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Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - June 2019

June is always an interesting month in the minor leagues. The short-season teams get started. Three affiliates play in half-season leagues, so playoff spots are up for grab. Those same affiliates also were well represented in their league All-Star games. And, there are a lot of players that received promotions during the month of June. So, there can be transitions. But there were still some great hitting performances in the Twins system in June!

Previous 2019 Hitters of the Month:

April - Trey Cabbage
May - Lewin Diaz
June - Keep Reading (or just look at the graphic of this article…)
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (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.

  • Andrew Bechtold - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 22-74, .297/.404/.405 (.810) with 5 doubles, 1 home run.
  • Travis Blankenhorn - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 28-108, .259/.308/.491 (.798) with 7 doubles, 6 home runs.
  • Ryan Jeffers - Ft. Myers Miracle - 16-65, .246/.320/.477 (.797) with five home runs.
  • Trevor Larnach - Ft. Myers Miracle - 28-92, .304/.360/.424 (.784) with 3 doubles, 1 triple.
  • Gabriel Maciel - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 25-82, .309/.378/.395 (.773) with 3 doubles, 2 triples.
  • Wilin Rosario - Rochester Red Wings - 30-94, .319/.354/.489 (.843) with 7 doubles, 3 home runs. (27 RBI)
  • Tomas Telis - Rochester Red Wings - 18-52, .346/.382/.500 (.882) with 5 doubles, 1 home run.

Number 5 - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 1B Lewin Diaz - 24-94, .255/.297/.521 (.818) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs.

It’s been a terrific season for the Dominican first baseman. He has put in the work over the last couple of years to improve his body, to improve his tools and his talents, and it has to be rewarding to see the results. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month in May and had a big June too. He played in his second straight Florida State League All-Star game, and when that was done, he made the move up to Double-A Pensacola where he got off to a fast start. In his first dozen games with the Blue Wahoos, he had nine doubles, a triple and two home runs.

Number 4 - Rochester Red Wings - 1B Zander Wiel - 26-101, .257/.315/.505 (.820), 7 doubles, 6 home runs.

Wiel just continues to fly under the radar, but he has been a quality, consistent contributor for the Red Wings all season. He continues to play most every day. He may not hit for average, but he does a nice job around the plate. He also has really increased his extra-base hit power, including home runs. Through June, Wiel had an .834 OPS, 19 doubles and 13 home runs. And to make his month better, Vanderbilt won the College World Series.

Number 3 – Rochester Red Wings - OF LaMonte Wade, Jr. - 23-81, .284/.429/.432 (.861) with 6 doubles, 2 home runs.

Wade got off to a slow start in 2019, but he had a real strong month in June. The key seemed to be regaining his on-base percentage. He did a great job of getting on base in June, and that seemed to help him find more pitches to drive for extra-base hits. Late in the month, Wade received The Call every ballplayer dreams of. He was called up to the Twins. He watched one game, and then he made his big league debut over the weekend. He came to the plate twice. He was hit by the first pitch thrown to him. He was then robbed of a hit in his second plate appearance by a diving catch in center field. He returned to the Red Wings the next day, but he will be back.

Number 2 - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings – OF Jaylin Davis - 28-105, .267/.366/.543 (.909) with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs.

Another Twins prospect that just doesn’t get talked about as much as he should. However, Jaylin Davis has consistently produced and worked his way up the Twins organizational ladder. In mid-June, Davis was promoted to the Red Wings where he has hit five home runs in his last nine games. Drafted out of Appalachian State in 2016, Davis big tool is his power, but he has made improvements this season, particularly an improved approach at the plate which has created more contact. He’s also made big strides in the outfield.

And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:

Rochester Red Wings – LF Brent Rooker - .337/.507/.612 (1.120) with 9 doubles, 6 homers.

There were a lot of Twins minor league hitters that had strong months in June, but the choice for the minor league hitter of the month was pretty easy. Rooker has been one of the best hitters in the entire minor leagues. He has hit for average. He got on base more than half of his plate appearances. He showed the power that makes him such an impressive power prospect coming out of Mississippi State when the Twins drafted him with the 35th overall pick in 2017. He was named to the International League All-Star team last week.

Rooker got off to a slow start. In April, he hit just .214/.279/.464 (.743). Not horrible numbers, but he had 28 strikeouts in 61 plate appearances (45.9% K-rate). In June, he struck out 39 times in 134 plate appearances (29.1%). When Rooker hits the ball, good things happen. But Rooker also walked 27 times (20.1%), a great rate.

Will we see Rooker at some point in 2019? That is a question that comes up often. The Twins have an outfield of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. Marwin Gonzalez can play the corners. If there is a short-term outfield need (as there has been recently), Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade, Jr., are already on the 40-man roster. If there were a long-term need, Rooker could be an option. He also plays first base and DH. The Twins have CJ Cron and Nelson Cruz. If one of them were to be hurt for a long period of time, Rooker could be an option.

Rooker doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2020 season. However, I can also see a scenario in mid-to-late August where the Twins want to start considering a playoff roster. If they want to add a big bat off the bench, Rooker could be an option at that time.

Of course, the other question being asked more frequently now is if Rooker could be a trade target for other teams. The obvious answer is Yes, teams will be asking about Rooker. However, Rooker fits into a category where you better get something really good (and long-term) to give up his bat for the next six or seven seasons.

We would like to congratulate Brent Rooker, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for June 2019. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

  • Steve Lein, scottz, Tibs and 4 others like this

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Nice to see that K rate coming down and walks going up.I was starting to wonder how he was going to make it with mid 30 to 40% K rates.If he can get to a 25 to 30% K rate then there doesn't appear to be any reason he couldn't get started in MLB.


While he has always had light tower power it is also nice to see his average near the 300 level.Means he is getting solid contact when he swings but how long can he maintain that .449 average for BABIP?There has to be some regression coming but even if the average falls some the power he has will keep his OPS in a good place.


Finally I can breath a sigh of relief as I thought maybe he was going to become a none prospect there for a while.

    • mikelink45 likes this
Jul 03 2019 07:43 AM

what a month for Rooker... that's insane. I'd imagine he's going to be an early add to the 40 man next season if Cron or Cruz get hurt at all. 

    • glunn likes this
Jul 03 2019 08:41 AM

The last four in the honorable mention list would replace the last four in the final list for me. 

    • jz7233 likes this
Everything we have seen about him so far is not just power and power potential, but he has the the ability from day one to learn, make adjustments, grow, and then take. Have a feeling he will disappoint at first...probably be called a bust by some...snd then do the same thing. What I'm really curious about is his defense. We keep hearing he's average at best. But we also bear he's a good athlete with at least a decent arm. Really wish we knew more about his defensive potential.
    • mikelink45 likes this

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