In the first part of my top 30 list there are a core of young pitchers moving through the system. The second part of my list includes a surprise or two but there are some powerful prospects. I have some differences compared to the other authors but that's what makes this fun. To see their top 30's, you're going to have to go and pick up a copy for yourself.
***Get your copy of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook now (Paperback or PDF). Use the code: TREAT before the end of the year for 25% off the print version***
1 – Byron Buxton – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats
2014 Stats: .234/.307/.395, 4-2B, 2-3B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 6 SB
Buxton entered the 2014 season as the consensus top prospect in all of baseball. He suffered multiple injuries and was limited to just 31 games. This still takes nothing away from what his potential could be. His combination of speed, power, and hitting could result in him being a perennial All-Star and the player that leads Minnesota out of the bottom of the American League. However, he's going to have to avoid the injury bug because he can't afford another lost season.
2 – Miguel Sano – 3B – Did Not Play
2014 Stats: DNP
Sano didn't play in 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery during spring training. There was a chance that he would make his debut in 2014 but now he will have to show he is ready for 2015. Some questions remain about his long-term defensive position or his ability to make consistent contact as he moves up the ladder. For now, he's still considered elite because of his power potential. If everything goes right, he'll be at Target Field before the end of the year.
3 – Kohl Stewart – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels
2014 Stats: 3-5, 2.59 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 87.0 IP, 24 BB, 62 K
The gap between Stewart and Berrios is small but I give a slight nod to Stewart. He compiled decent numbers at Low-A as a teenager. There were some shoulder issues near the end of the season but I don't think this is going to impact him long-term. As a multi-sport athlete in high school, this was his first full season focusing on baseball. He will continue to rack up innings and figure out the art of pitching. He has the chance to be a future ace.
4 – Jose Berrios – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats, Rochester Red Wings
2014 Stats: 12-8, 2.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 140.0 IP, 38 BB, 140 K
Berrios had the best season of any player in the Twins farm system. Even though he is small is stature, he has the work ethic to mold himself into a top-notch big league pitcher. His fastball can hit into the mid-90s and his secondary pitches continue to improve. He pitched out of his mind this past season so it will be interesting to see where he starts in 2015 and how fast he gets to the big leagues. There's no reason to rush him but he might force the Twins hand.
5 – Nick Gordon – SS – Elizabethton Twins
2014 Stats: .294/.333/.366, 6-2B, 4-3B, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 11 SB
Gordon marked the third straight top five pick for the Minnesota Twins with Buxton and Stewart already being featured on this list. He comes from a baseball family as his dad played in the majors and his brother was an All-Star last season. Most reports say he will be able to stay at shortstop for the long-term and he has the potential to be dangerous at the plate and on the bases. He's a long way from Target Field but he could be part of a solid core in the future.
6 – Alex Meyer – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
2014 Stats: 7-7, 3.52 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 130.1 IP, 64 BB, 153 K
There isn't much left for Meyer to do in the minor leagues and it sounds like the Twins might give him the chance to make the Opening Day roster as a bullpen arm. His command wasn't the best this season but he can strikeout a ton of batters. If everything breaks right, he could be a top of the rotation guy or he might end up being a solid bullpen option. The time is now for Meyer.
7 – Jorge Polanco – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats, Minnesota Twins
2014 MiLB Stats: .288/.353/.395, 23-2B, 6-3B, 7 HR, 61 RBI
2014 MLB Stats: .333/.500/.833, 1-2B, 1-3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI
When the Twins were in a roster crunch, they looked all the way down to High-A to pluck Polanco up to the majors. He saw limited action but showed off some of his skills. He's switch-hitting ability and powerful swing could make him dangerous. There's questions about if he will stay at shortstop but he made improvements at the position throughout the year. He'll need more time in the minors but his make-up will mean he's only a phone call away from being back with the Twins.
8 – Trevor May – RHP – Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota Twins
2014 MiLB Stats: 8-6, 2.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 98.1 IP, 39 BB, 94 K
2014 MLB Stats: 3-6, 7.88 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 45.2 IP, 22 BB, 44 K
His big league numbers don't look the greatest but May made some strides in 2014. He lowered his walk rate and posted a better WHIP during his time at Triple-A. After some rough outings in his first handful of appearances, May calmed down a little. He struck out 41 and walked nine in his last seven starts to end the year on a positive note. He'll be in the running for the final rotation spot coming out of spring training and he might be the front-runner at this point.
9 – Eddie Rosario – OF/2B – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats
2014 Stats: .243/.286/.387, 20-2B, 3-3B, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 9 SB
Rosario started the year with a 50-game suspension for violating the minor league drug policy. Before this season, he had shown the ability to hit at every level. There might have been some issues adjusting to better pitching at Double-A. He put together some impressive numbers in the AFL by hitting .330/.345/.410 with four doubles and two triples. He also stole 10 bases in 14 attempts. Minnesota tried him out at second base for a couple seasons but it looks like he'll have to make the big leagues as an outfielder.
10 – Nick Burdi – RHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle
2014 Stats: 2-0, 2.66 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 10 BB, 38 K
Burdi had to finish up his run through the College World Series before the Twins could get him into action this year. He has all the tools to be a very solid back-end of the bullpen option for the Twins in the very near future. He can hit triple-digits with his fastball and he counters that with a good slider and an occasional change-up. Burdi could debut in 2015 but it might be more realistic to look for him during the 2016 campaign.
For more from Cody Christie make sure to follow him on Twitter @NoDakTwinsFan and to read his other work at http://www.NoDakTwinsFan.com
- Dec 30 2014 10:06 AM
- by Cody Christie
While Paul Molitor's slightly revamped Twins team tries to dig its way out of irrelevance and show meaningful improvement for the first time in four years, some of the most integral components to the success of this ongoing rebuilding process will be reporting to Double-A.
The stakes are high, as four of the best prospects in the system -- all at critical junctures in their careers -- are expected to open the 2015 campaign in Chattanooga.
Byron Buxton, the consensus No. 1 prospect in all of baseball a year ago, lost some of his luster during an injury-filled 2014 season that was all but lost.
Miguel Sano underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring and hasn't played competitively since.
Eddie Rosario missed half of 2014 due to a drug-related suspension and struggled after returning, derailing the considerable momentum he'd built up heading into the season.
J.O. Berrios isn't stalled out like the other three -- quite the contrary -- but he has plenty to prove as an undersized starter coming off a flat-out spectacular campaign. Can the righty shut down advanced hitters and back up his newly claimed standing as the best pitching prospect in the organization (and maybe one of the best in the game)?
Any one of these players is a candidate to see action at Target Field sometime next season. In April, they'll likely be joining a Lookouts roster packed with other notable prospects.
If this team, and specifically a few key individuals, kick it into high gear, it would finally set in motion plans for a youth-fueled turnaround at the big-league level. One can hardly overstate the importance of Buxton, Sano, Rosario and Berrios getting off to fast starts.
Mientkiewicz worked with all four while managing at Ft. Myers, and oversaw immensely successful seasons for each. It's hard to think of a better man for the task.
- Dec 21 2014 11:54 PM
- by Nick Nelson
The Twins announced today that six pitchers will be there to open spring training. JO Berrios is officially invited to his first big league camp, although he was there with the team when he was working out before the WBC two years ago. Right-handers Tyler Duffey, Mark Hamburger and Adrian Salcedo will also be there. So will left-handers Ryan O'Rourke and Taylor Rogers.
The team always needs plenty of catchers. Dan Rohlfing recently signed to remain with the organization. Stuart Turner will return for his second big league spring training. Tyler Grimes and Mitch Garver will participate in their first spring training with the big leaguers.
James Beresford and Doug Bernier return to the organization and to big league camp. They will be joined by newcomers Argenis Diaz and Heiker Meneses.
Byron Buxton will return to big league camp in 2015 along with fellow outfielders Eric Farris, Danny Ortiz and Shane Robinson.
Pioneer Press's Mike Berardino also tweeted that the Twins have brought back former 49th round draft pick Brock Peterson.
- Dec 19 2014 04:50 PM
- by Seth Stohs
In the Prospect Handbook, there are two pages dedicated to looking at the league average age and performance of hitters and pitchers at each level. Here is what was shown for the Ft. Myers Miracle and the Florida State League.
FT. MYERS MIRACLE (82-57)
· FSL Hitters – 22.6, .257/.325/.371 (.695)
· Miracle Hitters – 22.4, .261/.339/.383 (.722)
· FSL Pitchers – 23.2, 3.75 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
· Miracle Pitchers – 23.3, 3.34 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
What does it mean? As you can see, the Miracle hitters and pitchers were, on average, about the same as the league average. They also performed a little better than league average in offense and pitching.
By itself, this information is kind of fun to look at, but more important, it provides perspective. If a 25 year old in the Florida State League hits .300/400/500 (.900), it’s good. But if a 20-year-old hits .275/.350/.400 (.750) in the same league, he is a very good prospect. The 25-year-old could still become a big leaguer, and could even have a solid career. The 20-year-old likely has a higher ceiling.
So, with that bit of background, I thought it would be fun to take a look at which Twins prospects were the youngest at their level. Players that spent time in multiple levels can show up multiple times on this list.
This is not a perfect analysis, but it does give a range. Baseball-Refence.com has a method in which each player plays a season at a certain age. JO Berrios was 19 when he began the season in Ft. Myers. He turned 20 in mid-May, so his 2014 season was considered his age-20 season. As you see above, the average age for a pitcher in the Florida State League was 23.2. So, in this analysis, Berrios was 3.2 years younger than the average pitcher in the Florida State League.
Years Below League Average
2.2 Years: Nick Gordon at Elizabethton
2.2 Years: Nick Burdi at Ft. Myers
2.2 Years: Aaron Slegers at Ft. Myers
2.3 Years: Callan Pearce at GCL Twins
2.6 Years: Byron Buxton at Ft. Myers
2.6 Years: Jorge Polanco at Ft. Myers
2.6 Years: Ruar Verkerk at GCL Twins
2.9 Years: Trevor May at Rochester
2.9 Years: Stephen Pryor at Rochester
2.9 Years: Michael Tonkin at Rochester
2.9 Years: Aaron Hicks at Rochester (he was 0.7 years younger than the AA Eastern League hitters)
3.0 Years: Stephen Gonsalves at Cedar Rapids
3.0 Years: Fernando Romero at Cedar Rapids
3.0 Years: Kohl Stewart at Cedar Rapids
3.2 Years: JO Berrios at Ft. Myers
3.9 Years: Tyler Duffey at Rochester
3.9 Years: Jason Wheeler at Rochester
3.9 Years: Oswaldo Arcia at Rochester
4.0 Years: Lewis Thorpe at Cedar Rapids
4.7 Years: Byron Buxton at New Britain
4.7 Years: Jorge Polanco at New Britain
6.9 Years: JO Berrios at Rochester
You may be asking yourself the very question that I asked myself. Where would Miguel Sano have fit on this list had he been able to play. It would have been his age-21 season. In his time in AA New Britain, he would have been 3.6 years younger than the average player. We can assume he also would have moved up to AAA at some point during the season. He would have been 5.9 years younger than league average.
Here are a few notes about the above:
- The average age at AAA is pretty high. In the International League, the hitters and the pitchers averaged an age of 26.9. Triple-A isn’t so much about prospects. It’s about guys moving up and down from the big leaguers. It’s about journeymen in the organization to provide depth and help the affiliate win games.
- JO Berrios was very young for the Florida State League, so when he moved up to New Britain, he was even younger compared to his competition. When he made his final-weekend start with the Red Wings, he was competing against hitters who were about seven years older, and more experienced.
- Byron Buxton is one of the best prospects in baseball, but notice how quickly Jorge Polanco has moved up the system. Sure, he signed as a 16-year-old two years before Buxton was drafted, but he’s the same age as Buxton and he spent nearly half of his season in New Britain as well. As you know, he became a big leaguer (admittedly out of necessity) at the age of 20.
- Notice how young were some of those pitchers in Cedar Rapids were. Lewis Thorpe was about four years younger than the average hitter he was facing. Kohl Stewart spent the whole year with the Kernels, and was about three years younger than the competition. Fernando Romero came up at the same time as Thorpe, just a year older. Stephen Gonsalves was promoted for the final month of the Kernels season.
- I sometimes wonder if people realize just how young Oswaldo Arcia is. Despite a ton of strikeouts, he has shown tremendous power potential. And, he is younger than several players still in the minor leagues who are considered very good prospects.
- You see a couple of GCL Twins names, Callan Pearce and Ruar Verkerk. When players are signed from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, they typically spend a year or two or three in the Dominican Summer League. Pearce is from South Africa. Verkerk is from The Netherlands. Players from those countries, Australia, Germany, etc., have to come to the States to play in the GCL and you can better understand why these guys take a little longer to develop.
- Dec 16 2014 11:33 AM
- by Seth Stohs
Check out that cover! Twins Daily’s Brock Beauchamp created the JO Berrios cover using a photo by Linwood Ferguson who takes photos of the Ft. Myers Miracle. His photos of Miracle players are sprinkled throughout the book. Also, you know Jim Crikket (or SD Buhr) from Knuckleballs. His pictures from Cedar Rapids are also used throughout the book.
Mike Berardino wrote a tremendous Foreword to the book. In it, he writes, “You’ve heard the old saying about any pitcher who is “left-handed with a pulse” being worthy of a contract at some level of pro ball? Well, for the Twins Daily Prospect Handbook, virtually anyone with glint of potential and a Twins minor-league uniform is worth profiling.”
I wrote articles on the three Player of the Year award winners. The choice for hitter of the year was Cedar Rapids Kernels’ catcher Mitch Garver. He had a terrific season with the bat, but he takes a lot of pride in his defense, as well as leading the young pitchers. “I consider myself a leader. I am in it for the long haul. I want to work with the pitchers and make them better. Those guys have incredible talent and it’s great to see them work and improve.”
JO Berrios was the choice for Starting Pitcher of the Year. Teammates raved about his work ethic. Fair to say, Berrios has some lofty goals! “I’ve always wanted to become a big leaguer. I’ve been working hard and hopefully I’m closer to it. But my dream is to be part of the Hall of Fame someday.”
Savage (MN) native Brandon Peterson was the choice for Relief Pitcher of the Year. He had a tremendous first full season in the minors, splitting his season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. When he was being recruited after high school, his dream was to play Division I baseball. As he told us, one Division II coach gave him some serious motivation.
“One Division II coach asked him, ‘If you’re not good enough to play Division I now, what makes you think you will be good enough in two years?’ That was more motivation to fuel Peterson’s ambition. ‘I’m going to prove you wrong and do whatever I can to get there. I was upset at first.’”
Cody Christie wrote about the Manager of the Year, Doug Mientkiewicz. Catcher Stuart Turner said of his manager, “He seemed to know how to manage each and every one of us to maximize us… both individually and for the benefit of the team.”
Former Twins minor leaguer and occasional Twins Daily contributor AJ Pettersen wrote a tremendous, emotional article on the things about the game and about life that bring joy. “I will live with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Because of Virgil (Vasquez), I choose joy. Because of Alexis, Ray and Olivia, I choose joy. Because of my grandpa, I choose joy. All the time. Every time.”
Jeremy Nygaard, who runs the Rosters & Payrolls and Organizational Chart at Twins Daily, is the most knowledgeable MLB Draft expert in this market. In this book, you can get his thoughts on the Twins 2014 draft. He also wrote a great article highlighting some of the players who will be available to the Twins when they make the sixth overall selection in the 2015 draft. However, he also gets into the international signing period and how the Twins have been more and more active.
Cody Christie, aka the North Dakota Twins Fan, gave a preview a couple of days ago about his article an unfortunate theme, all of the injuries to top prospects in 2014.
Eric Pleiss of Talk to Contact fame wrote up an article trying to think about the Twins starting rotation in 2017, considering all of the pitching prospects coming up.
Steve Buhr not only provided photographs for the book, but he wrote “A Tale of Two Seasons for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.” He covered a team that really struggled to come together in the first half. He then saw the team come together in the second half and make a surprising run to the playoffs.
Of course, the meat and potatoes of the Prospect Handbook are the Prospect Profiles. You will find profiles in 89 Twins minor league pitchers and 69 Twins minor league hitters. Anyone who players from the GCL through the big leagues and still have Rookie of the Year eligibility remaining are profiled. Profiles take the following form. Jeremy provided a background on each player, where they’re from, how they came to the Twins and how they have done in previous years. In the 2014 Recap, Cody looks beyond the standard statistics. He provides a lot of splits and more. I did a scouting report on each player. For pitchers, what do they throw? How hard to they throw? For hitters, what type of hitter are they? Do they have power, speed? And finally, we worked together on a Forecast for ’15, in which we consider where each player could spend the next season. Here is a sample of a player profile, using the pieces from four separate profiles.
Background: Though it shows that Onas Farfan was drafted in the 21st round of the 2014 draft out of Ridgewater CC after graduating from Robbinsdale Cooper High School, his story is much deeper than that. Farfan was born in America but moved to Venezuela at age seven. At 16, he returned to the States and joined Minnesota’s RBI Program. Farfan passed up a chance to pitch at the University of Mary (Bismarck) to sign with the Twins.
2014 Recap: In his professional debut with the E-Twins, (Tyler) Kuresa showed some good signs at first base. He was charged with three errors in 330 chances. It took a while for his bat to get acclimated the professional level, but he made improvements each month. In July, he hit .293/.352/.554 with five home runs and nine doubles across 92 at-bats. For August, he hit over .350 and had his highest OPS of any month (.918 OPS). The left-handed first baseman had a slugging percentage that was 101 points higher versus right-handed pitching.
Scouting Report: Though he missed all of 2013 and 2014, (JT) Chargois was the talk of Instructional League. He was clocked at 98-99 mph regularly. He was known previously to have a violent delivery, but it appears that he has calmed that down without losing velocity. Chargois also has a very good slider, as long as he is able to control it. He was a two-way player in college, so he is a good athlete who is anxious to get back on the mound. He could move quickly once he proves healthy.
Forecast for '15: (Max) Murphy was a rare example of a position player getting a promotion out of E-town to Cedar Rapids (or Beloit, previously) during his debut season. But when you bat .378 with 10 home runs in 35 games, there really isn’t much else to prove. Given Murphy’s struggles after his promotion, it is likely he’ll return to Cedar Rapids to start 2015, though earning a second-half promotion isn’t out of his reach.
Of course, it all culminates with the official Top 30 Prospect lists for myself, Jeremy and Cody. You’ll notice that there are several guys that we each rank a little differently. We all have certain prospects that we rank a little higher (or lower) than others. I’m sure after reading this book fully, you’ll develop your own Top 30 Twins prospect list that looks a little different than others.
205 pages. This book is a labor of love. If you’ve bought previous versions of the book, I think you’ll concur that it is very informational and fun. It’s an opportunity to recognize and get to know a lot of future Twins. And, even I they don’t make it, they are deserving of credit. I’ve written the following in the Introduction of all six previous books and will always include it because I think it is important.
Minor League baseball players are doing all the same work that the big leaguers do. They are just doing it with far less fanfare, smaller per diems, less luxurious travel and hotel arrangements, and noticeably lighter wallets due to pay checks with far fewer zeroes. These players deserve to be recognized too!
And that’s true. Also, notice that the Twins have been recognizing a minor leaguers’ performance in most of their televised games, and I know that the Twins radio crew will mention players as well. This can be a coffee table type of book where, when a player gets mentioned, you can impress your friends by knowing a whole lot more about that player. And, when the Twins call up a minor leaguer and says, “Who is that guy?” You can tell them all about him.
Consider getting a copy or two or six of the book. The paperback version is 6” x 9” and done very well. I have had several people tell me how great it is to have at Twins Fest or if they go to the minor league sites for autographs. Consider it a challenge to see how many of the 158 profiles you can get signed! You can order the paperback here for just $14.99 (plus shipping) and get them, maybe even in time for Christmas presents or Stocking Stuffers.
If you can’t wait for the paperback version to come to you in the mail, you can also buy an electronic, pdf version of the book here and immediately download it for just $9.95.
On behalf of Jeremy and Cody, we really appreciate all of the support from the readers and hope you have a great experience with your Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2015! Thank you!
- Dec 13 2014 10:37 PM
- by Seth Stohs
This also allows fans to have the book in hand for TwinsFest later next month. We will have full release details in the coming days.
Here's a brief rundown of what's included in the book:
- Stories on my minor league award winners: Mitch Garver (hitter), Jose Berrios (starting pitcher), Brandon Peterson (relief pitcher) and Doug Mientkiewicz (manager).
- A foreword by Mike Beradino of the Pioneer Press
- Jeremy wrote an article reviewing the 2014 Twins draft and another looking forward to the 2015 draft.
- AJ Pettersen wrote about his lasting memories as he reflected back on his professional career
- The top 30 prospect lists for Seth, Jeremy and myself.
If there was one theme across the Twins minor league system in 2014, it was the injury bug that seemed to touch almost every top prospect. This unfortunate series of events ran rampant and seemed to know no bounds. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Kohl Stewart and other top prospects fell victim and many players lost a large chunk of playing time during the season.
Losing games can be tough for prospects especially as they are trying to develop. Lost playing time means more years in the minor leagues and it pushes back their arrival time at the big league level. There were high hopes for many of the players on this list going into the season. Injuries are going to happen and it will be interesting to see how these players are impacted for 2015.
Byron Buxton, CF
2014 Games Played: 31
Injury List: Left-wrist injury (twice), right-wrist injury, head injury, dislocated middle finger on left hand
It was a nightmare season for Buxton as he tried repeatedly to get back on the field but the injuries continued to pile up. Buxton started the spring in major league camp and injured his left wrist while diving for a ball on the minor league side of camp. His first action of the year came with Fort Myers and five games into the season he re-injured his left wrist on a slide into third base. Two months later he was back on the field but a couple weeks later a pitch hit him on the right wrist. He only missed a handful of games and on August 11th he was promoted to Double-A. His first game in New Britain saw the end of his regular season and a very gruesome collision. Buxton was carted off the field after colliding with Mike Kvasnicka as both players attempted to make a diving catch in the gap. Buxton was knocked out for about 10 minutes and luckily there were no broken bones. In the Arizona Fall League, he finished his injury plagued season with a dislocated middle finger on his left hand after diving for a ball.
2015 Impact: Buxton is an exciting player who is going to play the game hard all of the time. There could be some injuries that arise from playing the game at an all-out pace. His wrists should be healed and there didn’t seem to be any lasting concussion issues during his play in the Arizona Fall League.
Miguel Sano, 3B
2014 Games Played: 0
Injury List: Tommy John surgery
This was supposed to be the year Miguel Sano made his much anticipated big league debut. Sano’s elbow pulled him out of the Dominican Winter League last offseason but at the time there wasn’t a ton of concern coming out of Twins camp. He showed up to spring training and a physical showed that his elbow had improved. In January, Terry Ryan even came out and said that he didn’t think the injury would require surgery. During TwinsFest, Sano predicted he would crack 45 home runs and make his big league debut. The pain in his elbow came back in February and he underwent Tommy John surgery on March 12.
2015 Impact: His rehab is progressing well and there was some speculation that he could return to game action in the second half of the Dominican Winter League. However, the Twins are going to be conservative and hold him out of action until spring. Everything seems on track for him to start next season in the minors before making his MLB debut later in the year.
Kohl Stewart, RHP
2014 Games Played: 19
Injury List: Right shoulder impingement (twice)
Kohl Stewart dealt with a shoulder issues near the end of the 2013 season and his problems continued for different parts of this past year. In late July, he was dealing with some slight shoulder soreness after he slept wrong on his arm during a long bus ride. He was placed on the disabled list but the MRI came back clean. Some thought he might be done for the season but the Twins put him out there for a couple of more games in the middle of August. Two starts later he had to be pulled because the shoulder was still sore. “I felt like (crap), tried to pitch through it,” Stewart said.
2015 Impact: The Twins will watch Stewart’s workload very closely in 2015. If there is any sign of him not being able to get loose, the club will quickly pull him from the action. The Twins were aggressive with his promotion last year and that could allow them to be a little more conservative in 2015. It might also be helpful to get a neck pillow for the long minor league bus rides.
There's much more to this article and a ton of other great content in the book. Let me know if you have any questions about the book and look for the release of my top prospect lists in the days to come.
- Dec 10 2014 11:37 PM
- by Cody Christie
There are also players who might not end up being in contention for any MVP or Cy Young awards but they could be very important everyday players on the next winning baseball team in Minnesota. Not every prospect is going to make it as a big league player and some of the Twins best prospects are still multiple years away from making their debut, but still...
Here is a look at the type of lineup and pitching rotation that could be made from just the prospects in the Twins organization. For the purposes of this post, I didn't consider any players who had already reached their rookie eligibility threshold in 2014. This took away players like Oswaldo Arcia, Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas, who also figure in the long-term plans for the Twins organization.
All-Prospect Twins Team Line-Up/Batting Order
1. Nick Gordon- SS
2. Eddie Rosario- LF
3. Byron Buxton- CF
4. Miguel Sano- 3B
5. Travis Harrison- DH
6. Amaurys Minier- 1B
7. Max Kepler- RF
8. Stuart Turner- C
9. Jorge Polanco- 2B
This line-up looks pretty solid from top to bottom. Gordon, Rosario and Buxton would give the front end of the batting order some speed and plenty of on-base ability in front of the big boppers. Sano, Harrison, and Minier would have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and all three have the potential to hit 25 or more home runs in a season. Kepler would provide solid defense and be a very solid regular player. Turner could be an everyday player with the potential to make an All-Star team if things break the right way. Polanco might not have the defensive skills to stick at shortstop but he could be part of a nice double-play combo with Gordon. He'd also be a solid number nine hitter leading back to the top of the order.
Adam Brett Walker- OF
This bench offers a little bit of everything. Goodrum and Michael have the ability to fill in at multiple infield positions while also being good options as late-inning pinch runners. Garver and Turner would be a very good catching duo with both getting opportunities to start. Walker would be a huge bat off the bench with the potential to hit a home run any time he stepped into the box. He could also fill in as a corner outfielder when other players needed a day off..
1. Kohl Stewart-RHP
2. Jose Berrios- RHP
3. Alex Meyer- RHP
4. Lewis Thorpe- LHP
5. Stephen Gonsalves- LHP
A starting rotation with Stewart, Berrios, and Meyer at the top is what Twins fans have been dreaming of since Stewart was taken with the fourth pick in the 2013 draft. Berrios is coming off a breakout season across the three highest levels in the Twins system. Meyer is on the cusp of making his debut and he continues to be impressive. Thorpe and Gonsalves would offer some left-handed action to the back-end of the rotation while still having the potential to be front of the line starters. There's a chance for a lot of strikeouts with this fearsome fivesome but the bullpen is where things get even scarier.
Closer: Nick Burdi-RHP
Set-Up: Michael Cederoth- RHP
Trevor May- RHP
Taylor Rogers- LHP
Mason Melotakis- LHP
The Kansas City Royals rode a terrific trio of late-inning relief arms to the 2014 American League pennant. In the last few drafts, the Twins have been going after some hard throwing college arms to build their own dominant relief core of the future. Burdi, Cederoth, Reed and Jones could each be given an inning of his own late in games and this would mean starters would only need to pitch five frames. If May doesn't work out as a starter, he could fill into a long-relief role. Rogers and Melotakis could be solid options for retiring some of the best left-handed bats from the opposition.
Overall, there is a ton of talent on the way to Target Field. Not all of these players will make it to the big leagues but the Twins have a lot invested in some of these. There are multiple first round picks on this roster, a handful of the top 100 prospects in baseball, and a solid core of players to help Twins fans forget about the last four years of losing.
Now it's your turn. How would your line-up and roster look for the Twins team of the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
For more from Cody Christie make sure to follow him on Twitter @NoDakTwinsFan and to read his other work at http://www.NoDakTwinsFan.com
- Dec 02 2014 07:20 PM
- by Cody Christie
Ft. Myers Miracle
Jason Kanzler spent the majority of his season with Cedar Rapids, but he was instrumental in the Ft. Myers championship run. The 24-year-old combined to hit .282/.344/.444 (.788) with 11 doubles, nine triples and 12 home runs. He also stole 27 bases. In college, he won two Gold Glove Awards and is a tremendous defensive outfielder.
Adam Brett Walker spent the full season as a 22-year-old in the Florida State League. He played in right field and is a very good athlete. He hit .246/.307/.436 (.743) with 19 doubles, 25 homers and 94 RBI. He has tremendous power and has been a very good run producer since signing as the Twins third round pick in 2012.
Travis Harrison was a supplemental first round pick in 2011 out of high school in California. He turned 22 following the 2013 season. He hit .269/.361/.365 (.726) with 33 doubles and three home runs. Despite the lack of home runs, Harrison has big-time power potential. He made the move from third base to left field in 2014.
Max Kepler continued to play some first base in 2014 with the Miracle. However, he also played 61 games in centerfield, 18 games in right field and eight games in left. In the AFL, he has played in right field. He missed some games early and struggled in the first half, but he really came on as the season went on. In 102 games, he hit .264/.333/.393 (.726) with 20 doubles, six triples and five home runs. He will turn 22 years old before spring training.
Tyler Grimes played everywhere for the Miracle in 2014 including 12 games in centerfield and five games in right field. He moved to catcher before the 2013 season, and he also played a lot of second base. The 24-year-old hit .232/.313/.335 (.648) with 14 doubles, two triples and three home runs.
New Britain Rock Cats
Of course, the Twins moved their AA affiliate from New Britain to Chattanooga following the season, but we’ll leave the header as is.
Byron Buxton remains the organization’s top prospect despite a long, frustrating, injury-plagued season. He played in just one game with the Rock Cats this year after rehabbing with the Miracle and got hurt in it. He returned to the AFL where he again was hurt after about three weeks of playing time. He remains as bright a prospect as there is in baseball. He just needs to get healthy this offseason and get back to developing.
Eddie Rosario missed 50 games at the beginning of the season with his suspension. After a short stint in Ft. Myers, he returned to New Britain in early June and spent the rest of the season there. The 23-year-old hit .243/.386/.387 (.674) in 87 total games. He has been one of the better hitters in the Arizona Fall League while playing exclusively in the outfield.
Reynaldo Rodriguez could have been a free agent again after the season, but he chose to sign back with the Twins for a third season. He made the move from first base to the outfield in 2014. It didn’t affect his bat. He hit a robust .286/.344/.510 (.854) in 126 games with New Britain. He also played ten games with Rochester. He is 28 years old.
Mike Kvasnicka came to the Twins before spring training of 2013 for Gonzalo Sanudo. In 2014, he advanced to New Britain where he hit .257/.303/.400 (.703). The 25-year-old from Minnesota hit 23 doubles and ten home runs. He played 57 games in right field, 36 games in left field and even 16 games in centerfield.
Tony Thomas played 27 games in left field and 12 more in right field. The 28-year-old hit .241/.302/.411 with 29 doubles, six triples and 12 home runs. He also stole 14 bases. He primarily played second base until Rosario came back to New Britain. He too could have been a free agent after the World Series, but he chose to re-sign with the Twins.
Corey Wimberly joined the Twins as a minor league free agent before spring training. He played in just 72 games for the Rock Cats due to a hamstring injury and hit .252/.307/.346 (.653) with 13 doubles and five triples. The speedster also stole 17 bases. He turned 31 after the season and became a free agent.
Rochester Red Wings
Wilkin Ramirez returned to the Red Wings in 2014 and played in 107 games. He hit .262/.305/.368 (.672) with 23 doubles, three triples and four home runs. He turned 29 after the season and is currently a free agent.
Chris Rahl came to the Twins before the 2014 season and was invited to big league camp. The 30-year-old veteran played in 104 games and hit .259/.272/.380 (.652) with 17 doubles and seven homers. He played 51 games in left field, 40 games in right field and 21 games in centerfield. He became a free agent following the season.
Danny Ortiz was the Twins 4th round pick in 2008 out of Puerto Rico. He began the season in New Britain where he played in 49 games. He was promoted to Rochester for another 73 games. The 24-year-old combined to hit .285/.308/.462 (.770) with 29 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs. He has average range, but he can play all three outfield positions. He too could have become a minor league free agent after the World Series, but he quickly signed with the Twins.
The one given to be playing in the Minnesota Twins outfield in 2015 is Oswaldo Arcia. The 6-0, 220 pound outfielder hit .231/.300/.452 (.752) which produced an OPS+ of 108. He added 16 doubles, three triples and 20 home runs. He strikes out a lot, doesn’t hit lefties real well, and isn’t a threat to win a Gold Glove, but he can hit the ball a long way. He’s also younger than most outfielders in the upper levels and patience will be important.
Danny Santana played 71 games for the Twins in centerfield in 2014 and did fairly well considering he had played only a few games in the outfield earlier in his minor league career. He’s got good speed though the organization has made it clear that he will be given every opportunity to play shortstop in 2015. In 101 games, he hit .319/.353/.472 (.824) with 27 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs. He also stole 20 bases.
Aaron Hicks has been the opening day centerfielder the last two years. In 2014, he was sent down to play in AA New Britain for about six weeks, then spent a month in Rochester before returning to the Twins in September. In 69 games with the Twins, he hit .215 with a .274 slugging percentage. He did manage to get on base 34% of the time. He’ll get another opportunity, most likely, in 2015, though maybe not in centerfield.
Chris Parmelee has been up and down with the Twins since his September call-up in 2011. He was out of options. So when he did not make the opening day Twins roster, he went through waivers. He was unclaimed and went to Rochester where he played great and soon was called back to the Twins. In 87 games with the Twins, he hit .256/.307/.384 (.691) with 11 doubles and seven home runs. He played some first base. He also played 42 games in right field and 22 games in left field. He also played three games in centerfield.
Jordan Schafer came to the Twins after being designated for assignment by Atlanta. In 31 games with the Twins, he hit .285/.345/.362 (.707) with five doubles, a triple and a homer. He also stole 15 bases. He plays a good left field and could be a platoon option.
Chris Herrmann caught quite a bit in the minors but with the Twins he was used as a fifth outfielder. He played 13 games in left field and 12 games in right. Eduardo Nunez played 16 games in left field, and Chris Colabello played 21 games in right field.
Oswaldo Arcia still has star potential despite some flaws. His youth and power potential mean that he should be a staple in right field for the Twins for several years. Danny Santana played centerfield for the Twins in 2014, and would be considered a building block at the position for most teams. With the Twins, he will move to shortstop. That means that the Twins have two positions that should be open in the outfield.
At some time, the future involves Byron Buxton. Eddie Rosario seems to be putting himself back on the prospect map with his performance in the Arizona Fall League. Max Kepler’s second half and Fall League performances, along with his tool set, continue to make him an intriguing piece for the future. Travis Harrison and Adam Brett Walker provide serious power potential, though each has a little further to go.
Previous Organizational Depth Charts:
· Outfielders – Part 1 (Lower Levels)
· Middle Infielders
· Third Base
· First Base
- Nov 13 2014 08:01 AM
- by Seth Stohs
The big news out of the Minnesota Twins camp this past week was the naming of their next manager, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, but that wasn’t the only notable news in the organization.
Byron Buxton – 1 game, 1-4 (.250), 1 K, SB (5), CS (1).
The play that took Buxton out of action again occurred in the ninth inning of Monday’s 3-3 tie. It was a sinking line drive that he came in on and just missed making the play.
Although not as serious an injury as the others that occurred this season, it’s yet another blip on what can only be described as a disappointing and lost season for the young phenom.
Buxton had surgery on Thursday and is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.
Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 6-19 (.316), 3 R’s, 2 2B’s, RBI, 4 K’s, 1 SB (10), 1 CS (3)
Rosario remained the number three hitter in the Salt River Rafter’s lineup, playing left field and continuing to hit.
In Tuesday’s 14-2 Rafter’s win, he was 2-5 with a double. Then later in the week on Halloween he collected two more hits including another double in five at-bats, to finish the week batting .397 in league play and well atop the leaderboard.
Max Kepler – 3 games, 4-14 (.286), 3 R’s, 3B, 5 RBI, 1 BB’s, 4 K’s.
Kepler appeared in three games during the week, making two appearances in the regular right fielder rotation, and one game at designated hitter.
He collected a hit in each of those games, including a triple, two runs scored, and three RBI in Tuesdays 14-2 thumping the Rafters put on the Glendale Desert Dogs. He was also 2-5 in Monday’s game and carries a .289/.385/.422 triple slash line on the season in eleven games.
Taylor Rogers – Did not play.
Rogers took a line drive to his shoulder in his only start for the Rafters in week 1, and has not pitched since.
Jason Adam – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 R’s, 2 H’s, 2 BB’s, 0 K, Win (1-0). 6.00 ERA.
Adam was the first of three consecutive Twins pitchers in Monday’s tie, surrendering a double and a walk before getting out of the jam with a fly ball to Kepler.
His second appearance came on Friday, entering the game with one out in the sixth inning. He proceeded to hit the first batter he faced and walked the second to load the bases, but induced a groundball to pick up the final out of the inning.
He came back out to start the seventh and gave up a single to the leadoff man, but retired the next two batters before being removed. He picked up his first AFL win in the process and lowered his ERA in the AFL to 6.00. Since surrendering runs in his first four appearances, Adam has pitched three scoreless innings.
Zack Jones – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H’s, 2 BB, 2 K’s, 1 Hold (4). 0.00 ERA.
Jones was the third of the Twins relievers on Monday and walked the first man he faced. He also gave up a single before retiring the final two batters on fly balls.
In the Rafters 5-4 loss on Thursday, Jones pitched the eighth inning. He would again walk the first man he faced, but then retired the next two hitters with strikeouts. A pitch got away from him and hit the next batter to put men on first and second, but he got an infield pop-up to finish the inning and pick up his fourth hold in AFL play.
Jake Reed – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K. 0.00 ERA.
Reed also made two appearances on the week, and in Monday’s tie pitched the sixth inning. He gave up a single to right field with one out but escaped any damage to his perfect ERA with a fly-ball and strikeout to end the inning.
He made his second appearance in Wednesday’s tie with the Surprise Saguaros, pitching the seventh inning. He surrendered a single (and then a stolen base) to top shortstop prospect Trea Turner of the San Diego Padres, but retired the other three men he faced.
He has now thrown eight scoreless innings in the AFL and continues to focus on improving his changeup and breaking ball in his transition from college to the minor leagues.
AFL Fall Stars Game:
With the AFL season half over, Saturday’s game was their All-Star showcase, the Fall Stars game.
Byron Buxton and Jake Reed were the Twins original participants, but after Buxton’s injury it was (the deserving) Eddie Rosario taking his place.
Rosario batted second and played left field for the East squad, going 0-2 with a walk, stolen base, and two strikeouts. He also picked up an outfield assist at second base.
Reed made his appearance in the seventh inning, and was credited with a hold after retiring Nick Williams and Just O’Connor, giving up a single to Jace Peterson, and fielding a ground ball off the bat of Kyle Waldrop (not the former Twin) to end the frame.
Their AFL-East squad won the game 6-2.
-Twins hitters combined to bat .297 with two 2B’s, one 3B, six R’s, six RBI, one BB, nine K’s, and two SB during the week.
-Twins pitchers compiled a 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, allowing no runs, on 6 six H’s and four BB’s, while striking out three on the week.
- Nov 03 2014 05:50 AM
- by Steve Lein
In week 3, Taylor Rogers was again the only Twins representative who didn’t see action.
Did Eddie Rosario continue to hit? Did Byron Buxton turn it around? Did Zack Jones and Jake Reed continue to mow down hitters?
Read on to find out!
Byron Buxton – 4 games, 6-18 (.333), 2B, 3 R’s, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K’s, 3 SB’s (4).
Buxton played in four games this week, including another appearance in RF.
His big game of the week came on Friday, when he went 3-5 with a double, scored two runs, drove in two more and stole two bases. It was the second game in a row he collected multiple hits, having gone 2-5 the day before.
It’s a good sign to see all of his tools back on display, and Buxton is happy to be moving forward after his injury-wrecked 2014 season.
Buxton raised his average from .229 to .264 during the week.
Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 6-13 (.462), 2 R’s, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 3 SB (9).
Rosario continued to bat third in the Rafters lineup this week, and continued to rack up hits.
He currently is second in the league in batting average (.429) and total hits (21), fourth in RBI’s (11) and second in stolen bases (9).
He had at least one hit in all four games during the week and collected multiple hits twice. In Tuesday’s 5-0 Rafters win, he was 2-2 with two RBI sac flies in four plate appearances.
He was 2-4 with three RBI in his next game on Thursday, where he also stole two more bases.
Of major note in reference to Rosario, is the fact that he has hit safely in all ten games he has played in the AFL, and seems to like the pace of play created by the 20-second pitch clock.
Max Kepler – 3 games, 5-12 (.417), 2 R, 2 2B’s, 3B, RBI, 1 BB’s, 4 K’s, SB (3).
Kepler saw action in three games during the week, and made the most of his opportunities as he went 2-4 on Tuesday, 2-5 with a double and triple on Wednesday, and 1-3 with a double, walk, and RBI on Thursday.
His triple in Wednesday’s 9-3 victory sparked a four run second inning for the Rafters.
He raised his average to .290 in league play, with an on-base percentage of .405.
Taylor Rogers – Did not play.
Rogers took a line drive to his shoulder in his only start for the Rafters in week 1, and has not pitched since.
Jason Adam – 1 game, 1 IP, 0 R’s, 1 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K. 0.00 ERA.
Adam finally made his first scoreless appearance in Friday’s 8-1 win, allowing just a single in the sixth inning. The runner moved to second on a passed ball, but he finished the inning with a strikeout and picked up his first hold.
Zack Jones – 2 games, 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H’s, 3 BB, 0 K, 2 Holds. 0.00 ERA.
Zack Jones made appearances in the wins on Monday and Thursday, picking up a hold in both contests.
In Monday’s win, he gave up a double but retired the three other batters he faced.
In Friday’s win, he lost his control in the seventh inning, throwing just eight of twenty-one pitches for strikes while walking three to load the bases. He recorded just one out, but still picked up a hold as Kaleb Fleck from the Diamondbacks organization retired the next two batters.
Jake Reed – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K’s, 2 Holds. 0.00 ERA.
Reed pitched in the same games as Jones, pitching the inning before him in each contest. He was extremely efficient, throwing twenty of twenty-four pitches for strikes, while allowing just one hit in his two innings. He also recorded two holds.
Of note from Jones and Reed: neither hurler recorded an out with a strikeout on the week.
-Twins hitters combined to bat .395 with 3 2B’s, 1 3B, 7 R’s, 10 RBI, 4 BBs, 9 K’s, and 7 SB during the week.
-Twins pitchers compiled a 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP, allowing 0 R’s on 3 H’s and 3 BBs, while striking out one on the week.
- Oct 27 2014 09:20 AM
- by Steve Lein
Let’s see how all of the Twins prospects fared in week two of the Arizona Fall League.
Byron Buxton – 4 games, 3-18 (.167), 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K’s. Batting .229 overall.
Buxton again played in four games, playing centerfield for three games and right field for one, while batting leadoff in each.
After a two-hit day (including a double) in Monday’s 7-4 win, he cooled off for the rest of the week.
In Tuesday’s game he was 0-4 but made good contact, lining out to both third base and left field. On Thursday he was 0-4 with two K’s, and finished his week by going 1-6 in Friday’s tie.
Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 7-18 (.389), 2B, 2 R’s, 2 RBI, 3 SB (6), 1 BB, 5 K’s. Batting .417 overall.
Rosario continued his hot hitting from week one, and enters week three sitting atop the AFL batting average leader board.
He also sits in second on the stolen base leader board with six as he swiped three more bags in his four games. He was also caught stealing for the first time.
In the eleven inning tie, Rosario went 3-6 and stole two bases.
Also notable was that Rosario batted leadoff, second and third in the lineup during the week, and also played one game in centerfield. .
Max Kepler – 3 games, 2-10 (.200), 2 R’s, SB (2), 4 BB’s, 2 K’s. Batting .211 overall.
Kepler played right field in all three games and was moved up and down the lineup. Despite collecting just two hits on the week, he also drew four walks, compared to only two strikeouts. Despite the .211 batting average, Kepler’s on-base percentage through two weeks is a strong .375.
Taylor Rogers – Did not play.
Rogers took a line drive to his left arm in his only start for the Rafters last week, and has not pitched since.
Jason Adam – 2 games, 3 IP, 2 ER’s, 7 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K. 6.00 ERA.
Adam is looking to make a good impression on the Twins in the AFL after coming over in the Josh Willingham trade with Royals.
He struggled in week one, and was only marginally better this week.
His ERA sits at 9.00 overall, with a WHIP of 2.33 in six total innings. He has allowed at least one run in each of his four appearances thus far.
Zack Jones – 2 games, 2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H’s, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 Hold. 0.00 ERA.
Jones picked up his first hold in Monday’s 7-4 win, and made his second appearance of the week on Thursday.
He gave up a single in each appearance, but didn’t surrender any damage on the scoreboard. Though he didn’t walk anyone, he did hit one batter on Monday (hope it wasn’t a fastball!).
Jake Reed – 1 game, 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H’s, 1 BB, 2 K’s. 0.00 ERA.
Reed made just one appearance during the week, but it was of the two inning variety.
He entered the game in the fifth inning of Thursday’s 5-1 win, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout. In the sixth, Reed walked the second batter he faced, but got a fielder’s choice groundball out and his second strikeout to end the inning.
He now has seven K’s in five IP in the AFL, and in 36 innings since being drafted by the Twins in fifth round of June’s draft, has allowed just one earned run.
-The Rafters have the best record in the AFL at 7-3-1 after two weeks.
-Twins hitters combined to bat .261 with two 2B’s, five R’s, three RBI, six BBs, 10 K’s, and four SBs during the week.
-Twins pitchers compiled a 2.57 ERA in seven IP, allowing three R’s (two ER) on nine hits and one BB, while striking out four on the week.
- Oct 20 2014 01:11 PM
- by Steve Lein
Byron Buxton – 4 games, 5-17, 4 R’s, 2 RBI, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s, 1 SB, 2 Errors.
Buxton batted leadoff and played centerfield in all four games on the week, getting a day off after the first two games.
In the season opener, Buxton was 0-4 but scored a run after drawing a walk and stealing second base. He also committed a fielding error in the first inning, misplaying a single up the middle. Buxton also committed a fielding error in game two as he works off some rust after missing almost the entire 2014 season.
He collected multiple hits in games two and four during the week, going 2-5 and 2-4 with a BB and two RBIs. He finished the week by collecting a single in Saturday’s game to put his batting average at .294 after the first week.
Above all else for now, it is good to see Buxton on the field!
Eddie Rosario – 4 games, 8-18, 2 R’s, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K’s, 3 SB, 1 Error.
Rosario had a rough 2014 season, like Buxton, but for different reasons. After missing the season’s first 50 games due to a drug suspension, he never really got going at AA with the New Britain Rock Cats.
But whatever ailed him there hasn’t shown in his first four games in the AFL, as he notched two hits in each of his four games to compile a batting average of .444. He primarily was in the two-hole behind Buxton on the scorecards.
In addition to the impressive start with the bat, Rosario has also swiped three bases to pace the league in that category.
Max Kepler – 2 games, 2-9, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K’s, 1 SB, 2 outfield assists
Kepler appeared in two games, playing RF in both contests.
He collected a single in each game, and has also thrown out two runners on the bases with outfield assists, which is good to see. I also expect he’ll get some work at 1B with the Rafters, but for now they’re using his, and the rest of the Twins position player’s athleticism, to roam their outfield.
Taylor Rogers – 1 game started, 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H’s, 2 BB’s, 3 K’s, 4.09 ERA.
Rogers is the only Twins pitcher to be used in a starting role thus far, and though it wasn’t a bad performance by any means, he didn’t last very long as he racked up the general pitch limit of fifty for starters in the AFL relatively quickly, with only 29 strikes.
In his first inning he struck out two batters, but also walked two before surrendering an RBI single. Kepler limited the damage for him as he notched one of his assists on a throw to third base on that same play.
Rogers pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, before two singles in the third put an end to his day. Rogers took a line drive off of his shoulder. He recovered and recorded the inning's second out but left the game. The next day, Rogers told Twins Daily that he is "Doing good, just going to take some time".
Jason Adam – 2 games, 3 IP, 4 ER’s, 6 H’s, 1 BB, 1 K, 12.00 ERA.
Adam was roughed up in his first appearance, coming into the season opener for the fifth inning.
Top prospect Brandom Nimmo led off that inning with a ground-rule double. A walk and a second ground-rule double scored Nimmo before Adam recorded his first out. A wild-pitch plated the second run, and an RBI single the third before he induced an inning-ending double play.
In his second appearance Adam pitched two frames, allowing one run on three hits. The run scored in the sixth on (another) ground-rule double and except for a fielding error by Rafter shorstop Trevor Story, pitched a clean seventh inning.
Zack Jones – 1 game, 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K’s. 0.00 ERA.
Jones had just one appearance during the week, but made the most of his two innings, pitching the seventh and eighth on Thursday. He surrendered only a walk and a single, while also picking up three K’s, including the last hitter he faced. 22 of his 34 pitches went for strikes, which is a good sign after he missed much of the season.
Jake Reed – 2 games, 3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H’s, 1 BB, 5 K’s. 0.00 ERA, 1 Win, 1 Save.
Reed was a very strong performer for the bullpens of Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids after he was drafted in the Twins in the fifth round this year. He compiled a 0.29 ERA in 31 IP, racking up 39 K’s and a WHIP of just 0.45. With a strong AFL performance, he could find himself on a very fast track to the Twins bullpen in 2015.
In his first game on Wednesday, he pitched the fifth and six innings to pick up the win. In the fifth he struck out the side, Brandon Nimmo, L.J. Mazzilli, and Greg Bird. He also went 1-2-3 in the sixth while adding a fourth strikeout.
In his second appearance on Saturday, Rafters manager Andy Haines brought him in for the ninth inning, and though he made it interesting, surrendering a walk and two singles to load the bases, he picked up the save while adding another strikeout.
-The Rafters lead the AFL East Division with a 4-1 record after the first week of the season.
-None of the fifteen hits from Twins position players during the week went for extra bases.
-Twins hitters combined to bat .341 with 7 R’s, 5 RBI, and 5 SB.
-Twins pitchers compiled a 4.41 ERA in 10.2 IP, with 12 H’s, 5 BB’s and 12 K’s.
- Oct 13 2014 09:10 PM
- by Steve Lein
In a rather unusual situation, four of the seven Twins minor leaguers will be returning to the Fall League. On the most basic level, each hitter has the opportunity to get more at bats while every pitcher gets to work more innings. They get to do that against some high-caliber competition from around the minor leagues. For each, their opportunity is a little different.
For Byron Buxton, it provides him with an opportunity to get 22 to 25 games and 75 to 100 plate appearances. After missing so much time in 2014 due to injury, this is a great opportunity for him to regain some timing in real games. Timing at the plate, but also timing and confidence in the outfield following his concussion. This is about getting him time to alleviate some of the concerns that might pop up in his own mind going into 2015. Although he played in the league a year ago, he is the second-youngest player on the 2014 Rafters team, older than only Rio Ruiz.
For Max Kepler, it provides more repetitions. He came on strong in the Ft. Myers Miracle’s second half at the plate, but various minor injuries hurt him in the first half. He continued to play all three outfield positions during the season as well as recording time at first base. Despite being a professional since he signed with the Twins in 2009, he is still young in his development. For him, there is an opportunity to show that he warrants a spot on the Twins 40 man roster. Kepler is the third youngest player on the team’s roster.
Eddie Rosario is looking for an opportunity to redeem himself. Since the end of last year’s Fall League, his career trajectory has certainly gone in a concerning direction. Shortly after he left a year ago, news broke that he had failed a drug test and would be suspended. He was given permission to take some time off during spring training and did not arrive in Ft. Myers until the regular season. After serving the 50-game suspension and getting to New Britain, he didn’t hit like we know he can. This time will give Rosario more opportunities to regain his offensive prowess. He will be added to the 40 man roster in November, to be sure, but he can again raise his prospect status.
Jason Adam is a right-handed pitcher who came to the Twins organization in the Josh Willingham trade on August 11. It’s an opportunity for Twins scouts to learn a little more about him. It’s an opportunity for him to work with some of the other top prospects to get to know him, and vice versa. The 23-year-old is also eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year so the Twins will need to determine whether or not to add him.
Zack Jones’ season was cut short this year before it even started. In fact, it was toward the end of his run in the Fall League last year that Jones said that his right-hand’s fingers felt cold. After the New Year, doctors found an aneurysm in his right shoulder and he had surgery. After that, a blood clot was found in his leg. He didn’t need surgery for that but it further delayed his return to Ft. Myers and to the mound. He got back to the Miracle for the final two weeks of the regular season and reclaimed the closer’s role. He hit 96 and 97 many times, but as he was closing out games in the Florida State League championship series, he hit 98 on several occasions. Now he will get more innings against great competition. He replaced Mason Melotakis on the roster a couple of weeks ago.
The truest test for college starting pitchers seems to happen in AA. Despite a rough first month in New Britain, Taylor Rogers passed the AA test with flying colors. He missed two or three starts with a biceps strain, but returned and continued to throw well. He doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the offense-friendly Arizona Fall League. Baseball America reported that the lefty was hitting 95 on the radar gun this season, and he has a good slider. He should join the likes of Archie Bradley and Mark Appel in the Rafters’ rotation.
Reliever Jake Reed was the Twins fifth-round draft pick just this year out of the University of Oregon. He dominated in four games in Elizabethton and 16 more appearances in Cedar Rapids. It will be a great opportunity for the 22-year-old to show what he can do against a higher level of competition, guys typically from AA. With a fastball reaching into the upper-90s, Reed has the opportunity to progress quickly with the Twins.
It’s important to remember that the statistics accumulated in the Arizona Fall League are not as important as the plate appearances and the innings. A great showing doesn’t guarantee future success, and a poor showing doesn’t mean that a player won’t become a big leaguer.
A quick look at the past Twins participants shows that to be the case:
- 2013 – AJ Achter, Zack Jones, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario
- 2012 – Logan Darnell, Kyle Gibson, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Evan Bigley, Chris Herrmann, Nate Roberts, Dan Rohlfing
- 2011 – Cole DeVries, Bret Jacobson, Bruce Pugh, Dakota Watts, Brian Dozier, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks
- 2010 – David Bromberg, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Kyle Waldrop, Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee, Ben Revere
- 2009 – Alex Burnett, Steven Hirschfeld, Michael McCardell, Spencer Steedley, Chris Parmelee, Steve Singleton, Rene Tosoni
- 2008 – Rob Delaney, Tim Lahey, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama, Dustin Martin, Steven Tolleson, Danny Valencia
- 2007 – Nick Blackburn, Eduardo Morlan, Ryan Mullins, Anthony Swarzak, Drew Butera, Matt Macri, Trevor Plouffe
- 2006 – Kevin Cameron, Jay Sawatski, Errol Simonitsch, Kevin Slowey, Doug Deeds, Matt Moses, Matt Tolbert, David Winfree
- 2005 – Ricky Barrett, Travis Bowyer, Glen Perkins, Garrett Jones, Matt Moses, Denard Span
- 2004 – Scott Baker, Jesse Crain, JD Durbin, Rob Bowen, Jason Bartlett, Jason Kubel, Kevin West
- 2003 – Henry Bonilla, Pat Neshek, Brian Wolfe, Rob Bowen, Jake Mauer, Terry TIffee
- 2002 – Willie Eyre, Brent Hoard, Brad Thomas, Rob Bowen, Justin Morneau, Michael Restovich
- 2001 – Grant Balfour, Pete Fisher, Kevin Frederick, Rob Bowen, Michael Cuddyer, Matthew LeCroy
- 2000 – Matt Kinney, Kyle Lohse, Lee Marshall, Ryan Mills, Bobby Kielty, Matthew LeCroy
- 1999 – David Hooten, Matt Kinney, Nate Yeskie, Dan Cey, Michael Cuddyer, Chad Moeller
- 1998 – Mike Lincoln, Joe Mays, Brent Stentz, Torii Hunter, Doug Mientkiewicz, AJ Pierzynski
- 1997 – Tom Gourdin, Jeff Harris, Brad Niedermaier, Dan Perkins, Benj Sampson, Corey Koskie, Chad Moeller, Mike Moriarity
- 1996 – Jason Bell, Mark Redman, Todd Ritchie, Dan Serafini, JJ Johnson, Jamie Ogden
- 1995 – LaTroy Hawkins, Dan Naulty, Kevin Ohme, Matt Lawton, Jamie Ogden, Kevin Simons, Todd Walker
- 1994 – Gus Gandarillas, Dan Serafini, Scott Watkins, Marty Cordova, Brian Raabe, Scott Stahoviak
- 1993 – Sean Gavaghan, Todd Ritchie, Bill Wissler, Anthony Byrd, Mike Durant, Denny Hocking
- 1992 – Jon Henry, Rex De La Nuez, Chip Hale, Ray Ortiz, Derek Parks
If you’re able to make a trip to Arizona over the next six weeks, the Salt River Rafters play in Scottsdale. Single game tickets are just $8. And, you’ll have a great seat as too few people attend the games. It’s a wonderful experience.
I went for a couple of days in 2009 and sat right by the dugout for two games. It was fun to see the Twins prospects, but it was also fun to see the prospects I had read about online or in Baseball America and such. It’s a very laid back, relaxed experience that should be a Bucket List item for baseball fans.
- Oct 06 2014 11:54 PM
- by Seth Stohs
Reminders: This list is preliminary. Following research for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2015, as well as your feedback, I’ll provide my final Top 30 prospects list. Players eligible to be on this list include players who remain eligible for Rookie of the Year voting in 2015. That is to say, hitters with less than 130 at bats and pitchers with less than 50 innings.
Before we get to the Top 10 Twins prospects, you can review prospects 11-50 here:
#10 – Nick Burdi – 21 – RH RP – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle
The Twins drafted Burdi in the 24th round of the 2011 draft out of high school. He chose to go to Louisville where he became the most dominant college reliever. A three-digit fastball with a 90+ mph slider creates a lot of strikeouts. The Twins drafted him again in the second round this June after the College World Series. Upon signing, he was assigned to Cedar Rapids where in 13 innings he gave up eight hits, walked eight and struck out 26. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he pitched 7.1 innings in seven games. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out 12. I would guess that he’ll be invited to big league spring training and start the season at Chattanooga. I also think he will be up with the Twins before June.
#9 – Taylor Rogers – 23 – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats
Rogers was my choice in 2013 as the Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year when he went 11-6 with a 2.55 ERA. Drafted in the 11th round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Kentucky where he teamed with Logan Darnell and Alex Meyer. Rogers' 2014 got off to a slow start. Through his first five AA starts, he went 1-3 with an 8.14 ERA despite a 26/5 strikeout to walkout rate. Over his final 19 starts, he went 10-3 with a 2.31 ERA. In 120.2 innings, he walked 32 and struck out 87. The left-hander is blessed with a fastball that touches 95 mph and a sharp slider. He will pitch in the Arizona Fall League and could debut with the Twins in 2015.
#8 – Trevor May – 25 – RHP – Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins
May came to the Twins in December of 2012 from the Phillies. In 2013, he went back to the Eastern League in New Britain. After two years of AA ball, he advanced to AAA this year and was terrific. He went 8-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 18 starts before being called up to the Twins. It likely would have happened a month or more earlier if not for a calf injury. His debut in Oakland on August 9th was a disaster. He walked seven in two innings. In his first three starts, he walked 13 and struck out three in nine innings. In his final seven starts, he walked nine and struck out 41 over 36.2 innings. That kind of improvement should have Twins very optimistic that May can be a solid mid-rotation guy.
#7 – Jorge Polanco – 21 – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rock Cats/Minnesota Twins
Polanco had a breakout season in 2013 in Cedar Rapids. He hit .308/.362/.452 (.813). He moved up to Ft. Myers to start this season. In 94 games, he hit .291/.364/.415 (.780) with 17 doubles, six triples and six home runs. In late June, the Twins surprised fans by calling up Polanco from the Miracle for a small cup of coffee. He was returned to the high-A Miracle. A month later, he was well on his way up to AA New Britain, but instead he was called up to the Twins again for a short stint. Quickly returning to AA, he hit .281/.323/.342 (.665) with six doubles and a homer. With the Twins, he primarily just pinch hit, though he did make one start. He went 2-6 and walked twice. After splitting time between shortstop and second base in 2013, he made the move to shortstop in 2014. He spent 119 games at short and just 10 at second base in the minor leagues. He committed 35 errors at shortstop and three more at second base, but he does have decent range. His arm is best suited to second base. He should start 2015 in Chattanooga.
#6 – Nick Gordon – 18 – SS – Elizabethton Twins
The Twins were thrilled when Nick Gordon was still available when they were on the clock with the fifth pick. He certainly fits a mold that the Twins have used in the past. Gordon is an athletic high school hitter with a lot of tools who plays in the middle of the diamond. The Twins believe he will be able to stay at shortstop as he develops. He can hit, field his position, has a very strong arm and good speed. Though he isn’t the burner that his brother, Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon is, he has well above average speed. Currently 6-0 and 180 pounds, the hope is that he will develop some power. He began his professional career with Elizabethton where he played in 57 games. He hit .294/.333/.366 (.699) with six doubles, four triples and a home run. In Elizabethton’s playoff series, he broke a bone in his finger. He will most likely spend the 2015 season with the Kernels in Cedar Rapids.
#5 – Alex Meyer – 24 – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
He missed about two months of the 2013 season with shoulder pain. As much as Twins fans wanted to see Meyer in 2014, it is clear that the organization’s goal for Meyer in 2014 was to get him through the season healthy. He left his final start in the second inning when he was unable to get his shoulder loose, but he has been deemed healthy heading into the offseason. He had a solid season, posting a 7-7 record with a 3.52 ERA. In 130.1 innings, he struck out 153 batters to lead the International League starters with 10.6 per nine innings. However, he also walked 64 batters, 4.4 per nine. He has the stuff to be a very good starting pitcher, but he will have to throw more strikes. Some believe there is a chance he could wind up in the bullpen at the end of the day. However, with a 98 mph fastball, a great slider, a curveball and an improved changeup, it’s worth giving him every possible chance as a starter.
#4 – Kohl Stewart – 19 – RHP –Cedar Rapids Kernels
Stewart was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft out of St. Pius X High School in Houston. As we know, he was a star on the football field, but the Twins signed him away from Texas A&M. He made 19 starts for the Kernels this year and went 3-5 with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He was limited to 75 to 80 pitches throughout most of the year. This, combined with missing several weeks with shoulder soreness limited him pitching only 87 innings. Stewart has good control of his pitches. His fastball sits between 93 and 94 mph but at times has hit 97. He has a slider, which he threw only sporadically. He has a sharp curveball and a solid changeup. He is also very competitive and wants to be great. He has a chance to move up quickly on national prospect rankings next year.
#3 – JO Berrios – 20 – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rock Cats/Rochester Red Wings
The Twins made Berrios their supplemental first round pick in 2012 out of high school in Puerto Rico. After an unspectacular 2013 season in Cedar Rapids, Berrios was the top pitcher in the Twins farm system in 2014. He pitched at three levels and combined to go 12-8 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 25 starts. At Ft. Myers, he went 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He started the Florida State League All- Star game and the Futures game. He was promoted to AA, and when the Rochester Red Wings needed a starter on the final weekend of the season, they went to Berrios. At 6-0 and just 185 pounds, Berrios throws hard, topping out at 96. He has a sharp breaking ball as well as a very good changeup. He has good control and struck out a batter per inning over the season. He will likely begin 2015 in Chattanooga, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we could see Berrios in a Twins uniform sometime in 2015.
#2 – Miguel Sano – 21 – 3B – Did Not Play
We all had hoped to see Sano with the big league club sometime in 2014. However, in the first spring training intra-squad game, a slow-roller to third base was fielded by Sano. He made an off-balance throw to first base, and his elbow popped. Less than two weeks later, he had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season. He rehabbed in Ft. Myers and hopes to get some at-bats in the second half of the Dominican Winter League before heading back to spring training. Coming in to the season, he was Baseball America’s #6 prospect in baseball. At 6-4 and 255 pounds, he has elite power potential. He’ll strike out, but he will also take some walks. He is a very good athlete who has a cannon for an arm. It will be interesting to see how his arm returns to playing shape. Despite the injury, he’s still just 21 years old. He still could debut in 2015, though we need to remember that he missed an entire year of development.
#1 – Byron Buxton – 20 – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rock Cats
There was a chance that we would have seen Byron Buxton in Target Field (and not just in the Futures game). Unfortunately, it was a tough season for baseball’s top prospect. He represented himself well in big league camp, but in a minor league spring training game, he hurt his wrist making a diving catch. When he came back, he hurt it again and missed more time. Then he was hit on the other wrist with a pitch and missed time. He moved up to New Britain, where he likely would have started if not for the injury. In his first game, he collided with Mike Kvasnicka and suffered a concussion that cost him the rest of his season. Fortunately, he has been cleared to play in the Arizona Fall League. Kris Bryant may take over the #1 prospect list, but Buxton remains an upper echelon prospect in the game. He can hit for average and take walks. He has the potential to hit for a lot of power. He is one of the fastest base runners in baseball. He is a potential gold glove centerfielder with a great arm. He has confidence and humility. At the same time, he doesn’t just want to be a very good player. He wants to be great.
So, what do you think of Part 5, the Twins Top 10 Prospects?
- Oct 02 2014 08:21 AM
- by Seth Stohs
Further down is the brand new three-story housing unit and office for the Players' Developmental Academy, and let me tell you, the Twins did this right. That is except for the marked up rates they charge the players for simple things such as contact solution. I sweet talked my way into the first floor unit and it was nice, furnished with ping-pong tables, pool tables, conference rooms and offices. The walls are decorated with blown up old school Twins baseball cards and ESPN The Magazine covers with Baseball America magazines strewn about and the MLB network playing on flatscreen TVs. The players live on the second and third floor and room with a teammate unless they have family.
The best part of this experience is that I'm the only "regular" person out there with all these players, coaches and trainers. With the 10am game cancelled due to wet conditions, the day started off as a fizzle and I was honestly about to leave but who do I see come out of the Academy Complex but Bryon Buxton and the rest of the Instructional League squad. Buxton was the first player out and has definitely hardened over the last two years since I've seen him in that he doesn't like the chit-chat or pictures or autographs as much as when he was fresh out of a small Georgia high school. Following Buxton were the rest of the Instructional League positional players minus Nick Gordon. The pitchers stayed behind in the Complex listening to a Rasmussen speech and watching video.
At 9:30 the position players reported to what they loving refer to as "The Hill". At first glance it doesn't appear ominous but if you talk to any player out there, they hated it by the end. I've included some video of the process. First, the players were broken up into two teams with captains (the two oldest players in camp) Jason Kanzler and Chad Christinsen picking teams schoolyard style.The first player taken was Miguel Guzman (and boy, can he fly) while the catchers were all picked near the end with Alex Swim getting the notorious last pick and crying about it. Kanzler ended up with Rainis Silvia, Jorge Fernandez, Nelson Molina, Trey Vavra, Tanner English,Tyree Davis, Rafael Valera and Stu Turner.
Kanzler talked strategy with his teammates, before deciding on slow-fast-slow placement of runners and picking Rainis Silvia to go first, which Rainis was pleading not to do. Jorge Fernandez is quiet the character: very verbal with encouragement, a quick wit and always cracking a joke.
I said that I wasn't impressed with last year's strength and conditioning regime. This time around leadman Eric Beiser pulled out a great drill. It included a tremendous number of difficult exercises on that hill. Tommy Watkins, the FIL manager, loves giving his players crap, riding them hard. Most of the players thought he was joking when he said we're hitting after this but he was serious.
Rainis Silvia vs. Ryan Walker , Zack Larson vs. Miguel Guzman, Trey Varva vs. Stu Turner
Believe it or not, this drill killed several of the players with three of them puking. Tyree told me, "I never had to do this even in football. They said you work every muscle but I only feel it here (quadriceps). I know what I'm doing this offseason (pointing to the hill). I've never had to workout like this before."
Buxton just stood on the sidelines and watched as he's nowhere near in shape. He's only hitting in the the cage at this point. Tyler Kuresa asked Buxton if he had done this drill before which Byron replied "Yeah, but I was in shape then." The ending came down to almost a photo finish between the two Captains, Chad Christensen and Jason Kanzler, before Christensen pulled off the win for his group, thus making Kanzler group having to hit second and clean-up the hill and collect balls in the cage.
While the positional players were finishing up with their drill, the pitchers came out at about 10:30 AM. Many of the positionals asked if the pitchers had to do the same drill, and received an emphatic "NO!" in reply. To which Tyler Kuresa replied back, "Gotta work on covering first today?"
Eric Rassmussen asked Field Coordinator Joe Lepel if he had two catchers that weren't tanked so Rainis Silvia and Mitchell Garver were nominated to catch JT Chargois and Brandon Easton in their very abbreviated side session. Of course, that was after the pitchers played catch and long toss for 20 minutes.
After JT Chargois finished I was able to call him over and get him to talk briefly about his recovery processs and how to correctly pronounce his name. According to JT, the arm is feeling the best it has in a long time but he's having trouble with his location and command. He says he doesn't know how hard he's throwing which I'm sure was a lie, but according to a source he was 96-98 mph in his last outing. He's throwing mainly fastballs at this point and that's all he threw in his side session. The source I talked to said they plan to take it slow with JT, possibly starting off in extended spring training and/or Fort Myers and see from there. From my perspective Chargois seems like a genuinely nice kid and I wish him the best of luck but don't think he needs too much because that ball just explodes out of his hand.
The pitchers then reported off to the inside arena while the hitters continued to hit in the cages. The rain started to come and I departed. Hopefully next week the rain subsides enough to get a game in when I'll be back the 27th. I hope you enjoyed the ramblings of a baseball fan.
*I have no affiliation with any club, organization, company, etc the above blog is just one baseball fan's look inside the not often covered Florida Instructional League.
- Sep 22 2014 01:24 PM
- by Bob Sacamento
Let’s take a look at the Twins Daily Top 10 Prospects coming into the 2014 season.
#1 Byron Buxton – Outfielder
Baseball’s top prospect has seemingly been snakebitten in 2014. In mid-March, he dove for a ball in centerfield and hurt his wrist. He missed two months. He returned in early in May. However, five games into his return, he slid, feet-first, and reinjured the same wrist. He missed two more months. He returned in mid-July, and in his eighth game back, he was hit by a pitch in the other wrist and missed another week. As you know, a week ago he was promoted to New Britain. In his first game, he collided with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka and while there were no broken bones, he had a concussion and will not play again this season. The team is hopeful he can participate in the Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League.
#2 – Miguel Sano – Third Baseman
Miguel Sano came to big league camp this spring, but in the team’s first scrimmage, an off-balance throw hurt his elbow. He had Tommy John surgery a week later. He is recovering in Ft. Myers. He will not play in the Instructional League, the Arizona Fall League or the first half of the Dominican Winter League. He may play in the second half of the DWL in an attempt to be ready for spring training.
#3 – Alex Meyer – Right-Handed Pitcher
Meyer has actually remained healthy throughout this season. However, he missed two months last year with a shoulder injury. The goal for Meyer this year clearly is to get him through the season healthy while attempting to meet an innings limit. He has been held to just 75 pitches several times. However, getting him to 130 innings this season is a key. He should be able to get to 160 innings in 2015.
#4 – Kohl Stewart – Right-Handed Pitcher
Stewart was the Twins top pick just last year and spent the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He was part of a six-man rotation. Through his first 17 starts, he posted a 2.42 ERA and opponents hit just .230 off of him. Unfortunately, shoulder soreness from a long bus ride to Lake County cost him a month, though nothing was found wrong structurally. He returned to action last week. As mentioned above, however, he left his start on Tuesday with more shoulder discomfort.
#5 – Eddie Rosario – Second Base/Outfield
Rosario has been healthy this year, but his development was slowed by his 50 game suspension to start the season due to a second failed test for a drug of abuse. He hasn’t hit real well, though he does have a bunch of doubles. He also missed four or five games last month for violating team rules. He may not have been injured, but he has been hurt by missed development time.
#6 – JO Berrios – Right-Handed Pitcher
There was no pitcher in the Twins organization, and maybe through minor league baseball, whose stock had risen this season as much as JO Berrios. He was a Florida State League all-star, started the Futures Game at Target Field and was promoted to AA New Britain. However, he left his fourth start with the Rock Cats due to shoulder stiffness. After evaluation, he was deemed fine. He skipped one start and has returned to the mound looking strong. Hopefully that was a short-term blip on the radar.
#7 – Josmil Pinto – Catcher/DH
Josmil Pinto made the Twins opening day roster, but he was relegated to the backup catcher role. When he performed, it was as a third catcher who was primarily DH'ing. In early June, he was optioned to Rochester. Late in the month, he suffered a hip injury and missed three weeks of play. He has returned and has, of late, been playing better.
#10 – Trevor May – Right-Handed Pitcher
May performed very well early in the season. In fact, many believed that he would be called up in late May or early July. He was named to the Futures Game, but he suffered a calf injury and ended up missing a month. When he returned, rain cost him one start and cut short another start to just three innings. However, he has now debuted with the Twins and despite early struggles, could be part of the Twins future rotation.
As you noticed, I skipped numbers nine and ten. Number eight was Jorge Polanco who has remained healthy and played well in Ft. Myers and in a recent promotion to New Britain, and even in two short stints with the Twins. Number nine was Lewis Thorpe who we expected to spend the season in Elizabethton, but he was promoted to Cedar Rapids in mid-June and has held his own.
However, other prospects have also been hurt and lost development time because of injury. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Max Kepler – Outfielder/First Baseman – The youngster from Germany has been on the disabled list a couple times this year for various reasons. He missed time last year with elbow issues and has missed time this year for a couple of reasons, including a serious case of strep throat.
- Mason Melotakis – Left-Handed Pitcher – Melotakis made the shift back to the bullpen this year in Ft. Myers and earned himself a promotion to New Britain. He missed two weeks with elbow inflammation. He returned to the mound on earlier this week.
- Zach Jones – Right-Handed Pitcher – In the offseason, Jones learned that he had an aneurysm in his right shoulder. He needed to have surgery. As he was recovering from that, doctors found a blood clot in his leg. He got to Ft. Myers in May and continued to rehab. He pitched in several games for the GCL Twins and earlier this week he returned to action with the Ft. Myers Miracle.
- Corey Williams – Left-Handed Pitcher – Williams suffered an elbow injury during spring training and had Tommy John surgery on April 1st.
- JT Chargois – Right-Handed Pitcher – The former 2nd round pick from Rice has been hurt since signing with the Twins. He rehabbed throughout the 2013 season before having Tommy John surgery last August.
- Luke Bard – Right-Handed Pitcher – Bard had a couple surgeries during 2013. In mid-May this year he had another surgery. According to Bard, he had a “latisimus reattachment and a teres major reattachment.” Basically the muscles between his scapula and his humerus were completely detached. Once in, doctors wondered how he was able to throw at all. He will likely be out until mid-2015.
- Yorman Landa – Right-Handed Pitcher – The hard-throwing righty began the season in Cedar Rapids’ bullpen. He was throwing very well in May, but he needed shoulder surgery and is out for the year.
- Randy Rosario – Left-Handed Pitcher – Rosario began the season in the Cedar Rapids starting rotation. Unfortunately, two of three starts into the season, he hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery.
- Fernando Romero – Right-Handed Pitcher – the 18-year-old came out of nowhere last year, hitting 96 mph. He began this season in extended spring, but he was called up to Cedar Rapids where he made a handful of starts. Unfortunately, he too experienced elbow pain and soon after had Tommy John surgery.
- Taylor Rogers – Left-Handed Pitcher – He was my choice for Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year last year. After an early struggle in AA, he has been very good. He did miss about three weeks with a biceps injury, but he has been good again in his return.
- DJ Baxendale – Right-Handed Pitcher – He has been hurt much of the year and struggled when healthy. He is currently pitching in a rehab stint in the GCL.
- Zack Larson – Outfielder – The 20-year-old began the season in Cedar Rapids and did well. In early May, he pulled his hamstring and did not start playing rehab games in the GCL for two months. After just a few games, he had a setback and missed another two weeks. He just returned to the Kernels this week.
- Brett Lee – Left-Handed Pitcher – He was named an all-star for Ft. Myers but shoulder discomfort kept him out of the game. He has returned and continued to pitch well.
- David Hurlbut - Left-Handed Pitcher - Like Lee, Hurlbut was a Florida State League All Star, but he has not made a start for the Miracle since June 2nd due to shoulder issues. He is rehabbing in the GCL now.
The disabled list time is just development time missed. It doesn’t necessarily affect prospect status.
So, what can be done?
That is a pretty open-ended question. I certainly don’t know. Injuries like Byron Buxton’s or Zack Larson’s are injuries incurred through baseball activities.
What about all of the pitcher injuries? There have been several Tommy John surgeries and even shoulder injuries. Is there something the Twins are doing wrong? It would seem to me that their rules regarding innings counts, pitch counts and such are pretty much the same as other organizations.
Is it bad luck? Are the arm injuries due to the Twins process? Should they pitch more? Could they possibly pitch less? What about in between starts?
I’m more and more developing the opinion that it is pretty much a 50/50 proposition that a pitcher will have some arm issues. The odds may even be worse.
Which is why I will continue to say that the Twins have just been snake-bitten this season. I have never seen anything like this, and hopefully this is a one-year thing and next year they won’t have as many injuries.
- Aug 21 2014 08:03 AM
- by Seth Stohs
Terry Ryan happened to be in New Britain. He went with the players to the hospital. He later told the Rock Cats radio announcers what he had learned. Mike Kvasnicka was back in the dugout with the team and had just a sore hip. Buxton was given several tests and found no broken bones. He did suffer a concussion and will likely be placed on the disabled list and miss more time. Though a concussion is not a good thing, things could have been much worse. By the end of the game, Buxton had returned to the clubhouse as well.
(If you would like to, here is the video of the play.)
To find out more about how that Rock Cats game ended up, and much more from around the Twins farm system, you’ll want to continue reading. A top Twins pitching prospect made his first start in nearly a month. Here is the Minor League Report for Wednesday:
RED WINGS REPORT
Game 1 – Rochester 7, Durham 8 (11 innings)
Knowing they were playing two games on Wednesday, extra frames in Game 1, a continuation of a suspended game, is probably the last thing that either team wanted. Sean Gilmartin had started this game with two innings. He had given up one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out four. When the game resumed on Wednesday, Mark Hamburger took the mound. He was charged with six runs (five earned) on ten hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out five. Stephen Pryor struck out three over two scoreless innings. Aaron Thompson faced two batters in the 10th inning and both got hits. Michael Tonkin came in and gave up the game winning run.
Game 2 – Rochester 4, Durham 2
It most likely was a one-start promotion, but right-hander Tyler Duffey made the most of this appearance with a terrific start. In six innings, he gave up just two runs five hits and two walks. In that sixth inning, he allowed a two-run homer to Nick Franklin. Duffey struck out seven to earn the win. Lester Oliveros struck out two in the 7th for his fourth save. In his last seven games, he has given up 0 runs in 13 innings and has struck out 21 batters.
Josmil Pinto went 2-3 in the game. Doug Bernier and Chris Herrmann each doubled.
ROCK CATS REVIEW
New Britain 8, Bowie 5
Obviously the big news in this game was the collision between Mike Kvasnicka and Byron Buxton, but the game did continue and the Rock Cats picked up a win. Buxton was 0-3 with three strikeouts before his injury. He also threw out a base runner at third base. Levi Michael also made his AA debut at second base. He went 2-3 and stole two bases. Eddie Rosario went 1-3 with two walks. The Rock Cats had seven hits, walked four times and four players were hit by a pitch.
It was a bullpen game for the Rock Cats. Cole Johnson started and threw 2.2 scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out three. Edgar Ibarra came on and was charged with one run on one hit and a walk in 1.2 innings. He struck out two. Alex Wimmers gave up four runs on five hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out two. Jim Fuller struck out two over the final 2.2 innings. He gave up no runs on three hits and recorded his first save of the year.
Game 1 – Ft. Myers 1, St. Lucie 6
Brett Lee made the start in the first game of this doubleheader. The lefty gave up five runs on eight hits, three walks and a hit batter in 3.1 innings. Todd Van Steensel came on and gave up one run on a hit and two walks over 2.2 innings. Madison Boer pitched a scoreless inning.
Niko Goodrum hit his third home run of the year. Aderlin Mejia was 2-3 with two walks in the game.
Game 2 – Ft. Myers 7, St. Lucie 3
The Miracle were able to split their doubleheader with a Game 2 win. This was also a bullpen game. Brandon Peterson started and went the first 2.1 innings. He was charged with two runs on four hits and two walks in 2.1 innings. He struck out two. Alex Muren came on and gave up just two hits over 2.2 scoreless innings. Nick Burdi made his Florida State League debut. He gave up a hit, but he struck out two in his inning. DJ Johnson got the final inning and gave up an unearned run on one hit.
Dalton Hicks went 2-4. Tyler Grimes was 1-1 with two walks. Jason Kanzler also walked twice.
Cedar Rapids 6, Beloit 1
It had been nearly a month since he had last pitched, but Kohl Stewart returned to the mound for the Kernels in Beloit on Wednesday night. Limited to just 50 pitches, Stewart completed four innings. He gave up a run on three hits. He walked none and struck out four. Chih-Wei Hu came on and earned the win with five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked a batter and struck out three.
JD Williams led the offense. He went 2-2 with two walks, his 16th double and his third home run. Max Murphy had a big game as well. He was 2-4 with his fourth double and third home run. Jonatan Hinojosa led off and went 2-4 with a walk. Mitch Garver was 2-4. Chad Christensen went 1-3 with his seventh triple. He was also hit by a pitch twice.
Elizabethton 4, Greeneville 0
John Curtiss was a tremendous reliever in college, but he’s being given an opportunity to start in Elizabethton. He had a terrific game on Wednesday. The right-hander gave up just two hits over six shutout innings. He walked none and struck out ten. Sam Clay came on and walked two and struck out two over two scoreless innings. CK Irby struck out two in a perfect ninth inning.
Jorge Fernandez went 2-2 with a walk. Trey Vavra went 1-1 with a walk, a sacrifice fly and his 13th double. Jeremias Pineda went 2-3.
GCL TWINS TAKES
GCL Twins 9, GCL Rays 1
The Twins had a much-needed and rare big win. Zach Larson had a terrific game in his rehab from his hamstring injury. He was 3-4 with a walk, and he stole his first base. Amaurys Minier went 2-3 with two walks and his first triple of the year. He also threw out of base runner at home. Joel Polanco went 2-5 with two RBI.
Lefty Brandon Easton improved to 2-1. He gave up just one run on six hits and a walk over the first five innings. He struck out six. Eduardo Del Rosario pitched a perfect inning. Zack Jones had his best outing. He struck out two in a perfect inning. Leonel Zazueta struck out two over the final two innings.
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Chih-Wei Hu, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – JD Williams, Cedar Rapids Kernels
THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Durham @ Rochester (6:05 CST) – Alex Meyer
Bowie @ New Britain (6:05 CST) – Pat Dean
St. Lucie @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – Steven Gruver
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (7:00 CST) – TBD
Greeneville @ Elizabethton (6:00 CST) – Michael Cederoth
GCL Rays @ GCL Twins (11:00am CST) – TBD
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Thursday games.
A quick reminder:
Thanks to the Twins win against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, it means that on Thursday you can get 50% off a Large of Extra Large pizza when you use the “TWINSWIN” promotion code at PapaJohns.com.
- Aug 14 2014 08:09 AM
- by Seth Stohs
The Red Wings pulled out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning and cruised to victory. James Beresford was a big catalyst for the Red Wings, finishing the night 3-5 with a double and two runs scored. Daniel Ortiz was 2-3 with two runs scored, a home run, three RBI and a walk. Josmil Pinto was 1-2 with a walk, a double and an RBI.
Rock Cats Review
New Britain 1, Akron 3
Tyler Duffey pitched 7.1 innings and gave up three runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked one. Unfortunately, the Rock Cats could manage only one run and Duffey took the loss. He's now 8-3 with a 3.80 ERA. Edgar Ibarra pitched two-thirds of an inning and walked two.
The Rock Cats actually out-hit the Akron RubberDucks 6-4, but the Rock Cats didn't receive any support from the bottom of the lineup as the 7-8-9 hitters went 0-9. Jorge Polanco was 2-4 with a strikeout, the only Rock Cats player with multiple hits. Brandon Waring was 1-3 with the Cats' only extra base hit of the night, a double.
Fort Myers 6, St. Lucie 2
The Ethan Mildren Fan Club has reason to be excited as Mildren picked up his second win at High-A with six innings of two run baseball. Mildren gave up just four hits, but two of them were solo home runs. Alex Muren earned a hold with a scoreless seventh inning. He walked two and stuck out one, so it was a little bit of a bumpy ride. Tyler Jones pitched a scoreless eighth and D.J. Johnson did the same in the ninth.
Levi Michael continues to play well. He was 2-4 with a run scored, a walk and two RBI leading off for the Miracle. Byron Buxton was 1-5 (infield single) with a run scored and two strikeouts. He's hitting just .236 for the Miracle. Adam Brett Walker II hit his Florida State League leading 23rd home run of the year, a solo shot in the eighth. Aderlin Mejia and Niko Goodrum each added two hits with 2-4 performances.
Kane County 3, Cedar Rapids 4 (11 innings)
The Kernels took an early lead in the bottom of the second, but Mat Batts ran into some trouble and left after six down 3-2. Batts gave up five hits, three runs (two earned), walked no one and struck out eight. His ERA is 2.45. Jared Wilson pitched the seventh and eighth without giving up a hit or a walk and he recorded a strikeout. Jake Reed pitched two scoreless innings as well, to take the Kernels through the tenth. Reed gave up just one hit and struck out four. Dallas Gallant pitched a scoreless eleventh and picked up the win when the Kernels scored in the bottom of the inning.
Mitch Garver and Engelb Vielma both had 3-4 nights and they each hit a double. Engelb Vielma led off the 10th with a double, but could not come around to score. Garver's double also came in extra innings, leading off the 11th inning. He was lifted for pitch runner Jon Murphy who raced around to score when Bryan Haar doubled to left field, winning the game for the Kernels.
Danville 0, Elizabethton 12
The Elizabethton Twins had their bats working early and had a 9-0 lead by the end of the fifth inning, adding three more in the bottom of the seventh. Every E-Twin hitter except leadoff man Jeremias Pineda had two hits, and Nick Gordon (3-6), Tanner English (3-5) and Jorge Fernandez (4-5) did even better than that. Gordon added a triple and three RBIs to his three hits. English had a double and two RBIs and Fernandez had a triple and three RBIs of his own.
The pitching staff held their own as well, giving up just five hits and two walks while they stuck out 13 Danville Braves hitters. John Curtiss started, struck out eight in his five innings, and then turned the game over to the bullpen. Kuo Hua Lo pitched two hitless innings, striking out three and walked none. Samuel Clay mopped up the final two innings of the night, giving up a lone hit and stuck out a pair.
GCL Twins Takes
GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 6
Despite two runs in the top of the ninth, and four errors from the GCL Orioles, the GCL Twins fell to the GCL Orioles 5-6. The Twins received a nice performance from their starter Brandon Easter who went five innings, gave up two runs (one earned), struck out six and walked two. Callan Pearce gave up four earned runs in the bottom of the sixth and picked up the loss. He also pitched a scoreless seventh. Zack Jones pitched the eight inning, striking out the side and scattered a hit and a walk.
Rainis Silva was 2-4, the only Twins player with two or more hits. Amaurys Minier was just 1-5 but he made it count with a two-run home run. No other player had an extra base hit for the Twins on a pretty quiet night in the batters box.
DSL Twins Takes
DSL Padres 3, DSL Twins 4
Jose Ramirez gave up two earned runs over five innings, scattering three hits to go along with a walk and six strike outs. He turned the game over to Jose Martinez with a 3-2 lead. Martinez lost the lead in the top of the seventh, but the DSL Twins retook the lead in the bottom of the seventh, so Martinez earns the win and a blown save. Martinez pitched the final four innings, he gave up two hits, a run and struck out one batter.
The DSL Twins and the DSL Orioles combined for seven runs on just six hits, three hits for each team. The only Twins players with hits last night were Jorge Andrade (1-2 with a walk and two runs scored), Luis Martinez (1-3 with a walk and an RBI) and Lewin Diaz (1-3 with a double and two RBI).
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the Day
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day - Nick Gordon, Elizabethton Twins
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Ethan Mildren, Fort Myers Miracle
Rochester @ Indianapolis (6:15 C) - Mark Hamburger (Listen)
New Britain @ Erie (6:05 C) – Pat Dean (Listen)
Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 C)– Brett Lee (Listen)
Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 C) - Stephen Gonsalves (Listen)
Danville @ Elizabethton (6:00 C) - TBD
GCL Orioles @ GCL Twis (11:00am C) – TBD
DSL Twins @ DSL Padres (9:30am C) – TBD
- Aug 08 2014 06:21 AM
- by Eric R Pleiss
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 6, Lehigh Valley 8
Trevor May was finally able to stretch out. In fact, he recorded more outs on Wednesday afternoon than he had in the previous five weeks combined (due to being on the DL for a month and a couple of rainouts). He needed just 77 pitches to get through 6.2 scoreless innings. He gave up five hits, walked just one and struck out five. It will be interesting to see if he gets the call up now or gets one more start (to get to 100 pitches) before that move comes.
When he left, the Red Wings had a 6-0 lead. Aaron Thompson got a strikeout to get out of that seventh inning. Things went downhill from there. Thompson pitched to four batters in the 8th inning and gave up two hits and two walks. All four came around to score. Michael Tonkin allowed two of Thompson’s runners to score and was charged with another run of his own on two hits before getting out of the 8th. AJ Achter came on for the ninth inning, trying to protect a one-run lead. He gave up three runs on four hits in the inning to take the loss.
Offensively, the Red Wings were led by Deibinson Romero who went 2-4 with his eighth home run. It was the 27th straight game that he has reached base. Josmil Pinto hit his fifth home run and second in as many days. Pedro Florimon went 2-4. Doug Bernier hit his 19th double, and Chris Rahl hit his 16th double.
ROCK CATS REVIEW
New Britain 3, Trenton 2 (10 innings)
Aaron Hicks had the Rock Cats lone hits in Tuesday night’s game. On Wednesday, he had two more hits, both doubles. Michael Gonzales went 2-4 and hit his first AA home run. Tony Thomas played left field. He had two outfield assists in this close game, including one at home plate.
Jason Wheeler returned to the Rock Cats rotation after a one-start stint with the Red Wings. In 6.2 innings, he gave up one run on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four. Ryan O’Rourke finished off the 7th inning with a strikeout. Cole Johnson worked the next two innings and gave up one run on two hits. Mason Melotakis pitched a scoreless tenth frame for the save.
Ft. Myers 7, Clearwater 8
The Miracle bats were shut down early, and the team got a tough start from a guy who has been one of their best starters all year. Tim Shibuya got the starting nod. He was charged with eight runs on nine hits and a walk in just three innings. He struck out two. BJ Hermsen came on and gave up a hit and a walk over three scoreless innings. Madison Boer threw two scoreless innings that were followed by a scoreless ninth inning by Tyler Jones.
The Miracle attempted a comeback. They scored five runs in the seventh inning and another two in the eighth but fell a run shy. Byron Buxton went 2-4 with a walk. Adam Walker went 2-5. Max Kepler knocked his 11th double.
Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 2 (11 innings)
Ryan Walker went 3-6 in this game. His 11th inning, walk off single gave the
Kernels a much-needed win. Michael Quesada went 2-4 with his ninth double in the game.
Ryan Eades put together a very solid start. He gave up two runs on four hits (2 homers) in seven innings. He walked two and struck out three. Nick Burdi came on. He gave up three hits in two innings, but no runs in part because of five strikeouts. Dallas Gallant pitched the final two innings without giving up a run. He struck out five as well for the Win.
Elizabethton 1, Greeneville 5
The E-Twins fell behind early and were unable to muster much offensive firepower. The team had just three hits and walked five times. Tyler Mautner hit his 11th double.
Derrick Penilla started and gave up five runs on six hits and two walks in three innings. He struck out four. Sam Clay put in his best game of the season. The lefty gave up just one hit and walked one over three scoreless innings. He struck out three. Cameron Booser walked one and struck out one over two scoreless innings and struck out four. Kuo Hua Lo struck out two in a perfect inning.
GCL TWINS TAKES
GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 4 (14 innings)
It was a long day for the GCL Twins, and unfortunately it ended as most of their games have this season, in a loss. Zach Tillery started and gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits over five innings. He didn’t walk any and struck out five. Mike Theofanopoulus came on and gave up just one hit over three shutout innings. He struck out four. Miles Nordgren ate up the next 5.1 innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk (intentional). Nordgren left the ballgame tied but with the bases loaded. Callan Pearce came on and walked the next two batters to allow two runs to score.
Manuel Guzman led the offense. He went 3-5 with a walk and his second double. Joel Polanco had a walk and his fifth double. He also stole his fifth base. Amaurys Minier went 2-6.
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Trevor May, Rochester Red Wings
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ryan Walker, Cedar Rapids Kernels
SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) – Sean Gilmartin
Erie @ New Britain (6:05 CST) – Tyler Duffey
Clearwater @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – Matt Tomshaw (vs Aaron Nola)
Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – Chih-Wei Hu
Elizabethton @ Kingsport (6:00 CST) – TBD
GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00am CST – TBD
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Wednesday games.
- Jul 31 2014 06:38 AM
- by Seth Stohs