Previous 2019 Hitters of the Month:
April - Trey CabbageLet’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters for the month of May, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.
- Andrew Bechtold - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 35-112, .241/.382/.425 (.807) with five doubles, one triple and three home runs.
- Yeltsin Encarnacion - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 30-99, .303/.384/364 (.748) with one double, one triple, one homer.
- Nick Gordon - Rochester Red Wings - 20-66, .303/.338/.485 (.823) with seven doubles, one triple, and one home run.
- Jaylin Davis - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 20-85, .235/.398/.400 (.798) with two doubles, four homers.
- Drew Maggi - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 25-86, .291/.404/.407 (.811) with four doubles and two homers.
- Luke Raley - Rochester Red Wings -20-52, .385/.429/.596 (1.025) with two doubles and three homers.
- Aaron Whitefield - Ft. Myers Miracle - 22-79, .278/.344/.481 (.825) with seven doubles and three homers.
- Ben Rortvedt - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 17-57, .298/.379/.509 (.888) with three doubles and three homers.
Number 5 - Cedar Rapids Kernels - OF Jared Akins - ..328/.365/.707 (1.072), 19-58 with three doubles, two triples and five home runs.
While Akins has fewer at-bats than the others in the Top 5, it’s impossible not to look at his May numbers and be impressed. Consider this. The 22-year-old was in extended spring training until May 14th when he made his 2019 Kernels debut. And all he has done since then is hit, and provide the Kernels with big power. He’s hit for average and more than half of his hits have gone for extra bases. He was the Twins 13th-round pick out of Fresno State in 2017.
Number 4 – Ft. Myers Miracle - C Ryan Jeffers - .325/.385/.506 (.891). 29-92 with six doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI.
Since starting the season by going 1-for-17 in his first five games, Jeffers has hit over .300. He was very good, and very consistent, throughout the month of May. He hit for average, took some walks, kept his K-Rate down and showed some good extra base power. The Twins surprised the draft experts when Jeffers was their second-round pick a year ago out of UNC-Wilmington. He signed quickly and dominated the Appalachian League before jumping to Cedar Rapids for the final month of the season. The Twins pushed him to Ft. Myers this year and he has responded well. He was named a Florida State League All-Star.
Number 3 - Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 2B Travis Blankenhorn - .308/.339/.525 (.864), 37-120 with five doubles, seven homers and 19 RBI.
Normally when you move up a level, it is supposed to get more difficult. However, after a year and a month in Ft. Myers with the Miracle, Travis Blankenhorn has been really good in his first month in Pensacola. He has struck out a bit, but he has provided power near the top of the Blue Wahoos lineup. The Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania, Blankenhorn is one of the best athletes in the organization .
Number 2 - Ft. Myers Miracle – OF Trevor Larnach - .371/.456/.619 (1.075), 36-97 with 10 doubles, one triple, four homers and 17 RBI.
The Twins' first-round pick a year ago had a fantastic month in Ft. Myers in May. He began the season by going 3-for-23 through his first six games. Since then, he has been remarkably consistent. Since that time, only once has he had back-to-back 0-fers. He has added the power to his game in May. On May 7th, he hit his first and second homers of the year. He added two more late in the month. He had 11 multi-hit games in May. He had three, three-hit games and two four-hit games. He was named to the Florida State League All-Star team, which is likely when he could see a promotion to Double-A.
And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:
Ft. Myers Miracle – 1B Lewin Diaz - .317/.351/.702 (1.053), 33-104 with eight doubles, one triple and ten homers and 22 RBI.
It was a power-filled month for Lewin Diaz. He set the Miracle franchise record for home runs in a month with ten. That surpassed the previous record of nine which had been set by Kennys Vargas and Miguel Sano. Diaz was a big prospect signed by the Twins out of the Dominican Republic. He was the Twins Daily choice for short-season Hitter of the year in 2016 when he hit over .300 and added 15 doubles and nine homers in Elizabethton. He had a solid 2017 season in Cedar Rapids when he hit .292 with 33 doubles and 12 homers. He began 2018 in Ft. Myers, and struggled through the first half of the season. Then he broke his wrist and missed the rest of the season.
He continued to work on his body and showed up to spring training looking long and lean, probably actually in the “best shape of his life.” And he has been hitting well ever since. He’s pretty mobile around first base. But his bat remains very strong. He uses the whole field very well. And, he’s still got the power as he illustrated in May. He also was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game and could get to Pensacola this season.
We would like to congratulate Lewin Diaz, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2019. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.
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