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Ranking the Twins' 2023 Rookie of the Year Candidates


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The Twins have multiple young players on the cusp of impacting the big-league level. So, which players have a chance to insert themselves into the AL Rookie of the Year conversation?

Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

 

Minnesota has yet to have an AL Rookie of the Year winner since Marty Cordova took home the hardware in 1995. Other winners in team history include Tony Oliva (1964), Rod Carew (1967), John Castino (1979), and Chuck Knoblauch (1991). The five candidates below will attempt to end the Twins' nearly three-decade drought without a ROY winner. 

5. Royce Lewis, SS
Lewis is the highest-ranking prospect on this list, but his Rookie of the Year candidacy is complicated. Following his second ACL surgery, Lewis won't be on the field until the second half of 2022, and that's why he is lower on this list. He can return and significantly impact the line-up, especially if the team doesn't sign one of the top free-agent shortstops. If the Twins are in contention, Lewis can provide a second-half boost that might make it hard for voters to ignore. 

4. Edouard Julien, 2B
Julien was arguably Minnesota's highest-rising prospect during the 2022 season, and the team has already added him to the 40-man roster. In 113 games at Double-A, he hit .300/.441/.490 (931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. His hot hitting continued in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 1.248 OPS with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. He was named the AFL Breakout Player of the Year, and it looks like his bat is big-league-ready. Julien ranks lower on this list because other players are ahead of him on the depth chart, and he has yet to play at Triple-A. 

3. Simeon Woods Richardson, SP
Woods Richardson is the organization's highest-ranked pitching prospect who projects to pitch significant big-league innings next season. In 107 1/3 innings last season, he posted a 2.93 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 115 strikeouts. He only faced younger batters in 14 plate appearances this season since he didn't turn 22 years old until September. He's been a step behind other pitchers in the organizational depth chart, and that's why he sits at this spot in the rankings. 

2. Louie Varland, SP
Last season, Varland became the Twins' first back-to-back Minor League Pitcher of the Year since Jose Berrios. In 24 minor league appearances, he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and 10.4 K/9. Currently, Varland is scheduled to start the year at Triple-A, but there are questions about the health of other Twins starters. If others are healthy, it might be more challenging for him to accumulate the innings needed to put himself in the ROY conversation. 


1. Matt Wallner, OF
Wallner is an exciting name to consider when examining the Twins' future. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were considered better prospects than Wallner, but he may have passed them over the last year. His power profile comes with many swings and misses, with strikeouts in over 37% of his minor league at-bats last season. Still, Wallner's power is legitimate, as he combined for 35 doubles and 29 home runs between three levels last season. Wallner may not start the year in the big leagues, but he will be one of the team's first call-ups. 

Who has the best chance to win the 2023 AL Rookie of the Year Award? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

 

 


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ROY candidates typically come from having the opportunity to play.  If SWR or Varland are in the rotation coming out of camp it would be somewhat surprising.  Wallner is probably lower on the depth chart than we think.  The other two are not realistic at this point (Lewis with his injury).

Injuries or an organizational direction change will be needed for the Twins to have a ROY candidate...

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Spencer Steer is my choice.  

But I am open to a surprise.  Wouldn't it be nice to see Lee tell the team to forget about all the minor league assignments and force his way on to the team?  He can join a group of young 21 year olds who have jumped up before they were expected.

Varland would mean that one of the expected rotation is injured - bad news.  Wallner looks good only if Kepler is gone or he plays DH.  Julien would be a good choice, but where do you play him.

I will stick with one of our traded players.  

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Always get a smile when reading your pots, Cody.  That's because every one will somewhere point out that player X was younger than Y% of the guys he faced or played against.  I seriously doubt that when Pitcher Z gives up a go ahead double to Player XX he is thinking, that's ok, the guy is two years older than I.

Seriously hope that Wallner plays very little next year, rather spend most of it in St. Paul.  Why?  Because I want AK, Larnach and Keps playing every day and putting up fantastic numbers.  Will agree with the above comments that I also expect both of the pitchers to not pitch enough to be considered.  Same with Julien, if Polo is healthy he is going to be in St. Paul.  Would love seeing a Twin get the award, just will be shocked if it is any of these.....unless Lewis gets on the field by late May and hits like he did last year.

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Also agree the Wallner is unlikey to play here with the logjam in front of him.  Expect unless he tears the cover off the ball, he will spend the year in St. Paul.  

Given the normal pitching staff injuries, I expect one of Varland and Woods-RIchardson to spend the bulk of the year in Minnesota,  I lean toward Woods-RIchardson, because he is closer to being ready.  Varland could force his way here, but less likely than Woods-RIchardson.  

So that is my pick. 

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Everyone has opinions. I agree with Jim Callis, that our best chance for a ROY is Lewis. Wallner, with very weak defense and worse than Sanoesque strikeout tendencies (and in the minors) would be a massive surprise for me.

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/pipeline-drafts-2023-rookie-of-the-year-teams?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

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5 minutes ago, mnfireman said:

Per Baseball=Reference:

Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2021 season

That really is sad as he never got to put in a full season to see what he can or cannot do; although with the Twins bring rookies up, down, up , down not surprising.

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25 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

Since Larnach has 1.101 years of service, I’d say “no chance”, but you do know that don’t you?

No I do not follow rookies rules closly at all.

He had  only 79 games in 2021, what is the minimum games played to be eligible for RoY?

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5 minutes ago, RpR said:

That really is sad as he never got to put in a full season to see what he can or cannot do; although with the Twins bring rookies up, down, up , down not surprising.

He was on the major league roster, therefore on the major league disabled list, thus accruing major league service time.

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Lewis had a good chance to win it this year, He might not qualify this coming year although if he qualifies he would have the best shot it. Wallner & Varland might qualify but I doubt they'll get any votes, If the philosophy remains & injuries abound SWR could qualify & get some votes.

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7 hours ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

ROY candidates typically come from having the opportunity to play.  If SWR or Varland are in the rotation coming out of camp it would be somewhat surprising.  Wallner is probably lower on the depth chart than we think.  The other two are not realistic at this point (Lewis with his injury).

Injuries or an organizational direction change will be needed for the Twins to have a ROY candidate...

Fortunately, injuries are seldom an issue for the Twins.

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41 minutes ago, mnfireman said:

He was on the major league roster, therefore on the major league disabled list, thus accruing major league service time.

I was wrong about when he went on the IL, he played 79 games in 2021. Also found this on mlb.com;

Rookie Eligibility

Definition

A player shall be considered a rookie unless he has exceeded any of the following thresholds in a previous season (or seasons):

• 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.
• 45 total days on an active Major League roster during the Championship Season (excluding time on the Injured List).

A player must have rookie eligibility to be considered for any MLB rookie awards -- such as the American League or National League Rookie of the Year Award -- or appear on any MLB Pipeline prospect lists.

So, Lewis maintains his rookie status.

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It is about time that the team has a real Rookie of the Year.  Here are our winners - including the Senator days:

Are any of the players in this speculation good enough to rise above team ROY?  

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I believe the best chance for ROY is Lewis.  He is the only one that if healthy has a clear spot to him, either SS or 3B.  If SS is filled, then he will slid in 3b for the defense.  He has the potential bat and defense to get ROY.  Wallner will still be far down the list of OF.  Same with the starters.  Julien is too far down the list too.  At this point Lewis is only one that I can see a clear path of playing without trades or injuries. His ACL surgery was early enough in year he should be ready to go by camp, unless he has a set back. 

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I believe Julien is the sleeper but doubt he will get the at bats with the log jam at 2nd base. If not for Polanco I'd put my money down on Julien winning ROY. I feel his carrier is very promising ... But in 2024 it will be Lee  That kid is a stud and one reason I hope we don't commit a gazillion dollars to a veteran short stop this year.

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10 hours ago, Trov said:

I believe the best chance for ROY is Lewis.  He is the only one that if healthy has a clear spot to him, either SS or 3B.  If SS is filled, then he will slid in 3b for the defense.  He has the potential bat and defense to get ROY.  Wallner will still be far down the list of OF.  Same with the starters.  Julien is too far down the list too.  At this point Lewis is only one that I can see a clear path of playing without trades or injuries. His ACL surgery was early enough in year he should be ready to go by camp, unless he has a set back. 

July....Not camp. 

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On 11/30/2022 at 5:26 PM, h2oface said:

Everyone has opinions. I agree with Jim Callis, that our best chance for a ROY is Lewis. Wallner, with very weak defense and worse than Sanoesque strikeout tendencies (and in the minors) would be a massive surprise for me.

https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/pipeline-drafts-2023-rookie-of-the-year-teams?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

Even though Royce will not be a Twin when the season starts, I predict he still is most likely Twin to be ROY.

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2 hours ago, troyjuhn said:

Wallner would be my ROY pick. 

Just how?

'His -34 Rdrs/yr., his fielding is as good as Jeffers' throwing out base runners while his batting averaage was tanking the more he played.

Contreras had one more home run, only 4 less RBI, and is a very good fielder, he would fit better than Wallner

The boy may have big potential but he has a LONG way to go .

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Only Lewis has a ghost of a chance at ROY, but some of the guys on this list could be quite good, very soon. I had a very good feeling last season about Louie Varland, and SWR isn't far from that impression. We may not even see Julien and Wallner if injured starters come back healthy. 

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