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Twins Daily Short-Season Hitter Of The Year

It seems like those short-season teams just started, and yet, here we are. The E-Twins and GCL Twins regular seasons are ending this week. It is time for us to hand out our Twins Daily awards. Over the next week or two, we’ll be posting our short-season and full-season minor league awards articles. Today we begin by handing out the award for Twins Daily short-season minor league hitter of the year.

The five Twins Daily Minor League Report authors were asked to vote for the various awards. For the short-season hitter 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 the results are found below.
Image courtesy of Jon Tarr
Before we get to the Top 4 short-season hitters, here are a few others who received votes.

Receiving 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.
Short-Season Hitter of the Year

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.


The Ballots

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
Feel free to discuss. How would your ballot look?


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13 Comments

Well played, Sir! I Diaz has generated barely a ripple of discussion on the board, of the very young prospects, it's pretty much been Kiriloff non-stop. Where do you see Diaz landing in the prospect rankings- closer to 20ish- or closer to 10ish?

 

 

In addition, I think it's time for Twins Daily to get Bref and Fangraphs up to speed with their physical stats on Diaz- he's still listed at his baby size- 6'3" and 180#s. How is he carrying the extra weight- masses of lean muscle mass or Vargas-esque pudge?

    • gunnarthor and diehardtwinsfan like this
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clutterheart
Sep 01 2016 06:00 AM
Great season by Diaz. Nice productive season for a 19 year old
But like so many twins prospects too many K's not enough walks.
Wow, it seems like Diaz will have to move pretty quickly and consistently to not burn all his options in the minors. As we've seen, we need some of those option years for them to figure it out in the mlb. Hope he works out.

 

Well played, Sir! I Diaz has generated barely a ripple of discussion on the board, of the very young prospects, it's pretty much been Kiriloff non-stop. Where do you see Diaz landing in the prospect rankings- closer to 20ish- or closer to 10ish?

 

 

In addition, I think it's time for Twins Daily to get Bref and Fangraphs up to speed with their physical stats on Diaz- he's still listed at his baby size- 6'3" and 180#s. How is he carrying the extra weight- masses of lean muscle mass or Vargas-esque pudge?

 

Kirilloff has had a very nice debut, but Diaz has really been terrific, providing the power that the Twins envisioned when signing him for all that money. I personally see him in the Top 15, but we'll see how it plays out with more research and such. Could be a Top 10 guy. And, I'd put him more in the Vargas category than the Sano category at this point.

 

 

    • HitInAPinch likes this

I'm still a "show me" guy on Diaz. I hope to be proven wrong.....but he's 19 and already 250 pounds...If he can play the field at all, it is 1 position. He's going to have to REALLY hit to ever make the majors. 

 

But, man, he had a great year this year, and that is exciting! Congrats to him.

 

I'm still a "show me" guy on Diaz. I hope to be proven wrong.....but he's 19 and already 250 pounds...If he can play the field at all, it is 1 position. He's going to have to REALLY hit to ever make the majors. 

 

But, man, he had a great year this year, and that is exciting! Congrats to him.

 

It's definitely a concern. Sano was probably 225-230 in Elizabethton, so Diaz already has him beat there. But what impressed me was that he didn't just hit home runs. 15 doubles is pretty impressive, and he has three triples too. 

    • Mike Sixel and jokin like this
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Parker Hageman
Sep 01 2016 01:13 PM

Lewin Diaz was definitely one of my five favorite swingers coming into the season -- http://twinsdaily.co...attention-r4332 (four out of five ain't bad) -- good to see that he continued to mash.

 

 

    • Mike Sixel, gunnarthor and jokin like this

It'll be fun to see how well he does in Korea.

 

......

I'm really sorry about that comment, everyone. Mom always said, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." But we didn't have the internet back then, so I have no idea how to apply the things Mom said about talking to the things I type on the computer. I wish there were a way to delete those words, but I'm completely lost with this keyboard thing. Why are all these letters mixed up, but the numbers are in order? And the numbers are in order in two spots! But the letters? All messed up! It takes so long to find each one. I've been typing for the last 52 minutes now.

Anyway, I can't erase the words I've already typed. They are just there. Forever. And there's nothing I can do about it. Just like the Twins can't do anything to make themselves competitive in 2017.

.....

My goodness. What is wrong with me? I'm sorry about that last comment, too. I really thought I had it out of my system after the first one, but apparently not. OK, I'll stop now, before I do something that I regret. Like attend another game this year.

.....

AAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!!! It's a never ending cycle! OK. I'll stop. Right now.

Also, congratulations to Lewin Diaz, and I hope he becomes a superstar for whatever team picks him up after we release him.

.....

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So sorry. Sincerely,
scottz

Photo
ashburyjohn
Sep 01 2016 06:46 PM

So sorry. Sincerely,
scottz

I'll have some of what Scott's having.

 

And then, pour it down the drain. Too strong for me, I'm confident.

    • scottz and gunnarthor like this
Put down the glass.



...or don't.
Doesn't Diaz have five years before being eligible for the Rule 5 draft? That would be after the 2018 year, not 2017?

Doesn't Diaz have five years before being eligible for the Rule 5 draft? That would be after the 2018 year, not 2017?


I could be wrong, but I think it's based off when they sign, not when they debut.
Diaz signed before the 2013 Rule V draft, even though he didn't debut until 2014.
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diehardtwinsfan
Sep 02 2016 07:01 AM

 

Doesn't Diaz have five years before being eligible for the Rule 5 draft? That would be after the 2018 year, not 2017?

 

I believe you are correct. He was signed at 16, so he gets 5 years (speaking of silly rules, 16 year olds really should get more than that in terms of Rule V eligibility, they all have to be put on the 40 man at age 21.

 

Only real question is that since he didn't play at all at age 16, how that works... I think it comes down to his signing date.


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