Twins Minor League Report (6/17): Elizabethton Twins Preview
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Willie Joe Garry Jr.)The Coaches
Ray Smith will enter his 33rd season as a member of the E-Twins coaching staff and his 26th season as manager. On the way to Elizabethton’s eighth Apply League title last season, Smith recorded his 1000th career win. His managerial record sits at 1020-676 for a .601 winning percentage. He has been part of the Twins organization since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1977.
Hitting coach Jeff Reed has been with Smith for a large chunk of his managerial journey. The 2019 season will be his 18th season as the E-Twins hitting coach. Richard Salazar will be in his first year as the pitching coach. He pitched seven seasons in the Orioles organization and reached as high as Triple-A (2007). From there, he pitched in independent leagues and was on Spain’s roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Takashi Miyoshi will be in his second year as the fourth member of the coaching staff.
Prospects to Watch
No members of the preseason Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects are on the Elizabethton Twins Opening Day roster. However, we will be updating our list in the coming weeks so things could change, especially with an influx of newly drafted players.
One name you won’t see on the list below was just signed by the Twins on Monday and he is on his way to Elizabethton. Matt Walner, a Forest Lake native, was Minnesota’s supplemental first round pick. He’s an outfielder that just finished his collegiate career at Southern Mississippi. He set that school’s career home run mark (58) and won three straight Conference USA home run titles
RHP Tyler Benninghoff (22)- 11th round pick in 2016 from Rockhurst HS in Kansas City, MO
LHP Denny Bentley (21)- 33rd round pick in 2018 from Howard College
RHP Prelander Berroa (19)- signed July 2, 2016 out of the Dominican Republic
LHP Erik Cha (21)- 17th round pick in 2018 from Cal State Fullerton
RHP Steven Cruz (20)- signed March 20, 2017 out of the Dominican Republic
RHP Osiris German (20)- signed July 2, 2016 out of the Dominica Republic
RHP Owen Grifith (21)- 20th round pick in 2019 from Clemson University
RHP Ben Gross (22)- 10th round pick in 2019 from Duke University
LHP Brent Headrick (21)- 9th round pick in 2019 from Illinois State
RHP Cody Laweryson (21)- 14th round pick in 2019 from the University of Maine
RHP Andriu Marin (20)- signed November 17, 2014 out of Venezuela
LHP J.T. Perez (23)- 29th round pick in 2018 from the University of Cincinnati
RHP Ryan Shreve (20)- 16th round pick in 2019 from University of the Pacific
RHP Dylan Thomas (22)- 13th round pick in 2019 from the University of Hawaii
RHP Louie Varland (21)- 15th round pick in 2019 from Concordia University-St. Paul
LHP Ryley Widell (22)- 7th round pick in 2017 from Central Arizona College
Prelander Berroa is certainly an arm to keep an eye on after he found some success with the GCL Twins last year. In 10 games (41 2/3 innings), he posed a 2.81 ERA with a 41 to 18 strikeout to walk ratio. Ryley Widell will be back with the E-Twins after making his pro debut with the club in 2018. He struck out 41 batters in 29 2/3 inning and only allowed eight earned runs (2.43 ERA). Tyler Benninghoff will be looking to transition his GCL success (3.89 ERA) to the Appy League. Out of the 2019 draft class, Brent Headrick and Ben Gross are the two highest drafted pitchers on this roster and they will be making their professional debuts.
Yeremi De La Cruz (21)- signed September 15, 2015 out of the Dominican Republic
Alex Isola (20)- 29th round pick in 2019 from Texas Christian University
Kidany Salva (20)- 17th round pick in 2016 from Klein Forest HS in Houston, TX
Janigson Villalobos (22)- acquired from San Diego for Phil Hughes in 2018
With four catchers on the roster, the E-Twins will probably have each player catch twice a week with the possibility of getting some designated hitter appearances as well. Janigson Villalobos hit well with the GCL Twins last year as he finished with a .310 BA and .393 OPS. However, he was 1.2 years older than the competition in that league. Injuries cost Yeremi De La Cruz all but two games last season with the GCL Twins.
Seth Gray (21)- 4th round pick in 2019 from Wright State University
Trevor Jenson (22)- 24th round pick in 2019 from Tulane University
Charlie Mack (19)- 6th round pick in 2018 from Williamsville East HS in East Amherst, NY
Daniel Ozoria (18)- acquired from Los Angeles for John Curtiss
Anthony Prato (21)- 7th round pick in 2019 from the University of Connecticut
Reuben Santana (21)- signed September 15, 2015 out of the Dominican Republic
Seth Gray is the highest draft pick on the Opening Day roster, but he will shortly be joined by Walner. In 59 collegiate games this season, Gray hit .351 with 11 home runs and 70 RBI and that was good enough to earn him first-team, All-Horizon league honors. Ozoria is an interesting player since he’s young for the league and he was acquired this year for John Curtiss. In his pro career, he’s hit .222/.293/.263 with 13 extra-base hits in 111 games.
Willie Joe Garry Jr. (19)- 9th round in 2018 from Pascagoula HS in Pascagoula, MS
Max Smith (22)- 31st round in 2019 from UNLV
Tyler Webb (23)- 40th round in 2018 from the University of Memphis
Albee Weiss (23)- 23rd round in 2018 from Cal State Northridge
Willie Joe Garry Jr. was one of only a few high school players drafted by the Twins in 2018. He struggled with the transition to the professional level, but he adjusted near the end of the season. In the final 14 games, he got on base over 29% of the time. Tyler Webb led the GCL Twins with a .398 on-base percentage. Albee Weiss has some power potential as he combined for 24 home runs between his collegiate (20 HR) and professional (4 HR) seasons last year.
There are 30 players listed above and others like Walner are on their way after they sign with the Twins. Six players have previously played in Elizabethton (Widell, Perez, Cha, Berroa, Weiss, and Webb). Thirteen players were drafted by the Twins in 2019 (Grifith, Gross, Headrick, Laweryson, Shreve, Thomas, Varland, Isola, Gray, Jenson, Mack, Prato, and Smith).
For more information on the 2019 Twins draft picks, please click here (links at bottom of the article)
Here are the rest of the minor league notes on Monday (written by Seth)
I can’t remember the last time that there were no minor league games, at all, between April and August. However, that’s exactly what happened in the Twins farm system on Monday.
- Rochester had a scheduled day off.
- Pensacola and Cedar Rapids began their All-Star breaks.
- Ft. Myers was just set to start their second half with a home game against Charlotte, but the rains came and they were postponed.
- The Twins signed Comp A pick Matt Wallner on Monday. Keep up with the signings of their their 2019 draft picks here.
- Rochester announced that Trevor Hildenberger was placed on the Injured List with a right flexor mass strain. He had not pitched since June 8th.
- Pensacola announced that Taylor Grzelakowski is going on the 7-day IL.
- Also, the Blue Wahoos announced that OF Tanner English and 3B Randy Cesar have been released.
- On Sunday night, we learned that LHP Zach Neff and 3B Andrew Bechtold have been promoted to FT. Myers.
- We also heard that Frandy Torres was being sent from Cedar Rapids to Elizabethton.
- RHP Tyler Palm has been transferred to Cedar Rapids. Jeff Johnson is also reporting that RHP Tanner Howell will also be joining the Kernels.
At the Southern League All-Star site, they held the Home Run Derby. Blue Wahoos Jaylin Davis and Travis Blankenhorn will participate in the event. A year ago, Blankenhorn won the Florida State League home run derby.
TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Columbus (6:05 CST) - TBD
Pensacola (6:35 CST) - All Star Break
Ft. Myers @ Charlotte (5:30 CST) - TBD
Cedar Rapids - All Star Break
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like.