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Twins Minor League Hitter Of The Month - June 2018

In the last couple of days, we have named the June 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month and the Starting Pitcher of the Month. Today we share with you some of the Twins minor league hitters who had terrific months in June. And there were some really impressive numbers put up by several players in the organization. It’s also worth noting, as you look below, just how many Cedar Rapids Kernels made the list.

Previous Starting Pitchers of the Month for 2018:
April 2018: Zander Wiel, Chattanooga Lookouts
May 2018: Alex Kirilloff, Cedar Rapids Kernels
June 2018: See Below.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Luis Arraez, graphics by Finn Pearson)
Let’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters for the month of June, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.

HONORABLE MENTION
  • Willians Astudillo - Rochester Red Wings - 19-65, .292/.317/.477 (.796) with six doubles and two home runs.
  • LaMonte Wade - Rochester Red Wings - 26-90, .289/.430/.433 (.863) with seven doubles and two homers
  • Mark Contreras - Ft. Myers Miracle - 22-82, .268/.358/.427 (.785) with three doubles, two triples and two home runs.
  • Andrew Bechtold - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 23-76, .303/.426/.434 (.860) with seven doubles and one homer.
  • Trey Cabbage - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 19-68, .279/.342/.559 (.901) with six doubles, two triples and three homers.
  • Jose Miranda - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 27-96, .281/.340/.458 (.798) with eight doubles and three homers.
  • Jacob Pearson - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 24-81, .296/.380/.432 (813) with six doubles, one triple and one homer.
  • Robby Rinn - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 28-87, .322/.398/.460 (.858) with six doubles and two homers.
THE TOP FIVE HITTERS

Number 5 – Cedar Rapids Kernels - Royce Lewis - .330/.380/.604 (.984), 30-91 with ten doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI.

It’s not always how you start a month, but how you end it. In the first four games Lewis played in June, he went just 1-for-18. In his final four game of June, Lewis went 9-for-13 with four doubles and a home run, as well as three walks. Lewis has continued to develop over the course of the season. His monthly OPS has gone from .747 in April to .828 in May and now .984 in June. While he hit for a slightly higher average earlier in the season, he has added much more extra-base power as the season has worn on. Lewis was named to the Midwest League All-Star Game where he led off and had a single in his first at-bat and stole a base. At this point, we’re all waiting for his imminent promotion to Ft. Myers that we thought would happen after the All-Star break, and then after the Jorge Polanco promotion to the Red Wings. It hasn’t yet, but maybe that’s been a hidden blessing in disguise as Lewis is playing as well as he has all year for the Kernels.

Number 4 – Ft. Myers Miracle - Caleb Hamilton - .304/.381/.714 (1.095). 17-56 with seven doubles, two triples, four home runs and 18 RBI.

It was a tough first half of the season for Caleb Hamilton. The catcher, third baseman, left fielder (and wherever else needed) was hitting just .147 (.490) at the end of the first half. Things changed when his Oregon State Beavers started their College World Series run on June 16. In the eight games since that date, Hamilton hit hit .404/.487/1.000 (1.487) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 14 RBI. Something in that Oregon State blood, I guess. The 23-year-old was the Twins 38th-round pick in 2016. In college, he played all three infield positions. He moved behind the plate after beginning his professional career.

Number 3 - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle – OF Alex Kirilloff - .355/.407/.617 (1.024), 38-107 with six doubles, two triples, six homers and 23 RBI.

Just to get it out of the way, Alex Kirilloff did not play at all during the 2017 season after having Tommy John surgery in March. You would hardly know it as he needed maybe four games at the start of the season to start raking again. Drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of high school in Pennsylvania, he was touted as the top prep bat in the draft. He’s returned and proven a lot of people right. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month when he posted an OPS over 1.000, something he did again in June. His June might be more impressive because following his All-Star Game experience, representing the Twins and Cedar Rapids, he was immediately promoted to Ft. Myers where he has continued to rake. In his first ten Miracle games, he hit .341 and had five multi-hit games. He’ll certainly have to continue making adjustments, but his prospect status has certainly jumped up this season.


Number 2 - Chattanooga Lookouts – 1B/OF Brent Rooker - .312/.393/.645 (1.038), 29-93 with seven doubles, three triples, six homers and 18 RBI.

The Twins have been exceedingly aggressive in their promotion of Rooker since he joined the organization as a first-round pick a year ago. He really struggled at the start of the season. In April, he posted a .638 OPS. In May, it jumped up to .739. He had a huge June in which he posted an OPS of 1.038. He hit for average. He started taking more walks. He delivered a lot of power in the form of doubles, triples and home runs. He still struck out a ton, but that doesn’t matter as much when he’s providing the kind of thump he did in June. To have a month like this in Double-A a year after being drafted is impressive.Consider only Brian Navarreto and Lewis Thorpe are younger than the 23-year-old Rooker on the Lookouts roster. The future is bright.


And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:

Ft. Myers Miracle – IF Luis Arraez - .449/.487/.617 (1.104), 48-107 with nine doubles, three triples, one homer and 13 RBI.



Luis Arraez is back!


Alex Kirilloff isn’t the only Twins hitting prospect who missed the 2017 season with injury. After winning the Midwest League batting title by hitting .347 as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids, Arraez was set for big things in Ft. Myers in 2017. In the third game of the season, he tried to beat out an infield single, hit first base hard, and tore his ACL. It required season-ending surgery.


Arraez worked hard to get back. His 2018 season started about two weeks late as he finished up his rehab. In his first six games, he went just 1-for-24 (.042). He did improve upon that, but even when he played on June 5th, he was hitting .205/.277/.252 (.529). Over his final 22 games of June, he hit .474/.500/.649 (1.149) with eight doubles, three triples and a homer. He had more than one hit in 15 of those 22 games including five, three-hit games, two, four-hit games and a five-hit game. He ended the month hitting .321 on the season.


Arraez had spent most of the season as the youngest player on the Miracle roster. Over the last month, Ben Rortvedt, Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol have pushed him down that list. But, it is interesting to note that Arraez has had 248 plate appearances in 2018. Nine of them have come against pitchers that are younger than him.


We would like to congratulate Luis Arraez, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for June 2018. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

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27 Comments

Really impressed with the farm system this year and continued development. Nice to see a few power guys (Kirilloff, Rooker) complimenting the middle infield hitting prospects. Seems to be a down year for the MLB club but future continues to be bright and now includes starting pitching help too.
    • Danchat, RaymondLuxuryYacht and gagu like this

So needed in this year of Twins stumbling.Please have them continue to develop right into the majors. 

    • Dman likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jul 03 2018 06:05 AM

How is Arreaz's fielding ability ranked? How strong is his arm?Good hands? Is he a fast runner? Will he play 2B or3B or move to the outfield? Thanks for these hope-filled monthly reports and rankings.

Looking at the numbers looks like Rooker and Kirilloff had nearly identical months.Both look like fantastic prospects with ceilings somewhere in outer space.The question I have about Rooker, will he join the Twins this September?

 

And what a month for Arraez.He is what, a year or year and a half away?

    • RaymondLuxuryYacht likes this

 

Looking at the numbers looks like Rooker and Kirilloff had nearly identical months.Both look like fantastic prospects with ceilings somewhere in outer space.The question I have about Rooker, will he join the Twins this September?

 

And what a month for Arraez.He is what, a year or year and a half away?

 

Rooker... I would guess that the Twins wont' use up the valuable 40-man spot on Rooker for September since they'r'e not in contention. 

    • DocBauer, RaymondLuxuryYacht, gagu and 2 others like this

 

Rooker... I would guess that the Twins wont' use up the valuable 40-man spot on Rooker for September since they'r'e not in contention. 

That's what I was thinking also, Seth.With a group led by Graterol, Wade and Arraez, they will need every spot they can find come November.

    • Seth Stohs, DocBauer, RaymondLuxuryYacht and 2 others like this

 

Rooker... I would guess that the Twins wont' use up the valuable 40-man spot on Rooker for September since they'r'e not in contention. 

 

 

Yeah, it would mean moving a valuable guy like Taylor Motter off the 40 man.

    • Thrylos and Original Whizzinator like this

How is Arreaz's fielding ability ranked? How strong is his arm? Good hands? Is he a fast runner? Will he play 2B or 3B or move to the outfield? Thanks for these hope-filled monthly reports and rankings.


He's not speedy, I'd guess doubly so since the knee injury.
He doesn't have the arm for the left side of the infield.
I'd guess if he doesn't stick at 2B he'll be a corner outfielder.
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
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Carole Keller
Jul 03 2018 03:40 PM

Yeah, it would mean moving a valuable guy like Taylor Motter off the 40 man.


My guess is Motter comes off when he comes off the DL and gets sent down to AAA when Adrianza is set to come off the DL.
    • Danchat and gagu like this

 

Yeah, it would mean moving a valuable guy like Taylor Motter off the 40 man.

It's probably more about A) Rooker not being quite ready for the majors and B) not wanting to start his 'option clock' until 2019. I'd settle for seeing him get some AAA PAs this season.

    • gagu and Original Whizzinator like this

 

It's probably more about A) Rooker not being quite ready for the majors and :cool: not wanting to start his 'option clock' until 2019. I'd settle for seeing him get some AAA PAs this season.

 

Sometimes you need to stop being afraid that a player is going to be successful.  

 

Bring him up.Have him slug the damn ball, and if he does pay him.  

    • Thrylos and Mike Sixel like this
When Royce lewis’s Line gets pushed back to 5 and Kiriloff’s to three, you know some guys were bringing the thunder! Holy bananas did this group have a month!! Keep mashing boys.
    • Monkeypaws and DocBauer like this

 

Sometimes you need to stop being afraid that a player is going to be successful.  

 

Bring him up.Have him slug the damn ball, and if he does pay him.  

Look, in some cases I agree, but this is Rooker's first full season in the minors and he's only had 322 PAs against upper minors pitching. I don't think 2018 is the time for Rooker's debut.

 

Though I'm glad we're having this conversation at all; early in the season Rooker was struggling big-time and one poster didn't consider Rooker a prospect anymore. I'm glad we're past that.

    • 70charger, Major Leauge Ready, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jul 03 2018 09:03 PM

 

He's not speedy, I'd guess doubly so since the knee injury.
He doesn't have the arm for the left side of the infield.
I'd guess if he doesn't stick at 2B he'll be a corner outfielder.

Thank you.

Rooker... I would guess that the Twins wont' use up the valuable 40-man spot on Rooker for September since they'r'e not in contention.

Valuable? They won't even call up the RP taking up space in place of the old, bad, veterans in the pen. So, why do they need the space?

But sure, don't promote Lewis or Rooker yet. The rest of the league is getting younger...
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diehardtwinsfan
Jul 04 2018 08:42 AM

I don't see putting Rooker on the 40 man this year. I do agree that he should probably move up to AAA at some point. That would put him in line as depth next year as a mid-season 40 man add if the team really needs a bat (assuming of course he continues to hit). Even next year, he'd be an early 40 man add. 

    • Mike Sixel, 70charger, DocBauer and 1 other like this

 

Look, in some cases I agree, but this is Rooker's first full season in the minors and he's only had 322 PAs against upper minors pitching. I don't think 2018 is the time for Rooker's debut.

 

Though I'm glad we're having this conversation at all; early in the season Rooker was struggling big-time and one poster didn't consider Rooker a prospect anymore. I'm glad we're past that.

 

Maybe there would be an argument if the minor league system was developed ahead of him.It isn't.

 

Here is another argument.The Twins minor league development system sucks.We have these guys like Sano and Buxton, obviously talented baseball players.Romero and Berrios, obviously talented pitchers.They smoke throw the minor league system.Blast it away.Then they struggle when they reach the Twins.  

 

You can have your own theories. But look at the Twins roster right now.Look at the posiitonal players.Look at anyone under the age of 30 and was developed in the Twins system: Rosario, Kepler, Garver, Polanco.Add the two previously mentioned that are back in the minors because of their struggles.If this group, only Rosario can be considered a player the team will certainly move forward with. Kepler has shown flashes, but that is it.Garver has been up and down at the plate but he is a 27 year old rookie.Polanco has shown flashes, but after an 80 games suspension who is counting on him.  

 

After all of this losing and all of the near the top of the draft draft picks, the sensational minor league perforamnces of Sano, Buxton, and Kepler along with the the other named players (and others who have fallen off the board along the way) we have basically nothing and projected to lose another 90+ games this season.

 

Like I said, you can have your theories but here is mine. The Twins development concept is flawed because ti is too conservative.It doesn't challenge our minor league players enough.We start them at too low of levels.We move them very slowly through the system.They dominate competition that isn;t the level they should be developing against. They are not learning fundamentals and they are not learning how to adjust.  

 

This process is doing two things.First, it is turning out flawed prospects that have major struggles when they get to the big leagues.Maybe some will right their approach (Rosario and Berrios have).But the struggles are very real and significant.  

 

Second, it is completely eliminating the trade value of our prospects.I get that the Twins will probably never trade a prospect away.Apparently we need a stocked minor league system.But the methodical approach of the Twins removes the upside of the player (to see an example consider Carlos Gomez). 

 

Anyways, if you cannot see that this team has some major issues.We need to understand this and have the a rebuilding approach.This emans young players like Rooker get advanced even over their heads.You patiently work with them on the major league level.You need a manger and staff willing to do this.  

Like the idea of Rooker getting at least a taste of AAA before the year is out. It would help prepare him for next season.

Still perplexed why Lewis isn't at Ft Myers yet. Like Rooker, only his first full season. Everything offensively seems more than ready for said promotion. I can only guess they are continuing to have him polish his defense at the lower level still.

Arraez is starting me re-thinking the future of the Twins infield!
    • gagu likes this

I just looked at the milb website for Chattanooga. Arraez is listed on the roster. Looks like he's been promoted. Well deserved!

    • Thrylos likes this

 


But sure, don't promote Lewis or Rooker yet. The rest of the league is getting younger...

 

Those 2 do not belong in the same sentence as far as readiness goes...   

Rooker may be the Twins first baseman starting in 2019.Lewis needs to hit well in AA before they promote him.They rushed Buxton and paying for it now.

    • DocBauer likes this

 

Still perplexed why Lewis isn't at Ft Myers yet.

 

Give him a couple days for the college draftees to sign and move to Cedar Rapids

    • dbminn likes this

Those 2 do not belong in the same sentence as far as readiness goes...
Rooker may be the Twins first baseman starting in 2019. Lewis needs to hit well in AA before they promote him. They rushed Buxton and paying for it now.


No place did I say to Minnesota. Seriously
If our German friend doesn’t start hitting Arraez may end up in left field.
Arraez is listed as 5’ 10”. Means he’s actually about 5’ 8”. When the Twins signed him as an undrafted player for, I recall, $40,000, the comments were that he didn’t have speed, had no power and just an OK arm. But our scout talked the Twins into signing him, describing him as a “Hitting Savant”. Could be a real good call.

If he hits in Chattanooga like he has everywhere else, how long before Max gets a bit nervous. He was the youngest in high “A”, how young will he be in double “A”?

 

Arraez is listed as 5’ 10”. Means he’s actually about 5’ 8”. When the Twins signed him as an undrafted player for, I recall, $40,000, the comments were that he didn’t have speed, had no power and just an OK arm. But our scout talked the Twins into signing him, describing him as a “Hitting Savant”. Could be a real good call.

If he hits in Chattanooga like he has everywhere else, how long before Max gets a bit nervous. He was the youngest in high “A”, how young will he be in double “A”?

 

It is not Max Kepler who should be nervous, it is Nick Gordon.   


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