Monday, August 31, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (8/31): Tremendous Pitching Trio

Logan Darnell became the ninth Rochester Red Wings player to honored with a weekly award from the International League. Pat Dean (2x), Tommy Milone (2x), Tyler Duffey, Oswaldo Arcia, Reynaldo Rodriguez, and Byron Buxton have all been honored this year.

Darnell won two times this week and led the league with 17.0 innings pitched and 17 strikeouts. On Monday night, he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning as part of a Rochester shutout. Saturday was much of the same story as he allowed just one run on five hits over 8.0 innings. Since joining the starting rotation on August 13, Darnell has allowed just two earned runs on 14 hits in 28.0 innings of work.

Did anyone for Rochester get this week off to a good start? Read on to find out.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 4, Pawtucket 2
Box Score
UPDATE: Reports out of Rochester have Michael Tonkin, Eric Fryer, Danny Santana, and Kennys Vargas being called up with the possibility of others joining them once the MiLB season finishes.

In what could be his last start at Triple-A, Jose Berrios continued his recent hot streak. Over six innings, he allowed one earned run, a solo home run, on four hits with five strike outs and no walks. In his last ten starts with Rochester, Berrios has a 2.30 ERA with 73 strikeouts  and 12 walks in 62.2 innings.

Another potential September call-up, Danny Santana, had a big night at the plate and a poor night in the field. He was the only Red Wings player with multiple hits as he finished 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, and three RBI. On the defensive side, he committed two throwing errors. Aaron Hicks cracked a double in four trips to the plate for the team's only other extra-base hit.

Aaron Thompson allowed a run on one hit in 1.1 innings of work. He was credited with his fifth hold. Mark Hamburger collected his first save after getting the last five outs of the game. He allowed two hits and struck out one.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 4, Birmingham 5 (10 Innings)
Box Score
Aaron Slegers walked off the mound in his last start after being beat around for six runs in four innings of work. That version of Slegers didn't show-up versus Birmingham. In his fifth start at the Double-A level, he went seven strong innings by allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks. In four of his five appearances since being promoted, he's gone at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or less.

Alex Wimmers was able to get two outs in the bottom of the ninth but a clutch double plated a pair of runs and Slegers masterful start wouldn't figure into the final decision. Brandon Peterson replaced Wimmers for the tenth and allowed a lead-off triple as Shannon Wilkerson was removed after crashing into the wall trying to make a game saving catch.

Before being injured, Wilkerson scored two runs out of the lead-off spot and was helped out by a 2-for-4 night from Jorge Polanco as the number two hitter. Adam Brett Walker smacked his 30th double and drove in his 101st RBI during the team's big three run sixth inning.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 0, Peoria 1
Box Score
While a lot of fans might have been focused on the start by Jose Berrios, Felix Jorge was on the mound for Cedar Rapids and he's in the midst of a strong season.  He pitched into the seventh inning and the only run scored against him was unearned. He struck out six and walked one but the Kernels didn't give him any run support. It was his fourth straight quality start.

Michael Theofanopoulos was asked to get the final four outs of the game. He didn't allow a batter to reach base and he struck out three. It was his fourth consecutive appearance without allowing a run after allowing runs in four out of his five appearances prior to starting his current streak.

The Kernels offense was lacking after scoring an eye-popping 23 runs last Monday against the same squad. Austin Diemer went 2-for-3 and TJ White reached base twice but the team didn't put themselves in a lot of scoring opportunities. Cedar Rapids left seven men on base and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

E-TWINS E-NOTES
Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 5 (10 Innings)
Box Score
The E-Twins used the committee approach on the mound on Monday night. Cody Stashak pitched the first three innings by allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked one. Logan Lombana tossed the next three frames and he put up three zeros while striking out a pair of batters. Tyler Stirewalt struck out four in his three innings but he allowed two runs to score in the ninth to see the E-Twins lead disappear.

It looked like the game was over as the E-Twins trailed by one in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. AJ Murray pinch-hit for Lewin Diaz and he was able to get into scoring position with his 10th double. A wild pitch and a fielding error allowed the tying run to score before heading to extra-innings.

Jermaine Palacios doubled with one out in the 10th. Manuel Guzamn grounded out to second base but Palacios was able to advance to third on the play. LaMonte Wade could have played the hero but a wild pitch allowed Palacios to score from third and end the game.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Felix Jorge, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Danny Santana, Rochester Red Wings

TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester vs. Scranton/WB (6:05 CST) – RHP Michael Bowden
Chattanooga @ Birmingham (7:05 CST) – TBA
Fort Myers @ Jupiter (4:05 CST) – TBA
Fort Myers @ Jupiter (Game 2) – TBA
Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (7:00 CST) – TBA
Elizabethton vs. Bristol (6:00 CST) – TBA

Monday, August 24, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (8/24): Darnell Deals, Kernels Explode

Credit: Linwood Ferguson, Captive Photons
Rochester left-handed pitcher Pat Dean was awarded the International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. On Wednesday night, he tossed his league-leading third shutout and fourth complete game. He became the franchises first pitcher with three shutouts in a season since Rick Krivda in 1997.

Dean wasn't the only Twins pitcher to be honored this week. Sam Gibbons of the Cedar Rapids Kernels took home top honors in the Midwest League. In his lone start this week, Gibbons allowed one hit in eight shutout innings with twelve strikeouts and and no walks. He had been perfect through 5 2/3 innings before an infield single broke up the no-hitter and perfect game.

Did any other players make their case to win next week's Player of the Week award? You'll have to read on to find out.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 9, Syracuse 0
Box Score
Behind a massive offensive outburst and some superb pitching by Logan Darnell, the Red Wings were able to shutout the Chiefs for the team's 67th win. Darnell pitched a complete game shutout while limiting the opposition to five hits and striking out nine. It was his first victory since July 3rd but it was only his third start since joining the rotation.

Five players in the Rochester line-up had three hits apiece and the team collected 20 hits overall. Danny Ortiz was part of the three hit parade and two of his three hits were for extra-bases. The line for Ortiz could have looked even better but he was thrown out at home twice in the game. Argenis Diaz had the team's other extra-base hit, a double, and he drove in a pair of runs. Kennys Vargas was the lone hitter in the Red Wings batting order that failed to get a hit (0-for-6). 

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 4, Tennessee 2 (7 Innings)
Box Score
With the game tied in the bottom of the sixth frame, Adam Brett Walker stepped to the plate with the chance to play the hero. Max Kepler had just tied the game with a single that scored Jorge Polanco. Walker put the Lookouts in the lead with a two-run home run, his 28th long ball of the season. After being held without a home run for seven games, Walker homered in two straight contests.

David Hurlbut picked up his ninth victory after allowing two earned runs across six innings. He struck out four and walked three. It was his third straight start where he's gone at least six innings and allowed two runs or less. J.T. Chargois earned his tenth save with a perfect seventh inning including a strikeout.

Chattanooga 1, Tennessee 4 (7 Innings)
Box Score
Greg Peavey had the Lookouts locked into a 1-1 tie after four innings but he gave up three runs over the next pair of innings to see that tie disappear. Peavey finished by allowing three earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in 5.1 innings. Corey Williams finished off the game with 1.2 scoreless innings in his second appearance since being promoted from Fort Myers.

Niko Goodrum was the only hitter with multiple hits as he finished the night 2-for-3 with a run scored. Levi Michael smacked his 11th double of the season while DJ Hicks had the team's lone RBI. After homering in two straight games, Adam Brett Walker went 0-for-2 with a walk.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 3, Jupiter 10
Box Score
Fort Myers sent former first round pick Kohl Stewart to the mound on Monday but he couldn't do enough to help his team to victory. The defense behind Stewart did him little help as the Miracle committed a whopping five defensive errors. Stewart finished the night allowing seven runs (four earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks across 5.2 innings.

In his first appearance since being sent back from Chattanooga, Alex Muren had a rough night on the mound by allowing three earned runs in one inning. Brian Gilbert and Tyler Jay stopped some of the bleeding in the late innings. Jay struck out two in his inning of work.

There wasn't a single batter with more than one hit for the Miracle and none of the team's hits were for extra-bases. Mitch Garver drove in all three runs and Zach Granite scored two of the team's three runs. Engelb Vielma reached base twice and scored a run.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 23, Peoria 3
Box Score
Cedar Rapids didn't want to be outdone by their counterparts in Rochester so the club put on their own offensive clinic down in the Midwest League. The team jumped out to an early 5-0 in the first and added another 11 runs in the bottom of the fourth. Overall, the team pushed across 23 runs and clubbed an eye-popping 27 hits. It got so bad that the Chiefs used multiple position players as pitchers in the game.

When a team collects this many hits it's hard to know where to start with summarizing the night. Sean Miller lead the team with five hits and he scored four runs. TJ White went 4-for-7 with a double and a triple. He tied with Edgar Corcino with five runs driven in. All but two batters in the line-up had three hits or more and every batter had a hit and scored a run.

Keaton Steel was the beneficiary of the massive offensive backing. He settled into a nice rhythm on the mound and finished the night by allowing two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts across six innings. Zach Tillery allowed one run in two innings of work.

E-TWINS E-NOTES
Elizabethton 2, Greeneville 3
Box Score
The E-Twins held two different leads in this contest but weren't able to come up with the big hit to push their lead far enough ahead. Andro Cutura pitched into the sixth inning and allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out five and walked two while lowering his season ERA to 1.13. Nate Gercken took the loss, his third, as he allowed the game winning run to be scored in his two plus innings of work.

All of the E-Twins offense came from the top of the line-up. Outside the top three hitters, no one else was able to collect a hit. Alex Perez went 2-for-4 with a run scored but he committed two defensive errors. Jermaine Palacios had the team's only extra-base hit, his 11th double, and LaMonte Wade reached base twice. Zander Wiel didn't have a hit but he was credited with the team's only RBI.

GCL Twins Takes
GCL Twins 0, GCL Rays 2
Box Score
The Twins offense struggled to find any offense punch in this contest. Only two members of the line-up managed hits and the team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Ruar Verkerk went 2-for-3 before being lifted for a pinch runner in the late innings. Bryan Haar picked up one hit in three trips and he's hitting .300 for the season.

Jose Martinez was charged with his sixth loss but he didn't allow an earned run in four innings of work. He struck out four and walked one but the offense didn't do him any favors. Williams Ramirez and Hector Lujan combined to finish off the last two innings with Lujan allowing a run in the Rays last trip to the plate.

GCL Twins 1, GCL Rays 1 (Suspended)
Box Score
This game was supposed to be a make-up of a game played in the middle of July but rain interfered with its completion. The two teams will try and finish the contest on Tuesday. Look for a full report at Twins Daily when this game is completed.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Logan Darnell, Rochester Red Wings
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – TJ White, Cedar Rapids Kernels

TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Syracuse (6:05 CST) – LHP Pat Dean
Chattanooga vs. Tennessee  (6:15 CST) – LHP Brett Lee
Fort Myers vs. Jupiter (6:05 CST) – LHP Luke Westphal
Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (6:35 CST) – RHP Felix Jorge
Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) – TBA
GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays (11:00 am CST) – TBA
GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays (Completion of Today's 2nd Game)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (8/13): Walker Attack!

Credit: Craig Gordon
During the zombie apocalypse, a walker attack is not a good thing but for fans of the Chattanooga Lookouts, an Adam Brett Walker attack is a terrific thing.

Besides Walker's strong night at the plate, there  were multiple strong pitching performances across the Twins system on Thursday. This wasn't the only piece of good news as big name prospects like Byron Buxton and Max Kepler continued to try and find ways to help their teams to win.

Which players had the biggest games on Thursday? You will have to read on to find out...

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Buffalo 0 (7 Innings)
Box Score
Pat Dean didn't allow a run as he pitched into the seventh inning for his ninth win of the season. It was his second time in his last three starts that he pitched six innings or more and didn't allow a run. Michael Tonkin was called on to get the final two outs and he recorded his 12th save.

On the offensive side of the ball, Xavier Avery had a big game after replacing Oswaldo Arcia after he was hit by a pitch. Avery finished the day 3-for-3 with a home run and all three of the team's RBI. James Beresford and Eric Fryer each picked up a pair of hits and Byron Buxton went 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Rochester 1, Buffalo 2 (7 Innings)
Box Score
Rochester jumped out to an early 1-0 lead but the club wasn't able to hold on for their second win of the day. Logan Darnell put his club in position to win as he limited the Bisons to one run in 5.1 innings of work. He struck out five and walked one. Mark Hamburger took the loss after allowing the go-ahead run during his 1.1 innings.

There wasn't much excitement on the offensive side of things. Byron Buxton was the lone Red Wings player with multiple hits. He went 2-for-4 with a steal but he struck out two times as well. Doug Bernier reached base twice and scored the team's only run.

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 4, Tennessee 3
Box Score
Chattanooga scored a very important run in the bottom of the eighth innings as Tennessee would put two on the board in the ninth to make it a one run game. Brandon Peterson allowed both runs in the ninth inning but he had enough in the tank to get the final out and earn his second save. Brett Lee pitched into the eighth inning for his 4th victory. He struck out three and limited the Smokies to one earned run.

Adam Brett Walker collected his 25th and 26th doubles of the season as part of a three hit effort. Walker was part of the insurance run in the eighth as he ended up scoring the pivotal run on a Heiker Meneses single. Max Kepler continued his strong season as he is now one double shy of 30.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 0, Palm Beach 1
Box Score
Fort Myers had a hard time finding their offensive stroke on Thursday as the team was held to five hits. Engelb Vielma went 3-for-4 and Logan Wade had the team's only extra-base hit, a double. Mitch Garver finished going 1-for-4. Overall, the team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Luke Westphal was very good on the mound. He scattered five Cardinals hits over seven innings and limited them to one run. He struck out five and walked none but it wasn't enough as he was charged with his fourth loss. Todd Van Steensel pitched two shutout frames to end the game.

KERNELS NUGGETS
Cedar Rapids 7, Lake County 6
Box Score
The Kernels used a four-run fifth inning to mount a come-from-behind victory and win their third straight rubber game. Eight of the nine Kernels hitters reached base at least once and seven of them recorded at least one hit. Rafael Valera went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Tanner English extended his hitting streak to a personal-best 12 games and also extended his on-base streak to a Kernels' season-high 23 games.

The bullpen was strong for the Kernels after starter Zach Tillery allowed five runs on 11 hits in four innings. Luke Bard earned the win and remains a perfect 7-0 on the season. He allowed one run across a pair of innings. Yorman Landa and John Curtiss shutdown the Captains the rest of the way for the club's 68th win.

E-TWINS E-NOTES
E-Twins 5, Bristol 4
Box Score
Dereck Rodriguez improved his record to 5-1 as he did just enough to lead the Elizabethton to the victory. In seven innings, he allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out eight. His ERA sits at 1.75 for the season. Kuo Hua Lo picked up the save after tossing two shutout frames with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Travis Blankenhorn provided most of the offensive punch as he had three-run home run and drove in another run for a total of four RBI. Brad Hartong collected three hits including his fifth double. Jermaine Palacios and Daniel Kihle both had multi-hit efforts including a double for Palacios and a stolen base for Kihle.

GCL Twins Takes
GCL Twins 3, GCL Rays 10
Box Score
Both of these teams slugged it out for the first few frames but the GCL Rays had way too much firepower. Blake Schmit used a triple and a home run to drive in a pair of runs. Kerby Camacho knocked his first two doubles of the season and scored a run. Christian Cavaness also drove in a run and scored a run out of the lead-off spot.

Jose Martinez was charged with the loss after allowing six earned runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked two. Andrew Vasquez and Luis Hernandez ran into some control issues later in the game as both pitchers combined for five walks and three earned runs.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Brett Lee, Chattanooga Lookouts
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Adam Brett Walker, Chattanooga Lookouts

FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester vs. Scranton/WB (6:05 CST) – TBD
Chattanooga vs. Tennessee  (6:15 CST) – RHP Aaron Slegers
Fort Myers vs. Palm Beach (6:05 CST) – RHP Omar Bencomo
Cedar Rapids @ Fort Wayne (6:05 CST) – LHP Randy Rosario
Elizabethton @ Bristol (6:00 CST) – RHP Onesimo Hernandez
GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox (11:00 am CST) – TBA

Monday, August 10, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (8/10): Awards, Awards, Everywhere!

Credit: Linwood Ferguson, Captive Photons
Monday means another week's worth of honors handed out by each league in the minors. The Twins were well represented this week as three position players took home top honors.

Minnesota's Opening Day DH isn't exactly where he'd like to be but the Southern League recognized his outstanding play. In seven games, Kennys Vargas went 10-for-23 with a double, two triples, and three home runs. He showed remarkable patience by drawing seven walks and he also drove in 10 runs.

Tanner English has been on a tear through the Midwest League. Over the last six games, he went 13-for-25 with five doubles and a triple. He's hit .315/.383/.490 since the All-Star break. He ranks third overall in the Midwest League with 35 stolen bases and second overall in runs scored.

LaMonte Wade was a ninth-round pick by the Twins back in June and he's already making his mark in the Appalachian League. Across six games this week, he went 8-for-22 with a pair of homers and a double. He coaxed eight walks on the way to scoring eight runs. Only four Apply League players have more than his seven home runs.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester --, Buffalo -- (Postponed)
Rochester gave in Buffalo was postponed on Monday night due to rain. The team was already scheduled for a double-header on Tuesday to makeup a postponed game from 5/31. This means the teams will play another double-header on Thursday. Five games in three days between the two teams tied for second place in the International League North. Sounds like some exciting baseball should be on the docket.

Byron Buxton was also reinstated from the disabled list and officially optioned to Triple-A. He had five hits in 12 at-bats for Rochester on rehab assignment. The move stops his service-time clock and it also uses up one of Buxton's three minor league option years. 

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 6, Mobile 5 (16 Innings)
Box Score
The Lookouts played well into the night as both clubs tried to gain the upper hand in this back and forth contest. Chattanooga jumped out to a first inning lead after Jorge Polanco lead off the inning with a triple. It took a two-out infield single from Kennys Vargas but the run scored. The offense would go silent until the seventh inning when the club plated three runs after three singles and a hit by pitch started the inning.

Tim Shibuya would be long gone before a decision was handed out in this one. He went four shutout innings by striking out two. Alex Murne pitched three big shutout innings in the late stages of the game to keep zeros on the board. Alex Wimmers earned his seventh victory after two shutout innings of work even though he had to escape a bases loaded jam.

Over five hours after the game started, Niko Goodrum drove in the winning run. He had been 0-for-5 on the night with a pair of walks before the big hit. Max Kepler was the lone starting player to not pick up a hit in the contest.

MIRACLE MATTERS
Fort Myers 8, St. Lucie 4
Box Score
Fort Myers used a balanced attack to pound out eight runs on 14 hits. Four batters collected multiple hits including a three hit, three RBI night from Aderlin Mejia. Tanner Vavra collected a pair of doubles and scored two runs. Marcus Knecht smacked his fourth triple on his way to reaching base three times.

Mat Batts started and scattered four runs on seven hits. Over five innings, he struck out five and walked three for his six victory. Jake Reed and Nick Burdi combined for four scoreless innings of relief. Burdi was perfect across two frames including three strikeouts.

The Miracle scored six of the eight runs with two outs and eight of the nine batters in the order registered at least one hit. David Wright, on MLB rehab assignment, finished the night 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.

E-TWINS E-NOTES
E-Twins 3, Greeneville 5 (7 Innings)
Box Score
Elizabethton saw their two-run lead disappear over the last two innings including two unearned runs in the last frame. Jose Abreu threw a wild pitch and shortstop Manuel Guzman had a throwing error that turned into the final two runs. Andro Cutura got the no-decision after lasting four innings and allowing one earned run.

The E-Twins were limited to two hits on the offensive side of the ball. Jermaine Palacios hit his sixth double and scored a run. Kamran Young drove in two runs with his fifth home run of the season. The team didn't have many other opportunities as they went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring positions.

E-Twins 3, Greeneville 2 (7 Innings)
Box Score
It looked like the E-Twins were on their way to being swept in their double header before the offense decided to wake up in the bottom of the seventh inning. After two walk to start the frame, Nelson Molina used a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Jermaine Palacios ground out for the second out but Daniel Kihle saved the day with a single.

Nate Gercken allowed both runs and he was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning. He struck out seven and walked two. Anthony Mciver earned his second win after collecting the last seven outs and only allowing one hit.

GCL Twins Takes
GCL Twins 11, GCL Rays 3
Box Score
The GCL Twins capitalized on some wild pitching in the bottom of the second inning to score eight runs on two hits. There were six walks, two hit by pitches, two fielding errors, and two wild pitches. It sounds like it was quite the circus of an inning.

Both Christian Cavaness and Robert Molina went 2-for-4 including a double, the team's lone extra-base hit, for Cavaness. Every batter in the line-up scored at least one run. Roberto Gonzalez reached base three times and scored two runs.

Eduardo Del Rosario improved to 3-0 on the season after tossing five innings of one-run ball. He struck out four and didn't walk any as his ERA improved to 1.46. Luis Hernandez and Andrew Vasquez each pitched two frames and combined to allow a pair of runs. 

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Eduardo Del Rosario, GCL Twins
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Aderlin Mejia, Fort Myers Miracle

TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Buffalo (4:35 CST) – LHP Taylor Rogers
Rochester @ Buffalo (Game 2) – RHP Tyler Duffey
Chattanooga vs. Mobile (6:15 CST) – LHP David Hurlbut
Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) – LHP Stephen Gonsalves
Cedar Rapids @ Lake County (6:00 CST) – RHP Keaton Steele
Elizabethton @ Greeneville (6:00 CST) – TBA
GLC Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00 am CST) – TBA