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  • 2021 Twins Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Samuel Perez


    Ted Schwerzler

    Although we no longer have the Gulf Coast League or the Appalachian League, short season action still commenced with the newly-designed Complex Leagues in Florida and Arizona. Plenty of Twins prospects are getting their first taste of pro ball after a shutdown in 2020. This is Twins Daily’s annual effort to make note of the standout arms in the group.

    Before getting into this year’s crop, here are the previous recipients of this award:

    2016: Huascar Ynoa
    2017: Jovani Moran
    2018: Andrew Cabezas
    2019: Cody Lawyerson

    There were a handful of notable performances this season. With every organization putting such a premium on developing pitching, having players stand out early at the lowest level is a must. Being able to continue to foster that growth throughout their experience in professional baseball is what hopefully will translate to major-league success. Coming off a year with no minor league action, these guys really stepped up when returning to the mound.

    Before getting into the top three, here are some honorable mentions.

    Others Receiving Votes:

    • Giovahniey German 12 G, 11 GS, 5.59 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 33 H, 32 BB, 43 K
    • John Wilson 14 G, 3.86 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 32 H, 4 BB, 16 K
    • Ramon Pineda 13 G, 4.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 20.2 IP, 22 H, 2 BB, 17 K
    • Cole Bellair 10 G, 6.43 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 21.0 IP, 27 H, 7 BB, 34 K

    Short Season Pitcher of the Year
    Here are the top three vote-getters for Twins Short Season Pitcher of the Year.

    3. Develson Aria 13 G, 6 GS, 3.16 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 25.2 IP, 14 H, 23 BB, 39 K
    Aria was signed out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2019 season. He played stateside for the first time this year at the age of 20. Despite lacking command on the bump, Aria posted gaudy strikeout numbers and was able to work around potential damage. Notably, he avoided allowing any home runs during his 25 2/3 innings of work.

    2. Juan Mendez 12 G, 5 GS, 3.58 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 21 H, 14 BB, 37 K
    Making his professional debut, Mendez was 22-years-old for the FCL team this year. He allowed opposing batters to hit just .196 off of him and gave up just two home runs during his season of work. Signed in 2020 as a free agent, Mendez put a strong foot forward to start his pro career.

    1. Samuel Perez 13 G, 1 GS, 1.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 37.1 IP, 29 H, 5 BB, 39 K
    Working primarily as a reliever, Perez was utterly dominant for the Complex League squad this year. He posted more than a strikeout per inning and had a sub 1.00 WHIP. Perez made his stateside debut this season after being signed by the Twins organization in June 2021.

    Having previously played in the Dominican Summer League through the Angels organization, Perez has consistently posted strong strikeout numbers and low ERA totals. He is now 21-years-old and will be looking towards a debut with Fort Myers next season.

    The Ballots

    • Seth Stohs - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Juan Mendez 3) Develson Aria
    • Nash Walker - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Develson Aria 3) John Wilson
    • Cody Christie - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Juan Mendez 3) Develson Aria
    • Tom Froemming - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Juan Mendez 3) Ramon Pineda
    • Ted Schwerzler - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Giovahniey German 3) John Wilson
    • Steve Lien - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Develson Aria 3) Juan Mendez
    • David Youngs - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Giovahniey German 3) Juan Mendez
    • Allen Post - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Juan Mendez 3) Develson Aria
    • Matt Braun - 1) Samuel Perez 2) Juan Mendez 3) Cole Bellair

    Feel free to discuss. What do you think? How would you rank them? How would your ballot look?

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    With the FCL Twins losing two of three games played and the opposition getting double digit runs in many of the losses, there weren't a lot of great numbers next to Twins pitchers.  To be honest, am a bit surprised with how well Perez did.

    With that said, I did check their lineup  earlier in the season and noted that a large percentage of the team were both young and had played only in the DSL two years ago.  Don't know if this was the same for all the teams they were playing, or if the Twins squad was unusually young.

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    I like to look back and see how your selections fair = Huascar Ynoa was a good pick.  Now pitching for Atlanta Braves.  He had 1.7 War before his injury and looks like he has really good potential.  Moran is now a Twin and hopefully a bullpen fixture for the remainder of his career.   Andrew Cabezas has not been a bright star yet in the minors.   Too soon for Lawyerson.   If you ranked the picks you have made from 1 - 5 how would you see them now?

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    8 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    I like to look back and see how your selections fair = Huascar Ynoa was a good pick.  Now pitching for Atlanta Braves.  He had 1.7 War before his injury and looks like he has really good potential.  Moran is now a Twin and hopefully a bullpen fixture for the remainder of his career.   Andrew Cabezas has not been a bright star yet in the minors.   Too soon for Lawyerson.   If you ranked the picks you have made from 1 - 5 how would you see them now?

    I wouldn't. These aren't prospect rankings and aren't intended to be. If they would have wanted to, they could have had Cade Povich pitch for two months in the FCL and he could have absolutely dominated. Those highly-ranked college arms get moved up to Low-A quickly and are on very strict innings/pitch counts. 

    That said, at the time that these picks were made, Ynoa was the one that was a prospect at that time. 

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