Monday, May 11, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (5/11): Dean Dominates, Hicks Promoted

Adam Brett Walker hit his ninth home run.
With the major league version of the Twins having the night off, there were plenty of story lines to follow with Minnesota's minor league affiliates.

There was strong starting pitching performances at multiple levels including a complete game shutout. A couple of star prospects added to their impressive numbers in Chattanooga. One team's winning streak reached a season high while another team's winning streak came to a tragic end.

Let's find out what happened down on the farm.

Rochester 4, Toledo 0
Pat Dean scattered three hits on his way to a complete game shutout and Aaron Hicks continued his hot hitting ways as Rochester tip-toed by Toledo. Dean struck out four and didn't walk anyone for his third victory. With the shutout, Dean's ERA dropped under 2.00 for the season and it was his first nine inning shutout since June 29, 2013 with the New Britain Rock Cats.

Aaron Hicks was making it tough for the Minnesota Twins to keep him in the minors and shortly after this game word began to spread that he would be called up. Hicks went 2-for-4 with a double, his tenth of the season, and a run scored. Danny Ortiz drove in three runs and Brock Peterson reached base three times including his first double.

With the win, Rochester improves to 17-13 on the season and stops a two-game losing skid. It was only the second victory in the last six games for the Red Wings.

Chattanooga 6, Birmingham 2
Byron Buxton wasted little time adding to his streak of consecutive games with an RBI. As the lead-off hitter in the top of the first inning, Buxton cranked his fourth home run of the season to stake the Lookouts to an early 1-0 lead. It was his tenth straight game with a run batted in and he's driven in 23 for the season.

Not to be outdone by Buxton, Adam Brett Walker hit his Southern League leading ninth home run of the season. The three-run shot stretched the Kernel's lead to 6-2. Walker finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Travis Harrison and Max Kelper each added doubles while Stuart Turner picked up a couple hits. 

Former first round pick Alex Wimmers went six strong innings allowing two earned runs and striking out nine while walking four. Tim Shibuya pitched one shutout inning and Jake Reed was asked to get the last six outs to preserve the lead.

Fort Myers 2, Dunedin 5
The big news in this game was the return to the mound of Kohl Stewart but his return didn't last long. In 2.1 innings of work, Stewart gave up four runs (1 ER) on two hits with a pair of walks and no strikeouts. David Hurlbut was asked to pitch six relief innings to close out the game. The only run he allowed was unearned and he struck out five.

Three defense errors from the Miracle really hurt them in this contest. Niko Goodrum was charged with two errors and Engelb Vielma had the other. The most costly error happened in the third inning with Stewart still on the mound. While attempting to start a double play, Goodrum's throw ended up in right field and two runs scored.

The Miracle managed seven hits in the game but none were for extra bases. Alex Swim has now hit safely in 15 straight contests, the longest streak in the Florida State League. Zach Granite and Marcus Knecht each picked up a couple of hits.

Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 1
Earlier in the day it was announced that outfielder Max Murphy was selected as the Midwest League Player of the Week. From May 4-10, Murphy went 10-for-25 (.400) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and nine runs batted in. He's the fourth Kernels player to pick up a league honor this season. 

The Kernels also made a roster move on Monday. Infielder Blake Schmit, an Eden Prairie native, joined the Kernels from Extended Spring Training. The 26th round pick in 2014 played 22 games last season for Elizabethton, hitting .162 with four RBI. In a corresponding move, Jonatan Hinojosa was sent to Extended Spring Training.

On this night, the Kernels extended their winning streak to a season high seven games. Jared Wilson improved to a perfect 4-0 after pitching five scoreless frames. He walked three and struck out two. Randy LeBlanc and Trevor Hildenberger each pitched two innings with LeBlanc surrendering the only run of the game. Hildenberger improved his ERA to 0.50 for the season.

Max Murphy continued his hot hitting ways by going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Nick Gordon and Trey Vavra each added two hits with Vavra notching his seventh double. TJ White reached base three times and Jorge Fernandez clocked his first home run of the season. Zack Larson snapped his streak of 10 consecutive games reaching base.

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Pat Dean, Rochester Red Wings
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Adam Brett Walker, Chattanooga Lookouts

Rochester vs. Toledo (6:05 CST) – LHP Taylor Rogers
Chattanooga @ Birmingham (5:30 CST)- TBA
Chattanooga @ Birmingham (Game 2)- RHP Tyler Duffey
Ft. Myers vs. Dunedin (6:05 CST) – RHP Aaron Slegers
Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (6:35 CST) - LHP Mat Batts

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games.

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