Here are the top five hitters for the month of May, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention.
- OF Ernie de la Trinidad - Wichita Wind Surge - 19-63, .302/.370/.429 (.798) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 6 BB, 14 K.
- OF Brent Rooker - St. Paul Saints - 15-66, .227/.366/.470 (.836) with 1 double, 5 homers, 15 BB, 24 K.
- C Kyle Schmidt - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels – 17-49, .347/.458/.469 (.927) with 6 doubles, 9 BB, 13 K.
- IF Spencer Steer - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 20-78, .256/.385/.385 (.770) with 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 15 BB, 13 K.
- OF Aaron Whitefield - Wichita Wind Surge - 26-85, .302/.358/.459 (817) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 8 BB, 28 K..
THE TOP FIVE HITTERS
Number 5 - Wichita Wind Surge - SS Jermaine Palacios - 28-90, .311/.398/.478 (876) with 3 doubles, 4 homers, 13 BB, 26 K
Palacios became a top shortstop prospect with the Twins early in his career. However, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Jake Odorizzi. He struggled to hit in their organization. He became a free agent this offseason and decided to return to the Twins. He was signed with the thought that he would move around the Wichita infield, but when Royce Lewis tore his ACL, Palacios became the nearly-everyday shortstop. He’s solidified the Wind Surge defense, and he has been a force in the middle of their lineup too.
Number 4 - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 1B Gabe Snyder - 18-67, .260/.395/.567 (.962) with 3 doubles, 1 triples, 5 home runs, 13 BB, 20 K.
Snyder was the Twins 21st round pick in 2018 out of Wright State. In 2019, he was a Midwest League All Star with the Kernels. He and the Kernels both received a promotion to High-A for the 2021 season. Snyder has continued to provide power in the middle of their lineup. He also has a good approach at the plate and is willing to take his walks too.
Manager Brian Dinkelman said, "Gabe has power in his bat. We saw that in here '19 when he hit 20 home runs. The power is in there with his bat. We like Gabe in the middle of our lineup."
Number 3 – Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - IF Edouard Julien - 23-78, .295/.476/.449 (.925) with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 26 BB, 31 K.
Julien had to wait a long time to make his professional debut. The College World Series hero from Auburn was the Twins 18th round draft pick in 2019. After signing, he went to Peru with Team Canada for the Pan-Am Games. In the first practice, he heard a pop in his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He may have been ready to play by the middle of the 2020 season. Instead, there was no minor league season, so Julien had to wait until this year to debut. He showed patience, and that is a strong characteristic of his game too. Julien is patient at the plate and knows the strike zone well. He had 26 walks in the month. He also isn’t afraid to take a big swing when he gets a good pitch. He had nine extra base hits for the month. He also went 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts.
Number 2 - Cedar Rapids Kernels – OF Matt Wallner - 22-66, .333/.384/.621 (1.005) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 5 BB. 29 K.
The Forest Lake native was the Twins 32nd round pick, as a pitcher, in 2016. He went to Southern Mississippi, became a power-hitting All American, and in 2019, the Twins used the 39th overall pick to select him again. In 2019, he finished the season with the Kernels. He got off to a fast start in 2021 in Cedar Rapids. In Game 2, he hit two home runs. He’s had a four-hit game. He’s showed off some speed with a couple of triples, both have been hit to the left-center field gap, showing his ability to hit the ball to all fields. With the power comes some strikeouts. As his manager says, “Matt takes some vicious cuts. He’s a good hitter when he stays in the zone and doesn’t expand too much.” Unfortunately, Wallner played the first 17 games, but he hurt his wrist on a swing and went on the injured list.
And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is:
Wichita Wind Surge – IF Jose Miranda - 30-94, .319/.389/.564 (.953), 5 doubles, 6 home runs, 8 BB, 11 K.
In 2016, the Twins had four draft picks in the first 75 picks. They drafted four high school hitters with those picks. Alex Kirilloff, Akil Baddoo and Ben Rortvedt have all made their MLB debuts in 2021 (Kirilloff in the playoffs in 2020 too). The fourth, Jose Miranda, is making a name for himself too and hopes to join them in the big leagues soon. His 2021 is off to a terrific start so far.
The reports on Miranda were always that he had the potential for power, and that is showing so far this year with five doubles and six home runs. For Miranda, he believes that the key will be for him to stay in the strike zone.
“I’m trying to be more patient and lower my chase percentage. That’s one of my goals this season. I know if my chase percentage goes down, I’m going to have better numbers. If I start swinging at better pitches, I’m going to start getting more hits, doubles, home runs.”
Miranda ended 2019 with one game in Double-A. He became a father in 2020 but was unable to play because of no season. He did play in the Puerto Rican Winter League and played in the Caribbean Series. It led to an invitation to participate in Twins spring training. He learned a lot from the experience.
“It was a great experience just being around all those veteran guys, being around Nellie Cruz who has been around the league for 15 to 20 years almost. Hearing all the things that he says, all the things he knows, hitting-wise. All the work he puts in day in, day out. After the game, he keeps working out. JD (Donaldson) too. All those guys. They are super good, but you see what they do before the game and after the game. It’s pretty cool to watch them work that hard and seeing all the work pay off.”
Jose Miranda currently leads the Twins minor league organization in Home Runs (6), RBI (24), Hits (30), XBH (11), Total Bases (53). He is third in batting average (.319), seventh in on-base percentage (.389), third in slugging percentage (.564) and third in OPS (.953).
Miranda has already played all four infield positions, making himself prepared should an opportunity arise with the Twins later this season. He can play all of those positions, but it will be his bat that carries him to the big leagues.
We would like to congratulate Wichita infielder Jose Miranda, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2021. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.
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