Alcala. The flame-throwing right-hander who the Twins got from Houston in the Ryan Pressly trade could really rocket up to the majors if he successfully transitioned to a relief role, not that I’ve heard that’s the plan for him. Alcala made 16 starts and another eight appearances in relief in 2018, performing about the same in either role. He struck out 104 batters in 99 1/3 innings last season. Anybody who hasn’t pitched in Double A is a longshot to make it all the way up to the majors in one year, but hey, Andrew Vasquez did it. Quite a few members of last year’s Miracle bullpen were college draftees who will now be entering their age 24 or even 25 seasons. Guys like Hector Lujan, Ryan Mason, Alex Robinson, Colton Davis, Adam Bray and Tom Hackimer. If one of them really takes off, there doesn’t seem to be much reason not to fast track them, though a Vasquez-type ascent would be surprising. More than 160 players are featured in the Prospect Handbook.We had a ton of fun putting the book together and we’re really excited for people to read it. Recognizing these minor league players for their efforts and ability is a big motivating factor in the project, so we would love for you to pick up a copy. Click here for more information on the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook
  16. See updates below...The Twins lost two players in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft and added a right-handed pitcher. In the minor league Rule 5, they added two players without losing anyone. On Thursday morning, the 2017 Winter Meetings will come to a close with the annual Rule 5 draft. Last month, the Minnesota added three players to their 40-man roster, but they left several very talented players unprotected. The Twins could potentially lose a couple of players (at least tentatively) to the Rule 5. However, they currently have just 37 players on their 40-man roster, so in theory, they could make a Rule 5 pick (or three!). Below you'll find a brief preview of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, but as the draft takes place, this article will continue to be updated if the Twins lose or gain players. So be sure to check back often. The draft starts at 8:00 a.m. central time.8:15 Update: A computer glitch delayed the inevitable, but with the 3rd overall pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies selected Nick Burdi from the Twins. It was expected. Reports from Orlando indicate that he will be traded. 8:18 Update: Angels selected Luke Bard. 8:19 Update: The Twins selected right-handed pitcher Tyler Kinley from the Miami Marlins (more to come after draft). Tyler Kinley was the 16th round pick of the Miami Marlins in the 2013 draft out of Barry Universityl in Miami Shores, Florida. He spent the 2017 between High-A Jupiter and AA Jacksonville. Combined, he threw 53.1 innings in 50 outings. He walked 22 and struck out 72. He had a 1.98 ERA in High-A, and a 5.19 ERA in AA. He will turn 27 in January. The Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft is complete. The Twins add Tyler Kinley and lose Nick Burdi and Luke Bard. The Minor League portion of the draft is starting. 8:51 Update: The Phillies traded Nick Burdi to the Pirates for international slot money. 8:37 Update: The Twins select RH Yancarlos Baez from the Yankees roster in the AAA Rule 5. Baez was signed by the Yankees as a shortstop, but in 2017, he transitioned to pitching in the GCL. Interesting gamble. 8:43 Update: The Twins selected Sandy Lugo, a 22-year-old RHP from the Dominican, and from the Reds organization. In 2017, he split the year before Low-A Dayton (2 games) and High-A Daytona (4-6, 5.32 ERA in 42 relief games). In 64 innings, he had 40 walks but he struck out 82. 8:51 Update: Nick Burdi was traded to the Pirates in exchange for international bonus pool money. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Below we're going to start with the basics. Who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft? Who could the Twins lose in the Rule 5 draft, and who could they select if they do make a pick? Also, check back often during the 8:00 hour as I'll be updating this article if (or when) they lose a player or add a pick. The Basics Let's start with who is eligible. Players who were 18-years-old when they signed as an international free agent or draft pick signed in 2013. This group includes players such as Kohl Stewart and Lewin Diaz.College players selected in the 2014 Draft. This category includes the likes of Nick Burdi and Jake Reed.Players who are not yet minor league free agents and have been eligible in previous seasons. Luke Bard and Ryan Eades are two from this group.For much more on the players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft, with the exception of the three players added to the 40-man roster, click here. To make an MLB selection, a team must pay $100,000. That player needs to be on the drafting team’s 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. The other option is that the teams can work out a trade. The Twins have examples of what can happen with their five most recent picks. Scott Diamond – Twins selected him from the Braves. He did not make the opening day roster, but the Twins and Braves were able to work out a trade. Diamond was taken off of the 40-man roster and the Twins sent RHP Billy Bullock to Atlanta.Terry Doyle – The Twins selected Doyle from the White Sox organization. He was returned to Chicago late in spring training.Ryan Pressly – The Twins drafted Pressly from the Red Sox organization. He remained on the Twins roster the entire 2013 season. He was able to be sent back to AAA during the 2014 season and pitched well enough to be called up during the season’s second half.JR Graham - The Twins selected Graham from the Atlanta organization. He spent an entire season on the Twins roster in 2015 only to be DFAd less than two months into the 2016 season.Justin Haley - The Twins selected Miguel Diaz from the Brewers organization with the top pick in the 2016 Rule 5. They traded down and got starter Justin Haley. He made the roster and made a few appearances. He spent a couple of stints on the DL before the Twins sent him back to the Red Sox.Who The Twins Could Lose Throughout the week, we have heard from several sources that Nick Burdi is very likely be be selected. The flame-thrower had Tommy John surgery in June and will likely miss much of the 2018 season. If he does, the requirement of staying on a team's active roster will carry into the 2019 season.Jake Reed and Luke Bard are two other relievers that I feel have a chance at least to be selected. They are both hard-throwing relievers who finished 2017 in AAA. They both get a lot of movement. They could be stashed on an MLB roster, but they are also guys who could contribute in 2018.Lewin Diaz is less likely to be selected due to his proximity and his lack of position flexibility.Ryan Eades had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League and did have a couple of appearances in AAA late in the season.Kohl Stewart was the Twins top pick in 2014 out of high school in Houston. He's put up strong ERAs (until 2017), but he's never put up the strikeout numbers that the front office might hope for.Who The Twins Could Pick I don't know if the Twins will make a pick. My general theory is that a team should almost always take a Rule 5 pick and see how it goes. The Twins have three open spots on the roster, so they could take three players. They won't, but they could take one. Here are two good sources for lists of who might be available. Baseball America- 91 namesMLB.comThe Twins have the 20th pick in the Rule 5 draft (as they will next June in the Rule 4 draft). However, several teams ahead of them have full 40-man rosters so they won't be able to make a pick. Some teams may pass. Minor League Rule 5 Draft Shortly after the Major League Rule 5 draft, the Minor League (AAA) portion will start. We'll also update you on any players the Twins gain or lose in that draft. Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft before, during and after... Click here to view the article
  17. 8:15 Update: A computer glitch delayed the inevitable, but with the 3rd overall pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies selected Nick Burdi from the Twins. It was expected. Reports from Orlando indicate that he will be traded. 8:18 Update: Angels selected Luke Bard. 8:19 Update: The Twins selected right-handed pitcher Tyler Kinley from the Miami Marlins (more to come after draft). Tyler Kinley was the 16th round pick of the Miami Marlins in the 2013 draft out of Barry Universityl in Miami Shores, Florida. He spent the 2017 between High-A Jupiter and AA Jacksonville. Combined, he threw 53.1 innings in 50 outings. He walked 22 and struck out 72. He had a 1.98 ERA in High-A, and a 5.19 ERA in AA. He will turn 27 in January. The Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft is complete. The Twins add Tyler Kinley and lose Nick Burdi and Luke Bard. The Minor League portion of the draft is starting. 8:51 Update: The Phillies traded Nick Burdi to the Pirates for international slot money. 8:37 Update: The Twins select RH Yancarlos Baez from the Yankees roster in the AAA Rule 5. Baez was signed by the Yankees as a shortstop, but in 2017, he transitioned to pitching in the GCL. Interesting gamble. 8:43 Update: The Twins selected Sandy Lugo, a 22-year-old RHP from the Dominican, and from the Reds organization. In 2017, he split the year before Low-A Dayton (2 games) and High-A Daytona (4-6, 5.32 ERA in 42 relief games). In 64 innings, he had 40 walks but he struck out 82. 8:51 Update: Nick Burdi was traded to the Pirates in exchange for international bonus pool money. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Below we're going to start with the basics. Who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft? Who could the Twins lose in the Rule 5 draft, and who could they select if they do make a pick? Also, check back often during the 8:00 hour as I'll be updating this article if (or when) they lose a player or add a pick. The Basics Let's start with who is eligible. Players who were 18-years-old when they signed as an international free agent or draft pick signed in 2013. This group includes players such as Kohl Stewart and Lewin Diaz. College players selected in the 2014 Draft. This category includes the likes of Nick Burdi and Jake Reed. Players who are not yet minor league free agents and have been eligible in previous seasons. Luke Bard and Ryan Eades are two from this group. For much more on the players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft, with the exception of the three players added to the 40-man roster, click here. To make an MLB selection, a team must pay $100,000. That player needs to be on the drafting team’s 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. The other option is that the teams can work out a trade. The Twins have examples of what can happen with their five most recent picks. Scott Diamond – Twins selected him from the Braves. He did not make the opening day roster, but the Twins and Braves were able to work out a trade. Diamond was taken off of the 40-man roster and the Twins sent RHP Billy Bullock to Atlanta. Terry Doyle – The Twins selected Doyle from the White Sox organization. He was returned to Chicago late in spring training. Ryan Pressly – The Twins drafted Pressly from the Red Sox organization. He remained on the Twins roster the entire 2013 season. He was able to be sent back to AAA during the 2014 season and pitched well enough to be called up during the season’s second half. JR Graham - The Twins selected Graham from the Atlanta organization. He spent an entire season on the Twins roster in 2015 only to be DFAd less than two months into the 2016 season. Justin Haley - The Twins selected Miguel Diaz from the Brewers organization with the top pick in the 2016 Rule 5. They traded down and got starter Justin Haley. He made the roster and made a few appearances. He spent a couple of stints on the DL before the Twins sent him back to the Red Sox. Who The Twins Could Lose Throughout the week, we have heard from several sources that Nick Burdi is very likely be be selected. The flame-thrower had Tommy John surgery in June and will likely miss much of the 2018 season. If he does, the requirement of staying on a team's active roster will carry into the 2019 season. Jake Reed and Luke Bard are two other relievers that I feel have a chance at least to be selected. They are both hard-throwing relievers who finished 2017 in AAA. They both get a lot of movement. They could be stashed on an MLB roster, but they are also guys who could contribute in 2018. Lewin Diaz is less likely to be selected due to his proximity and his lack of position flexibility. Ryan Eades had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League and did have a couple of appearances in AAA late in the season. Kohl Stewart was the Twins top pick in 2014 out of high school in Houston. He's put up strong ERAs (until 2017), but he's never put up the strikeout numbers that the front office might hope for. Who The Twins Could Pick I don't know if the Twins will make a pick. My general theory is that a team should almost always take a Rule 5 pick and see how it goes. The Twins have three open spots on the roster, so they could take three players. They won't, but they could take one. Here are two good sources for lists of who might be available. Baseball America - 91 names MLB.com The Twins have the 20th pick in the Rule 5 draft (as they will next June in the Rule 4 draft). However, several teams ahead of them have full 40-man rosters so they won't be able to make a pick. Some teams may pass. Minor League Rule 5 Draft Shortly after the Major League Rule 5 draft, the Minor League (AAA) portion will start. We'll also update you on any players the Twins gain or lose in that draft. Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft before, during and after...
  18. (This report includes the games played through 11/12) Week 5 of the AFL season saw the Surprise Saguaros compile a 2-3 record, with two of their losses coming in the final at-bats of their opponents. At 11-15 on the season, they sit in third (last) place in the West Division. Twins prospects had a mixed bag in week 5. One pitcher gave up his first earned run of the season, while the others all had scares but came out unscathed. One hitter racked up five RBI’s on the week, and another may have had his season cut short due to a scary outfield collision.To find out what happened with all the Twins prospects in the AFL during week 5, keep reading! (links provided to each player’s overall AFL stats by clicking their name) Tyler Jay: 1 appearance, 1.0IP, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s; 5.87 ERA (overall). After appearing in the Fall Stars game on Saturday of last week, Jay made just one appearance in week 5 of the AFL season. That came on Thursday in a 6-2 loss to the Glendale Desert Dogs. With the score already 6-2, Jay came on for the top of the sixth inning. He struck out the first batter of the inning, before issuing a walk to the next. This pattern repeated a second time giving him two outs with two runners on base. He got the final out with a pop up to second base to deliver a scoreless inning. LaMonte Wade: 4 games, 1-8, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K’s; .238/.351/.413 (overall). Wade had perhaps the most noteworthy week of Twins prospects in Arizona, but the reason for that was an unfortunate one. He appeared in four games on the week, but got at-bats only in the first three. In the first game of the week on Monday, a 2-1 walk-off loss to the Salt River Rafters, Wade batted seventh and played in right field. He finished the game 1-4, but was responsible for the Saguaros only run of the game, when he slugged his second AFL home run in the top of the fourth inning. This gave Surprise a 1-0 lead that they held until the bottom of the ninth inning. Wade’s second game of the week came in the loss to Glendale on Thursday, and like the rest of his team didn’t have much success. Batting fifth, he finished this one 0-2, but did draw a walk in the sixth and was hit by a pitch in the eighth, so he did reach base multiple times. In Friday’s 11-5 win over Peoria, Wade hit sixth in the lineup and was productive despite not reaching base in the game and also accounting for all three outs in the Saguaros seven-run fifth inning. Wade drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, then the last of the game with another in the seventh that made the score 11-2. In that seven run fifth inning, Wade led off with a strikeout, and when the lineup got back around to him he grounded into a double play. Weird and unfortunate things happen in baseball games, and that was the case for Wade on Saturday. In the top of the second inning, Wade and teammate Oscar Mercado collided on a fly-ball heading toward the gap. Mercado made the catch for the final out of the inning, but Wade’s diving attempt put him in harm’s way on the collision. Wade was taken off the field on a stretcher and diagnosed with a concussion, likely putting an end to his AFL campaign a little early. In good news, Wade was reportedly able to return to the stadium before the conclusion of the game, so it could have been a lot worse. I’ve had a concussion or two myself from playing baseball, so I know how this feels! Get well soon, LaMonte! Chris Paul: 3 games, 5-13, 4 R’s, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 4 K’s; .279/.323/.459 (overall). Paul’s first game of the week came on Tuesday, in a 6-1 win over Glendale. Batting fifth and playing first base, Paul finished 1-5 with a strikeout. His hit came in the form of a single to lead off the sixth inning, but he was erased quickly on a double play ball from the next hitter. In Friday’s win, Paul batted seventh in the lineup behind Wade, and collected two hits on the day. In the seven-run fifth inning, Paul got the hitting started with a one-out single, and later scored on a ground ball from Sean Miller for the first run of the frame. He then led off the top of the sixth inning with his second AFL home run to left field. He finished 2-4 with two runs scored and the home run. Paul put up even better numbers in Saturday’s 11-10 loss to Peoria, where he batted sixth in the lineup. His first hit of the game came in the fourth inning, when Surprise again put seven runs on the scoreboard. His single brought in the first two runs of the game for Surprise to make the score 6-2, and they would take the lead with the long two-out rally before the inning was over. In the bottom of the fifth Paul came up with two runners on base and delivered a triple deep to center field to extend their lead to 9-6. He then scored on a passed ball to make it 10-6 before the Saguaros pitching gave the lead back in the last two innings. All told Paul was 2-4 with two runs scored and four RBI to end his week on a high note. Andrew Vasquez: 2 appearances, 1.1IP, H, BB, 3 K’s; 0.77 ERA (overall). Vasquez was the only Twins pitcher on the week to make multiple appearances, and they came in Thursday’s and Saturday’s contests, both losses. He got the eighth inning with his team down 6-2 to the Desert Dogs on Thursday, and retired the first two hitters of the inning with strikeouts before a fielding error and single put runners on the corners. He was able to get out of that jam by getting a ground ball for the inning's final out. He threw 27 pitches in the outing, with 19 going for strikes. On Saturday against the Javelinas, Vasquez again came into the game in the eighth inning but this time it was with the bases loaded, two outs, and his team now up by two. He was charged with a blown save after he walked in a run, then hit a batter to tie the game at 10 before picking up a strikeout to end the inning. On ten pitches, he threw just three strikes in the outing and in the ninth inning Peoria took back the lead. Ryan Eades: 1 appearance, 1.1IP, 3 H’s, ER, 2 K’s; 0.77 ERA (overall). The righthander’s lone appearance on the week came in Thursday’s 6-2 loss, when he was the first reliever summoned from the bullpen, with two outs in the third inning after the starter had run in to heaps of trouble. Three runs had already scored in the frame, and the first batter Eades faced clubbed a ground-rule double for a fourth before he picked up a strikeout to end the inning with the Saguaros now down 5-0 early. Back out for the fourth inning, Eades gave up his first earned run of the AFL season, as the leadoff man clubbed a home run to left field. He struck out one more hitter and gave up a single but no more damage in the inning. On the game, 15 of his 18 pitches went for strikes, including four swings-and-misses. Tom Hackimer: 1 appearance, 1.0IP, 2 BBs, K; 2.79 ERA (overall). Hackimer’s only appearance on the week was also in Thursday’s loss to Glendale, coming into the game after Tyler Jay for the seventh inning. He hit the first batter of the inning with a pitch and later walked two batters that loaded the bases with two outs, but picked up a big strikeout to keep any damage off the scoreboard. Of his 21 pitches in the inning, just 8 went for strikes. Sean Miller: 2 games, 1-7, RBI, BB, K; .289/.333/.311 (overall). The middle infielder saw action in two games in week five, playing second base and batting ninth on Tuesday and Friday, both wins for the Saguaros. Miller finished Tuesday’s game 1-4, picking up a single to leadoff the top of the ninth in the 6-1 victory over Glendale. He ended up stranded on third base with the bases loaded. On Friday Miller was 0-3 in the batters box, but picked up an RBI and scored a run for his team in the 11-5 rout. In the seven-run fifth inning, his ground ball to third base scored Chris Paul as the throw home was late, allowing him to reach first. He later scored on a single. In the sixth inning Miller drew a walk but ended up stranded in while in scoring position. Other AFL/Minor League Links: - If you want to hear more about the Twins prospects in some of these games from an in-person perspective, make sure to check out Twins Daily’s blog section, and the three entries from member ashburyjohn. He and a few friends were on hand in Arizona this week and he provided his thoughts each day they watched, along with some great pictures of the action! (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) - As they do every week during the minor league season, Baseball America has an AFL Hot Sheet, with Chris Paul checking in at #9 for his performance this week, and is the first Twins prospect to appear on the lists. - In somewhat disappointing news for a prospect follower like me (and perhaps since it’s fun to mention #SonOfPudge every once in a while in the minor league reports), pitcher Dereck Rodriguez has moved on from the Twins organization and signed with the San Francisco Giants. I’m disappointed to see him go as he was a very intriguing prospect to follow with his switch to pitching. Good luck Dereck, hope to see you in the bigs soon! - Paul Sporer of RotoGraphs gives his annual favorites from his time out in Arizona. While there aren’t any Twins in the list of prospects this year, he does mention Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario as some of his favorites that he has seen in the past. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the performances during the last week! Click here to view the article
  19. To find out what happened with all the Twins prospects in the AFL during week 5, keep reading! (links provided to each player’s overall AFL stats by clicking their name) Tyler Jay: 1 appearance, 1.0IP, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s; 5.87 ERA (overall). After appearing in the Fall Stars game on Saturday of last week, Jay made just one appearance in week 5 of the AFL season. That came on Thursday in a 6-2 loss to the Glendale Desert Dogs. With the score already 6-2, Jay came on for the top of the sixth inning. He struck out the first batter of the inning, before issuing a walk to the next. This pattern repeated a second time giving him two outs with two runners on base. He got the final out with a pop up to second base to deliver a scoreless inning. LaMonte Wade: 4 games, 1-8, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K’s; .238/.351/.413 (overall). Wade had perhaps the most noteworthy week of Twins prospects in Arizona, but the reason for that was an unfortunate one. He appeared in four games on the week, but got at-bats only in the first three. In the first game of the week on Monday, a 2-1 walk-off loss to the Salt River Rafters, Wade batted seventh and played in right field. He finished the game 1-4, but was responsible for the Saguaros only run of the game, when he slugged his second AFL home run in the top of the fourth inning. This gave Surprise a 1-0 lead that they held until the bottom of the ninth inning. Wade’s second game of the week came in the loss to Glendale on Thursday, and like the rest of his team didn’t have much success. Batting fifth, he finished this one 0-2, but did draw a walk in the sixth and was hit by a pitch in the eighth, so he did reach base multiple times. In Friday’s 11-5 win over Peoria, Wade hit sixth in the lineup and was productive despite not reaching base in the game and also accounting for all three outs in the Saguaros seven-run fifth inning. Wade drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, then the last of the game with another in the seventh that made the score 11-2. In that seven run fifth inning, Wade led off with a strikeout, and when the lineup got back around to him he grounded into a double play. Weird and unfortunate things happen in baseball games, and that was the case for Wade on Saturday. In the top of the second inning, Wade and teammate Oscar Mercado collided on a fly-ball heading toward the gap. Mercado made the catch for the final out of the inning, but Wade’s diving attempt put him in harm’s way on the collision. Wade was taken off the field on a stretcher and diagnosed with a concussion, likely putting an end to his AFL campaign a little early. In good news, Wade was reportedly able to return to the stadium before the conclusion of the game, so it could have been a lot worse. I’ve had a concussion or two myself from playing baseball, so I know how this feels! Get well soon, LaMonte! Chris Paul: 3 games, 5-13, 4 R’s, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 4 K’s; .279/.323/.459 (overall). Paul’s first game of the week came on Tuesday, in a 6-1 win over Glendale. Batting fifth and playing first base, Paul finished 1-5 with a strikeout. His hit came in the form of a single to lead off the sixth inning, but he was erased quickly on a double play ball from the next hitter. In Friday’s win, Paul batted seventh in the lineup behind Wade, and collected two hits on the day. In the seven-run fifth inning, Paul got the hitting started with a one-out single, and later scored on a ground ball from Sean Miller for the first run of the frame. He then led off the top of the sixth inning with his second AFL home run to left field. He finished 2-4 with two runs scored and the home run. Paul put up even better numbers in Saturday’s 11-10 loss to Peoria, where he batted sixth in the lineup. His first hit of the game came in the fourth inning, when Surprise again put seven runs on the scoreboard. His single brought in the first two runs of the game for Surprise to make the score 6-2, and they would take the lead with the long two-out rally before the inning was over. In the bottom of the fifth Paul came up with two runners on base and delivered a triple deep to center field to extend their lead to 9-6. He then scored on a passed ball to make it 10-6 before the Saguaros pitching gave the lead back in the last two innings. All told Paul was 2-4 with two runs scored and four RBI to end his week on a high note. Andrew Vasquez: 2 appearances, 1.1IP, H, BB, 3 K’s; 0.77 ERA (overall). Vasquez was the only Twins pitcher on the week to make multiple appearances, and they came in Thursday’s and Saturday’s contests, both losses. He got the eighth inning with his team down 6-2 to the Desert Dogs on Thursday, and retired the first two hitters of the inning with strikeouts before a fielding error and single put runners on the corners. He was able to get out of that jam by getting a ground ball for the inning's final out. He threw 27 pitches in the outing, with 19 going for strikes. On Saturday against the Javelinas, Vasquez again came into the game in the eighth inning but this time it was with the bases loaded, two outs, and his team now up by two. He was charged with a blown save after he walked in a run, then hit a batter to tie the game at 10 before picking up a strikeout to end the inning. On ten pitches, he threw just three strikes in the outing and in the ninth inning Peoria took back the lead. Ryan Eades: 1 appearance, 1.1IP, 3 H’s, ER, 2 K’s; 0.77 ERA (overall). The righthander’s lone appearance on the week came in Thursday’s 6-2 loss, when he was the first reliever summoned from the bullpen, with two outs in the third inning after the starter had run in to heaps of trouble. Three runs had already scored in the frame, and the first batter Eades faced clubbed a ground-rule double for a fourth before he picked up a strikeout to end the inning with the Saguaros now down 5-0 early. Back out for the fourth inning, Eades gave up his first earned run of the AFL season, as the leadoff man clubbed a home run to left field. He struck out one more hitter and gave up a single but no more damage in the inning. On the game, 15 of his 18 pitches went for strikes, including four swings-and-misses. Tom Hackimer: 1 appearance, 1.0IP, 2 BBs, K; 2.79 ERA (overall). Hackimer’s only appearance on the week was also in Thursday’s loss to Glendale, coming into the game after Tyler Jay for the seventh inning. He hit the first batter of the inning with a pitch and later walked two batters that loaded the bases with two outs, but picked up a big strikeout to keep any damage off the scoreboard. Of his 21 pitches in the inning, just 8 went for strikes. Sean Miller: 2 games, 1-7, RBI, BB, K; .289/.333/.311 (overall). The middle infielder saw action in two games in week five, playing second base and batting ninth on Tuesday and Friday, both wins for the Saguaros. Miller finished Tuesday’s game 1-4, picking up a single to leadoff the top of the ninth in the 6-1 victory over Glendale. He ended up stranded on third base with the bases loaded. On Friday Miller was 0-3 in the batters box, but picked up an RBI and scored a run for his team in the 11-5 rout. In the seven-run fifth inning, his ground ball to third base scored Chris Paul as the throw home was late, allowing him to reach first. He later scored on a single. In the sixth inning Miller drew a walk but ended up stranded in while in scoring position. Other AFL/Minor League Links: - If you want to hear more about the Twins prospects in some of these games from an in-person perspective, make sure to check out Twins Daily’s blog section, and the three entries from member ashburyjohn. He and a few friends were on hand in Arizona this week and he provided his thoughts each day they watched, along with some great pictures of the action! (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) - As they do every week during the minor league season, Baseball America has an AFL Hot Sheet, with Chris Paul checking in at #9 for his performance this week, and is the first Twins prospect to appear on the lists. - In somewhat disappointing news for a prospect follower like me (and perhaps since it’s fun to mention #SonOfPudge every once in a while in the minor league reports), pitcher Dereck Rodriguez has moved on from the Twins organization and signed with the San Francisco Giants. I’m disappointed to see him go as he was a very intriguing prospect to follow with his switch to pitching. Good luck Dereck, hope to see you in the bigs soon! - Paul Sporer of RotoGraphs gives his annual favorites from his time out in Arizona. While there aren’t any Twins in the list of prospects this year, he does mention Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario as some of his favorites that he has seen in the past. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the performances during the last week!
  20. Read on to find out how each of the Minnesota Twins prospects fared in the AFL during week 4 of the season! (links provided to each player’s overall AFL stats by clicking their name) Tyler Jay: One appearance, 1.0IP, 2 H’s, 3 ER’s, 2 HR, 2BB; 6.75 ERA (overall). Gave up two HR’s on 10/31. With Jay being the only Twins prospect selected to play in the AFL Stars game on Saturday, he made only one appearance on the week for the Saguaros, and it wasn’t a very good one. In Tuesday’s 9-2 loss against the Peoria Javelinas, Jay was summoned for the top of the sixth inning with the score 4-2 Peoria. He walked the first two batters he faced before getting a double play ball that gave him a chance to salvage a scoreless inning. He instead gave up back-to-back home runs to Ronald Acuna and Austin Riley, the number two and three hitters in the Javelinas lineup. With the score now 7-2, Jay got a ground out to end his inning. Playing for the AFL West team in the Fall Stars game, Jay was brought in during the bottom of the eighth inning with one out, two men on base, and the tying run already across the plate in the frame. A single to the first batter put the East squad out front 3-2, and a sacrifice fly to the next made the final score of 4-2. Jay got a strikeout to end the inning, and none of the runs were charged to him. On a positive note, the Gameday tracking had him sitting 94-95 MPH with his fastball in the outing and 13 of his 19 pitches went for strikes. LaMonte Wade: Four games, 4-15, 2 R’s, 2B, 3B, 3 BB’s, 4 K’s; .255/.369/.400 (overall). Wade saw action in all but one game on the week for Surprise, getting Halloween night off. As he is known to do, he reached base at least once in each game and raised his OBP in the AFL to .369. In Monday’s 6-3 win on the road against Peoria, Wade batted second in the lineup and finished 1-4 with an RBI triple, run scored, and a walk. His triple followed another one from the hitter in front of him and put the Saguaros up 4-2. Against the Mesa Solar Sox on Wednesday, Wade batted fifth in their 8-5 loss. After drawing a walk to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, he advanced to third on a single and scored on sac fly to put Surprise up 2-0. He finished 0-3 with the run scored and two strikeouts. He also added an outfield assist, as he combined with Sean Miller to throw out a runner at home in the top of the eighth. Wade batted third on Thursday, his first time taking up that mantle for his AFL team, and he delivered in the 8-6 loss to Mesa. He doubled in the first inning but was left stranded and added a single in the fifth to account for his two hits on the day. He also drew a walk in the second inning, finishing 2-4. Back to batting fifth on Friday, he was 1-4 in their 4-1 win over the Salt River Rafters. He singled in the fourth inning but did not tally any other marks in his stat line. Chris Paul: Three games, 1-12, 2 R’s, 2B, BB, 4 K’s; .250/.308/.375 (overall). Paul played in three games during the week and was a bit quiet, with his only hit coming in the loss to Mesa on Thursday. That was a good game for him, however. In the Monday tilt against Peoria, he was 0-4 with two strikeouts in the Saguaros 6-3 win. On Halloween he also 0-4 in the 9-2 loss to the Javelinas, striking out once. Of note in this one, Paul saw his first action in left field during the AFL season. On Thursday, Paul closed out his week with a good line, finishing 1-4 with a double, walk, and two runs scored batting sixth in the order. His double came in the second inning and put runners on second and third before Surprise took a 4-3 with the single and three-run home run that followed. He led off the top of the sixth with a walk and later would his second run of the game on an RBI single that closed the score to 6-5 Mesa. Andrew Vasquez: Two appearances, 3.0IP, 3 H’s, 2 BB’s, 3 K’s; 0.87 ERA (overall). Vasquez again made an appearance in two games on the week, pitching multiple innings in their Halloween night loss, and another inning on Friday in a win. He came on following Jay for the top of the seventh inning against Peoria, and although he gave up three hits in his two inning none led to any damage on the scoreboard and he also struck out three. 25 of his 39 pitches in the outing went for strikes. In Friday’s win against Salt River, Vasquez picked up his second hold in the AFL as he came on in the seventh with his team up 3-1. He walked two batters in the frame, but worked around them to record another scoreless inning, and lower his ERA on the AFL season to below 1.00 on the week. Ryan Eades: Two appearances, 4.0IP, 3 H’s, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s; 0.00 ERA (overall). Righthander Ryan Eades also saw action in two games on the week, going two innings in each appearance and picking up his second AFL win. That came in Monday’s game on the road against Peoria, when he was pitching while his offense took the lead in the top half of the sixth. He had a one-two-three fifth inning, picking up the last two outs with strikeouts. In the sixth, he made it a little interesting after giving up a leadoff double, hitting a batter, and walking one to load the bases with one out, but got an infield fly ball and grounder to escape the jam and keep himself in line for that win. Against Salt River on Friday, Eades made his first start of the AFL season and pitched two scoreless frames. The first hitter of the game singled to center field, but later got erased on a steal attempt which proved fortuitous, as the next hitter tripled but ended up stranded on third. In the second inning, he gave up a two-out walk but retired the other three, including a strikeout. He threw 35 pitches in the start, with 23 going for strikes. Tom Hackimer: Two appearances, 2.2IP, H, 0 BB, 2 K’s; 3.12 ERA (overall). The sidewinding Hackimer saw action in the loss to Peoria on Tuesday, and in Friday’s win against Salt River. He entered the game on Halloween in the fourth inning, after a double had scored two and left runners on second and third with just one out. He stopped the bleeding with a grounder back to him on the mound that caught the runner on third out at home. Then, after plunking a batter, he got a fly out to end the inning. Back out for the fifth Hackimer faced just three hitters, striking out one and doubling off a runner on first on a bunt attempt after giving up a single. Hackimer also picked up his second hold of the season in Friday’s win, when he came in to start the sixth inning. He got a ground out and a K for the first two outs before he hit another batter, but that runner ended up out at second base on a play the recap did not qualify as a caught stealing attempt (did he try to pull the “Little Big League” move after getting hit by the pitch?! I guess we’ll never know…). Sean Miller: Three games, 3-12, 3 RBI, 3 K’s, SB (2); .316/.350/.342 (overall). Miller saw action in the Saguaros wins on Monday and Friday, and in Wednesday’s loss. He batted ninth, eighth, and second respectively in those games, playing second base in two and shortstop in the third. After piling up the hits last week, Miller continued his recent success by collecting one in each game. In fact, his lines were the same in each: 1-4 with an RBI. On Monday, his RBI single in the fifth inning tied the score at two. In Wednesday’s loss, he singled in the fourth inning, but collected his RBI in the ninth on a ground out that made the score 8-4. Miller final hit of the week came in the fifth inning on Friday, when his single to center brought in a runner that tied the game at one before they tacked on two more to take a 3-1 lead. Other AFL/Minor League Links: - Twins Daily’s own Seth Stohs has kicked off his offseason Top 50 prospects list with entries covering number 50 through 41, and 40 through 31. It’s hard enough for me to put together my top 10, so his work to go through 50 names you should know is truly extraordinary. You can’t beat the little information nuggets he puts out for these guys, either. It’s also very telling about the Twins system that he has several players who you should see on the MLB team soon populating these lists so early in his countdown. - Also be sure to check out the Twins Daily forums, where several 40-man roster moves happened to kick off this week. Pitcher Nik Turley was claimed by the Pirates, lefthander Randy Rosario was claimed by the Cubs, and power-hitting outfielder Daniel Palka was claimed by the White Sox among a few other purges to clear room on the roster. - Bill Mitchell of Baseball America, tackles the question the Twins have been wondering since drafting him with the sixth overall pick in 2015: Will Tyler Jay be a starter or reliever? Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the performances during the last week!
  21. (This report includes the games played through 11/5) The AFL season turns the corner in Week 4, culminating in the Fall Stars Game where the top prospects (not necessarily performers) are showcased out in the desert. Tyler Jay was selected from the Twins and appeared in the game, recording the final two outs for the AFL West squad in their 4-2 loss. Besides that, the Surprise Saguaros went 2-3 during the week, with three of the Twins relievers posting scoreless lines for their squad. Sean Miller also continued his recent success, and LaMonte Wade continued putting up LaMonte Wade-like stat lines.Read on to find out how each of the Minnesota Twins prospects fared in the AFL during week 4 of the season! (links provided to each player’s overall AFL stats by clicking their name) Tyler Jay: One appearance, 1.0IP, 2 H’s, 3 ER’s, 2 HR, 2BB; 6.75 ERA (overall). Gave up two HR’s on 10/31. With Jay being the only Twins prospect selected to play in the AFL Stars game on Saturday, he made only one appearance on the week for the Saguaros, and it wasn’t a very good one. In Tuesday’s 9-2 loss against the Peoria Javelinas, Jay was summoned for the top of the sixth inning with the score 4-2 Peoria. He walked the first two batters he faced before getting a double play ball that gave him a chance to salvage a scoreless inning. He instead gave up back-to-back home runs to Ronald Acuna and Austin Riley, the number two and three hitters in the Javelinas lineup. With the score now 7-2, Jay got a ground out to end his inning. Playing for the AFL West team in the Fall Stars game, Jay was brought in during the bottom of the eighth inning with one out, two men on base, and the tying run already across the plate in the frame. A single to the first batter put the East squad out front 3-2, and a sacrifice fly to the next made the final score of 4-2. Jay got a strikeout to end the inning, and none of the runs were charged to him. On a positive note, the Gameday tracking had him sitting 94-95 MPH with his fastball in the outing and 13 of his 19 pitches went for strikes. LaMonte Wade: Four games, 4-15, 2 R’s, 2B, 3B, 3 BB’s, 4 K’s; .255/.369/.400 (overall). Wade saw action in all but one game on the week for Surprise, getting Halloween night off. As he is known to do, he reached base at least once in each game and raised his OBP in the AFL to .369. In Monday’s 6-3 win on the road against Peoria, Wade batted second in the lineup and finished 1-4 with an RBI triple, run scored, and a walk. His triple followed another one from the hitter in front of him and put the Saguaros up 4-2. Against the Mesa Solar Sox on Wednesday, Wade batted fifth in their 8-5 loss. After drawing a walk to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, he advanced to third on a single and scored on sac fly to put Surprise up 2-0. He finished 0-3 with the run scored and two strikeouts. He also added an outfield assist, as he combined with Sean Miller to throw out a runner at home in the top of the eighth. Wade batted third on Thursday, his first time taking up that mantle for his AFL team, and he delivered in the 8-6 loss to Mesa. He doubled in the first inning but was left stranded and added a single in the fifth to account for his two hits on the day. He also drew a walk in the second inning, finishing 2-4. Back to batting fifth on Friday, he was 1-4 in their 4-1 win over the Salt River Rafters. He singled in the fourth inning but did not tally any other marks in his stat line. Chris Paul: Three games, 1-12, 2 R’s, 2B, BB, 4 K’s; .250/.308/.375 (overall). Paul played in three games during the week and was a bit quiet, with his only hit coming in the loss to Mesa on Thursday. That was a good game for him, however. In the Monday tilt against Peoria, he was 0-4 with two strikeouts in the Saguaros 6-3 win. On Halloween he also 0-4 in the 9-2 loss to the Javelinas, striking out once. Of note in this one, Paul saw his first action in left field during the AFL season. On Thursday, Paul closed out his week with a good line, finishing 1-4 with a double, walk, and two runs scored batting sixth in the order. His double came in the second inning and put runners on second and third before Surprise took a 4-3 with the single and three-run home run that followed. He led off the top of the sixth with a walk and later would his second run of the game on an RBI single that closed the score to 6-5 Mesa. Andrew Vasquez: Two appearances, 3.0IP, 3 H’s, 2 BB’s, 3 K’s; 0.87 ERA (overall). Vasquez again made an appearance in two games on the week, pitching multiple innings in their Halloween night loss, and another inning on Friday in a win. He came on following Jay for the top of the seventh inning against Peoria, and although he gave up three hits in his two inning none led to any damage on the scoreboard and he also struck out three. 25 of his 39 pitches in the outing went for strikes. In Friday’s win against Salt River, Vasquez picked up his second hold in the AFL as he came on in the seventh with his team up 3-1. He walked two batters in the frame, but worked around them to record another scoreless inning, and lower his ERA on the AFL season to below 1.00 on the week. Ryan Eades: Two appearances, 4.0IP, 3 H’s, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s; 0.00 ERA (overall). Righthander Ryan Eades also saw action in two games on the week, going two innings in each appearance and picking up his second AFL win. That came in Monday’s game on the road against Peoria, when he was pitching while his offense took the lead in the top half of the sixth. He had a one-two-three fifth inning, picking up the last two outs with strikeouts. In the sixth, he made it a little interesting after giving up a leadoff double, hitting a batter, and walking one to load the bases with one out, but got an infield fly ball and grounder to escape the jam and keep himself in line for that win. Against Salt River on Friday, Eades made his first start of the AFL season and pitched two scoreless frames. The first hitter of the game singled to center field, but later got erased on a steal attempt which proved fortuitous, as the next hitter tripled but ended up stranded on third. In the second inning, he gave up a two-out walk but retired the other three, including a strikeout. He threw 35 pitches in the start, with 23 going for strikes. Tom Hackimer: Two appearances, 2.2IP, H, 0 BB, 2 K’s; 3.12 ERA (overall). The sidewinding Hackimer saw action in the loss to Peoria on Tuesday, and in Friday’s win against Salt River. He entered the game on Halloween in the fourth inning, after a double had scored two and left runners on second and third with just one out. He stopped the bleeding with a grounder back to him on the mound that caught the runner on third out at home. Then, after plunking a batter, he got a fly out to end the inning. Back out for the fifth Hackimer faced just three hitters, striking out one and doubling off a runner on first on a bunt attempt after giving up a single. Hackimer also picked up his second hold of the season in Friday’s win, when he came in to start the sixth inning. He got a ground out and a K for the first two outs before he hit another batter, but that runner ended up out at second base on a play the recap did not qualify as a caught stealing attempt (did he try to pull the “Little Big League” move after getting hit by the pitch?! I guess we’ll never know…). Sean Miller: Three games, 3-12, 3 RBI, 3 K’s, SB (2); .316/.350/.342 (overall). Miller saw action in the Saguaros wins on Monday and Friday, and in Wednesday’s loss. He batted ninth, eighth, and second respectively in those games, playing second base in two and shortstop in the third. After piling up the hits last week, Miller continued his recent success by collecting one in each game. In fact, his lines were the same in each: 1-4 with an RBI. On Monday, his RBI single in the fifth inning tied the score at two. In Wednesday’s loss, he singled in the fourth inning, but collected his RBI in the ninth on a ground out that made the score 8-4. Miller final hit of the week came in the fifth inning on Friday, when his single to center brought in a runner that tied the game at one before they tacked on two more to take a 3-1 lead. Other AFL/Minor League Links: - Twins Daily’s own Seth Stohs has kicked off his offseason Top 50 prospects list with entries covering number 50 through 41, and 40 through 31. It’s hard enough for me to put together my top 10, so his work to go through 50 names you should know is truly extraordinary. You can’t beat the little information nuggets he puts out for these guys, either. It’s also very telling about the Twins system that he has several players who you should see on the MLB team soon populating these lists so early in his countdown. - Also be sure to check out the Twins Daily forums, where several 40-man roster moves happened to kick off this week. Pitcher Nik Turley was claimed by the Pirates, lefthander Randy Rosario was claimed by the Cubs, and power-hitting outfielder Daniel Palka was claimed by the White Sox among a few other purges to clear room on the roster. - Bill Mitchell of Baseball America, tackles the question the Twins have been wondering since drafting him with the sixth overall pick in 2015: Will Tyler Jay be a starter or reliever? Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the performances during the last week! Click here to view the article
  22. ashbury

    IMG 5577

    From the album: Surprise Saguaros 2017

    Ryan Eades Arizona 2017
  23. Today starts the 2017 Arizona Fall League season. Each week throughout the Fall League, Steve Lein will post an update on each of the Twins prospects there. As I watch my dad post picture after picture of himself trudging through the northern woods for grouse and sitting on the island of our northern lake waiting for ducks with the family lab Sage by his side, I’m reminded of how much I love the Fall season. These are things I grew up doing with him, my brother, and our dogs, and has instilled a lifelong appreciation of this time of year and the colors that come with it. It is my favorite time of the year. But October also holds a different feeling for a lot of sports fans, myself included, as it also means it is time for the MLB playoffs and the race for the pennant for their favorite team. While the Minnesota Twins finally made it back to the postseason this year, their early exit was a hard one to take until you realized what it meant for the future. That it is very bright for a young hitting core of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler. All of these players spent some of their minor league development time playing baseball in the offseason. While Sano and Polanco spent this time in their home country of the Dominican Republic where they grew up not too far away from each other, Buxton, Rosario and Kepler all spent time in the Arizona Fall League, which kicks off today around 2:35PM CST.For anyone who doesn’t know, the AFL is a short season league where every team in Major League Baseball sends some of their top prospects in October and is often used as a proving ground for these players who are looking to take the final steps to their MLB dreams. Many of the top prospects in baseball are sent here to make a case for an early call-up next year, but there are also many experienced MiLB-ers on the doorstep who are evaluated whether or not to be placed their team's 40-man roster. These minor league games in October can determine a lot going into the next MLB season for these players, and that’s why I love these games. Each MLB team typically sends seven players to the AFL, and they are split up among six teams. This year the Twins are again represented on the Surprise Saguaros roster with pitchers Ryan Eades, Tyler Jay, Tom Hackimer and Andrew Vasquez and position players Sean Miller, Chris Paul and LaMonte Wade. They will join prospects from the rosters of the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers. It will be the first trip to the league for all of the Twins players, and each them will be looking to accomplish something different with their time there. Of players sent to the AFL last fall for Minnesota, three made their MLB debut during the 2017 season. They were catcher Mitch Garver and pitchers Randy Rosario and John Curtiss. So as you can see, a lot of these guys have potential to impact the majors in the following season. Each week I’ll be recapping the action for all of the Twins representatives during their time in the desert of Arizona, so who are these guys? What have they done and what will I be watching for in the AFL games this year? Let’s take a look! 2017 Minnesota Twins Prospects in the AFL: — The most interesting name may be that of pitcher Tyler Jay. With high expectations coming into the 2016 season after being drafted number six overall the year before, Jay has had trouble staying healthy. That was the case again in 2017 as he pitched just 11.2 innings on the season, essentially losing an entire year of development. In thirteen starts with the Fort Myers Miracle in 2016, Jay did flash a lot of the stuff that made him an attractive pick at the top end of the first round. He went 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA and struck out 8.8/9IP with a 1.22 WHIP. He was even bumped up to the Chattanooga Lookouts roster early in July of that season, but he didn’t finish that month or his season due to a neck injury. Because he has missed so much time, many of the same questions I had when writing his draft preview two years ago remain. We also aren’t quite sure if the Twins new brass thinks he could still be a starting pitcher since before the 2017 season started they moved him into the bullpen with the Lookouts. The main thing I believe Jay will be doing in the AFL is getting some of those missed innings under his belt. It also will intrigue me to see if he makes any starts as typically each team sends at least one starter, but none of the others prospects sent quite fit that role. If Jay can show that his plus-stuff still plays up against the elite competition of the AFL after being out so long, I can envision a scenario where he starts in AAA next season, a phone call away from the majors. — All LaMonte Wade has done since joining the Twins organization as a ninth-round draft pick in 2015, is get on base. Across four levels so far in his career, he has a .404 on-base percentage and has drawn more walks than strikeouts. Even more amazing from a comparison standpoint, is the number of walks he has drawn is significantly higher than Joe Mauer did in his MiLB career before debuting (177 in 273 games vs. 129 in 277 games). What Wade hasn’t done so far in his career, is hit for much power but there is some in there. He had 22 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs with Chattanooga this season, and his 67 RBI and .397 OBP ranked second on the team to only team MVP Jonathan Rodriguez. As the year progressed he went from hitting in the middle of the Lookouts lineup to batting in the top third, finishing the year as their number three hitter. He doesn’t have the “wow” tool or tools that many top prospects do, but can do a bit of everything and is not a slouch in any regard. He also doesn’t struggle against same-sided pitchers, as his career OPS vs. left-handers is actually higher than against righties. Wade gets high marks from scouts for his baseball acumen, work ethic, and makeup that they say allows him to outplay his scouting report. There is not much more development needed here as Wade has excelled at every stop, so the AFL will be a good point to judge just how big of an impact he might be able to make in the majors if needed next season. He remind sme a lot of Denard Span at the top of a lineup and we may get to see soon if that is indeed his ceiling. — Infielder Chris Paul was a force in the Fort Myers Miracle lineup this year when he was on the field, where he slashed .328/.380/.471 in 61 games. His issue as he heads to the AFL is that it was just for 61 games as he dealt with a wrist injury. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 draft from California-Berkeley, Paul was a senior sign and will turn 25 on Thursday so he has been older than his competition to this point. He played primarily third base this year with Fort Myers, but has played in all the corner spots of the field in as he looks for the role best suited for him. In the AFL the Twins likely will want to see some power from him and perhaps a bit more clarity of what role he might be able to fill in the coming season. He will likely start the 2018 season in Chattanooga, with perhaps his position determined by his AFL performance. — Reliever Andrew Vasquez goes to the AFL out of the single-A levels and spent most of his time at Low-A which makes his selection intriguing as he’s not as far along as most other prospects who go there. In Vasquez’s case, it is likely deserved as he flat out dominated the Midwest League in 2017. He checked in at number five on Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Year Award, due to his 1.55 ERA and 85 K’s in 58.0IP on the season. That mark was good for a 13.2K/9 rate, which is elite territory. At 6-foot-6 and left-handed, he looks intimidating, but it’s not a big fastball that he uses to dominate hitters, or anything with velocity for that matter. It’s his big curveball that should probably be classified as a “bugs bunny” type, as it is known to come in below 70MPH. Player’s know it’s coming, but they still can’t hit it and it allows his below 90’s fastball to play up while they sit on it. He is also nearly unhittable against same-sided hitters, as he didn’t allow a single extra-base-hit to them during the 2017 season. It will be really interesting to see how his curveball-centric approach plays against the elite competition of the AFL, and I’ll be watching to see if right-handers are able to figure him out enough to limit his upside. — Pitcher Ryan Eades was drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft out of LSU as a guy who held a lot of projection and showed elite “stuff” at times in his collegiate career. He always got mentions about how his stats didn’t live up to his arsenal. As a pro so far in his career, you might say the same thing has held true. He was used primarily as a starter in his first three seasons, spending an entire season at each rung of the ladder until he plateaued during the 2016 with Chattanooga. Late in the year they made the switch to the bullpen where he struggled to keep runs off the board, but he did boost his strikeout rate. In the 2017 season he started off in the bullpen, but whenever a need arose he stepped in as a starter was actually pretty effective at times. He even made a couple of appearances with Rochester in early June where he allowed just one run on six hits in eight innings, while striking out nine. When he was sent back to the Lookouts, he maintained around a mid-3.00’s ERA through the end of the season, finishing with a mark of 3.63 in AA. In front of Jay, Eades is the most likely nominee to get starts in the AFL from the Twins representatives, and the likely outcome from his performances is whether he gets another shot as a starter, or moves to the bullpen full time in 2018. — The name Tom Hackimer probably isn’t a well-known one for Twins prospect followers quite yet, but that could be changing very soon. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of St. Johns, he is a pure reliever prospect who is performing at a level near the top amongst his peers. He began the 2017 season in Cedar Rapids, and was outstanding as evidenced by his 0.58 WHIP. He appeared in 16 games, pitching 24.0 innings with a 28/3 K/BB ratio and pick up the Save in 6 games. After his promotion to Fort Myers, he pitched another 37.1 innings with 43 K’s against 19 walks. He finished the season with a 1.76 ERA and 0.85 WHIP across the two levels. Like Trevor Hildenberger who made a big impact with the Twins this season, Hackimer is a sidewinder who comes at hitters from a drastically different angle. This also allows him to be deadly on right-handed hitters, who managed just a .352 OPS against him in 2017. Like with Vasquez in the AFL, I’m going to be watching if left-handed hitters can negate his effectiveness moving forward, but with a good showing he should be in Chattanooga to start the 2018 season. — Infielder Sean Miller came to the Minnesota Twins organization out of the 2015 draft in the 10th round. He has been what you might call a utility player so far in his career, as he has played all over the infield and even got a few games in the outfield with Fort Myers in 2017. After being drafted, he spent a couple of weeks in Elizabethton before moving up to Cedar Rapids to finish the season. He hit .284 in 26 games with the Kernels that season and remained there for the first 90 games of 2016 before being bumped up to the Miracle to finish the year. He spent all of the 2017 campaign with Fort Myers, playing 122 games in the middle of the infield as a steady glove presence with some speed. He hit .262/.299/.322 on the year with 51 runs scored and 38 RBI. The AFL may be a big challenge for Miller but I’m sure that is appealing to him and guys like him are fun to root for and learn about on their journey to the majors. Good luck to all of the players in the AFL for the Twins this season, and I’m looking forward to following along with everyone at Twins Daily! Please feel free to ask any questions about the AFL and discuss this week’s performances! Click here to view the article
  24. For anyone who doesn’t know, the AFL is a short season league where every team in Major League Baseball sends some of their top prospects in October and is often used as a proving ground for these players who are looking to take the final steps to their MLB dreams. Many of the top prospects in baseball are sent here to make a case for an early call-up next year, but there are also many experienced MiLB-ers on the doorstep who are evaluated whether or not to be placed their team's 40-man roster. These minor league games in October can determine a lot going into the next MLB season for these players, and that’s why I love these games. Each MLB team typically sends seven players to the AFL, and they are split up among six teams. This year the Twins are again represented on the Surprise Saguaros roster with pitchers Ryan Eades, Tyler Jay, Tom Hackimer and Andrew Vasquez and position players Sean Miller, Chris Paul and LaMonte Wade. They will join prospects from the rosters of the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers. It will be the first trip to the league for all of the Twins players, and each them will be looking to accomplish something different with their time there. Of players sent to the AFL last fall for Minnesota, three made their MLB debut during the 2017 season. They were catcher Mitch Garver and pitchers Randy Rosario and John Curtiss. So as you can see, a lot of these guys have potential to impact the majors in the following season. Each week I’ll be recapping the action for all of the Twins representatives during their time in the desert of Arizona, so who are these guys? What have they done and what will I be watching for in the AFL games this year? Let’s take a look! 2017 Minnesota Twins Prospects in the AFL: — The most interesting name may be that of pitcher Tyler Jay. With high expectations coming into the 2016 season after being drafted number six overall the year before, Jay has had trouble staying healthy. That was the case again in 2017 as he pitched just 11.2 innings on the season, essentially losing an entire year of development. In thirteen starts with the Fort Myers Miracle in 2016, Jay did flash a lot of the stuff that made him an attractive pick at the top end of the first round. He went 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA and struck out 8.8/9IP with a 1.22 WHIP. He was even bumped up to the Chattanooga Lookouts roster early in July of that season, but he didn’t finish that month or his season due to a neck injury. Because he has missed so much time, many of the same questions I had when writing his draft preview two years ago remain. We also aren’t quite sure if the Twins new brass thinks he could still be a starting pitcher since before the 2017 season started they moved him into the bullpen with the Lookouts. The main thing I believe Jay will be doing in the AFL is getting some of those missed innings under his belt. It also will intrigue me to see if he makes any starts as typically each team sends at least one starter, but none of the others prospects sent quite fit that role. If Jay can show that his plus-stuff still plays up against the elite competition of the AFL after being out so long, I can envision a scenario where he starts in AAA next season, a phone call away from the majors. — All LaMonte Wade has done since joining the Twins organization as a ninth-round draft pick in 2015, is get on base. Across four levels so far in his career, he has a .404 on-base percentage and has drawn more walks than strikeouts. Even more amazing from a comparison standpoint, is the number of walks he has drawn is significantly higher than Joe Mauer did in his MiLB career before debuting (177 in 273 games vs. 129 in 277 games). What Wade hasn’t done so far in his career, is hit for much power but there is some in there. He had 22 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs with Chattanooga this season, and his 67 RBI and .397 OBP ranked second on the team to only team MVP Jonathan Rodriguez. As the year progressed he went from hitting in the middle of the Lookouts lineup to batting in the top third, finishing the year as their number three hitter. He doesn’t have the “wow” tool or tools that many top prospects do, but can do a bit of everything and is not a slouch in any regard. He also doesn’t struggle against same-sided pitchers, as his career OPS vs. left-handers is actually higher than against righties. Wade gets high marks from scouts for his baseball acumen, work ethic, and makeup that they say allows him to outplay his scouting report. There is not much more development needed here as Wade has excelled at every stop, so the AFL will be a good point to judge just how big of an impact he might be able to make in the majors if needed next season. He remind sme a lot of Denard Span at the top of a lineup and we may get to see soon if that is indeed his ceiling. — Infielder Chris Paul was a force in the Fort Myers Miracle lineup this year when he was on the field, where he slashed .328/.380/.471 in 61 games. His issue as he heads to the AFL is that it was just for 61 games as he dealt with a wrist injury. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 draft from California-Berkeley, Paul was a senior sign and will turn 25 on Thursday so he has been older than his competition to this point. He played primarily third base this year with Fort Myers, but has played in all the corner spots of the field in as he looks for the role best suited for him. In the AFL the Twins likely will want to see some power from him and perhaps a bit more clarity of what role he might be able to fill in the coming season. He will likely start the 2018 season in Chattanooga, with perhaps his position determined by his AFL performance. — Reliever Andrew Vasquez goes to the AFL out of the single-A levels and spent most of his time at Low-A which makes his selection intriguing as he’s not as far along as most other prospects who go there. In Vasquez’s case, it is likely deserved as he flat out dominated the Midwest League in 2017. He checked in at number five on Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Year Award, due to his 1.55 ERA and 85 K’s in 58.0IP on the season. That mark was good for a 13.2K/9 rate, which is elite territory. At 6-foot-6 and left-handed, he looks intimidating, but it’s not a big fastball that he uses to dominate hitters, or anything with velocity for that matter. It’s his big curveball that should probably be classified as a “bugs bunny” type, as it is known to come in below 70MPH. Player’s know it’s coming, but they still can’t hit it and it allows his below 90’s fastball to play up while they sit on it. He is also nearly unhittable against same-sided hitters, as he didn’t allow a single extra-base-hit to them during the 2017 season. It will be really interesting to see how his curveball-centric approach plays against the elite competition of the AFL, and I’ll be watching to see if right-handers are able to figure him out enough to limit his upside. — Pitcher Ryan Eades was drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft out of LSU as a guy who held a lot of projection and showed elite “stuff” at times in his collegiate career. He always got mentions about how his stats didn’t live up to his arsenal. As a pro so far in his career, you might say the same thing has held true. He was used primarily as a starter in his first three seasons, spending an entire season at each rung of the ladder until he plateaued during the 2016 with Chattanooga. Late in the year they made the switch to the bullpen where he struggled to keep runs off the board, but he did boost his strikeout rate. In the 2017 season he started off in the bullpen, but whenever a need arose he stepped in as a starter was actually pretty effective at times. He even made a couple of appearances with Rochester in early June where he allowed just one run on six hits in eight innings, while striking out nine. When he was sent back to the Lookouts, he maintained around a mid-3.00’s ERA through the end of the season, finishing with a mark of 3.63 in AA. In front of Jay, Eades is the most likely nominee to get starts in the AFL from the Twins representatives, and the likely outcome from his performances is whether he gets another shot as a starter, or moves to the bullpen full time in 2018. — The name Tom Hackimer probably isn’t a well-known one for Twins prospect followers quite yet, but that could be changing very soon. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of St. Johns, he is a pure reliever prospect who is performing at a level near the top amongst his peers. He began the 2017 season in Cedar Rapids, and was outstanding as evidenced by his 0.58 WHIP. He appeared in 16 games, pitching 24.0 innings with a 28/3 K/BB ratio and pick up the Save in 6 games. After his promotion to Fort Myers, he pitched another 37.1 innings with 43 K’s against 19 walks. He finished the season with a 1.76 ERA and 0.85 WHIP across the two levels. Like Trevor Hildenberger who made a big impact with the Twins this season, Hackimer is a sidewinder who comes at hitters from a drastically different angle. This also allows him to be deadly on right-handed hitters, who managed just a .352 OPS against him in 2017. Like with Vasquez in the AFL, I’m going to be watching if left-handed hitters can negate his effectiveness moving forward, but with a good showing he should be in Chattanooga to start the 2018 season. — Infielder Sean Miller came to the Minnesota Twins organization out of the 2015 draft in the 10th round. He has been what you might call a utility player so far in his career, as he has played all over the infield and even got a few games in the outfield with Fort Myers in 2017. After being drafted, he spent a couple of weeks in Elizabethton before moving up to Cedar Rapids to finish the season. He hit .284 in 26 games with the Kernels that season and remained there for the first 90 games of 2016 before being bumped up to the Miracle to finish the year. He spent all of the 2017 campaign with Fort Myers, playing 122 games in the middle of the infield as a steady glove presence with some speed. He hit .262/.299/.322 on the year with 51 runs scored and 38 RBI. The AFL may be a big challenge for Miller but I’m sure that is appealing to him and guys like him are fun to root for and learn about on their journey to the majors. Good luck to all of the players in the AFL for the Twins this season, and I’m looking forward to following along with everyone at Twins Daily! Please feel free to ask any questions about the AFL and discuss this week’s performances!
  25. To learn how all the Minnesota Twins prospects fared in week 2, keep reading! (links provided to each player’s overall AFL stats by clicking their name) Tyler Jay: 2 appearances, 1.2 IP, 5 H’s, 2 ERs, BB, K; 4.91 ERA (overall). In week two Jay made appearances in the Saguaros 10-3 win over Peoria on Tuesday and their 7-6 meltdown loss to Mesa on Friday, but he wasn’t as sharp as in week one. In Tuesday’s victory, Jay came on for the bottom of the fifth inning with his Surprise team up 5-2. He recorded the first out with a swinging K on a 1-2 breaking ball before allowing a double to the next hitter that put a runner in scoring position. This was followed by a single to left field that put runners on the corners and Jay in a bit of a jam. He got exactly what he needed to escape unscathed however, as he induced an inning-ending double play ball to the next hitter. On Friday Jay again came out for the bottom of the sixth inning, this time with his team up 3-0, but he ran into trouble right away. The first hitter clubbed a ground-rule double which he followed with an off-target pitch that went for a passed ball to put that runner on third. He got a ground out before walking a batter to put runners on the corners. Consecutive singles then scored two runs to bring Mesa within one and summoned the pitching coach from the dugout. After that visit Jay plunked a batter to load the bases before getting an infield pop-up for his second out and an end to his day. Ryan Eades then came on for the third out. LaMonte Wade: 3 games, 4-12, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K; .231/.333/.423 (overall). Wade played right field in three games on the week for Surprise, batting ninth, seventh and second in the lineup in those contests. In Monday’s 9-8 come-from-behind victory against Scottsdale, Wade finished 1-4 with an RBI and one strikeout. The RBI came in the fifth inning right after Scorpions starter Justus Sheffield was removed from the game with runners on first and second. His ground ball through the left side closed the gap to 4-2 and Surprise would add another run before the inning was over. Wade had a forgettable day in 6-4 loss to Peoria on Wednesday, finishing 0-4 with three ground outs (including a double play) and fly out. He came back to close out the week with his best game so far in the AFL season, as he joined in on the show of power from the Saguaros lineup in building a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning against the Solar Sox on Friday. He followed teammate Nicky Lopez’s double to start the game with a double of his own to give the Saguaros the early 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning he added a single to his line on a “pop up to the catcher” (which I’d like to know how that happened), before blasting his first AFL home run in the seventh that made the score 6-2. It was the second solo home run of the inning for Surprise and as a team they dropped four bombs in the game. Unfortunately, for all those offensive efforts, Saguaros reliever Jordan Hicks gave up four runs in the bottom of the ninth to end up on the losing end of a walk off. Of local note in Friday’s box score, is Coon Rapids, MN native Logan Shore of the Oakland Athletics organization made the start for Mesa. Chris Paul: 3 games, 3-14, 2 R’s, RBI, 5 K’s; .308/.333/.346 (overall). Paul saw action in each of the same games as Wade during week two, batting in the middle of the lineup, and got to play hero in their win on Monday versus Scottsdale. With the score 8-3 in favor of the Scorpions in the bottom of the eighth, Paul followed a walk by the Saguaros leadoff man with a single for his first hit of the game. They were both driven in by a triple from teammate Kevin Padio that brought them within three before Pidio scampered home on a ground out to put them within striking distance in the bottom of the ninth. A walk, hit by pitch, and bases clearing double brought Paul up again with the game tied and a runner in scoring position. He delivered the walk-off win with a single to center field to complete the five-run comeback for Surprise. The win also marked the first time Paul played third base during the AFL season. In Wednesday’s tilt, Paul again had an opportunity in the bottom of the ninth with a runner in scoring position and his team down 6-4, but he didn’t have the same result in this one as he was called out on strikes to end the game. He fared even worse than Wade in this one, finishing 0-5 game with two K’s and multiple missed opportunities. In Friday’s walk-off loss to Mesa, Paul led off the fourth inning with an infield single on a slow-roller to third, then promptly trotted home on a two-run shot from Andrew Knizner that gave Surprise a 3-0 lead. Paul finished 1-4 with three strikeouts leading into the Bowman Hitting Challenge on Saturday. It was there that Paul bookended his week with another memorable performance. He won the unique contest with a score of 2,750 points, edging New York Mets prospect Tomas Nido. Unlike a true home run derby, points are awarded in the event for hitting obstacles scattered throughout the field, and looks like a blast to participate in! Congrats Chris, and don’t blow all the prize money in one place! Andrew Vasquez: Two appearances, 2.2IP, 2 H’s, ER, 3 K’s; 1.93 ERA (overall). Vasquez again saw action in two games in week two, going more than one inning for the first time in the AFL on Monday against Scottsdale, and one more inning in a 6-4 extra-inning loss to Mesa on Thursday. He came on in the middle of the top of the fifth on Monday after one run had scored and runners remained on first on third. He struck out the first man he faced, but uncorked a wild pitch to the second that allowed an inherited runner to score and make it 4-1 Scorpions. He then got a ground out to end the inning and came back out for the sixth. He did his thing in this frame, setting the opposition down in order. In his 1.2 innings, 13 of his 20 pitches went for strikes, including three swinging strikes on his lone K of the outing. In Thursday’s tilt, Vasquez was called upon for the top of the seventh with the Saguaros up 4-3. He was charged with a blown save as he surrendered the tying run before escaping the jam of his own making. The leadoff man singled to start it, then advanced to second base on a balk. Vasquez then got the first out of the inning with a looking strikeout but that was followed by an RBI double. A wild pitch then advanced that runner to third, but he was bailed out on a grounder to the second baseman with the infield in that cut that runner down at home. He then plunked a batter to put runners on first and second before he notched his second K to escape with minimal damage given what had transpired. Ryan Eades: 2 appearances, 2.1IP, 3 H’s, K; 0.00 ERA (overall). Eades also was summoned from the bullpen in two games during the week, with his appearances coming against Peoria on Tuesday and Mesa on Friday. In the 10-3 win against the Javelinas he got the eighth inning, needing just twelve pitches (nine strikes) to record three outs. He struck out the first hitter of the inning and got a ground out for two quick outs before giving up a single, but ended the inning by inducing a grounder to the next hitter. In Friday’s heart-wrenching loss to Mesa, Eades picked up his first hold in the AFL with a scoreless 1.1 innings. After Jay had allowed in two runs in the sixth, it was Eades job to escape the bases-loaded jam with no further damage. He did so by getting a fly out to center field then worked around a couple of singles in the seventh for a scoreless inning before the bottom fell out for the Saguaros in the ninth. Tom Hackimer: 2 appearances, 3.0IP, 3 H’s, ER, 2 K’s; 2.25 ERA (overall). In two appearances on the week, Hackimer totaled 3.0 innings pitched as he also went multiple frames for the first time during the AFL season. In Monday’s dramatic win he came on after Vasquez for the top of the seventh inning with the score 4-3 in favor of Scottsdale. The first batter hit a hard ground ball that Paul deflected at third base and that ended up a single, but Hackimer got the next batter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Then some hard contact came in the form of consecutive doubles that increased the Scorpions lead to 5-3 before he got a strikeout to end the two-out rally. In Thursday’s 6-4 loss against Mesa that included free baseball, Hackimer saw his first multi-inning appearance in the AFL. He was summoned in the top of the eighth inning with the score tied at four and set the Solar Sox lineup down in order, including a swinging strikeout. Back out for the ninth, he made quick work of the 1-2-3 hitters for Mesa, needing just eleven pitches to record another one-two-three inning. Hackimer was replaced for the top of the tenth, and with a runner starting the inning on second base, Mesa quickly scored the go-ahead run with a lead off single, and added some insurance with a home run to pull out the 6-4 victory against the good guys. Sean Miller: 3 games (2 starts), 3-10, 2 R’s, 2B, BB, K; .211/.250/.263 (overall). Miller played in three games during the AFL season’s second week, making the start on Wednesday as the second baseman and batting second, and on Thursday as the DH batting ninth. He entered Tuesday’s contest in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement, and made the most of his hitting opportunities. In the seventh inning after entering the game to play shortstop, Miller drew a walk and scored on a double from the next hitter that made the score 8-2 Saguaros. In the top of the ninth he grounded out in his other plate appearance. In Wednesday’s 6-4 loss, Miller collected three hits in the top third of the lineup in his best game in the AFL so far. In the bottom of the first Miller followed a single from the leadoff man with a single of his own and got as far as second base. He then led off the bottom of the sixth inning with another single but didn’t move up any further. His biggest hit of the game came when he again led off an inning, this time in the eighth with the score 4-1 in favor of Peoria. He doubled to put himself into scoring position and two batters later another double brought him home to close the gap to 4-2. Like Paul, Miller also came up in the bottom of the ninth and represented the tying run, but flew out to center field for the inning's second out as they fell short of another comeback. Other AFL/Minor League Links: - After being selected in the third round of the 2017 draft and being given an above slot bonus to pry him away from LSU, Blayne Enlow was fantastic in the Gulf Coast League for the Twins. For his efforts, Baseball America named him to their GCL Top 20 Prospect list. - The Minnesota Twins announced their 2017 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, with Mitch Garver taking home the first honor, and Aaron Slegers the second. Garver finished first in Twins Daily’s Hitter of the Year voting, while Slegers finished third in our Starting Pitcher of the Year tally. - After his regular season that was cut short due to injury, Tyler Jay’s performance in the first week of the season was a positive development for the outlook on his health. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the performances during the last week!
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