Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - August 2017
- Shane Carrier - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 23 G, 26-88, .295/.340/.568 (.909) with six doubles, six homers and 12 RBI
- Lewin Diaz - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 24 G, 31-94, .330/.373/.457 (830) with six doubles, two homers and 11 RBI.
- Wander Javier - Elizabethton Twins - 19 G, 25-77, .325/.384/.506 (.890) with five doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI.
- Leonardo Reginnato - Rochester Red Wings - 27 G, 27-80, .338/.427/.463 (.890) with seven doubles, one triple and 11 RBI.
- Zander Wiel - Ft. Myers Miracle - 25 G, 27-92, .297/.365/.516 (.882) with six doubles, one triple, four home runs and 18 RBI.
Number 6 – GCL Twins - Jean Carlos Arias - 24 G, .315/.382/.533 (.915). 29-92 with four doubles, two triples, four home runs and 21 RBI.
Arias signed with the Twins way back in July of 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. He has slowly worked his way up. 2017 was his second season in the GCL, and it was a nice improvement from his first season. While he played all three outfield positions, he spent most of his time in center field. Arias is a multi-talented player who has the potential to be a five-tool player (though those ultimately are rare). He’s fast, and some believe he’ll add more power as he continues to grow.
Number 5 – Jonathan Rodriguez – 1B Jonathan Rodriguez - 27 G, 281/.418/.542 (.960). 27-96 with seven doubles, six home runs and 18 RBI.
Rodriguez was our choice for minor league hitter of the month in July. Frankly, he had an incredible season. The 28-year-old spent the first eight seasons of his career in the Cardinals organization. He came to the Twins this offseason and hasn’t stopped hitting. In 119 games for the Lookouts, he hit .309/.414/.525 (.939) with 31 doubles, 21 homers and 76 RBI. His season ended with five games in Rochester, and another home run.
Number 4 – Cedar Rapids Kernels - Travis Blankenhorn - 17 G, .338/.390/.634 (1.023). 24-71 with four doubles, one triple, five home runs and 18 RBI.
It was a bit of an inconsistent season for Blankenhorn, which likely explains why the recently-turned-21-year-old stayed in Cedar Rapids all year. But, he ended his season on a very strong note in August. His OPS by month were .776, .604, 1.048, .449, 1.023, as well as 1.500 in September where he was 3-6 with two walks, a double and a triple. Blankenhorn spent the first half of the season playing third base. After some roster changes after the All-Star break, he has primarily played second base.
Number 3 - Chattanooga Lookouts – 3B TJ White - 27 G, .340/.397/.613 (1.010), 36-106 with ten doubles, two triples, five homers and 20 RBI.
The 25-year-old from Las Vegas, and drafted out of UNLV in 2014, quietly put together a strong 2017 season. Considering that he started the season in extended spring training before re-joining the Lookouts in mid-May, he was impressive. Overall, he hit .276/.358/.484 (.842) with 26 doubles and 14 home runs. White is a strong kid, but he’s also quicker than you might think. At third base, he had a fielding percentage of .959 and reports say he showed quite a bit of improvement.
Get to know TJ White (including comments from his high school teammate, Joey Gallo)
Number 2 - Ft. Myers Miracle – 1B/OF Brent Rooker - 27 G, .341/.411/.706 (1.116), 29-85 with four doubles, nine homers and 31 RBI.
Most months, the numbers that Brent Rooker put up in August would be tops on the board. This month, it falls just a little bit short. Rooker played his initial 22 pro games in Elizabethton, getting back into the swing of things and getting some at-bats under his belt. But the plan all along was to get him to Ft. Myers quickly, which they did. While he struggled some early in his move to the Florida State League (hit .163 through his first 12 games), he has been terrific since, and most of that has been in the month of August. Sure, he still struck out 32% of the time (30 K in 95 PA), but when he made contact, big things happened. He was an extra-base machine. Not only did he have nine homers, but most of them drove in more than one run. Overall, it’s been a strong pro debut for Rooker, who had 18 total home runs. It’s certainly something to build on in 2018. I guess he answered the question of whether or not he was promoted too aggressively.
Get to know Brent Rooker
And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:
Elizabethton Twins – OF Akil Baddoo - .389/.504/.622 (1.127), 35-90 with 13 doubles, one triple, two homers and 13 RBI.
He got on base in over 50% of his plate appearances over the final month of the season, while playing at a new level. Not only did Akil Baddoo walk a lot, but when he did hit, he drove the ball with authority with his 16 extra-base hits.
Akil Baddoo was one of the two Comp picks that the Twins had after the second round of the 2016 draft. One was used to draft Jose Miranda, the other on Baddoo, a prep player from Georgia. Baddoo debuted with 38 games in the GCL last year. He stayed in the GCL to start the 2017 season as well where he hit .267/.360/.440 (.800) with eight extra base hits in 20 games. When Rooker was promoted to Ft. Myers, Baddoo took his spot in Elizabethton. He has been their leadoff man pretty much every day since.
In 33 games for Elizabethton, the 19-year-old outfielder hit .357/.478/.579 (1.057) with 15 doubles, two triples and three home runs. He reportedly gained 15 pounds in the offseason which gave him more power. He did so without losing speed. He was Elizabethton’s center fielder most games, getting the occasional DH day.
A tremendous athlete, Baddoo should find his name moving up prospect rankings this year. He should begin the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids.
While you could argue for as many as four players to win the award, we would like to congratulate Akil Baddoo, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for August 2017.