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  1. Of course, next week, we’ll consider the pitchers. But first, let’s finish the roster projections for hitters. Ft. Myers Miracle Zach Granite was the Twins 14th-round pick in 2013. After playing just 25 games in 2014, he came back strong in 2016. He dominated in a month in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Ft. Myers. Granite is 6-1 and 175 pounds and speed is his game. He could be an ideal top-of-order hitter as he has a good approach and understands who he is as a hitter. (Learn more about Zach Granite here) Tanner English was the Twins 11th-round pick in 2014 out of South Carolina. He got off to a slow start, but he really came on strong at the end. Not tall, English is strong and has some pop in his bat. He has very good speed on the bases and especially covering ground in center field. (Learn more about Tanner English here) Edgar Corcino was a draft pick of the Tigers way back in 2009. In 2012, he played in the rookie leagues, the Midwest League, the Florida State League and even a couple of games in AAA, but he was let go and went the independent baseball route the last couple of seasons. He works out with his good friend JO Berrios and the Twins signed him last winter. He began in extended spring, but came up to Cedar Rapids and hit in the middle of their lineup. He plays good defense at all three spots. He’s still just 23. (Learn more about Edgar Corcino here) Max Murphy made a strong impression in his pro debut after being selected in the 9th round in 2014 out of Bradley. He dominated the Appy League in half of a season and was named the league’s MVP despite being called up with a month of season to play. He moved up to Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, that is where he spent the entire 2015 season. At 5-11 and 195 pounds, Murphy is capable of producing good power. (Learn more about Max Murphy here) Zack Larson is was the Twins 20th-round pick in the 2012 draft. The Twins happily signed him for above slot. He hit very well in the rookie leagues in 2013 and started well with the Kernels in 2014 before hamstring problems curtailed his season. He returned to Cedar Rapids and struggled mightily with the bat. He was 16-17 in stolen base attempts. (This story on Zack Larson is remarkable!) Cedar Rapids Kernels LaMonte Wade was the Twins ninth-round pick in 2015 out of Maryland. With the E-Twins, he hit .312/.428/.506 (.934). When they were eliminated from playoff contention, Wade moved up and started for the Kernels in their playoff run. The 22-year-old has a tremendous eye at the plate and good pop. (Get to know LaMonte Wade here) Likewise, Chris Paul moved up to Cedar Rapids late in the season and started for the Kernels in the playoffs. He was the team’s sixth-round pick in 2015 out of California. He plays the corner outfield positions as well as first base. Daniel Kihle was the Twins 18th round pick in 2015 out of Wichita State. He debuted in Elizabethton by hitting .273/.404/.392 (.796) with seven doubles, two triples and two homers. He’ll be 22 throughout the 2016 season. (Get to know Daniel Kihle here) Austin Diemer spent the first half of the 2015 season in extended spring training. He got called up to the Kernels and played most every day. Known for his speed and defense, Diemer hit a big home run in the Kernels run to the Midwest League championship series. The 22-year-old was the Twins 28th round pick in 2014 out of Cal State Fullerton. Drafted in the 21st round last year Cal State Dominguez Hills, Kamran Young debuted in the Appalachian League last year. He hit .219/.301/.339 (.640) with seven doubles, two triples and four homers. After four years of college, he will be 23 throughout the 2016 season. Extended Spring Training Roberto Gonzalez was the Twins 15th-round pick in 2014 out of high school in Orlando. That summer, he broke his kneecap which delayed the start of his 2015 season. When healthy, he has speed, some power, good defense and a strong arm. (Get to know Roberto Gonzalez here) Tyree Davis was signed Straight Outta Compton as the Twins 37th-round pick in 2014. He signed and has spent the two seasons in the GCL where he has unfortunately been hurt. His 2015 season came to an end early with a shoulder injury. He has great speed. He has a nice line drive swing from both sides of the plate. Could develop some power. Very good defense in centerfield. (Learn more about Davis here.) Jaylin Davis was the Twins 24th-round pick in 2015 out of Appalachian State. A tremendous athlete, he missed most of his final college season due to a torn shoulder labrum. He’s been rehabbing in Ft. Myers since signing. He has power potential and good speed. He can be a good outfielder though his recovery from surgery will affect his arm in the short-term. Christian Cavaness went undrafted last year after an All-American season at Lindenwood University Belleville (in Illinois). He went to play in a wood bat summer league in Oregon when the Twins signed him as an undrafted free agent. The 21-year-old went to the GCL where he hit .333/.429/.556 (.984). He finished the season with four games in Elizabethton. He is a candidate to go to Cedar Rapids as well. Rowan Ebersohn signed with the Twins out of South Africa in July of 2014. He came to the States this year. Very raw, he hit .193 in his debut in the GCL. He’ll likely remain in the GCL in 2016. (Get to know Rowan Ebersohn.) Luis Martinez came to the States after a season in the DSL. He hit just .140, but he is a good athlete who plays very good outfield defense. He’ll also likely return to the GCL. SUMMARY On Wednesday, we learned about the Twins outfielders in the big leagues, AAA and AA (projected). Today, we covered the outfielders that could start the season in Ft. Myers, Cedar Rapids or in Extended Spring Training. While the big names are in the upper levels, there are some players with real good potential in these lower levels too. Outfield Prospect Rankings: Byron Buxton Max Kepler Adam Brett Walker Travis Harrison LaMonte Wade Next week, we’ll continue to make our roster projections by looking at the pitching depth, from big league to the extended spring training rosters. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  2. Today we continue to look at the Minnesota Twins organizational depth at all of the positions. Previously, we have reviewed the Catchers, First Basemen, Middle Infielders and Third Basemen. Earlier this week, we learned more about the Outfielders in the system who I project to be in the big leagues, AAA or AA to start the season. Today, we’ll look into those in the lower levels, those who will likely start the season in Ft. Myers, Cedar Rapids or in extended spring training.Of course, next week, we’ll consider the pitchers. But first, let’s finish the roster projections for hitters. Ft. Myers Miracle Zach Granite was the Twins 14th-round pick in 2013. After playing just 25 games in 2014, he came back strong in 2016. He dominated in a month in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Ft. Myers. Granite is 6-1 and 175 pounds and speed is his game. He could be an ideal top-of-order hitter as he has a good approach and understands who he is as a hitter. (Learn more about Zach Granite here) Tanner English was the Twins 11th-round pick in 2014 out of South Carolina. He got off to a slow start, but he really came on strong at the end. Not tall, English is strong and has some pop in his bat. He has very good speed on the bases and especially covering ground in center field. (Learn more about Tanner English here) Edgar Corcino was a draft pick of the Tigers way back in 2009. In 2012, he played in the rookie leagues, the Midwest League, the Florida State League and even a couple of games in AAA, but he was let go and went the independent baseball route the last couple of seasons. He works out with his good friend JO Berrios and the Twins signed him last winter. He began in extended spring, but came up to Cedar Rapids and hit in the middle of their lineup. He plays good defense at all three spots. He’s still just 23. (Learn more about Edgar Corcino here) Max Murphy made a strong impression in his pro debut after being selected in the 9th round in 2014 out of Bradley. He dominated the Appy League in half of a season and was named the league’s MVP despite being called up with a month of season to play. He moved up to Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, that is where he spent the entire 2015 season. At 5-11 and 195 pounds, Murphy is capable of producing good power. (Learn more about Max Murphy here) Zack Larson is was the Twins 20th-round pick in the 2012 draft. The Twins happily signed him for above slot. He hit very well in the rookie leagues in 2013 and started well with the Kernels in 2014 before hamstring problems curtailed his season. He returned to Cedar Rapids and struggled mightily with the bat. He was 16-17 in stolen base attempts. (This story on Zack Larson is remarkable!) Cedar Rapids Kernels LaMonte Wade was the Twins ninth-round pick in 2015 out of Maryland. With the E-Twins, he hit .312/.428/.506 (.934). When they were eliminated from playoff contention, Wade moved up and started for the Kernels in their playoff run. The 22-year-old has a tremendous eye at the plate and good pop. (Get to know LaMonte Wade here) Likewise, Chris Paul moved up to Cedar Rapids late in the season and started for the Kernels in the playoffs. He was the team’s sixth-round pick in 2015 out of California. He plays the corner outfield positions as well as first base. Daniel Kihle was the Twins 18th round pick in 2015 out of Wichita State. He debuted in Elizabethton by hitting .273/.404/.392 (.796) with seven doubles, two triples and two homers. He’ll be 22 throughout the 2016 season. (Get to know Daniel Kihle here) Austin Diemer spent the first half of the 2015 season in extended spring training. He got called up to the Kernels and played most every day. Known for his speed and defense, Diemer hit a big home run in the Kernels run to the Midwest League championship series. The 22-year-old was the Twins 28th round pick in 2014 out of Cal State Fullerton. Drafted in the 21st round last year Cal State Dominguez Hills, Kamran Young debuted in the Appalachian League last year. He hit .219/.301/.339 (.640) with seven doubles, two triples and four homers. After four years of college, he will be 23 throughout the 2016 season. Extended Spring Training Roberto Gonzalez was the Twins 15th-round pick in 2014 out of high school in Orlando. That summer, he broke his kneecap which delayed the start of his 2015 season. When healthy, he has speed, some power, good defense and a strong arm. (Get to know Roberto Gonzalez here) Tyree Davis was signed Straight Outta Compton as the Twins 37th-round pick in 2014. He signed and has spent the two seasons in the GCL where he has unfortunately been hurt. His 2015 season came to an end early with a shoulder injury. He has great speed. He has a nice line drive swing from both sides of the plate. Could develop some power. Very good defense in centerfield. (Learn more about Davis here.) Jaylin Davis was the Twins 24th-round pick in 2015 out of Appalachian State. A tremendous athlete, he missed most of his final college season due to a torn shoulder labrum. He’s been rehabbing in Ft. Myers since signing. He has power potential and good speed. He can be a good outfielder though his recovery from surgery will affect his arm in the short-term. Christian Cavaness went undrafted last year after an All-American season at Lindenwood University Belleville (in Illinois). He went to play in a wood bat summer league in Oregon when the Twins signed him as an undrafted free agent. The 21-year-old went to the GCL where he hit .333/.429/.556 (.984). He finished the season with four games in Elizabethton. He is a candidate to go to Cedar Rapids as well. Rowan Ebersohn signed with the Twins out of South Africa in July of 2014. He came to the States this year. Very raw, he hit .193 in his debut in the GCL. He’ll likely remain in the GCL in 2016. (Get to know Rowan Ebersohn.) Luis Martinez came to the States after a season in the DSL. He hit just .140, but he is a good athlete who plays very good outfield defense. He’ll also likely return to the GCL. SUMMARY On Wednesday, we learned about the Twins outfielders in the big leagues, AAA and AA (projected). Today, we covered the outfielders that could start the season in Ft. Myers, Cedar Rapids or in Extended Spring Training. While the big names are in the upper levels, there are some players with real good potential in these lower levels too. Outfield Prospect Rankings: Byron BuxtonMax KeplerAdam Brett WalkerTravis HarrisonLaMonte WadeNext week, we’ll continue to make our roster projections by looking at the pitching depth, from big league to the extended spring training rosters. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. Click here to view the article
  3. In a first here this season in the Twins Minor League Reports, we are going to have a Vote for Hitter of the Day. Max Kepler and Max Murphy both had big days for their respective teams. Read today’s articles, the contributions of each and then please vote for your hitter of the day in the comments section below. One team’s winning streak ended. One batter’s hitting streak was extended. There were two extra innings games; one of them ended on a walk-off home run.Continue reading for all of the news and notes from a full, five-game night in the Twins minor league system. And then, be sure to vote in the comments for your hitter of the day. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 0, Toledo 8 Box Score Taylor Rogers has been terrific all season. He started this game with four shutout innings. However, in the fifth inning, he had his first really rough inning of the season. He gave up five runs in the inning, the big hit being a grand slam. Overall, he went five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out seven. Lester Oliveros struck out two in a perfect sixth inning. Caleb Thielbar had a one, two, three inning. Tim Stauffer made his first rehab appearance and got two groundouts and a fly out. Ryan O’Rourke gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in the ninth inning. He struck out two. There wasn’t much offense for the Red Wings on this night. They had just four hits. Argenis Diaz had two hits. James Beresford had the lone extra-base hit, a double. The Red Wings fall to 17-14 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 2, Birmingham 3 (8 innings) Game 1 – Box Score Knowing that the team would be going with a bullpen game in the second game, Tyler Duffey needed to pitch deep into game one of the double header. He did just that. He pitched seven innings. He was charged with two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out five. However, the game was tied after seven innings, so Zack Jones came in to start the eighth inning. On a 1-1 pitch to the first batter he faced, he gave up a game-ending home run to Joey DiMichele. The Lookouts had just six hits in the game. Max Kepler went 2-3 with his fifth double. Miguel Sano doubled for the sixth two-base hit of the season. Chattanooga 4, Birmingham 0 Game 2 – Box Score When a minor league team goes with a bullpen game, you never know what you’re going to get. In this game, manager Doug MIentkiewicz got everything he could have hoped for. Madison Boer made the start and worked the first three innings without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit and struck out five. Cole Johnson came on to pitch the next two innings. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck out two. D.J .Johnson came on and got his second save of the week. He worked the final two innings. He gave up a hit and a walk and struck out two. The Lookouts had seven hits in the second game. Max Kepler again led the way. He went 3-3 and added two stolen bases. Jorge Polanco went 2-3 with his sixth double and his sixth stolen base. In the two games, Sano went 1-6. Byron Buxton was 0-8 on the day. His streak of consecutive games with an RBI ended at ten. In his first seven games with the Lookouts, Max Kepler hit just .185. In his ten games since, he is hitting .432 (16-37). Overall, he is now hitting .328. With the split, the Lookouts record now stands at 19-13. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 2 Box Score The Miracle had a winning streak end on Monday but put another one in the win column on Tuesday. Alex Swim extended his hitting streak to 16 games with another 2-4 game. He is hitting .411 (30-73) in that stretch. It was his fifth multi-hit game in his last six games. He is now hitting .349 on the season. Swim wasn’t the only hitter to contribute to the Miracle win. Zach Granite was 0-1, but he walked twice, was hit by a pitch and stole two bases. Chad Christensen went 2-4 with a steal. Michael Quesada went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch. Mitch Garver went 2-3 with a walk and his first stolen base of the season. Michael Quesada went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch. Aaron Slegers started for the Miracle and worked the first five innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out six batters and got seven groundouts. Brandon Peterson struck out two over two scoreless innings. J.T. Chargois struck out two in the eighth inning. Todd Van Steensel recorded his fourth save, striking out two in the ninth frame. The Miracle are now 15-17 on the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 5 (11 innings) Box Score It took 11 innings, but the Kernels seven-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday night. Mat Batts started for the Kernels. He started with three scoreless innings. However, uncharacteristically, he lost his control starting in the fourth inning. He gave up just one run in the fourth despite giving up a single and walking three. He came out for the fifth inning, but after giving up a single, throwing a wild pitch and walking a batter, he was replaced by C.K. Irby who got out of the inning allowing only one run (one of Batts’ runners). Irby went two innings and gave up no runs on three hits. He walked none and struck out three. Mike Theofanopoulos worked a scoreless seventh inning. In the eighth inning, he got two outs, but there were two runners on when Cameron Booser was summoned from the bullpen. The power-lefty got a strikeout to end the threat and hold the Kernels lead. Holding a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, Booser gave up a single, a walk and a single to tie the game at two. He walked another but was able to get a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the inning with the game still tied. He came back to strike out the side in the 10th inning. Sam Clay pitched the 11th inning and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk to take the loss. Max Murphy was the hitting hero for the Kernels again. He hit a two-run homer (second of the year) in the fourth inning that temporarily gave the Kernels a lead. He added two doubles in the game as well and has five on the season. In his last nine games, Murphy has hit .474 (18-38) with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. Through the first 19 games of the season, he was hitting just .173 (13-75). After Tuesday, he is hitting .274 overall. Zack Larson went 2-5 with his fourth double. Rainis Silva hit his second double. The Kernels had ten hits, but they also struck out 19 times in the 11-inning game. The seven-game winning streak came to an end, but the Kernels are still 20-12 on the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Madison Boer, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Twins Daily Vote (Please vote in the Forum below. Here are the candidates): Max Kepler – Chattanooga Lookouts (5-6, 2B, 2 SB) Max Murphy – Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-5, 2-2B, HR) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Toledo @ Rochester (12:35 CST) – LHP Tommy Milone Chattanooga @ Birmingham (11:00 am CST) – RHP JO Berrios Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (9:35 am CST) – RHP Chih-Wei Hu Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 CST) – RHP John Curtiss Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Tuesday games. Click here to view the article
  4. Continue reading for all of the news and notes from a full, five-game night in the Twins minor league system. And then, be sure to vote in the comments for your hitter of the day. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 0, Toledo 8 Box Score Taylor Rogers has been terrific all season. He started this game with four shutout innings. However, in the fifth inning, he had his first really rough inning of the season. He gave up five runs in the inning, the big hit being a grand slam. Overall, he went five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out seven. Lester Oliveros struck out two in a perfect sixth inning. Caleb Thielbar had a one, two, three inning. Tim Stauffer made his first rehab appearance and got two groundouts and a fly out. Ryan O’Rourke gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in the ninth inning. He struck out two. There wasn’t much offense for the Red Wings on this night. They had just four hits. Argenis Diaz had two hits. James Beresford had the lone extra-base hit, a double. The Red Wings fall to 17-14 on the season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 2, Birmingham 3 (8 innings) Game 1 – Box Score Knowing that the team would be going with a bullpen game in the second game, Tyler Duffey needed to pitch deep into game one of the double header. He did just that. He pitched seven innings. He was charged with two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out five. However, the game was tied after seven innings, so Zack Jones came in to start the eighth inning. On a 1-1 pitch to the first batter he faced, he gave up a game-ending home run to Joey DiMichele. The Lookouts had just six hits in the game. Max Kepler went 2-3 with his fifth double. Miguel Sano doubled for the sixth two-base hit of the season. Chattanooga 4, Birmingham 0 Game 2 – Box Score When a minor league team goes with a bullpen game, you never know what you’re going to get. In this game, manager Doug MIentkiewicz got everything he could have hoped for. Madison Boer made the start and worked the first three innings without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit and struck out five. Cole Johnson came on to pitch the next two innings. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck out two. D.J .Johnson came on and got his second save of the week. He worked the final two innings. He gave up a hit and a walk and struck out two. The Lookouts had seven hits in the second game. Max Kepler again led the way. He went 3-3 and added two stolen bases. Jorge Polanco went 2-3 with his sixth double and his sixth stolen base. In the two games, Sano went 1-6. Byron Buxton was 0-8 on the day. His streak of consecutive games with an RBI ended at ten. In his first seven games with the Lookouts, Max Kepler hit just .185. In his ten games since, he is hitting .432 (16-37). Overall, he is now hitting .328. With the split, the Lookouts record now stands at 19-13. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 4, Dunedin 2 Box Score The Miracle had a winning streak end on Monday but put another one in the win column on Tuesday. Alex Swim extended his hitting streak to 16 games with another 2-4 game. He is hitting .411 (30-73) in that stretch. It was his fifth multi-hit game in his last six games. He is now hitting .349 on the season. Swim wasn’t the only hitter to contribute to the Miracle win. Zach Granite was 0-1, but he walked twice, was hit by a pitch and stole two bases. Chad Christensen went 2-4 with a steal. Michael Quesada went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch. Mitch Garver went 2-3 with a walk and his first stolen base of the season. Michael Quesada went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch. Aaron Slegers started for the Miracle and worked the first five innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out six batters and got seven groundouts. Brandon Peterson struck out two over two scoreless innings. J.T. Chargois struck out two in the eighth inning. Todd Van Steensel recorded his fourth save, striking out two in the ninth frame. The Miracle are now 15-17 on the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 5 (11 innings) Box Score It took 11 innings, but the Kernels seven-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday night. Mat Batts started for the Kernels. He started with three scoreless innings. However, uncharacteristically, he lost his control starting in the fourth inning. He gave up just one run in the fourth despite giving up a single and walking three. He came out for the fifth inning, but after giving up a single, throwing a wild pitch and walking a batter, he was replaced by C.K. Irby who got out of the inning allowing only one run (one of Batts’ runners). Irby went two innings and gave up no runs on three hits. He walked none and struck out three. Mike Theofanopoulos worked a scoreless seventh inning. In the eighth inning, he got two outs, but there were two runners on when Cameron Booser was summoned from the bullpen. The power-lefty got a strikeout to end the threat and hold the Kernels lead. Holding a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, Booser gave up a single, a walk and a single to tie the game at two. He walked another but was able to get a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the inning with the game still tied. He came back to strike out the side in the 10th inning. Sam Clay pitched the 11th inning and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk to take the loss. Max Murphy was the hitting hero for the Kernels again. He hit a two-run homer (second of the year) in the fourth inning that temporarily gave the Kernels a lead. He added two doubles in the game as well and has five on the season. In his last nine games, Murphy has hit .474 (18-38) with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. Through the first 19 games of the season, he was hitting just .173 (13-75). After Tuesday, he is hitting .274 overall. Zack Larson went 2-5 with his fourth double. Rainis Silva hit his second double. The Kernels had ten hits, but they also struck out 19 times in the 11-inning game. The seven-game winning streak came to an end, but the Kernels are still 20-12 on the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Madison Boer, Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Twins Daily Vote (Please vote in the Forum below. Here are the candidates): Max Kepler – Chattanooga Lookouts (5-6, 2B, 2 SB) Max Murphy – Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-5, 2-2B, HR) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Toledo @ Rochester (12:35 CST) – LHP Tommy Milone Chattanooga @ Birmingham (11:00 am CST) – RHP JO Berrios Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (9:35 am CST) – RHP Chih-Wei Hu Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 CST) – RHP John Curtiss Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Tuesday games.
  5. In the comments, you’ll need to help pick the Minor League Hitter of the Day Award. We’d love your feedback. It was a good day for several hitters, including a big man from the Dominican Republic who is showing signs of turning things around a little bit. There were some really strong pitching performances as well on Saturday, and one that didn’t go so well.Here are the scores and highlights from the Twins minor league system on Saturday. By the way, the Twins have now won 17 of their last 24 games since starting the season 1-6. Just seven teams in Major League Baseball have a better record than that Twins’ 18-13 record. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Louisville 10 Box Score It was another rough outing for starter Alex Meyer. The right-hander gave up one run in the first inning. He pitched a perfect second inning. Then came the third inning. The first batter hit a double down the right field line. He tried to stretch it into a triple but was thrown out. The next six batters got hits. After a strikeout, Meyer gave up a three-run homer to Yorman Rodriguez, and his day was over. He went 2.2 innings and gave up eight runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out two. He threw a total of 63 pitches and 42 of them were strikes (67%). Meyer was replaced by fellow Kentucky Wildcat Logan Darnell. He gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in 1.1 innings. He struck out three. Stephen Pryor threw two scoreless innings before Caleb Thielbar and Ryan O’Rourke each threw a scoreless frame. Danny Ortiz went 2-5 and hit a ninth inning grand slam. It was his fifth home run of the year. Aaron Hicks had another strong game. He went 2-3 with two walks and his ninth double. Reynaldo Rodriguez went 2-4 with a walk. With the loss, the Red Wings are now 16-12 this season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 7, Jackson 4 Box Score The Lookouts continued to put up some big offensive numbers and won for the fourth straight game to improve to 16-12 on the year. Greg Peavey gave his best performance of the season. He gave up one run on five hits and a walk in five innings. Dallas Gallant gave up three runs (on a homer) on three hits and a walk over two innings. Madison Boer pitched a scoreless eighth inning. DJ Johnson got the call for the ninth inning. He gave up a single and a double, but didn’t allow either to score. It was Johnson’s first save of the year. Miguel Sano might be turning things around. In this game, he went 2-3 with a walk. He hit his fourth double and his sixth home run. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Jupiter 2 (10 innings) Box Score I’m sure you’re shocked to learn that the Miracle played another extra-inning game. This time, they were able to finish it with a walk-off win. In the tenth, singles by Alex Swim, Niko Goodrum and Chad Christensen loaded the bases. Marcus Knecht hit a fly ball deep enough to score Swim and give the Miracle the victory. Knecht led the Miracle offense. Aside from the sacrifice fly, he went 3-4 in the game with his first triple. Alex Swim is now hitting .347 after a 2-5 game. Brett Lee made the start for the Miracle. Through seven innings, he did not allow a run. He went out for the eighth inning but after one out, he had gave up a run. Brian Gilbert came on and allowed the runner to score and tie the game. Of the two runs Lee gave up, just one was earned. Luke Westphal pitched scoreless frames in the ninth and tenth innings to record his first win in affiliated baseball. The Miracle won for the fifth straight game to improve to 14-16. Of their first 30 games, 11 of them have gone to extra frames. KERNELS NUGGETS Because of rain on Friday night, the Kernels got to play two games on Saturday. Cedar Rapids 5, Beloit 2 Game 1 - Box Score Michael Cederoth started the first game and went six innings. He recorded his first win of the season. He was charged with two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out five. Cameron Booser came on and continued his dominance. He recorded his third save with two strikeouts in a perfect inning. The Kernels scored five runs on just six hits. Zack Larson went 3-3 with an RBI. Max Murphy went 2-3 with his third double. He also stole his third base. Brett Doe had the big hit in the game, a two-run homer in the second inning. Pat Kelly drove in two runs for the Kernels as well. Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 2 (9 innings) Game 2 - Box Score The Kernels needed nine innings to win the second game of the day. Of course, in the minor leagues, doubleheader games are seven innings, so this was an extra-innings game. Felix Jorge made the start and was very good through the first six innings. He gave up one run on three hits. He didn’t walk any batters and struck out five. Max Murphy got the team a lead when he hit a two-run homer, his first long ball of the season. He was 2-4 in this game as well. Trey Vavra went 1-2 with two walks. Larson added a hit in this game (4-7 on the day). Pat Kelly provided the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning. Jorge left the game with a 2-1 lead. Zach Tillery came on to try to get the save. He gave up a run in the seventh to send the game to extra innings. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning. With another one-run lead, Jake Mauer went to Trevor Hildenberger who slammed the door. He struck out two batters in a scoreless inning, dropping his ERA to 0.56 and giving him his third save. With the doubleheader sweep, the Kernels are now 19-11 on the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Brett Lee, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Louisville (1:05 CST) – LHP Jason Wheeler Jackson @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) – RHP DJ Baxendale Ft. Myers – No Game Scheduled Cedar Rapids – No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games. Click here to view the article
  6. Here are the scores and highlights from the Twins minor league system on Saturday. By the way, the Twins have now won 17 of their last 24 games since starting the season 1-6. Just seven teams in Major League Baseball have a better record than that Twins’ 18-13 record. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Louisville 10 Box Score It was another rough outing for starter Alex Meyer. The right-hander gave up one run in the first inning. He pitched a perfect second inning. Then came the third inning. The first batter hit a double down the right field line. He tried to stretch it into a triple but was thrown out. The next six batters got hits. After a strikeout, Meyer gave up a three-run homer to Yorman Rodriguez, and his day was over. He went 2.2 innings and gave up eight runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out two. He threw a total of 63 pitches and 42 of them were strikes (67%). Meyer was replaced by fellow Kentucky Wildcat Logan Darnell. He gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in 1.1 innings. He struck out three. Stephen Pryor threw two scoreless innings before Caleb Thielbar and Ryan O’Rourke each threw a scoreless frame. Danny Ortiz went 2-5 and hit a ninth inning grand slam. It was his fifth home run of the year. Aaron Hicks had another strong game. He went 2-3 with two walks and his ninth double. Reynaldo Rodriguez went 2-4 with a walk. With the loss, the Red Wings are now 16-12 this season. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 7, Jackson 4 Box Score The Lookouts continued to put up some big offensive numbers and won for the fourth straight game to improve to 16-12 on the year. Greg Peavey gave his best performance of the season. He gave up one run on five hits and a walk in five innings. Dallas Gallant gave up three runs (on a homer) on three hits and a walk over two innings. Madison Boer pitched a scoreless eighth inning. DJ Johnson got the call for the ninth inning. He gave up a single and a double, but didn’t allow either to score. It was Johnson’s first save of the year. Miguel Sano might be turning things around. In this game, he went 2-3 with a walk. He hit his fourth double and his sixth home run. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Jupiter 2 (10 innings) Box Score I’m sure you’re shocked to learn that the Miracle played another extra-inning game. This time, they were able to finish it with a walk-off win. In the tenth, singles by Alex Swim, Niko Goodrum and Chad Christensen loaded the bases. Marcus Knecht hit a fly ball deep enough to score Swim and give the Miracle the victory. Knecht led the Miracle offense. Aside from the sacrifice fly, he went 3-4 in the game with his first triple. Alex Swim is now hitting .347 after a 2-5 game. Brett Lee made the start for the Miracle. Through seven innings, he did not allow a run. He went out for the eighth inning but after one out, he had gave up a run. Brian Gilbert came on and allowed the runner to score and tie the game. Of the two runs Lee gave up, just one was earned. Luke Westphal pitched scoreless frames in the ninth and tenth innings to record his first win in affiliated baseball. The Miracle won for the fifth straight game to improve to 14-16. Of their first 30 games, 11 of them have gone to extra frames. KERNELS NUGGETS Because of rain on Friday night, the Kernels got to play two games on Saturday. Cedar Rapids 5, Beloit 2 Game 1 - Box Score Michael Cederoth started the first game and went six innings. He recorded his first win of the season. He was charged with two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out five. Cameron Booser came on and continued his dominance. He recorded his third save with two strikeouts in a perfect inning. The Kernels scored five runs on just six hits. Zack Larson went 3-3 with an RBI. Max Murphy went 2-3 with his third double. He also stole his third base. Brett Doe had the big hit in the game, a two-run homer in the second inning. Pat Kelly drove in two runs for the Kernels as well. Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 2 (9 innings) Game 2 - Box Score The Kernels needed nine innings to win the second game of the day. Of course, in the minor leagues, doubleheader games are seven innings, so this was an extra-innings game. Felix Jorge made the start and was very good through the first six innings. He gave up one run on three hits. He didn’t walk any batters and struck out five. Max Murphy got the team a lead when he hit a two-run homer, his first long ball of the season. He was 2-4 in this game as well. Trey Vavra went 1-2 with two walks. Larson added a hit in this game (4-7 on the day). Pat Kelly provided the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning. Jorge left the game with a 2-1 lead. Zach Tillery came on to try to get the save. He gave up a run in the seventh to send the game to extra innings. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning. With another one-run lead, Jake Mauer went to Trevor Hildenberger who slammed the door. He struck out two batters in a scoreless inning, dropping his ERA to 0.56 and giving him his third save. With the doubleheader sweep, the Kernels are now 19-11 on the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Brett Lee, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Louisville (1:05 CST) – LHP Jason Wheeler Jackson @ Chattanooga (1:15 CST) – RHP DJ Baxendale Ft. Myers – No Game Scheduled Cedar Rapids – No Game Scheduled Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Saturday games.
  7. RED WINGS REPORT Game 1 – Rochester 0, Syracuse 1 Box Score There is no way around it. Alex Meyer really struggled in his first two starts, primarily with his control. His third start was supposed to be on Monday night, but rain postponed it until Tuesday afternoon as part of a doubleheader. Meyer struggled early. Over the first two innings, just 12 of his 25 pitches were strikes, and yet he did not allow a run. In fact, he did not allow a single run over his six innings. He gave up just two hits. He walked three and struck out a career-high 11 batters. Of his 96 pitches, 55 of them were strikes (57.3%). However, the Red Wings bats were unable to do much against Syracuse starter A.J. Cole, who threw six shutout innings. Former Twins draft pick Evan Meek tossed a scoreless seventh. The Red Wings managed just six hits in the game (double what Syracuse had). Reynaldo Rodriguez went 2-3 with his second double of the season. A.J. Achter came on in the bottom of the 7th and threw just one pitch. It was a strike, and third baseman Jason Martinson ended the first game with a solo home run. Game 2 – Rochester 2, Syracuse 0 Box Score Meyer’s former college teammate at Kentucky, Taylor Rogers, was summoned to make the Game 2 start. The lefty was very good again. He too worked six scoreless innings for the Red Wings. He gave up just four hits, walked one, hit one and struck out six. 62 of his 90 pitches were strikes (68.9%). Michael Tonkin came on for the ninth to protect a two-run lead. He walked one batter but got through the inning unscathed to record his fourth save of the year. As they did in the first game, the Red Wings had six hits. Aaron Hicks was 1-2 with a walk. Doug Bernier added a double. The two RBI came in the third innings on RBI singles from Argenis Diaz and Eddie Rosario. The split keeps the Red Wings at .500 on the season, at 6-6. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Mississippi 4 Box Score Tyler Duffey started this game with three shutout innings. That gave him a career-high 16.2 scoreless innings. However, he gave up a single run each of the next four innings. In totally, he was charged with four runs on eight hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out two. Nick Burdi came on for the eighth inning. He got the first two batters out. He then gave up two hits and a walk before ending the inning with a strikeout. Unfortunately, the Lookouts were not able to do anything on offense. They had just two hits, doubles by Miguel Sano and Carlos Paulino. Dalton Hicks and Byron Buxton each walked twice. The Lookouts are now have a 6-5 record. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 0, Palm Beach 4 Box Score Kohl Stewart made his third start of the year. Through six innings, he had allowed just two runs. However, he was charged with two more runs in the 7th inning. His full line reads, four runs on six hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out two. Brian Gilbert came on to get the final two outs of the seventh frame and then pitched a scoreless eighth inning. The Miracle had seven hits and six walks in the game. Logan Wade went 3-4. Marcus Knecht was 1-3 with a walk. Aderlin Mejia walked twice. The Miracle drop to 5-8 on the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Wisconsin 1 Box Score Despite playing in sub-40 degree temperatures, the Kernels bats were hot in this game. With no score in the top of the third, Trey Vavra came to the plate with two on and belted his third home run of the year. The three-run blast was his third home run of the season. The Kernels added a single run in the sixth inning when a Brian Navarreto sacrifice fly scored T.J. White, who had doubled. In the seventh inning Zach Granite doubled and later scored on a Zack Larson single. Larson scored on a Trey Vavra triple, and Vavra scored on a TJ White single. When Nick Gordon singled in a run in the 8th inning, it gave the Kernels an 8-1 lead and also meant that all nine Kernels starters had at least one hit in the game. A Max Murphy RBI groundout followed by an RBI single off the bat of Vavra, and the Kernels had a 10-1 lead. Vavra led the offense, going 3-5 with a triple, a home run and five RBI. Larson went 3-4 with a walk. T.J .White was 2-5 with his third double. Zach Granite hit his fourth double and stole his fourth base. Of course, pitching is still a very important part of the team, and on this night the Kernels got another strong start from lefty Mat Batts. In 6.2 innings, he gave up one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out six. He left the game with two outs in the seventh and no runs allowed. Right-hander Miles Nordgren came on and hit a batter and gave up an RBI single before getting the final out of the inning. He pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to finish it out. And as the game finished, the temperatures were in the low-30s, and there was a wintry mix of snow, rain and sleet blowing horizontally. With the win, the Kernels improve to 9-4 on the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Taylor Rogers, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trey Vavra, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (12:05 CST) – LHP Jason Wheeler Chattanooga @Mississippi (11:00 am CST) – RHP JO Berrios Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (5:35 CST) – RHP Aaron Slegers Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Zach Tillery Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Tuesday games.
  8. Three teams struggled to do anything on offense on Tuesday, but the Cedar Rapids Kernels remained hot and picked up another big win… in the snow in Wisconsin. The Red Wings played two games, each started by a pitcher from the University of Kentucky. Both pitched very well. One big streak came to an end for a Lookouts pitcher. It was a full schedule and more in the Twins farm system. Read all about it below.RED WINGS REPORT Game 1 – Rochester 0, Syracuse 1 Box Score There is no way around it. Alex Meyer really struggled in his first two starts, primarily with his control. His third start was supposed to be on Monday night, but rain postponed it until Tuesday afternoon as part of a doubleheader. Meyer struggled early. Over the first two innings, just 12 of his 25 pitches were strikes, and yet he did not allow a run. In fact, he did not allow a single run over his six innings. He gave up just two hits. He walked three and struck out a career-high 11 batters. Of his 96 pitches, 55 of them were strikes (57.3%). However, the Red Wings bats were unable to do much against Syracuse starter A.J. Cole, who threw six shutout innings. Former Twins draft pick Evan Meek tossed a scoreless seventh. The Red Wings managed just six hits in the game (double what Syracuse had). Reynaldo Rodriguez went 2-3 with his second double of the season. A.J. Achter came on in the bottom of the 7th and threw just one pitch. It was a strike, and third baseman Jason Martinson ended the first game with a solo home run. Game 2 – Rochester 2, Syracuse 0 Box Score Meyer’s former college teammate at Kentucky, Taylor Rogers, was summoned to make the Game 2 start. The lefty was very good again. He too worked six scoreless innings for the Red Wings. He gave up just four hits, walked one, hit one and struck out six. 62 of his 90 pitches were strikes (68.9%). Michael Tonkin came on for the ninth to protect a two-run lead. He walked one batter but got through the inning unscathed to record his fourth save of the year. As they did in the first game, the Red Wings had six hits. Aaron Hicks was 1-2 with a walk. Doug Bernier added a double. The two RBI came in the third innings on RBI singles from Argenis Diaz and Eddie Rosario. The split keeps the Red Wings at .500 on the season, at 6-6. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Mississippi 4 Box Score Tyler Duffey started this game with three shutout innings. That gave him a career-high 16.2 scoreless innings. However, he gave up a single run each of the next four innings. In totally, he was charged with four runs on eight hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out two. Nick Burdi came on for the eighth inning. He got the first two batters out. He then gave up two hits and a walk before ending the inning with a strikeout. Unfortunately, the Lookouts were not able to do anything on offense. They had just two hits, doubles by Miguel Sano and Carlos Paulino. Dalton Hicks and Byron Buxton each walked twice. The Lookouts are now have a 6-5 record. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 0, Palm Beach 4 Box Score Kohl Stewart made his third start of the year. Through six innings, he had allowed just two runs. However, he was charged with two more runs in the 7th inning. His full line reads, four runs on six hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out two. Brian Gilbert came on to get the final two outs of the seventh frame and then pitched a scoreless eighth inning. The Miracle had seven hits and six walks in the game. Logan Wade went 3-4. Marcus Knecht was 1-3 with a walk. Aderlin Mejia walked twice. The Miracle drop to 5-8 on the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Wisconsin 1 Box Score Despite playing in sub-40 degree temperatures, the Kernels bats were hot in this game. With no score in the top of the third, Trey Vavra came to the plate with two on and belted his third home run of the year. The three-run blast was his third home run of the season. The Kernels added a single run in the sixth inning when a Brian Navarreto sacrifice fly scored T.J. White, who had doubled. In the seventh inning Zach Granite doubled and later scored on a Zack Larson single. Larson scored on a Trey Vavra triple, and Vavra scored on a TJ White single. When Nick Gordon singled in a run in the 8th inning, it gave the Kernels an 8-1 lead and also meant that all nine Kernels starters had at least one hit in the game. A Max Murphy RBI groundout followed by an RBI single off the bat of Vavra, and the Kernels had a 10-1 lead. Vavra led the offense, going 3-5 with a triple, a home run and five RBI. Larson went 3-4 with a walk. T.J .White was 2-5 with his third double. Zach Granite hit his fourth double and stole his fourth base. Of course, pitching is still a very important part of the team, and on this night the Kernels got another strong start from lefty Mat Batts. In 6.2 innings, he gave up one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out six. He left the game with two outs in the seventh and no runs allowed. Right-hander Miles Nordgren came on and hit a batter and gave up an RBI single before getting the final out of the inning. He pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to finish it out. And as the game finished, the temperatures were in the low-30s, and there was a wintry mix of snow, rain and sleet blowing horizontally. With the win, the Kernels improve to 9-4 on the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Taylor Rogers, Rochester Red Wings Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trey Vavra, Cedar Rapids Kernels SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (12:05 CST) – LHP Jason Wheeler Chattanooga @Mississippi (11:00 am CST) – RHP JO Berrios Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (5:35 CST) – RHP Aaron Slegers Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Zach Tillery Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Tuesday games. Click here to view the article
  9. When it comes to speed, few in the Twins organization are faster than Granite. In fact, if you were to line up every member of the Twins organization, and had them run the 60-yard dash, there’s a good chance that Granite would cross the finish line first. Zach Granite is from Staten Island, New York and proud of it. He’s tough, and he plays with an aggressiveness that is fun to watch on the baseball diamond. After high school, he attended Seton Hall before the Twins drafted him in the 14th round of the 2013 draft. The 22-year-old is returning to the Cedar Rapids Kernels this year in large part because he missed so much time with injury in 2014. He was hurt four games into the season. He returned in late June, but two weeks later, he was back in Ft. Myers with another injury. As you would expect and understand, he was quite frustrated when he went back home to New York. “I had a really bad season last year, so I took a good month off and cleared my head. I needed that. I was in my own head, just from not playing. I was thinking too much about it.” However, manager Jake Mauer is happy to have Granite back in the outfield and back at the top of the order. “He had a real tough year last year. He can ignite the offense. He sees a lot of pitches. He hits line drives. He steals bases.” For his part, Granite understands his role at the top of the order. Granite fits the mold for a leadoff hitter. “I’m just trying to see pitches. I’m trying to get myself good counts. They just keep throwing me balls so I keep walking. I feel like I have a pretty good eye at the plate. I’m just waiting for my pitch and if it’s not there, I’m not swinging.” Twice in the Kernels first four games, Granite has stretched a single into a double by simply hustling right out of the box and not hesitating. Asked if he is thinking double out of the box, Granite said, “Oh yeah. I’m thinking triple out of the box. I stop at second because they throw it in, but yeah, I’m always thinking extra bases. There’s nothing better than a double. I like having extra base hits.” As Mauer said, his professional approach at the plate and that aggressiveness on the base paths can be contagious. Mauer said that Granite “sets the tone.” Granite is excited to be a part of this Kernels roster and how they are coming together as a team (as their 5-0 record through Monday's game shows). He enjoys seeing how well everyone is running the bases. “The way we’ve been playing right now, we’re running until they stop us. The first four games, we’ve been doing an excellent job on the bases. Larson, he’s got more stolen bases than me, and I’m not happy about it. He’s doing a good job.” Asked for comment about having more stolen bases, Zack Larson said, “And it’s going to stay that way!” Granite is also impressed thus far with the young man hitting right after him in the Kernels lineup, Nick Gordon. “Having Nick Gordon hitting behind me is great. He is doing a really great job.” The goals are high for Granite in 2015, and it starts with staying on the field. “The most important thing - 100% - stay healthy. I want to lead the league in runs scored. I think that’d be huge for a leadoff hitter, and I think it’s attainable with the guys I’ve got hitting behind me like Gordon and Larson, and all the way down.” He continued. “I want to grab 50 bags this season. I think it’s attainable. I’ve been working with Sam Perlozzo, our base running guy, and even Tommy (Watkins), we’ve been doing stuff to improve.” Defensively, Granite says he is comfortable at all three outfield positions. Fortunately, his manager is comfortable with that as well. “He is probably best suited for left field, but he can play all three, especially center and right if needed.” 2015 is a big year for Zach Granite, and he knows it. As mentioned, he just needs to stay healthy. If he is able to do that, he will be a catalyst for this Cedar Rapids roster. Well, he will be until there is a need for an outfielder in Ft. Myers, of course.
  10. On Saturday in Kane County, Zach Granite hit a single. Only he didn’t see it as a single and hustled to second, beating the throw fairly easily for a double. A couple of pitches later, Nick Gordon bunted for a hit and was barely thrown out at first base. Granite advanced to third base, but he didn’t stop there. Without even a slight hesitation, he rushed toward home and slid in safely, easily beating the throw from first base. Speed Kills.When it comes to speed, few in the Twins organization are faster than Granite. In fact, if you were to line up every member of the Twins organization, and had them run the 60-yard dash, there’s a good chance that Granite would cross the finish line first. Zach Granite is from Staten Island, New York and proud of it. He’s tough, and he plays with an aggressiveness that is fun to watch on the baseball diamond. After high school, he attended Seton Hall before the Twins drafted him in the 14th round of the 2013 draft. The 22-year-old is returning to the Cedar Rapids Kernels this year in large part because he missed so much time with injury in 2014. He was hurt four games into the season. He returned in late June, but two weeks later, he was back in Ft. Myers with another injury. As you would expect and understand, he was quite frustrated when he went back home to New York. “I had a really bad season last year, so I took a good month off and cleared my head. I needed that. I was in my own head, just from not playing. I was thinking too much about it.” However, manager Jake Mauer is happy to have Granite back in the outfield and back at the top of the order. “He had a real tough year last year. He can ignite the offense. He sees a lot of pitches. He hits line drives. He steals bases.” For his part, Granite understands his role at the top of the order. Granite fits the mold for a leadoff hitter. “I’m just trying to see pitches. I’m trying to get myself good counts. They just keep throwing me balls so I keep walking. I feel like I have a pretty good eye at the plate. I’m just waiting for my pitch and if it’s not there, I’m not swinging.” Twice in the Kernels first four games, Granite has stretched a single into a double by simply hustling right out of the box and not hesitating. Asked if he is thinking double out of the box, Granite said, “Oh yeah. I’m thinking triple out of the box. I stop at second because they throw it in, but yeah, I’m always thinking extra bases. There’s nothing better than a double. I like having extra base hits.” As Mauer said, his professional approach at the plate and that aggressiveness on the base paths can be contagious. Mauer said that Granite “sets the tone.” Granite is excited to be a part of this Kernels roster and how they are coming together as a team (as their 5-0 record through Monday's game shows). He enjoys seeing how well everyone is running the bases. “The way we’ve been playing right now, we’re running until they stop us. The first four games, we’ve been doing an excellent job on the bases. Larson, he’s got more stolen bases than me, and I’m not happy about it. He’s doing a good job.” Asked for comment about having more stolen bases, Zack Larson said, “And it’s going to stay that way!” Granite is also impressed thus far with the young man hitting right after him in the Kernels lineup, Nick Gordon. “Having Nick Gordon hitting behind me is great. He is doing a really great job.” The goals are high for Granite in 2015, and it starts with staying on the field. “The most important thing - 100% - stay healthy. I want to lead the league in runs scored. I think that’d be huge for a leadoff hitter, and I think it’s attainable with the guys I’ve got hitting behind me like Gordon and Larson, and all the way down.” He continued. “I want to grab 50 bags this season. I think it’s attainable. I’ve been working with Sam Perlozzo, our base running guy, and even Tommy (Watkins), we’ve been doing stuff to improve.” Defensively, Granite says he is comfortable at all three outfield positions. Fortunately, his manager is comfortable with that as well. “He is probably best suited for left field, but he can play all three, especially center and right if needed.” 2015 is a big year for Zach Granite, and he knows it. As mentioned, he just needs to stay healthy. If he is able to do that, he will be a catalyst for this Cedar Rapids roster. Well, he will be until there is a need for an outfielder in Ft. Myers, of course. Click here to view the article
  11. In the majors on Sunday afternoon, Phil Hughes was out-dueled by Chris Sale who was making his first start of 2015 season, as the Twins lost the rubber-match of their three game series 6-2 in Chicago. In the minors, all four of the Twins full-season affiliates were in action on Sunday, and there were a lot of zeroes put up on the scoreboards.Read on to see how each of them fared. RED WINGS REPORT Buffalo 2, Rochester 0 Box Score On the mound for the Red Wings Sunday afternoon was big left-hander Jason Wheeler and he put forth a strong quality start effort. Unfortunately, he was also saddled with a loss as the home team lineup was unable to provide any offense to support him. In the losing effort, Wheeler tossed 6.2 innings and allowed just four hits, but four walks doomed him as both the Bisons’ runs were scored by batters who had been issued a free pass. In the third inning Wheeler walked the leadoff man who was sacrificed over to second base, then moved to third on a groundout before a Chris Dickerson single brought in the first run of the game. In the fourth inning, Chris Colabello drew another leadoff walk, and was brought home on a triple from Caleb Grindl. That was it for the offense from either side in this one. Lester Oliveros relieved Wheeler with two outs in the seventh inning, and struck out two while finishing the eighth. Stephen Pryor came in for the ninth and struck out one. The Red Wings outhit the Bisons 8-5 on the game, but were also 0-5 with runners in scoring position and left eleven men on base. Eddie Rosario (2-4, 2B) and Doug Bernier (2-4) each collected two hits on the day. Aaron Hicks was 0-5 with three strikeouts. LOOKOUTS LOOK-INS or CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 6, Montgomery 0 Box Score It was another pitcher’s duel for most of the game in Montgomery, as the first twelve Lookouts hitters were retired in order, including five via strikeout, before Dalton Hicks led off the top of the fifth inning with a double. D.J. Baxendale started for Chattanooga, and kept the Biscuits lineup at bay in similar fashion, scattering six hits and one walk in 6.1 innings, while striking out four to pick up his first victory of 2015. Ryan O’Rourke came on and retired consecutive left-handed hitters, including one strikeout, to finish the seventh inning. Dallas Gallant got the save while pitching the final two innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. The Lookouts didn’t put any runs on the board until the seventh inning, when the Biscuit’s went to their bullpen. Miguel Sano drew a leadoff walk, Hicks singled him to third and advanced to second on the throw, then Travis Harrison brought them both home with a single to center field to take the lead 2-0. Harrison would later come around to score on a sac fly from Stuart Turner to make it 3-0. RBIs from Mike Gonzalez (double), Adam Brett Walker (sac fly), and Byron Buxton (single) would make the score 6-0 in the top of the ninth after Hicks and Harrison drew consecutive walks to start the inning. For the game, the Lookouts offense was led by Hicks (2-3, 2 R’s, 2B, BB) and Harrison (1-3, 2 R’s, 2 RBI, BB), but everyone in the lineup reached base at least once, and Sano was the only batter without a hit. Byron Buxton (1-5, RBI, 2 K’s) also notched his first steal of year. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 0, Charlotte 4 Box Score It was another shutout performance for a Twins affiliate, but this one also came on the wrong end and was the second time in the opening four game home-and-home series the Stone Crabs shut out the Miracle in Port Charlotte. The Miracle lineup managed just five hits and two walks on the night, and like their Red Wings brothers, struggled when they did have opportunities. As a team they went 0-10 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base for the game. Niko Goodrum was the lone standout, going 2-3 with a double and a walk, but was stranded in scoring position three times. Logan Wade (1-4, 2B), Alex Swim (1-3, BB), and Engelb Vielma (1-3) collected the other three hits. On the mound for the Miracle was Ethan Mildren, the Twins 12th round draft pick in 2013 out of the University of Pittsburgh. In five innings, the right-hander surrendered just two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two. Alex Muren pitched two scoreless innings in relief (1 H, 1 BB, 2 K’s), while Brian Gilbert allowed the two other runs in the eighth inning on three singles and a double. KERNELS NUGGETS Beloit 3, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score Cedar Rapids scored early and late en-route to a 8-3 home victory at Perfect Game Field to move to 4-0 on the season. To get the scoring started, Zach Granite led off the game for the Kernels with a single and scored on a Zack Larson ground out. Tyler Kuresa then doubled in Jorge Fernandez who had reached base with a walk to give the Kernels a 2-0 lead out of the gate. In the second inning, the Kernels loaded the bases with two outs, and right-fielder Zack Larson cleared them with a double. Video by SD Buhr Beloit closed the gap to 5-3, before the home team tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth inning. Jonatan Hinojosa and Brian Navaretto led off the frame with back-to-back singles and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Tanner English. Granite then brought them both home with a double before scoring himself on a single from Nick Gordon. Granite (2-3, 3 R’s, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Larson (2-5, 2B, 4 RBI) and Hinjosa (2-4, R,) collected multiple hits on the day. Kuresa and T.J. White added doubles to the effort. Hard throwing righty Michael Cederoth made the start for the Kernels and made it through four innings before being replaced by Sam Clay in the fifth. Cederoth allowed one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three. Clay lasted just one-third of an inning as he walked the bases loaded and gave up a bases- clearing double. Zach Tillery came on to finish the fifth, and then three more innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out four in 3.2 innings. Cameron Booser finished the game for the Kernels, walking one but striking out the side to end the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – D.J. Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts (W, 6.1 IP, 0 R’s, 6 H’s, 1 BB, 4 K’s) Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Zack Larson, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-5, 2B, 4 RBI) MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (5:35 PM CST) – RHP Mark Hamburger Chattanooga @ Montgomery (10:35 AM CST) – RHP Alex Wimmers Fort Myers @ Tampa (6:00 PM CST) – RHP Ryan Eades Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) – RHP Felix Jorge Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Sunday games. Click here to view the article
  12. Read on to see how each of them fared. RED WINGS REPORT Buffalo 2, Rochester 0 Box Score On the mound for the Red Wings Sunday afternoon was big left-hander Jason Wheeler and he put forth a strong quality start effort. Unfortunately, he was also saddled with a loss as the home team lineup was unable to provide any offense to support him. In the losing effort, Wheeler tossed 6.2 innings and allowed just four hits, but four walks doomed him as both the Bisons’ runs were scored by batters who had been issued a free pass. In the third inning Wheeler walked the leadoff man who was sacrificed over to second base, then moved to third on a groundout before a Chris Dickerson single brought in the first run of the game. In the fourth inning, Chris Colabello drew another leadoff walk, and was brought home on a triple from Caleb Grindl. That was it for the offense from either side in this one. Lester Oliveros relieved Wheeler with two outs in the seventh inning, and struck out two while finishing the eighth. Stephen Pryor came in for the ninth and struck out one. The Red Wings outhit the Bisons 8-5 on the game, but were also 0-5 with runners in scoring position and left eleven men on base. Eddie Rosario (2-4, 2B) and Doug Bernier (2-4) each collected two hits on the day. Aaron Hicks was 0-5 with three strikeouts. LOOKOUTS LOOK-INS or CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 6, Montgomery 0 Box Score It was another pitcher’s duel for most of the game in Montgomery, as the first twelve Lookouts hitters were retired in order, including five via strikeout, before Dalton Hicks led off the top of the fifth inning with a double. D.J. Baxendale started for Chattanooga, and kept the Biscuits lineup at bay in similar fashion, scattering six hits and one walk in 6.1 innings, while striking out four to pick up his first victory of 2015. Ryan O’Rourke came on and retired consecutive left-handed hitters, including one strikeout, to finish the seventh inning. Dallas Gallant got the save while pitching the final two innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. The Lookouts didn’t put any runs on the board until the seventh inning, when the Biscuit’s went to their bullpen. Miguel Sano drew a leadoff walk, Hicks singled him to third and advanced to second on the throw, then Travis Harrison brought them both home with a single to center field to take the lead 2-0. Harrison would later come around to score on a sac fly from Stuart Turner to make it 3-0. RBIs from Mike Gonzalez (double), Adam Brett Walker (sac fly), and Byron Buxton (single) would make the score 6-0 in the top of the ninth after Hicks and Harrison drew consecutive walks to start the inning. For the game, the Lookouts offense was led by Hicks (2-3, 2 R’s, 2B, BB) and Harrison (1-3, 2 R’s, 2 RBI, BB), but everyone in the lineup reached base at least once, and Sano was the only batter without a hit. Byron Buxton (1-5, RBI, 2 K’s) also notched his first steal of year. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 0, Charlotte 4 Box Score It was another shutout performance for a Twins affiliate, but this one also came on the wrong end and was the second time in the opening four game home-and-home series the Stone Crabs shut out the Miracle in Port Charlotte. The Miracle lineup managed just five hits and two walks on the night, and like their Red Wings brothers, struggled when they did have opportunities. As a team they went 0-10 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base for the game. Niko Goodrum was the lone standout, going 2-3 with a double and a walk, but was stranded in scoring position three times. Logan Wade (1-4, 2B), Alex Swim (1-3, BB), and Engelb Vielma (1-3) collected the other three hits. On the mound for the Miracle was Ethan Mildren, the Twins 12th round draft pick in 2013 out of the University of Pittsburgh. In five innings, the right-hander surrendered just two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two. Alex Muren pitched two scoreless innings in relief (1 H, 1 BB, 2 K’s), while Brian Gilbert allowed the two other runs in the eighth inning on three singles and a double. KERNELS NUGGETS Beloit 3, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score Cedar Rapids scored early and late en-route to a 8-3 home victory at Perfect Game Field to move to 4-0 on the season. To get the scoring started, Zach Granite led off the game for the Kernels with a single and scored on a Zack Larson ground out. Tyler Kuresa then doubled in Jorge Fernandez who had reached base with a walk to give the Kernels a 2-0 lead out of the gate. In the second inning, the Kernels loaded the bases with two outs, and right-fielder Zack Larson cleared them with a double. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvYRcZIF6oA&feature=youtu.be Video by SD Buhr Beloit closed the gap to 5-3, before the home team tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth inning. Jonatan Hinojosa and Brian Navaretto led off the frame with back-to-back singles and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Tanner English. Granite then brought them both home with a double before scoring himself on a single from Nick Gordon. Granite (2-3, 3 R’s, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Larson (2-5, 2B, 4 RBI) and Hinjosa (2-4, R,) collected multiple hits on the day. Kuresa and T.J. White added doubles to the effort. Hard throwing righty Michael Cederoth made the start for the Kernels and made it through four innings before being replaced by Sam Clay in the fifth. Cederoth allowed one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three. Clay lasted just one-third of an inning as he walked the bases loaded and gave up a bases- clearing double. Zach Tillery came on to finish the fifth, and then three more innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out four in 3.2 innings. Cameron Booser finished the game for the Kernels, walking one but striking out the side to end the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – D.J. Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts (W, 6.1 IP, 0 R’s, 6 H’s, 1 BB, 4 K’s) Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Zack Larson, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-5, 2B, 4 RBI) MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Scranton/Wilkes Barre (5:35 PM CST) – RHP Mark Hamburger Chattanooga @ Montgomery (10:35 AM CST) – RHP Alex Wimmers Fort Myers @ Tampa (6:00 PM CST) – RHP Ryan Eades Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) – RHP Felix Jorge Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Sunday games.
  13. First, I made the long trek down to Cedar Rapids, in part, because I really do enjoy the experience. Perfect Game Field is tremendous. The grass was green, and the game-experience is wonderful for a fan. As is done in minor league stadiums across the country, there are games and give-aways between innings. They make it a lot of fun. If you live in the southern Twin Cities area, you’re looking at about a four hour drive to Cedar Rapids. And it’s easy. Just take 35W south for about 150 miles. Around Mason City, you exit onto 27 South and take that for 50 miles or so. Then 218 South, followed by 380 south. All of these are four-lane highways so the drive is really easy and smooth. As always, it’s great to get there and be greeted by Tommy Watkins. I watched the Kernels take batting practice and as they were just about done, it began to sprinkle. The Kernels quickly finished batting practice, and then the grounds crew got the tarp on the infield. It never really rained hard. In fact, the Beloit Snappers players got their stretching in and played catch on the outfield grass. They just took batting practice in the cages under the stadium. Looking at the radar, it was clear that there would be clouds and sprinkles until about 4:00 (scheduled game time), but then there would be nothing after that. Radar proved very accurate. The tarp came off the infield around 3:45 and the Kernels grounds crew had the field ready for player introductions at about 4:15. There is a grill down the left field line that I would definitely recommend if you get to a Kernels game this spring or summer. You can get burgers, hot dogs, brats, chicken, pork and more right off the grill. You can then add toppings. I added fire-roasted peppers and onions, some jalapenos and mushrooms on top of mine. Excellent! Oh yeah, the game and baseball stuff. There was a game that was played and it was a good game. Michael Cederoth made the start for the Kernels. He had a scoreless first inning with two groundouts and a strikeout. The Kernels scored once in the first inning. Zach Granite led off with a ground ball to shortstop that he beat out. The shortstop was charged with an error because he had to rush. My personal opinion is that he would have beat out the throw anyway. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Zack Larson grounded out to third but it scored Granite to give the Kernels the lead. After a Jorge Fernandez walk, Tyler Kuresa doubled down the left-field line to score the speedy Fernandez. The Snappers had the bases loaded in the second inning on a single, a walk and a bunt. Cederoth did a nice job to get out of the inning, allowing just one run. The inning’s fourth batter hit a slow grounder down the first base line. Tyler Kuresa fielded it, looked home but there was no play there, and he tagged out the batter running down the line. The Kernels second inning was their big inning, though it didn’t start out looking like the team would score. Jhonatan Hinojosa lined a single to center field. Unfortunately, he was caught stealing. The next batter struck out. With two outs, Tanner English singled to right field. He stole second and advanced to third base on a balk. Zach Granite walked and stole second base. Nick Gordon was hit by a two-strike pitch to load the bases. Zach Larson put together a really good at-bat that ended with a line drive double down the right-field line. Sidenote – Nick Gordon may not be as fast as his brother Dee, but watching him go from first to home showed that he can run really well. Cederoth got through four innings. He gave up just one run on three hits. He walked three and struck out three. However, he was done after four innings because he was already over 80 pitches. He had a lot of three-ball counts. In the first inning, he was throwing between 94 and 96 with the fastball. He also has a really good curveball. Of the Twins third-round pick in 2014, manager Jake Mauer said, “Cederoth was OK. He threw some really good breaking balls early in the game that weren’t called strikes. He’s working on some things. But if he can gain control, he can be really good. But, that’s why he’s here.” Lefty Sam Clay, the Twins 2014 fourth-round pick, came on for the fifth inning. He walked the first batter and then threw a wild pitch. He walked the second batter. He got an out on a ground ball, but then walked another batter to load the bases. Snappers third baseman Edwin Diaz doubled to score two more runs and cut the lead to 5-3. That was the end of the line for Clay. Zach Tillery, Twins 13th round pick last year, came on to play hero for the team. He got a strikeout before getting the final out on a ground ball. He then got nine out of the next ten batters out and completed 3.2 innings of shutout relief. “I got through it pretty well. That first inning, I let it go a little bit. I was pretty tired the rest of the way.” According to Mauer, Tillery entered spring training with an opportunity to start, “He was in the mix to start this spring, but with the trickle down all the way up, we decided to move him to the bullpen.” Tillery is just fine with that decision. “I started the year this year as a starter. A week and a half ago, our pitching coach Henry Bonilla said, ‘Hey man, you’re going to throw out of the pen.’ I did that in college, so that’s good.” Tillery says he throws “a fastball, a cutter, traditional breaking ball and a changeup.” Mauer said that Tillery will likely get a chance to start at some time this season. For his part, Tillery is just fine with his role right now. “Right now, I’m just trying to help the team win. That’s all I’m worried about. They can throw me out of the pen. They can have me close. They can do whatever they want. I’ll go play third base, for all I care.” The score remained 5-3 Kernels until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Kernels grabbed some insurance runs. With one out, Jhonatan Hinojosa and Brian Navarreto hit back-to-back singles. Tanner English bunted to advance them to second and third. Zach Granite came up with a big double to right center that scored two runs. It was a “normal” single, but he turned it into a double. When I asked Granite if he’s always thinking double, he said, “Oh yeah. I’m thinking triple out of the box. I stop at second because they throw it in, but yeah, I’m always thinking extra bases. There’s nothing better than a double. I like having extra base hits.” Lefty Cameron Booser came on for the ninth inning. He was a little nervous and walked the first batter. However, he struck out the next three. He has two pitches and both are excellent. His fastball sat between 95 and 96 mph and he touched 99 with one pitch. He also had a mid-80s slider. Even more impressive than his arm? His mustache! Following Sunday Kernels games, the Kernels players go out to the outfield grass. Fans are able to go down on the field and get autographs from the players for 15 to 20 minutes. At the same time, fans can run the bases or play catch in the outfield. Its’ really a pretty neat experience. The Kernels front office staff does a tremendous job of, well, everything. They have great promotions. They make the games great for their fans, and that’s what minor league baseball is about, the fan experience. And, of course, player development. The Kernels team has some really intriguing prospects. Obviously, 2014 top pick Nick Gordon headlines that list. However, there are several other minor leaguers whose names you will read frequently at Twins Daily who have a real chance to advance through the system and someday, maybe, play some games at Target Field. For those of you who live near the Twin Cities and really are Twins fans, I encourage you to make the drive down to Cedar Rapids at least once this summer, if you haven’t already, and check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
  14. Last night at Perfect Game Field at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, the Cedar Rapids Kernels played their Home Opener in front of a crowd of 1,732. After a short delay, the hometown team gave the crowd what they would look for, a lot of great action and a win to improve to 4-0. Here are some notes and quotes from Cedar Rapids Opening Night:First, I made the long trek down to Cedar Rapids, in part, because I really do enjoy the experience. Perfect Game Field is tremendous. The grass was green, and the game-experience is wonderful for a fan. As is done in minor league stadiums across the country, there are games and give-aways between innings. They make it a lot of fun. If you live in the southern Twin Cities area, you’re looking at about a four hour drive to Cedar Rapids. And it’s easy. Just take 35W south for about 150 miles. Around Mason City, you exit onto 27 South and take that for 50 miles or so. Then 218 South, followed by 380 south. All of these are four-lane highways so the drive is really easy and smooth. As always, it’s great to get there and be greeted by Tommy Watkins. I watched the Kernels take batting practice and as they were just about done, it began to sprinkle. The Kernels quickly finished batting practice, and then the grounds crew got the tarp on the infield. It never really rained hard. In fact, the Beloit Snappers players got their stretching in and played catch on the outfield grass. They just took batting practice in the cages under the stadium. Looking at the radar, it was clear that there would be clouds and sprinkles until about 4:00 (scheduled game time), but then there would be nothing after that. Radar proved very accurate. The tarp came off the infield around 3:45 and the Kernels grounds crew had the field ready for player introductions at about 4:15. There is a grill down the left field line that I would definitely recommend if you get to a Kernels game this spring or summer. You can get burgers, hot dogs, brats, chicken, pork and more right off the grill. You can then add toppings. I added fire-roasted peppers and onions, some jalapenos and mushrooms on top of mine. Excellent! Oh yeah, the game and baseball stuff. There was a game that was played and it was a good game. Michael Cederoth made the start for the Kernels. He had a scoreless first inning with two groundouts and a strikeout. The Kernels scored once in the first inning. Zach Granite led off with a ground ball to shortstop that he beat out. The shortstop was charged with an error because he had to rush. My personal opinion is that he would have beat out the throw anyway. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Zack Larson grounded out to third but it scored Granite to give the Kernels the lead. After a Jorge Fernandez walk, Tyler Kuresa doubled down the left-field line to score the speedy Fernandez. The Snappers had the bases loaded in the second inning on a single, a walk and a bunt. Cederoth did a nice job to get out of the inning, allowing just one run. The inning’s fourth batter hit a slow grounder down the first base line. Tyler Kuresa fielded it, looked home but there was no play there, and he tagged out the batter running down the line. The Kernels second inning was their big inning, though it didn’t start out looking like the team would score. Jhonatan Hinojosa lined a single to center field. Unfortunately, he was caught stealing. The next batter struck out. With two outs, Tanner English singled to right field. He stole second and advanced to third base on a balk. Zach Granite walked and stole second base. Nick Gordon was hit by a two-strike pitch to load the bases. Zach Larson put together a really good at-bat that ended with a line drive double down the right-field line. Sidenote – Nick Gordon may not be as fast as his brother Dee, but watching him go from first to home showed that he can run really well. Cederoth got through four innings. He gave up just one run on three hits. He walked three and struck out three. However, he was done after four innings because he was already over 80 pitches. He had a lot of three-ball counts. In the first inning, he was throwing between 94 and 96 with the fastball. He also has a really good curveball. Of the Twins third-round pick in 2014, manager Jake Mauer said, “Cederoth was OK. He threw some really good breaking balls early in the game that weren’t called strikes. He’s working on some things. But if he can gain control, he can be really good. But, that’s why he’s here.” Lefty Sam Clay, the Twins 2014 fourth-round pick, came on for the fifth inning. He walked the first batter and then threw a wild pitch. He walked the second batter. He got an out on a ground ball, but then walked another batter to load the bases. Snappers third baseman Edwin Diaz doubled to score two more runs and cut the lead to 5-3. That was the end of the line for Clay. Zach Tillery, Twins 13th round pick last year, came on to play hero for the team. He got a strikeout before getting the final out on a ground ball. He then got nine out of the next ten batters out and completed 3.2 innings of shutout relief. “I got through it pretty well. That first inning, I let it go a little bit. I was pretty tired the rest of the way.” According to Mauer, Tillery entered spring training with an opportunity to start, “He was in the mix to start this spring, but with the trickle down all the way up, we decided to move him to the bullpen.” Tillery is just fine with that decision. “I started the year this year as a starter. A week and a half ago, our pitching coach Henry Bonilla said, ‘Hey man, you’re going to throw out of the pen.’ I did that in college, so that’s good.” Tillery says he throws “a fastball, a cutter, traditional breaking ball and a changeup.” Mauer said that Tillery will likely get a chance to start at some time this season. For his part, Tillery is just fine with his role right now. “Right now, I’m just trying to help the team win. That’s all I’m worried about. They can throw me out of the pen. They can have me close. They can do whatever they want. I’ll go play third base, for all I care.” The score remained 5-3 Kernels until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Kernels grabbed some insurance runs. With one out, Jhonatan Hinojosa and Brian Navarreto hit back-to-back singles. Tanner English bunted to advance them to second and third. Zach Granite came up with a big double to right center that scored two runs. It was a “normal” single, but he turned it into a double. When I asked Granite if he’s always thinking double, he said, “Oh yeah. I’m thinking triple out of the box. I stop at second because they throw it in, but yeah, I’m always thinking extra bases. There’s nothing better than a double. I like having extra base hits.” Lefty Cameron Booser came on for the ninth inning. He was a little nervous and walked the first batter. However, he struck out the next three. He has two pitches and both are excellent. His fastball sat between 95 and 96 mph and he touched 99 with one pitch. He also had a mid-80s slider. Even more impressive than his arm? His mustache! Following Sunday Kernels games, the Kernels players go out to the outfield grass. Fans are able to go down on the field and get autographs from the players for 15 to 20 minutes. At the same time, fans can run the bases or play catch in the outfield. Its’ really a pretty neat experience. The Kernels front office staff does a tremendous job of, well, everything. They have great promotions. They make the games great for their fans, and that’s what minor league baseball is about, the fan experience. And, of course, player development. The Kernels team has some really intriguing prospects. Obviously, 2014 top pick Nick Gordon headlines that list. However, there are several other minor leaguers whose names you will read frequently at Twins Daily who have a real chance to advance through the system and someday, maybe, play some games at Target Field. For those of you who live near the Twin Cities and really are Twins fans, I encourage you to make the drive down to Cedar Rapids at least once this summer, if you haven’t already, and check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Click here to view the article
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