Twins Minor League Hitter Of The Month - July 2018
- Akil Baddoo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 30-107, .280/.363/.439 (.802) with eight doubles, three triples and a homer.
- Taylor Grzelakowski - Ft. Myers Miracle - 31-88, .352/.396/.511 (.907) with ten doubles, and two triples.
- Mitchell Kranson - Chattanooga Lookouts - 23-72, .319/.398/.486 (.884) with four doubles, a triple and two home runs.
- Royce Lewis - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 33-112, .295/.370/.420 (.790) with eight doubles and two homers.
- Jose Miranda - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 39-114, .342/.382/.553 (.935) with six doubles and six home runs.
Number 5 – Chattanooga Lookouts - Zander Wiel - .336/.424/.551 (.975), 36-107 with seven doubles, two triples, four home runs and 14 RBI.
Many months, Wiel’s July numbers would be a serious contender for the monthly honor. For him to be fifth on this list tells you a little bit about the numbers the guys ahead of him put up. Wiel has had a really solid season. He’s shown more consistency than he has in the past. During this month, he hit for a high average. He got on base. He showed power. He’s seemingly made himself an even better athlete since the draft with enough speed to beat out some triples. Over the last couple of months, Wiel has been hitting in the leadoff spot for the Lookouts with Brent Rooker hitting second. The combination has often given their team a first-inning lead. They also have split time between left field and first base, as well as getting some DH days. While he strikes out at times, he has also really improved his eye and had 16 walks during the month of July.
Number 4 – Elizabethton Twins - Chris Williams - .277/.391/.585 (.976). 26-94 with two doubles, nine home runs and 26 RBI.
Again, Chris Williams had a July worthy of the top spot, but he’s #4 on our list this month. Williams was the Twins eighth-round pick this June out of Clemson where he spent three years. Drafted as a catcher, he has played first base most every game for the Elizabethton Twins, and he’s been a force in the middle of their lineup. He has had a lot of interesting games. He’s had a two-homer game. He also had a game in which he walked five times. He has walked nearly as much as he struck out. You can get to know more about Chris Williams in this recent Q&A at Twins Daily.
Number 3 - Chattanooga Lookouts – OF/1B Brent Rooker - .315/.406/.604 (1.010), 35-111 with 11 doubles, seven homers and 22 RBI.
Rooker was the runner-up last month for Hitter of the Month when he posted an OPS over 1.000, and he did it again in July. Since starting the season very slowly, Rooker has dominated the Southern League the last two-and-a-half months. His strikeout rate has dropped. His walk rate has greatly increased. That combination means that when he’s swinging at good pitches, he is hitting the ball really hard. Still hard to believe that he’s doing this just 13 months after being drafted with the 35th overall pick out of Mississippi State. This month, he hit for average, got on base a lot and continued to hit for power. He has been the Twins minor league hitter of the week three times this season already. Sure, he’s still got room for improvement. The strikeouts are still too high, but Rooker is putting together the kind of numbers that indicate that he could be ready sooner rather than later.
Number 2 - Ft. Myers Miracle – OF Alex Kirilloff - .396/.422/.614 (1.036), 40-101 with 12 doubles, two triples, two homers and 20 RBI.
To repeat the initial comment from each of the first three mentioned above, most months, with these numbers, Alex Kirilloff would be the minor league hitter of the month. Instead, he’ll have to settle for the #2 spot. That’s OK. I mean, he was the Twins Daily minor league Hitter of the Month in May. His 13-game hitting streak came to an end on Tuesday night with an 0-for-2 night, but during that stretch, he had eight multi-hit games, and that doesn’t even count the 2-for-2 game he had at the Futures Game in that stretch. He’s become an extra-base hit machine. The 2016 first-round draft pick moved up to Ft. Myers in mid-June. After missing all of 2017 (Tommy John surgery), it didn’t take him long to adjust to the Midwest League. Likewise, it didn’t take him long to adjust to the Florida State League. In fact, he’s hitting .376 with the Miracle. In 100 combined games between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he has hit .349 with 34 doubles, seven triples and 16 home runs.
And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:
Elizabethton Twins – C/DH Ryan Jeffers - .384/.517/.648 (1.165), 35-91 with nine doubles, four homers and 16 RBI.
The Twins used their second-round draft pick on UNC-Wilmington catcher Ryan Jeffers. He signed quickly, and for under slot value, and was assigned to Elizabethton where he immediately started to rake. He had two hits in each of his first two games. Then he had three hits in his third game and four hits in his fourth game. In July he was tremendous. As you can see from the numbers. He hit for average. He took a ton of walks and got on base over half of the time. In fact, he had 21 walks to go with just 17 strikeouts during July. And, he provided a lot of power. He moved up to Cedar Rapids late in July. He went 2-for-19 in his first five games with the Kernels. However, in the final two games of the month, he went 4-for-4 with a walk,three doubles and a homer, and then 3-for-5 with another double and another home run.
While he’s known more for his bat, Jeffers also was behind the plate for Jhoan Duran’s Kernels debut on Monday night in which he threw seven, no-hit innings. He’s got work to do behind the plate, but his bat will play.
As you have read, there were a lot of strong candidates for July hitter of the month, probably even a few behind the Top 5 who might win this award with their numbers in many months. But Ryan Jeffers ended his month very strong after his promotion to the Midwest League and earned this month’s Hitter of the Month award.
We would like to congratulate Ryan Jeffers, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for July 2018. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.
- nicksaviking, Monkeypaws, Dance with Disco Dan and 6 others like this