Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - August 2019
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (graphics by Finn Pearson)Previous 2019 Hitters of the Month:
April - Trey Cabbage
May - Lewin Diaz
June - Brent Rooker
July – Jaylin Davis
Let’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters for the month of August, but first here are some of the players deserving of honorable mention.
- Gilberto Celestino – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle, 32-98, .327/.396/.500 with three home runs and eight doubles.
- Rhodery Diaz – DSL Twins, 13-36, .361/.477/.444 with one home run and one double.
- Ramon Flores – Rochester Red Wings, 29-98, .296/.434/.449 with three home runs, four doubles and one triple.
- Trevor Larnach – Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 30-98, .306/.395/.510 with six home runs and two doubles.
- Anthony Prato – Elizabethton Twins, 24-71, .338/.410/.451 with one home run, three doubles and one triple.
- Gabe Snyder – Cedar Rapids Kernels, 21-90, .233/.300/.478 with six home runs, two doubles and one triple.
- Tomas Telis – Rochester Red Wings, 31-76, .408/.439/.553 with two home runs and five doubles.
- Tyler Webb – Cedar Rapids Kernels, 24-75, /320/.370/.400 with one home run, one double and one triple.
Number 5 – Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 1B/3B/OF Ryan Costello – 21-85, .247/.369/.529 with six home runs, four doubles and one triple.
Costello, Seattle's 31st-round pick in 2017 (came to Twins in July 2018 trade from the Mariners (Zach Duke)), continues to show his value as he moves through the Twins system. August was his first full month at Double-A and he made sure to leave his mark. He had hits in 10 of his first 12 games of the month and that included a stretch of three straight games with a home run. He ended the month with hits in eight of his final 11 games to be one of the organization’s top five hitters for the month.
Number 4 – DSL Twins – 3B/1B Rubel Cespedes – 16-46, .348/.423/.630 with one home run, four doubles, and three triples.
The Dominican Summer League Twins can be forgotten about with the plethora of other affiliated minor league squads. Cespedes made sure that hitters in this league wouldn’t be forgotten. In his first taste of professional ball, the teenager finished the season on a hot streak. He collected multiple hits in five of his 12 August contests and he only failed to reach base in one August game. Through the month’s first seven games, he was hitting .423/.516/.731 with six extra-base hits and one strike out compared to four walks.
Number 3 – Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels – OF/3B Seth Gray – 24-92, .261/.361/.533 with five home runs and 10 doubles
Gray, a 2019 fourth-round pick, ended the month with a promotion from E-Town to Cedar Rapids. He hit safely in his final six Appy League game and he had multiple hits in three of his final games with that club. Even after the promotion, he ended the month on an eight-game hitting streak which included five extra-base hits and a .977 OPS. He was only hitting .231 through the first 12 games of the month but he finished August going 15-53 (.283) with eight extra-base hits.
Number 2 – Rochester Red Wings – OF Alejandro De Aza – 28-71, .394/.469/.676 with thee home runs, seven doubles and two triples
De Aza is 35-years old, but he made it clear in August why the Twins picked him up in the middle of July. He ended the month on an 11-game hitting streak and there were actually only two games in the entire month where he was held without a hit. Apparently, the guy knows how to hit because he was only failed to collect a hit in six games so far in the Twins organization. He had multiple hits in nine of his 19 games. What makes it even more impressive is the fact the Red Wings were fighting for their playoff lives for a good portion of the month.
And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:
Rochester Red Wings – OF/1B Zander Wiel – 30-105, .286/.350/.600 with six home runs, 11 doubles and two triples.
Someone had to step up and fill the offensive void left by Jaylin Davis and Zander Wiel did his best to fit this role with the Red Wings. Wiel, a 12th-round pick back in 2015, has spent the entire season in Rochester. Much like De Aza, Wiel ended the month on an 11-game hitting streak that included three multi-hit games. Overall, Wiel collected seven multi-hit efforts throughout the month.
Wiel was coming off a rough July where he struggled by hitting .200/.243/.484 (.727). All of those totals were season lows for him. Something switched in August as he had a season high in OPS, SLG and extra base hits. As a 26-year old, he has also been facing older pitchers in roughly have of his plate appearances.
A study was done at the University of Rochester after the Red Wings broke their franchise home run record. It was a simple experiment to see if the new Triple-A baseballs were bouncier and could be one of the reasons for the power hitting surge. Wiel was interviewed for the story and said, “These balls this year…they’ve been going and that’s why you see the rise in numbers. All the production, extra-base hits and stuff we’re seeing.”
Even with a bouncier ball, Wiel still must do one of the hardest things in sports by making solid contact between a round bat and a round ball. He did it better than anyone else in the Twins system this past month so congratulations to him.
Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions in the comments below.
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