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Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - April 2019

As Minnesota is experiencing another cold stretch, it’s hard to believe that April is complete. The good news is that it is time to highlight some of the top minor league performers during the month of April. We will get to the pitchers over the next couple of days, but today we start with the top hitters for the month.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (graphics by Finn Pearson)
Let’s take a look at the Top 4 hitters for the month of April, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.


HONORABLE MENTION
  • 1B Gabe Snyder - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 17-52, .327/400/.558 (.958) with three doubles, three triples and a home run.
  • 1B/C Chris Williams - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 13-51, .285/.406/.529 (.936) with two doubles, four homers and 10 RBI.
  • 3B Brian Schales - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 14-58, .241/.405/.500 (.905) with four doubles, a triple, three homers and 13 RBI.
  • C Tomas Telis - Rochester Red Wings - .15-53, .283/.328/.528 (.856) with four doubles, three homers and seven RBI.
  • OF Jaylin Davis - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 22-70, .314/.342/.500 (.842) with four doubles, three homers and nine RBI.
  • C Ben Rortvedt - Ft. Myers Miracle - 15-60, .250/.375/.467 (.842) with five doubles, one triple, two homers and nine RBI.
  • 2B/3B Luis Arraez - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 30-95, .316/.404/.358 (.762) with two doubles, a triple and seven RBI.
THE TOP FOUR HITTERS

Number 4 – Pensacola Blue Wahoos - C/IF Caleb Hamilton - .283/.403/.500 (.903). 17-60 with five doubles, one triple, two home runs and nine RBI.

Hamilton was the Twins 23rd round pick in 2016 out of Oregon State. Following that season, He had been an infielder in college, but following his pro debut, the Twins moved him behind the plate. He has become a trusted catcher in the organization. He has greatly improved his game calling, blocking and is a good pitch receiver. He got off to a strong start in his Double-A debut month, enough that he has received additional at-bats playing at first base and third base. Hamilton is strong and compact. He has a strong arm, and he has some power.


Number 3 - Rochester Red Wings – 3B Randy Cesar - .316/.366/.566 (.932), 24-76 with 10 doubles, three homers and 18 RBI.

Cesar signed a minor league contract with the Twins this spring after pending seven seasons in the Houston Astros organization. He gained some notoriety last year when he had a 42-game hitting streak. At 6-4 and 240 pounds, Cesar has a lot of power potential, though he has never hit more than the ten homers he hit last year at AA Corpus Christi. The 24-year-old is off to a fast start with the Red Wings, hitting for average and power. This is an award for hitting, so there’s really no need to mention that he has eight errors in 12 games at third base already this year.


Number 2 - Rochester Red Wings – 1B Zander Wiel - .253/.313/.600 (.913), 19-75 with four doubles, two triples, six homers and 14 RBI.

Wiel came to the Twins as their 12th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. He has moved up one level each year, though he ended 2018 with a handful of games with the Red Wings. While Wiel has spent time the last couple of seasons, and in spring training, in left field, he played exclusively at first base. Wiel strikes out a fair share of the time, but he has always been an extra-base hitting machine. The 26-year-old ended the month strong with multi-hit games in three of the month’s last four games.


And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:

Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle – OF Trey Cabbage - .300/.395/.600 (.995), 21-70 with one double, one triple and six homers and 16 RBI.





Trey Cabbage was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He spent that summer in the GCL. In 2016, he played at Elizabethton. That’s where he started 2017 as well before playing the final two months in Cedar Rapids. That’s where he spent all of 2018 as well.


Cabbage was likely a bit disappointed to learn that he would start 2019 with the Kernels, but he handled it just as you would hope. Instead of worrying about things like results and promotions, he trusted the process. On the field, he got off to a fast start and carried it through the month. In fact, his final game of April came for the Ft. Myers Miracle.


For the month, the powerful first baseman/outfielder led the Twins minor leagues in OPS, slugging percentage and home runs. Still just 21 years old for a couple more days, Cabbage should have an opportunity for playing time with the Miracle. While he has played mostly right field this year, he can play left field, first base and possibly third base.




We would like to congratulate Trey Cabbage, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for April 2019. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

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18 Comments

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AlwaysinModeration
May 01 2019 03:29 AM
Let us marvel how Cabbage shredded.
    • ashbury, Seth Stohs, glunn and 9 others like this

A bit surprised at Wiel's .253 average as I see him often having multi-hit games in the daily reports.Will be interesting to see if we ever see him at Target Field.

 

Has to be rewarding to Cabbage having this type of early success.The other player on this list I am happy to see is Rortvedt, who can become a major asset for the Twins should his performance continue to get better as he moves up the ladder.

    • Steve Lein, glunn, brvama and 5 others like this

Given the swing and miss swing of Cabbage I would never have picked him to win a hitter of the month award ever.With Kiriloff and Lewis likely standing in his way among others he seemed like the longest of long shots to me.

 

I am happy to see that he is getting more contact and having much better results.It seems like his eye at the plate has been better and he has been getting better pitches to hit.Congrats to Trey on hitting better than anyone else in the system for a month especially in cold northern tundra of Cedar Rapids!

    • glunn and brvama like this

You mentioned - in passing - something I would suggest that you add - how about the Twins fielder of the month.Let's look at some good gloves to balance out the Cesar's that make this hitting list. 

For the top 3 hitting prospects you included their position and from Caleb Hamilton's your write up let us know that he's a catcher but it would be nice to also see the positions for the "also ran's".

 

Having said that, the small amount of data you gave us made me wonder why one of the young men from the Cedar Rapids team were not #4 instead of Hamilton? Was that taking position into account or possibly level?17-52, .327/400/.558 (.958) beats 17-60 283/.403/.500 (.903) in my mind.

 

I'm not trying to be nit picky or critical, I am really honestly just wondering about the rationale if you don't mind elaborating further...Thank you.

    • glunn likes this

Cabbage looked much different this Spring than last season.Gained considerable muscle and was more confident in the batter's box.Good to see that it translates into results.

 

Cesar has to be the pleasant surprise in this list.Makes Tyler Austin's loss more palatable.

    • glunn, Lunger and dbminn like this

 

Let us marvel how Cabbage shredded.

 

Oh man, should've started this sentence with "Lettuce marvel....". Ha!

    • ashbury, glunn, Mike Sixel and 6 others like this

Congrats to Trey!Hope he rakes with the Miracle.

 

Looking forward to the starting pitcher of the month. You've got names like Ober, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Sammons....throw in a little Graterol and Jax and Poppen.And did I mention Balazovic?Going to be a slightly tougher decision than hitter of the month.

    • Dman likes this

 

For the top 3 hitting prospects you included their position and from Caleb Hamilton's your write up let us know that he's a catcher but it would be nice to also see the positions for the "also ran's".

 

Having said that, the small amount of data you gave us made me wonder why one of the young men from the Cedar Rapids team were not #4 instead of Hamilton? Was that taking position into account or possibly level?17-52, .327/400/.558 (.958) beats 17-60 283/.403/.500 (.903) in my mind.

 

I'm not trying to be nit picky or critical, I am really honestly just wondering about the rationale if you don't mind elaborating further...Thank you.

 

That''s a very fair question... One thing I always struggle with is how to account for playing time.

 

Specifically, how do you compare catchers to players at other positions. Naturally, catchers are going to play less due to the demands of the position. I really wanted to jump up to a Top 6 ,and probably should have. Snyder began the season in EST so he has less plate appearances than Hamilton (by about 20, again, in a month, that''s a small number, but that's potentially 5-6 games. But Hamilton had the power numbers to go with a decent average and great catching.

 

Williams and Snyder were good. They''re kind of platooning at 1B for the Kernels and Williams is getting some time behind the plate. Now that Cabbage has moved up, those two should see a little more time still, as will Ben Rodriguez. 

 

I don't want it just to be about counting down OPS. I don't want it to just be about any one stat, so I try and I probably put too much time trying to think about it... and then I come up with it. Ha!!

 

Also, I will now add the positions to the Honorable Mentions too. That's a good point. 

    • glunn, goulik, nater79a and 3 others like this

 

A bit surprised at Wiel's .253 average as I see him often having multi-hit games in the daily reports.  Will be interesting to see if we ever see him at Target Field.

 

Has to be rewarding to Cabbage having this type of early success.The other player on this list I am happy to see is Rortvedt, who can become a major asset for the Twins should his performance continue to get better as he moves up the ladder.

 

Wiel has really just gotten hot the last 4 or 5 games or so.Up until then he was slashing .190/.262/.448.Showed some power early but the K% was hovering around 37%.He's been raking recently. 

 

 

 

Wiel has really just gotten hot the last 4 or 5 games or so.Up until then he was slashing .190/.262/.448.Showed some power early but the K% was hovering around 37%.He's been raking recently. 

 

The beauty of the small sample size, right? 

    • dbminn likes this

 

I don't want it just to be about counting down OPS. I don't want it to just be about any one stat, so I try and I probably put too much time trying to think about it... and then I come up with it. Ha!!

 

Seth, you and the other TD folks do a great job with the monthly rankings. I get the feeling you incorporate age as an element at the lower levels, which IMO is good. 

 

My nitpick of the month is ranking Rortvedt as only an Honorable Mention. I'd put him ahead of both Cesar and Wiel, considering the dismal state of hitting in the FSL.

 

My bias is K%. It's hard for me to pick hitters above 30% for the top five of any month. (That would include Schales, Wiel, JDavis in April). 

    • glunn, Original Whizzinator and rdehring like this

 

Seth, you and the other TD folks do a great job with the monthly rankings. I get the feeling you incorporate age as an element at the lower levels, which IMO is good. 

 

My nitpick of the month is ranking Rortvedt as only an Honorable Mention. I'd put him ahead of both Cesar and Wiel, considering the dismal state of hitting in the FSL.

 

My bias is K%. It's hard for me to pick hitters above 30% for the top five of any month. (That would include Schales, Wiel, JDavis in April). 

 

To be honest, I try hard NOT to factor age into the monthly award rankings. Obviously that factors into prospect rankings but these rankings should be about hitting performance. 

 

I do look at BB/K as one of the factors... probably why J Davis wasn't in there despite the good batting average. Schales. It would have been a positive for Chris Williams. 

    • ashbury and glunn like this

 

Oh man, should've started this sentence with "Lettuce marvel....". Ha!

I slaw that coming a mile away.

    • glunn, spycake, nater79a and 1 other like this

I would have went with Cesar and his organization leading 13 extra base hits as our youngest hitter at AAA.

    • glunn likes this

 

I would have went with Cesar and his organization leading 13 extra base hits as our youngest hitter at AAA.

The International League is going crazy with offense, though. .782 league OPS this year. That's closer to the PCL (.824) than the IL league OPS last year (.709), or any other Twins affiliate league this year:

 

AA: .678

A+: .654

A: .683

    • glunn likes this

Here's the Fangraphs Twins minor league leaderboard for 2019, sorted by wRC+ (so, hitting adjusted for league):

 

https://www.fangraph...=false&players=

 

Cabbage still comes out on top; Chris Williams is #2. Cesar is the highest ranked AAA player at #8.

 

This metric really doesn't like Wiel, as he drops to #12, behind Wade surprisingly -- I guess Wade's .436 OBP outranks Wiel's .600 SLG? It might include SB value too, which would help Wade.

    • glunn, scottz, nater79a and 1 other like this
Crazy how I spoke about being disappointed in Cabbage as the season began, and here he is seemingly finding himself. I hope nothing but the best for the kid!
    • glunn likes this

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