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  • Hu's on first? No, he's pitching (for the Kernels)

    The merry-go-round that is a minor league team's roster continued to spin over the weekend in Cedar Rapids as the Kernels saw two pitchers promoted to high-A Fort Myers, one infielder put on the 7-Day Disabled list and two new pitchers arrive from Elizabethton.

    The new pitchers, right handed starting pitcher Chih-Wei Hu and righty bullpen arm Jake Reed, were in uniform for Tuesday night's series opener with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, won by the Kernels, 15-5.

    The two will replace starter Ethan Mildren and co-closer Todd Van Steensel on the Kernels' pitching staff.


    Kernels pitching coach Ivan Arteaga and pitcher Ethan Mildren

    Mildren has been dominant through his most recent pair of starts, throwing seven shutout innings against Clinton on June 29 and duplicating that feat on Independence Day against Beloit. He allowed just seven hits and three walks over that 14-inning stretch.


    This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com

    Van Steensel had not been charged with allowing a run, earned or otherwise, in his last seven appearances for Cedar Rapids. Overall, he put up a 1.30 ERA covering 34.2 innings of work in 23 appearances in a Kernels uniform.

    If early impressions mean anything, Reed will be a capable replacement for Van Steensel in the Kernels bullpen.

    The 21-year old righty, drafted in the 5th round out of the University of Oregon last month, threw nothing but shutout innings for the E-Twins in his first six innings of work this season. He struck out eight batters and held opponents to a .053 batting average.against him.

    That scoreless streak, however, came to an end in Reed's first appearance in a Cedar Rapids uniform on Tuesday night. Reed gave up one unearned run in an inning of work on Tuesday night when the first batter he faced reached on a two-base error and came around to score on a subsequent single.

    Reed recorded his first strikeout as a Kernel to finish the eighth inning.

    The man with the biggest shoes to fill with the Kernels, perhaps, will be Hu.

    Cedar Rapids has struggled to find consistency from their rotation and Mildren was just beginning to provide much needed leadership in that area.

    Hu will get Mildren's spot in the rotation and should get his first start for the Kernels on Thursday against the Rattlers, in front of the home crowd.

    Like Reed, Hu was off to a strong start for Elizabethton.

    The Taichung, Taiwan, native had time to make just three starts for the E-Twins before being promoted. He was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA. He threw six shutout innings of two-hit baseball in his last start, striking out nine batters in the process.

    After watching Hu throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, Kernels pitching coach Ivan Arteaga pronounced the 20-year old Hu, "ready to go."

    "His fastball moves a lot and his slider's got good rotation," Arteaga added. "He really competes, according to the reports we got."

    The Kernels played Tuesday a man short on their roster as shortstop Engelb Vielma has been placed on the 7-day DL with concussion symptoms and no corresponding roster move was immediately announced.

    Manager Jake Mauer indicated to media after the game that infielder Logan Wade would be re-activated from the DL on Wednesday to replace Vielma.

    Since the Twins beat the Mariners last night, you can get half off your L or XL pizza on Wednesday by ordering online at PapaJohns.com with the promo code 'TWINSWIN'.
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Great update on what is happening down in CR. I'm excited to see what Hu can do. I like that the Twins have been scouting in Taiwan, and I'm hoping some of these signings will pan out.

      Do you have a scouting report for Hu? I'd love to hear about what kind of pitches he throws.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Congrats to all the guys promoted!
    1. brvama's Avatar
      brvama -
      Thank you for the great articles on the Kernels. I always enjoy reading first hand reports on our minor league teams and you do a great job in CR. Many of these players may never reach the MLB, but it is still exciting to learn more about the players in the Twins system and to follow their progress..
    1. tarheeltwinsfan's Avatar
      tarheeltwinsfan -
      Thanks for a good report.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Thanks. Great article. Nice to read about these kids from somebody who is there. The guys who have played for the Kernels over the last year and a half have started to move up thru the organization (like Polanco) and have continued to impress. In a couple of seasons (maybe Sept. 2015) we can begin seeing them regularly with the Twins and helping the Twins become a contender.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Why was Mildren promoted instead of Stewart?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Why was Mildren promoted instead of Stewart?
      More ready.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
      Great update on what is happening down in CR. I'm excited to see what Hu can do. I like that the Twins have been scouting in Taiwan, and I'm hoping some of these signings will pan out.

      Do you have a scouting report for Hu? I'd love to hear about what kind of pitches he throws.
      From the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2014 (available in paperback and e-book):

      A sturdy 6-1 (210), Hu can reach back and hit 95, though he sat typically in the low-90s. He also has a sharp, 12-6 breaking curveball. He already has a good feel for his changeup, and he also throws a palm ball. The Twins were enamored with his ability to command his pitches and pound the strike zone. He has a tough mentality on the mound, and is definitely a confident pitcher.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Sorry for not responding to comments earlier. My head was pretty much buried in budget work at the office today and just now noticed the post had been promoted.

      Thanks for responding to a couple of those questions, Seth. I agree Mildren was more ready than Stewart. If anything, Slegers might have been a closer second among the rotation members for consideration of a promotion.

      I think we've discussed this before, but I just don't expect Stewart to do anything but finish out the year in CR. They're still clearly limiting pitches with an eye toward making sure his arm is not overtaxed through the end of the season. SPs promoted to Ft Myers are more likely to be the college guys or pitchers with multiple pro seasons already.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Thanks. Great article. Nice to read about these kids from somebody who is there. The guys who have played for the Kernels over the last year and a half have started to move up thru the organization (like Polanco) and have continued to impress. In a couple of seasons (maybe Sept. 2015) we can begin seeing them regularly with the Twins and helping the Twins become a contender.
      I agree and look forward to seeing some Kernels in Target Field soon.

      For now, I'll have to be satisfied with driving up to watch Kernels alum Jose Berrios in the Futures Game on Sunday. Should be fun.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Nice article with an awesome headline. It's a shame Dakota Watts was released - you could have used "Watts on 2nd? No, he's pitching too." Maybe you got that one in and I didn't see it.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by gil4 View Post
      Nice article with an awesome headline. It's a shame Dakota Watts was released - you could have used "Watts on 2nd? No, he's pitching too." Maybe you get that one in and I didn't see it.
      Is Watts still around? I don't know.

      (All together now...)

      THIRD BASE!
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