Honorable Mention III: Miguel Sanó; St. Paul Saints & FCL Twins
Yes, that Miguel Sano. The one you know and perhaps love. Contrary to popular belief, he does count as a Minor League hitter this month, considering he spent almost the entire month of July in an extended rehab assignment in St. Paul. Prior to his move to the 60-Day IL earlier this week, Sanó seemed ready for his return to the big stage, batting .348/.423/.826 (1.249). Although Sanó struck out 10 times in his 23 at-bats in St. Paul, he put his power on display through three home runs and two doubles. He displayed similar numbers as an FCL Twin, hitting two homers in five games. It's likely that Sanó took his last at-bat as a Twin this month, so let's end this one on a sentimental and much happier note.
Honorable Mention II: Yunior Severino; Cedar Rapids Kernels
This 22-year-old former Braves prospect didn’t crack the top 20 of our Top Prospects Ranking but his performance did not go unnoticed in July. Severino led the Kernels in home runs with seven and RBI with 23, while batting .303/.446/.682 (1.128). Severino also took a page out of the aforementioned Arraez’ book, drawing almost as many walks than strikeouts (13 BB, 17 SO). As a bonus, he also contributed two doubles and one triple this month. There is no hotter player on the Kernels than Severino. If he can stay healthy, keep your eyes on this switch hitter as another prospect to watch.
Honorable Mention I: Chris Williams; Wichita Wind Surge
In the year of the long ball, no one did it better this July than catcher Chris Williams. Williams is another non-ranked prospect who had a career month. He led the Wind Surge in homers by hitting 11 in 23 games. Although offense often plays second fiddle to defense for catchers, Williams has defied the norm, hitting .306/.423/.729 (1.152) throughout the month. With the Twins’ need for catching depth, we could see Williams in the big leagues sooner than many other prospects if he can continue producing at this rate offensively.
Minor League Hitter of the Month: Christian Encarnacion-Strand; Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge
Alexa, play a sad song for us as we walk through this one. Although Christian Encarnacion-Strand was promoted mid-month from the Kernels to the Wichita Wind Surge, his hot streak moved with him across the country. This is a repeat win for Encarnacion-Strand, who was also our Minor League Hitter of the Month in April. Encarnacion-Strand’s performances for both teams didn’t go unseen. He was included this week in the Tyler Mahle trade with the Reds. The Twins will be missing out on his raw power and incredible talent and ability to get on base. In Cedar Rapids, Encarnacion-Strand batted .320/.452/.800 with one stolen base. He also drew five walks and hit three home runs in seven games. The 22-year-old was also the Kernels’ OPS leader this month prior to his promotion. As mentioned, his offensive prowess did not stop there. In fact, Encarnacion-Strand somehow surpassed his previous performance after his promotion. In his fourth game with Wichita, Encarnacion-Strand became the first player in Wind Surge history to hit for the cycle.
In his 12 games in Wichita, Encarnacion-Strand batted .327/.375/.692 (1.067) with five home runs, besting even his previous performance in Cedar Rapids. According to CBS News, he has been at least 60% better than the average hitter in wRC+ in every league he has ever played in, further marking the loss in prospect depth with his departure. He will be joined by another former Hitter of the Month, Spencer Steer, and Steven Hajjar in the Reds organization. This top prospect will be missed greatly.
Share your thoughts on the Hitter of the Month as well as the Honorable Mentions. Who was missed? How would your ranking go for top hitters in July?