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Dalton Shuffield is Flying Through the Twins’ System


Twins Daily Contributor

Tenth-round picks can be a crapshoot to pan out in an organization. That isn’t the case with Minnesota’s tenth-round pick from July. He is already flying through the organization.

Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints

 

The Twins selected Dalton Shuffield with their tenth-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Because of the shortened COVID year, Shuffield spent five seasons in college, which is likely one reason the Twins were able to sign him for $20,000 and use the savings ($105K) on other draftees. At Texas State University, he hit .327/.395/.501 (.896), but his senior season was his best. 

During the 2022 season, Shuffield played 61 games and posted a 1.113 OPS with 20 doubles, five triples, and 13 home runs. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year after leading the conference in hits, runs scored, doubles, and triples. Defensively, he played shortstop over his final four seasons, but he also saw time at third base and in the outfield earlier in his career. He was also picked as a Collegiate Baseball All-American at the season’s end. As a 23-year-old, he had the college experience that would make it easier to move through the professional ranks. 

Shuffield comes from a baseball family. His father, Jack, was drafted by Kansas City in the fourth round in 1982. He played three seasons in the Royals organization and topped out at High-A. In over 320 games, he hit .256/.313/.342 (.654) while averaging 12 doubles per season. 

Minnesota assigned the younger Shuffield to the FCL Twins shortly after he signed with the organization. His time in the FCL was limited as he played three games and went 5-for-10 with a home run, four runs, and three walks. As an organization, the Twins needed depth at other levels in the minors, so he moved to High-A. In eight games, he went 7-for-24 (.292 BA) with a home run and two steals. Even with an aggressive promotion, his time in Cedar Rapids was limited because the organization needed him at another level. 

On September 9th, Shuffield made his Triple-A debut, collecting hits in his first two games. Since joining the Saints, he’s played in 11 games and posted a six-game hitting streak. In a small sample size, he has hit .297/.350/.595 (.945) with three doubles, a triple, and two home runs. At Triple-A, he was over three years younger than the average age of the competition, making his numbers even more impressive. 

The Twins followed an uncharacteristic development path with some of the club’s 2022 draft picks. Brooks Lee, the team’s first round pick, was promoted to Double-A before the season’s end. He’s already been impacting the Wind Surge during the playoffs. This also isn’t the first time this regime has been aggressive with a college prospect. Last season, the Twins drafted Ernie Yake in the tenth-round and he finished the season at Triple-A. Minnesota has also done well with senior signs like Brian Dozier, Mitch Garver, and Trevor Hildenberger.

Shuffield likely isn’t going to appear on any top prospect lists, but he is already providing above-average value for a tenth-round pick. Players like Shuffield can provide organizational depth, primarily if he can provide defensive flexibility. Since joining the Twins, he has spent defensive time at both middle infield positions, with most of his time coming at second base. 

Even with his strong performance, there isn’t a guarantee that he starts the 2023 season in the high minors. Shuffield skipped Low-A Ft. Myers, and it might be best for his development to start next season in the lower minors or wherever the organization needs a utility player. His ceiling might be a utility player at the big league level, but Shuffield has value moving forward.

What impresses you about Shuffield’s first professional season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 

 

 


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"Even with his strong performance, there isn’t a guarantee that he starts the 2023 season in the high minors. Shuffield skipped Low-A Ft. Myers, and it might be best for his development to start next season in the lower minors"

Very nice start for Shuffield. But this is similar to bringing Mikey Perez up to AAA when the Twins needed someone for the Saints. He will be back down in A ball to start next year.

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16 hours ago, FlyingFinn said:

"Even with his strong performance, there isn’t a guarantee that he starts the 2023 season in the high minors. Shuffield skipped Low-A Ft. Myers, and it might be best for his development to start next season in the lower minors"

Very nice start for Shuffield. But this is similar to bringing Mikey Perez up to AAA when the Twins needed someone for the Saints. He will be back down in A ball to start next year.

The only reason to put a 5 year senior that is 24 in A ball is because you think he has no future with the Twins

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IMO if it looks like he can handle AAA then just keep him in AAA.  If he stops hitting then sure send him back down.  It is a small sample size but he doesn't look lost at that level and as others have said if the Twins want him to be a legit prospect they need to move him fast because he is already 24.  Happy to see him hit the ground running and maybe he turns out to be better than most of us gave him credit for.

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On 9/23/2022 at 9:20 PM, DJL44 said:

He's going to be 24 next season. I don't see a reason why he should spend any time lower than Cedar Rapids. Start him at Double-A and see how he does.

He won't. He will go to Cedar Rapids. And, his age is completely insignificant. His future role, if he ever gets to the big leagues, is a utility infielder (most likely), so it really doesn't matter if he gets to the big leagues at 26, 28, 30, etc. 

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23 hours ago, Rosterman said:

Like Ernie Yake, Kyle Schmidt before him, even Frank Nigro this season...you soemtimes float all over the place because of organizational needs and you might be able to handle it more than a guy on a stricter development path.

Correct. the Saints aren't a playoff team, and with all the guys who have moved up to the Twins, they need numbers. This is pretty normal stuff especially the last couple of weeks. 

For Shuffield, they sent him straight to Cedar Rapids after the FCL. The Kernels were going to the playoffs, so they weren't going to move Brooks Lee, Jake Rucker, Wander Javier or Mikey Perez up. They wanted those guys playing in the playoffs. They also weren't going to move any of the Wind Surge guys up since they were going to the playoffs. So Shuffield bumps up to St. Paul. It's just awesome that he's done so well! 

Once the Kernels playoff run was done, Lee joined the Wind Surge for their final games and their playoff run. In addition, Jake Rucker moved up to the Saints. 

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5 hours ago, Dman said:

IMO if it looks like he can handle AAA then just keep him in AAA.  If he stops hitting then sure send him back down.  It is a small sample size but he doesn't look lost at that level and as others have said if the Twins want him to be a legit prospect they need to move him fast because he is already 24.  Happy to see him hit the ground running and maybe he turns out to be better than most of us gave him credit for.

I would assume they'll try to bring back Jermaine Palacios even if he is removed from the 40-man roster after the season. Austin Martin will move up to St. Paul. I would assume the Royce Lewis will spend a little time there, whether it's rehabbing or some extended time. Helman will be there. Brooks Lee will likely spend part of the season there. Edouard Julien will be there. 

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8 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

He won't. He will go to Cedar Rapids. And, his age is completely insignificant. His future role, if he ever gets to the big leagues, is a utility infielder (most likely), so it really doesn't matter if he gets to the big leagues at 26, 28, 30, etc. 

He's a prospect because he's hitting. He will have to hit his way to the major leagues. At age 24 it's unlikely his fielding gets much better. He needs to be at a level where he is challenged at the plate.

BTW - they have a term for someone who doesn't make the big leagues until 28: non-prospect.

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7 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

I would assume they'll try to bring back Jermaine Palacios even if he is removed from the 40-man roster after the season. Austin Martin will move up to St. Paul. I would assume the Royce Lewis will spend a little time there, whether it's rehabbing or some extended time. Helman will be there. Brooks Lee will likely spend part of the season there. Edouard Julien will be there. 

I figured the team would try to find a shortstop better than Palacios for AAA. There are usually better options among minor league free agents.

Helman should probably try to find a different organization with a clearer path to the big leagues but it's more likely any port in a storm to make sure he doesn't have to play independent ball.

Martin and Julien should both move up to begin next season. Martin doesn't need a 3rd year in Double-A.

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11 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

Like they did with Trevor Hildenberger?

Confused on the point of your message. Hildenberger didn't play at California until he was 21 (not sure what took so long, injury? Red shirt?) Then was drafted at 23 and played at two rookie teams. At age 24 he A, A+ and Fall league, at age 25 He played A+, AA and AAA. At age 26 he started in AAA and came to the majors. And like I have been saying about guys that debut at that age he was in the pen and basically had how do I say this nicely, a less than stellar career.

Which goes back to the point of my previous message, which you confirmed saying basically has no future in the majors.

"The only reason to put a 5 year senior that is 24 in A ball is because you think he has no future with the Twins "

 

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Confused on the point of your message. Hildenberger didn't play at California until he was 21 (not sure what took so long, injury? Red shirt?) Then was drafted at 23 and played at two rookie teams. At age 24 he A, A+ and Fall league, at age 25 He played A+, AA and AAA. At age 26 he started in AAA and came to the majors. And like I have been saying about guys that debut at that age he was in the pen and basically had how do I say this nicely, a less than stellar career.

Which goes back to the point of my previous message, which you confirmed saying basically has no future in the majors.

"The only reason to put a 5 year senior that is 24 in A ball is because you think he has no future with the Twins "

 

While it wasn't a long career, and the overall numbers don't look great, Hildenberger was very good his first couple of seasons, and until Molitor decided to use him almost literally every day, he was very effective. 

My bigger point is more that guys like this aren't considered maybe the "priority" prospects, but if they keep playing well in their opportunities, they can stick around and every once in a while they get to the big leagues, which is a remarkable outcome. 

 

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