I'm spending a few days looking at the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Twins' Low-A affiliate in the Midwest League.
Felix Jorge started Wednesday night for CR against the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds). He's a 21-year-old Dominican right-hander who's been on Twins prospect lists for a couple of years but struggled last year on his first exposure to the Midwest League (9.00 ERA in 39 innings). This time around he's putting much better numbers. He entered Wednesday's start with a 2.49 ERA in 108 innings -- the lowest ERA in the league for any pitcher with at least 100 innings.
Of all the pitchers on the CR roster, Jorge is the one I was most interested in seeing. So naturally he had a rough outing Wednesday.
In truth, he had a rough inning. The Dragons scored five runs in the inning on three singles and two homers. They added an unearned run in the third -- shortstop Nick Gordon committed a two-base error on the first batter and he came around to score -- and the Dragons didn't get another man into scoring position in Jorge's six innings.
His line in the Kernels' 8-3 loss: six innings, seven hits, six runs, five earned, two walks and four strikeouts.
Jorge is very slender. The Kernels list him as 6-3, 180; Baseball Reference lists him as 6-2, 170. I'm not sure he weighs 170. He pitches with a very miminalist, upright motion that seems designed to enhance command at the expense of velocity, but the motion looks easy; he does not appear to be a max-effort guy. He topped out at about 91 mph and threw several pitches in the upper 70s (according to the scoreboard radar gun). He works very quickly -- there were times he had to step off the mound and wait for his fielders to return to their positions after foul balls.
Wednesday was clearly not one of Jorge's better outings, but he was perhaps better than his stats indicate. He's got a chance, but that's true of a lot of Low-A arms. I would expect the Twins to go slowly with him, between his struggles last year when elevated to a new level and the obvious need for him to grow into his body,