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  • Twins Minor League Report (5/6): That Dirty Baxendale

    We'll lead tonight's report off with some injury news. Kernels RP Tyler Jones was placed on the D.L. with a strained flexor tendon. (If you're curious to know exactly what that means, I looked it up and, knowing I'm not a doctor, am more confused than I was before.) Taking Jones's place in the bullpen is Alexander Muren, who played for the GCL Twins last summer after being drafted out of CS-Northridge.

    Also heading to the disabled list is Miracle INF/OF Adam Bryant. Bryant, activated before Sunday's game, lasted all of three at-bats (total, not his own) before separating his shoulder in the outfield and leaving the game. Replacing Bryant from across the street is Aderling Mejia. Mejia was a post-season GCL All-Star last year and made a few appearances for the Miracle after his season was over.
    ROCHESTER RED WINGS 0, TOLEDO MUD HENS 1
    Box Score

    It's a little bit harder to win a game with zero runs than it is to lose a game giving up only one. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, they were on the zero side of tonight's game.

    Andrew Albers pitched a solid 6.1 shutout innings, striking out three. He turned it over to rehabbing Tim Wood, who, taking the loss, gave up three hits, two walks and the only run. Wood's recent performance is going to make it hard to crack the Twins bullpen which will ultimately lead to his exposure on the waiver wire.

    Caleb Thielbar took care of the two runners he inherited by getting out of the eighth. The Mud Hens didn't need to bat in the ninth.

    On a night when there wasn't much to speak of offensively, Chris Colabello had two hits (batting .339). Joe Benson's hitting streak is over. Clete Thomas, the next "solution" in center field struck out three times.

    P.J. Walters (3-2, 3.82) pitches tomorrow at Toledo at 6:30 ET.

    NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS 11, NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHER CATS 6
    Box Score

    The Rock Cats got their second straight win to make it back to .500 for the season.

    The Rock Cats had 13 hits, led by Josmil Pinto's three (including a double and three-run home run) and Danny Santana's two extra base hits (double and triple). Reynaldo Rodriguez added a home run in an exciting ninth inning.

    Logan Darnell had a rough outing, but made it through 5.2 innings and 93 pitches. He gave up five runs, though two of those were runners he left to A.J. Achter. Achter ended up getting credited with the win. Jose Gonzalez pitched a scoreless eighth. Michael Tonkin gave up an unearned run in the ninth.

    B.J. Hermsen (0-2, 4.91) looks for his first win tomorrow.

    FORT MYERS MIRACLE 7, TAMPA YANKEES 0
    Box Score

    The pitching star of tonight - and really of the young season - is former Arkansas Razorback D.J. Baxendale. He improved his record to 5-0 and struck out a career-high 10 batters. Not to temper expectations, but Baseball America's John Manuel said this in a chat over the winter:

    Baxendale’s velocity was better than it was [last] spring, but that just means it was average, 88-92, instead of below-average. He pitched with a 40 fastball most of the spring. Encouraging debut, though, and if Baxendale can pitch even with a
    45 fastball next year, he should thrive in the low minors, because he locates and has that curveball.



    (photo courtesy of Bryan - begreen90 - on Flickr)

    Personally, I don't know how long you can leave him in Fort Myers, but New Britain's rotation isn't exactly in need of help. I would expect though, when there is a need, Baxendale would be first in line.

    Adrian Salcedo, adjusting nicely to his role in the bullpen, struck out three in two innings.

    Fort Myers scored all seven of their runs in the first four innings. The lineup scattered nine hits, including doubles by Mejia, Eddie Rosario, Matt Koch, Angel Morales and Jonathan Murphy.

    The offensive start by Koch has been especially encouraging. In one of my first posts here I said the following about Koch, "Matt Koch hit the ball more squarely than any other Snapper this weekend. He only played Saturday, but the crack of the bat on the ball makes you look up if you're not paying attention." Hey Matt, we're paying attention!

    Jason Wheeler (2-0, 5.46) pitches tomorrow.

    CEDAR RAPIDS KERNELS 12, SOUTH BEND SILVER HAWKS 4
    Box Score

    The Kernels won their 21st game tonight by scoring four runs in each of the 1st, 5th and 9th inning.

    Adam Walker hit another grand slam and added a double to amass 5 RBI. He now has 32 on the season. Not to be outdone, D.J. Hicks and Jorge Polanco each added their 25th RBI, which is tied for 3rd in the MWL.

    Travis Harrison added his 5th home run, his 3rd since hitting his game-winning "grand single" only eight games ago.

    Byron Buxton got a hit and a walk, extending his "on-base" streak to "forever". He's batting .373. If Buxton is still in Cedar Rapids on Memorial Day, I might just have to take a road trip. (Shhh... don't tell my wife.)

    Buxton leads the MWL in OPS and is leading Rock Shoulders by 101 points. Rock Shoulders isn't second, but nobody has ever beaten Rock Shoulders by 101 in anything.

    Before I forget, the Kernels had two pitchers pitch tonight. Matt Tomshaw went five innings and picked up the win, giving up four runs on ten hits.

    Manuel Soliman picked up the four-inning save. He didn't allow any hits, but did walk three. He also struck out four.

    That's all for tonight. If you have questions or comments, please leave them. You are also welcome to talk about Rock Shoulders or Brian Dozier's hair.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Minor League Report (5/6): That Dirty Baxendale started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      I wouldn't mind if Hermsen, Darnell, Dean and/or Blake Martin lost starts to Baxendale.
      Darnell & Dean profile best as solid lefties in the bullpen so why not start them in that role now so they can see what Baxendale can do.
      For as good as Hermsen was last year, he was basically smoke and mirrors so he could be bumped too.

      Bummer about Jones.
    1. Jeff A's Avatar
      Jeff A -
      In Toledo, the milb.com recap shows that the run scored when Brandon Douglas scored from first on a single. Did something unusual happen there, or is Douglas just that fast?

      Also, I note that Miguel Sano came out of the game in Fort Myers. Did something happen to him, or did they just take him out of a blowout to give him a break?

      Thanks.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I agree about Darnell. I think he should be in the Wings bullpen eventually, capable of starting if needed.

      Sano was hit by a pitch early and stayed in the game. He came out after the lead increased. There was no word out of FM that he was injured.

      The Rochester press release simply said "scored on a single", so I'm not aware if anything crazy happened, though scoring from first doesn't sound right.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Baxendale actually hit a batter after the Sano incident as well. No warnings issued. Still don't get where Manuel got that scouting report, or whether Baxendale totally changed his approach and found his stuff this off-season (I suspect that the report was pre-spring training 2013) because his stuff is nothing like described, other than the velocity of the fastball, which actually gets a bit higher as well (with the handhelds they are using in the side fields and not with Hammond Stadium radar.) Either a total transformation or bad scouting reports
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      I wouldn't mind if Hermsen, Darnell, Dean and/or Blake Martin lost starts to Baxendale.
      Darnell & Dean profile best as solid lefties in the bullpen so why not start them in that role now so they can see what Baxendale can do.
      For as good as Hermsen was last year, he was basically smoke and mirrors so he could be bumped too.

      Bummer about Jones.
      Blake Martin is back in the bullpen at NB, so that's one less in the way.
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Adam Walker's season is very encouraging. Another power prospect? Keep them coming!
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Every night one or more of these teams has some mind-boggling offensive explosion.

      I like Andrew Albers. I have said that before. Now I don't think I really like him going forward as a starter, but maybe it would be nice to develop another solid lefty who could, I don't know, get an out in the 6th inning and be simply a LOOGY so as to save the other LOOGY, Duensing for later in the game against someone like Stephen Drew . . .

      If Robertson isn't that guy, then maybe Albers and Dean should be sent to the 'pen with hopes of competing.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      I wouldn't mind if Hermsen, Darnell, Dean and/or Blake Martin lost starts to Baxendale.
      Darnell & Dean profile best as solid lefties in the bullpen so why not start them in that role now so they can see what Baxendale can do.
      For as good as Hermsen was last year, he was basically smoke and mirrors so he could be bumped too.

      Bummer about Jones.
      Agreed. Baxendale doesn't have power stuff that profiles to be a dominant pitcher but sometimes the numbers transition up through the various league levels even without much clear reason why.

      Not to be callus, but Hermsen, Darnell and Dean are all poor strikeout pitchers and allow too many runners to reach. Hermsen has had some steam in the past but I think all three of these guys have gotten to the point where they are oranizational filler.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Baxendale actually hit a batter after the Sano incident as well. No warnings issued. Still don't get where Manuel got that scouting report, or whether Baxendale totally changed his approach and found his stuff this off-season (I suspect that the report was pre-spring training 2013) because his stuff is nothing like described, other than the velocity of the fastball, which actually gets a bit higher as well (with the handhelds they are using in the side fields and not with Hammond Stadium radar.) Either a total transformation or bad scouting reports
      So what would be your "Spring Training 2013 scouting report"?
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      The scouting report was based on his college pitching. Apart from the elite pitchers in college, it is really hard to scout college pitchers. Among other things, their innings and pitching frequency change the whole dynamic of how hard they throw. They either burn out or they conserve their strength. Baxendale appears to be the latter. Now that he's pitching every fifth day with the regular Twins workout regimen in between, perhaps he is tapping into his natural stuff better. Just a thought.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      The Rochester press release simply said "scored on a single", so I'm not aware if anything crazy happened, though scoring from first doesn't sound right.
      Depending on where the single was hit to, and the arm of the fielder there, sounds like a run-and-hit that happened to work to perfection.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I guess I'm just not sure what's changed. From the reports I've gotten, his fastball is a little bit faster (but that might be a result of the radar gun) and his curveball is still really good. And he's got great command. He was good enough at college to lead his team to the College World Series, so I'd expect there was plenty of opportunity to scout him. He had a poor spring (last spring) that started his fall. He was a Top 100 prospect before last season.

      I like Baxendale, but was warned to "wait until he got to AA" before I got too excited. Now, I think he's earned the opportunity to pitch at AA.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Also, I'm pretty sure the scouting report came from instructs, which could help explain a lot of things, specifically arm overuse between seasons and getting off of a normal routine when he switched to the bullpen.

      Baxendale was filthy out of the Snappers bullpen late last season.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      As Jeremy stated above Baxendale is an advanced college pitcher who should be expected to dominate "lesser" competition. AA will definitely be the level wHere we can actually start to judge his performance. His relief pitching numbers from instructional league mean nothing.

      As I say this there is reason to like Baxendale (especially if he has gained a tick on his fastball). He was expected to go a lot higher than the 10th round last year and I believe Law said he was a steal in the 10th round. Also, for those of you who follow Sickels would know he picked Baxendale as one of his sleeper prospects this year.

      He is a prospect. It just depends what you expect from him. He is a back of the rotation starter at best but that's a steal in the 10th round.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      So what would be your "Spring Training 2013 scouting report"?
      In mine he was rated "Super Duper" and I gave him 8 out of 10 bananas. My rating system is pretty complicated but I'm sure I have it posted around here somewhere ....
    1. Mave's Avatar
      Mave -
      Flexor tendon strain/problems-- think golfers elbow, it's the same area. Hopefully nothing more.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      So what would be your "Spring Training 2013 scouting report"?
      Here here
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      In mine he was rated "Super Duper" and I gave him 8 out of 10 bananas. My rating system is pretty complicated but I'm sure I have it posted around here somewhere ....
      I had him at 7 bananas and I think you are a fool for going 8. I refuse to listen to any reason on this subject.

      But on the real, these are great recaps. Thanks Jeremy!
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Yes. I had read that after you posted it. New life on the fastball and a change-up. Thanks for posting.
    1. mickeyg's Avatar
      mickeyg -
      Douglas ran through the 3rd base coach stop sign and the throw to home was a little off target.

      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff A View Post
      In Toledo, the milb.com recap shows that the run scored when Brandon Douglas scored from first on a single. Did something unusual happen there, or is Douglas just that fast?

      Also, I note that Miguel Sano came out of the game in Fort Myers. Did something happen to him, or did they just take him out of a blowout to give him a break?

      Thanks.
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