This season Major League Baseball removed a large contingent of the minor leagues, and for Minnesota that meant losing Elizabethton. Now with just the Florida Complex League to draw from, there are still plenty of strong performances to highlight in a year where we got action back on the farm.
Before we get into the bats that made noise this season, here are the previous winners:
Here are the guys that rounded out the Short Season Hitter of the Year ballots:
Others Receiving Votes:
- Alexander Pena 27-84 .321/.380/.393, 6 2B, 10 RBI
- Wander Valdez 30-122 .246/.359/.385, 8 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI
- Carlos Aguiar 21-97 .216/.280/.495, 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 20 RBI
- Luis Gomez 17-70 .243/.424/.314, 5 2B, 3 RBI
Short Season Hitter of the Year:
Here are the top four players for the Twins Daily Hitter of the Year
4. Wilfri Castro 15-58 .259/.377/.517, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI
Minnesota signed Castro as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2018 season. 2021 was his first year stateside and he competed in the Complex League as a 20-year-old. His two triples and three home runs were also career firsts. The .894 OPS was a very strong showing, and his career has started with a great eye and level of discipline at the plate.
3. Luis Baez 25-84 .298/.385/.405, 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 RBI
Baez was signed as an international free agent prior to the 2018 season. He made his stateside debut in 2019 as an 18-year-old. Playing 28 games during the Complex League this year, Baez continued to post a very strong on-base percentage. He is now just past the average age for the league and should see a larger challenge next season.
2. Emmanuel Rodriguez 27-126 .214/.346/.524, 5 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 23 RBI
Signed as part of the 2019 international free agent class, Emmanuel Rodriguez netted himself a $2.5 million bonus. He participated in instructs each of the past two seasons, but this was his first year in pro ball. Popping off for 10 home runs in just 37 games was a nice power display, and both the on-base and slugging aspects of his game were impressive this year.
1. Kala’i Rosario 52-188 .277/.341/.452 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI
Selected in the 5th round of last years draft, it was often suggested that Kala'i Rosario was a very strong value selection by Minnesota. It was expected that the Hawaii native’s bat would play, and it absolutely looked that way in his pro debut. Just recently having turned 19, Rosario should be playing for Low-A Fort Myers in 2022.
This was a different season at the short season level with just one team playing games. Rosario played in 51 games during the Complex League, however, and was able to kick off a very strong sample size to get his feet wet. Minnesota had Rosario playing on the corners in the outfield with right field being the role twice as often. He did also get 12 starts as the designated hitter.
Here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers:
- Seth Stohs - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Luis Baez 3) Kala’i Rosario
- Nash Walker - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Emmanuel Rodriguez 3) Luis Baez
- Lucas Seehafer - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Carlos Aguiar
- Cody Christie - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Wilfri Castro
- Tom Froemming - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Wander Valdez
- Ted Schwerzler - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Wilfri Castro
- Steve Lien - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Emmanuel Rodriguez 3) Alexander Pena
- David Youngs - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Alexander Pena 3) Wander Valdez
- Allen Post - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Wilfri Castro 3) Luis Baez
- Matt Braun - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Luis Gomez
Feel free to discuss. What do you think of our rankings? How would you rank them? How would your ballot look?