Below are a few names, mentioned in descending order based on minor league affiliation, that just missed the top three.
- RHP Joe Ryan, St. Paul Saints: 9 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 17 K, 2.00 ERA
- RHP Jordan Balazovic, Wichita Wind Surge: 24 1/3 IP, 32 H, 16 R, 10 ER, 11 BB, 19 K, 3.70 ERA
- RHP Cole Sands, Wichita Wind Surge: 18 2/3 IP, 20 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 7 BB, 25 K, 3.38 ERA
- RHP Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Kernels: 22 2/3 IP, 20 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 23 K, 3.18 ERA
- RHP Casey Legumina, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: 15 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 19 K, 1.80 ERA
And without further ado, the bronze, silver, and gold medal finishers.
3. RHP Sean Mooney, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
Stats: 13 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 8 BB, 26 K, 2.08 ERA
The Mighty Mussels handle starting pitching differently than their other minor league affiliate counterparts. As the bulk of their pitchers have yet to complete an entire minor league season due to the pandemic, their focus is less on having pitchers go deep into games and more on tossing them out there in spurts to keep their workload low. Regardless, Mooney put up great numbers during his four starts in August. In fact, he's put up great numbers all season and has arguably been the Mighty Mussels' best, most consistent starter. Stints on the IL have been the only thing that have slowed him down this year. For that reason, he recently earned a promotion to High-A.
2. RHP Andrew Albers, St. Paul Saints
Stats: 20 IP, 19 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 14 K, 1.80 ERA
Albers' 2021 campaign is an excellent footnote in an otherwise gloomy Twins' season. The 35-year-old, who signed a minor-league deal last offseason, had not pitched in the majors since 2017 and likely did not think he would return anytime soon. However, after some brief struggles at the beginning of the season and a successful Olympic Trials run (he threw 7 innings of a no-hitter) with Team Canada, Albers earned a promotion to the Twins due to solid performance and multiple injuries. He's not going to strike many batters out and likely won't be with the team beyond this season, but it's hard not to feel happy for the wily vet.
1. RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Stats: 17 IP, 17 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 26 K, 2.12 ERA
I'll repeat what I mentioned in my recent scouting report: Sawyer Gipson-Long is one of the Twins' best under-the-radar pitching prospects. Gipson-Long was dominant during August, racking up strikeouts and not allowing free passes. His strong performance at High-A continued on Wednesday evening when he tossed six innings of one-hit ball. (Although the one hit was a two-run homer, and he also walked three while striking out four. They can't all be Cy Young caliber.)
Other than four lackluster starts to begin the season, due at least in part to poor defense behind him, Gipson-Long has been solid all year. Don't be surprised if his name starts popping up in top prospect lists.