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  1. Today we are pleased to present the below Q&A with Twins left-handed pitching prospect, Lachlan Wells. He began 2016 in extended spring training, ready to go to Elizabethton after pitching in the GCL in 2015. Instead, in late June, he was sent to Cedar Rapids and was very good for the Kernels the rest of the season. In 12 starts, he went 6-4 with a miniscule 1.77 ERA. In 71.1 innings, he walked 16 and struck out 63. Very impressive numbers on their own, but when you consider he will not turn 20 until late February, it is even moreso. “Wells grew up in Newcastle, Australia, and played cricket through age 14. That’s when he began to focus more on baseball. At age 15, he was already working in the upper-80s and was seen by Howie Norsetter. In 2015, Wells went 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in the GCL. In 47.1 innings, he walked 11 and struck out 49. As the season ended, he traveled to Japan for the 18U World Cup. Wells now sits in the low-90s. He has a good curveball, and his changeup is probably his best pitch. He has a funky delivery with a lot of arm action. He can be deceptive to hitters as well. His twin brother Alexander signed with the Orioles organization late in 2015 and made his pro debut in 2016. ” That was an excerpt from Wells’ profile in the 2017 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook which you will be able to order for yourself today! The Prospect Handbook will be available in paperback and as a pdf for immediate download. Get your copy ordered today!A year ago, we did a Get To Know ‘Em Q&A with Lachlan Wells following his debut season in the GCL. Today, we dig just a little bit deeper to find out his thoughts about his 2016 season and more. Seth Stohs (SS): We’ll start right from the beginning of 2016. It was your first spring training in the States. What was the experience like? Was it what you expected? Lachlan Wells (LW): Well, getting to spring training and seeing a lot of guys there compared to extended spring in 2015 was very nerve wracking, and it wasn't what I expected it to be. So that was a bit of a shock. But once I got settled in, I was fine. SS: What things did you focus on during extended spring training? LW: I focused on pitch location and first-pitch strikes a lot in extended becoming more consistent with all my pitches for strikes and being able to improve of putting guys away in 0-2 and 1-2 counts. SS: Were you expecting to go to Elizabethton from extended, and were you surprised to go to Cedar Rapids? LW: I had my bags packed and ready to go to Elizabethton. Then a couple of days before the bus was leaving to Etown I got called in Brad Steil’s office, and he said I was staying in Fort Myers for a few more days, then joining Cedar Rapids after the All-Star break. SS: You were one of the younger players on the Kernels roster the rest of the season. How was the adjustment to the clubhouse in Cedar Rapids? LW: The adjustment from extended to Cedar Rapids was a little nerve-wracking, but I had a lot of help getting to know what goes on up there and the way they go about their business by Sam Gibbons which helped me a lot. SS: You put up remarkable numbers throughout your time with the Kernels. In you opinion, what were some of your keys to success? LW: I just went up there and tried to be the best I could, and not taking a step back just because I was younger than a lot of guys. Also, in between starts I would work a lot with (Kernels pitching coach) JP (Martinez) with video or in bullpens just to make little adjustments that would help me. SS: What were your goals heading into the 2016 season, and how do you feel you did in accomplishing them? LW: My goals were to play in Cedar Rapids and to improve/learn as much as I could during the season. I accomplished by listening to all the advice that had been thrown at me by all the pitching coaches I've worked with and taking (that) into bullpens then into games. SS: What has your offseason been like? What are some of the things you done to stay away from baseball? LW: My offseason has been nice and relaxed. I've been playing a lot of golf and going to beach or hanging by the pool with friends. SS:A what point do you start your workouts and throwing programs for the 2017 season? LW: I started my throwing program in December, and I've been working out since October. SS: What pitches do you throw? What did you consider your out-pitch through the season? LW: I throw a fastball, curveball, and change-up. I would have to say my out-pitch would be my change-up. SS: Have you started to think about your goals for the 2017 season yet? LW: My goals for the 2017 season would be pitching in Fort Myers with the Miracle and just to improve my pitching in all areas. SS: Is it possible that you could pitch in the WBC this spring? You’ve pitched in international competitions before. What does it mean for you to represent your country? LW: It is possible that I could be pitching in the WBC. There is no better feeling to be out on the field wearing the green and gold, and I would love to do it again. SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time working to improve in the offseason and going forward? LW: I'd like to improve my strength, so I'll be in the weight room working hard to improve on that as much as I can. Also, my fitness, so I'll be running a bit more this offseason to improve that. SS: What is the best piece of advice you got from a teammate or coach in 2016? LW: The best advice I got was just have fun. SS: What music do you listen to before a start or on the bus rides? LW: I liked listening to a bit of everything. Doesn't really worry me. SS: Favorite movies from the long bus rides in the Midwest League? LW: When I wasn't sleeping on the bus, I'd say Eastbound and Down TV series. Always a good laugh. We certainly wish him continued success during the 2017 season and beyond. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to discuss below. Click here to view the article
  2. A year ago, we did a Get To Know ‘Em Q&A with Lachlan Wells following his debut season in the GCL. Today, we dig just a little bit deeper to find out his thoughts about his 2016 season and more. Seth Stohs (SS): We’ll start right from the beginning of 2016. It was your first spring training in the States. What was the experience like? Was it what you expected? Lachlan Wells (LW): Well, getting to spring training and seeing a lot of guys there compared to extended spring in 2015 was very nerve wracking, and it wasn't what I expected it to be. So that was a bit of a shock. But once I got settled in, I was fine. SS: What things did you focus on during extended spring training? LW: I focused on pitch location and first-pitch strikes a lot in extended becoming more consistent with all my pitches for strikes and being able to improve of putting guys away in 0-2 and 1-2 counts. SS: Were you expecting to go to Elizabethton from extended, and were you surprised to go to Cedar Rapids? LW: I had my bags packed and ready to go to Elizabethton. Then a couple of days before the bus was leaving to Etown I got called in Brad Steil’s office, and he said I was staying in Fort Myers for a few more days, then joining Cedar Rapids after the All-Star break. SS: You were one of the younger players on the Kernels roster the rest of the season. How was the adjustment to the clubhouse in Cedar Rapids? LW: The adjustment from extended to Cedar Rapids was a little nerve-wracking, but I had a lot of help getting to know what goes on up there and the way they go about their business by Sam Gibbons which helped me a lot. SS: You put up remarkable numbers throughout your time with the Kernels. In you opinion, what were some of your keys to success? LW: I just went up there and tried to be the best I could, and not taking a step back just because I was younger than a lot of guys. Also, in between starts I would work a lot with (Kernels pitching coach) JP (Martinez) with video or in bullpens just to make little adjustments that would help me. SS: What were your goals heading into the 2016 season, and how do you feel you did in accomplishing them? LW: My goals were to play in Cedar Rapids and to improve/learn as much as I could during the season. I accomplished by listening to all the advice that had been thrown at me by all the pitching coaches I've worked with and taking (that) into bullpens then into games. SS: What has your offseason been like? What are some of the things you done to stay away from baseball? LW: My offseason has been nice and relaxed. I've been playing a lot of golf and going to beach or hanging by the pool with friends. SS:A what point do you start your workouts and throwing programs for the 2017 season? LW: I started my throwing program in December, and I've been working out since October. SS: What pitches do you throw? What did you consider your out-pitch through the season? LW: I throw a fastball, curveball, and change-up. I would have to say my out-pitch would be my change-up. SS: Have you started to think about your goals for the 2017 season yet? LW: My goals for the 2017 season would be pitching in Fort Myers with the Miracle and just to improve my pitching in all areas. SS: Is it possible that you could pitch in the WBC this spring? You’ve pitched in international competitions before. What does it mean for you to represent your country? LW: It is possible that I could be pitching in the WBC. There is no better feeling to be out on the field wearing the green and gold, and I would love to do it again. SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time working to improve in the offseason and going forward? LW: I'd like to improve my strength, so I'll be in the weight room working hard to improve on that as much as I can. Also, my fitness, so I'll be running a bit more this offseason to improve that. SS: What is the best piece of advice you got from a teammate or coach in 2016? LW: The best advice I got was just have fun. SS: What music do you listen to before a start or on the bus rides? LW: I liked listening to a bit of everything. Doesn't really worry me. SS: Favorite movies from the long bus rides in the Midwest League? LW: When I wasn't sleeping on the bus, I'd say Eastbound and Down TV series. Always a good laugh. We certainly wish him continued success during the 2017 season and beyond. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to discuss below.
  3. If the Cedar Rapids Kernels are going to return to the Midwest League Championship Series for the second consecutive year, they’re going to need to do it the hard way – with a win on the road in a series-deciding game 3. The Kernels fell hard on Sunday night at Clinton, dropping game two of the series 6-1 to the Lumber Kings. The same two teams will play Monday night in Clinton with the winner moving on to the MWL’s championship series against either West Michigan or Great Lakes. Kernels starting pitcher Sam Gibbons was touched for all six Lumber King runs, all earned, in four innings of work. Most of the damage came in a four-run Clinton fourth inning, topped off by a bases-clearing double off the left-centerfield wall by Chris Mariscal.If you’re looking for a silver lining for the Kernels, you won’t find much here. Kernels batters were virtually shut down by Clinton starting pitcher Kevin Gadea, who struck out 11 Cedar Rapids batters in six innings while giving up just four hits and one walk. In total, Kernels batters were sent back to the dugout on strikeouts 17 times. Kernels manager Jake Mauer summed the game up succinctly. “It’s tough to win baseball games when you don’t put a ball in play,” he said. “We can’t hit and run, we can’t move guys over. Just is not much you can do.” The manager was disappointed that his hitters didn’t do more against Gadea. “He just overpowered us with very average stuff, I thought,” Mauer said. “He slowed it down and threw it over. For whatever reason, we couldn’t do anything.” Cedar Rapids scored their only run off Gadea in the fourth inning and even that required a bit of a fluke to accomplish. After Luis Arraez’s two-out single to right field, Zander Wiel hit a squibber to the left side of the infield where Clinton’s third baseman and shortstop apparently each thought the other was going to try to bare-hand the ball. Neither did, however, and the ball rolled into shallow left field, allowing Arraez to advance to third base. A pitch later, Arraez crossed the plate on a wild pitch. The Kernels fared no better against Gadea’s mound replacement, Reginald Dominguez, who struck out four in two relief innings. Wiel was the only Kernels player with multiple hits, adding a single up the middle in the seventh inning to his fourth inning infield hit. Arraez, JJ Fernandez and Nelson Molina each had one hit for Cedar Rapids, all singles. Williams Ramirez relieved Gibbons to begin the fifth inning and held Clinton scoreless, striking out five (so there’s your silver lining, I suppose). Colton Davis struck out one in working a scoreless eighth inning. Mauer had not announced a game 3 starting pitcher prior to the game, but afterward said that he will send Sean Poppen to the mound for the deciding game Monday night in Clinton. Game time is 6:30. Click here to view the article
  4. If you’re looking for a silver lining for the Kernels, you won’t find much here. Kernels batters were virtually shut down by Clinton starting pitcher Kevin Gadea, who struck out 11 Cedar Rapids batters in six innings while giving up just four hits and one walk. In total, Kernels batters were sent back to the dugout on strikeouts 17 times. Kernels manager Jake Mauer summed the game up succinctly. “It’s tough to win baseball games when you don’t put a ball in play,” he said. “We can’t hit and run, we can’t move guys over. Just is not much you can do.” The manager was disappointed that his hitters didn’t do more against Gadea. “He just overpowered us with very average stuff, I thought,” Mauer said. “He slowed it down and threw it over. For whatever reason, we couldn’t do anything.” Cedar Rapids scored their only run off Gadea in the fourth inning and even that required a bit of a fluke to accomplish. After Luis Arraez’s two-out single to right field, Zander Wiel hit a squibber to the left side of the infield where Clinton’s third baseman and shortstop apparently each thought the other was going to try to bare-hand the ball. Neither did, however, and the ball rolled into shallow left field, allowing Arraez to advance to third base. A pitch later, Arraez crossed the plate on a wild pitch. The Kernels fared no better against Gadea’s mound replacement, Reginald Dominguez, who struck out four in two relief innings. Wiel was the only Kernels player with multiple hits, adding a single up the middle in the seventh inning to his fourth inning infield hit. Arraez, JJ Fernandez and Nelson Molina each had one hit for Cedar Rapids, all singles. Williams Ramirez relieved Gibbons to begin the fifth inning and held Clinton scoreless, striking out five (so there’s your silver lining, I suppose). Colton Davis struck out one in working a scoreless eighth inning. Mauer had not announced a game 3 starting pitcher prior to the game, but afterward said that he will send Sean Poppen to the mound for the deciding game Monday night in Clinton. Game time is 6:30.
  5. Following their loss on Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins announced that they were promoting three more September call-ups. Earlier Byron Buxton, John Ryan Murphy and Jose Berrios had been called up, but on Monday, the Twins announced that Kennys Vargas, Tyler Duffey and James Beresford would be called up on Monday. On Tuesday, the Twins made it official, stating also that Danny Santana was placed on the 60 day disabled list. The moves of Vargas and Duffey were expected. However, while several of us have wanted Beresford to get promoted in previous Septembers, there was some surprise when James Beresford’s name was mentioned as a call up. That moved created a lot of excitement around Twitter and in the real world too.According to a source around the Red Wings, before their final game of the season, manager Mike Quade went around and thanked players for the season. He then singled out the subs for the day. He started with Vargas telling him he couldn’t stand to watch him run the bases anymore. He moved on to Mitch Garver and said that he wanted to see the strength coach warm up the pitcher between innings. Finally, he got to Beresford. Quade said (ad-libbing), “and Jimmy, you’re not playing because you’re going to The Show!” Reports indicate that Beresford sat in stunned amazement for a while, until one teammate got him with two plates of shaving cream and a pitcher poured beer over him. If only there was video. Can you imagine the moment, 11 years after signing with an organization, and well over 1,000 minor league games, finally being told that you were getting The Call? Beresford could have left the organization as a free agent three times, but each time he chose to return to the Twins. Last year, he hit over .300 and was an International League All-Star. What a moment yesterday had to be for the Australian infielder. But it was a moment that wasn’t lost on teammates already in the big leagues. Michael Tonkin tweeted this: So many want to think this is a Thank You promotion for Beresford, and to some degree it is. However, the Twins have always liked to have two utility infielders, especially in September. With Jorge Polanco starting most games at shortstop, Eduardo Escobar is the team’s utility infielder. They wanted a second utility infielder, and Beresford makes a ton of sense. Beresford is able to very capably play defense at all four infield positions. He hasn’t played much shortstop for the Red Wings in recent years, but that is his natural position. It’s where he played for Team Australia in international competition. Many are excited for James Beresford to finally get this call, and he’s earned it! Click here to view the article
  6. According to a source around the Red Wings, before their final game of the season, manager Mike Quade went around and thanked players for the season. He then singled out the subs for the day. He started with Vargas telling him he couldn’t stand to watch him run the bases anymore. He moved on to Mitch Garver and said that he wanted to see the strength coach warm up the pitcher between innings. Finally, he got to Beresford. Quade said (ad-libbing), “and Jimmy, you’re not playing because you’re going to The Show!” Reports indicate that Beresford sat in stunned amazement for a while, until one teammate got him with two plates of shaving cream and a pitcher poured beer over him. If only there was video. Can you imagine the moment, 11 years after signing with an organization, and well over 1,000 minor league games, finally being told that you were getting The Call? Beresford could have left the organization as a free agent three times, but each time he chose to return to the Twins. Last year, he hit over .300 and was an International League All-Star. What a moment yesterday had to be for the Australian infielder. But it was a moment that wasn’t lost on teammates already in the big leagues. Michael Tonkin tweeted this: https://twitter.com/mtonkin37/status/772933167724437505 Brian Dozier had a big day on Monday for the Twins. The infielder hit three home runs and now has 38 on the season. I had the chance to talk to the second baseman early on Tuesday, and he was as excited as anyone. Not about his success, but about the promotion of James Beresford. The first game I went to in Beloit, Dozier was playing shortstop with Beresford at second base. They have been teammates several times and remain very close. Dozier said, “As you know, James and I came up together, roommates at a couple of levels, and one of my closer friends in all of baseball. To be honest, I kinda got a little emotional when hearing that he is coming up because of how hard he has worked over the years and the dedication he has had in order to fulfill this dream. I called him yesterday morning after he was told he was coming up and through the phone it was awesome to hear the excitement in his voice. I know he's been waiting for this moment his whole life and I couldn't be happier for him.” In Australia, the news was huge. He will become the 33rd player from the country to play in the major leagues. He’s been a big part of a few Olympic and WBC and other Team Australia contingents. He has played in the ABL for the Melbourne Aces. He represents, in many ways, Australian baseball. I talked to Beresford this spring, and he talked about when he was a young player in the Twins system, Australian Trent Oeltjen helped him, talked to him, bought him a few dinners. Same thing on those Olympic teams when Beresford was in his late teens. Now the table has turned. The 27-year-old Beresford is the veteran, and he has been helpful for some of the other young Australians in the Twins system. Sam Gibbons is a starting pitcher from Australia for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Regarding Beresford, he said, “It's huge, I think you can tell just just by seeing how everyone back home has reacted, everything I've read about his promotion had been the same. I read one today saying ‘I've never seen a guy being called up make so many people this happy.’ It's so fitting because it's so true. Everyone is so excited for him.” Gibbons played a couple of years with Beresford with the Melbourne Aces, and again this spring in the WBC-Qualifier. He continued “Obviously he's had a lot of experience playing here in the US and just being able to pick his mind about anything and everything has been awesome. In spring training, he would take us young Aussies out for dinner, I think because he had guys do it for him. He's now the older Aussie that he does it for us.” Lachlan Wells is a left-hander in the Kernels rotation. He also was very excited for Beresford. He said, “Well it means a lot to younger Aussie in any professional system not to give up, keep at it because if you work hard results will come. I only met him this year in spring training but he was really helpful with advice about just certain things that would help me during the season and at certain levels when I move up.” Wells continued, “Plus it means a lot for Australia because it's another Aussie in the big leagues. Not many people get to do it and with the baseball community being so small everyone will be supporting 100%” Others tweeted their thoughts: Morrie Silver: https://twitter.com/MorrieSilver8/status/772925062085304320 Josh Whetzel: https://twitter.com/JoshWhetzel/status/772918556040241152 Todd Van Steensel: https://twitter.com/toddvs35/status/772919721532547073 So many want to think this is a Thank You promotion for Beresford, and to some degree it is. However, the Twins have always liked to have two utility infielders, especially in September. With Jorge Polanco starting most games at shortstop, Eduardo Escobar is the team’s utility infielder. They wanted a second utility infielder, and Beresford makes a ton of sense. Beresford is able to very capably play defense at all four infield positions. He hasn’t played much shortstop for the Red Wings in recent years, but that is his natural position. It’s where he played for Team Australia in international competition. Many are excited for James Beresford to finally get this call, and he’s earned it!
  7. It was another interesting day for the Minnesota Twins minor league affiliates. One starter carried a no-hitter into the late innings. Two other starters worked into the sixth inning with shutouts. The Kernels inched closer to a playoff berth thanks to a quality start and three, three-hit games. Byron Buxton kept a streak going. Hey, when the big league club can’t find wins, there are always multiple positives in the farm system! The two Twins short-season affiliates are less than a week from the end of their regular seasons. As of now, Elizabethton would be in the playoffs. The GCL Twins are one game behind the Red Sox. Continue reading for all the details for a Saturday in the minor league parks.RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 4 (11 innings) Box Score The story of this game through six-plus innings was left-hander Nick Greenwood. He didn’t give up a hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning. Former Twins and Red Wings player Chris Parmelee hit a double to break up the no-no. The next batter homered to end the shutout. So, in total, Greenwood gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out four. Alan Busenitz came on for the eighth inning. He gave two runs on three hits which tied the score at four. The game went to extra innings. Jake Reed threw two scoreless innings, striking out one. The Wings took the lead on the top of the 11th inning. Edward Mujica came on and recorded his 24th save of the International League season, but it was his first save for the Red Wings. He gave up two hits, but he struck out three. For the fourth straight game, Byron Buxton homered. He went 2-6 and the homer was his 11th of the season for the Red Wings. Mitch Garver drove in two runs with his first International League home run. Adam Brett Walker went 2-4 and drove in a run. Wilfredo Tovar hit his 23rd double. In the 11th, he walked to bring in the winning run. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 3, Mississippi 1 Box Score Saturday was Stephen Gonsalves’s turn to start for the Lookouts. He improved to 8-1 and dropped his ERA to 1.64. The southpaw gave up five hits and walked two over 5.2 shutout innings. He struck out six. Todd Van Steensel came on and got the next four outs. He needed just ten pitches to do it. Mason Melotakis returned from the disabled list to pitch the eighth inning. He gave up two hits and issued a walk but he struck out three batters to get through the inning without allowing a run. Raul Fernandez got the ninth inning. He gave up a run but recorded his fifth save. The Lookouts had just five hits in the game, but they were big ones. Edgar Corcino got the team on the board with a two-run triple. It was his fifth triple for the team. Travis Harrison provided some insurance with his seventh home run. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 0, Jupiter 3 Box Score Sam Clay was on the mound for the Miracle. The left-hander gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out six batters. Luke Westphal, Michael Theofanopoulos and Confesor Lara each threw a scoreless inning. “Theo” struck out three, and Lara struck out two. The Miracle had just five hits on the game. Their top four hitters combined to go 0-15. Brad Hartong went 2-3 in the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Clinton 2 Box Score The Kernels are fast-approaching clinching a playoff spot in the Midwest League. On Saturday night in Clinton, they inched closer thanks to a strong start from Sam Gibbons. The Australian right-hander gave up just two runs on nine hits over six innings to record his seventh win. He struck out two without issuing a walk. Michael Cederoth walked two and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Anthony McIver gave up a hit, but he got the final three outs to preserve the win. Brandon Lopez went 3-4 with his first two MWL doubles. He was also hit by a pitch. Luis Arraez went 3-4 with a walk. He hit his 29th and 30th doubles, drove in two runs and stole his third bag and raised his average to .351. Travis Blankenhorn also had three hits in five at-bats. He had a triple and two RBI. Zander Wiel went 2-5 with two RBI. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 1, Greeneville 0 Box Score The two teams combined for just seven hits in this game. Caleb Hamilton, who walked twice, scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ariel Montesino.The E-Twins had just four hits overall. Tyler Wells, who struck out 14 in seven shutout innings his last outing, threw six shutout innings in this game. He gave up two hits, walked two, hit one and struck out three. He improved to 5-2 on the season. Colton Davis returned to the mound after not pitching for nearly a month. He struck out two in two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and walked one. Patrick McGuff came on for the ninth and recorded his ninth save. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 1, GCL Red Sox 4 Box Score Taylor Clemensia started for the Twins and went just 1.2 innings. He gave up three unearned runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out one. He really struggled to find the strike zone. Moises Gomez came on in relief and worked the final 6.1 innings. He gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out two without issuing a walk. His season ERA actually went up to 0.83 in 32.2 innings. Aaron Whitefield again led the way. He went 2-2 and stole his 29th and 30th bases of the season. He also threw two runners out from the outfield. In the second, he left the game with a sore non-throwing neck/shoulder (per Bob Sacamento). The Twins had just five hits in the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Stephen Gonsalves, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Luis Arraez, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (3:05 CST) - LHP Jason Wheeler Mississippi @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers Ft. Myers @ Jupiter (12:00 CST) - RHP Keaton Steele Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (2:00 CST) – RHP Brady Anderson Elizabethton @ Greeneville (5:00 CST) - RHP Ryan Mason GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday's games. Click here to view the article
  8. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 4 (11 innings) Box Score The story of this game through six-plus innings was left-hander Nick Greenwood. He didn’t give up a hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning. Former Twins and Red Wings player Chris Parmelee hit a double to break up the no-no. The next batter homered to end the shutout. So, in total, Greenwood gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out four. Alan Busenitz came on for the eighth inning. He gave two runs on three hits which tied the score at four. The game went to extra innings. Jake Reed threw two scoreless innings, striking out one. The Wings took the lead on the top of the 11th inning. Edward Mujica came on and recorded his 24th save of the International League season, but it was his first save for the Red Wings. He gave up two hits, but he struck out three. For the fourth straight game, Byron Buxton homered. He went 2-6 and the homer was his 11th of the season for the Red Wings. Mitch Garver drove in two runs with his first International League home run. Adam Brett Walker went 2-4 and drove in a run. Wilfredo Tovar hit his 23rd double. In the 11th, he walked to bring in the winning run. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 3, Mississippi 1 Box Score Saturday was Stephen Gonsalves’s turn to start for the Lookouts. He improved to 8-1 and dropped his ERA to 1.64. The southpaw gave up five hits and walked two over 5.2 shutout innings. He struck out six. Todd Van Steensel came on and got the next four outs. He needed just ten pitches to do it. Mason Melotakis returned from the disabled list to pitch the eighth inning. He gave up two hits and issued a walk but he struck out three batters to get through the inning without allowing a run. Raul Fernandez got the ninth inning. He gave up a run but recorded his fifth save. The Lookouts had just five hits in the game, but they were big ones. Edgar Corcino got the team on the board with a two-run triple. It was his fifth triple for the team. Travis Harrison provided some insurance with his seventh home run. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 0, Jupiter 3 Box Score Sam Clay was on the mound for the Miracle. The left-hander gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out six batters. Luke Westphal, Michael Theofanopoulos and Confesor Lara each threw a scoreless inning. “Theo” struck out three, and Lara struck out two. The Miracle had just five hits on the game. Their top four hitters combined to go 0-15. Brad Hartong went 2-3 in the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Clinton 2 Box Score The Kernels are fast-approaching clinching a playoff spot in the Midwest League. On Saturday night in Clinton, they inched closer thanks to a strong start from Sam Gibbons. The Australian right-hander gave up just two runs on nine hits over six innings to record his seventh win. He struck out two without issuing a walk. Michael Cederoth walked two and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Anthony McIver gave up a hit, but he got the final three outs to preserve the win. Brandon Lopez went 3-4 with his first two MWL doubles. He was also hit by a pitch. Luis Arraez went 3-4 with a walk. He hit his 29th and 30th doubles, drove in two runs and stole his third bag and raised his average to .351. Travis Blankenhorn also had three hits in five at-bats. He had a triple and two RBI. Zander Wiel went 2-5 with two RBI. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 1, Greeneville 0 Box Score The two teams combined for just seven hits in this game. Caleb Hamilton, who walked twice, scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ariel Montesino.The E-Twins had just four hits overall. Tyler Wells, who struck out 14 in seven shutout innings his last outing, threw six shutout innings in this game. He gave up two hits, walked two, hit one and struck out three. He improved to 5-2 on the season. Colton Davis returned to the mound after not pitching for nearly a month. He struck out two in two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and walked one. Patrick McGuff came on for the ninth and recorded his ninth save. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 1, GCL Red Sox 4 Box Score Taylor Clemensia started for the Twins and went just 1.2 innings. He gave up three unearned runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out one. He really struggled to find the strike zone. Moises Gomez came on in relief and worked the final 6.1 innings. He gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out two without issuing a walk. His season ERA actually went up to 0.83 in 32.2 innings. Aaron Whitefield again led the way. He went 2-2 and stole his 29th and 30th bases of the season. He also threw two runners out from the outfield. In the second, he left the game with a sore non-throwing neck/shoulder (per Bob Sacamento). The Twins had just five hits in the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Stephen Gonsalves, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Luis Arraez, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (3:05 CST) - LHP Jason Wheeler Mississippi @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers Ft. Myers @ Jupiter (12:00 CST) - RHP Keaton Steele Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (2:00 CST) – RHP Brady Anderson Elizabethton @ Greeneville (5:00 CST) - RHP Ryan Mason GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday's games.
  9. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 13, Pawtucket 5 Box Score Byung Ho Park has been on a tear of late. In Thursday morning’s game, he put on a show, and he wasn’t the only one. He went 3-5 and in his last three at bats, he hit home runs and drove in five runs. He now has hit eight home runs in the last ten games. Daniel Palka provided the early offense. He went 3-5 with his sixth double and fifth home run (26th overall) of the season. He drove in three runs. Jorge Polanco went 3-5 with two runs and two RBIs in what will hopefully be his final game with the Red Wings. John Ryan Murphy went 3-4. Logan Schafer was 2-5 with his third Red Wings homer. Jason Wheeler didn’t have his best start, but he did improve to 8-2 with an ERA of 2.70. The lefty went five innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two. Marcus Walden came on and gave up one run on three hits over two innings. He struck out three. Alex Wimmers pitched the eighth inning. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked three and struck out two. Sean Burnett worked a quiet ninth. The Red Wings are now 61-46 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4, Tennessee 3 Box Score Tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Edgar Corcino led off with his second hit of the game. He advanced to second base on a bunt. A Levi Michael single pushed Corcino to third base. Zach Granite came to the plate and played hero when he singled in Corcino with the game-winning run. The Lookouts improved to 54-49. Levi Michael went 3-3 in the game. Corcino was 2-4 and stole his first base with the Lookouts. Ryan Walker went 2-4 with his seventh double. Mitch Garver was also 2-4. David Hurlbut started for Chattanooga. The lefty gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out six batters. Mason Melotakis pitched the eighth inning. He gave up the game-tying run on one hit and one walk . Raul Fernandez got the win thanks to a perfect ninth inning. MIRACLE MATTERS Box Score The Miracle enjoyed a rare off day. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Kane County 0 Box Score The Kernels put together a terrific pitching performance on Thursday night and were able to complete the shutout. They improve to 56-46 overall on the season. Australian Sam Gibbons recently returned to the rotation and appears to be showing some glimpses of what Kernels fans saw last year. He threw six shutout innings to improve to 5-3 on the year. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four. Kuo Hua Lo gave up one hit in a scoreless inning. Anthony McIver threw two perfect innings, striking out two, to notch his sixth save. Nelson Molina led the offense. He went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI double. He now has ten doubles on the year. The other run was driven in by a single from Sean Miller. Chris Ibarra went 2-3 with a walk. E-TWINS E-NOTES Game 1 - Elizabethton 2, Bristol 4 Box Score Ryan Mason provided the E-Twins with something of value. He pitched the complete game, but he fell to 0-2 on the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits in his six innings. He walked none and struck out four. Caleb Hamilton, a 2016 draft pick from Oregon State, knocked his first professional homer. He was 2-3 in the game. Brandon Lopez went 1-1, added a walk and a sacrifice fly drove in the second run for the Twins. He also stole his second base. There were supposed to be two games. The second game had barely started when the rains came. They postponed Game 2 and will play two seven inning games on Friday. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 0 Box Score It was a well-rounded game for the GCL Twins. Of course, it all starts with pitching. Florida Gulf Coast grad Brady Anderson made another strong start. The right-hander threw six shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out five to improve to 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA. Jordan Balazovic came on for his second appearance and recorded his first professional save. He worked the final three innings. He had two strikeouts and the other seven batters grounded out. Jose Miranda led the offense. He went 2-3 with his fourth double and two RBIs. Jorge Munoz went 2-4 with his fifth double. Heiker Meneses, still rehabbing, went 2-3. Aaron Whitefield went 1-3 with a walk and stole his 16th base. Roni Tapia has just three hits so far this season, but two of them are home runs. The second came in Thursday’s game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sam Gibbons, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Byung Ho Park, Rochester Red Wings FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (6:05 CST) - LHP Pat Dean Tennessee @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Clearwater @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) - LHP Sam Clay Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Elizabethton @ Bristol (DH @ 5:00 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen & TBD GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (11:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games.
  10. Rob Antony jumped into the trade market after Thursday night’s game by trading All-Star Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Triple-A left-handed pitcher Adalberto Mejia. Jorge Polanco was recalled from Rochester. Polanco and the Red Wings had a strong offensive output on Thursday including a huge game from Byung Ho Park. Find out what Park and his teammates did as well as the rest of the scores and highlights from the Twins affiliates on Thursday.RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 13, Pawtucket 5 Box Score Byung Ho Park has been on a tear of late. In Thursday morning’s game, he put on a show, and he wasn’t the only one. He went 3-5 and in his last three at bats, he hit home runs and drove in five runs. He now has hit eight home runs in the last ten games. Daniel Palka provided the early offense. He went 3-5 with his sixth double and fifth home run (26th overall) of the season. He drove in three runs. Jorge Polanco went 3-5 with two runs and two RBIs in what will hopefully be his final game with the Red Wings. John Ryan Murphy went 3-4. Logan Schafer was 2-5 with his third Red Wings homer. Jason Wheeler didn’t have his best start, but he did improve to 8-2 with an ERA of 2.70. The lefty went five innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two. Marcus Walden came on and gave up one run on three hits over two innings. He struck out three. Alex Wimmers pitched the eighth inning. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked three and struck out two. Sean Burnett worked a quiet ninth. The Red Wings are now 61-46 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4, Tennessee 3 Box Score Tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Edgar Corcino led off with his second hit of the game. He advanced to second base on a bunt. A Levi Michael single pushed Corcino to third base. Zach Granite came to the plate and played hero when he singled in Corcino with the game-winning run. The Lookouts improved to 54-49. Levi Michael went 3-3 in the game. Corcino was 2-4 and stole his first base with the Lookouts. Ryan Walker went 2-4 with his seventh double. Mitch Garver was also 2-4. David Hurlbut started for Chattanooga. The lefty gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out six batters. Mason Melotakis pitched the eighth inning. He gave up the game-tying run on one hit and one walk . Raul Fernandez got the win thanks to a perfect ninth inning. MIRACLE MATTERS Box Score The Miracle enjoyed a rare off day. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Kane County 0 Box Score The Kernels put together a terrific pitching performance on Thursday night and were able to complete the shutout. They improve to 56-46 overall on the season. Australian Sam Gibbons recently returned to the rotation and appears to be showing some glimpses of what Kernels fans saw last year. He threw six shutout innings to improve to 5-3 on the year. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four. Kuo Hua Lo gave up one hit in a scoreless inning. Anthony McIver threw two perfect innings, striking out two, to notch his sixth save. Nelson Molina led the offense. He went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI double. He now has ten doubles on the year. The other run was driven in by a single from Sean Miller. Chris Ibarra went 2-3 with a walk. E-TWINS E-NOTES Game 1 - Elizabethton 2, Bristol 4 Box Score Ryan Mason provided the E-Twins with something of value. He pitched the complete game, but he fell to 0-2 on the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits in his six innings. He walked none and struck out four. Caleb Hamilton, a 2016 draft pick from Oregon State, knocked his first professional homer. He was 2-3 in the game. Brandon Lopez went 1-1, added a walk and a sacrifice fly drove in the second run for the Twins. He also stole his second base. There were supposed to be two games. The second game had barely started when the rains came. They postponed Game 2 and will play two seven inning games on Friday. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 0 Box Score It was a well-rounded game for the GCL Twins. Of course, it all starts with pitching. Florida Gulf Coast grad Brady Anderson made another strong start. The right-hander threw six shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out five to improve to 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA. Jordan Balazovic came on for his second appearance and recorded his first professional save. He worked the final three innings. He had two strikeouts and the other seven batters grounded out. Jose Miranda led the offense. He went 2-3 with his fourth double and two RBIs. Jorge Munoz went 2-4 with his fifth double. Heiker Meneses, still rehabbing, went 2-3. Aaron Whitefield went 1-3 with a walk and stole his 16th base. Roni Tapia has just three hits so far this season, but two of them are home runs. The second came in Thursday’s game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sam Gibbons, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Byung Ho Park, Rochester Red Wings FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (6:05 CST) - LHP Pat Dean Tennessee @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge Clearwater @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) - LHP Sam Clay Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30 CST) – RHP Eduardo Del Rosario Elizabethton @ Bristol (DH @ 5:00 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen & TBD GCL Red Sox @ GCL Twins (11:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday's games. Click here to view the article
  11. I made the trip as a fan and a consumer (of both baseball and beer) and tried not to be too “scouty.” I did take around 100 pictures, hoping that at least one or two make it into next year’s edition of the Twins Prospect Handbook. After three games, though, I was definitely able to form/confirm some opinions I already had and thought it might be of interest to share with the readers at Twins Daily. First and foremost, the Kernels are in contention to be a playoff team. They are five-games over .500 in the second half and eight games over .500 overall. According to MLB.com’s rankings, they roster one Top 30 prospect (Lachlan Wells, #28). If you look historically at prospect lists, you’re not going to find a lot of guys outside the Top 30 that make and have continued success in the Major Leagues. In fact, that is probably true once you get out of the Top 10 or 15. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen and that none of these guys have a chance to make the major leagues. I’m not saying that at all. But as fans of the Twins minor league system have learned and been spoiled with lately, this is not a team full of top prospects. The most impressive “stuff” that was on display all weekend came on Sunday afternoon when Cam Booser made a 9th-inning appearance in a six-run game. He started out throwing about 10 straight balls before finally finding the strike zone (and getting the loudest applause of the day). Once he settled in (finally), we got to see the best raw stuff of the weekend: 98 mph with the fastball and a high-80s slider. Booser was a MWL all-star last season before missing the end of the year with a labrum injury. He hasn’t been good this year. In fact, I joked during his outing that he might get cut before recording an out. But there is some rare raw ability there. I texted a scout after the game about Booser and the response I got was, “He’s hitting 98 or he’s hitting people with 98?” The floor to ceiling split on Booser is huge: Closer or never reaches high-A, with the middle ground being a LOOGY; the lefty he faced on Sunday couldn’t touch him (yet he’s getting roughed up by LHH on the season). Though he didn’t show off the power he demonstrated the previous week (four HRs in three games), Zander Wiel did have three hits over the three games, but nothing spectacular; he was, however, very impressive at first base. Jaylin Davis played left field twice and right field once, making all the routine plays and narrowly missing making an above-average catch to his right, running full speed and having the ball glance off his glove. His carrying tool is his power, which is impressive given his size (6’ 1”, 190) and it was on display with a three-run shot to dead center field on Friday night. He also doubled on Friday and drove in two runs on Sunday. Similar to every other power-hitting corner-outfielder in the organization, Davis does have some swing-and-miss in his game. But after striking out in nearly half of his at-bats in E-town, he’s cut that down to about one-third of his at-bats in Cedar Rapids. It’s still too much, but an improvement. To my eyes, Rainis Silva was the better defensive catcher, though neither he nor Kevin Garcia were standouts on either side of the ball. Silva did just miss hitting a home run on Sunday, absolutely crushing a ground-rule double to the deepest part of right-center field. Without a game where he went 4-6 last week, he’s hitting .170 (9-53) on the season. He’s still only 20, so there’s potential to improve. I’d have a hard time believing anyone besides Sean Miller is the team’s MVP. He comes up in big spots and produces: two RBI hits on Friday (the team was 3-11 with RISP; two of the hits were Miller’s), a go-ahead RBI double on Saturday (the team was 2-10 with RISP; Miller was 1-1) after replacing Manuel Guzman who lost track of the outs, and another two-hit game on Sunday with a double and RBI. Defensively, he looked OK at shortstop, but probably profiles best as a utility player. He’s not big, but looks the part of a baseball player. Sam Gibbons pitched Friday night and by all accounts, he threw his best game of the season. He gave up two home runs, but was low-90s with his fastball and didn’t give up too much hard contact (except for the ones that left the park). I was genuinely curious to see Luis Arraez in action. Not in my (or anyone’s) Top 30 and not on my radar to break camp with the Kernels, he has absolutely raked. He got a hit in each of the three games that I watched and he’s batting .333 on the season. He’s listed at 5’ 10”, 155, so I expected to see a small, speedy guy. He’s not. He’s not 155 for one. I’m guessing he’s 5’ 9”, 180ish and has a thick lower half and not a lot of foot speed. He DH’d Friday and Sunday, playing second base on Saturday. He’s got a bat that should play - he’s disciplined, works a count and makes contact - but doesn’t have a lot of power or speed and I question where he’ll end up defensively. Oh, and he’s the youngest guy on the team by a significant margin, so you can either say that’s to his benefit or you could say that his body is going to only get bigger (and slower) as he ages. Bummed that I didn’t get to see Jermaine Palacios play. Palacios will miss the rest of the season with a hand/wrist injury. I did get to see two 2016 draft picks: Tom Hackimer and Casey Scoggins. Hackimer pitched in relief on Friday night and has a funky arm angle. He was only 88-89 mph which is four-five mph off what he was throwing in college, but he’s not getting regular use and he has been pitching since the beginning of the college season. I still believe he’s a guy that could move quickly through the system. Scoggins played centerfield on Saturday and Sunday and looks the part defensively. He drew four walks on Sunday. The 39th-round pick has already exceeded my expectations. I would guess he’ll start next season in Fort Myers and should stick in center field though I’m curious how the bat will play as he moves up. Jake Mauer and his staff deserve a lot of credit. I sat behind the dugout on Friday and Saturday and saw a few occasions where the coaches were making adjustments that immediately made differences. While there’s a significantly high probability that many of these players will remain in the system next year, there is a strong chance that there will be a shakeup in regard to coaching assignments. Of all the members of the Kernels staff, I’d say the trio of Mauer, Brian Dinkelman and J.P. Martinez is the most deserving of remaining in the organization. And finally, special thanks to Steve Buhr, who can’t be the “Mayor” of Cedar Rapids (because of Tommy Watkins) but should be. There’s no one in the city who’s more accommodating. (But plenty of people who are better at darts.)
  12. Each year, I try to make a pilgrimage to see the Twins affiliate in the Midwest League. I made a trip this past weekend to Cedar Rapids and took in three Kernels games. If you haven’t made the trip to Iowa, it’s not a bad one. I live exactly an hour east of Target Field and the trip to Cedar Rapids took four and a half hours. Luckily - and unbelievably - we ran into road construction only one time.I made the trip as a fan and a consumer (of both baseball and beer) and tried not to be too “scouty.” I did take around 100 pictures, hoping that at least one or two make it into next year’s edition of the Twins Prospect Handbook. After three games, though, I was definitely able to form/confirm some opinions I already had and thought it might be of interest to share with the readers at Twins Daily. First and foremost, the Kernels are in contention to be a playoff team. They are five-games over .500 in the second half and eight games over .500 overall. According to MLB.com’s rankings, they roster one Top 30 prospect (Lachlan Wells, #28). If you look historically at prospect lists, you’re not going to find a lot of guys outside the Top 30 that make and have continued success in the Major Leagues. In fact, that is probably true once you get out of the Top 10 or 15. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen and that none of these guys have a chance to make the major leagues. I’m not saying that at all. But as fans of the Twins minor league system have learned and been spoiled with lately, this is not a team full of top prospects. The most impressive “stuff” that was on display all weekend came on Sunday afternoon when Cam Booser made a 9th-inning appearance in a six-run game. He started out throwing about 10 straight balls before finally finding the strike zone (and getting the loudest applause of the day). Once he settled in (finally), we got to see the best raw stuff of the weekend: 98 mph with the fastball and a high-80s slider. Booser was a MWL all-star last season before missing the end of the year with a labrum injury. He hasn’t been good this year. In fact, I joked during his outing that he might get cut before recording an out. But there is some rare raw ability there. I texted a scout after the game about Booser and the response I got was, “He’s hitting 98 or he’s hitting people with 98?” The floor to ceiling split on Booser is huge: Closer or never reaches high-A, with the middle ground being a LOOGY; the lefty he faced on Sunday couldn’t touch him (yet he’s getting roughed up by LHH on the season). Though he didn’t show off the power he demonstrated the previous week (four HRs in three games), Zander Wiel did have three hits over the three games, but nothing spectacular; he was, however, very impressive at first base. Jaylin Davis played left field twice and right field once, making all the routine plays and narrowly missing making an above-average catch to his right, running full speed and having the ball glance off his glove. His carrying tool is his power, which is impressive given his size (6’ 1”, 190) and it was on display with a three-run shot to dead center field on Friday night. He also doubled on Friday and drove in two runs on Sunday. Similar to every other power-hitting corner-outfielder in the organization, Davis does have some swing-and-miss in his game. But after striking out in nearly half of his at-bats in E-town, he’s cut that down to about one-third of his at-bats in Cedar Rapids. It’s still too much, but an improvement. To my eyes, Rainis Silva was the better defensive catcher, though neither he nor Kevin Garcia were standouts on either side of the ball. Silva did just miss hitting a home run on Sunday, absolutely crushing a ground-rule double to the deepest part of right-center field. Without a game where he went 4-6 last week, he’s hitting .170 (9-53) on the season. He’s still only 20, so there’s potential to improve. I’d have a hard time believing anyone besides Sean Miller is the team’s MVP. He comes up in big spots and produces: two RBI hits on Friday (the team was 3-11 with RISP; two of the hits were Miller’s), a go-ahead RBI double on Saturday (the team was 2-10 with RISP; Miller was 1-1) after replacing Manuel Guzman who lost track of the outs, and another two-hit game on Sunday with a double and RBI. Defensively, he looked OK at shortstop, but probably profiles best as a utility player. He’s not big, but looks the part of a baseball player. Sam Gibbons pitched Friday night and by all accounts, he threw his best game of the season. He gave up two home runs, but was low-90s with his fastball and didn’t give up too much hard contact (except for the ones that left the park). I was genuinely curious to see Luis Arraez in action. Not in my (or anyone’s) Top 30 and not on my radar to break camp with the Kernels, he has absolutely raked. He got a hit in each of the three games that I watched and he’s batting .333 on the season. He’s listed at 5’ 10”, 155, so I expected to see a small, speedy guy. He’s not. He’s not 155 for one. I’m guessing he’s 5’ 9”, 180ish and has a thick lower half and not a lot of foot speed. He DH’d Friday and Sunday, playing second base on Saturday. He’s got a bat that should play - he’s disciplined, works a count and makes contact - but doesn’t have a lot of power or speed and I question where he’ll end up defensively. Oh, and he’s the youngest guy on the team by a significant margin, so you can either say that’s to his benefit or you could say that his body is going to only get bigger (and slower) as he ages. Bummed that I didn’t get to see Jermaine Palacios play. Palacios will miss the rest of the season with a hand/wrist injury. I did get to see two 2016 draft picks: Tom Hackimer and Casey Scoggins. Hackimer pitched in relief on Friday night and has a funky arm angle. He was only 88-89 mph which is four-five mph off what he was throwing in college, but he’s not getting regular use and he has been pitching since the beginning of the college season. I still believe he’s a guy that could move quickly through the system. Scoggins played centerfield on Saturday and Sunday and looks the part defensively. He drew four walks on Sunday. The 39th-round pick has already exceeded my expectations. I would guess he’ll start next season in Fort Myers and should stick in center field though I’m curious how the bat will play as he moves up. Jake Mauer and his staff deserve a lot of credit. I sat behind the dugout on Friday and Saturday and saw a few occasions where the coaches were making adjustments that immediately made differences. While there’s a significantly high probability that many of these players will remain in the system next year, there is a strong chance that there will be a shakeup in regard to coaching assignments. Of all the members of the Kernels staff, I’d say the trio of Mauer, Brian Dinkelman and J.P. Martinez is the most deserving of remaining in the organization. And finally, special thanks to Steve Buhr, who can’t be the “Mayor” of Cedar Rapids (because of Tommy Watkins) but should be. There’s no one in the city who’s more accommodating. (But plenty of people who are better at darts.) Click here to view the article
  13. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday weekend and survived the Fourth. Now you find yourself back at work - and trying not to work - so you’ve come back to Twins Daily to see what you’ve missed. Perfect. It’s all here for you.The Twins game wasn’t televised on Monday. No one understands or will explain why. It just wasn’t. Before the game, Kennys Vargas was recalled and Trevor Plouffe was placed on the disabled list with cracked ribs. After the game, Trevor May was activated and Buddy Boshers was optioned to Rochester. Jose Berrios was named International League Pitcher of the Week. The Twins have signed all of their draft picks who were selected in the Top 10 rounds. Jordan Balazovic, a young Canadian pitcher, was the last to agree to terms - an above-slot $515,000. The Twins now have $147,600 that they can still spend - allowing them to spend up to $247,600 on any single player without incurring a tax penalty. They still have almost two weeks before the deadline. Let’s check out all that took place on Independence Day. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 5 Box Score The Red Wings failed to take advantage of #oldfriend Scott Diamond and couldn’t mount a comeback after spotting the Bisons a three-run lead. Byung Ho Park had two singles, including a line drive off of the wall, and didn’t strike out. He scored a run. Jorge Polanco was the only other Red Wing with a multi-hit game, he had two hits, which included a double and also reached base on a walk. Carlos Paulino doubled and drove in both runs. Logan Darnell took the loss, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He walked five and struck out five. D.J. Baxendale and Ryan O’Rourke each got four outs in scoreless relief outings. David Martinez gave up a run. He recorded two outs. The Red Wings fall to 50-36, dropping 3.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 11, Birmingham 5 Box Score The Lookouts provided enough offensive fireworks to extend their winning streak to three games. Led by Zach Granite (4-5, two runs, two stolen bases) and Mitch Garver (3-3, two walks, double, home run, two RBIs, four runs), Chattanooga scored runs in six of the eight innings they batted. Daniel Palka added his 21st home run of the year. David Hurlbut improved to 6-4 on the season. He allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk. He struck out six in 5 2/3 innings. Raul Hernandez picked up a hold and Zack Jones got the last six outs, four by strikeout. The Lookouts are 7-4 in the second half, one game out of first place in their division. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 1, St. Lucie 3 Box Score Entering the game, the Miracle had a season-high six-game winning streak. Lack of offense caused that run to erupt in flames. Joe Maloney (single, double, run) and Tanner Witt (two singles) provided the only multi-hit games on a night that saw the offense strike out 13 times, go 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leave 10 runners on base. Fernando Romero was very good. He struck out seven in six innings and dropped his ERA to 2.50. He did give up five hits and walked three, though it only resulted in one run. Michael Theofanopoulos took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits in an inning. John Curtiss pitched a scoreless frame. At 8-3 in the second half, Fort Myers has a one-game lead in the FSL South. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 5 Box Score The Kernels gave up the first five, but scored the final six to secure a come-from-way-behind win. A balanced offensive attached helped chip away at the Wisconsin lead. Nelson Molina doubled to drive in a run before Zander Wiel drove him in. Luis Arraez had an RBI triple. Brian Olson had a two-run double. Sam Clay struck out seven over five innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) in picking up a no-decision. The winning pitcher was Sam Gibbons who got ten outs while pitching no-hit (with one walk) ball. He struck out three. Kuo Hua Lo picked up his third save on the year. The 42-39 Kernels are 6-6 in the second half. E-TOWN E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Bluefield 10 Box Score The E-Twins lost their seventh game in their last eight in a game that was ended a half-inning early because of rain. Brandon Lopez had three hits and two RBIs. Trey Cabbage had two hits - both doubles - and scored twice. Alex Kirilloff had two hits. Jaylin Davis didn’t hit a home run, but he did steal a base. He also struck out four times; twenty-three Ks in 47 at-bats good. At all. None of Jose Martinez, Quin Grogan or Alex Robinson were able to limit runs, but Martinez struck out five in five innings and Grogan and Robinson each struck out four in two innings. E-town is now 5-7. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Orioles 3 (11 innings) Box Score Kolton Kendrick decided to hit his first professional home run at the perfect time - the home half of a tie game in the 11th inning for a walk-off winner. Kendrick was the only player with more than one hit. The GCL Twins had a half-dozen pitchers contribute. Garrett Kelly and Patrick McGuff both struck out four in 2 1/3 and 2 2/3 innings, respectively. Daniel Martinez blew the save in giving up two runs in one inning, but Callan Pearce was credited with the win after the amazing home run. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sam Gibbons, Cedar Rapids Hitter of the Day – Mitch Garver, Chattanooga TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs Buffalo (6:05PM CST) – LHP Andrew Albers (6-2, 3.27 ERA) Chattanooga vs Birmingham (6:15 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades (5-3, 4.11 ERA) Fort Myers at St. Lucie (5:30PM CST) - RHP Felix Jorge (8-3, 1.67 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Wisconsin (6:35PM CST) - RHP Miles Nordgren (3-4, 2.93) Elizabethton at Johnson City (6:00PM CST) - TBD GCL Twins at GCL Rays (11:00AM CST - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games. Click here to view the article
  14. The Twins game wasn’t televised on Monday. No one understands or will explain why. It just wasn’t. Before the game, Kennys Vargas was recalled and Trevor Plouffe was placed on the disabled list with cracked ribs. After the game, Trevor May was activated and Buddy Boshers was optioned to Rochester. Jose Berrios was named International League Pitcher of the Week. The Twins have signed all of their draft picks who were selected in the Top 10 rounds. Jordan Balazovic, a young Canadian pitcher, was the last to agree to terms - an above-slot $515,000. The Twins now have $147,600 that they can still spend - allowing them to spend up to $247,600 on any single player without incurring a tax penalty. They still have almost two weeks before the deadline. Let’s check out all that took place on Independence Day. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 2, Buffalo 5 Box Score The Red Wings failed to take advantage of #oldfriend Scott Diamond and couldn’t mount a comeback after spotting the Bisons a three-run lead. Byung Ho Park had two singles, including a line drive off of the wall, and didn’t strike out. He scored a run. Jorge Polanco was the only other Red Wing with a multi-hit game, he had two hits, which included a double and also reached base on a walk. Carlos Paulino doubled and drove in both runs. Logan Darnell took the loss, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He walked five and struck out five. D.J. Baxendale and Ryan O’Rourke each got four outs in scoreless relief outings. David Martinez gave up a run. He recorded two outs. The Red Wings fall to 50-36, dropping 3.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 11, Birmingham 5 Box Score The Lookouts provided enough offensive fireworks to extend their winning streak to three games. Led by Zach Granite (4-5, two runs, two stolen bases) and Mitch Garver (3-3, two walks, double, home run, two RBIs, four runs), Chattanooga scored runs in six of the eight innings they batted. Daniel Palka added his 21st home run of the year. David Hurlbut improved to 6-4 on the season. He allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk. He struck out six in 5 2/3 innings. Raul Hernandez picked up a hold and Zack Jones got the last six outs, four by strikeout. The Lookouts are 7-4 in the second half, one game out of first place in their division. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 1, St. Lucie 3 Box Score Entering the game, the Miracle had a season-high six-game winning streak. Lack of offense caused that run to erupt in flames. Joe Maloney (single, double, run) and Tanner Witt (two singles) provided the only multi-hit games on a night that saw the offense strike out 13 times, go 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leave 10 runners on base. Fernando Romero was very good. He struck out seven in six innings and dropped his ERA to 2.50. He did give up five hits and walked three, though it only resulted in one run. Michael Theofanopoulos took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits in an inning. John Curtiss pitched a scoreless frame. At 8-3 in the second half, Fort Myers has a one-game lead in the FSL South. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 5 Box Score The Kernels gave up the first five, but scored the final six to secure a come-from-way-behind win. A balanced offensive attached helped chip away at the Wisconsin lead. Nelson Molina doubled to drive in a run before Zander Wiel drove him in. Luis Arraez had an RBI triple. Brian Olson had a two-run double. Sam Clay struck out seven over five innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) in picking up a no-decision. The winning pitcher was Sam Gibbons who got ten outs while pitching no-hit (with one walk) ball. He struck out three. Kuo Hua Lo picked up his third save on the year. The 42-39 Kernels are 6-6 in the second half. E-TOWN E-NOTES Elizabethton 5, Bluefield 10 Box Score The E-Twins lost their seventh game in their last eight in a game that was ended a half-inning early because of rain. Brandon Lopez had three hits and two RBIs. Trey Cabbage had two hits - both doubles - and scored twice. Alex Kirilloff had two hits. Jaylin Davis didn’t hit a home run, but he did steal a base. He also struck out four times; twenty-three Ks in 47 at-bats good. At all. None of Jose Martinez, Quin Grogan or Alex Robinson were able to limit runs, but Martinez struck out five in five innings and Grogan and Robinson each struck out four in two innings. E-town is now 5-7. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Orioles 3 (11 innings) Box Score Kolton Kendrick decided to hit his first professional home run at the perfect time - the home half of a tie game in the 11th inning for a walk-off winner. Kendrick was the only player with more than one hit. The GCL Twins had a half-dozen pitchers contribute. Garrett Kelly and Patrick McGuff both struck out four in 2 1/3 and 2 2/3 innings, respectively. Daniel Martinez blew the save in giving up two runs in one inning, but Callan Pearce was credited with the win after the amazing home run. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sam Gibbons, Cedar Rapids Hitter of the Day – Mitch Garver, Chattanooga TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs Buffalo (6:05PM CST) – LHP Andrew Albers (6-2, 3.27 ERA) Chattanooga vs Birmingham (6:15 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades (5-3, 4.11 ERA) Fort Myers at St. Lucie (5:30PM CST) - RHP Felix Jorge (8-3, 1.67 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Wisconsin (6:35PM CST) - RHP Miles Nordgren (3-4, 2.93) Elizabethton at Johnson City (6:00PM CST) - TBD GCL Twins at GCL Rays (11:00AM CST - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games.
  15. Randy LeBlanc led the Kernels staff with 9 wins and posted a 3.03 ERA in 2015. He will be the Opening Day starter for Cedar Rapids in 2016. The big league club came to spring training with few roster spots to fill. The clear strategy to fill the few spots they did have – primarily back up spots in the outfield and at catcher, along with left handed bullpen arms – was to sign a number of potential candidates to minor league contracts with invitations to the Twins’ major league spring training, allow them to compete with whatever internal options might be candidates and open the season with whoever makes the best impression in camp. Not surprisingly, that left the Twins with a large number of extra minor leaguers left over after the big club’s Opening Day 25-man roster was announced. As a result, the Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings will start the season with a roster that includes, by my count, about 10 guys who were not members of the Twins’ organization at the end of the 2015 season and the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts have maybe five more. Most of these newcomers were signed in the offseason as minor league free agents, but that isn't the case with all of them. (Dan Palka, for example, was acquired via offseason trade.) The result was inevitable. Minor league baseball is a numbers game and it’s not all that difficult to figure out how it works for all but the hottest of an organization’s best prospects. If you’re a minor league player at the low levels of the organization, you get a couple of years to figure out the game in short-season rookie ball and, if you show some level of competency or promise of competency, you move up to Class A, the first level of full-season professional baseball. From that point on, each year, one of three things happens: The club determines that you’ve reached the level of competition at which you cannot compete and you’re released; you don’t put up stellar numbers, but you show enough promise that the club isn’t going to give up on you, so they send you back to the same level to start the next season; or you perform well enough for the club to want to see how you handle the challenge of the next level of competition and therefore get promoted to that next level. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Gibbons2015a-600x400.jpg Sam Gibbons posted a 7-4 record and a 2.89 ERA in 15 starts for the Kernels in 2015. He's back in Cedar Rapids to start 2016.(Photo: SD Buhr) Of course, there are always exceptions and nuances. Players may get a mid-season or late-season promotion to a new level and then start the following year at the same level or may suffer an injury that results in a need to repeat a level. That’s why, typically, a community like Cedar Rapids will see a handful of familiar faces each spring when the new batch of Kernels arrives. You don’t see 16 familiar faces, though. It’s a safe bet that, among that 16, there are some players who feel pretty strongly that they did enough for the Kernels a year ago that they should be busing around the Sunshine State with the Fort Myers Miracle this month rather than wearing parkas in the Kernels’ dugout. And they’re right, they should be. And I’m sure there are a similar numbers of guys in Fort Myers who think they should be in Chattanooga. It’s pretty clear, from comments made by Kernels manager Jake Mauer and some of his players this week, that this is a subject that Mauer has addressed with his team. Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter Jeff Johnson interviewed Mauer on Monday and among the manager’s comments was this: “I’m not going to lie to you. There are a number of guys in our clubhouse that should probably be up, that either pitched or hit their way out of this league. But because of strength of organization, they are here. You try to convey to them that ‘You are here, don’t feel bad. You’ve got to go after it, you’ve got to put up numbers.’”The trio of players – pitchers Randy LeBlanc and Sam Gibbons, along with infielder Chris Paul – that were fed to local media for a group interview on “Meet the Kernels” Night on Tuesday were asked by Johnson about the level of disappointment that players who played well for the Kernels last season were having to start this year back in Cedar Rapids. LeBlanc, who has drawn the Opening Day start this week for the Kernels, was frank, but responded well. “I’m not going to beat around the bush, it was pretty disappointing at first,” LeBlanc conceded. “Jake’s been kind of pounding into our head, since the rosters have been set, that you can’t go into it bitter. You’ve got to just play your way out of here. Just stay positive, just be happy you made a roster, stuff like that. I definitely think (several) of us did pretty well last year, but just go out there and do our best and see what happens.” Gibbons then added, “As long as we’ve got a jersey, we’ve got an opportunity.” Unlike LeBlanc and Gibbons, Paul was a relative late-comer to the Kernels last season, joining the team near the end of the season and contributing to the team’s postseason run which ultimately ended one win short of a Midwest League championship. “It’s a little bit different for me. I came up a little bit late,” Paul said, on the subject at hand. “These guys spent the whole season – most of the season – here, so I think a lot of guys proved themselves, obviously, like Randy said. But like they said, we’ve still got an opportunity, so you’ve just got to continue to perform and prove that you should be somewhere else.” It’s clear that the, “don’t let yourselves be bitter, be glad you have a roster spot and go out and prove you deserve to move up,” message has been delivered – and it’s a very important message. You could argue that it’s not fair that many players in the Twins system didn’t get the promotions this spring that they earned with their hard work and performances last summer. But professional baseball often is not fair. (Players need only look at their paltry paychecks to be reminded of that.) And this is not a permanent situation. It’s understandable that the Twins would give most of the players they signed to minor league free agent contracts an opportunity to show what they can do in some regular season games and, while the organization is still widely heralded as having one of the best stocked minor league systems in baseball, that cycle won’t last forever. But neither will the opportunities being extended to these minor league free agents last forever. I give it a month. By the middle of May, I believe we’ll see minor league affiliate rosters that look a lot more like what most of us – and, clearly, many of the organization’s players – thought we would see. I expect those free agents will get about a month to show the Twins’ evaluators why they should keep their roster spots in Rochester and Chattanooga over guys that have come up through the system and expected to be playing at the next level this spring. Some of the new players will stick and that’s a good thing. Talent is talent, whether the player came up through the Twins’ system or somewhere else and minor league baseball is one of the purer forms of meritocracy you’ll find anywhere. This little blip in the normal process makes it more critical than ever that players follow the advice being given to them to focus on their own performances and not give in to what must be a sometimes overwhelming urge to get angry to the point of distraction. Because, just as sure as some of those minor league free agents will fail to impress and find themselves looking for other work, the same thing could happen to some players who finished strong with a Twins affiliate a year ago, but couldn’t back it up with a strong start to 2016. Every year, observers of minor league teams like the Kernels see players move up and players move down and players move out. The team you finish a season with never resembles the team you started with. It’s the reason lower level minor leagues like the Midwest League have split seasons, with division standings reset after the mid-season All-Star break. Most of the roster changes resulting from promotions and demotions don’t usually start becoming regular until June. This year, in the Twins organization, things could get interesting for many players much sooner. (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com.)
  16. The Minnesota Twins and their full season minor league affiliates announced those affiliates’ initial rosters on Sunday and Monday this week and the one thing that stood out about almost every roster was the number of players returning to the same level where they finished their respective 2015 campaigns. The Cedar Rapids Kernels initial roster, for example, includes 16 players that also wore Kernels uniforms last season and many of them performed quite well in the Class A Midwest League – well enough that, in most years, they’d have been promoted this spring and challenged to prove themselves at the next level. But this isn’t most years, not in the Twins organization, anyway. Randy LeBlanc led the Kernels staff with 9 wins and posted a 3.03 ERA in 2015. He will be the Opening Day starter for Cedar Rapids in 2016.The big league club came to spring training with few roster spots to fill. The clear strategy to fill the few spots they did have – primarily back up spots in the outfield and at catcher, along with left handed bullpen arms – was to sign a number of potential candidates to minor league contracts with invitations to the Twins’ major league spring training, allow them to compete with whatever internal options might be candidates and open the season with whoever makes the best impression in camp. Not surprisingly, that left the Twins with a large number of extra minor leaguers left over after the big club’s Opening Day 25-man roster was announced. As a result, the Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings will start the season with a roster that includes, by my count, about 10 guys who were not members of the Twins’ organization at the end of the 2015 season and the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts have maybe five more. Most of these newcomers were signed in the offseason as minor league free agents, but that isn't the case with all of them. (Dan Palka, for example, was acquired via offseason trade.) The result was inevitable. Minor league baseball is a numbers game and it’s not all that difficult to figure out how it works for all but the hottest of an organization’s best prospects. If you’re a minor league player at the low levels of the organization, you get a couple of years to figure out the game in short-season rookie ball and, if you show some level of competency or promise of competency, you move up to Class A, the first level of full-season professional baseball. From that point on, each year, one of three things happens: The club determines that you’ve reached the level of competition at which you cannot compete and you’re released; you don’t put up stellar numbers, but you show enough promise that the club isn’t going to give up on you, so they send you back to the same level to start the next season; or you perform well enough for the club to want to see how you handle the challenge of the next level of competition and therefore get promoted to that next level. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Gibbons2015a-600x400.jpgSam Gibbons posted a 7-4 record and a 2.89 ERA in 15 starts for the Kernels in 2015. He's back in Cedar Rapids to start 2016.(Photo: SD Buhr)Of course, there are always exceptions and nuances. Players may get a mid-season or late-season promotion to a new level and then start the following year at the same level or may suffer an injury that results in a need to repeat a level. That’s why, typically, a community like Cedar Rapids will see a handful of familiar faces each spring when the new batch of Kernels arrives. You don’t see 16 familiar faces, though. It’s a safe bet that, among that 16, there are some players who feel pretty strongly that they did enough for the Kernels a year ago that they should be busing around the Sunshine State with the Fort Myers Miracle this month rather than wearing parkas in the Kernels’ dugout. And they’re right, they should be. And I’m sure there are a similar numbers of guys in Fort Myers who think they should be in Chattanooga. It’s pretty clear, from comments made by Kernels manager Jake Mauer and some of his players this week, that this is a subject that Mauer has addressed with his team. Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter Jeff Johnson interviewed Mauer on Monday and among the manager’s comments was this: “I’m not going to lie to you. There are a number of guys in our clubhouse that should probably be up, that either pitched or hit their way out of this league. But because of strength of organization, they are here. You try to convey to them that ‘You are here, don’t feel bad. You’ve got to go after it, you’ve got to put up numbers.’” The trio of players – pitchers Randy LeBlanc and Sam Gibbons, along with infielder Chris Paul – that were fed to local media for a group interview on “Meet the Kernels” Night on Tuesday were asked by Johnson about the level of disappointment that players who played well for the Kernels last season were having to start this year back in Cedar Rapids. LeBlanc, who has drawn the Opening Day start this week for the Kernels, was frank, but responded well. “I’m not going to beat around the bush, it was pretty disappointing at first,” LeBlanc conceded. “Jake’s been kind of pounding into our head, since the rosters have been set, that you can’t go into it bitter. You’ve got to just play your way out of here. Just stay positive, just be happy you made a roster, stuff like that. I definitely think (several) of us did pretty well last year, but just go out there and do our best and see what happens.” Gibbons then added, “As long as we’ve got a jersey, we’ve got an opportunity.” Unlike LeBlanc and Gibbons, Paul was a relative late-comer to the Kernels last season, joining the team near the end of the season and contributing to the team’s postseason run which ultimately ended one win short of a Midwest League championship. “It’s a little bit different for me. I came up a little bit late,” Paul said, on the subject at hand. “These guys spent the whole season – most of the season – here, so I think a lot of guys proved themselves, obviously, like Randy said. But like they said, we’ve still got an opportunity, so you’ve just got to continue to perform and prove that you should be somewhere else.” It’s clear that the, “don’t let yourselves be bitter, be glad you have a roster spot and go out and prove you deserve to move up,” message has been delivered – and it’s a very important message. You could argue that it’s not fair that many players in the Twins system didn’t get the promotions this spring that they earned with their hard work and performances last summer. But professional baseball often is not fair. (Players need only look at their paltry paychecks to be reminded of that.) And this is not a permanent situation. It’s understandable that the Twins would give most of the players they signed to minor league free agent contracts an opportunity to show what they can do in some regular season games and, while the organization is still widely heralded as having one of the best stocked minor league systems in baseball, that cycle won’t last forever. But neither will the opportunities being extended to these minor league free agents last forever. I give it a month. By the middle of May, I believe we’ll see minor league affiliate rosters that look a lot more like what most of us – and, clearly, many of the organization’s players – thought we would see. I expect those free agents will get about a month to show the Twins’ evaluators why they should keep their roster spots in Rochester and Chattanooga over guys that have come up through the system and expected to be playing at the next level this spring. Some of the new players will stick and that’s a good thing. Talent is talent, whether the player came up through the Twins’ system or somewhere else and minor league baseball is one of the purer forms of meritocracy you’ll find anywhere. This little blip in the normal process makes it more critical than ever that players follow the advice being given to them to focus on their own performances and not give in to what must be a sometimes overwhelming urge to get angry to the point of distraction. Because, just as sure as some of those minor league free agents will fail to impress and find themselves looking for other work, the same thing could happen to some players who finished strong with a Twins affiliate a year ago, but couldn’t back it up with a strong start to 2016. Every year, observers of minor league teams like the Kernels see players move up and players move down and players move out. The team you finish a season with never resembles the team you started with. It’s the reason lower level minor leagues like the Midwest League have split seasons, with division standings reset after the mid-season All-Star break. Most of the roster changes resulting from promotions and demotions don’t usually start becoming regular until June. This year, in the Twins organization, things could get interesting for many players much sooner. (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com.) Click here to view the article
  17. Today, my preliminary Top 50 Minnesota Twins prospect countdown continues with prospects 21 through 25. This is an interesting group in which the word “potential” is the key. The average age of these five players is just 20, and that is with a 23-year-old in the group. Three of these players began the season at extended spring training and one missed the entire season. The similarity among the group is a lot of talent.Previous installments of this prospect ranking: · Part 1 (41-50) · Part 2 (31-40) · Part 3 (26-30) As a quick reminder, players eligible to be on this list include players who remain eligible for Rookie of the Year voting in 2016. That is to say, hitters with less than 130 at bats and pitchers with less than 50 innings. (The list is preliminary. Following research for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2016 - which Cody Christie, Jeremy Nygaard and I are working on - I’ll provide my final Top 30 prospects list.) Top Prospects 21-25 #25 – Fernando Romero - 20 – RHP – Did Not Pitch Signed out of the Dominican in November of 2011, Romero debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2012. In 2013, he came to the States and posted a 1.60 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 45 innings. After beginning 2014 in extended pring training, Romero came up to Cedar Rapids where he made three starts before experiencing elbow pain. Soon after, he was shut down and had Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2015 season, though he returned for Instructional League. He was again throwing in the mid-to-upper-90s as he had before surgery. He has a couple of different breaking pitches at varying speeds and a changeup, though they are works-in-progress. It will be interesting to see if Romero starts the season in Cedar Rapids, or it they keep him in Florida until the weather warms up. Previous Top 30 Rankings: 2015 (25), 2014 (28) #24 – Jermaine Palacios - 19 – SS – GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins It seems like every minor league season, there is a player or two who jumps from relative obscurity in the lower levels of the minors to an intriguing prospect that people are talking about. Jermaine Palacios fits that category. Signed by the Twins in 2013, he spent the 2014 season in the Dominican Summer League. He came to the States for spring training and began his season in the GCL. In 26 games, he hit a robust .421/.472/.589 (1.061) with nine doubles, two triples and a homer. He was promoted to Elizabethton where he hit .336/.345/.507 (.852) with 14 doubles, two triples and two home runs in 31 games. Palacios can play all three infield positions though he primarily played shortstop in 2015. After having just four errors in 202 innings at shortstop in the GCL, he had 16 errors in 263 innings at Elizabethton. He’s got a lot of developing to do, but he will go into 2016 – likely heading to Cedar Rapids – as one of the more intriguing prospects to watch. Previous Top 30 Rankings: N/A #23 – Jake Reed - 23 – RHP – Chattanooga Lookouts/Ft. Myers Miracle Reed, the Twins fifth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Oregon, set the expectation bar really high after his debut season of professional baseball. After signing, he posted a 3-0 record with a 0.29 ERA (1 earned run) in 31 innings. He gave up just 11 hits and three walks while striking out 39 batters. He went to the Arizona Fall League where he was again very good. In 2015, he skipped Ft. Myers entirely, starting the season in AA Chattanooga. However, he really struggled and a week into August, he had a 5.56 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54. He was sent down to Ft. Myers for a month and gave up no earned runs in 12.1 innings. He returned to the Lookouts for a couple of games and their playoff run. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball and a bunch of movement on this pitches, Reed can use the 2015 season as a learning opportunity that will hopefully take him to the next level. He will likely return to Chattanooga to start the 2016 season. Previous Top 30 Rankings: 2015 (18) #22 – Sam Gibbons – 21 – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels Signed in 2011 out of Australia, Gibbons went 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA as an 18-year-old in 2012. For some reason, he returned to the GCL in 2013 and went 3-3 with a 1.91 ERA. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2014 and was 4-5 with a 3.88 ERA. After beginning the 2015 in extended spring training, he moved up to Cedar Rapids at the end of May. In his first six starts, he was 3-2 but posted a 5.34 ERA. Then in his final nine starts, he was 4-2 with a 1.54 ERA. The keys were that he dropped his walk rate by nearly a walk per nine innings and increased his strikeouts by about 1.5 per nine innings. He has very good mechanics and touches 93 with his fastball. He also has a curve ball and a changeup. Previous Top 30 Rankings: N/A #21 – Lewin Diaz – 18 – 1B – GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins Diaz was the Twins' big international signing in July of 2013. He stands 6-3 and is often compared to David Ortiz. He had been an outfielder, but the Twins immediately moved him to first base. He is big and very powerful with the potential to hit a lot of home runs. He spent the 2014 season in the Dominican Summer League and hit .257/.385/.451 (.836) with 13 doubles and five homers. Though he didn’t come to the States for spring training, he did arrive for extended spring training. He began with 33 games in the GCL where he hit .261/.354/.369 (.724) with seven doubles, a triple and a home run. He was promoted to the Elizabethton Twins for their final 14 games. He hit just .167 but three of his eight hits left the park. Diaz is a candidate to start the season in Cedar Rapids, though it’s also very possible that he will report to extended spring training. Previous Top 30 Rankings: N/A So, what do you think of Part 4, Prospects 21-25? We'll be back tomorrow with Part 5. Click here to view the article
  18. Previous installments of this prospect ranking: · Part 1 (41-50) · Part 2 (31-40) · Part 3 (26-30) As a quick reminder, players eligible to be on this list include players who remain eligible for Rookie of the Year voting in 2016. That is to say, hitters with less than 130 at bats and pitchers with less than 50 innings. (The list is preliminary. Following research for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2016 - which Cody Christie, Jeremy Nygaard and I are working on - I’ll provide my final Top 30 prospects list.) Top Prospects 21-25 #25 – Fernando Romero - 20 – RHP – Did Not Pitch Signed out of the Dominican in November of 2011, Romero debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2012. In 2013, he came to the States and posted a 1.60 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 45 innings. After beginning 2014 in extended pring training, Romero came up to Cedar Rapids where he made three starts before experiencing elbow pain. Soon after, he was shut down and had Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2015 season, though he returned for Instructional League. He was again throwing in the mid-to-upper-90s as he had before surgery. He has a couple of different breaking pitches at varying speeds and a changeup, though they are works-in-progress. It will be interesting to see if Romero starts the season in Cedar Rapids, or it they keep him in Florida until the weather warms up. Previous Top 30 Rankings: 2015 (25), 2014 (28) #24 – Jermaine Palacios - 19 – SS – GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins It seems like every minor league season, there is a player or two who jumps from relative obscurity in the lower levels of the minors to an intriguing prospect that people are talking about. Jermaine Palacios fits that category. Signed by the Twins in 2013, he spent the 2014 season in the Dominican Summer League. He came to the States for spring training and began his season in the GCL. In 26 games, he hit a robust .421/.472/.589 (1.061) with nine doubles, two triples and a homer. He was promoted to Elizabethton where he hit .336/.345/.507 (.852) with 14 doubles, two triples and two home runs in 31 games. Palacios can play all three infield positions though he primarily played shortstop in 2015. After having just four errors in 202 innings at shortstop in the GCL, he had 16 errors in 263 innings at Elizabethton. He’s got a lot of developing to do, but he will go into 2016 – likely heading to Cedar Rapids – as one of the more intriguing prospects to watch. Previous Top 30 Rankings: N/A #23 – Jake Reed - 23 – RHP – Chattanooga Lookouts/Ft. Myers Miracle Reed, the Twins fifth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Oregon, set the expectation bar really high after his debut season of professional baseball. After signing, he posted a 3-0 record with a 0.29 ERA (1 earned run) in 31 innings. He gave up just 11 hits and three walks while striking out 39 batters. He went to the Arizona Fall League where he was again very good. In 2015, he skipped Ft. Myers entirely, starting the season in AA Chattanooga. However, he really struggled and a week into August, he had a 5.56 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54. He was sent down to Ft. Myers for a month and gave up no earned runs in 12.1 innings. He returned to the Lookouts for a couple of games and their playoff run. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball and a bunch of movement on this pitches, Reed can use the 2015 season as a learning opportunity that will hopefully take him to the next level. He will likely return to Chattanooga to start the 2016 season. Previous Top 30 Rankings: 2015 (18) #22 – Sam Gibbons – 21 – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels Signed in 2011 out of Australia, Gibbons went 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA as an 18-year-old in 2012. For some reason, he returned to the GCL in 2013 and went 3-3 with a 1.91 ERA. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2014 and was 4-5 with a 3.88 ERA. After beginning the 2015 in extended spring training, he moved up to Cedar Rapids at the end of May. In his first six starts, he was 3-2 but posted a 5.34 ERA. Then in his final nine starts, he was 4-2 with a 1.54 ERA. The keys were that he dropped his walk rate by nearly a walk per nine innings and increased his strikeouts by about 1.5 per nine innings. He has very good mechanics and touches 93 with his fastball. He also has a curve ball and a changeup. Previous Top 30 Rankings: N/A #21 – Lewin Diaz – 18 – 1B – GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins Diaz was the Twins' big international signing in July of 2013. He stands 6-3 and is often compared to David Ortiz. He had been an outfielder, but the Twins immediately moved him to first base. He is big and very powerful with the potential to hit a lot of home runs. He spent the 2014 season in the Dominican Summer League and hit .257/.385/.451 (.836) with 13 doubles and five homers. Though he didn’t come to the States for spring training, he did arrive for extended spring training. He began with 33 games in the GCL where he hit .261/.354/.369 (.724) with seven doubles, a triple and a home run. He was promoted to the Elizabethton Twins for their final 14 games. He hit just .167 but three of his eight hits left the park. Diaz is a candidate to start the season in Cedar Rapids, though it’s also very possible that he will report to extended spring training. Previous Top 30 Rankings: N/A So, what do you think of Part 4, Prospects 21-25? We'll be back tomorrow with Part 5.
  19. Lookouts Look In Chattanooga Lookouts @ Biloxi Shuckers Jason Wheeler vs. Adrian Houser Final Score: Lookouts 6, Shuckers 1 Box The Lookouts took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Max Kepler solo home run. They extended their lead to 5-0 in the fifth after another Max Kepler homer, this time a grand slam! In the seventh the Shuckers had the good sense to intentionally walk Max Kepler only to see the next batter, Travis Harrison hit an RBI single to put the Lookouts up 6-1. Max Kepler was the hero of the evening for the Lookouts, finishing the game 2-4 with a pair of runs scored, five RBIs and a walk. Kepler's two home runs were the Lookouts only extra-base hits of the evening. Shortstop Heiker Meneses was 2-3 with a walk and number nine hitter, Shannon Wilkerson, was 2-4. Jason Wheeler pitched seven innings of three-hit baseball, surrendering just a single run and taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. All three of of hits Wheeler gave up came in quick succession in the bottom of the sixth as the first three hitters singled. Wheeler struck out five and walked three. Nick Burdi gave up a hit and a walk in the eighth inning but recorded a pair of strikeouts to keep the Shuckers scoreless. J.T. Chargois walked the first hitter in the bottom of the ninth to give Biloxi some hope, but made quick work of the next three hitters to send the Shuckers home. Game Three is on Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kernels Korner Cedar Rapids Kernels @ West Michigan Whitecaps Sam GIbbons vs. A.J. Ladwig Final Score: Kernels 1, Whitecaps 4 Box The Kernels led the Whitecaps 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning before allowing four runs to lose the game. Sam Gibbons was cruising through six, but gave up a walk and a double to start the inning, putting runners at second and third. The next batter singled home a pair of runs. The lead runner scored easily, but the second runner was ruled safe a home despite never touching the plate as the home plate umpire ruled that Kernels' catcher Brian Navarreto was blocking the plate without the baseball. Kernels manager Jake Mauer came out to argue the call and was relieved of his managing duties. With Gibbons still in the game and now down 2-1, the next batter laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner over and a throwing error by Gibbons allowed the runner to reach, putting runners at the corners with no outs, ending Gibbons' evening. The Whitecaps scored two more runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 4-1. Gibbons' final line on the night was 6+ innings pitched, five hits, four runs (two earned), a walk and four strike outs. Yorman Landa pitched the final two innings. Landa gave up one hit, one walk and struck out three. The Kernels offense managed just six hits, with a pair of them coming from designated hitter Max Murphy, who tripled home the only run of the night in the second inning. Chris Paul was 1-4 with a double and came around to score on the Max Murphy triple. On the evening the Kernels sent 34 men to the plate and did not earn a single walk. Game Three is on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  20. The Twins squandered an early 5-0 lead and eventually fell 8-11 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Despite the loss the Twins remain just a game and a half behind the Houston Astros for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. In the minor league playoffs, both the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Cedar Rapids Kernels played Game Two of their respective league championship series. Let's take a look at how they did.Lookouts Look In Chattanooga Lookouts @ Biloxi Shuckers Jason Wheeler vs. Adrian Houser Final Score: Lookouts 6, Shuckers 1 Box The Lookouts took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Max Kepler solo home run. They extended their lead to 5-0 in the fifth after another Max Kepler homer, this time a grand slam! In the seventh the Shuckers had the good sense to intentionally walk Max Kepler only to see the next batter, Travis Harrison hit an RBI single to put the Lookouts up 6-1. Max Kepler was the hero of the evening for the Lookouts, finishing the game 2-4 with a pair of runs scored, five RBIs and a walk. Kepler's two home runs were the Lookouts only extra-base hits of the evening. Shortstop Heiker Meneses was 2-3 with a walk and number nine hitter, Shannon Wilkerson, was 2-4. Jason Wheeler pitched seven innings of three-hit baseball, surrendering just a single run and taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. All three of of hits Wheeler gave up came in quick succession in the bottom of the sixth as the first three hitters singled. Wheeler struck out five and walked three. Nick Burdi gave up a hit and a walk in the eighth inning but recorded a pair of strikeouts to keep the Shuckers scoreless. J.T. Chargois walked the first hitter in the bottom of the ninth to give Biloxi some hope, but made quick work of the next three hitters to send the Shuckers home. Game Three is on Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kernels Korner Cedar Rapids Kernels @ West Michigan Whitecaps Sam GIbbons vs. A.J. Ladwig Final Score: Kernels 1, Whitecaps 4 Box The Kernels led the Whitecaps 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning before allowing four runs to lose the game. Sam Gibbons was cruising through six, but gave up a walk and a double to start the inning, putting runners at second and third. The next batter singled home a pair of runs. The lead runner scored easily, but the second runner was ruled safe a home despite never touching the plate as the home plate umpire ruled that Kernels' catcher Brian Navarreto was blocking the plate without the baseball. Kernels manager Jake Mauer came out to argue the call and was relieved of his managing duties. With Gibbons still in the game and now down 2-1, the next batter laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner over and a throwing error by Gibbons allowed the runner to reach, putting runners at the corners with no outs, ending Gibbons' evening. The Whitecaps scored two more runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 4-1. Gibbons' final line on the night was 6+ innings pitched, five hits, four runs (two earned), a walk and four strike outs. Yorman Landa pitched the final two innings. Landa gave up one hit, one walk and struck out three. The Kernels offense managed just six hits, with a pair of them coming from designated hitter Max Murphy, who tripled home the only run of the night in the second inning. Chris Paul was 1-4 with a double and came around to score on the Max Murphy triple. On the evening the Kernels sent 34 men to the plate and did not earn a single walk. Game Three is on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Click here to view the article
  21. The Twins squandered an early 5-0 lead and eventually fell 8-11 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Despite the loss the Twins remain just a game and a half behind the Houston Astros for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. In the Minor League playoffs, both the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Cedar Rapids Kernels played game two of their respective league championship series. Let's take a look at how they did. Lookouts Look In Chattanooga Lookouts @ Biloxi Shuckers Jason Wheeler vs. Adrian Houser Final Score: Lookouts 6, Shuckers 1 Box The Lookouts took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Max Kepler solo-home run. They extended their lead to 5-0 in the fifth after another Max Kepler homer, this time a grand slam! In the seventh the Shuckers had the good sense to intentionally walk Max Kepler only to see the next batter, Travis Harrison hit an RBI single to put the Lookouts up 6-1. Max Kepler was the hero of the evening for the Lookouts, finishing the game 2-4 with a pair of runs scored, five RBIs and a walk. Kepker's two home runs were the Lookouts only extra base hits of the evening. Shortstop Heiker Meneses was 203 with a walk and number nine hitter, Shannon Wilkerson, was 2-4. Jason Wheeler pitched seven innings of three hit baseball, surrendering just a single run and taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. All three of of hits Wheeler gave up came in quick succession in the bottom of the sixth as the first three hitters singled. Wheeler struck out five and walked three. Nick Burdi gave up a hit and a walk in the eighth inning but recorded a pair of strike outs and help the Shuckers scoreless. J.T. Chargois walked the first hitter in the bottom of the ninth to give Biloxi some hope, but mad quick work of the next three hitters to send the Shuckers home. Game three is on Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kernels Korner Cedar Rapids Kernels @ West Michigan Whitecaps Sam GIbbons vs. A.J. Ladwig Final Score: Kernels 1, Whitecaps 4 Box The Kernels led the Whitecaps 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning before allowing four runs to lose the game. Sam Gibbons was cruising through six, but gave up a walk and a double to start the inning, putting runners at second and third. The next batter singled home a pair of runs. The lead runner scored easily, but the second runner was ruled safe a home despite never touching the plate as the home plate umpire ruled that Kernels' catcher Brian Navarreto was blocking the plate without the baseball. Kernels manager Jake Mauer came out to argue the call and was relieved of his managing duties for the remainder of the evening as he was subsequently ejected. With Gibbons still in the game and now down 2-1, the next batter laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner over and a throwing error by Gibbons allowed the runner to reach putting runners at the corner with no outs, ending Gibbons' evening. The Whitecaps would score two more runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 4-1. Gibbsons' final line on the night was 6+ innings pitched, five hits, four runs (two earned), a walk and four strike outs. Yorman Landa pitched the final two innings. Landa gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out three. The Kernels offense managed just six hits, with a pair of them coming from designated hitter Max Murphy, who tripled home the only run of the night in the second inning. Chris Paul was 1-4 with a double and came around to score on the Max Murphy triple. On the evening the Kernels sent 34 men to the plate and did not earn a single walk. Game three is on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  22. Lookouts Look-In Game 1: Montgomery Biscuits @ Chattanooga Lookouts Jamie Schultz vs. D.J. Baxendale Final: Biscuits 3, Lookouts 4 Box Score In the first game of the best-of-five series the Lookouts secured the victory on a walk-off single from Southern League MVP, Max Kepler. With two on and two out, Kepler hit a line drive single to right scoring a pair of runs and earning the Lookouts the victory. In front of a home crowd of 1,279 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee, D.J. Baxendale gave the Lookout fans seven and two-thirds innings of hope. Baxendale gave up a pair of early runs in the second, and another in the sixth but pitched into the eighth inning before being lifted after 101 pitches. Baxendale gave up seven hits and three runs all earned. He walked none and struck out four. Baxendale was lifted for Nick Burdi, who struck out three in an inning and a third of work. He had to get four outs in the top of the ninth after a dropped strike three and an errant throw to first base from Stuart Turner. Leadoff man Shannon Wilkerson and cleanup hitter Travis Harrison were both held hitless, as were D.J. Hicks, Adam Brett Walker, Stephen Wickens and Stuart Turner. The Lookouts offense generated only five hits, but managed to earn NINE free passes from the Biscuits pitching staff, leaving the Lookouts with plenty of chances to score. Jorge Polanco was 2-4 plus a walk with a run scored. Max Kepler's ninth inning hit was his only one of the game, capping a 1-4 night that include a walk and a pair of strikeouts. The Lookouts are back on the diamond Friday night in Chattanooga for Game 2. The series then heads to Montgomery for the conclusion of the five-game series. Kernels Korner Game 2: Cedar Rapids Kernels @ Quad Cities River Bandits Sam Gibbons vs. Brock Dykxhoorn Final: Kernels 3, River Bandits 1 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels have advanced to the Midwest League semifinals with a 3 to 1 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits on Thursday night in front of 1,555 fans at Modern Woodmen Park. The Quad Cities River Bandits had the best winning percentage of all full-season teams in minor league baseball prior to being swept out of the postseason by the Kernels. Sam Gibbons gave the Kernels everything he had on Thursday night, pitching eight innings of four-hit, one-run baseball. He struck out four and walked none. Yorman Landa pitched two scoreless innings, struck out three, walked none and gave up just a single. Nick Anderson came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh and shut down the River Bandits to lock up the game and series victory for the Kernels. The Kernels went ahead 3-1 in the top of the eleventh inning on a bizarre series of plays, culminating with a Chris Paul single that plated T.J. White and LaMonte Wade. After a T.J. White walk to start the inning, LaMonte Wade dropped down a sac bunt right in front of home plate but the River Bandits' catcher Garrett Stubbs thought he had a chance to nab White at second. But his throw was late and low and bounced into center field. White advanced to third on the throwing error and then Wade advanced to second after the throw to third got by the Bandits, putting runners at second and third for Chris Paul. The game-winning hit capped a big night at the plate for Chris Paul. He was 3-4 with all three Kernels RBIs, plus a walk. No other Kernels hitter had multiple hits. Edgar Corcino, who had a chance to win the game for the Kernels in the tenth with two on and two out, struck out for the fourth time in five attempts on the evening, a frustrating 0-5 night for Corcino. The Kernels will travel to Peoria, Illinois to take on the Peoria Chiefs in the semi-finals. That series begins on Saturday night. TwinsDaily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Chris Paul - Cedar Rapids Kernels TwinsDaily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Sam Gibbons Cedar Rapids Kernels Friday's Probables Montgomery Biscuits @ Chattanooga Lookouts - Jacob Faria vs. Jason Wheeler
  23. The Twins enjoyed an off-day on Thursday after taking a three-game set from the division-leading Kansas City Royals. In the minor leagues, the postseason is now in full swing. Chattanooga and Cedar Rapids both had big games decided in the late innings.Lookouts Look-In Game 1: Montgomery Biscuits @ Chattanooga Lookouts Jamie Schultz vs. D.J. Baxendale Final: Biscuits 3, Lookouts 4 Box Score In the first game of the best-of-five series the Lookouts secured the victory on a walk-off single from Southern League MVP, Max Kepler. With two on and two out, Kepler hit a line drive single to right scoring a pair of runs and earning the Lookouts the victory. In front of a home crowd of 1,279 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee, D.J. Baxendale gave the Lookout fans seven and two-thirds innings of hope. Baxendale gave up a pair of early runs in the second, and another in the sixth but pitched into the eighth inning before being lifted after 101 pitches. Baxendale gave up seven hits and three runs all earned. He walked none and struck out four. Baxendale was lifted for Nick Burdi, who struck out three in an inning and a third of work. He had to get four outs in the top of the ninth after a dropped strike three and an errant throw to first base from Stuart Turner. Leadoff man Shannon Wilkerson and cleanup hitter Travis Harrison were both held hitless, as were D.J. Hicks, Adam Brett Walker, Stephen Wickens and Stuart Turner. The Lookouts offense generated only five hits, but managed to earn NINE free passes from the Biscuits pitching staff, leaving the Lookouts with plenty of chances to score. Jorge Polanco was 2-4 plus a walk with a run scored. Max Kepler's ninth inning hit was his only one of the game, capping a 1-4 night that include a walk and a pair of strikeouts. The Lookouts are back on the diamond Friday night in Chattanooga for Game 2. The series then heads to Montgomery for the conclusion of the five-game series. Kernels Korner Game 2: Cedar Rapids Kernels @ Quad Cities River Bandits Sam Gibbons vs. Brock Dykxhoorn Final: Kernels 3, River Bandits 1 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels have advanced to the Midwest League semifinals with a 3 to 1 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits on Thursday night in front of 1,555 fans at Modern Woodmen Park. The Quad Cities River Bandits had the best winning percentage of all full-season teams in minor league baseball prior to being swept out of the postseason by the Kernels. Sam Gibbons gave the Kernels everything he had on Thursday night, pitching eight innings of four-hit, one-run baseball. He struck out four and walked none. Yorman Landa pitched two scoreless innings, struck out three, walked none and gave up just a single. Nick Anderson came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh and shut down the River Bandits to lock up the game and series victory for the Kernels. The Kernels went ahead 3-1 in the top of the eleventh inning on a bizarre series of plays, culminating with a Chris Paul single that plated T.J. White and LaMonte Wade. After a T.J. White walk to start the inning, LaMonte Wade dropped down a sac bunt right in front of home plate but the River Bandits' catcher Garrett Stubbs thought he had a chance to nab White at second. But his throw was late and low and bounced into center field. White advanced to third on the throwing error and then Wade advanced to second after the throw to third got by the Bandits, putting runners at second and third for Chris Paul. The game-winning hit capped a big night at the plate for Chris Paul. He was 3-4 with all three Kernels RBIs, plus a walk. No other Kernels hitter had multiple hits. Edgar Corcino, who had a chance to win the game for the Kernels in the tenth with two on and two out, struck out for the fourth time in five attempts on the evening, a frustrating 0-5 night for Corcino. The Kernels will travel to Peoria, Illinois to take on the Peoria Chiefs in the semi-finals. That series begins on Saturday night. TwinsDaily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Chris Paul - Cedar Rapids Kernels TwinsDaily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Sam Gibbons Cedar Rapids Kernels Friday's Probables Montgomery Biscuits @ Chattanooga Lookouts - Jacob Faria vs. Jason Wheeler Click here to view the article
  24. The Twins enjoyed an off-day on Thursday after taking a three-game set from the division leading Kansas City Royals. In the Minor Leagues, the postseason is now in full swing. Lookouts Look-In Montgomery Biscuits @ Chattanooga Lookouts Jamie Schultz vs. D.J. Baxendale Final: Biscuits 3, Lookouts 4 In the first game of the best-of-five series the Lookouts secured the victory on a walk-off single from Southern League MVP, Max Kepler. With two on and two out, Kepler hit a line drive single to right scoring a pair of runs and earning the Lookouts the victory. In front of a home crowd of 1,279 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee, D.J. Baxendale gave the Lookout fans seven and two-thirds innings of hope. Baxendale gave up a pair of early runs in the second, and another in the sixth but pitched into the eighth inning, before being lifted after 101 pitches. Baxendale gave up seven hits, three runs all earned. He walked none and struck out four. Baxendale was lifted for Nick Burdi, who struck out three in an inning and a third of work, but had to get four outs in the top of the ninth after a dropped strike three and an errant throw to first base from Stuart Turner. Leadoff man Shannon Wilkerson, and cleanup hitter Travis Harrison were both held hitless, as were D.J. Hicks, Adam Brett Walker, Stephen Wickens and Stuart Turner. The Lookouts offense only generated five hits, but managed to earn NINE free passes from the Biscuits pitching staff, leaving the Lookouts with plenty of chances to score. Jorge Polanco was 2-4 plus a walk with a run scored. Max Kepler's ninth inning hit was his only one of the game, capping a 1-4 night that include a walk and a pair of strike outs. The Lookouts are back on the diamond Friday night in Chattanooga for game two. The series then heads to Montgomery for the conclusion of the five-game series. Kernels Korner Cedar Rapids Kernels @ Quad Cities River Bandits Sam Gibbons vs. Brock Dykxhoorn Final: Kernels 3, River Bandits 1 The Cedar Rapids Kernels have advanced to the Midwest League semifinals with a 3 to 1 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits on Thursday night in front of 1,555 fans at Modern Woodmen Park. The Quad Cities River Bandits had the best winning percentage of all full-season teams in Minor League Baseball prior to being swept out of the postseason by the Kernels. Sam Gibbons gave the Kernels everything he had on Thursday night, pitching eight innings of four-hit one-run baseball. He struck out four and walked zero. Yorman Landa pitched two scoreless innings, struck out three, walked zero and gave up just a single. Nick Anderson came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh and shut down the River Bandits to lock up the game and series victory for the Kernels. The Kernels went ahead 3-1 in the top of the eleventh inning on a bizarre series of plays, culminating with a Chris Paul single that plated T.J. White and LaMonte Wade. After a T.J. White walk to start the inning, LaMonte Wade dropped down a sac bunt right in front of home plate but the River Bandits' catcher Garrett Stubbs thought he had a chance to nab White at second but his throw was late and low and bounced into center field. White advanced to third on the throwing error and then Wade advanced to second after the throw to third got by the Bandits, putting runners at second and third for Chris Paul. The game winning hit capped a big night at the plate for Chris Paul. He was 3-4 with all three Kernels RBIs, plus a walk. No other Kernels hitter had multiple hits. Edgar Corcino, who had a chance to win the game for the Kernels in the tenth with two on and two out, struck out for the fourth time in five attempts on the evening, a frustrating 0-5 night for Corcino. The Kernels will travel to Peoria, Illinois to take on the Peoria Chiefs in the semi-finals. That series begins on Saturday night. TwinsDaily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Chris Paul - Cedar Rapids Kernels TwinsDaily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Sam Gibbons Cedar Rapids Kernels Friday's Probables Montgomery Biscuits @ Chattanooga Lookouts - Jacob Faria vs. TBD
  25. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 9, Syracuse 0 Box Score Behind a massive offensive outburst and some superb pitching by Logan Darnell, the Red Wings were able to shut out the Chiefs for the team's 67th win. Darnell pitched a complete game shutout while limiting the opposition to five hits, walking none and striking out nine. It was his first victory since July 3rd but it was only his third start since joining the rotation. Five players in the Rochester line-up had three hits apiece and the team collected 20 hits overall. Danny Ortiz was part of the three-hit parade and two of his three hits were for extra-bases. The line for Ortiz could have looked even better but he was thrown out at home twice in the game. Argenis Diaz had the team's other extra-base hit, a double, and he drove in a pair of runs. Kennys Vargas was the lone hitter in the Red Wings batting order who failed to get a hit (0-for-6). CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 4, Tennessee 2 (7 Innings) Box Score With the game tied in the bottom of the sixth frame, Adam Brett Walker stepped to the plate with the chance to play the hero. Max Kepler had just tied the game with a single that scored Jorge Polanco. Walker put the Lookouts in the lead with a two-run home run, his 28th long ball of the season. After being held without a home run for seven games, Walker has homered in two straight contests. David Hurlbut picked up his ninth victory after allowing two earned runs across six innings. He struck out four and walked three. It was his third straight start where he's gone at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer. J.T. Chargois earned his tenth save with a perfect seventh inning including a strikeout. Chattanooga 1, Tennessee 4 (7 Innings) Box Score Greg Peavey had the Lookouts locked into a 1-1 tie after four innings but he gave up three runs over the next pair of innings to see that tie disappear. Peavey finished by allowing three earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 5.1 innings. Corey Williams finished off the game with 1.2 scoreless innings in his second appearance since being promoted from Fort Myers. Niko Goodrum was the only hitter with multiple hits as he finished the night 2-for-3 with a run scored. Levi Michael smacked his 11th double of the season while DJ Hicks had the team's lone RBI. After homering in two straight games, Adam Brett Walker went 0-for-2 with a walk. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Jupiter 10 Box Score Fort Myers sent former first round pick Kohl Stewart to the mound on Monday but he couldn't do enough to help his team to victory. The defense behind Stewart gave him little help as the Miracle committed a whopping five defensive errors. Stewart finished the night allowing seven runs (four earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks across 5.2 innings. In his first appearance since being sent back from Chattanooga, Alex Muren had a rough night on the mound by allowing three earned runs in one inning. Brian Gilbert and Tyler Jay stopped some of the bleeding in the late innings. Jay struck out two in his inning of work. There wasn't a single batter with more than one hit for the Miracle and none of the team's hits were for extra-bases. Mitch Garver drove in all three runs and Zach Granite scored two of the team's three runs. Engelb Vielma reached base twice and scored a run. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 23, Peoria 3 Box Score Cedar Rapids didn't want to be outdone by their counterparts in Rochester so the club put on their own offensive clinic down in the Midwest League. The team jumped out to an early 5-0 in the first and added another 11 runs in the bottom of the fourth. Overall, the team pushed across 23 runs and clubbed an eye-popping 27 hits. It got so bad that the Chiefs used multiple position players as pitchers in the game. When a team collects this many hits it's hard to know where to start with summarizing the night. Sean Miller led the team with five hits and he scored four runs. TJ White went 4-for-7 with a double and a triple. He tied with Edgar Corcino with five runs driven in. All but two batters in the line-up had three hits or more and every batter had a hit and scored a run. Keaton Steel was the beneficiary of the massive offensive backing. He settled in to a nice rhythm on the mound and finished the night by allowing two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts across six innings. Zach Tillery allowed one run in two innings of work. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 2, Greeneville 3 Box Score The E-Twins held two different leads in this contest but weren't able to come up with the big hit to push their lead far enough ahead. Andro Cutura pitched into the sixth inning and allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out five and walked two while lowering his season ERA to 1.13. Nate Gercken took the loss, his third, as he allowed the game winning run to be scored in his two plus innings of work. All of the E-Twins offense came from the top of the line-up. Outside the top three hitters, no one else was able to collect a hit. Alex Perez went 2-for-4 with a run scored but he committed two defensive errors. Jermaine Palacios had the team's only extra-base hit, his 11th double, and LaMonte Wade reached base twice. Zander Wiel didn't have a hit but he was credited with the team's only RBI. GCL Twins Takes GCL Twins 0, GCL Rays 2 Box Score The Twins offense struggled to find any punch in this contest. Only two members of the line-up managed hits and the team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Ruar Verkerk went 2-for-3 before being lifted for a pinch runner in the late innings. Bryan Haar picked up one hit in three trips and he's hitting .300 for the season. Jose Martinez was charged with his sixth loss but he didn't allow an earned run in four innings of work. He struck out four and walked one but the offense didn't do him any favors. Williams Ramirez and Hector Lujan combined to finish off the last two innings with Lujan allowing a run in the Rays last trip to the plate. GCL Twins 1, GCL Rays 1 (Suspended) Box Score This game was supposed to be a make-up of a game played in the middle of July but rain interfered with its completion. The two teams will try to finish the contest on Tuesday. Look for a full report at Twins Daily when this game is completed. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Logan Darnell, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – TJ White, Cedar Rapids Kernels TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (6:05 CST) – LHP Pat Dean Chattanooga vs. Tennessee (6:15 CST) – LHP Brett Lee Fort Myers vs. Jupiter (6:05 CST) – LHP Luke Westphal Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (6:35 CST) – RHP Felix Jorge Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) – TBA GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays (11:00 am CST) – TBA GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays (Completion of Today's 2nd Game)
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