In the past couple days, as we are leading up to an exciting draft for the Minnesota Twins, we are also looking back at the top performers in the Twins' farm system for May. In the past two days, we have named Cole Johnson the Reliever of the Month
and DJ Baxendale the repeat-winner of the Starting Pitcher of the Month
. Today, we swing our attention (see what I did there?) to the bats.
Although there wasn’t a battle for the top spot as there was in April, there were still plenty of strong performances. The runner-up for this month, a member of the Ft. Myers Miracle, would win most months. I gave strong consideration to him, but the guy at the top put up some incredible numbers… and didn’t even spend the whole month as a minor leaguer.
Let’s get to it. Here are my selections for the Top 5 Twins Minor League hitters in May:
Number 5 – Ft. Myers – Angel Morales
- (27-87) .310/.381/.529 (.910) with four doubles, three triples, three home runs and 17 RBI.
It’s been a difficult couple seasons for the talented, athletic centerfielder of the Miracle. However, he has been on a pretty nice hot streak since the early part of May. First things first, his defense in center has never been a question. One of his main issues has been strikeouts. Those numbers were still high, but Morales made up for that with ten extra base hits and a .310 batting average. Although he has lost quite a bit of time in the two past years due to injury, he is now in his fourth season with the Miracle. He’s played 270 games at the level. Now that he’s experiencing success, the time is now to push him to New Britain.
Number 4 – New Britain – Josmil Pinto
- (33-99) .308/.423/.495 (.936) with seven doubles, no triples, 3 home runs and 18 RBI.
Pinto has now been in the top five each of the first two months of the season. Sure, his OPS dropped by about .050 points, but he still posted tremendous numbers, including the ten extra base hits. With Pinto, you don’t even need to add the “for a catcher” qualifier to the batting evaluation. Because of that, he is a legit prospect as he can be a #3 (or #2) catcher and feel OK about him DH'ing. Number 3 – Ft. Myers – Miguel Sano - (28-91) .333/.413/.538 (.962) with seven doubles, a triple, four home runs and 18 RBI.
Speaking of guys who were on this list last month, Sano was at the top of the list for me. The Twins themselves went with Byron Buxton and I don’t think anyone complained about that choice. In May, Buxton posted an OPS of .833 which is very good, but Sano again approached the 1.000 mark. He has also become a stolen base threat with eight on the season. People continue to talk about his ever-improving defense, but it’s his offense that will carry him. He was named a Florida State League All-Star recently, and conventional wisdom (and years of seeing how this works with the Twins) says that a promotion to New Britain will be coming shortly.
Number 2 – Ft. Myers – Kennys Vargas
- (30-96) .313/.407/.646 (1.053) with eight doubles, no triples, eight home runs and 30 RBI.
Most months, Kennys Vargas, or anyone who put up these numbers, would be a pretty easy choice for hitter of the month. Unfortunately for Vargas, in May, it was good for #2. There are still some questions about his ability to hit a good fastball, but there should be no questions about his existing power, and his power potential. The FSL is not a hitters league yet Vargas had 16 extra base hits, including eight home runs. When I saw him last year in Beloit and watched him interact with teammates, watched him swing, watched him run the bases, watched him point to the sky after a home run, and yes, watched him around first base, the comparisons to David Ortiz werer obvious. For Twins fans, that’s a lofty expectation, but there is plenty of reason for hope!
The May Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is...
Photo of Colabello's first MLB hit, by Rick Osentoski
Rochester Red Wings 1B Chris Colabello
(34-80) .425/.489/.800 (1.289) with 12 doubles, no triples, six home runs and 20 RBI.
I struggled with this a bit. Colabello didn’t even play in a minor league game after May 21. Should I give him the #1 spot for the month? Should I factor in his 2-15 performance with the Twins? Does he have enough at- bats to qualify for this ‘award’? Well, he’s got plenty of at-bats, and his numbers are incredible. Didn’t play in the last 9-10 Red Wings games of the month and still accounted for 18 extra base hits. Also, his story is remarkable and for it to culminate with his first big league promotion at the age of 29, after seven years in independent ball, just adds to the reasoning. Look again at the month he had and remember that he also had a very strong April. There is no reason to believe that Colabello can’t be a big league role player. We do know that he can mash AAA pitching, something he’ll be doing again here in June.
There were several strong performances in May that weren’t included in the Top 5. Here are some Honorable Mentions:
- Aderlin Mejia (Miracle) – (28-74) .378/.440/.432 (.873) with four doubles and nine stolen bases. Also nine walks to go with just six strikeouts.
- Danny Santana (Rock Cats) – (39-115) .339/.353/.435 (.788) with seven doubles, two triples and seven steals.
- Byron Buxton (Kernels) – (35-119) .294/.380/.454 (.833) with six doubles, two triples, three homers and a remarkable 17 stolen bases.
- Adam Walker (Kernels) – (30-107) .280/.310/.523 (.833) with eight doubles, three triples, four home runs.
It was another very solid month for Twins' minor league hitting prospects. Hopefully, even through several likely promotions, there will continue to be plenty of options in June!
Feel free to comment and discuss.