Minnesota Twins MiLB Weekly Roundup: Fort Myers Pitching Dominates
The Minnesota Twins single-A teams own winning records one week into the minor league season.
One week into the MiLB season, both single-A Fort Myers Miracle and Cedar Rapids Kernels have the only winning records among the Minnesota Twins affiliates. The Miracle pitching staff dominates, while the Kernels are carried by the offense. Summaries of each team’s performance start with the Rochester Red Wings.
Rochester Red Wings (3-3)
The Red Wings have played in two double-headers already this season due to rain. The Opening Day game stopped in the middle innings, eventually finishing the next day. Since then the team has had two games postponed.
Apart from the weather, the Red Wings are a boom or bust team so far. In its three losses, the team has scored three total runs. In its three wins, the team has scored 14 runs. Red Wings pitchers have walked a whopping 26 batters in 47 innings pitched. Tyler Duffey leads the way with six walks in 8 2-3 innings. Granted he has only started two games, he needs to cut down the walks before the Twins should think about calling him up.
Adam Brett Walker hit the only home run for the Red Wings up to this point. The home run was also his first at the Triple A level. Other batters seeing early success include Darin Mastroianni (.333/.478/.389), Reynaldo Rodriguez (.389/.421/.444), and Jorge Polanco (.286/.304/.476), who is tied for second in the league with two triples.
Other Notables: For fans hoping the Twins will call up Jose Berrios soon, wait a little longer. In his only start Berrios walked four batters and hit two more in five innings. He must work out his control issues before receiving a call-up. He will not succeed in the majors if he is too wild. Of course it’s one week into the season, he has plenty of time to improve his control before an May call-up.
Chattanooga Lookouts (2-5)
While losing five of its first seven games, Chattanooga pitchers have racked up 42 strikeouts in 59 innings. D.J. Baxendale and Jason Wheeler each have eight strikeouts in 11 innings. Hard-throwing reliever J.T. Chargois has faced six batters and has struck out five of them.
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Leading the way at the plate is Daniel Palka. He was the return in the trade that involved Chris Herrmann being sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Palka is slashing .348/.375/.565 with a home run, his first at the Double A level, and five RBI. Stuart Turner is also off to a strong start. His three doubles are tied for second in the Southern League.
Other Notables: The Lookouts have five players on the 7-Day DL, including No. 8 prospect Nick Burdi. Like the Twins, the Lookouts have players that are striking out too often. Joe Maloney leads the way with 14 strikeouts in 22 at-bats. If this talented team is turn it around in week two of the season, the batters need to cut down the strikeouts.
Fort Myers Miracle (4-3)
The strength of the Miracle through the first week of the season is pitching. So far the team is 2-1 in one-run games and hasn’t scored more than five runs.
A pair of Luke’s lead the way in the bullpen. Luke Bard and Luke Westphal have combined for 10 strikeouts while allowing one hit each in 7 2-3 total innings. Equally as good is the rotation, which includes Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Felix Jorge, Randy Rosario, Keaton Steele, and Tyler Jay. The six pitchers have a miniscule combined 1.94 ERA.
The hottest batter by far is Nick Gordon. He is slashing .367/.387/.500 with 11 hits, three runs scored, four doubles, and two stolen bases. The 2014 first round pick and No. 4 prospect is still a work in progress defensively. In seven games he has committed two errors.
Other Notables: It bears repeating, the Miracle are loaded with pitching talent. Five pitchers rank among the top 30 Twins prospects. Gonsalves, Stewart, Jay, Jorge, and Yorman Landa have a collective 2.61 ERA. The same five have combined to pitch in 32 innings while striking out 34 batters. More impressive numbers are to be expected from this group.
Cedar Rapids Kernels (5-2)
The bats are alive and well to start the season for the Kernels. Chris Paul, no not the basketball player, leads the way. He is slashing .346/.414/.462 and is tied for the team lead in RBI with four. Equally as impressive is top 30 prospect LaMonte Wade. He lead the Kernels in hits (10), doubles (3), and total bases (15).
Every pitcher except C.K. Ibry and John Curtiss has given up at least one run. Overall, the pitching has been streaky. The offense is the reason for the early wins. Sam Clay in his one start gave up a run but it wasn’t an earned run.
Next: Glen Perkins to DL, Taylor Rodgers Up
Other Notables: This Kernels team has no shortage of offense. The team has more triples (5) than home runs (1). Despite a team batting average of .218, the Kernels have done a good job of driving in runners in scoring position. Five pitchers are on the 7-day DL, which includes hard-throwing top prospect Lewis Thorpe.