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Twins 2019 Short-Season Pitcher of the Year

At the end of June each year, not long after the completion of the draft, the short-season minor leagues begin. The GCL Twins stay in Ft. Myers, and the Elizabethton Twins take the long bus ride to Tennessee. The last few seasons, Twins Daily has added two annual awards for the short-season Twins players. Yesterday, we handed out the award for the top hitter in the short-season teams. Today, we’ll start with the pitchers.

Previous Winners:
2016: Huascar Ynoa
2017: Jovani Moran
2018: Andrew Cabezas
Image courtesy of Nicolas Badders, Elizabethton Twins (graphics by Finn Pearson)
As you’ll read below, there were several pitchers on the Twins short-season teams who put together real solid seasons. Of course, we are generally talking about a limited number of innings due to their seasons being just two months long. One poor outing can have an effect on their overall numbers.

Six Twins Daily Minor League writers voted for the various awards this year. For the short-season pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below.

Short profiles of our top five are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes.

Others Receiving Votes:
  • Osiris German - Elizabethton Twins - 16 G, 3-1, 3.11 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 37.2 IP, 30 H, 10 BB, 47 K
  • Anthony Escobar - GCL Twins - 11 G, 6 GS, 5-2, 3.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 42.1 IP, 33 H, 13 BB, 37 K
  • Evan Gillespie - GCL Twins - 12 G, 1 GS, 3-1, 2.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 18 K
Short-Season Pitcher of the Year

Here are the top five vote-getters for Twins Short Season Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

#5 – Ryan Shreve, Elizabethton Twins: 14 G, 2 GS, 2-2, 3.40 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 45.0 IP, 55 H, 7 BB, 58 K

Shreve was the Twins 16th-round pick in 2019 out of the University of the Pacific where he pitched for three years. He spent one summer with the St. Cloud Rox. The 6-6 right-hander from South California signed quickly and went to pitch for the Elizabethton Twins. After pitching 79 innings in college this season, he worked another 45 innings for the E-Twins, mostly out of the bullpen.

#4 – Miguel Rodriguez, GCL Twins: 9 G, 5 GS, 2-2, 2.48 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 32.2 IP, 29 H, 11 BB, 39

The Twins signed Rodriguez in July of 2017 out of Venezuela. He spent the 2018 season pitching in the Dominican Summer League. He came to the States in 2019 and pitched for the Gulf Coast League Twins. He’s got good control and a good mix of pitches. He also showed an ability to miss bats. Opponents hit just .236 off of the 20-year-old.

#3 – Donny Breek, GCL Twins: 10 G, 7 GS, 1-2, 0.74 ERA, 36.1 IP, 1.10 WHIP, 21 H, 19 BB, 38 K

Breek signed with the Twins out of The Netherlands in September of 2017. He pitched in the GCL in 2018, posting an ERA of 2.84. He returned to the level this year, and as you can see, he was much improved. He has the ability to miss bats, though lack of control is the only thing really slowing him down. Over the weekend at the European Championships, he struck out ten batters over six scoreless innings. Gave up just just two hits and one walk.

#2 – Niklas Rimmel, GCL Twins: 9 G, 7 GS, 3-1, 2.15 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 37.2 IP, 30 H, 8 BB, 34 K

The Twins signed Rimmel out of Germany about a week before they signed Breek. The right-hander threw just over 14 innings in 2018, but he greatly improved his control. Rimmel stands about 6-3 and is lanky. He’s got a very smooth delivery with a repeatable motion. .

Pitcher of the Year – Cody Laweryson, Elizabethton Twins: 10 G, 6 GS, 1-1, 1.76 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 41.0 IP, 25 H, 9 BB, 59 K

Laweryson grew up in Maine and went to the University of Maine where he pitched for three years. He worked primarily out of the bullpen the first two seasons before moving into their starting rotation this year. In 14 starts, he went 5-5 with a 2.85 ERA. He threw 72 2/3 innings and struck out 79 batters.

With that performance, and his size (6-4) and stuff, he caught the eyes of Twins scouts. The Twins drafted him in the 14th round in June. He signed quickly and reported to Ft. Myers for that fun-filled bus ride up to Elizabethton.

The right-hander began by pitching six games for Elizabethton before moving up to Cedar Rapids where he made a spot start. In that Midwest League game, he tossed five shutout innings and gave up just two hits. He returned to the E-Twins where he made four more appearances. In his final start of the season, he struck out 15 batters in six shutout innings.

Laweryson made a great first impression. He threw strikes (2.0 BB/9), recorded strikeouts (12.3 K/9), and opponents hit just .168 off of him on the season. All told, it was an easy choice for our votes, and summed up, it was clear why Cody Laweryson was our unanimous choice for Twins Daily Short-Season Pitcher of the Year.

There you have it, the top pitchers in the short season leagues for the Minnesota Twins in 2019.

The Ballots

In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers:
  • Seth Stohs – 1) Cody Laweryson, 2) Donny Breek, 3) Miguel Rodriguez, 4) Niklas Rimmel, 5) Anthony Escobar
  • Cody Christie – 1) Cody Laweryson, 2) Donny Breek, 3) Niklas Rimmel, 4) Miguel Rodriguez, 5) Evan Gillespie
  • Tom Froemming - 1) Cody Laweryson, 2) Osiris German, 3) Niklas Rimmel, 4) Ryan Shreve, 5) Donny Breek
  • Steve Lein – 1) Cody Laweryson, 2) Donny Breek, 3) Niklas Rimmel, 4) Osiris German, 5) Miguel Rodriguez
  • Ted Schwerzler - 1) Cody Laweryson, 2) Niklas Rimmel, 3) Donny Breek, 4) Miguel Rodriguez, 5) Ryan Shreve
  • Matt Braun - 1) Cody Laweryson, 2) Ryan Shreve, 3) Niklas Rimmel, 4) Miguel Rodriguez, 5) Donny Breek
Feel free to discuss. What do you think? How would you rank them? How would your ballot look?

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Tom Froemming
Sep 10 2019 08:17 AM

It appears Laweryson is our first undisputed winner of this particular award. Well deserved, congrats to him on such a fine pro debut.

    • glunn and Ted Schwerzler like this

Just don't tell him, "You can't get theah from heah."

Alex Schieferdecker
Sep 11 2019 07:38 AM

What makes it even better is that he has a great name. Laweryson? Call him up immediately please.

Sep 11 2019 03:44 PM
Osiris is a good name too and he seems to be able to miss bats as well, but hats off to the clear winner.