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  • Twins Minor League Report (7/13): Futures Game Impressions

    The festivities are underway in the Twin Cities as Minnesota plays host to the MLB All-Star Game. The major league players still had games to play on Sunday but some of the best and brightest minor league players were on hand to strut their stuff.

    Twins pitching prospect Jose Berrios got the start for the World squad and Kennys Vargas was in the middle of the batting order to back him up. Berrios struck out the first batter he faced on a high fastball and both of the other batters flied out. Vargas played the entire game and he collected a double in four plate appearances. He also made a nice leaping catch at first and a couple nice scoops.

    Alex Meyer pitched the fifth inning for the US and earned a hold. The first two batters made decent contact against him but luckily one of those hits was right at a fielder. Meyer got a double play to end the inning and he only needed four pitches to get his job done.

    While these three players were busy with a big event, their teams were busy still trying to win games. Here's a look at how their teams did on Sunday.

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester --, Scranton/Wilkes Barre -- (Postponed)
    Rain put a damper on what was supposed to be the unofficial end of the first half for the Rochester Red Wings. Trevor May was scheduled to make his first start since coming off of the DL but that will have to wait another day. Rochester had also ended a four game losing streak on Saturday so it would have been nice to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

    The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, August 23. Game one is scheduled for a 3:35 pm CST and both games will be seven innings long.

    ROCK CATS REVIEW
    New Britain 4, Reading 6
    Box Score
    New Britain staked themselves to an early two run lead but Reading connected on four home runs as part of a 12-hit barrage to win the game. Jason Wheeler started for the Rock Cats. He went five innings and allowed five earned runs on 10 hits including three of the above mentioned four home runs. It was his third loss in five starts since being moved up from Fort Myers.

    Daniel Turpen relived Wheeler and pitched two innings. He gave up one hit but it happened to be a home run. Mason Melotakis pitched the last two frames and he kept the ball in the park. Over two shutout frames he allowed one hit and struck out two.

    Reynaldo Rodriguez collected two hits including his 30th double of the season. It was the third time in his last ten games that he has collected multiple hits. Eddie Rosario had a double and scored a run. Lance Ray also collected his second double in only eight games since his promotion.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 3, Dunedin 1 (Game 1- 7 innings)
    Box Score
    DJ Baxendale put together his best outing of the year for the Miracle as he tossed a complete game. He scattered five hits over seven innings and struck out two. Baxendale induced three double plays and recorded 12 outs on ground balls. He hadn't made it through more than six innings in any other start.

    Nate Roberts and Stuart Turner both knocked two hits and Roberts' triple was the lone extra-base hit. Byron Buxton went 1-for-2 with a run scored and his second stolen base of the season. His infield single was his first hit since coming off of the disabled list at the beginning of last week.

    MIRACLE MATTERS
    Fort Myers 8, Dunedin 4 (Game 2- 7 innings)
    Box Score
    In the second game of the doubleheader, the Miracle beat up on a familiar name, Dunedin starter Frank Viola Jr. He only lasted 2.1 innings and was charged with six earned runs as the Miracle pelted him with seven hits. Four Miracle hitters had at least two hits. Anderlin Mejia led the way going 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Adam Brett Walker had a couple big hits as he knocked in two and hit his ninth double.

    Fort Myers patched together pitchers for the second half of the doubleheader. BJ Hermsen collected the win after tossing a scoreless second inning. Todd Van Steensel made his Miracle debut at Hammond Stadium and lasted 1.1 scoreless frames. Madison Boer shut the door by recording the last five outs without allowing a hit.

    KERNELS NUGGETS

    Cedar Rapids 7, Clinton 4 (Rain Shortened- 6 innings)
    Box Score
    One giant inning is all it took for Cedar Rapids to earn the win. In the top of the sixth inning, the Kernels scored seven runs without recording an extra-base hit. Cedar Rapids has now won four games in a row including the rain shortened game on Saturday.

    In that big sixth inning, the Kernels sent 11 men to the plate. The team recorded five singles and took advantage of one defensive error. The first four hitters all reached base. It matched the largest run-scoring inning for the Kernels on the season. Four Cedar Rapids hitters (Logan Wade, Chad Christensen, Jason Kanzler, and Alex Smith) had two hits. Swim hit the only Kernels extra-base hit, a double.

    Lewis Thorpe pitched the first four innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits. He struck out five and didn't walk anyone. Brandon Bixler earned his sixth victory of the season, all of them coming out of the bullpen. He allowed one run over two innings with a strikeout. Hudson Boyd earned the save since he was on the mound when the game was called.

    E-TWINS E-NOTES
    Elizabethton 10, Danville 6
    Box Score
    The E-Twins brought a consistent offensive approach to pound out ten runs on 16 hits. Max Murphy reached base four times and scored three runs. He also hit his sixth home run of the season in the ninth inning. Tyler Kuresa went 2-for-4 with a home run. All the hitters in the batting order from first to seventh had a minimum of two hits with the exception being Nick Gordon (1-for-6 with a run scored).

    Michael Cederoth was credited with his second professional victory in as many appearances. He allowed three runs over five innings with four strikeouts and two walks. CK Irby got hit around a little in his second inning of work. He gave up two runs on four hits but it wasn't enough to get Danville back into the game.

    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – DJ Baxendale, Fort Myers Miracle
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Max Murphy, Elizabethton Twins

    MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Rochester- Scheduled Off Day
    Reading @ New Britain (11:05 CST) – Tyler Duffey (Listen)
    Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – TBD (Listen)
    Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30 CST) - Ryan Eades (Listen)
    Elizabethton @ Danville (6:00 CST)- Stephen Gonsalves
    GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00am CST) – TBD
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      Who is Alex Swim? He is looking good. Max Murphy and Nick Gordon are killing it for the E twins. If that continues is there a chance either get promoted this year?
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Sample size isn't so small anymore. It appears the Appy League just isn't a challenge for Max Murphy. Time to see what the local boy can do in the MWL I think.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by pierre75275 View Post
      Who is Alex Swim? He is looking good. Max Murphy and Nick Gordon are killing it for the E twins. If that continues is there a chance either get promoted this year?
      Swim was a late-round pick out of Elon University just last year. He just moved up to Cedar Rapids (actually down because he went from EST to FM, but then down to CR) a month ago. He's athletic behind the plate, and I think he's got a good approach and swing at the plate.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I was at the Futures Game today with Jeremy Nygaard. Berrios was impressive! Fastball 94-95. Slider at about 85-86, and changeup around 82.

      Meyer was 97, 98, 97, 97, 97... and done. Ha! Got hit hard, but threw strikes and didn't mix it up at all (not enough pitches).

      Vargas looked OK at 1B... The double was impressive! Short-hopped the wall.
    1. Jaykay's Avatar
      Jaykay -
      Quote Originally Posted by pierre75275 View Post
      Who is Alex Swim? He is looking good. Max Murphy and Nick Gordon are killing it for the E twins. If that continues is there a chance either get promoted this year?
      Gordon has slowed down a bit but Murphy is absolutely crushing it. He should get moved up soon if he continues to hit like this.
    1. VandyTwinsFan's Avatar
      VandyTwinsFan -
      From Keith Law:
      Minnesota's Kennys Vargas, who stood around first base but is awful over there, showed no ability to cover the outer half or to handle offspeed stuff inside, though he did hit a "double" off the right field wall on a fastball; the throw beat him to second, but the shortstop, Corey Seager, couldn't hold on to it.

      Pretty scathing in regards to Vargas.
      Not much to say on Meyer, other than his two Futures appearances have totaled 10 pitches combined.
      He stated Berrios wasn't finishing his curve, the change was better, and his delivery is tough to repeat and that Berrios might not be using his lower half enough.
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      Quote Originally Posted by VandyTwinsFan View Post
      From Keith Law:
      Minnesota's Kennys Vargas, who stood around first base but is awful over there, showed no ability to cover the outer half or to handle offspeed stuff inside, though he did hit a "double" off the right field wall on a fastball; the throw beat him to second, but the shortstop, Corey Seager, couldn't hold on to it.

      Pretty scathing in regards to Vargas.
      Not much to say on Meyer, other than his two Futures appearances have totaled 10 pitches combined.
      He stated Berrios wasn't finishing his curve, the change was better, and his delivery is tough to repeat and that Berrios might not be using his lower half enough.
      If I remember correctly, Law has never had many good things to say about Vargas.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tibs View Post
      If I remember correctly, Law has never had many good things to say about Vargas.
      Correct. "AAAA Player" at best.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Law is like most experts in that he is right half the time which is better than the amateurs who are wrong half the time.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by VandyTwinsFan View Post
      From Keith Law:
      Minnesota's Kennys Vargas, who stood around first base but is awful over there, showed no ability to cover the outer half or to handle offspeed stuff inside, though he did hit a "double" off the right field wall on a fastball; the throw beat him to second, but the shortstop, Corey Seager, couldn't hold on to it.

      Pretty scathing in regards to Vargas.
      Not much to say on Meyer, other than his two Futures appearances have totaled 10 pitches combined.
      He stated Berrios wasn't finishing his curve, the change was better, and his delivery is tough to repeat and that Berrios might not be using his lower half enough.
      Scathing? Sounds more like vindictive. Vargas hit a rope off the wall and actually looked good while running the bases, and aggressive in going for 2 and challenging a tremendous RFer in Hunter Renfro with a cannon 80/80-rated arm. My respect for Klaw just dropped a bit- why not just review what happened, instead of trying to prove something you said previously?
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Scathing? Sounds more like vindictive. Vargas hit a rope off the wall and actually looked good while running the bases, and aggressive in going for 2 and challenging a tremendous RFer in Hunter Renfro with a cannon 80/80-rated arm. My respect for Klaw just dropped a bit- why not just review what happened, instead of trying to prove something you said previously?
      Agreed. Vargas hit that ball hard, and it took a great play to make it close at second. Despite what KLaw says, Vargas beat that throw, just barely.
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tibs View Post
      If I remember correctly, Law has never had many good things to say about Vargas.
      Nor Berrios if I remember
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      I don't believe that Keith Law has good things to say about any of the twins prospects generally. But its just his opinon.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Predicting AAAA for Vargas is pretty safe. His glove is poor and it is really hard to stick in the big leagues solely as a DH. He might be one who beats the odds but Ortiz was in AA two years earlier than Vargas. Daryle Ward is a lot more likely.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by pierre75275 View Post
      I don't believe that Keith Law has good things to say about any of the twins prospects generally. But its just his opinon.

      Besides rating Buxton number 1 overall, from the time he was drafted, and loving Sano, and the numerous other prospects he has liked.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cody Christie View Post
      Alex Meyer pitched the fifth inning for the US and earned a hold. The first two batters made decent contact against him but luckily one of those hits was right at a fielder. Meyer got a double play to end the inning and he only needed four pitches to get his job done.
      That's pitch to contact, par excellence! He'll be in the 2nd half Twins rotation for sure!
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Scathing? Sounds more like vindictive. Vargas hit a rope off the wall and actually looked good while running the bases, and aggressive in going for 2 and challenging a tremendous RFer in Hunter Renfro with a cannon 80/80-rated arm. My respect for Klaw just dropped a bit- why not just review what happened, instead of trying to prove something you said previously?
      He does seem vindictive when he is less than enthused about players. Mike is right in that he does praise the few Twins prospects he likes, but if he doesn't like a guy, he does go out of his way to trash someone. I could care less if Vargas had gotten thrown out at 2B, I really only care that he made hard contact and knocked one off the wall.

      To be fair, I don't think he's picking on the Twins, and if Berrios is like 95% of other Twins pitchers, he likely isn't using his lower body enough, however, KLaw does seem to have some kind of complex where he thinks if he is going to write something unfavorable, he better be as derisive and snarky as possible just so the reader makes no mistake of his opinion.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
      Predicting AAAA for Vargas is pretty safe. His glove is poor and it is really hard to stick in the big leagues solely as a DH. He might be one who beats the odds but Ortiz was in AA two years earlier than Vargas. Daryle Ward is a lot more likely.
      The 2 year age difference in development is partly on account of his limited PAs due to suspension and injury. There is encouragement in comparing Ortiz to Vargas's plate discipline and high contact rate:

      Vargas AA: K%- 15.6% BB%- 10.1%
      Ortiz AA: K%- 26.7% BB%- 14.0%

      I don't think it's fair to expect Vargas to be a future Hall of Fame bat like Ortiz or in turn, to brand him so soon to the likes of a mediocre Ward career, but his AA numbers are pretty close to Kendrys Morales, with double the BB% of Morales, and unlike Ward or Ortiz, Vargas switch hits, with nearly an identical split against both RHP and LHP.

      I think it's worth letting it ride awhile with Vargas and see how he adjusts to the low and outside stuff at the upper levels of the minors- he's acquitted himself quite well to this point, and all indications are he's a plus in the clubhouse The Twins must see something in him, as they felt confident enough to give him a 40-man spot.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I'd love to see Vargas in AAA, getting more consistently challenged. While AA may have more high upside arms, AAA has more consistently really good arms.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      People worry too much about what Keith Law says. He's one person, one evaluator... a guy who just saw Vargas take four at bats...

      It'd be like watching Kris Bryant strike out twice yesterday and then saying that he's unable to hit with two strikes. Can't make too much of the results of and exhibition game.
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