It’s fun to review July because it’s the first time that short-season players, many drafted in June, spend their first full month in professional baseball. So, these lists can contain players who are in AAA and been in pro ball for many years or players who have been in pro ball for one month. Let’s get to it. Here are July’s top hitters:Let's start with a few players who are outside of the Top 5, but certainly warrant mention.
- Rochester Doug Bernier 31-103 (.301/.376/.447 – .823), 8-2B, 2-3B, 1-HR, 13-RBI
- NB/Rochester Reynaldo Rodriguez 27-93 (.290/.382/.419 - .801) 9-2B, 0-3B, 1-HR, 12-RBI
- New Britain Mike Kvasnicka 34-111 (.306/.345/.505 – 849), 7-2B, 0-3B, 5-HR, 20 RBI
- Ft. Myers Travis Harrison 31-102 (.304/.393/.402 - .795), 7-2B, 0-3B, 1-HR, 10-RBI
- Cedar Rapids Alex Swim 34-95 (.358/.402/.411 - .812), 5-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 12-RBI
- Cedar Rapids Mitch Garver 25-91 (.275/.333/.538 – .872), 3-2B, 0-3B, 7-HR, 19-RBI
- Cedar Rapids Bryan Haar 23-83 (.277/.344/.446 - .790), 4-2B, 2-3B, 2-HR, 10-RBI
- Elizabethton Tyler Kuresa 28-96 (.292/.349/.510 - .859), 9-2B, 0-3B, 4-HR, 23-RBI
#5 – Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers - Jason Kanzler, 29-92 (.315/.402/.489 - .891), 3-2B, 2-3B, 3-HR, 13-RBI
Kanzler was the Twins 20th round pick in 2013 out of the University of Buffalo where he won a couple of college Gold Glove awards. Though he began the season in extended spring, he was called up to Cedar Rapids quickly. With the Kernels, he took over centerfield and showed the tools that made him an intriguing draft pick. He’s got extra base power that he showed with eight doubles, eight triples and nine home runs in 84 games with the Kernels. He also stole 15 bases. Late in July, he received the promotion to Ft. Myers that he was ready for. He homered in his first at bat. Kanzler is definitely much more than the mustache. He’s got legit athleticism, talent and baseball acumen to continue to rise.
#4 – Ft. Myers - Dalton Hicks, 30-107 (.280/.344/.561 – 0.905), 7-2B, 1-3B, 7-HR, 23-RBI
As you recall, Hicks led all of baseball in RBI in 2013. This year it’s been more of a struggle for the 6-5, 250 pound first baseman. His OPS' by month since April have been .720, .696, .616, but he increased that to .913 in July. For the month, his 15 extra base hits were more than the three previous months combined. He has missed time with injury throughout the year, but he is now back to being the run producer in the middle of the Miracle lineup that was expected.
#3 – Ft. Myers – Mike Gonzales 29-76 (.382/.442/.684 – 1.126), 11-2B, 0-3B, 4-HR, 20-RBI
Gonzales was the Twins ninth round pick in 2009 out of Diablo Valley College. At 6-6 and 260 pounds, he had a long swing. A second year in Beloit was very beneficial for him. His career has been slowed, in part, by a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to play full games in Ft. Myers, or in back-to-back games. However, things certainly clicked for him with the Miracle in July. He carried a 19-game hitting streak right up until the day he was promoted to New Britain (July 27). In his second game with the Rock Cats, he was 2-4 with a home run. Gonzales and Hicks combined for a dominant 1B/DH team with the Miracle. Both have tremendous power and profile very similarly.
#2 – Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids – Max Murphy 33-98 (.337/.433/.622 – 1.056), 4-2B, 0-3B, 8-HR, 17-RBI
Murphy was the Twins ninth round pick this year out of Bradley University. He is from Robbinsdale, Minnesota. He signed quite quickly after the draft and reported to Elizabethton where he started to hit immediately. Like Kanzler, Murphy is a good combination of skills, though none of them jump out as great. He is a solid baseball player who has few weaknesses. Before the end of July, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids.
The July Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is...
New Britain Rock Cats – OF Aaron Hicks (35-101) .347/.427/.554 (0.982) with 10-2B, 1-3B, 3-HR, 18 RBI
After starting the second straight season as the Minnesota Twins starting centerfielder, and then struggling for two or more months, the Twins decided to option Aaron Hicks to AA New Britain. As expected, he started out quite slowly, but once the calendar turned to July, Aaron Hicks started putting up numbers. He went back to switch-hitting and likely relaxed and found it again. He hit for average, got on base and showed some extra base power. He was playing all three outfield positions and put himself in position for a promotion. On Monday, he was promoted to the Rochester Red Wings where he will attempt to continue doing what he was in New Britain. Hopefully he can put up another terrific month in August in Rochester and spend September in the big leagues.
There you have it. The top five hitters in the Twins system for the month of July. Now it’s time to debate. What do you think? Please feel free to discuss.
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