• Twins Minor League Report (5/15): Colabello Crushes

    The Twins concluded their three-game series with the White Sox by playing a little Wednesday afternoon baseball. With how bad the White Sox looked in recent weeks, it seemed like the Twins should be able to earn a series win. That didn't happen as the Sox took the final two games of the three-game set.

    Joe Mauer has been on fire lately and his recent hot streak has him in some rarefied air. He took over the active career leader board for batting average. Albert Pujols (.323 BA) had been on the top of the list followed by Ichiro Suzuki (.321 BA). Those two players are on the decline and Mauer looks to be in the prime of his career.

    On the most recent edition of the "Talk to Contact" podcast, we had Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks on the show to talk about some of the big names in the Twins farm system. It is a great interview and you should make sure to download the episode if you haven't heard it yet.

    There were plenty of games today down on the farm. Here's a look into the Twins farm system...

    Rochester Red Wings 7, Durham Bulls 10
    Box Score
    Cole De Vries continued his rehab trail with a start in Rochester on Wednesday night. His previous two starts had been with the Fort Myers Miracle and the New Britain Rock Cats. With a Triple-A start under his belt, his rehab time could be coming to an end. His performance on Wednesday would play a pivotal role in the team's decision. I wrote about De Vries and contemplated his place with the Twins now that he is healthy.

    For De Vries, his start with Rochester didn't go perfectly. He got knocked around over four innings for a total of 11 hits and six earned runs. The fifth inning was where most of the trouble happened for De Vries. He had allowed three runs in the first four frames before not recording an out in a three-run top of the fifth.

    Rochester's offense faired pretty well against one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Jake Odorizzi made it through 5.1 innings but he surrendered six earned runs and three long balls. Chris Colabello had a monster game as he went 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double. His five RBI were great but it wasn't nearly enough to keep pace with the Bulls. Eric Farris extended his hit streak to nine games with a single in the bottom of the fourth.



    The loss puts the Red Wings ten games under .500 for the first time this season and for the first time since May 28, 2012. The club has also lost six of their last seven contests. There are two more games left in the series with the Bulls and the Red Wings have to find a way to get back to playing winning baseball.

    New Britain Rock Cats 3, Bowie Baysox 10
    Box Score
    Pat Dean is going to want to forget about the bottom of the second inning on Wednesday night. The Baysox gave him a rude awakening and knocked him out of the game early. The first batter of the frame hit one over the fence and it didn't get much better from there. He would give up six more hits including another home run and he would be charged with seven earned runs in a little over an inning of work.

    Danny Santana was the only Rock Cats hitter with two hits. He is in the midst of an eight game hit streak and he has six multi-hit games during that stretch. Over the last ten games, he is hitting .425/.465/.550 with three doubles and a triple. Daniel Ortiz had his 12th double of the year and his 23rd RBI.

    New Britain's bullpen was counted on to eat up a lot of innings tonight. Blake Martin threw two hitless innings and struck out two batters. Aaron Thompson continued his impressive work with one hit and two strikeouts in an inning of work. His ERA dropped to 0.61 for the year and he has only given up one earned run in his last ten outings.

    The Rock Cats sit one game over .500 but the club has lost their last three games. Tomorrow night marks the last game in their series with Bowie before the club returns home for a weeklong home stand. By only trailing Portland by three games in the standings, the next week could be important.

    Fort Myers Miracle 4, Dunedin Blue Jays 5
    Box Score
    The Miracle jumped out to an early lead in this contest but the offense slowed down for six innings before waking up in the bottom of the ninth. Dunedin held a slim 3-2 lead before tacking on a couple of insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning.

    Fort Myers scored two runs of their own in the ninth without recording an out. With Angel Morales at second and Eddie Rosario at first, Andy Leer attempted a bunt and the pitcher was able to get the lead runner at third. Levi Michael was the next batter and he struck out. Aderling Meijia was walked to load the bases but Stephen Wickens struck out looking to end the game.

    There were plenty of opportunities for the Miracle but the team left seven runners on base. The club also went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position including a couple of untimely double plays off the bats of Miguel Sano and Kennys Vargas. Sano went 0-for-3 and he only has one home run in his last ten games. Vargas went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

    Even though Leer couldn't get a successful bunt down in the ninth, he hit his third home run of the season earlier in the game. Rosario didn't start the game but he was used as a pinch hitter in the critical ninth inning. He almost hit a game tying home run but it went foul. He settled for a single to keep the inning alive.

    Kyle Davies started the game for the Miracle. The seven-year MLB veteran was making a rehab start with the club. Minnesota signed him as a free agent in February and this was his first appearance with the organization. He tossed five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits.

    It was only the tenth loss of the year for the Miracle and the club will finish their four-game series with Dunedin on Thursday night. From there, the club will head on a seven-game road trip that includes stops in Charlotte and Lakeland.

    Cedar Rapids Kernels 6, Burlington Bees 5 (7 innings)
    Box Score
    In the first game of a double-header, the Kernels used a couple of late inning runs to slide by the Bees. Cedar Rapids had nine hits in the game and over half of those hits were for extra-bases. The team went 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position and they needed every one of those runs in this game.

    Jorge Polanco paced the offense with a 2-for-3 night. Both of his hits were for extra bases including his fifth triple and tenth double of the year. Dalton Hicks had a big two-out double in the fifth inning to tie the game. Byron Buxton reached base in two of his three plate appearances. He finished the game going 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.

    Jeremias Pineda would come in as a pinch runner in the bottom of the 6th and wreak havoc on the bases. He stole second base, advanced to third on a ground out, and then scored what turned out to be the winning run on a wild pitch.

    Hudson Boyd started the game and allowed five runs on five hits over five innings. He struck out four batters and walked three men. Josue Montanez would earn his first win of the year in only his third appearance with the Kernels. He tossed two scoreless innings by allowing one hit and striking out two.

    Cedar Rapids Kernels 4, Burlington Bees 6 (7 innings)
    Box Score
    The Kernels and the Bees had to play two on Wednesday to make-up a game from April 23rd. After powering their way to a win in the first game, the Kernels bats fell a little flat in the second game until the last inning. Cedar Rapids scored two in the bottom of the ninth but the team still fell short.

    Steven Gruver pitched three innings in a spot start for him. He gave up three earned runs on three hits but he struggled with command and walked four batters. Alex Muren made his second appearance with the Kernels and pitched three innings while allowing two earned runs. Josh Burris pitched the final frame and gave up a run. It was the fourth consecutive outing that he gave up at least one run and his ERA sits above 12.

    Byron Buxton played DH in the second game of the double header. He would strike out twice in the game but he notched his 10th double of the year. Tyler Grimes added a 2-run home run but the team only managed a total of three hits. The club struck out 13 times and left six runners on base.

    Cedar Rapids will play the final game of their series with Burlington tomorrow night. Over the weekend, the club will play four games with Kane County. The Cougars are a .500 club and they will be looking to make an impression on the current leaders of the Midwest League, the Kernels.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Minor League Report (5/15): Colabello Crushes started by Cody Christie
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      "didn't go perfectly"--The understatement of the year. He was horrible, and has been underwhelming in his previous two rehab starts. Good thing he has options.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      I posted videos of admittedly dubious quality of Jorge Polanco's triple, Dalton Hicks' RBI double and Tyler Grimes' HR over at Knuckleballs this morning. Don't shoot the photographer.

      Knuckleballs ? Kernels Videos: Polanco, Hicks, Grimes

      Oh, and I sure hope new Kernel Jeremias Pineda finds ways to get on base because he's got serious wheels once he gets there.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Saw the double header in CR last night. Was a fun experience and something I look forward to doing in the near future. Both Kernels starters really labored and threw a lot of pitches. Seeing Buxton completely lay out for a ball late in game one was awesome to see.

      In game two the Burlington starter must have had a wicked breaking ball because the Kernels swung at about 50 pitches in the dirt. Otherwise a very fun experience and something all Twins fans should check out.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      SDBUHR - How is Pinedas' speed relative to Buxton or Pimentel?

      tjsyam921 - thanks for sharing your experience. Nothing like double header baseball in the minors!! Feel free to share your thoughts any time you're there!
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      SDBUHR - How is Pinedas' speed relative to Buxton or Pimentel?
      It's hard to say, Seth, based on one night but Pineda can fly. He played CF in Game 2 while Buxton DH'd. Pineda let a ball get over his head in CF and you couldn't help but wonder if Buxton would have had it, but that's not really fair, either.

      If you haven't checked it out, you might want to read Jim Ecker's MSR story from last nights games. He focused on the team adding Pineda's speed to a pretty swift group already. Link is below, but here's a snippet:

      "I would like to see him, Pimentel, Buxton and Williams ... Put them all on the line and see who comes out," said Mauer, smiling at the concept. "If you ask J.D., he'll tell you he's the fastest. He'll tell you that all the time."

      Who's the fastest?

      "Of course I'm going to say me," said Williams, an outfielder from Florida. "Yeah, definitely. I'd get them at the tape."

      Pineda joins Kernels track team
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      It's hard to say, Seth, based on one night but Pineda can fly. He played CF in Game 2 while Buxton DH'd. Pineda let a ball get over his head in CF and you couldn't help but wonder if Buxton would have had it, but that's not really fair, either.

      If you haven't checked it out, you might want to read Jim Ecker's MSR story from last nights games. He focused on the team adding Pineda's speed to a pretty swift group already. Link is below, but here's a snippet:

      "I would like to see him, Pimentel, Buxton and Williams ... Put them all on the line and see who comes out," said Mauer, smiling at the concept. "If you ask J.D., he'll tell you he's the fastest. He'll tell you that all the time."

      Who's the fastest?

      "Of course I'm going to say me," said Williams, an outfielder from Florida. "Yeah, definitely. I'd get them at the tape."

      Pineda joins Kernels track team
      Haha! Yeah, I would LOVE to see that race.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      It's hard to say, Seth, based on one night but Pineda can fly. He played CF in Game 2 while Buxton DH'd. Pineda let a ball get over his head in CF and you couldn't help but wonder if Buxton would have had it, but that's not really fair, either.

      If you haven't checked it out, you might want to read Jim Ecker's MSR story from last nights games. He focused on the team adding Pineda's speed to a pretty swift group already. Link is below, but here's a snippet:

      "I would like to see him, Pimentel, Buxton and Williams ... Put them all on the line and see who comes out," said Mauer, smiling at the concept. "If you ask J.D., he'll tell you he's the fastest. He'll tell you that all the time."

      Who's the fastest?

      "Of course I'm going to say me," said Williams, an outfielder from Florida. "Yeah, definitely. I'd get them at the tape."

      Pineda joins Kernels track team
      I have a couple questions, JC. Pineda was apparently deemed by the Twins to be more than ready to skip E-Town. Can you glean anything beyond getting his first hit and your comments above, from one game only of course, if he looks like he "belongs" at this level and can hit the ground running? Is there talk down there about preparing him to jump right in to CF for an imminent departure of Buxton promotion?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      I have a couple questions, JC. Pineda was apparently deemed by the Twins to be more than ready to skip E-Town. Can you glean anything beyond getting his first hit and your comments above, from one game only of course, if he looks like he "belongs" at this level and can hit the ground running? Is there talk down there about preparing him to jump right in to CF for an imminent departure of Buxton promotion?
      JC should answer that, but my opinion is that is guessing a little too much. They needed an extra outfielder now, and there's a good chance that at least Walker and possibly Williams would be promoted first.

      I just think that the Twins decision not to promote Buxton because of a great first month is right. He's hitting .274/.353/.441 (.794) in May, which is very good for a 19 year old in his first full season. But it's not a number that screams promotion. If he would have put up those numbers in April, we would all be happy and thinking he was having a nice season. He now needs to make some adjustments, keep working, and see how it goes.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      JC should answer that, but my opinion is that is guessing a little too much. They needed an extra outfielder now, and there's a good chance that at least Walker and possibly Williams would be promoted first.

      I just think that the Twins decision not to promote Buxton because of a great first month is right. He's hitting .274/.353/.441 (.794) in May, which is very good for a 19 year old in his first full season. But it's not a number that screams promotion. If he would have put up those numbers in April, we would all be happy and thinking he was having a nice season. He now needs to make some adjustments, keep working, and see how it goes.
      Yep. I posted something along those lines on another thread. Here's the reprint:

      I'm guessing he's only off the pedestal for a short while. The League has made adjustments, now it's his turn to make his own adjustments to their adjustments. Every report says that he's very mature beyond his years and totally focused on his long-term goals. People forget, his batting peers in the Midwest League top group are anywhere from 22-25 years of age, similar age for many of the top pitchers in the League.


      On the matter of "premature promotions"....

      Would you say that Manny Machado was moved too fast when he was promoted after just 38 games at Low A at the age of 19? He produced a decent, but hardly a stop-the-presses, blow-your-socks-off, batting slash there of .276/.376/.483/.756.

      Or perhaps, he was prematurely promoted after finishing that same season in High A with a pretty pedestrian, if not downright awful, .245/.308/.384/.692?

      They actually did promote Machado with those pretty ordinary numbers to AA last year, just before his 20th birthday. His results there? .266/.352/.438/.789 in 109 games. Anything in those numbers that screamed to skip AAA altogether, and put Machado in the Orioles starting lineup for 51 games smack in the middle of the Birds first pennant race in 20 years?

      By all accounts, Buxton can play his premium position in CF as well as Machado can play 3B, or eventually, SS.


    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      JC should answer that, but my opinion is that is guessing a little too much. They needed an extra outfielder now, and there's a good chance that at least Walker and possibly Williams would be promoted first.

      I just think that the Twins decision not to promote Buxton because of a great first month is right. He's hitting .274/.353/.441 (.794) in May, which is very good for a 19 year old in his first full season. But it's not a number that screams promotion. If he would have put up those numbers in April, we would all be happy and thinking he was having a nice season. He now needs to make some adjustments, keep working, and see how it goes.
      I wondered about the reasoning behind Pineda's promotion, too. It's far too early to tell if he's ready to hit at this level or not, of course. He had a double down the left field line in his first AB tonight, grounded to 1st and struck out his other two ABs before being pinch hit for in the 9th.

      I heard Kepler is starting to at least DH in EST games, so he might be ready to come up by the time Buxton is promoted.

      Only Burlington and Beloit have seen Buxton for two full series, but between now and the end of the first half of the season (exactly a month from now), there will be several other teams getting an opportunity to adjust their approaches to Buxton. I think that's something the Twins want to see how he handles.

      One thing he has going for him that I don't believe Sano did a year ago in Beloit is that with so many legitimate hitters behind him, there's no way teams can really pitch around him. Until Vargas was activated last summer, Sano didn't always have that benefit.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      jokin, Machado is a good (And very rare) example. I think we can both agree that more has to go into a promotion than just the stat line.
    1. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
      Joe A. Preusser -
      I'm curious why I don't see more people screaming for Colabello to be called up? The guy has raked consistently all year, is approaching .350 and an OPS north of 1.000. Does the organization think he's one of those AAAA guys who will mash in AAA but struggle in the majors, or what is the holdup? I've appreciated what Ramirez has contributed in limited playing time, and I don't want Arcia moving anywhere, but we have to do something.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe A. Preusser View Post
      I'm curious why I don't see more people screaming for Colabello to be called up? The guy has raked consistently all year, is approaching .350 and an OPS north of 1.000. Does the organization think he's one of those AAAA guys who will mash in AAA but struggle in the majors, or what is the holdup? I've appreciated what Ramirez has contributed in limited playing time, and I don't want Arcia moving anywhere, but we have to do something.
      There has been at various times, for September last year this spring, etc. Only thing is where would he fit right now. 1B is taken. DH has several options. Wilkin Ramirez is essentially the pinch-hitting bat, but he also is the backup in CF. Carroll may soon be getting more playing time and Escobar has shown himself to be a pretty good utility guy! I do believe Colabello will get up at some point.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      There has been at various times, for September last year this spring, etc. Only thing is where would he fit right now. 1B is taken. DH has several options. Wilkin Ramirez is essentially the pinch-hitting bat, but he also is the backup in CF. Carroll may soon be getting more playing time and Escobar has shown himself to be a pretty good utility guy! I do believe Colabello will get up at some point.
      I think he could be an option if Mastro were healthy and could be the backup CF / pinch runner. Ramirez could go along with the 2nd Util IF to have Mastro and Colabello on the active roster.

      Given Parmelee's lack of PT lately, I can't help but wonder if some other option might be in the works. Something has to give there with Hammer, Hicks, and Arcia playing most days.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe A. Preusser View Post
      I'm curious why I don't see more people screaming for Colabello to be called up? The guy has raked consistently all year, is approaching .350 and an OPS north of 1.000. Does the organization think he's one of those AAAA guys who will mash in AAA but struggle in the majors, or what is the holdup? I've appreciated what Ramirez has contributed in limited playing time, and I don't want Arcia moving anywhere, but we have to do something.
      I was curious too. After a good last year, a hyped spring, and now this, I thought the Twins might really be able to use him. But the fact is we're not in a hurry. He's not really a prospect, he's not on the 40 man, and as a stopgap, he'd only be called up if we lost someone else to injury or possibly ineffectiveness (depending on who it is).

      My thought is that trade deadline moves will end up giving him his shot, and after roughly 48 years in indy ball, that'd be a real story. I hope he's ready, and I hope he does well.
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