On Saturday, the Twins visited JetBlue Park to face their FIL crosstown rival the Boston Red Sox. In the stands again was Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez who was there to watch his son Dereck play the outfield. I finally had to mark out and get an autograph and picture with him. Also on the JetBlue Complex were possible future MLBers for Perfect Game's WWBA Florida Qualifier which feature the some of the kids (15 to 17 years old) in the nation and surrounding areas.
Once again the two clubs broke up into two squads, playing two games at once. So the benches were pretty bare as most if not all positional players were playing. Lewis Thorpe was the starter for Game A and went two innings. He looked good once again showing a good feel for his off-speed pitches and picking the corners. If he looks as good in spring training as he does now, he could push to start his 2014 season in Cedar Rapids.
Felix Jorge finished off Game A with a strong performance going two innings throwing a 89-91 mph fastball with big sinking action along with a couple of good slurves. Here's video of him with a strikeout to end the game.
I didn't get to see much of Game B other than just the ending, which was interesting. Twins' 2013 21st round pick Tyler Stirewalt threw the last inning and showed a good display of why the Twins took a flyer on him out Fresno State despite his line of 26 appearances (25 in relief) 28 1/3 IP, 26 H, 27 BB, 27 K, 7.62 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, .255 BAA. He showcased in the GCL as one of the older players and after the Twins cleaned up his mechanics he shined in 12 appearances, going 15 2/3 IP, giving up 8 hits, 5 walks, and 20 strikeouts, with a 0.57 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .148 BAA.
Stirewalt threw one inning, giving up one hit (a double-that should have been caught by J.D. Williams), one walk (to MLB player Jackie Bradley Jr.) and striking out two. Stirewalt definitely has the velocity, sitting at 93-95 mph topping at 96 with good movement. His slider was hard clocking at 87-89 mph.
With camp ending on Tuesday (Oct 8th) there were plenty of parents in attendance to watch their kids and take them back home. Stirewalt's parents, Clyde and Becky were no exception and were quite talkative. Getting a backstory on Tyler makes one really appreciate how far he's come already. According to his dad, Tyler concentrated almost solely on football while growing up, getting very little baseball time and never traveling. He received a scholarship at Fresno State for quarterback but wasn't getting much playing time so he walked onto the baseball squad his sophomore year.
It was obvious by his numbers that he is what one considers more of a thrower and not a pitcher, but velocity and arm strength like his cannot be taught. Apparently, during his time off he'll be golfing and snowboarding and working out on his own until Spring Training starts back up in February.
The Twins really see a diamond in the rough with Stirewalt. If he can learn to control his stuff and if he can learnhow to pitch he could be a bullpen cog. He looks to start the 2014 year in Cedar Rapids.