Twins to Retire Mauer's No. 7: Who's Next?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsCurrent Players
After last season, it might be hard to put any player on a path to having his number retired. Jose Berrios had a strong season. In his age-24 season, he was named an All-Star and was tied for the league lead in complete games (2) and shutouts (1). Berrios also pitched over 190 big league innings for the first time in his career. He has a shot at greatness if he can continue to make subtle improvements while becoming the front of the rotation starter the Twins desperately need.
Other players like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton seemed to be on a path to having their numbers retired. Sano was an All-Star in 2017 as he went on to crack 28 home runs and post a .859 OPS. Buxton was also strong in 2017. He was awarded the American League Platinum Glove for his stellar defense and there were flashes of him putting it together at the plate.
Sano and Buxton stumbled through last season, which makes it tough to imagine their numbers being retired. Sano wound up being demoted to the minor leagues and Buxton fought through multiple injuries. The speedy centerfielder also wasn’t brought up in September and he recently told reports that he was “pissed” with the club about this decision.
Could 17 be added to the Target Field wall? What about 22 or 25?
Royce Lewis is widely considered the top prospect in the Twins farm system. In the 2019 Twins Prospect Handbook, I wrote an article comparing Lewis’ and Mauer’s careers through their first pair of professional seasons. Both were former number one overall picks and both players started their professional careers on a strong note.
Other top prospects like Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol are coming off strong minor league campaigns. Kirilloff was named MiLB.com’s Breakout Prospect of the Year after destroying the MWL and the FSL. Graterol might be the Twins best pitching prospect since Francisco Liriano and that takes nothing away from how good Berrios could wind up being in the years ahead.
MiLB.com thinks Lewis and Kirilloff might be the most dynamic duo in the minor leagues. They moved through the minor leagues together last year and helped the Miracle win the FSL playoffs. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where one of these two players has his number retired at some point in the next couple of decades.
The next retired number might not be on the roster but there are some bright spots coming in the farm system.
If you would like to read more about the prospects mentioned in this post (along with articles from each Twins affiliate, full articles on the Twins Daily Minor League Award winners, over 160 Twins minor league player profiles, prospect rankings and much more), you have a couple of purchase options. If you want the paperbook copy of the book, it is $17.99. The electronic, PDF version is available for immediate download for $12.99. (Be sure to go to Lulu.com to see if there are any promo codes to provide a better price.)
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