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Twins Minor League Hitter Of The Month - May 2018

Tonight we post our final Twins minor league award for May. Earlier this week, we named Todd Van Steensel Relief Pitcher of the Month and Brusdar Graterol the Starting Pitcher of the Month. Tonight, we announce our choice for Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month.

There were really some solid performances, but the choice was easy. There were a ton of hitters in the system that had OPS between.750 and .800 for the month, but there was one hitter who stood head and shoulders above the rest this month.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Alex Kirilloff)
Let’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters for the month of May, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.

  • Willians Astudillo - Rochester Red Wings - 20-75, .267/.309/.467 (.775) with three doubles and four home runs.
  • Nick Buss - Rochester Red Wings - 17-60, .283/.317/.500 (.817) with five doubles, one triple and two home runs.
  • Taylor Grzelakowski - Ft. Myers Miracle - 15-56, .268/.369/.464 (.834) with five doubles and two home runs.
  • Ben Rortvedt - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 26-85, .306/.352/.435 (.787) with four doubles, two triples and one home run.
  • Jimmy Kerrigan - Ft. Myers Miracle/Rochester Red Wings - 19-72, .264/.329/.472 (.801) with three doubles and four home runs.

Number 5 – Cedar Rapids - SS Royce Lewis - .317/.363/.465 (.828). 32-101 with nine doubles, two home runs and 16 RBI.

The top pick from the 2017 draft, Lewis put together a second strong month. If you were to go look at his April numbers and compare them to his May numbers, they are close. His batting average and on-base percentage were about the same, but he added the extra-base hits in May. Lewis just turned 19 on Tuesday, three or four years younger than most of the pitchers in the league, but he’s more than handled himself well. Lewis takes good at-bats, and his defense has been better than most expected. Lewis should make the All-Star team and then move up to Ft. Myers.

Number 4 - Chattanooga Lookouts – OF Edgar Corcino - .276/.377/.480 (.857), 27-98 with nine doubles, one triple, three homers and 17 RBI.

Corcino has played well since joining the Twins organization before the 2015 season. The 25-year-old from Puerto Rico had a terrific month. He takes tremendous plate appearances and walks at a good clip, but he’s strong and fast and has some good pop in his bat. He also plays good defense at all three outfield positions and has a strong, accurate arm.

Number 3 – Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings - Nick Gordon - .314/.378/.471 (.849), 38-121 with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 10 RBI.

Gordon, the Twins top pick in 2014, put together yet another strong month in May despite his promotion to Triple-A. One might expect some adjustment time, but Gordon is hitting well over .300 in his half-month with the Red Wings. While he continues to add more gap-to-gap power, I still believe he could develop into a 12-15 home run guy in the big leagues too. That’s a valuable player. Will he play shortstop? We’ll see. He’s done a fine job so far this season.

Number 2 - Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins – OF Jake Cave - .317/.366/.500 (.866), 33-104 with five doubles, one triple, four homers and 17 RBI.

Before the end of spring training, the Yankees put Cave on waivers, and the Twins were able to work out a trade for him (sending a pitcher from the DSL). Cave had a really strong month with the Red Wings. Consider that his May numbers include his brief stint in the big leagues and it may be even more impressive. He went just 1-for-9 with the Twins, but that one hit was a home run. Cave does a nice job in the outfield.and should see more time in the big leagues. He was a bit of a late bloomer, but a look at his stats in the upper minors the last couple of years indicate that he could be a big leaguer.

And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:

Cedar Rapids Kernels – OF Alex Kirilloff - .360/.423/.640 (1.063), 41-114 with 11 doubles, three triples, five homers and 25 RBI.

Alex Kirilloff has been named the Midwest League Player of the Month and the Class A Player of the month already. Why not add the Twins Daily Hitter of the Month award. Kirilloff had a dominant month for the Kernels. He hit for average. He showed good plate discipline and approach, and he crushed the ball. He hit doubles, ran out triples and hit a lot of home runs.

On Tuesday night, Kirilloff hit a grand slam. He currently leads the Twins system, and the Midwest League, with 11 home runs and 49 RBI. Early in the year, Royce Lewis garnered most of the headlines, and understandably and deservingly so, but over the course of the month Kirilloff started getting more attention which he so richly deserved.

Defensively, he continues to work to improve, but he makes the plays. His arm is strong despite missing the 2017 season with Tommy John surgery. It should continue to improve in terms of strength and accuracy. He’s playing exclusively in right field, with Akil Baddoo in center.

Offensively, he is impressive and he’s got a great approach. Most of his power at this point has come to the opposite field. Most of his extra-base hits have gone to left field.

Like Lewis, Kirilloff should play in the Midwest League All-Star Game. But also like Lewis, Kirilloff should soon find himself playing for the Miracle in Ft. Myers.

We would like to congratulate Alex Kirilloff, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2018. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

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Post-Concussive Blues
Jun 06 2018 07:30 AM
Kirilloff and Lewis both look like they are going to fly up the national prospect rankings. Let’s hope they can sustain this level of success.
    • Mike Frasier Law, dbminn and SF Twins Fan like this

Three catchers in your Top 10, interesting.Great seeing Rortvedt doing so well.Continue to believe (hope) he can be the Twins starting catcher for the decade of the 2020's...although maybe not at the start of the 2020 season.  

    • dbminn likes this
Tom Froemming
Jun 06 2018 08:37 AM

I really hope they promote Edgar Corcino to Rochester soon, he deserves it.

    • TheLeviathan likes this
Jun 06 2018 08:45 AM

Three catchers in your Top 10, interesting.Great seeing Rortvedt doing so well.Continue to believe (hope) he can be the Twins starting catcher for the decade of the 2020's...although maybe not at the start of the 2020 season.

Taylor Grzelakowski has been pleasant, but this does look a bit like smoke and mirrors. He's striking out in 30% of his at bats and currently maintains a nearly .400 BABIP. That has to catch up with him at some point, and I'm not sure what that will drop his OPS to.

That said, he's pretty close to league average age in the FSL and might have a career if he can make the appropriate adjustments.
    • Dman likes this

I appreciate the note on Kirilloff's defense as well. I know this is about the hitting, but I've been curious about his defensive development. sounds like he has work to do, but is not a hopeless flailer out there who will need to move to DH ASAP.


The hit tool is strong with this kid. He's really mashing it and it's great to see a guy bounce back this well after a fairly significant injury. I can't wait to see him move up to High A and see how he does there.

Every Kirilloff highlight I see shows him blasting oppo. I suspect he is the love-child of Joe Mauer and Wonder Woman.

    • Seth Stohs, Yoke, Dantes929 and 2 others like this
Jun 06 2018 03:51 PM

I really hope they promote Edgar Corcino to Rochester soon, he deserves it.

And he is 25, probably time to accelerate a bit. He sounds like he will fit nicely as a forth OFer if he stays track.

For perspective...playing together and batting consecutively in the order for Cedar Rapids...


Baddoo - 788 OPS, 39/62 BB/K, 12/3 SB/CS, center-fielder, age 19

Lewis -750, 13/30, 15/1, short-stop, 19 (just turned)

Kirilloff - 978, 20/40, 1/1, right-field, 20


Lewis has not exactly dominated offensively by any means.But more than held is own and while playing SS and being one of the very youngest players in the Midwest league.Baddoo's walk rate is absurd, and his K rate is high...but he's had the highest OBP all year long, and has nearly as many x-base hits as Lewis, with way fewer balls in play.Kirilloff needs to be promoted yesterday...I don't feel the other two are necessarily screaming to be promoted at this time.I'm sure Lewis would be next in line while Baddoo works on the K rate.

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