Tibs reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Twins Fans Absolutely Furious at Surprise First Place Start
With the Minnesota Twins holding a surprisingly sturdy lead in the American League Central, it’s no wonder that the team’s fans have some strong words about their unexpected success.
“It is absurd to me that they treat Byron Buxton with kid gloves,” said Hank Winters, 67, a retired bank executive. “Harmon Killebrew played every day and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Buxton may as well just work for the government. Sick of this.”
The Twins lead the heavily favored and godless Chicago White Sox by three games after a rocky 4-8 start. They're on pace to win a stunning 94 games. This playoff-worthy effort has given the fanbase plenty to talk about.
“Royce Lewis hits the cover off the ball and you send him to Triple-A,” said Beck Bradford, 41, a youth volleyball coordinator from Castle Rock Township. “Miranda can’t hit a bull in the ass with a handful of sand and Correa won’t even be here next year. But the boy geniuses (Twins executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) looked at the algorithms and said, ‘Nope, Royce, you go over to St. Paul, grab a stool at Alary’s, get comfortable. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’
“I’ve never been more angry,” added Bradford.
Minnesota’s 22-16 record can be chalked up to several factors, perhaps none more important than the bullpen, which has been asked to do a lot with the starters still rounding themselves into shape after the lockout-shortened spring. This has not gone unnoticed.
“Chris Paddack is already going under the knife for Tommy John and we have no consistent closer,” said Tamara Kapsner, 49, a car salesperson in Robbinsdale. “Meanwhile, Taylor Rogers is going to the All-Star Game. If I made that kind of deal at my job they wouldn’t have to fire me, I’d just throw my [EXPLETIVE] in a box and go. Great call. Super.”
With the team’s schedule remarkably soft over the next couple weeks, the chance for Minnesota to put some space between them and the rest of the Central has people talking.
“I never took PTO in 27 years at TCF (Bank),” said Winters. “Because I had a work ethic. Did I miss birthdays and graduations and custody hearings and my third marriage? Yes. All of them. Cry more, Byron.”
“Spreadsheet oughta be manager, not Rocco (Baldelli),” said Bradford. “Bleep boop, pivot table, bench Correa, he’s played one game in a row, might hurt himself again.”
“May as well just trade (Jhoan) Duran for (retired former Twin) Mike Pelfrey,” said Kapsner. “Disgusting. Pohlads should’ve contracted them when they had the chance.”
Tibs reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Report (4/19-25): Pitching, Pitching, Everywhere Pitching
Most of the Twins affiliates have played 15 games now while the St. Paul Saints have played 18 games. Top prospects are reaching 50-60 plate appearances. That's not enough to make any grand stances on players, but we'll get there. Starting pitchers will be making their third and fourth starts. Pitch counts may increase, and we might soon be able to find tendencies for players. and we will be here to cover it all. Let's take a look back at Week 3 in the Twins minor leagues.
If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week.
Please note that the hyperlinks on player names will show you past articles in which that player has been tagged. Click around a bit and see how much some of these players have been written about over the years.
Tuesday: The Arrival of Raya Wednesday: Wind Surge Win a Wild One Thursday: Double Walk Offs and Shoving Smeltzer Friday: St. Paul Completes Twin Cities Sweep Saturday: Emmanuel Rodriguez Does It Again Sunday: Kernels and Surge Strike Large in Series Finales on Sunday MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT
Twins Minor League Week in Review (4/12-18) Twins Have Important Reinforcements Close Unheralded Twins Prospects to Watch Twins Complete Padres Trade with Pitching Prospect Brayan Medina Emmanuel Rodriguez: A Star in the Making? Three Questions With… Emmanuel Rodriguez (Video) WEEK IN REVIEW
Triple-A: St. Paul Saints:
Week: 2-4 at Toledo
Season: 10-7 overall, 3rd place in the International League West. They are 2 1/2 games behind Nashville.
The Saints scored nine runs in one game last week. In their other five games, they scored a combined ten runs. In the first game of the week, they lost 11-0. That’s not to say that there weren’t some highlights.
Ten Saints pitchers worked and did not give up an earned run. Sure, that includes catcher David Banuelos who retired the only batter he faced.
The highlight was Ronny Henriquez. He made his first appearance of the season, his first appearance in the Twins organization, and his first Triple-A appearance. It went quite well. He worked three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one and struck out four batters. Yennier Cano worked three scoreless innings over two appearances. He gave up two hits and hit a batter, and he struck out three batters. Dereck Rodriguez returned to the Saints after one appearance with the Twins. He gave up two unearned runs on two hits over three innings. He struck out five batters without issuing a walk. As you’d expect, it wasn’t all good. As terrific as Cole Sands was in his first two Triple-A starts, this wasn’t a good week. Combined, he gave up ten runs on ten hits in just 2 2/3 innings. He walked three and didn’t have a strikeout. He had a short start early in the week and came out of the bullpen on Sunday. No surprise that the Saints didn’t have any hitting standouts in such a frustrating week.
Jose Miranda led the offense, hitting .250/.321/.458 (.779) with five doubles and three walks. Royce Lewis hit just .190 over six games. He had five walks, a double, and an absolutely mammoth home run. Daniel Robertson went 2-for-17 (.118) last week. Jake Cave was 3-for-23 (.130) with ten strikeouts. It was also a rough week for the catchers. Chance Sisco went 1-for-9 (.111). Jose Godoy went 1-for-8 (.125), though he got called up, and on Sunday had two incredibly huge walks. Caleb Hamilton went 0-for-5, and David Banuelos went 0-for-3. What’s Next? The Saints come home to host the Nashville Sound, the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. (Go to SaintsBaseball.com for tickets!)
Pitching Probables: (RHP Dereck Rodriguez, LHP Devin Smeltzer, RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Jake Faria, TBD, TBD)
Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge
Week: 4-2 at home vs. Midland
Season: 8-7 overall, tied for 2nd place in the Texas League South Division. They are 2.0 games behind Tulsa.
The Surge had a fantastic week offensively. In six games, they scored 52 runs. That includes a 15-1 win on Thursday, but they also had games with 10, nine, and eight runs. However, it was a rough week for their pitching staff. They gave up 45 runs. They had games in which they gave up 15, 10, eight, and seven runs.
With that as the background, let’s start with the hitters. Six Wichita hitters posted an OPS over 1.000 for the week.
Andrew Bechtold had a really nice week. In four games, he hit .364/.556/.727 (1.283). He had a double and a home run. He also walked six times with just two strikeouts. Kevin Merrell also played in four games. He hit .313/.333/.938 (1.271) with a double and three home runs. Michael Helman played all six games and hit .348/.429/.783 (1.212) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and eight RBI. He also walked four times. Spencer Steer also played all six games. He hit .409/.567/.591 (1.158) with four doubles. He had eight walks to go with just three strikeouts. Steer was the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. Was he also Twins Daily's hitter of the week? Edouard Julien returned the second half of the week from the Injured List. He went 4-for-11 with a double and a triple. He also stole two bases in three games. Dennis Ortega signed with the Twins late in spring training. He played last year with the Triple-A affiliate of the Cardinals, the organization he began with in 2014. In five games last week, he hit .478/.500/.696 (1.196) with three doubles, a triple, and seven RBI. Despite his years of professional experience, he is still just 24 years old. On the other side of the spectrum, Leobaldo Cabrera went 0-for-15 during the week. Matt Wallner had two hits on Sunday, but he was 2-for-14 (.143) for the week. For the Wind Surge pitching staff, there were certainly extremes.
Matt Canterino started on both Monday and Sunday. Combined, he threw six scoreless, hitless innings. He walked two batters and struck out nine. After missing most of the 2021 season with elbow issues, the Twins will be immensely cautious with Canterino this year, likely putting him on a plan similar to what the team did with Bailey Ober a year ago. Simeon Woods Richardson was incredible again in his start this week. The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up two singles, walked no one, and struck out six batters. Austin Schulfer tossed four scoreless innings over his two appearances. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out five batters. He recorded one save. While it wasn’t a great outing, Chris Vallimont had a nice, bounce-back start. He gave up one run in four innings. He gave up three hits, hit a batter, and walked three batters. He had six strikeouts. On the other side, Brandon Lawson gave up six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. Steven Cruz pitched twice. In 1 2/3 innings, he gave up six runs on four hits, a hit batter, and four walks. All of that came in the ninth inning when he came in with a 7-0 lead. Zach Featherstone also pitched twice. He gave up seven runs on four hits (2 homers), and three walks in two innings. Bryan Sammons gave up four runs on four hits and three walks in two innings. What’s Next? The Wind Surge will be traveling to Arkansas for the week.
Pitching Probables: (RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Matt Canterino, TBD, TBD)
High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels:
Week: 5-1 at home vs Peoria)
Season: 12-3 overall, 1st place in the Midwest League, 1.0 game ahead of Wisconsin.
The Kernels won five of six games despite leading the run differential just 25-23. The first three games of the week were one-run games. They were postponed on Wednesday and then won both games of a doubleheader in walk-off fashion. The Kernels week (and season so far) has been largely successful due to some great work out of the bullpen.
Eight relievers combined for 20 innings of zero unearned runs. Melvi Acosta, Denny Bentley, Osiris German, Bradley Hanner, and Bobby Milacki each pitched twice during the week and worked between 2 2/3 and 3 2/3 innings. Hanner was given the Win in both of his games. He walked and batter and hit a batter, but he did not give up a run or a hit during the week. Sean Mooney went five innings in his start. He gave up one run on four hits. Lefty Cade Povich gave up two runs (1 earned) on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out nine batters. Casey Legumina also worked 4 2/3 innings and gave up two runs. The Kernels got several solid performances from their hitters last week against Peoria.
After a middling first full week of the season (after an amazing first weekend), Christian Encarnacion-Strand had another strong week against Peoria. Over six games, he hit .400/.400/.560 (.960) with two doubles and a triple. The only blemish was nine strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. Will Holland played in five games. He hit .375/.474/.438 (.912) with a double. In five games, Jeferson Morales hit .313/.429/.438 (.867) with two doubles. Outfielder Willie Joe Garry hit .294/.333/.529 (.862) with two doubles and a triple. What’s Next? The Kernels will be traveling to southeast Wisconsin to take on the Beloit Sky Carp.
Pitching Probables: (RHP Cody Laweryson, RHP Casey Legumina, LHP Brent Headrick, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long/LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich)
Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
Week: 3-3 at Dunedin
Season: 10-5 overall, 1st place in the Florida State League West, 2.0 games ahead of Bradenton.
The Mighty Mussels scored 20 runs over their six-game week. Fortunately, their pitching staff only allowed just 18 runs on the week. No surprise, it was a tightly-contested week. Three of the six games were settled by one run. There was also a two-run game, a three-run game, and a four-run game. No laughers in Florida this week, at least not in Dunedin.
The Mighty Mussels starters continued to pitch really well. The six starters worked a combined 28 1/3 innings and gave up just four runs (2 earned) on 11 hits and eight walks. They struck out 39 batters.
John Stankiewicz had another great start last week. He struck out nine batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and walked two batters. Marco Raya’s second professional start was pretty incredible. He struck out 10 batters over six innings. He gave up one hit and struck out none. Steve Hajjar was good in his second pro start. He struck out 10 batters over 4 1/3 innings. He gave up an unearned run on two walks and a hit batter. No hits. David Festa also went four scoreless frames in his start. He gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out four batters. The big news to come out of this start was that he hit 98.6 mph with a fastball. On Sunday, Travis Adams gave up one run on one hit over five one-run innings. Two relievers worked twice and got at least 12 outs. Hunter McMahon walked one and struck out one over four hitless innings. Mike Paredes gave up just one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out five batters. It was a good week for a few 2022 draft picks.
Eighth round pick from UCLA, catcher Noah Cardenas played in four games. He hit .273/.471/.545 (1.016) with a homer and three walks. Dylan Neuse was the Twins 17th round pick from Texas Tech. He also played in four games and hit .273/.385/.545 (.930) with his first professional home run. 12th round pick Kyler Fedko, an outfielder from U Conn had another solid week. Over six games, he hit .286/.407/.476 (.883) with a double and a home run. What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels are back at Hammond Stadium this coming week to face Clearwater.
Pitching Probables: (LHP Steve Hajjar, RHP Pierson Ohl, RHP John Stankiewicz, TBD, RHP Travis Adams, TBD)
This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week (April 19-24).
#1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-24 (.292), 2-2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K (Season: 15 G, .262/.392/.344 (.736), 5-2B, 15 R, 4 RBI, 10 BB, 12 K)
#2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 6 G, 4-for-21 (.190), 3-2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K (Season: 16 G, .288/.394/.542 (.937), 7-2B, 1-3B, 2-HR, 15 R, 9 RBI, 9 BB, 15 K)
#3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 5-for-19 (.263), 3-2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K (Season: 16 G, .235/.280/.397 (.677), 8-2B, 1-HR, 8 R, 10 RBI, 4 BB, 13 K)
#4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL (knee)
#5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K (Season: 3 GS, 16 IP, 3 R, 9 H, 5 BB, 16 K, 2-1, 1.69 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9)
#6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 GS, 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 9 K (Season: 4 GS, 9.2 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 8 BB, 14 K, 0-1, 2.79 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.4 BB/9, 13.0 K/9)
#7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K (Season: 6 G, 9.0 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 15 K, 0-0, 4.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 15.0 K/9)
#8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K (Season: 3 GS, 16.2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9)
#9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 1 G, 4.0 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K (Season: 3 G, 10.1 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 0-0, 3.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 4.4 K/9)
#10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 6 G, 5-for-21 (.238), 1-2B, 5 BB, 6 K (Season: 14 G, .200/.353/.218 (.571), 1-2B, 8 R, 1 RBI, 12 BB, 20 K)
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 5 G, 0-for-3 (.000), 0 BB, 0 K (Season: 9 G, .100/.250/.100 (.350), 2 R, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K)
#12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4 G, 2-for-14 (.143), 5 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K.(Season: 12 G, .111/.222/.178 (.400), 1-HR, 4 R, 7 RBI, 7 BB, 24 K)
#13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2 G, 1 GS, 2.2 IP, 10 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 0 K (Season: 4 G, 3 GS, 12.2 IP, 11 R, 14 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 0-3, 7.82 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9)
#14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K (Season: 3 G, 2 GS, 15.1 IP, 10 R, 7 ER, 11 H, 8 BB, 18 K, 1-1, 4.11 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 10.6 K/9)
#15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 6 G, 3-for-20 (.150) , 2-2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 11 K (Season: 14 G, .267/.469/.667 (1.136), 3-2B, 5-HR, 12 R, 8 RBI, 16 BB, 17 K)
#16 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - (Week/Season: 1 G, 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 12.0 K/9)
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL (elbow)
#18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 6 G, 9-for-22 (.409), 4-2B, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 3 K (Season: 15 G, .322/.429/.542 (.971), 8-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 12 R, 12 RBI, 9 BB, 12 K)
#19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3 G, 4-for-11 (.364), 1 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (Season: 7 G, .318/.385/.455 (.839), 1-2B, 1-3B, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K)
#20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 4.1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 10 K. (Season: 2 GS, 7.1 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 16 K, 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.9 BB/9, 19.6 K/9)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Hitter of the Week: Super Utility, Michael Helman, Wichita Wind Surge
Last week, Michael Helman played in all six games for Wichita. He hit .348/.429/.783 (1.212) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and eight RBI. He also walked four times. In 15 games on the season, he has hit .286/.379/.554 (.933) with two doubles, two triples, and three home runs. As important in his development, he has nine walks to just six strikeouts on the season. He is also 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts.
The Twins drafted Helman in the 11th round of the 2018 draft as a second baseman out of Texas A&M. That is the position he played most of the time pre-pandemic. When he returned to the field in 2021, versatility became a huge part of Helman’s game. In fact, I think it is a trait that will help him get a shot in the big leagues at some point. Last year, he played 42 games in left field, 27 games in right field, 26 games in center field, 16 games at second base and four games at shortstop. He went to the Arizona Fall League where he played eight games in center but also played games in left, second and third base. This season, Helman has started ten games in center, four games at third base, and one game at second base.
After struggling offensively in Ft. Myers in 2019, hitting just .197 before an injury ended his season. It was in Cedar Rapids in 2021 where his bat, and specifically his power arrived. In 111 games, he hit 21 doubles, four triples and 19 home runs (50% more than previously as a pro). He always took quality at-bats and knows the strike zone well, but after being a top of the order or bottom of the order hitter, he has become a middle of the order hitter in a very strong Wichita Wind Surge lineup in 2021.
Pitcher of the Week: Marco Raya, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
In just his second professional start, Raya shut down the Dunedin Blue Jays for six innings. He faced the minimum of 18 batters. He gave up one hit, walked none, and struck out ten batters. The one batter who got a hit was soon thrown out attempting to steal a base. It was a nice jump forward after his first start in which he gave up three runs (2 earned) on seven hits, a walk, and a hit batter.
Raya was the Twins' fourth-round draft pick in 2020 out of United South High School in Laredo, Texas. Of course, there wasn’t a season for him to begin his career then. He made a strong showing in the instructional league that fall. He was excited to begin in 2021 but a minor injury cost him the season. However, reports from last year’s instructional league had him hitting 96-97 mph with a fastball. That’s especially impressive when he was selected as a prep pitcher with four quality pitches and good control. Add in the big fastball and Raya has a chance to be really good.
What were your favorite storylines from the past week, and what will you be following in the coming week.
Tibs reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review (4/12-18)
Over the past week, the Twins went 2-4, but all four of their minor-league affiliates had a winning record. There were postponements and a no-hitter. Games were played in snow. There were some great comebacks, and some absolutely dynamic pitching performances by some top prospects, but also by several that you may not have heard of… yet. And there were some really big offensive performances by prospects and others that are less known. Our purpose here, in large part, is to update you and introduce you to Twins prospects by giving them the credit they deserve.
If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week.
Also note, hyperlinks on player names will show you past articles in which that player has been tagged. Click around a bit and see how much some of these players have been written about over the years.
WEEK IN REVIEW
In case you missed a daily report:
Tuesday: Povich Nearly Perfect (Video) Wednesday: Streak Continues, No-No in St. Paul (Video) Thursday: Varland Victorious and Mussels Mighty (Video) Friday: Bats Bring the Boom, Pitchers the Brooms (Video) Saturday: The Bats are Sizzling (Video) Sunday: Saints, Wind Surge, Kernels Conclude Week with Wins (Video) Jhoan Duran is What the Twins Have Always Needed Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (vs. Indianapolis) 3-2 (8-3 overall)
The Saints played their home-opening series and got a brutal look at what baseball in Minnesota in April can look like. After dropping the first two games of the week, including being no-hit on Wednesday, the team was snowed-out on Thursday. They came back to play the coldest game in team history on Friday, got the win, then had a crazy come-from-behind win on Saturday, and finished off a series win on Sunday.
The Saints scored 28 runs over their five games, and 16 of them came on Saturday. Here are the top offensive performers from the past week:
Curtis Terry played four games. He went 4-for-14, hitting .286/.333/.786 (1.119) with a double and two home runs. Royce Lewis played in all five games. He hit .412/.389/.706 (1.095) with three doubles and a triple. (Yes, he had a sacrifice fly.) Jermaine Palacios has played around the infield, and in four games last week, he hit .385/.467/.615 (1.082) with a home run. On the pitching front, there was a lot of solid pitching. Nine pitchers threw in one game and did not allow a run. In that group includes:
Devin Smeltzer who gave up three hits over five scoreless in his start of the week. Chi Chi Gonzalez tossed three scoreless, hitless innings in his outing. Cole Sands had a second strong start. He gave up one run on three hits over five innings. Finally, Jake Faria stretched out to four innings and gave up just one run. What’s Next?
The Saints travel to Toledo to take on the Mudhens. Here are their pitching probables:
Pitching Probables (RHP Cole Sands, RHP Mario Sanchez, TBD, TBD, TBD, RHP Cole Sands)
Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (@NW Arkansas) 4-2 (4-5 overall)
The Surge began their 2022 season with three home losses to Tulsa. This past week, they traveled to NW Arkansas and lost the first two games against the Royals’ affiliate. On Thursday, they grabbed their first win of the season and finished the weekend with four straight wins.
Things started a bit ominously for the team. In their first game of the week, Edouard Julien walked in the first inning. He stole second, but he hurt his ankle on the play and went on the Injured List the next day. Here are a couple of offensive highlights for the week:
Spencer Steer played in all six games. He hit .269/.321/.538 (.859) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. Alex Isola hit .286/.353/.500 (.853) with a homer over four games played. Veteran Kevin Merrell joined the roster this week. He hit .385 in three games (5-for-13). Austin Martin got off to a rough start, but over the past few games, he has returned to on-base machine status. This week, he hit .292 with a .433 OBP. He had seven hits and five walks, and when he got on base, he was running. He went 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Wallner went 2-for-22 (.091) with 12 strikeouts. He did hit his first Double-A homer. Like the Saints, the Wind Surge got some really strong bullpen performances and a couple of standout starter performances.
Eight relievers pitched twice and did not give up an earned run. Among them: Steven Cruz tossed four hitless innings. Tyler Viza struck out nine batters in 4 1/3 scoreless innings without issuing a walk. Austin Schulfer struck out four batters over three, one-hit innings. He recorded one save. Argenis Angulo struck out six batters over three scoreless innings. Lefties Bryan Sammons and Evan Sisk each threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Louie Varland got a Win in his start last week. He struck out ten batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and walked one. Simeon Woods Richardson backed up his strong first start with another very good start. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits over five innings. On the other side, in Brandon Lawson’s second start of the week, he gave up eight runs without recording an out. What’s Next? The Wind Surge will be hosting Midland.
Pitching Probables (RHP Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Brandon Lawson, RHP Matt Canterino)
High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (@ Quad Cities) 4-2 (7-2 overall)
Christian Encarnacion-Strand had a solid week at the plate, a couple of home runs, and still leads all of minor-league baseball in RBI. This week, his OPS ranked sixth among Kernels hitters. The team scored 38 runs in their six games despite playing two, seven-inning doubleheaders. The team hit nine home runs in those six games.
Charles Mack has adapted well to playing behind the plate. The team may need to find ways to get his bat in the lineup more. In three games last week, he went 7-for-12 (.583) with two doubles, a homer, and five RBI. He posted a 1.583 OPS. Another catcher, Jair Camargo, played in four games and hit .375/.412/1.000 (1.412) with a double, three homers, and five RBI. Seth Gray played five games. He hit .429/.600/.786 (1.386) with two doubles and a triple. He also reached five times on walks. Anthony Prato did a great job setting the table from the leadoff spot. In six games, he hit .348/.448/.565 (1.013) with a triple, a homer, five walks, and seven RBI. Aaron Sabato had a nice week. He played in four games, but he hit .313/.421/.563 (.984) with a double and a home run. He drove in six runs. Maybe more important, he had just three strikeouts in 19 plate appearances. Alerick Soularie was the only other player with six games played. He went just 2-for-21 (.095) The Kernels got some terrific performances from their starting pitchers last week in Quad Cities.
Sawyer Gipson-Long had a strong first start. He was even better in start number two. The right-hander tossed five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none, and struck out nine batters. Lefty Cade Povich went five shutout innings in his start. He gave up just one hit, walked one, and struck out eight. Brent Headrick is healthy and put together a second strong start. In four innings, he gave up just one hit. He struck out eight batters and walked none. A third left-hander, Aaron Rozek, gave up only an unearned run over five innings in his start. He gave up three hits and struck out seven batters without issuing a walk. Derek Molina worked three scoreless innings over two outings in relief. He struck out five batters. What’s Next? The Kernels will be hosting Peoria for six games this week.
Pitching Probables (LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Casey Legumina, LHP Brent Headrick, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Aaron Rozek)
Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (vs. Jupiter) 4-2 (7-2 overall)
After winning their first four games of the week, the Mussels were 7-0. However, they lost their final two games of the week. The Mighty Mussels had a couple of big comeback wins, along with a nice 12-0 blowout. They scored 37 runs in their six games last week.
A top prospect is making the large Florida State League ballparks look small. And a 2021 All-American showed again that he can flat-out hit.
Emmanuel Rodriguez played in five games last week. He went 7-for-16, hitting .438/.591/1.000 (1.591) with three homers. He also walked six times. He heads into this week with just one minor leaguer having more walks than him. Kyler Fedko had another really good week. He played in all six games. He hit .500/.577/.727 (1.304) with two doubles, a homer, and four RBI. He went 11-for-22. Dillon Tatum was drafted last year as a catcher, but he’s been spending time at first base too. In four games this week, he went 3-for-12 (.250), but he walked five times in 17 plate appearances. Another catcher, Kyle Schmidt, played in all six games. He hit .278/.316/.611 (.927) with two homers and nine RBI. On the flip side, top pick Noah Miller played in five games and went 2-for-20 (.100). He did walk six times. Fellow 2021 draft picks Mikey Perez (2-for-14, .143) and Noah Cardenas (1-for-12, .083) also struggled in the small sample size of one week. Like the other affiliates, the Mighty Mussels got strong pitching from starters and relievers this week.
John Stankiewicz had a very impressive start. The right-hander struck out 11 batters over six shutout innings. He gave up three hits and didn’t issue a walk. Travis Adams also had a really good start last week. In his start, he struck out seven batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and walked one batter. Lefty Sam Perez struck out five batters in three relief innings. Malik Barrington, Jackson Hicks, Mike Paredes, Matthew Swain, and John Wilson all tossed two scoreless innings in their relief outings. What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head up north to play six games against Dunedin.
Pitching Probables (RHP Marco Raya, LHP Steve Hajjar, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, RHP Travis Adams, TBD)
This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week (April 12-18).
#1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-24 (.292), 2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K
#2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 5 G, 7-for-17 (.412), 3-2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
#3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 5-for-19 (.263), 3-2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
#4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL
#5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 7 K
#6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1 GS, 1 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 2 K
#7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 3 G, 4 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K
#8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K
#9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 2 G, 6.1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K
#10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 2-for-20 (.100), 1 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K.
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 4 G, 1-for-7 (.143), 2 BB, 4 K
#12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 5 G, 2-for-22 (.091), HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 12 K.
#13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K
#14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K
#15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 7-for-16 (.438) , 3 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 4 K
#16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL
#18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-26 (.269), 2-2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K
#19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1 G, 0-for-0 (.000), 1 BB, 1 SB
#20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K. (pro debut)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Hitter of the Week: Outfielder Emmanuel Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
Rodriguez is a 19-year-old outfielder that the Twins signed on July 2, 2019, out of the Dominican Republic. It sure took some time for his career to begin. The 2020 season was canceled in the Dominican Summer League too. He made his professional debut in 2021 in the FCL. In 37 games, he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with five doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs. He also stole nine bases and is a solid defensive outfielder. He has spent all of his time in centerfield early this season, with a couple of games as DH too. Overall in his eight games this season, he has hit .360/.568/.880 (1.448) with a double and four home runs. More impressive, to this point, he has 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. In 153 plate appearances a year ago, he walked 15% of the time and struck out nearly 37% of the time. Through just 37 plate appearances this season, Rodriguez has walked an unsustainable 32% of the time and struck out just 16% of the time. That number will certainly go up, but to this point, it is a nice sign of an improved process at the plate. The Florida State League is notoriously tough on hitters, so it will be very interesting to see if he is able to maintain his early-season power too.
Pitcher of the Week: John Stankiewicz, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
The Twins signed Stankiewicz following the 2020 draft. As you recall, there were just five rounds in the 2020 MLB draft. After it was complete, teams could sign other draft-eligible players for up to $20,000. Stankiewicz signed with the Twins following three solid seasons at Fordham University. Between the 2019 and the four-game 2020 season, he went 10-5 with a 1.56 ERA. In 2021, he spent time at the Florida Complex in the first half of the season. He made one start in the FCL when that season started and struck out six batters in two innings. He then finished with seven games (4 starts) with the Mighty Mussels. He was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He had 24 strikeouts and just eight walks over 23 1/3 innings.
In his first start of the season, he went five innings. He was charged with two runs on two hits and two walks. He also struck out eight Clearwater batters. Coupled with his six shutout innings in his second start, he has now struck out 19 batters, and walked just two, over 11 innings. He has been a strike machine so far this season. Over those two starts, he has thrown 145 pitches (11 innings) and thrown 72% strikes.
Congratulations to our Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, and to all those who have started the 2022 season strong. Check back at Twins Daily at least daily to see our minor league reports, game recaps, and usually some video highlights from the minor league games.
Tibs reacted to renabanena for an article, Ranking the 2022 Minnesota Twins' Walkup Songs
10. Jorge Polanco - “Te Siento en Para” by Liro Shaq, Ceky Viciny, Bulin 47
Is this song actually good, or has it just been around long enough that we can’t live without it? The number of times I’ve hummed the hook to myself in the past few years was enough to secure a spot for this tune, tattooed forever in our eardrums. This music video has a modest 8.8M views on YouTube, with at least half contributed to the Twins’ gameday staff themselves. We do not recommend watching this video at work or in public.
9. Max Kepler - “London Calling” by The Clash
This song was re-released twice before Kepler himself was born. This was the highest-charting single by The Clash until their monstrous hit, “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Rolling Stone has it ranked as one of their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” I can’t argue with greatness, but this tune doesn’t have the average fan busting out of their seat quite like some of the others on this list. Or at least this fan, who is under the age of 50 (sorry). The intro is catchy, though.
8. Nick Gordon - “Came and Saw (feat. Rowdy Revel)” by Young Stoner Life & Young Thug
Full disclosure, I didn’t know this song or any of these artists before today. However, this made me root for more Gordon at-bats. The background trumpets and strong beat bring any couch potato to their feet.
7. Bailey Ober - “Public Service Announcement” - Jay-Z
“Public Service Announcement” was one of the many hits from Jay-Z’s 2003 album, “The Black Album,” which included other hits such as "Encore" and "Dirt off Your Shoulder." As YouTube user NATO FORCE RECORDS said three months ago, “2022 and I’m still here.” Allow Ober to reintroduce himself this season as one of the aces of this pitching staff.
6. Luis Arraez - “Ojos Colorau” by Mora
“Ojos Colorau”, which translates to “colored eyes”, starts off as a slow ballad but abruptly picks up the pace after the first chorus. Mora is a young artist, hailing from Bayamón, PR, the hometown of José Berríos. May all of our young rookies who start the season off slowly also abruptly pick up the pace.
5. Josh Winder - “Please Take Me Home” by Blink 182
Like many others born between 1990 and 1998, Winder is an elder millennial who stomped around their bedroom listening to the greatest genre of all time, emo pop. Although this isn’t one of Blink 182’s bigger hits, “Please Take Me Home” has everything you’d need in one stop. With Travis Barker drum riffs and “my” pronounced like “moye”, your head will uncontrollably bop when Winder takes the mound.
4. Caleb Thielbar - “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine
Great alarm clock song. Great tune all around by an all-time band. Fun fact, this song was never released as a single, but it is usually played as the final song of every Rage Against the Machine show. All Thielbar needs now is a trench coat and black sunglasses. Kashmir is a no-go for that trench coat.
3. Danny Coulombe - “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone
Even if you don’t think you know this one, you absolutely do. This kid-friendly tune will bring a smile to every face in the ballpark, and how can you not love that? Thank you, Danny…and Starlord.
2. Carlos Correa - “25/8” by Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist on Spotify in the last two years and is one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time. Unfamiliarity with Bad Bunny is a character flaw, and Correa’s pick of "25/8" brings us one of his best sleeper hits. This music video has 88.3M views on YouTube, and while I didn’t do the math, that is probably more views than most of this list combined.
1.5 Chris Archer - “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix
Full disclosure, the announcement of this walk-up song came after I was already done writing this. I couldn’t pick a tune to remove from the list nor disrespect Hendrix. Therefore, I made an executive decision to put him here. Please send all complaints to email@example.com.
Joe Ryan - “Fire on the Mountain” by the Grateful Dead
Kenta Maeda - “Hikoutei” by King Gnu
This song would’ve topped the list if Maeda was in the rotation this season, but it didn’t feel right putting this one in if it couldn’t be heard at a ballpark. Spotify just isn’t the same.
Jorge Alcala - “Entro Con la U” by Monkey Black
This one has arguably the most catchy beat out of this entire list, but the repetitiveness took it out of the top ten.
1. Tyler Duffey - “Electric Feel” by MGMT
I didn’t read into the lyrics until I had to take a deep dive into the list of walk-up songs, and I’d recommend against doing so. Your toes will uncontrollably tap, and your mood will instantaneously lift anytime this tune comes on. It’s the perfect vibe for a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark.
Check out the full list of all the Twins’ 2022 Walkup music:
And teammates supporting one another is always good!
Tibs reacted to Nash Walker for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Starting Strong
Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (@ Louisville) 5-1 (5-1 overall)
It was an awesome opening week for the Saints. The team scored 47 runs and won five of their six games. Royce Lewis is off to a great start, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer. Lewis stole three bases and reached base in 48% of his plate appearances. He also made numerous strong plays at shortstop.
Mark Contreras picked up right where he left off in 2021, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two homers. The player of the week, though, was Jake Cave, who went 9-for-19 with three doubles and a triple. Cave posted a 1.320 OPS and is undoubtedly itching to join the Twins in Minneapolis.
On the pitching front, Cole Sands dazzled with five scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss. Sands struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one hit. He’s a key part of what the Twins hope will be adequate starting pitching depth this season. Several Saints relievers had strong weeks, including Wladimir Pinto (4 IP, 0 ER), Juan Minaya (3 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), and Yennier Cano (3 IP, 0 ER, 4 K).
Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (vs. Tulsa) 0-3 (0-3 overall)
The Surge had a rough first go at the plate, hitting .167/.264/.250 with one homer in 110 plate appearances. Austin Martin went 2-for-13 with multiple errors and Matt Wallner went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. Spencer Steer had a nice weekend with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI.
Matt Canterino started the opener and battled through a tenuous first inning. The second was much better, but with the Twins monitoring his workload closely, Canterino lasted two innings and 45 pitches. Twins’ 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland made his debut in relief, walking five in a rough 4 2/3 innings.
Simeon Woods Richardson pitched very well in his season debut, striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. SWR threw 46 of 66 pitches for strikes, an awesome sign after command issues last year. Austin Schulfer, Steven Cruz, and the Surge bullpen was fairly solid all weekend. The bats were the issue.
High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (vs. Beloit) 3-0 (3-0 overall)
What an insane week for Twins’ 2021 fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He went 10-for-14 with two doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A.
Sawyer Gipson-Long quietly had a solid season in 2021, striking out 32% of hitters across both A-levels. He is off to a nice start this year, pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his season debut. Brent Headrick and Aaron Rozek also turned in solid starts.
Outscoring Beloit 23-8, the Kernels could have a potent offense with Encarnacion-Strand, Alerick Soularie, and Aaron Sabato in the heart of the order. The bullpen was also fantastic, headlined by Osiris German, Cody Laweryson, and Bradley Hanner.
Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (@ Clearwater) 3-0 (3-0 overall)
Emmanuel Rodríguez will be a must-follow prospect all summer long. The 19-year-old showed elite plate discipline and power in his 2021 debut. Rodríguez walked six times over his first three games this weekend, adding a homer and a double. He also stole a base in Sunday’s win. Rodríguez could move quickly.
Outfielder Kyler Fedko, the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2021, is off and running with a double, triple, and four RBI. Kala’i Rosario went 2-for-8 with a triple and Keoni Cavaco had a monster Opening Day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Cavaco walked twice Saturday and once more Sunday, but he struck out six times in 15 plate appearances.
Starters David Festa, Travis Adams, and John Stankiewicz combined to allow three runs in 15 innings. They struck out 16 and walked only two. The Mighty Mussels lead the league with a 3.00 ERA after the first weekend. They led the Florida State League with a 3.96 ERA and tied for first with 1,288 strikeouts in 2021.
Complex League FCL Twins: 2021 Regular Season (21-38)
The FCL Twins start their season in Mid-June. Players not currently on a full-season affiliate's roster are in Ft. Myers at the complex for what amounts to Extended Spring Training. Several of those players will move back and forth between the Complex roster and the Mighty Mussels roster, or even the other rosters depending on need.
This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings.
#1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-13, 2 2B
#2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 7-for-21, 3 2B, 4 BB, 3 SB
#3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5-for-25, HR
#4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL
#5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes)
#6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes)
#7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes)
#8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes)
#9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch
#10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-14, SB
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play.
#12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-9, 3 BB
#13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K
#14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes)
#15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-9, 2B, HR, SB
#16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP
#17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL
#18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-11, 2 2B
#19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-11, BB
#20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
Feel free to discuss the teams or players, and ask questions in the COMMENTS below.
Tibs reacted to Sherry Cerny for an article, Women of the Diamond: Rena
There is nothing more exciting to me than newcomers to baseball. Having new fans in a sport when many people are starting to turn away shows that baseball truly is America's favorite pastime. Her introduction to baseball was not from growing up in Minnesota; she had never really watched it, period. Her boyfriend is from Canada and is a life-long Blue Jays fan. He would have the game on every time they played and even traveled to watch them in the playoffs in Kansas City in 2016. He did not miss a game, and consequently, neither did Rena.
At the beginning of our interview, she makes an accurate, bold statement, "As a new fan, the game is boring. You don't know what's going on, and you don't know the teams."
She is not wrong. So what made her change her mind? Like me, she started by watching the pitcher when I started watching. The pitcher is one of the unique players on the team. The game is centered around the pitcher and how they perform, so watching them can put many pieces together.
Over time, from watching the game with her boyfriend, she started to see little things that pitchers did, their delivery and mechanics. This led to her watching the other players, why each player is essential, how they play their position and how they interact.
Rena was so intrigued by what she was watching that she eventually her fandom moved from watching with her boyfriend, to having it on in the background, to watching games when she was by herself. The first time she turned on the TV to watch by herself and immerse herself in her new hobby, the catalyst to her love of baseball was the 2017 World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
She loved the excitement of the game, but her excitement came because she had no dog in the fight and could see the rigors of competition. Rena watched intently and learned who the players were and the strategies that they were using in the games to get an advantage over the other team. She figured out quickly by watching that they use certain players in the lineup based on their ability to hit singles, doubles, clean up, or even strikeout. There was a strategy to the game, and she loved that.
As frustrating as that was to hear that the 2017 Astros are what got her interested in the game, at least Minnesota and Twins baseball got something good out of that series, a new baseball fan. She went in full throttle with her newfound hobby and listened to the "Baseball Tonight" podcast. She would listen to the podcast and then watch a clip or game to soak in what they explained in the episode she had just heard.
As Rena began to understand what they were talking about, she took to Twitter, where she (and many of us) began to voice her thoughts and feelings about baseball in a segment called "Bleacher Tweets" through Baseball Tonight at the end of their show.
"Since it was a new hobby, I had many questions," Rena explains, "I wanted to know their perspective, and eventually, I befriended the host."
Because she was a new fan and stats were huge in the baseball community, the host appreciated the banter and questions she was bringing to the table. Even though she liked the stats and understood them, she was more a fan of the game and brought a fresh perspective to the host. They appreciated her perspective so much they brought her onto the podcast to talk about her insights on baseball. She stayed there for a year, and that's when Twins Daily noticed and came knocking on her twitter door. They noticed that she was from Minnesota and savvy in baseball; she also now was tweeting about the Twins.
Even though she loved baseball initially because of Bally Sports North (formerly FSN), she watched more Twins games, and her love and allegiance were solid with the Twins.
Because she is passionate about the game, she cares about the players. She wanted something and someone to root for. She is quick to defend her favorite players and loves to cheer for those who have moved on, like Eddie Rosario and Nelson Cruz. She is an Eddie Rosario stan and his biggest fan no matter where he goes.
Rena enjoyed the growth being on the podcast brought her. She also really loved the idea that the podcast host had a lot of diversity in his program; he had a lot of different perspectives, demographics, and women on the show. We discussed the tremendous growth of women in baseball. Rena wanted to bring a new face to content instead of the day-to-day stats and numbers. She likes to stray away from the norm, writing about what she would want to read or see. That stuck with me. As a baseball fan and writer, I struggle with the "norm" and write what I want to see, whether that is an op-ed or being Jake Cave's biggest fan. There is room for all fans, and plenty of talented writers have unique perspectives and voices.
Rena and I both write for Twins Daily. She is one of the reasons I was excited to contact Nick Nelson in a brave DM and ask him for an opportunity to write for them. I watched her tweets and articles over the past two seasons. She has a great tone in her writing and an insatiable knowledge of the game. She loves to write about the fun stuff, or as she calls it, the "fluff," and she does indeed write about the fun stuff.
During the lockout, Rena had a series called "Things Twins Players Did This Week," It was full of fun, cute tweets and pictures of the players and their families during the holidays or doing charitable work. We both love to get people to think outside the box and challenge people to see different angles of baseball when it comes to the game, players' lives, and the Twins organization.
I was shocked to find out that Rena does not work for Twins Daily all the time. Her knowledge of the game, the players, and the numbers would lead me to believe otherwise. She helps promote the website on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. She loves getting behind the promotion part of the job and bringing attention to Twins Daily.
One of the goals of Twins Daily social media is growing. Rena, along with the rest of the team, wants Twins Daily to be the go-to website for Minnesota Twins news. So how do they do that? By giving the collective a voice, promoting articles in a fun, exciting manner.
The social media team has indeed done that. Twins Daily has been successful with traffic and followers, a considerable concern we had during the lockout. It's hard to write about baseball when there is none, so brainstorming what to write is just as important on how to promote the writing. Rena loves to create a voice for Twitter because that's where the most activity is for Twins Daily followers and Twins fans. Creating content and discussion is one of the things that Rena is good at.
We discussed the journey through journalism as women and having a voice as baseball fans and writers. I told her that my biggest fear is being professional, and I am known for my loud voice and perspective on not always loving players and having to behave and respond with information and no profanity (!!). Being a fan opens you up for ridicule, but being a female baseball fan on social media carries its responsibility because ridicule can be far worse as women's knowledge of sports is held to a standard of knowing stats from 1983 and "name five players." She admits there are times when she is ready to send out a tweet and goes back and double-checks it because she knows that the scrutiny is more vigorous for females than it is for males in the industry.
As an Asian-American female, she is also very aware of representation. She and I had a heart-to-heart about her desire to hopefully bring more awareness to Asian-American women in sports and the players. One of her favorite players is Shohei Ohtani. She loves seeing the Asian representation in baseball and hopes it continues to grow. I loved her honesty with me about her strength in being a minority writer and fan in our favorite sport. While she knows sometimes she has to check her tweets twice, she also is confident in her understanding and knowledge of the intricacies of baseball.
She combines her love of baseball and her heritage in this astounding article where she interviewed Tzu-Wei Lin, who was an MVP at the age of 16 from Taiwan. She got a chance to speak in her native language of Mandarin, to one of her favorite ball players about their favorite game. The article is inspiring and she is proud of the opportunity she had to get to know Lin.
Rena makes me want to be a better writer, fan, and person. To know that there are women out there that love the game as much as I do is motivating. We can carry on a conversation about the game, and having a desire for the game to grow in representation (as well as fandom around the world) gives me hope that this game will never indeed die.
Rena is one of the strongest baseball minds I know. She is intelligent, funny, intuitive, and full of insight and ideas that bring Twins Daily new followers and readers. Rena is also one of my closest friends and will do anything for me at the drop of a hat. She is a force to be reckoned with if you go up against her in baseball knowledge, but she is compassionate and loving and genuinely wants everyone to love the sport that brings her happiness. She brings so much fun to Twins Daily, its followers, and Twitter; if you don't follow her, you are truly missing out.
Make sure to check out Rena's Twins Daily Page below!
Find her on social media:
Tibs reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, In Defense of the Twins Front Office
The Twins hired Derek Falvey (who hired Thad Levine) in the wake of a disastrous 103-loss season in 2016. By that point, the Twins had gone six straight years without making the playoffs, and during that span they lost more games than any team in baseball.
The following year, Minnesota stunningly reached the postseason as a wild-card team. Then they missed out in 2018, still finishing second, before rebounding in 2019 with one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. The Twins followed in 2020 with another division title.
To run all that back: this front office took over a team that had gone 407-565 (.419) with zero playoff appearances in its previous six years, and went 300-246 (.549) with three playoff appearances in the next four.
Does their success owe somewhat to the foundation built before they arrived? Of course. No one would deny that Terry Ryan and Co. had cultivated an impressive nucleus before being ousted. But during those years, the Twins repeatedly failed in the draft, failed in acquisitions, and failed in player development. The results bore that out.
Let's be clear about something here: This current regime was so successful and so impressive through four years that they were repeatedly poached of talent, both in the front office and the coaching staffs they assembled. Not only that, but Falvey and Levine themselves have been courted by big-name franchises like the Red Sox and Phillies.
What did they say, according to publicized reports on the matter?
"No thanks, we're going to see through what we're building here."
And so, to see flocks of fans calling for their heads because of one bad season, which is no worse than the ones we saw repeatedly before they arrived ... it's a little hard to take.
Falvey became the youngest head exec in the league when he took Minnesota's top job. Currently he is 38 years old, which is three years younger than the DH he traded to Tampa Bay last month. Up until now he never experienced serious adversity during his tenure, which speaks to how smoothly things have gone in the first four years.
The same could be said, by the way, for his managerial choice Rocco Baldelli, who was named Manager of the Year in 2019 (as the youngest skipper in baseball, with no experience in the role) and then won a second straight division title in his second season.
These people have shown their mettle. They've won. A lot. I realize they haven't won in the playoffs, and that sucks, but they haven't had nearly the opportunity of their predecessors.
Are we not going to give them a chance to learn from failure?
Obviously the free agent pitching additions from the past winter have failed at every level. But this front office has made plenty of good and savvy pickups in the past, which helped fuel the success of high-quality staffs the last two years. And in any case, Falvey wasn't really hired to sign pitchers. He was hired to develop them.
On that front, the jury is still out. This operation was four years in when a pandemic came along and wiped out an entire minor-league season. The fact that Minnesota's upper minors are currently loaded with intriguing high-upside arms would suggest the mission was on track, and is just now getting back on the rails.
Soon we'll start seeing those arms (along with the ones acquired at the deadline this year) ushered into majors, and at that point we'll be able to make real assessments. But until then, you're judging an incomplete project.
This reassembled baseball ops department has been working ahead of schedule basically since they took over a moribund franchise in despair. They hit a setback this year, and it's been painful. Let's give them a chance to get back on track in the wake of a major disruptive event and humbling follow-up season.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
Tibs reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, TD Top Twins Prospect Rankings (Post Draft and Trade Deadline): 25-21
25. RHP Chris Vallimont (24-years-old)
Season Stats (High-A + Double-A): 4-4, 4.76 ERA, 64 1/3 IP, 102 K, 40 BB, 6 HR
Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 20, 2021 Preseason: NR
Chris Vallimont has the physical profile of a modern day pitcher. He stands nearly 6-foot-6-inches tall with an athletic 220 pound frame that he uses to generate fastballs in the mid-90s to go along with a hammer curve (as well as the occasional slider and changeup). When he's on, there's a strong argument to be made that he has some of the most dynamic stuff in the Twins' system. However, he is a bit of an enigma. His peripheral numbers suggest that he is a better pitcher than what the surface-level stats say, the main anchor dragging him down being his walks. If he hones his command, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he develops into, say, a No. 3 starter. If he doesn't, he may wind up in the bullpen long-term. There are few prospects in the Twins' system with more future outcome variance than Vallimont.
24: RHP Louie Varland (23-years-old)
Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 6-2, 1.70 ERA, 69 IP, 98 K, 25 BB, 2 HR
Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR
Louie Varland is one of those Twins prospects who has shot up the rankings this season due to sustained dominance. Varland was an unknown prospect when the Twins selected him in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul. He started out the 2021 season with the Low-A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels before earning a promotion to the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels where he rattled off nearly 20 straight innings of scoreless ball to begin his run at that level. Varland primarily relies on a fastball-curveball pitch mix. His fastball plays well both up and low in the zone; it presents with decent rise when elevated and greater sinking action when down. His most likely future role is as a reliever, but he has the raw stuff — and performance, to this point — to suggest he'll be effective in the high minors and, possibly, the big leagues.
23: UTIL Nick Gordon (25-years-old)
Season Stats (MLB): .250/.301/.333, 37 G, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB, 26/5 K:BB
Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NR, 2021 Preseason: NR
To say that Nick Gordon was an after thought on the minds of Twins' fans entering the 2021 season would be an understatement. However, a strong showing at Triple-A combined with a fast start when promoted to the parent squad quickly got him back into people's minds. Gordon primarily played shortstop in the minors; however, the rash of injuries suffered by Twins' outfielders thrust Gordon into some minutes in centerfield. While he didn't provide Gold Glove caliber defense, he did show enough to suggest that he may have a brighter future as a true utility man than most thought. Gordon doesn't do anything great, but also doesn't do anything well-below average. He may not be an everyday-type of player, but he should find himself with a role in the majors — though perhaps ultimately not with the Twins — for years to come.
22: 1B/DH Aaron Sabato (22-years-old)
Season Stats (Low-A): .181/.365/.309, 75 G, 13 2B, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 101/67 K:BB
Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 9, 2021 Preseason: 8
The tale of Aaron Sabato is virtually the opposite of that of Varland and Gordon. Sabato was known as a bopper with a good eye at the plate when the Twins selected him with the 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft but so far only his peepers have translated. Sabato has struggled to keep pace with Low-A pitching. His strikeout numbers are through the roof and his power has evaporated compared to what he displayed while with the Tar Heels. To put it bluntly, not many minor leaguers have struggled as much as he has to date and proceeded to carve out a productive major league career. Sabato's walk totals are encouraging, but he needs to show more the rest of the way.
21: INF Edouard Julien (22-years-old)
Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): .251/.423/.449, 78 G, 21 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 25 SB, 98/73 K:BB
Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR
Alright, back to being positive. Edouard Julien is an on-base machine with some pop who has displayed the ability to play multiple positions defensively, though he is probably best at second base. He's also stolen far more bases this year than many thought possible when he came out of Auburn University. Julien's overall productivity has declined some since his promotion to Cedar Rapids — and, thus, the removal of Robo-umps — however, he has done more than enough to justify his placement on this list. Not bad for a former 18th round pick.
What do you think of this set of five prospects? Future big-leaguers?
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
Tibs reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, TD Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospect Rankings: 1-5
5. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B
2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .350 AVG, .409 OBP, .614 SLG, 16 HR, 46 RBI
2021 Ranking: 19
When we ranked him No. 19 on our preseason top prospects list, the short synopsis on Miranda was a familiar one: "High-contract righty-swinging infielder needs to find power stroke." The former second-round draft pick has long sat on the fringes of our top-20 rankings because of his many intriguing traits, but the production just wasn't there to justify ranking him much higher. Through his first 379 games in the minors, he slugged .394 with 37 home runs.
This year, he found his power stroke. Miranda came out of the gates red-hot at Double-A, opening with a seven-game hitting streak that included three home runs, and he never really slowed down. Miranda slashed .345/.408/.588 with 13 home runs in two months at Wichita, then earned a late-June promotion to St. Paul, where he put together an unforgettable Triple-A debut: 5-6, 3 HR, 6 RBIs.
It all came together in a hurry for Miranda and there's not much reason to think his breakthrough isn't legit. He's got a smooth, compact swing from the right side that was always produced high contact rates, and he's clearly turned a corner with his ability to drive the ball. He projects as a third baseman in the big leagues, and perhaps pretty soon, depending on what happens with Josh Donaldson.
4. Matt Canterino, RHSP
2021 Stats (A+): 18 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 1.14 FIP, 51.5 K%, 4.4 BB%
2021 Ranking: 9
Canterino drew considerable hype coming into this season after reports emerged of him touching 100 MPH in a side session. A second-rounder out of Rice University in 2019, he made a strong impression by dominating in his first stint as a pro (1.44 ERA, 11.2 K/9 between rookie and A-ball), but plenty of highly-drafted collegiate players have done that. Taking the next step is the differentiator. Canterino's velo jump, and the behind-the-scenes work it reflected, were seemingly positive indicators. The righty needed to show it on the field.
He has. Canterino was brilliant through four starts for Cedar Rapids, now the Twins' High-A affiliate. I mean, we're talking stupid good numbers. Thirty-five strikeouts in 18 innings? A 17.5 K/9 rate?? Canterino was striking out literally more than half the batters he faced. Beyond overpowering.
He was likely in line for an imminent promotion to Double-A, but unfortunately the 23-year-old developed a sore elbow and hasn't pitched since May. He is currently on the comeback trail and the Twins hope he'll be able to return to the mound soon – probably in Wichita once he's fully back on track.
3. Jordan Balazovic, RHSP
2021 Stats (AA): 21 1/3 IP, 4.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 29.5 K%, 7.1 BB%
2021 Ranking: 6
After getting a late start to his season while healing from injury, Balazovic's results through six starts at Double-A have been ... uneven. His 4.44 ERA is nothing to write home about, and he has yet to get through six innings in an outing. With that said, he's been building up – his best, and longest, start was also his most recent – and the signs of that big potential have been on display.
In 24 ⅓ innings, he has piled up 33 strikeouts with a 14% swing-and-miss rate. While hitters have had success against him at times, they haven't hit for much power (3 HR and 7 XBH total) and Balazovic's control hasn't really eluded him at any point. For now the key is to continually advance his workload and consistency.
2. Jhoan Duran, RHSP
2021 Stats (A/AA): 34 1/3 IP, 3.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.64 FIP, 38.2 K%, 9.0 BB%
2021 Ranking: n/a
Like Balazovic, Duran's start to the 2021 campaign was delayed by injury following a lost pandemic season. When he took the mound on May 22nd at CHS Field, it was Duran's first time pitching in a minor-league game since August 29th of 2019. He was worth the wait.
Unleashing triple-digit heat, Duran dazzled, striking out six over three innings of one-run ball. His next time out he allowed only one hit while fanning eight over four scoreless frames. However, things took a downward turn at this point, as Duran was tagged with losses in his next three appearances (one a long-relief outing), surrendering 8 earned runs with an 8-to-12 K/BB ratio in nine innings. Then, he went on the Injured List with an elbow strain. For now, the Twins hope and believe he'll avoid surgery.
Duran has the best stuff in Minnesota's system and some of the best in the minors. He's the real deal talent-wise and the Twins have done a stellar job in targeting, acquiring, and developing him. His biggest barriers are control and health, and we've seen both fully presented this year, with the latter currently sidelining him indefinitely. He's as boom-or-bust as they come, but the ceiling is game-changing and within reach.
1. Royce Lewis, SS
2021 Stats: n/a
2021 Ranking: 2
Losing two consecutive full seasons – one to a global pandemic and the next to a torn ACL – in the very crux of one's development is an ordeal many baseball prospects would be unable to overcome. I'd bet on Royce Lewis not being one of them.
His much-lauded character and makeup have always positively affected the view and evaluation of Lewis, in certain intangible ways, but these qualities can have a very real impact in how he responds to this challenge. He'll be more than two years removed from playing competitively when he takes the field next spring – or maybe this winter – but has the natural talent to get back up to speed quickly. And "speed" really is the key word: even after knee surgery, he'll be one of the fastest and most athletic prospects in the game.
Lewis is a dynamic talent who will likely end up at one of the most important defensive positions on the field – shortstop or center – and should be relatively productive at one of those spots even if his offensive shortcomings are not fully resolved.
If the Twins do hope to rebound back into contention next year, they may need to ask quite a bit of their No. 1 prospect, as well as the other four we just profiled. One commonality you will notice among this reshaped top five: They're all 22 or 23 years old, with ETAs of 2022. These players are all verging on big-league ready and in most cases, health is the only significant barrier to surpass.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
Tibs reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Promotions and FCL Opening Day
As always, I welcome your feedback on what you would like to see from these Week in Review articles, so let me know in the comments below. Of course, I also encourage you to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday.
Before we get started, the Twins made a flurry of pretty big transactions throughout the system on Monday:
RHP Josh Winder promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. IF Jose Miranda promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. LHP Bryan Sammons sent from St. Paul to Wichita. OF/1B Trey Cabbage promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. IF Spencer Steer promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. IF Yeltsin Encarnacion sent from Wichita to Cedar Rapids. IF/LF Edouard Julien promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. With that, let’s look at Week 8 in the Twins minor leagues:
Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4 at Columbus), overall (21-26)
Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1 at Midland), overall (28-20)
High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Lansing), overall (26-22)
Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3 at Palm Beach), overall (28-20)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles.
Twins Minor League Week in Review: Kernels Jump Over .500 Twins Claim RHP Beau Burrows off Waivers Tuesday: Mark and Miranda Mash Wednesday: Winder Wows, Rooker Rakes, Bechtold Blasts Thursday: Cabbage Crushes, Miranda Continues Success Friday: A Dismal Day on the Farm Confidence and Patience are Keys for Wander Javier Saturday: Contreras Crushes for Saints Sunday: The Surge Goes On for Wichita
We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 8 performances too. However, kind of cool to see both of the Twins choices get promoted to Triple-A.
Twins Player of the Week: Jose Miranda, Wichita Wind Surge
Miranda just continues to rake, and he may have had his best week of the season. In six games and 29 plate appearances, he hit .481/.517/.778 (1.295) with two doubles and two homers.
Miranda has played in 47 of 48 Wind Surge games. He has hit .345/.408/.588 (.996) with eight doubles and 13 homers. He also leads the organization with 38 RBI.
Twins Pitcher of the Week: Josh Winder, Wichita Wind Surge
Another repeat choice, Winder is back on the list. In his start this week, he gave up one run on four hits over seven innings. He struck out seven without issuing a walk.
On the season, Winder has made 10 starts. He is 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, the 24-year-old has struck out 65 batters and walked just ten.
Other Strong Performances this Week
St. Paul Saints
Mark Contreras was a minor league Gold Glove outfielder in 2019. This week, he put up huge numbers for the Saints. In six games and 25 plate appearances, he hit .409/.480/.909 (1.389) with two doubles and three homers. In the series in Columbus, Contreras had 20 total bases and three homers. Brent Rooker continues to hit for a low average while bashing the ball and getting on base. In five games, he hit .235/.435/.588 (1.023) with three doubles and a home run. He currently has a streak of reaching base safely in 15 consecutive games.
Lefty Andrew Vasquez pitched twice and tossed 4 1/3 innings. He gave up zero runs, zero hits, walked none and struck out six batters. Long-time MLB veteran Nick Vincent joined the team and pitched twice, working a scoreless inning each time. Bryan Sammons went five innings in his start this week. He gave up just one run on two hits over five innings. However, he did walk four and struck out three. Ian Hamilton hasn't allowed an earned run since May 18th. That covers 11 games and 16 innings. The 11 outings rank tied for fifth-longest in the Triple-A East.
Wichita Wind Surge
Along with Miranda, BJ Boyd had a big week. The “outfielder-turned football player-turned back to the outfield” played in all six games. He hit .381/.480/.619 (1.099) with two doubles and a homer. Aaron Whitefield had a strong week. He hit .407/.429/.556 (.984) with a double and a homer. He also stole four bases. He is now hitting .314 on the season. Andrew Bechtold has really come on after a slow start. During this week, he hit .261/.320/.609 (.929) with two doubles and two homers. In four games, David Banuelos hit .385/.529/.385 (.914).
While Winder had one terrific start, Austin Schulfer had two terrific starts. Over 11 combined innings, the righty from Wisconsin-Milwaukee did not allow a run. He gave up seven hits, walked four and struck out 13 batters. What a week! On Sunday, Chris Vallimont tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out nine.
Cedar Rapids Kernels
If we’re looking for highlights, Gabriel Maciel was certainly one. In five games, he hit .357/.438/.571 (1.009). And...how about his walk-off grand slam this week?
Also nice to see outfielder DaShawn Keirsey return from his hamstring injury. He went 2-for-3 on Sunday with a double and a three-run inside-the-park home run.
Trey Cabbage led the offense this week. In six games, he hit .300/.348/.700 (1.048) with two doubles, two homers and six RBI.
The Kernels got some big hits this past week, but man, did they ever get some great pitching performances! Tyler Beck tossed four scoreless innings (2 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts). Andrew Cabezas tossed five scoreless innings (4 hits, 2 walks, six strikeouts). Ben Gross gave up two unearned runs over five innings (4 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts. Jon Olsen tossed five scoreless innings (1 hit, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. Kody Funderburk had a strange start too. He walked six batters in four innings, but he didn’t give up a run, or even a hit. Zach Featherstone gave up an unearned run over 3 2/3 innings this week. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out seven batters. Derek Molina tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six.
Ft. Myers Might Mussels
Infielder Will Holland hit .267/.500/.467 (.967) with three doubles. He also had six walks over his five games played.
Sawyer Gipson-Long gave up just one run on six hits over six innings this week in his start. He struck out five. Bobby Milacki gave up one run on five hits over five innings. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Miguel Rodriguez and Louie Varland each had a start in which they gave up two runs (1 earned) on seven hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. Osiris German and Matthew Swain each struck out four batters over three scoreless innings (in two games) this past week.
We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches.
St. Paul Saints
It was another rough week for Keon Broxton. He played in four games and went 1-for-15 (.067) with 10 strikeouts in 16 plate appearances.
The Saints had a couple of rough starts. Rob Whalen gave up seven runs on seven hits and four walks over just 2 2/3 innings. Charlie Barnes had a rough start… actually a rough inning. However, he was able to recover from a seven run (6 ER) inning to provide five innings.
Wichita Wind Surge
Caleb Hamilton played all six games. He went 3-for-21 (.143), though he did get on base 31% of his 26 plate appearances.
Minnesota native Jordan Milbrath continued to struggle. He came into one game with a big lead. He gave up three runs on two hits and a walk and recorded just one out. In four games and 5 1/3 innings, he has now walked 11 batters.
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Max Smith played in all six games, but he went just 1-for-19 (.053) with nine strikeouts. Michael Helman went 1-for-18 (.056) over five games. Alex Isola played in four games and went 1-for-11 (.091), though he got on base at a 33% clip.
Ft. Myers Might Mussels
Willie Joe Garry went 4-for-19 (.211). Aaron Sabato went 3-for-21 (.167), though he did walk five times.
Monday was Opening Day in the Florida Complex League. Yes, that is the league formerly known as the Gulf Coast League (GCL). With the elimination of minor league affiliates last offseason, the Twins no longer have a rookie-league team in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Instead, players not with full-season affiliates remain at the Florida Complex. Hence, the Florida Complex League. With the new creative naming conventions in minor league baseball this year, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to read that there is also an Arizona Complex League.
So, Monday was Opening Day in the FCL, and the FCL Twins hosted the FCL Orioles. I believe they even played at Hammond Stadium. The Twins lost by a score of 6-1. (Box Score). Below is the roster, so check out which players will be playing in the FCL to start their season.
While we know very little about many of these players because most have played in the DSL, or not at all yet after signing, we do know that this is a melting pot of players from around the globe. You’ll also notice there is a strong representation from the Dominican Republic. I have included their age and where they are from. Please note that some of the older players on the roster have been recently signed out of independent leagues and have yet to be added to a full-season roster.
The FCL Twins will be managed by Takashi Miyoshi. There will be four pitching coaches (Dan Urbina, Calvin Maduro, Jared Gaynor, Bobby Hearn). There will be two hitting coaches (Shawn Schlecter, Seth Conner). Yeison Perez and Brad McKenney will also be coaches on the team.
Cole Bellair (24, USA) Donny Breek (21, Netherlands) Rafael Feliz (20, Dominican Republic) Giovahniey German (20, USA) Landon Leach (21, Canada) - 2nd round pick in 2017, he hasn’t pitched since 2018 due to a variety of injuries. Juan Mendez (22, Dominican Republic) Erasmo Moreno (18, Venezuela) Danny Moreno (21, Venezuela) Matt Mullenbach (24, USA) Ramon Pineda (23, Dominican Republic) - Yes, Michael Pineda’s brother. Zaquiel Puentes (20, Venezuela) John Stankiewicz (22, USA) Lucas Sweany (22, USA) Joseph Yabbour (17, Venezuela) Marco Raya, IL (18, USA) Niklas Rimmel, IL (22, Germany) Left-Handed Pitchers
Develson Aria (20, Dominican Republic) Elpidio Perez (22, Dominican Republic) Samuel Perez (21, Venezuela) Wilker Reyes (19, Dominican Republic) Aaron Rozek (25, USA) - Burnsville native. Ryan Hortsman, IL (28, USA) Jesus Toledo, IL (21, Venezuela) Catchers
Wilfri Castro (20, Dominican Republic) Willy Diaz-Vasquez (21, Dominican Republic) Nick Garland (25, USA) Frank Nigro (23, USA) Ricardo Olivar (19, Venezuela) Laron Smith (20, Canada) Amilcar Vasquez (19, Venezuela) Infielders
Rubel Cespedes (20, Dominican Republic) Jesus Feliz (21, Dominican Republic) Luis Gomez (20, Dominican Republic) Alexander Pena (19, Venezuela) Breilin Ramirez (18, Domincan Republic) Jose Rodriguez (19, Venezuela) Yonardy Soto (18, Dominican Republic) Wander Valdez (21, Dominican Republic) Jim Caceres, IL (20, Dominican Republic) Outfielders
Carlos Aguiar (19, Venezuela) Luis Baez (20, Domincan Republic) Rhodery Diaz (20, Dominican Republic) Nelson Roberto (20, Dominican Republic) Emmanuel Rodriguez (18, Dominican Republic) Kala’i Rosario (19, USA) Malfrin Sosa (18, Dominican Republic) Miguel Vallejo (19, Dominican Republic) Please feel free to ask questions about these players if you have any.
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects have performed on the season (as well as too many unfortunate injuries). The Top 20 Prospect Rankings will be updated very soon.
#1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – St. Paul (2 rehab games, went 3-6 with 2 homers, 2 K), Minnesota (42 games, .260/.303/.442 (.745) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homers, 26 RBI, 10 BB, 36 K)
#2 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
#3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – St. Paul (3 games, went 3-11 with two homers, two walks, 8 strikeouts), Minnesota (41 games, .250/.359/.417 (.776) with 7 doubles, 5 homers, 13 RBI, 18 BB, 45 K)
#4 - Ryan Jeffers (Minnesota) – St. Paul (24 games, .217/.340/.446 (.786) with four doubles, five homers, 16 BB, 26 K), Minnesota (28 games, .200/.269/.411 (.680) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 14 RBI, 9 BB, 37 K)
#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain)
#6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 5 GS, 18.2 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 27 K, 5.79 ERA, 1.71 WHIP
#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 28 games, .264/.333/.340 (.673) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 11 RBI, 10 BB, 32 K, 4 SB (on Injured List, Concussion)
#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 47 games, .182/.381/.296 (.676) with 9 doubles, 3 homers, 17 RBI, 47 BB, 66 K
#9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain)
#10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th)
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesotal) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (12 games, .105/.128/.211 (.339) with 1 BB, 8 K)
#12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (40 games, .226/.371/.511 (.882) with 6 doubles, 11 homers, 28 BB, 53 K), Minnesota (8 games, .103/.133/.241 (375) with 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 13 K)
#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 17 games, .333/.384/.621 (1.005) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 28 K. (on IL after having hamate bone surgery)
#14 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 40 games, .200/.302/.280 (582) with 3 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer, 24 RBI, 21 BB, 38 K, 7 SB)
#15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 7 GS, 31.2 IP, 22 H, 18 BB, 42 K, 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP (about to go on the IL)
#16 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips)
#17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – St. Paul (5 games, .286/.318/.571 (.890) with 3 doubles, 1 homer, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (21 games, .140/.189/.220 (409) with 1 double, 1 homer, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 20 K)
#18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured)
#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 47 games, .345/.408/.588 (996) with 8 doubles, 13 homers, 38 RBI, 17 BB, 25 K (promoted to AAA St. Paul on Monday)
#20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (5 GS, 21.1 IP, 24 H, 4 BB, 23 K, 4.64 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (Miguel Rodriguez, Brent Headrick, TBD, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Louie Varland, Bobby Milacki):
Lansing @ Cedar Rapids:(Tyler Watson, Ben Gross, Cody Laweryson, Tyler Beck, Kody Funderburk, Jon Olsen)
Wichita @ Midland: (Jason Garcia, Jordan Balazovic, Bryan Sammons, Chris Vallimont, Austin Schulfer, Jason Garcia)
Iowa @ St. Paul: (Yennier Cano (opener)/Rob Whalen, Andrew Albers, Michael Pineda (Rehab), Charlie Barnes, TBD, TBD):
Feel free to provide some feedback below regarding these reports. What do you like to read? What types of information would you like added? Also, feel free to ask any questions you like.