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  • Twins Minor League Report (5/18): Mauer Ejected, Streaks End

    Though the Minnesota Twins fell back to .500 with a 6-2 loss on Sunday to Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners, it wasn’t all bad news in the Twins organization. In fact, all four Twins full-season affiliates won their games. Three lefties led the highest level teams to victory while the Cedar Rapid Kernels had to come back to end their big losing streak.

    TRANSACTIONS

    Following the Twins game, OF/C Chris Herrmann was promoted back up to the Twins while reliever Michael Tonkin was sent back to Rochester. The move gives manager Ron Gardenhire an extra bat on the bench this coming week while playing in National League ballparks. In the ten days that Herrmann was in Rochester, he hit .400 (14-35) with three doubles, a triple and a home run. Tonkin, meanwhile, had a 5.84 ERA in 12.1 innings with the Twins.



    Let’s look at the goings on in the Twins system:

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 2, Toledo 1
    Box Score

    Last week, when the Twins decided to option Oswaldo Arcia, it was likely because he had not yet been able to play more than two games in a row without a set back with his wrist injury. Since then, he has now played in seven straight games. In the last four, he has six hits. On Sunday, he went 2-4 with a double and his third home run. In other words, he finally appears to be healed and ready to return to the big league club.

    James Beresford went 2-4. Josh Willingham was in the lineup, batting fifth and serving as the Red Wings DH. He went 0-2 with two strikeouts. He was also hit by a pitch.

    Kris Johnson continues to pitch well in the International League. Last year’s IL ERA leader went six innings and gave up only an unearned run. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out seven. Ryan Pressly recorded his first professional save. He gave up three hits over three scoreless innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four.

    It was the sixth straight win for the Red Wings. It was also their ninth straight win at home at Frontier Field.

    ROCK CATS REVIEW
    New Britain 5, Harrisburg 3
    Box Score

    Taylor Rogers has been pitching very well the last month. On Sunday, he posted his fifth straight quality start. For the first time, he completed seven innings. He gave up three runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out four. He recorded a win for the fourth straight start. You may recall, in April, he went 0-3 with a 9.33 ERA. In May, he is now 4-0 with a 2.49 ERA.

    Cole Johnson gave up one hit and two walks, but also struck out three in two scoreless innings. It was his third save and he reduced his ERA to 1.23.

    Kennys Vargas went 2-4 with his tenth double, eighth home run and three RBI. Tony Thomas was 2-4 with his second triple. Mike Kvasnicka was 2-4 with his fifth double. Reynaldo Rodriguez went hitless, snapping his 13 game hitting streak.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Ft. Myers 10, Daytona 1
    Box Score

    Brett Lee made his first start for the Miracle since April 30, and the Miracle got a big blast in a blowout win.

    Lee worked the first five innings and gave up only an unearned run. He allowed four hits, walked none and struck out six. Tyler Jones came on and threw 2.1 scoreless frames. He gave up one hit, walked two and struck out four. Steve Gruver recorded the final five outs, two on strikouts.

    Jorge Polanco had a first-inning error that allowed the unearned run to score. It was hit 14th error of the year. However, he also went 3-5 with his ninth double of the season to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

    Travis Harrison went 1-3 with a walk. Niko Goodrum was 2-4 with a walk. Adam Walker was also 2-4 with five RBI. He came to the plate in the 7th inning with the bases loaded and uncoiled for a grand slam. It was his seventh homer of the season and his second grand slam in the past four games.


    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 7, Burlington 6
    Box Score

    The Kernels fell behind early. Down 4-0 after three innings, and 5-2 after five innings, the Kernels scored three in the top of the 6th inning to tie the score at five. In the 7th inning, Jake Mauer was ejected from the game, so he didn’t get to see the ninth inning when his team scored two runs and held on for the one-run win. The win snapped their eight game losing streak.

    Ethan Mildren started and gave up five runs in the first five innings. The Bees scored in four of the five innings. He gave up nine hits, walked one and struck out five. Derrick Penilla came on and gave up just one hit over three scoreless innings. He struck out four. Todd Van Steensel came in for the ninth. He gave up a solo home run, but he struck out two to record the first save of his professional career.

    The Kernels got six hits from their top two hitters. JD Williams was 3-5 with his fourth and fifth doubles. Tanner Vavra was also 3-5 and doubled for the eighth time this season. Bo Altobelli went 2-5. All nine Kernels’ hitters had at least one hit. Bryan Haar (6), Mitch Garver (11), Michael Quesada (5) and Joel Licon (3) each added a double.


    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Kris Johnson, Rochester Red Wings
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Kennys Vargas, New Britain Rock Cats

    MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Toledo @ Rochester (6:05 CT) – Trevor May (Listen)
    Richmond @ New Britain (5:35 CT) – Tyler Duffey (Listen)
    Daytona @ Ft. Myers (9:35 am CT) – JO Berrios (Listen)
    Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CT) – Josue Montanez (Listen)


    Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Sunday games.
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. benji21's Avatar
      benji21 -
      Look at Vargas continue to crush! I'm so excited for this guy to make it to the bigs. Taking a quick look at his milb #'s, his history would suggest continued success as he has hit above 300 in each season except last at FM (and 35 games in the GCL). And, unlike other of our switch-hitting friends, is hitting 300+ from both sides. I hope he continues to rake and prop up that NB lineup.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      In other words, he appears to finally be healed and ready to return to the big league club.
      So...why isn't he up then? I am not clear why Herrmann would be up while a superior hitter sits at AAA.

      I've see no quotes that say why the team is leaving Arcia down at AAA. Any info?
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      Happy to see Walker driving the ball lately. He had a base clearing 3 RBI double two nights ago. He has been better lately with the bases loaded. He hit over .700 last year with bases loaded. Its just nice to see his swing returning slowly. 11 RBI in the last 4 games isn't bad either. 2-4 with 5 RBI last night to seal the game was fun to read.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      So...why isn't he up then? I am not clear why Herrmann would be up while a superior hitter sits at AAA.

      I've see no quotes that say why the team is leaving Arcia down at AAA. Any info?

      He has to remain in the minors for (I think) 15 days before he can be called up. It's a rule with exercising an option.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      He has to remain in the minors for (I think) 15 days before he can be called up. It's a rule with exercising an option.
      I think it's 10 days unless he's replacing an injured player.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      I think it's 10 days unless he's replacing an injured player.
      Gunnarthor is correct. 10 days unless he is an injury replacement.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      It's 10 days unless there's an injury, and that would be Saturday. I think the stated plan to have him up by Memorial Day makes the most sense.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by benji21 View Post
      Look at Vargas continue to crush! I'm so excited for this guy to make it to the bigs. Taking a quick look at his milb #'s, his history would suggest continued success as he has hit above 300 in each season except last at FM (and 35 games in the GCL). And, unlike other of our switch-hitting friends, is hitting 300+ from both sides. I hope he continues to rake and prop up that NB lineup.
      There are certainly question marks about Vargas, but what impresses me the most is his ability to improve. He started slow for 3 weeks, and now he's being dominant. He's found an ability to adjust. he did it in Beloit after teams adjusted to him. He struggled last year in Ft. Myers after Rosario and Sano were promoted, but he found a way to adjust.

      And, his power is right up there with Sano and Walker.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      There are certainly question marks about Vargas, but what impresses me the most is his ability to improve. He started slow for 3 weeks, and now he's being dominant. He's found an ability to adjust. he did it in Beloit after teams adjusted to him. He struggled last year in Ft. Myers after Rosario and Sano were promoted, but he found a way to adjust.

      And, his power is right up there with Sano and Walker.
      And unlike Sano and Walker, this recent 30-day power outbreak has happened with a precipitous drop in his K%, just over 10% (career lows) with a commensurate rise in BB%. He's showing himself to be a very impressive student of the game at the plate, and most incredibly (as you noted), he's doing it without much plate protection to speak of in New Britain.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      One thing I LOVE about Polanco is his ability to compartmentalize his defensive struggles from hindering his offense. I am sure he is mentally tough, but I would be willing to bet Dougie M's influence is VERY positive and is encouraging him through his struggles (not many as of late). Gardy would have thrown him under the bus numerous times by now.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      One thing I LOVE about Polanco is his ability to compartmentalize his defensive struggles from hindering his offense. I am sure he is mentally tough, but I would be willing to bet Dougie M's influence is VERY positive and is encouraging him through his struggles (not many as of late). Gardy would have thrown him under the bus numerous times by now.
      You nailed it- this is a really good post at some special things developing down at the lower levels. Some have been triumphantly decrying Polanco's "apparent" recent drop in production as the calendar turned to May, with an "I told you so". They have failed to note that, with his hit today, he has now hit safely in all 16 games this month. And all of his hitting averages, from both sides of the plate, save a slight drop in his SLG from the left side, are essentially very close to his stellar April numbers.

      And now Adam Brett Walker and Jose Berrios are starting to assert themselves. Even Levi Michael had awakened from after-thought status before he went to the DL.

      And you're absolutely right about Gardy, at face value, I don't think he'll be the right manager for Polanco, but look at how strongly Dozier came back after falling on his face in 2012. Perhaps Polanco is showing that he too, is made of sterner stuff (a lesser man would have melted into a tub of goo after his SS disasters in April).

      And who knows, Dougie Fresh may end up being his big league manager in the long run. I like whatever it is he's doing in FtM with all of these elite prospects- I've written about it before, he was a high school teammate of ARod, so perhaps his familiarity with HOF level guys in their developing years is a helpful attribute.
    1. blindeke's Avatar
      blindeke -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      \I've written about it before, he was a high school teammate of ARod, so perhaps his familiarity with HOF level guys in their developing years is a helpful attribute.
      Please, let's not mention this again.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      One thing I LOVE about Polanco is his ability to compartmentalize his defensive struggles from hindering his offense. I am sure he is mentally tough, but I would be willing to bet Dougie M's influence is VERY positive and is encouraging him through his struggles (not many as of late). Gardy would have thrown him under the bus numerous times by now.
      We don't know that... If Gardy was managing in Hi-A, he would also understand that the errors are learning opportunities. And, if Mientkiewicz was managing the Twins, he would certainly expect better defense from any of his fielders. I think the managerial styles and personalities of Gardenhire and Mientkiewicz are pretty closely aligned.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Have to admit though, the idea of watching Gardy having to manage a bunch of young players at one of the Class A levels is entertaining to envision.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      We don't know that... If Gardy was managing in Hi-A, he would also understand that the errors are learning opportunities. And, if Mientkiewicz was managing the Twins, he would certainly expect better defense from any of his fielders. I think the managerial styles and personalities of Gardenhire and Mientkiewicz are pretty closely aligned.

      Maybe not as a High A manager, but "under the bus throwing" for young players is a Gardy specialty at the major league level.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      A bit off topic, but...

      One of the comments that completely blew my mind was that sometimes Hicks shows up at the park and doesn't know who is pitching that day! I would imagine that several people have suggested he take his craft a little more seriously. At the point he didn't take the hint, throwing him under the bus was all that was left.

      Where is the kangaroo court when you need it?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by SD Buhr View Post
      Have to admit though, the idea of watching Gardy having to manage a bunch of young players at one of the Class A levels is entertaining to envision.
      I dunno - we might have made the same observation during Tom Kelly's reign in the Twin Cities, and he's turned out all right as a spring instructor with every indication he'd take a full season there in stride as well.
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