Minnesota’s injury woes forced the team to utilize more rookies than the club had planned. Some rookies were impressive in their debuts, while others will need more time to showcase their future value. Frankly, some of these guys debuted because there were so many injuries, not necessarily because they were ready or part of future planning. Overall, there are some bright futures for the names described below.
2022 Stats (125 G): .268/.325/.426 (.751), 116 OPS+, 25 2B, 15 HR
Miranda was one of Minnesota’s highest-rated prospects entering the season because of a massive 2021 campaign. His big-league career started slowly when he posted a .512 OPS through his first 22 games. Things finally clicked for him at the beginning of June. He has an .807 OPS over his last 99 games, which is well above the league average this season. Miranda’s debut makes it easy to project him being a middle-of-the-order bat for multiple seasons.
MLB Debut (May 2): 0-for-4
2022 Stats (12 G): .300/.317/.550 (.867), 144 OPS+, 4 2B, 2 HR
Everything was going great. Lewis returned from his torn ACL that cost him the 2021 season. He posted a .940 OPS at Triple-A after not appearing in a competitive game since the 2019 Arizona Fall League. After a pitch hit Carlos Correa, it looked like Lewis might get an extended look at the big-league level. Instead, Correa returned, and the Twins started using Lewis around the diamond including in the outfield. In his first game back to the big leagues, he smashed into the wall and tore his ACL for a second time. It was a tragic end to a tremendous debut.
MLB Debut (May 6): 1-for-4
2022 Stats (28 G): .121/.148/.293 (.441), 23 OPS+, 1 2B, 3 HR
Contreras was never considered one of the team’s top-rated prospects, but the Twins needed outfield depth this season. He has struggled offensively in limited big-league action, including a 20-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Next season, he will be 28 years old, and the outfielder may have limited upside left to provide to the club beyond depth. There is a chance the team designated him for assignment as part of the season’s annual 40-man roster clean-up.
MLB Debut (May 11): 0-for-2, RBI, R
2022 Stats (30 G): .143/.184/.229 (.413), 19 OPS+, 0 2B, 2 HR
Palacios’ calling card is his strong defense, which is why the Twins brought him back to the organization on a minor-league contract in 2021 and again in 2022. He was needed at the big-league level when Correa went on the COVID restricted list and Lewis headed to the IL. Palacios had an .803 OPS at Triple-A in 102 games, so his bat isn’t as bad as his big-league performance might indicate. If Correa opts out, the Twins may need Palacios as infield depth for the 2023 season.
MLB Debut (May 31): 0-for-3, BB, R, K
2022 Stats (22 G): .056/.227/.222 (.449), 31 OPS+, 1 HR
Hamilton has hung around on the Twins roster much of the second half, but he has been given limited playing time. He seemed to put things together at Triple-A to start the 2022 campaign. In 62 games, he hit .233/.367/.442 (.808) with ten doubles and 11 home runs. Hamilton also seemed to be controlling the strike zone better with a 67-to-43 strikeout to walk ratio. It’s hard to know if that performance was legitimate with how little playing time he has received for the Twins. Will the Twins trust Hamilton in a backup role next season, or will the club look for a veteran?
MLB Debut (July 17): 0-for-1
2022 Stats (18 G): .228/.323/.386 (.709), 105 OPS+, 3 2B, 2 HR
Wallner was the easy choice for the TD Minor League Hitter of the Year, and he has shown some of his power potential since being called up. Unfortunately, the club waited a confusing amount of time to call him up as the team’s division lead slipped away. Wallner may have surpassed Minnesota’s other young outfielders with his performance this season, especially if he can stay healthy in the future. He can join Miranda in the middle of the Twins line-up over the majority of the next decade.
MLB Debut (September 17): 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI, K
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