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Twins Minor League Hitter of July 2014

Earlier in the week, we looked at the long lists of Starting Pitchers and Relief Pitchers in the Minnesota Twins farm system who had strong July performances. Fortunately, there were also a lot of hitters who were up for consideration for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month in July.

It’s fun to review July because it’s the first time that short-season players, many drafted in June, spend their first full month in professional baseball. So, these lists can contain players who are in AAA and been in pro ball for many years or players who have been in pro ball for one month. Let’s get to it. Here are July’s top hitters:
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel
Let's start with a few players who are outside of the Top 5, but certainly warrant mention.
Honorable Mention
  • Rochester Doug Bernier 31-103 (.301/.376/.447 – .823), 8-2B, 2-3B, 1-HR, 13-RBI
  • NB/Rochester Reynaldo Rodriguez 27-93 (.290/.382/.419 - .801) 9-2B, 0-3B, 1-HR, 12-RBI
  • New Britain Mike Kvasnicka 34-111 (.306/.345/.505 – 849), 7-2B, 0-3B, 5-HR, 20 RBI
  • Ft. Myers Travis Harrison 31-102 (.304/.393/.402 - .795), 7-2B, 0-3B, 1-HR, 10-RBI
  • Cedar Rapids Alex Swim 34-95 (.358/.402/.411 - .812), 5-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 12-RBI
  • Cedar Rapids Mitch Garver 25-91 (.275/.333/.538 – .872), 3-2B, 0-3B, 7-HR, 19-RBI
  • Cedar Rapids Bryan Haar 23-83 (.277/.344/.446 - .790), 4-2B, 2-3B, 2-HR, 10-RBI
  • Elizabethton Tyler Kuresa 28-96 (.292/.349/.510 - .859), 9-2B, 0-3B, 4-HR, 23-RBI
And now this month's Top 5 Hitters:

#5 – Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers - Jason Kanzler, 29-92 (.315/.402/.489 - .891), 3-2B, 2-3B, 3-HR, 13-RBI

Kanzler was the Twins 20th round pick in 2013 out of the University of Buffalo where he won a couple of college Gold Glove awards. Though he began the season in extended spring, he was called up to Cedar Rapids quickly. With the Kernels, he took over centerfield and showed the tools that made him an intriguing draft pick. He’s got extra base power that he showed with eight doubles, eight triples and nine home runs in 84 games with the Kernels. He also stole 15 bases. Late in July, he received the promotion to Ft. Myers that he was ready for. He homered in his first at bat. Kanzler is definitely much more than the mustache. He’s got legit athleticism, talent and baseball acumen to continue to rise.

#4 – Ft. Myers - Dalton Hicks, 30-107 (.280/.344/.561 – 0.905), 7-2B, 1-3B, 7-HR, 23-RBI

As you recall, Hicks led all of baseball in RBI in 2013. This year it’s been more of a struggle for the 6-5, 250 pound first baseman. His OPS' by month since April have been .720, .696, .616, but he increased that to .913 in July. For the month, his 15 extra base hits were more than the three previous months combined. He has missed time with injury throughout the year, but he is now back to being the run producer in the middle of the Miracle lineup that was expected.

#3 – Ft. Myers – Mike Gonzales 29-76 (.382/.442/.684 – 1.126), 11-2B, 0-3B, 4-HR, 20-RBI

Gonzales was the Twins ninth round pick in 2009 out of Diablo Valley College. At 6-6 and 260 pounds, he had a long swing. A second year in Beloit was very beneficial for him. His career has been slowed, in part, by a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to play full games in Ft. Myers, or in back-to-back games. However, things certainly clicked for him with the Miracle in July. He carried a 19-game hitting streak right up until the day he was promoted to New Britain (July 27). In his second game with the Rock Cats, he was 2-4 with a home run. Gonzales and Hicks combined for a dominant 1B/DH team with the Miracle. Both have tremendous power and profile very similarly.

#2 – Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids – Max Murphy 33-98 (.337/.433/.622 – 1.056), 4-2B, 0-3B, 8-HR, 17-RBI

Murphy was the Twins ninth round pick this year out of Bradley University. He is from Robbinsdale, Minnesota. He signed quite quickly after the draft and reported to Elizabethton where he started to hit immediately. Like Kanzler, Murphy is a good combination of skills, though none of them jump out as great. He is a solid baseball player who has few weaknesses. Before the end of July, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids.

The July Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is...

New Britain Rock Cats – OF Aaron Hicks (35-101) .347/.427/.554 (0.982) with 10-2B, 1-3B, 3-HR, 18 RBI

After starting the second straight season as the Minnesota Twins starting centerfielder, and then struggling for two or more months, the Twins decided to option Aaron Hicks to AA New Britain. As expected, he started out quite slowly, but once the calendar turned to July, Aaron Hicks started putting up numbers. He went back to switch-hitting and likely relaxed and found it again. He hit for average, got on base and showed some extra base power. He was playing all three outfield positions and put himself in position for a promotion. On Monday, he was promoted to the Rochester Red Wings where he will attempt to continue doing what he was in New Britain. Hopefully he can put up another terrific month in August in Rochester and spend September in the big leagues.

There you have it. The top five hitters in the Twins system for the month of July. Now it’s time to debate. What do you think? Please feel free to discuss.

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12 Comments

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Paul Pleiss
Aug 07 2014 01:35 AM

Seth, you spend a lot of time going over hitter and pitcher of the month/year down in the minors. Does anyone at Twins Daily do the same for the guys with the big league ball club?

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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 07 2014 06:35 AM
No one wants to do that to themselves, Paul.
    • Steve Lein, mike wants wins, clutterheart and 3 others like this
I am proud, happy, and thrilled for Hicks. A well earned promotion. Let's see him force one more.
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mike wants wins
Aug 07 2014 07:15 AM

Congrats to Mr. Hicks on a great month. Continue to hope for his long term MLB success. Glad he was promoted.

 

The number of LARGE 1B/DH types fascinates me for some reason.......

Yeah, it was great to see Hicks do well, and as others have said, will be good to see him do well in Rochester. I think it's wise they're letting him play and succeed. Confidence is such a big part of this game.

 

As for the large 1B, I don't mind it at all. Vargas is up. Gonzales and Hicks have good power. I don't mind having a few thumpers around. 

Wow, I was a little surprised to read this.  I'd been following Hicks' numbers and knew that he had a great month (especially the period right before his promotion).

Happy for him and hope to see him be able to translate it to AAA starting tonight.  (I figure Tuesday night was a write off since no one on the Red Wings did well against Axelrod although Hicks did get his usual walk.)

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clutterheart
Aug 07 2014 10:27 AM

 

His career has been slowed, in part, by a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to play full games in Ft. Myers, or in back-to-back games.

What kind of condition is this?

No one wants to do that to themselves, Paul.

 

 

BullsEye!  (Ed Ames would be proud).

 

weapon_tomahawk_ames.jpg

Yeah, it was great to see Hicks do well, and as others have said, will be good to see him do well in Rochester. I think it's wise they're letting him play and succeed. Confidence is such a big part of this game.

 

As for the large 1B, I don't mind it at all. Vargas is up. Gonzales and Hicks have good power. I don't mind having a few thumpers around. 

 

 

How about small jackrabbits who came close, but no cigar, to qualifying for Honorable Mention?  

 

I know Tanner English was on the DL for most of the month.... but he was back by the end of the month...and in 31 PAs he slashed .296/.387/.481/.869.  

 

Manuel Guzman in GCL slashed .338/.430/.426/.857... in 80 PAs he had 2-2B, 2-3B, 11 BB, 7 SB. Switch hitter and plays 2B/SS. I would like to hear a little more about him to see if he might be a legit prospect or not. 

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mike wants wins
Aug 07 2014 12:19 PM

I don't mind, like I said, I'm fascinated.....

I knew from reading the morning reports that Hicks was doing well at New Britain, but am pleasantly surprised at just how good a month he really had. Have to temper the enthusiasm though, doesn't mean he's fully turned a corner yet. I think we all get that. But it's very positive just the same! I'm also pleased to see that he will get an opportunity to play in Rochester for the next month. As someone pointed out recently, apologies for not remembering who, it's not as if Hicks was hitting against dregs at AA, but at Rochester he will face pitchers with at least a little more experience, a little more consistency, and some with ML experience. It's part of his building block, or re-building block, back to fulfillment of his potential. Now, in retrospect, I guess it's a shame they didn't make the move sooner. Demotion I mean. In theory, his June May have been his July and he might be starting his second month of AAA experience. I still believe that as part of his development/re-development, he should be recalled for September with theTwins this season to finish the season. The option is already spent, he will get to work with Twins coaches again, and it might do wonders to keep his confidence up that is being rebuilt. No promises, and he doesn't necessarily have to play every day, but he needs to come up and see some action.

Kind of curious why Hicks didn't play tonight vs. Indianapolis.

    • JB_Iowa likes this

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