Twins Daily Short-Season Hitter Of The Year
Image courtesy of Jon TarrBefore we get to the Top 4 short-season hitters, here are a few others who received votes.
- Jaylin Davis, Elizabethton Twins: 13-47, .277/.346/.745 (1.091), 1 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 12, RBI.
- Shane Carrier, Elizabethton Twins: 57-207, .275/.301/.449 (.751), 14 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 29 RBI.
- Ariel Montesino, Elizabethton Twins: 56-187, .290/.343/.332 (.675), 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 13 RBI.
- Amaurys Minier, Elizabethton Twins: 37-167, .222/.318/.449 (.767), 8 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 32 RBI.
Here are the top four places (eight players received votes) for Twins Daily Short-Season Hitter of the Year.
#4 – Aaron Whitefield, GCL Twins: 57-185, .308/.372/.378 (.750), 7 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 31-40 SB.
Whitefield is one of the more interesting stories in the Twins system this past year. He signed in May of 2015 and played in just a handful of games in the GCL last year. The 19-year-old had been a softball player in international competitions for Australia before turning to baseball in the last two years. At 6-4 and 200 pounds, he is very fast and a terrific athlete. He had a very nice season in the GCL, leading off most every day. He has hit over .300 and taken quality plate appearances most times up to bat. Once on base, he has the green light to run, and he was very successful on the base paths. He is certainly one to watch as he gains more baseball experience.
#3 – Travis Blankenhorn, Elizabethton Twins: 41-138, .297/.342/.558 (.900), 7 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 29 RBI.
Blankenhorn spent the second half of the 2015 short season in Elizabethton. However, in extended spring training, he made the transition to second base. It’s been a work-in-progress, but it hasn’t affected his offense to this point. In 34 games with the E-Twins this year, he hit well and showed a lot of power with 17 extra-base hits. In fact, the 2015 third-round pick was quickly promoted to Cedar Rapids where he has continued to hit. In 20 games there, he is hitting ..320 with extra-base hits.
#2 – Alex Kirilloff, Elizabethton Twins: 66-216, .306/.341/.454 (.794), 9 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 33 RBI.
The Twins used their first-round pick this June on the Pennsylvania prep. Kirilloff was sent directly to Elizabethton after signing and hit right from the start. While he has cooled off significantly in August, the 19-year-old has had a strong professional debut. He has shown he can hit for average as well as providing plenty of extra-base hit power, including nine home runs while making adjustments to the wood bat, pro life, and more. He has also done a nice job in the outfield for the E-Twins.
Short-Season Hitter of the Year – Lewin Diaz, Elizabethton Twins:
54-174, .310/.353/.575 (.928), 15 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 37 RBI.
Lewin Diaz was the Twins big international free agent signing in 2013, earning a seven-digit signing bonus. Due to his size and power potential, he has been compared to several big leaguers including David Ortiz and Ryan Howard. Lofty hopes.
He spent 2014 in the Dominican Summer League. He played most of 2015 in the Gulf Coast League, though he played a handful of games in Elizabethton last year. He came to spring training this year at 6-4 and 250 pounds. He is a big, powerful man, and he has shown that power this year. However he has also hit for average, and while he doesn’t walk a lot, he has shown some control of the strike zone.
It is fair to say that Diaz will fly up prospect rankings this coming offseason. He had fallen back some, but his power potential is immense and scouts and others will start to take notice. He will jump to Cedar Rapids to start the 2017 season. It will be interesting as he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if he’s not added to the 40-man roster following that season.
In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers:
- Seth Stohs – 1) Lewin Diaz, 2) Alex Kirilloff, 3) Aaron Whitefield, 4) Travis Blankenhorn, 5) Shane Carrier
- Jeremy Nygaard – 1) Alex Kirilloff, 2) Aaron Whitefield, 3) Lewin Diaz, 4) Travis Blankenhorn, 5) Ariel Montesino
- Cody Christie – 1) Lewin Diaz, 2) Travis Blankenhorn, 3) Alex Kirilloff, 4) Aaron Whitefield, 5) Shane Carrier
- Steve Lein – 1) Lewin Diaz, 2) Travis Blankenhorn, 3) Alex Kirilloff, 4) Aaron Whitefield, 5) Amaurys Minier
- Eric Pleiss – 1) Lewin Diaz, 2) Jaylin Davis, 3) Alex Kirilloff, 4) Travis Blankenhorn, 5) Aaron Whitefield