Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month: April 2022


    Theo Tollefson

    Just like their Major League counterparts, many of the Twins minor league hitters had a fantastic start to their seasons during the month of April. Find out which Minor League hitter took home the award as voted upon by Twins Daily writers.

    Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily (Graphics by Thieres Rabelo)

    Twins Video

    The Twins Minor League affiliates had some hot hitters throughout the month of April. As many focused on Royce Lewis’ return to the diamond for the first time in over two years, other names such as Charles Mack, Spencer Steer, and Curtis Terry showed what they are capable of at the plate. Although all these mentioned names had great months in April, they did not finish in the top three places with the Twins Daily voting results for minor league hitter of the month. 

    Now here are the results of the top four vote-getters for the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month. 

    Honorable Mention 3: Royce Lewis, St. Paul Saints  

    The biggest question mark for many Twins fans coming into the 2022 season was how quickly Royce Lewis could re-acclimate himself to the game, the daily grind after missing two full seasons. The number didn't seem as important as simply getting back on the field, showing health, and getting at-bats and time at shortstop. Well, the 2017 top pick played in 21 Saints games and hit .320/.441/.587 (1.028) with nine doubles, a triple, and three home runs. He has hit the ball hard. He has hit for power. He has shown off his speed with infield singles and stolen bases. Just as important, he has shown very good command of the strike zone. In 93 plate appearances, he has 18 strikeouts (19.3%) and 15 walks (16.1%). Also, he has played well defensively at shortstop. He has a couple of errors, but he has made plays going in each direction. After so much time, the 23-year-old needs to just keep playing and enjoying the game. As you can see in the updated Prospect Tracker, he has returned to the #1 spot on the Twins Daily Prospect rankings. 

    Honorable Mention 2: Emmanuel Rodriguez, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels 

    Emmanuel Rodriguez was ranked #15 on the Twins Daily Top 20 prospects coming into the season. Now he has risen to the rank of number ten and proved why he belongs there during the month of April. Rodriguez did not have the flashiest batting average in April. He hit just .241, but the other two-thirds of his triple slash were fantastic in April with a .440 on-base percentage and .574 slugging percentage. 

    Rodriguez had also fared much better at home than on the road in his 17 games played in April. Rodriguez crushed the ball at home hitting .320/.485/.680 in eight games at Fort Myers, but he hit .172/.405/.483 on the road in nine games. If Rodriguez can bring his hot hitting on the road as he does at home, he may find himself further up this list for the month of May.

    Honorable Mention 1: Kyler Fedko, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels 

    Kyler Fedko is not a power hitter like his teammate Rodriguez, but he certainly is a Twins prospect to keep an eye on at Fort Myers. Fedko had an excellent start to his season in the month of April posting a .350/.438/.550 triple slash with nine extra-base hits in 17 games. 

    The 22-year-old outfielder played in 23 games last season with the Mighty Mussels after the Twins made him their 12th-round pick out of Connecticut. He has already eclipsed his doubles, triples, and home runs from last season. With more regular playing time for Fedko and a continuation of his current hot streak at the plate, there is a good chance he could see playing time at Cedar Rapids come June. 

    Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Cedar Rapids Kernels 

    If Twins fans didn’t know the name Christian Encarnacion-Strand before April, they certainly know it now. Encarnacion-Strand had one of the best months of any minor league hitter with the Kernels posting a .410/459/.680 (1.138) with four doubles, a triple, five home runs, and 23 runs batted in. He also stole three bases. 

    He started the season on fire. In the first game of the season, he went 4-for-5 with two homers and nine RBI. The next day, he went 5-for-5 with a double, a homer, and five RBI. He had hits in 15 of 19 games during the month. And in two of those games, he had five of his seven walks. He had 11 multi-hit games including a stretch of seven out of nine games. 

    It's what he's been doing since the Twins selected him in the fourth round of last year's draft. He had played at Oklahoma State where his head coach was Robin Ventura and his hitting coach was Matt Holliday. After signing, he joined the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels and had hits in each of his first 20 games and in 21 of 22 games. In those games, he hit .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with two doubles, two triples and four home runs. 

    Thanks to his elite month, Encarnacion-Strand has found himself on the Updated Twins Daily Top 20 prospects list at # 18. In 19 games across April, Encarnacion-Strand was arguably the second most talked about Twins prospect behind Lewis. It still may be a while before Encarnacion-Strand finds himself in St. Paul, but he is on a streak that could see him at Double AA Wichita in the not-so-distant future. 

    Feel free to share your own rankings for Twins Minor League hitters of the month for April in the comment section below. 

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    I am not sold on CES yet.  He has been putting up crazy numbers, but he is on the older side of the league being he is a college bat.  I have not personally seen him play, but from everything I read and see on paper is that he has a big question of chasing too much.  The question will be is he a guy that will strike out too much at bad pitches and get himself out at higher levels.  I cannot tell if he just crushes fast balls right now and the breaking stuff is just not good enough against him right now. 

    The big question for him is how will he handle better stuff as he rises up the levels.  Despite his huge numbers he is not considered a top prospect, and maybe he is one of those that slip through or maybe he is just one that can crush bad pitching. 

    I will like to keep checking on him, hope he makes jump to AA this year and see how he does there.  He may just be a guy that will swing at most things thrown up there but still can hit it hard.  I am not saying he will be that guy, but Vlad was a guy that would never take pitches for the most part and could still get hits on bad pitches.  Eddie is a more recent example, with less success but still MLB level guy.  We always got upset at his chase rate, but he still managed to get some nice hits and balls no one else would. Maybe CES is the exception to the rule, but only time will tell. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    All four of those guys look like the real deal to me.  Granted Rodriguez, Fedko and CES have a ways to go yet. I have been afraid to say much about Lewis for fear of jinxing him but his bat is the closest and the one I am the most excited about.  As the article mentions he has been everything we hoped for to this point.  Still he does need to show he can keep it up for at least a half to a full season to make sure he is ready for the big club.

    Fedko is the biggest surprise to me.  Most guys drafted where he was have a very limited impact and are generally slow movers.  We will see if he can keep things going but he looks solid\consistent at the plate right now.

    Christian Encarnation-Strand might end up an elite hitter.  His .491 BABIP makes him a regression candidate and if you watch Tom's U-tube video's you can see he has been pretty fortunate in several games with pop ups that dropped in for hits.  Hard hit balls that skipped off gloves etc and that is unlikely to continue forever but even if he does come down from his 1.099 OPS he still looks like an elite contact hitter to me.  He has managed to drop his K rate to 24% and it would be nice if he could drop it a little bit more since he is only at High A and he has increased his walk rate to 9% so almost 10% which is pretty solid considering he makes so much contact.  Have to say that was a good 4th round pick and he should continue to work on eye at the plate (i.e. dropping K rate and increasing walks).  That will serve him well as he moves up and tries to hit those Home runs he likes to hit.

    It is a good list and happy to see some new names having big time success.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, Trov said:

    I am not sold on CES yet.  He has been putting up crazy numbers, but he is on the older side of the league being he is a college bat.  I have not personally seen him play, but from everything I read and see on paper is that he has a big question of chasing too much.  The question will be is he a guy that will strike out too much at bad pitches and get himself out at higher levels.  I cannot tell if he just crushes fast balls right now and the breaking stuff is just not good enough against him right now. 

    The big question for him is how will he handle better stuff as he rises up the levels.  Despite his huge numbers he is not considered a top prospect, and maybe he is one of those that slip through or maybe he is just one that can crush bad pitching. 

    I will like to keep checking on him, hope he makes jump to AA this year and see how he does there.  He may just be a guy that will swing at most things thrown up there but still can hit it hard.  I am not saying he will be that guy, but Vlad was a guy that would never take pitches for the most part and could still get hits on bad pitches.  Eddie is a more recent example, with less success but still MLB level guy.  We always got upset at his chase rate, but he still managed to get some nice hits and balls no one else would. Maybe CES is the exception to the rule, but only time will tell. 

    Looking at his Splits, he is hitting 1.200 OPS against Older Pitchers and 1.100 (Both #s rounded off...) so this is not necessarily age inflated but he only has an OPS in .800's  on the road so he is only super human at home.... 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I haven't missed many home games, so I've obviously seen quite a bit of CES. The hot first week or so wasn't surprising. Those things happen with some amount of regularity and I'm usually skeptical (shocking to those of you who know me, I'm sure).

    I've kept waiting to see him crash to earth. There was one game where he flailed a couple of times, striking out, and I thought "Here it comes... reality."

    The next game he was back to multiple hits, and he's continued to make steady contact ever since.

    Sure, he looks bad at times. Guess what? Every hitter at this level (or any level, I suppose) looks bad at times. 

    Yes, he's had a couple of bloop hits... with some of the windy days we've had, everyone has seen some weird things happen. Those are the exception, not the rule. I don't know what his exit velo has been, but I'd be willing to bet it's up there. 

    There are no guarantees with a Class A player, but I'll be surprised if CES' start is a total fluke. He's focused. He has a nice approach to hitting, not a lot of extra noise in his swing. And he hits the ball hard. That's a recipe for good things happening.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    19 hours ago, Steven Buhr said:

    I haven't missed many home games, so I've obviously seen quite a bit of CES. The hot first week or so wasn't surprising. Those things happen with some amount of regularity and I'm usually skeptical (shocking to those of you who know me, I'm sure).

    I've kept waiting to see him crash to earth. There was one game where he flailed a couple of times, striking out, and I thought "Here it comes... reality."

    The next game he was back to multiple hits, and he's continued to make steady contact ever since.

    Sure, he looks bad at times. Guess what? Every hitter at this level (or any level, I suppose) looks bad at times. 

    Yes, he's had a couple of bloop hits... with some of the windy days we've had, everyone has seen some weird things happen. Those are the exception, not the rule. I don't know what his exit velo has been, but I'd be willing to bet it's up there. 

    There are no guarantees with a Class A player, but I'll be surprised if CES' start is a total fluke. He's focused. He has a nice approach to hitting, not a lot of extra noise in his swing. And he hits the ball hard. That's a recipe for good things happening.

    Having you join the TD family has been one of my favorite things about the Twins being in Cedar Rapids. Your first hand accounts and knowledge of the game is so appreciated. Thank you!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...