Check out that cover! Twins Daily’s Brock Beauchamp created the JO Berrios cover using a photo by Linwood Ferguson who takes photos of the Ft. Myers Miracle. His photos of Miracle players are sprinkled throughout the book. Also, you know Jim Crikket (or SD Buhr) from Knuckleballs. His pictures from Cedar Rapids are also used throughout the book.
Mike Berardino wrote a tremendous Foreword to the book. In it, he writes, “You’ve heard the old saying about any pitcher who is “left-handed with a pulse” being worthy of a contract at some level of pro ball? Well, for the Twins Daily Prospect Handbook, virtually anyone with glint of potential and a Twins minor-league uniform is worth profiling.”
I wrote articles on the three Player of the Year award winners. The choice for hitter of the year was Cedar Rapids Kernels’ catcher Mitch Garver. He had a terrific season with the bat, but he takes a lot of pride in his defense, as well as leading the young pitchers. “I consider myself a leader. I am in it for the long haul. I want to work with the pitchers and make them better. Those guys have incredible talent and it’s great to see them work and improve.”
JO Berrios was the choice for Starting Pitcher of the Year. Teammates raved about his work ethic. Fair to say, Berrios has some lofty goals! “I’ve always wanted to become a big leaguer. I’ve been working hard and hopefully I’m closer to it. But my dream is to be part of the Hall of Fame someday.”
Savage (MN) native Brandon Peterson was the choice for Relief Pitcher of the Year. He had a tremendous first full season in the minors, splitting his season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. When he was being recruited after high school, his dream was to play Division I baseball. As he told us, one Division II coach gave him some serious motivation.
“One Division II coach asked him, ‘If you’re not good enough to play Division I now, what makes you think you will be good enough in two years?’ That was more motivation to fuel Peterson’s ambition. ‘I’m going to prove you wrong and do whatever I can to get there. I was upset at first.’”
Cody Christie wrote about the Manager of the Year, Doug Mientkiewicz. Catcher Stuart Turner said of his manager, “He seemed to know how to manage each and every one of us to maximize us… both individually and for the benefit of the team.”
Former Twins minor leaguer and occasional Twins Daily contributor AJ Pettersen wrote a tremendous, emotional article on the things about the game and about life that bring joy. “I will live with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Because of Virgil (Vasquez), I choose joy. Because of Alexis, Ray and Olivia, I choose joy. Because of my grandpa, I choose joy. All the time. Every time.”
Jeremy Nygaard, who runs the Rosters & Payrolls and Organizational Chart at Twins Daily, is the most knowledgeable MLB Draft expert in this market. In this book, you can get his thoughts on the Twins 2014 draft. He also wrote a great article highlighting some of the players who will be available to the Twins when they make the sixth overall selection in the 2015 draft. However, he also gets into the international signing period and how the Twins have been more and more active.
Cody Christie, aka the North Dakota Twins Fan, gave a preview a couple of days ago about his article an unfortunate theme, all of the injuries to top prospects in 2014.
Eric Pleiss of Talk to Contact fame wrote up an article trying to think about the Twins starting rotation in 2017, considering all of the pitching prospects coming up.
Steve Buhr not only provided photographs for the book, but he wrote “A Tale of Two Seasons for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.” He covered a team that really struggled to come together in the first half. He then saw the team come together in the second half and make a surprising run to the playoffs.
Of course, the meat and potatoes of the Prospect Handbook are the Prospect Profiles. You will find profiles in 89 Twins minor league pitchers and 69 Twins minor league hitters. Anyone who players from the GCL through the big leagues and still have Rookie of the Year eligibility remaining are profiled. Profiles take the following form. Jeremy provided a background on each player, where they’re from, how they came to the Twins and how they have done in previous years. In the 2014 Recap, Cody looks beyond the standard statistics. He provides a lot of splits and more. I did a scouting report on each player. For pitchers, what do they throw? How hard to they throw? For hitters, what type of hitter are they? Do they have power, speed? And finally, we worked together on a Forecast for ’15, in which we consider where each player could spend the next season. Here is a sample of a player profile, using the pieces from four separate profiles.
Background: Though it shows that Onas Farfan was drafted in the 21st round of the 2014 draft out of Ridgewater CC after graduating from Robbinsdale Cooper High School, his story is much deeper than that. Farfan was born in America but moved to Venezuela at age seven. At 16, he returned to the States and joined Minnesota’s RBI Program. Farfan passed up a chance to pitch at the University of Mary (Bismarck) to sign with the Twins.
2014 Recap: In his professional debut with the E-Twins, (Tyler) Kuresa showed some good signs at first base. He was charged with three errors in 330 chances. It took a while for his bat to get acclimated the professional level, but he made improvements each month. In July, he hit .293/.352/.554 with five home runs and nine doubles across 92 at-bats. For August, he hit over .350 and had his highest OPS of any month (.918 OPS). The left-handed first baseman had a slugging percentage that was 101 points higher versus right-handed pitching.
Scouting Report: Though he missed all of 2013 and 2014, (JT) Chargois was the talk of Instructional League. He was clocked at 98-99 mph regularly. He was known previously to have a violent delivery, but it appears that he has calmed that down without losing velocity. Chargois also has a very good slider, as long as he is able to control it. He was a two-way player in college, so he is a good athlete who is anxious to get back on the mound. He could move quickly once he proves healthy.
Forecast for '15: (Max) Murphy was a rare example of a position player getting a promotion out of E-town to Cedar Rapids (or Beloit, previously) during his debut season. But when you bat .378 with 10 home runs in 35 games, there really isn’t much else to prove. Given Murphy’s struggles after his promotion, it is likely he’ll return to Cedar Rapids to start 2015, though earning a second-half promotion isn’t out of his reach.
Of course, it all culminates with the official Top 30 Prospect lists for myself, Jeremy and Cody. You’ll notice that there are several guys that we each rank a little differently. We all have certain prospects that we rank a little higher (or lower) than others. I’m sure after reading this book fully, you’ll develop your own Top 30 Twins prospect list that looks a little different than others.
205 pages. This book is a labor of love. If you’ve bought previous versions of the book, I think you’ll concur that it is very informational and fun. It’s an opportunity to recognize and get to know a lot of future Twins. And, even I they don’t make it, they are deserving of credit. I’ve written the following in the Introduction of all six previous books and will always include it because I think it is important.
Minor League baseball players are doing all the same work that the big leaguers do. They are just doing it with far less fanfare, smaller per diems, less luxurious travel and hotel arrangements, and noticeably lighter wallets due to pay checks with far fewer zeroes. These players deserve to be recognized too!
And that’s true. Also, notice that the Twins have been recognizing a minor leaguers’ performance in most of their televised games, and I know that the Twins radio crew will mention players as well. This can be a coffee table type of book where, when a player gets mentioned, you can impress your friends by knowing a whole lot more about that player. And, when the Twins call up a minor leaguer and says, “Who is that guy?” You can tell them all about him.
Consider getting a copy or two or six of the book. The paperback version is 6” x 9” and done very well. I have had several people tell me how great it is to have at Twins Fest or if they go to the minor league sites for autographs. Consider it a challenge to see how many of the 158 profiles you can get signed! You can order the paperback here for just $14.99 (plus shipping) and get them, maybe even in time for Christmas presents or Stocking Stuffers.
If you can’t wait for the paperback version to come to you in the mail, you can also buy an electronic, pdf version of the book here and immediately download it for just $9.95.
On behalf of Jeremy and Cody, we really appreciate all of the support from the readers and hope you have a great experience with your Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2015! Thank you!