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  1. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 10, Omaha 2 Box Score In front of a season-high crown the St. Paul Saints turned on the bats in a 10-2 beatdown over division foe Omaha. The Saints' approach at the plate was versatile, using three doubles, six singles, and a Tim Beckham homer to plate the most runs scored since a June 19th extra-innings victory over Columbus. The offense wasn't the only storyline; starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez (W, 3-0) was dominant, tossing six innings of one-run, three-hit baseball while striking out two. For the third time this season, Sanchez didn't allow a single walk. The bullpen trio of Jake Petricka, Hunter Wood, and Ian Hamilton was equally impressive, pitching a combined three innings of no-hit ball while striking out three. Beckham, Mark Contreras, Jose Godoy, and Braden Bishop all tallied multi-hit games for the Saints and combined for nine of ten hits recorded by the team. Contreras is off to a hot start in July, hitting safely in all three games with two doubles, a homer, and four RBI. Emerging as the face of the Saints' offense, Contreras is slashing .244/.340/.434 (.744) on the season with 13 doubles, eight homers, and 34 RBI. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 10, Springfield 9 Box Score There have been a number of mountains and unfortunately some valleys for the Wind Surge in a 2022 season filled with highs and lows. Winning extra-inning games isn't one of those lows. Following a two-hour rain delay, the Surge used a Kyle Schmidt two-run homer in the eighth inning to secure the win in a game that was scheduled for seven innings. The win now puts the Surge at 6-2 in extra-inning games in the 2022 season. Assigned to Wichita on June 17 from High-A Cedar Rapids, Schmidt punched a 3-2 pitch over the left-center field wall to score Edouard Julien from second and give the Surge a 10-8 lead. The blast was Schmidt's first at the Double-A level. Anthony Prato and Kevin Merrell gave the Surge an early lead with back-to-back homers in the second inning to give Wichita a 3-0 lead. Chris Williams also homered, punching a fourth-inning fastball over the left-field wall for his eighth home run of the season. Prato had the strongest day at the plate for the Wind Surge, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a single along with his home run. Starting pitcher Kody Funderburk allowed four runs on four hits with a walk while striking out three through 3 1/3 innings. And while it wasn't his strongest outing, Funderburk still outs a 3.06 ERA and 1.46 WHIP on the year through 19 games and five starts. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 5, Cedar Rapids 4 Box Score Despite a four-hit game from Alerick Soularie the Kernels dropped a one-run contest to the Timber Rattlers on Sunday afternoon. The Kernels have now lost five in a row. An honorable mention recipient for our Minor League Hitter of the Month, Soularie punched four singles and stole a base in the series finale against Wisconsin. Soularie is heating up as of recent and is now slashing .217/.315/.371 (.701) on the season. After a rough start from Pierce Banks, reliever Tyler Palm settled in, pitching three innings of no-run, one-hit ball while striking out for and walking one. Matthew Swain followed Palm and was solid, but gave up a pair of two-out hits in the eighth inning that allowed the Timber Rattlers to take the lead. In addition to Soularie, Kyler Fedko and Wander Javier tallied multi-game hits. Will Holland recorded his fifth homer of the season when he launched a three-run bomb over the left-field wall in the third inning. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers, Dunedin POSTPONED Sunday's tilt against the Blue Jays was postponed due to severe weather and will be made up as part of a double-header when the two teams face off in a July 22-24 series. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day: Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 4-for-5, SB Pitcher of the Day: Aaron Sanchez (St. Paul) - 6.0 IP, 3 H, R, 2 K PROSPECT SUMMARY Check out the Prospect Tracker for much more on the new Twins Top 20 prospects after seeing how they did on Tuesday. With the turning of the calendar to July, Twins Daily has updated its Top 20 Prospect rankings. #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 R, BB #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-2, RBI, BB, K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:40 PM CST) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 4.50 ERA) Amarillo @ Wichita (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett (0-1, 2.03 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Tampa (5:30 PM CST) - TBD
  2. TRANSACTIONS RHP Josh Winder was optioned to the St. Paul Saints after being activated from IL RHP Jake Faria was released by the Minnesota Twins organization RHP Cody Laweryson was promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. RHP Hunter McMahon was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. RHP Jonathan Lavallee joined the Mighty Mussels from the Complex. SAINTS SENTINEL Buffalo 5, St. Paul 4, F/10 Box Score Home runs by John Andreoli (two-run) and Spencer Steer—a solo and his 11th of the Triple-A season—gave the Saints a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning, but St. Paul was unable to drive in any more runs as they ultimately fell in extra innings. Despite coming out on the losing end, the Saints pitching staff by and large pitched phenomenally as a group. Cole Sands took the rubber to start and pitched five innings, striking out six and surrendering only three hits. Unfortunately, an error by Jermaine Palacios resulted in the Bisons scoring three runs, though none of them were earned. Hunter Wood and Evan Sisk eached tossed a scoreless inning in relief, but Yennier Cano and Ian Hamilton gave up one run apiece in the eighth and 10th innings, respectively, to give Buffalo the win. In total, the St. Paul pitching staff struck out 11 batters and allowed only a single earned run. WIND SURGE WISDOM San Antonio 11, Wichita 2 Box Score The Wind Surge were handed a good old-fashioned beat down at the hands of the Missions on Friday in Wichita. San Antonio touched Casey Legumina and Melvi Acosta for five runs each across the second, sixth, and seventh innings. Matt Wallner was the only Wind Surge batter who put up a fight, going 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and two runs scored. Wallner’s batting average and OPS have risen to .286 and 1.007, respectively, since beginning the season 3-for-41. He is another Twins prospect who is due for a promotion to the Twin Cities. KERNELS NUGGETS West Michigan 10, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score Despite a strong offensive night and with lefty Cade Povich on the mound, the Kernels were unable to overcome the Whitecaps on Friday. Alerick Soularie led off the bottom of the first innings with his seventh home run of the season; he finished the night 2-for-5 and now owns a .704 OPS after getting off to an extremely slow start to begin the season. Wander Javier also went 2-for-5—he contributed a double and a triple—and drove in two runs. But it was Christian Encarnacion-Strand who led Cedar Rapids at the dish, going 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and three RBI. Thirty-eight of his 76 hits have gone for extra bases and the former Oklahoma State slugger possess a .923 OPS in 64 games at High-A. Don’t be surprised if he earns a promotion to Double-A in the not so distant future. Cade Povich struggled to miss bats across his 4 ⅔ innings of work. His fastball sat in the low-90s according to the broadcast and the Whitecap batters did a good job of not chasing his breaking stuff outside of the zone. He finished with five strikeouts and two walks and surrendered seven runs with five of them earned. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers @ Lakeland, PPD COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Red Sox 1, FCL Twins 0 Box Score FCL Red Sox 4, FCL Twins 1 Box Score Fredy Michel’s solo home run—his second of the season—drove in the FCL Twins' lone run in 14 innings of play. Righty Tomas Cleto tossed four innings of scoreless ball to begin the second game of the double-header, striking out five and walking none. Prospect Luis Rijo—who is on rehab assignment—threw two innings in the first game, in which he allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out three. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Angels 8, DSL Twins 7 Box Score Starting pitcher Cristian Jimenez was dominant for the Twins across four innings of work, striking out seven and surrendering only one walk, hit, and run. Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up seven runs—only three earned—over the course of the final three innings. Shortstop Isaac Pena (2-for-4, 2 R) was the lone Twin to pick up an extra-base hit, his third double of the young season. Second baseman Rafael Cruz also picked up a multi-hit game, going 3-for-3 with an RBI, walk, and two runs scored. Catcher Daniel Pena (1-for-3) led the team with three RBI. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands (St. Paul): 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids): 2-for-4, 2B (20), HR (15), 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-3 #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, HR, RBI #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2B (13), HR (16), RBI, 2 R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2B (20), HR (15), 3 RBI FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Buffalo (3:05 PM CST) - RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-0, 4.62 ERA) Wichita vs. San Antonio (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland (6-1, 3.27 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. West Michigan (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney (2-2, 2.40 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (3:00 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Lakeland (TBD) - TBD
  3. TRANSACTIONS INF Anthony Prato promoted to AA Wichita OF Dylan Neuse promoted to A+ Cedar Rapids OF Nelson Roberto promoted to A Fort Myers C Jair Camargo placed on IL (AA Wichita) RHP Chi Chi González optioned to AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 5, Iowa 8 Box Score Dereck Rodriguez: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K HR: Spencer Steer (3), Alex Kirilloff (4) Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-for-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Tim Beckham (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) Iowa kicked St. Paul into a hole early on Saturday, and they never recovered. The Cubs jumped all over Dereck Rodriguez in the first inning, plating six runs before the mayhem came to a merciful end. Rodriguez stayed in for another inning, but his night was far shorter than he probably anticipated. St. Paul didn’t take it laying down, though. Spencer Steer popped his third AAA homer, because of course he did, while Tim Beckham drove in runs in the 3rd and 5th innings to slash the lead to two. Alex Kirilloff brought the game within a run with a solo homer in the 7th. Then the momentum ended for St. Paul. Iowa added three runs thanks in part to a homer from Technically Old Friend John Hicks. Jake Faria gritted out six clutch, effective innings, but the task was too tall in the end. Of note: Steer played SS in this game. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 8, Frisco 7 Box Score Louie Varland: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K HR: Chris Williams (4), Edouard Julien (2), Matt Wallner (11) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, HR, R, RBI), Matt Wallner (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday. Louie Varland made his bid for pitcher of the day, striking out nine batters over five innings with just two earned runs to his name. On any other day, that start would win him the title, but some other arms were just a bit better. The bats followed a homer-heavy itinerary. Chris Williams, Edouard Julien, and Matt Wallner all crushed bombs; Williams was the only one who did so with runners on base, though. The Wind Surge carried the lead into the 9th, but the usually reliable Evan Sisk was fallible and allowed the tying run to score. The teams exchanged blows in the 10th before Dennis Ortega sent fans home happy with a zombie runner-scoring single. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 7, Lansing Lugnuts 5 Box Score Brent Headrick: 5 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K HR: Alerick Soularie (5) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (4-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI), Pat Winkel (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R) The Kernels won again on Saturday. It was the “thousand paper-cuts” method of execution, but that counts all the same. Cedar Rapids was like David Bowie in his Berlin sessions—a consistent force pumping out more hits than you can believe. All but two batters reached base. Brent Headrick continued his excellent start to the season. He netted 17 outs—perhaps the most this author has observed from a Twins minor league starter this year—and never found himself in consistent trouble. The lefty struck out nine hitters. Alerick Soularie was the star of the game, going a perfect 4-for-4 and hitting the Kernels’ first cycle in 13 years. He also walked once. Things got tight in the final innings as Lansing plated a few runs, but the Kernels pulled through in the end. Old Friend Gabriel Maciel was the final out. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 8, Tampa 2 Box Score Travis Adams: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: Keoni Cavaco (3) Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R) Fort Myers smacked Tampa on Saturday. Travis Adams set the tone, making sure that his hitters didn’t have to worry about hitting their way out of a deficit. The young righty dominated, allowing just a single earned run over five innings of work with eight strikeouts and no walks. Yeah, that’ll play. The bats picked him up almost immediately. The Mighty Mussels took a slim 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning before Keoni Cavaco blew the doors down and smacked a three-run homer. Cavaco then added an RBI single in the 7th. It’s been a good last 10 days for the former first-round pick, as he came into the day slashing .286/.333/.524 over that stretch. Jaylen Nowlin and Hunter McMahon worked four combined stellar innings in relief, allowing 0 earned runs while punching out nine batters. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 17 Tampa batters overall on Saturday. The Mighty Mussels must have had intel on Tarpons catcher Antonio Gomez, as four different players nabbed a steal off him; Jake Rucker nabbed his 12th of the season, Emmanuel Rodriguez swiped his 11th. Uber prospect Jasson Dominguez went hitless, netting an RBI and striking out once. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adamsm, Ft. Myers Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alerick Soularie, Cedar Rapids PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, R, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, RBI, BB, SB #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4, R, BB, K #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (1:08 PM) - RHP Cole Sands Frisco @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (12:05 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek Tampa @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM) - RHP Pierson Ohl Tampa @ Fort Myers (Game Two) - TBD
  4. TRANSACTIONS RHP Jharel Cotton cleared waivers and accepted the assignment to St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 8, St. Paul 7 Box Score The Saints rallied late, scoring all seven of their runs after the first four innings, but were unable to overcome the Storm Chasers. Alex Kirilloff was one of the top performers for St. Paul, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and walk. He’s now picked up seven hits in his last 14 at-bats at Triple-A. Kevin Merrell produced the Saints’ best game offensively, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Unfortunately for St. Paul, the pitching staff did not have their best stuff tonight as the collection of Mario Sanchez, Juan Minaya, Wladimir Pinto, and Jharel Cotton combined to allow nine hits and walk seven. Royce Lewis appeared at third base for the first time in his career as the Minnesota Twins attempt to prepare him for a utility role in the majors this season. He went 0-for-5 at the plate with four strikeouts. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 5, Wichita 3 Box Score The Wind Surge rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead but surrendered three runs in the top of the eighth to fall to the Cardinals. Blayne Enlow started on the mound for Wichita and threw four encouraging innings, allowing two runs, a home run, and striking out six. Enlow’s fastball sat in the low- to mid-90s while his slider showed sharp break and hovered between 82-84 mph. While his command—particularly that of his non-fastballs—was spotty, the former 3rd round pick has looked solid for two-straight outings since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has served up a home run in all three of his starts this spring—a rate that will eventually regress—but he’s struck out 12 and not surrendered a walk since being called up to Double-A. Steven Cruz was saddled with the loss after giving up three runs in the eighth. Kody Funderburk, Argenis Angulo, and Alex Scherff pitched four innings of scoreless ball. Michael Helman was the only Wind Surger batter who registered more than one hit, going 3-for-4 with a double. Austin Martin went 1-for-3 with an RBI and stole his 18th bag of the season in the first inning; he’s 32-for-37 during stolen base opportunities in 126 minor league games. KERNELS NUGGETS Lake County 5, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score The Kernels bats where quieted and Sawyer Gipson-Long threw his first mediocre game of the season as the Captains sailed to an easy win. Gipson-Long surrendered two home runs—and four runs total—in 4 ⅓ innings, which was more than enough offense to earn Lake County the victory. Prior to Friday, Gipson-Long had not allowed a home run since April 23 nor an earned run since April 30. Melvi Acosta, Bobby Milacki, and Andrew Cabezas pitched well out of the pen, striking out four and allowing only one run over the game’s final 4 2/3 innings. Christian Encarnacion-Strand contributed the Kernels lone extra-base hit—a double—and also drew a walk. He now owns a .326 batting average and .937 OPS in 35 High-A games. Alerick Soularie continued on his hot streak since his frozen start to the season, and contributed two hits. He is 9-for-29 (.310) with two home runs, two triples, and seven RBI over his last eight games. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Fort Myers 3, Clearwater 1 Game 2: Fort Myers 3, Clearwater 0 Game 1 Box Score Game 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels took both games against the Threshers on Friday to push their record to a blister 24-12 on the season. While the bats were relatively quite, picking up only nine hits across 14 innings, the Fort Myers pitchers were loud, holding Clearwater to only six hits and a single run. Steven Hajjar earned the win in the first game of the day, pitching five innings of scoreless ball, striking out six. Hunter McMahon struckout five in two innings of relief. During the second game, Malik Barrington, Samuel Perez, and Matthew Swain combined to strike out five and allowed only four Threshers to reach base. Kala’i Rosario led the way for the Mighty Mussels at the plate in Game 1, smacking two doubles and driving in two runs. Noah Cardenas also connected for two doubles. In Game 2, Dylan Neuse crush a home run and added a double while Jake Rucker added two hits, with one being a triple. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hajjar (Fort Myers) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Kevin Merrell (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, RBI, SB #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, 4 K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 2-for-3, BB #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-4, 3 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-5, 3 BB #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-2, BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul at Omaha ( 6:35 PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (1-0, 1.72 ERA) Wichita vs. Springfield (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-2, 9.95 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Lake County (6:35 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (2-0, 1.80 ERA) Fort Myers at Clearwater (5:30 PM CST) - TBD
  5. TRANSACTIONS Following the Twins' game on Sunday, OF Mark Contreras was optioned to St. Paul. Presumably, Kyle Garlick will come off of the Injured List before the Monday series against the A's. SAINTS SENTINEL Game 1 St. Paul 3, Columbus 5 Box Score SP: Bailey Ober - 5 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K HR: Jermaine Palacios (2) Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-4), Kyle Garlick (2-4, R, K), Caleb Hamilton (2-2, BB) The Saints played two on Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Clippers. The first game was started by Bailey Ober as he made his rehab start with the team. Ober totaled 72 pitches through five innings for the Saints but did not have the best return to the mound on Sunday. Ober gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits. He struck out seven without giving up any walks. Even with all of Ober’s efforts, the Saints offense was not able to come through with run support in Game 1 to give themselves a victory. Alex Kirilloff did have a good return to the Saints on Sunday as he went 2-for-4 as the designated hitter in the first game. The Saints mounted a comeback in the top of the sixth thanks to RBI singles from Derek Fisher and Jose Godoy, but the offense was not able to pick itself back up in the seventh to make a comeback. The loss in game one to the Clippers brought the Saints losing streak to six in a row. Game 2 St. Paul 4, Columbus 5 (8 Innings) Box Score SP: Dereck Rodriguez - 4 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K HR: Curtis Terry (4) Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-3, R, BB), Curtis Terry (2-4, R, HR, RBI (16), K) Dereck Rodriguez was on the mound for the start in Game 2 for the Saints and his afternoon on the mound lasted an inning shorter than Ober's. The Clippers hitters were able to find the location where many of Rodriguez’s pitches were heading, accounting for seven hits and three runs, all of which were scored in the bottom of the first. As he cooled off from a rough first inning, the Saints' offense put two runs on the board in the top of the second thanks to RBI singles from David Banuelos and Ernie Yake to bring themselves within a run of the Clippers. The game remained scoreless until the top of the fifth when Saint's first baseman Curtis Terry crushed a two-run home run to give the Saints their first lead of the day at 4-3. The Saints had the lead going into the bottom of the seventh to close the game out and snap their losing streak. However, the Clippers were able to tie the game up and force extra innings thanks to a game-tying home run from second baseman Tyler Freeman off of Trevor Megill. The Saints could not amount any runs for a lead in the top of the eighth, the game went into the bottom half of the inning with Megill still on the mound. That worked in favor of the Clippers as they walked off Megill on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Oscar Gonzalez. The second loss in the doubleheader brings the Saints losing streak to seven straight. They will look to break the losing streak on the road Tuesday against the Omaha Storm for their first matchup of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita, Northwest Arkansas Canceled The Wind Surge’s series finale against Northwest Arkansas on the road was canceled due to rain. The game will not be made up for future dates as the teams do not meet again during the season’s first half. Casey Legumina was scheduled to pitch for the Wind Surge on Sunday but will piggyback in relief on Tuesday for Matt Canterino who is scheduled to start for the Wind Surge. Wind Surge catcher Andrew Bechtold and Michael Helman had seven-game hitting streaks going into Sunday’s game which they still keep and have a chance to extend on Tuesday against the Springfield Cardinals at home. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Peoria 3 Box Score SP: John Stankiewicz 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: Alerick Soularie (2) Multi-hit games: Soularie (2-3, 3 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI (8), BB, K) The Kernels completed their final game against the Chiefs on Sunday winning in a 6-3 final and taking the series five to one against Peoria. The 6-3 victory for the Kernels was thanks in major part to second baseman Alerick Soularie, who scored three of the six runs for the Kernels and drove in four, finishing the day with his best offensive performance of the season so far. John Stankiewicz got the start for the Kernels making his first start of the season for them after spending all of April in Ft. Myers and making his Kernels debut out of the bullpen a week earlier. Stankiewicz pitched five solid innings for the Kernels allowing two earned runs on seven hits and only one walk while striking out five. In the four innings to follow, the Kernels bullpen only allowed three base runners on a hit, a walk, and an error. The Kernels will return home for a two-week homestand on Tuesday playing their first series against the Lake County Captains. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Palm Beach 0 Box Score SP: Marco Raya 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, SB (7), RBI (9)), Noah Miller (2-5, 2 R, K), Emmanuel Rodriguez (2-4, R, 3B, 2 RBI (14), SB (7), BB, K), Kyle Schmidt (2-4, RBI (14)) The Mighty Mussels extended their winning streak to seven games Sunday afternoon completing a six-game sweep over the Palm Beach Cardinals with a shutout. The six-game sweep over the Cardinals became the first-ever six-game series sweep by the Mighty Mussels in franchise history. Marco Raya made his fourth start and threw his second scoreless outing of the season completing four innings in the frame. Raya only allowed one base runner in his four innings of work with a one-out walk in the top of the first. Following Raya in the Mussels shutout was Jaylen Nowlin making his seventh relief appearance of the season. Nowlin went three innings for the Mussels allowing only three base runners on a hit, walk and hit by pitch and registered four strikeouts. The final pitcher to come into the game for the Mighty Mussels Malik Barrington who recorded a six-out save for the Mussels. Barrington did surrender three hits in his two innings of work but retired five of the six outs he needed via strikeout. The Mussels offense had a slow start to the game as it was scoreless through five and a half innings. Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Mussels got the offense going thanks to an RBI single from Kyle Schmidt that scored Emmanuel Rodriguez. The Mussels added more insurance runs in the seventh with an RBI single from Mikey Perez and a bases-loaded walk from Kala’i Rosario. Then in the bottom of the eighth, Jake Rucker had an RBI double scoring Luis Baez and later in the inning, Emmanuel Rodriguez had a bases-clearing triple that brought the score to 6-0. The Mussels will begin their next series on the road Tuesday at Clearwater with a semi-double header. The first game Tuesday is the resumption of a suspended game from May 1 that will start in the top of the 11th inning tied 4-4. The regularly scheduled game against Clearwater will start a half-hour after the suspended game’s conclusion. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Hitter of the Day – Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, 3 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI (8), BB, K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-3 #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, R, 3B, 2 RBI (14), SB (7), BB, K #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 2 R, K #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4 TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 17. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - Matt Canterino Lake Country @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Clearwater Game 1, Resuming May 1 Suspended Game (4:00 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Clearwater Game 2 (5:30 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  6. While prospects can improve other tools, speed is an area that tends to decline as players add more muscle and age. According to the 20-80 scouting scale, multiple players on the list below are currently faster than expected in the future. Here are the top-five speed tool prospects in the Twins organization. 5. Yasser Mercedes, OF Current Run/Future Run: 55/50 Minnesota signed Mercedes as part of the 2022 international signing period, where he ranked as one of the top prospects in the class. It’s easy to see why he is projected to lose speed as he continues to age. He is currently 6-foot-3, and he weighs 180 pounds, so he is projected to add weight as he continues to mature. Scouting reports leading into the signing period noted that his speed currently helps him to make up for inefficient route running in center field. Many believe he can stick in center, and his speed is one tool that makes him an intriguing player to keep an eye on. 4. Alerick Soularie, 2B Current Run/Future Run: 55/55 Soularie had to wait until 2021 to make his pro debut after the Twins selected him in the 2nd round of the 2020 MLB Draft. He missed a large chunk of the 2021 season with a fractured foot, but he appeared in 34 games. He posted a .727 OPS during that time while going 9-for-10 in stolen base opportunities. Most of his defensive innings have come at second base, but the organization hasn’t been afraid to use his speed in the outfield. With his foot injury behind him, he can get his first full season in the books this year and show his true speed potential. 3. Royce Lewis, SS/CF Current Run/Future Run: 60/50 Like Soularie, Lewis missed significant time in 2021. However, there are bigger questions about whether or not Lewis will still have his top-graded speed after knee surgery. In 2019, Lewis went 22-for-32 in stolen base attempts at High- and Double-A. Questions are swirling about his future defensive position, but there is no question about his athletic ability and make-up. Lewis continues to fill out his frame, which will continue to take away from his speed while adding to his power potential. Steals aren’t as prevalent across baseball, but Lewis will be able to transition to other defensive positions because of his speed. 2. Keoni Cavaco, SS Current Run/Future Run: 60/60 Cavaco, the team’s 2019 first-round pick, struggled mightily in his first taste of full-season action. His athleticism was one of the biggest reasons the Twins selected him, as he was considered a late-riser on draft boards. Last season, he went 6-for-8 in stolen base opportunities, but he was also getting on base less than 30% of the time. In 60 games, he committed 24 errors at shortstop, so many believe he will eventually move to third base. As with many other prospects, missing the entire 2020 season hurt Cavaco, and he needs consistent reps and coaching to continue to improve. 1. Will Holland, 2B Current Run/Future Run: 70/70 Holland may be an unfamiliar name to some Twins fans, but the team took him with their fifth-round pick back in 2019. The Auburn product was old for Low-A last season, but his collegiate experience showed through as he posted a .336 OBP. Defensively, he played the majority of his innings at shortstop, but the organization also had him play at second, third, and in center field. In 76 games, he stole 19 bases, so his speed was evident on the base paths. He’s an athletic player that has a chance to fill a utility role at the big-league level. He turns 24-years-old in April, and he should start next season in Cedar Rapids. Who do you think has the best run tool in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  7. In 2021, the Cedar Rapids Kernels found their way back to the playoffs as they have each season since the Twins have been their big-league club in 2013. Brian Dinkelman returns for his fourth season as the Kernels manager, and several of his players return to the roster from last year. That said, there are some exciting prospects in this group at each position. The lineup should be strong, and the pitching staff could be really good. Here we will introduce you to the 2022 Cedar Rapids Kernels Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospects on this roster, and there are some great stories as well. COACHING STAFF Manager: Brian Dinkelman Hitting Coach: Jairo Rodriguez, Shawn Schlechter Pitching Coaches: Mark Moriarity, Richard Salazar PITCHERS Melvi Acosta (26) - Veteran right-hander has worked a lot as both a starter and a relief pitcher. Likely fulfills that same role, eating innings. Split 2021 between Kernels and Wind Surge. Denny Bentley (23) - 33rd round pick in 2018, Bentley broke out with a strong showing in Ft. Myers in 2021. Had 68 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. He had nine saves but often worked more than one inning. Andrew Cabezas (25) - Twins 18th round pick in 2018 from Miami, Cabezas spent 2021 with the Kernels working mostly as a long-reliever. Went 4-1 with a 3.57 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. Osiris German (23) - signed back in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic, German impressed with the Mighty Mussels in 2021. He had 49 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He moved up to Cedar Rapids, struggled a bit, but also struck out 41 batters in 27 2/3 innings. Great changeup. Sawyer Gipson-Long (24) - Started 2021 slow, but after 14 starts in Ft. Myers and six starts in Cedar Rapids, the 2019 sixth-round pick had 134 strikeouts in 97 innings. Big, strong righty with a strong pitch mix. Bradley Hanner (23) - Hard-thrower, the 21st round pick from 2019 posted a 7.13 ERA in Ft. Myers last year. Had 49 strikeouts, but 34 walks, in 41 2/3 innings. Brent Headrick (24) - Ninth round pick in 2019, he made 14 starts in Ft. Myers in 2021 and posted a 3.82 ERA. The lefty had 86 strikeouts and 33 walks in 61 1/3 innings. Missed some time with a shoulder issue. Cody Laweryson (23) - Twins 14th round pick in 2019, he joined the Kernels last season and struck out 73 batters, with just 19 walks, in 58 2/3 innings. The Maine native pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the season and participated in the Fall Stars game. Casey Legumina (24) - He was the Twins eighth-round pick in 2019 after having Tommy John surgery early in the 2019 college season. He made his pro debut in 2021. He went 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 games (8 starts) with the Mighty Mussels. 56 strikeouts, and 14 walks) in 44 2/3 innings. Made one start for Kernels at the end of the season. Definitely, he is one to watch. Bobby Milacki (25) - After being drafted by the Nationals, the Twins signed Milacki in 2021 out of independent ball. For Ft. Myers, he posted a 3.86 ERA in 42 innings. He throws mid-90s fastballs and struck out a batter per inning while walking just seven. Derek Molina (24) - 14th round pick in 2017 out of Merced College where he played shortstop and pitched out of the bullpen. A great athlete, he went 7-1 with a 4.65 ERA last year with the Kernels, but he had 81 strikeouts in 62 innings. Sean Mooney - Twins 12th round pick in 2019, he also had Tommy John surgery that year, so he spent 2020 rehabbing. They were cautious with his innings last year, but with Ft. Myers, he posted a 1.24 ERA and in 29 innings, he struck out 52 batters. He then made three starts in Cedar Rapids and struck out 19 batters in 13 innings. Matt Mullenbach (25) - The Twins signed Mullenbach out of the independent Frontier League early last year. He jumped all over, pitching nine games in the FCL, seven games with the Mighty Mussels, and even one game at Triple-A St. Paul. Jon Olsen (24) - The Twins selected him from UCLA in the 12th round in 2018. He also had Tommy John surgery early that year. He’s had some other surgeries since, and in 2021, he finally was able to make his pro debut. In 16 games with the Kernels (13 starts), he posted a 4.03 ERA in 67 innings. Tyler Palm (27) - signed out of the USPBL in 2018, the 6-9 Palm spent the 2021 season in the Kernels bullpen after making 17 starts for them in 2019. Cade Povich (21) - Povich was the Twins' 3rd round pick in 2021 from Nebraska. Not a Twins Daily top 20 prospects, he ranks 12th in my personal rankings. In three games with the Mussels last year, he gave up one earned run in eight innings. He walked two and struck out 16 batters. The southpaw impressed at Instructs, touching 97 at times, and he’s got a good slider and changeup too. Miguel Rodriguez (23) - signed from Venezuela in 2017, he spent a year each in the DSL and GCL before missing the 2020 season. Last year in Ft. Myers, he went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. In 52 innings, he struck out 58 batters but also walked 26. Aaron Rozek (26) - Burnsville native went to Minnesota State, Mankato, and has bounced around independent leagues in recent years. The Twins signed him early in the year, and he pitched in the FCL, for Ft. Myers, for Cedar Rapids, and even made a start in Wichita. He doesn’t throw hard, but he can mix things up and eat a lot of innings. CATCHERS Jair Camargo (22) - Colombia native spent the 2021 season with the Kernels, often hitting in the cleanup spot. In 71 games, he hit .236/.279/.418 (697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Charles Mack (22) - Twins sixth-round pick in 2018 out of high school in western New York, he has moved up one level each year. During the lost 2020 season, he was transitioning to being a catcher. Last year with the Mighty Mussels, he hit .229/.370/.368 (.738) with seven doubles and seven home runs. His defense also came along nicely. Jeferson Morales (22) - Morales signed with the Twins in 2016 out of Venezuela. He began 2021 with 71 games in Ft. Myers where he hit .237/.377/.407 (.784) with 19 doubles and seven homers. In 25 games with the Kernels, he hit .301/.350/.516 (.866) with five doubles and five homers. Will also play in the outfield. INFIELDERS Christian Encarnacion-Strand (22) - Twins 4th round pick last year from Oklahoma State where he learned from Robin Ventura and Matt Holliday. He hit in 21 of 22 games with the Mussels after signing. He hit .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with two doubles, two triples, and four homers. Can play both corner infield spots. Seth Gray (23) - 4th round pick in 2019 from Wright State, Gray hit .212/.321/.333 (.655) with 13 doubles and 11 home runs in 113 games with the Kernels last year. Has played both corner infield positions. Will Holland (23) - Twins 5th round pick in 2019 from Auburn, he is one of the fastest players in the organization. He hit .214/.336/.401 (.736) with 15 doubles and 10 home runs in 76 games with Ft. Myers last year. He also stole 19 bases. Has played both shortstop and second base, as well as center field. Wander Javier (23) - Big year for Javier who will become a free agent at the end of the year if not added to the 40-man roster. He is a plus-defensive shortstop, but in 96 games with the Kernels last year, he hit .225/.280/.413 (.693) with 15 doubles, ten triples, and 12 home runs last year. Anthony Prato (23) - 7th rounder in 2019, he started last season with 28 games in Ft. Myers. After missing over two months with a broken hamate, he moved up to Cedar Rapids and finished the season with 14 games. Posted a .774 OPS with the Kernels. Aaron Sabato (22) - The Twins drafted the burly first baseman with the 27th overall pick in 2020. He began his career by hitting .189/.365/.357 (.722) over 85 games in Ft. Myers. He did have 15 doubles and 11 homers. But after a few good games, he moved up to Cedar Rapids where, in 22 games, he hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with three doubles and eight homers. Yunior Severino (22) - Severino joined the Twins organization after the 2017 season. In 2021, he played 63 games in Ft. Myers and hit .245/.347/.393 (.740) with 17 doubles and five homers. In 35 games with the Kernels, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. OUTFIELDERS Willie Joe Garry, Jr. (21) - Twins ninth-round pick in 2018 out of high school, Garry spent 2021 with the Mighty Mussels. In 95 games, he hit .197/.298/.303 (.601) with seven doubles, six triples, and four homers. He also stole 24 bases. A strong defensive outfielder, Garry is a great athlete with a ton of talent. He just needs to keep playing. Alerick Soularie (22) - Soularie was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2020 out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 (1.034) with 14 doubles and 16 homers in 76 games over two seasons. Last spring, he had all kinds of foot problems. He ended the season with 28 games in Ft. Myers and hit .219/.344/.324 (.668) with three doubles and two homers. He stole nine bags. Can play second base as well. Kennie Taylor (25) - He was the 14th round pick of the Mets in 2019 from Duke. In 2021, he played in the Mariners system last year, mostly at High-A, but 13 games in Triple-A. He signed with the Twins before spring training. Overall last year, he hit .277/.350/.400 (.750) with 10 doubles and four homers. A few themes appear on this roster. First, the Twins aren’t afraid to draft pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. Second, they certainly like strikeouts from their pitchers and this staff can rack them up. As for position players, there are a lot of players who can play multiple positions. Also, you can see that What are your thoughts on this roster? Who will move up quickly? Who will jump up the prospect rankings?
  8. I can remember talking with a long-time Twins executive a long time ago. He used the phrase "catcher attrition," and I've never forgotten that. It is hard to develop catchers and get them to the big leagues. It is a tough position physically. Not only do they have to try to develop as a hitter, but they have to develop as a catcher. They need to work on improving their ability to block pitches, have good footwork and develop arm strength and accuracy. Now, a huge focus is on presenting pitches, which has a huge impact on plate appearances. It is a physically grueling position. Not only is catching tough on the knees, but foul tips can be incredibly painful. Now try to hit when you can't feel your legs. While the Twins have Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt with big league time, they also have some catchers to watch in High-A and Double-A (as well as a few in the lower levels too). This grouping of five hitting prospects includes three catching prospects who, in my opinion, do have the potential to be big leaguers in some role or capacity if things shake out right for them. In addition to three catchers, this group also contains a couple of high-ceiling hitters looking to find their position. They both could take big jumps up this list in 2022. Let's continue the countdown. #20 - C/OF Jeferson Morales 2021 STATS: .255/.370/.438, 24 2B, 12 HR, 53 RBI, 18.4 K%, 12.0 BB%, 12/15 SB Jeferson Morales may not be a household name among Twins fans, but he has been in the organization since signing out of Venezuela in October of 2016. He played in the DSL in 2018 and the GCL in 2019. Like others, he did not have a 2020 season. He began the 2021 season in Ft. Myers where he hit .237/.377/.407 (.783) with 19 doubles and seven homers. He finished by hitting .301/.350/.516 (.866) with five doubles and five homers in 25 games in Cedar Rapids. He also stole 12 bases. Morales is interesting. While he stands just 5-8 (in his spikes, probably), he has shown really good power. He’s got a good approach at the plate, willing to take his walks. He plays behind the plate where he is a good athlete but has a lot of room for improvement. He also played a lot in the outfield as well. He will turn 23 in May. He should start with the Kernels and hope to get to Double-A by season’s end. #19 - C/1B Alex Isola 2021 STATS: .243/.342/.425, 15 2B, 17 HR, 52 RBI, 21.3 K%, 12.7 BB%, 1/1 SB The Twins selected Alex Isola out of TCU in the 29th round of the 2019 draft. After signing, he played seven games at Elizabethton before moving up to Cedar Rapids. Like others, he missed the 2020 season, but he was invited to Twins spring training as a part of the depth camp in 2021. When the season began, he returned to Cedar Rapids, which of course was now the High-A affiliate. He is solid behind the plate, strong and athletic with a good, accurate arm (though he threw out just 8% of base stealers in 2021). His season started out slow in terms of batting average, but he was still getting on base. As it approached midseason, he put things together and started adding more and more power. He played a lot at first base just to keep his bat in the lineup most games. He should head back to big-league spring training before jumping up to Wichita to start the season. #18 - C Jair Camargo 2021 STATS: .236/.279/.418, 7 2B, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 37.9 K%, 4.3 BB%, 3/4 SB The Twins acquired Jair Camargo in the Brusdar Graterol/Kenta Maeda deal with the Dodgers. He had originally signed in July of 2015 out of Colombia. He moved up the Dodgers system slowly including playing in the Midwest League in 2019. He didn’t play in 2020, of course, but the Twins sent him to Cedar Rapids for the 2021 season. He played in 71 games, most behind the plate, but also a dozen games at first base. He fits the look of a catcher, compact and strong. He has room to improve behind the plate in all areas, but he is a good athlete and has a strong arm. He threw out 23% of base stealers. Camargo does have some real power. He hit 13 homers and several of them went to the opposite field. There isn’t a pitch that Camargo won’t swing at. In 316 plate appearances, he walked just 12 times! That may be the key to any future success he has moving forward. Camargo won’t turn 23 until July. #17 - 2B/OF Alerick Soularie 2021 STATS: .240/.367/.360, 4 2B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 24.7 K%, 15.3 BB%, 9/10 SB The Twins drafted Alerick Soularie in the second round of the 2020 draft after a powerful career at the University of Tennessee. In 76 games between 2019 and 2020, he hit .336/.448/.586 (1.034) with 15 doubles and 16 homers. He also stole ten bases in 11 attempts. 2021 was set to be his professional debut, but a foot injury in spring training meant that his professional debut was delayed until August. After about a week in the FCL to get some live game action, he moved up to the Mighty Mussels and played 28 games. While he didn’t hit for average, he showed patience and a good eye at the plate. He played a combined 22 games at second base and nine games in left field. If I were to guess, I think he’ll end up in the outfield, but of course having some flexibility won’t hurt at all. Soularie is 22 years old. He should spend most of 2022 in Cedar Rapids. #16 - 2B/3B Yunior Severino 2021 STATS: .273/.372/.430, 29 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 70 RBI, 29.4 K%, 12.2 BB%, 3/3 SB The 22-year-old Yunior Severino has already had an interesting career. He originally signed with Atlanta, but when they were caught for transgressions in their international scouting, he became a free agent and signed quickly with the Twins before the 2018 season. In 2019, he played just 22 games in Cedar Rapids because of a wrist injury. After a lost 2020, he began 2021 in Low-A Ft. Myers. While his overall numbers look solid, the splits are interesting. In 63 games in Ft. Myers, Severino hit just .245/.347/.393 (.740) with 17 doubles and five homers. He moved up to Cedar Rapids and in 35 games, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. His 29 doubles were behind only Jose Miranda in the Twins system. Reports are that he hit the ball hard in Ft. Myers, but that league can really hurt offensive output. If he can stay healthy, he could have a breakout season in 2022. I think this is a pretty interesting group of prospects. First, I think having depth of catchers is a good thing. All three are potentially strong offensively. Each has some defensive talent and some work to do yet. Severino and Soularie both present high-ceiling offensive potential, though each will need to find a defensive home or get better around the diamond. There is certainly talent in this group. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20
  9. 6-10: 10. LHP Jovani Morán 9. LHP Steve Hajjar 8. RHP Marco Raya 7. RHP Chris Vallimont 6. OF Kala’i Rosario 5. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Predicting a breakout for a global top-100 prospect seems odd. For Woods Richardson, you could describe it as more of a bounce back. The Twins received the tall, well-regarded right-hander and Austin Martin in the blockbuster that sent José Berríos to Toronto last July. Woods Richardson had a forgettable season, posting a 5.91 ERA and 14% walk rate in just over 53 innings at Double-A. Even with those numbers, Woods Richardson used his (fluctuating) mid-90s fastball and sharp slider to strike out 77 of the 240 batters he faced. He just turned 21, and his future remains bright. 4. LF/OF Alerick Soularie The Twins picked Soularie in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft after he hit a remarkable .336/.448/.586 in 76 games at Tennessee. Soularie’s 1.068 OPS in 2019 was the third-highest mark in the SEC, behind only JJ Bleday (Marlins No. 5 prospect) and future teammate Austin Martin. Soularie’s future position is questionable, and he’ll likely fill multiple spots as he moves up the system. He was limited with a broken foot early in 2021 but returned to hit .240/.367/.360 in 34 games, mainly for Fort Myers. I’ll take the over on Soularie’s projected impact for 2022. 3. 1B Aaron Sabato It was a rough professional start for Sabato, whom the Twins selected with their first-round pick during the COVID-19 shutdown. The slugging Sabato hit just .189 for Fort Myers but buoyed it with a .365 On-Base Percentage, walking in nearly 20% of his plate appearances. The Twins promoted Sabato despite his shoddy numbers, and he responded hugely. The former North Carolina star hit .253/.402/.613 for an OPS over 1.000 in 97 plate appearances for the Kernels. He bashed eight homers in just 22 games, finally taking advantage of strikes he received for getting ahead in the count. He has a chance to move up quickly in 2022. 2. RHP Jhoan Duran Duran was undoubtedly on his way to Minnesota before an elbow injury derailed his season. Standing 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Duran is an imposing presence with the stuff to boot. He reaches 100 MPH with his fastball and pairs it with a devastating “splinker” hybrid, a pitch that should help him get both lefties and righties out in the majors. The Twins have a slew of potential threes or fours in their system. They only have a few who possess the repertoire to become a true No. 1 starter. Duran fits that bill, and it’s not out of the question that he could operate a spot in the Twins’ rotation as early as mid-2022. 1. OF Emmanuel Rodríguez It’s ill-advised to project teenagers as future stars, but if there’s one player in the Twins’ system who could warrant that excitement, it’s Rodríguez. Signed as an international free agent in 2019, Rodríguez quickly established himself during his first professional season. The 18-year-old left-handed swinger slugged .524 in 37 games for the FCL Twins. Rodríguez posted an .870 OPS despite striking out in nearly 40% of his plate appearances. More consistent contact and an adapted approach would turn Rodríguez, who plays a strong centerfield, into a true force. That could happen in 2022. Who are you most excited about? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Current Second Baseman: Jorge Polanco Entering last season, Polanco struggled through parts of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He dealt with ankle issues that required surgery in back-to-back offseasons. Minnesota shifted him to second base, putting together his most valuable season in his big-league career. In 152 games, he hit .269/.323/.503 (.826) with 35 doubles and 33 home runs. Defensively, he finished the season as the AL's fourth highest-ranked second baseman, according to SDI. Minnesota used him occasionally at shortstop, but it's in the team's best interest to keep him at second base. 40-Man Roster Options Luis Arráez and Nick Gordon are two potential second basemen on the 40-man roster. However, both players fit better into a utility role for the team. Last season, Arráez posted a 105 OPS+, and he was one of the league's best defenders at third base. Gordon, a former first-round pick, made his big-league debut in 2021, but he is already 25-years-old. He showed some defensive flexibility that may be valuable in a bench role, and he hit .240/.292/.355 (.647) in 73 games. Arráez and Gordon can fill in at second base to keep Polanco's ankles healthy if the need arises. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's second base depth. Minnesota has multiple second-base options populating the rosters in the upper minors. Spencer Steer was a third-round pick in 2019, and he has shown defensive flexibility throughout his professional career, including playing over 40 games at both second and third base last season. In 2021, he split time between High- and Double-A while hitting .254/.348/.484 with 45 extra-base hits in 110 games. Next season, he will be 24 years old, and he should see time at Triple-A by the season's end. At Double-A, there are a pair of intriguing young options. Minnesota signed Yunior Severino for over $2.5 million after MLB penalized the Braves for infractions committed on the international market. Last year, he split time between Low- and High-A with a .802 OPS. At 21-years-old, he was young for both levels, but the Twins left him unprotected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Edouard Julien made his professional debut last year and hit .266/.434/.480 (.914) between Low- and High-A. He collected 110 walks in 112 games and stole 34 bases while only being caught five times. Anthony Prato was the organization's 7th round pick in 2019, and he played at three different levels last season. As a 23-year-old, he was older than the average age of the competition at each level, and he was limited to 47 games due to a broken hamate. Minnesota drafted Alerick Soularie in the second round in 2020, but his pro-debut was delayed because of a broken foot. After returning from injury, he posted a .668 OPS in 28 games in Fort Myers. The Twins took Mikey Perez in the 15th round of the 2021 MLB Draft, and he went 16-for-30 with six extra-base hits in his pro-debut. Overall, Minnesota has multiple strong options at the MLB level with a few prospects that should move up the ladder during the 2022 campaign. What do you think about the organization's depth at second base? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base
  11. TRANSACTIONS Minnesota Twins recalled LHP Andrew Albers from St. Paul Saints. Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed RHP Orlando Rodriguez on the temporarily inactive list. Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed SS Keoni Cavaco on the temporarily inactive list SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 4, St. Paul 2 Box Score Gilberto Celestino put the Saints on the board with a crisp line drive homer (5) over the center field wall in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game at one. St. Paul scored their second run thanks to an RBI ground out from Tomas Telis that scored Damek Tomscha. Starting pitcher Beau Burrows lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out six. Burrows' Achilles was the long ball, giving up three home runs on the evening. Burrows did enough to keep the game close and had a little help from his defense as well! Ryan Mason followed Burrows and was efficient, giving up no runs and zero hits while striking out three and walking two in 1 1/3 innings. Yennier Cano followed that up with two innings on the bump, giving up a run on two hits while striking out two. Edgar Garcia pitched the final inning for the Saints and escaped with a scoreless inning after walking two batters. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 14, Wichita 7 Box Score After gaining an early 2-0 lead the Surge were unable to hang with the Naturals after giving up 10 runs in the second inning. Wichita got things going early when D.J. Burt laced an RBI double that scored Austin Martin in the first inning. After advancing on the previous play, Burt scored thanks to an RBI groundout from Roy Morales. Top Prospect and Olympic Silver Medalist Simeon Woods Richardson didn't have his stuff on the bump tonight. Woods Richardson lasted only 1 2/3 innings and gave up six runs and three walks on his short outing. Tyler Beck took the brunt of the relief work for the Surge, giving up six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Evan Sisk and Mitchell Osnowitz carried the caboose for the Wind Surge bullpen. tossing a combined two innings while giving up two runs and walking one. Sisk struck out one batter. Despite the surplus of scoring from the other dugout, Ernie De La Trinidad knocked his eighth homer of the year in the second inning. Jermaine Palacios plated the final run for Wichita when he struck a fourth inning RBI single to left field that scored Leobaldo Cabrera. Cabrera added to Wichita's run count in the eighth inning when he demolished a three-run homer (10) to left field, plating Burt and Morales. That would prove to be the final run for Wichita on a rare night where the team was outscored in a football-esque score. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 11, Wisconsin 4 Box Score On the opening night of the NFL the Cedar Rapids Kernels attempted to put up a football-like score...and succeeded. Cedar Rapids scored 11 runs in the first five innings to propel the Kernels to a 11-4 win on Thursday night. The offense was great, but Cedar Rapids starting pitcher and Minnesota native Louie Varland was just as solid. Varland didn't walk any hitters and struck out seven, giving up three runs on six hits. Varland is now 6-1 on the year and has been one of the brightest surprises in the Twins organization all season long. The Kernels offensive barrage began in the first inning when Edouard Julien led off the game with a single. Michael Helman followed suit with a triple (3) that scored Julien all the way from first. Helman's efforts were rewarded when he later scored on an RBI sac-fly from Aaron Sabato. The second innings was 'thrice' as fruitful for the Kernels. Cedar Rapids scored six runs in the inning to open the flood gates. To the eye, one would assume a six-run inning would consist of at least one extra base hit. Not the case. The Kernels recorded six walks (2 HBP) and singles from Deshawn Keirsey, Alex Isola, and Jeferson Morales to put up the crooked number on the inning. The Kernels DID see a pair of extra-base hits two innings later. Isola and Morales tallied back-to-back solo home runs to expand the Kernels lead to 10-0 after four innings of play. Julien added a homer of his own to inflate the lead to 11-1 in the fifth. After Varland exited the game, reliver Carlos Suniaga touted his own dominance on the mound with two innings of one run, one hit ball with one strikeout. Tyler Palm sealed the deal for the Kernels with a perfect ninth inning. The win puts Cedar Rapids a full game ahead of Great Lakes and Lake County for the second spot in their playoff race. The team has now won three straight! MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1 Fort Myers 7, Palm Beach 6 Box Score With weather postponing the completion of Wednesday's game, the Mussels showed up at Hammond Stadium for double the amount of baseball on Thursday. The squad didn't disappoint. After Palm Beach plated four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game at six, Fort Myers scored the go-ahead run to push the Mussels past the Cardinals' affiliate in game one of a double-header. The go-ahead run came courtesy of an home run from Alerick Soularie, who punished a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall to secure the lead for the Mussels. Soularie's late-inning blast wasn't the only time that the Tennessee Volunteer touched home plate in the game. Soularie scored a run in the fourth, one of four on the inning for Fort Myers. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a triple and scored on an RBI single from Mikey Perez. Soularie and Christian Encarnacion-Strand joined Perez on base thanks to a pair of walks. Patrick Winkel and Jake Rucker followed suit with a pair of back to back singles to score Perez, Soularie, and Encarnacion Strand. Fort Myers starting pitching John Stankiewicz lasted four innings, giving up five hits and two runs while walking two and striking out four. David Festa took the bulk of bullpen duties for the Mussels, pitching 2 2/3 innings of three strikeout ball, walking two and giving up two runs. Reliever A.J. Labas received one of the more unique stat lines on the night. Labas tossed 1 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two-runs, including the game-tying run that tallied a blown save under his name. However, thanks to Soularie's blast, Labas also recorded the win (W, 1-2) on the game. Juan Pichardo cleaned up in the final inning and earned his fourth save of the season. Game Two Fort Myers 11, Palm Beach 2 Box Score Just like they relied on a big inning in the first game of the doubleheader, Fort Myers soared in game two thanks to a five-run third inning....and an absolutely electric outing from starting pitcher Casey Legumina. Legumina was stellar through 5 2/3 innings, striking out six while only giving up one run on one hit and a walk. The outing was the second outstanding appearance that Legumina has recorded in the month of September. The Dallas, Texas native went the same distance on the mound on September 2 against Dayton, giving up zero runs on three hits while striking out three and walking one. Yet dominant pitching is often a biproduct of dominant offense, something the Mussels did not lack in the third inning. Charlie Mack launched a three-run homer (7) followed by a Will Holland solo shot (10) to give Fort Myers a comfortable lead. Mikey Perez added to the scoring party with an RBI double in the inning, his first of the year. Holland continued his impressive night with an RBI single in the sixth inning that scored Encarnacion-Strand to put the Mussels up 11-1. After Legumina's masterpiece reliever Logan Campbell closed the door for the Mussels, tossing 1 1/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out one and walking none. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 4, FCL Pirates Gold 3 (10) Box Score A three-run fourth inning and a sac-fly walk-off from Rubel Cespedes powered the Twins to a victory against the Pirates on Thursday afternoon. Wander Valdez and Rubel Cespedes each tallied RBI singles to score runs in the Twins' dominant third inning. LaRon Smith also drew an RBI walk to score a run. Noah Miller, the Minnesota Twins' second pick in the 2021 draft tallied two hits on the day, including a single and a run in the fourth. Twins starting pitcher Erasmo Moreno was excellent, pitching three innings of scoreless baseball while striking out two and walking three. Jordan Carr followed Moreno with three innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out three. Similar to A.J. Labas of Cedar Rapids, Complex reliever Malik Barrington tallied a blown save but also the win (W, 1-1), thanks to Cespedes' walk-off sac-fly that scored Ka'lai Rosario. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Casey Legumina (Fort Myers) - (W, 4-2) 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day - Michael Helman (Cedar Rapids) - 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-3, R, BB #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1.2 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, RBI, BB, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, HR, R, RBI #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not pitch #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, K #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-for-2 #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2 K FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - LHP Charlie Barnes (6-3, 3.93 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (4-4 3.61 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 11.25 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Drop a comment below!
  12. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the FCL Twins game and the transactions from Monday. TRANSACTIONS RHPs Tyler Beck and Erik Manoah, Jr. were promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 1, FCL Braves 5 Box Score The FCL Twins managed just five hits on Monday. Alerick Soularie had three of them including his first double. Shouldn’t be long before he joins the Mighty Mussels. A rehabbing Anthony Prato had one hit as well. Juan Mendez made the start. He went 3 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on one hit and one walk. He struck out six batters. John Wilson got the next five outs and gave up just one hit. Jackson Hicks made his affiliated-ball debut. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits over three innings. He struck out three. Hicks signed with the team last month out of the USPBL. Rafael Feliz gave up an unearned run in his inning. With that, let’s look at Week 14 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-2, hosting Louisville), overall (44-39) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1, hosting Midland), overall (49-35) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (1-5, hosting Quad Cities), overall (45-39) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, hosting Dunedin), overall (43-38) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-1), overall (7-19) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Complex Struggles but Success Everywhere Else The Twins Bought Low on Austin Martin Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - July 2021 Tuesday: Austin Martin Makes Twins Debut Twins Claim RHP Ralph Garza Jr. Wednesday: Sabato’s Blasts, Martin’s Heroics Thursday: Shootout in Wichita, Pitcher’s Duel in St. Paul Friday: Affiliates Feast on Home Cooking Scouting Twins Prospects: Cole Sands St. Paul to Stardom: Louie Varland is the Real Deal Saturday: Walk-off Winners Sunday: (Gonna Make You Sweat) Everybody Pitch Now TD Top Twins Prospects (Post Draft and Post Trade Deadline): 26-30 HIGHLIGHTS 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 14 performances Twins Player of the Week: Jermaine Palacios, Wichita Wind Surge A former Twins top prospect, Palacios was sent to the Rays in exchange for Jake Odorizzi. He struggled with Tampa, especially in Double-A. The Twins outbid teams to bring back Palacios this offseason. He signed with the Twins with the understanding that Royce Lewis would be the Wichita shortstop to start the season, and he would need to move around the diamond. Instead, Lewis hurt his knee and Palacios played shortstop nearly every day. He plays great defense there, and he has provided strong offense as well. Then last week, the Twins acquired shortstop/center fielder Austin Martin from the Rays, and Palacios needed to move around the infield. He played a game at second base. Then he played a game at third base. Then Martin moved out to center, and Palacios got to play some games at shortstop. It’s fair to say that Palacios handled it well, and was out to prove something. In six games, he hit .304/.385/.783 (1.167) with two doubles, three homers and seven RBI. He also stole two bases. In 76 games this season, he has hit .261/.351/.467 (.818) with 12 doubles and 16 home runs. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Jovani Moran, St. Paul Saints Moran has had a terrific season, and his adjustment to Triple-A has gone swimmingly. This past week, he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings over two games. He gave up no hits. He issued zero walks. He did hit a batter. He also struck out six batters. In seven games since joining the Saints, he is 1-0 with a save. He’s got a 1.80 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP. In 15 innings, he has four walks and 23 strikeouts. (13.8 K/9) That is after he worked 20 games in Double-A Wichita to start the season. There, he went 2-1 with two saves and a 1.91 ERA and 0.74 WHIP. In 37 2/3 innings, he walked 14 and struck out 64 batters (15.3 K/9). So, overall, he’s got a 1.88 ERA, a 0.67 WHIP, just 3.1 BB/9 and 14.9 K/9. Yes, in his 52 2/3 innings, he has 87 strikeouts. The 2015 seventh round pick from Puerto Rico appears to be ready for one more promotion this season. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Ben Rortvedt is getting much more playing time now with the Saints, and he’s performing. This past week, he played in five games and hit .357/.400/.857 (1.257) with a double and two home runs including a pinch-hit, extra-innings, walk-off, two-run homer. Mark Contreras played in five games. He hit .294/.316/.706 (1.022) with a double and two home runs, including a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of the Rortvedt Walkoff Game. The Saints also got some very nice bullpen work. Kyle Barraclough struck out six batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit. Edgar Garcia also worked in three games. He threw four scoreless innings and gave up two hits and a walk. Chandler Shepherd had a terrific start, tossing six shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and walked none. Andrew Albers gave up one run over seven innings in his start. Drew Strotman gave up just one run on four hits over five innings in his start. Wichita Wind Surge Trey Cabbage had a big week. He played in all six games and hit .375/.423/.875 (1.298) with a double, triple and three home runs. In his first week with the Twins organization, Austin Martin played in all six games and hit .400/.571/.500 (1.071) with two doubles. He also walked six times and struck out just once. BJ Boyd played just twice and went 3-for-7 (.429) with a double and a home run. Caleb Hamilton played in three games and had a double, triple and home run. Martin and Hamilton each had a walkoff this week. Jordan Gore worked three scoreless, hitless innings and gave up only a walk. He struck out four. Austin Schulfer provided a solid start. He gave up one run on five hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out six. Cole Sands struck out 11 batters over 8 2/3 innings in his two starts while posting a 3.12 ERA. Cedar Rapids Kernels Max Smith had a strong week again. He played in five games and hit .357/.471/.571 (1.042) with a home run and three walks. DaShawn Keirsey, Jr, hit two home runs. Yunior Severino went 9-for-24 (.375) with a double over his six games. Breckin Williams worked three innings over two relief appearances. He gave up only an unearned run and struck out four. Osiris German struck out four batters over three innings over two games. In addition, he also received his high school equivalency through the Twins academy on Monday. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Aaron Sabato played in four games this past week. He went 2-for-11 (.182), but the two hits were both home runs, one in each game of a doubleheader. The highlight for the organization was the return of Matt Canterino. He worked two perfect innings on Sunday in his first rehab appearance. Matthew Swain struck out five batters over a three-inning performance. Bobby Milacki made one start and gave up just one earned run over four innings. He struck out five batters. Aaron Rozek worked twice out of the bullpen and gave up just one run over four innings. He also struck out five batters. FCL Twins Emmanuel Rodriguez had just seven at bats, but he had four hits including two doubles and a home run. Alerick Soularie finally got to make his professional debut after hurting his foot in spring training. In his three rehab games, he is 5-for-9 (.555) with a double and a home run. Ricardo Olivar also hit a home run. Lowlights 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 Nick Gordon will finally get every day playing time. In his return to the Saints, he played four games and went 2-for-15 (.133). Keon Broxton went 1-for-10 (.100). JT Riddle played in three games and went 0-for-8. Rafael Garza’s first appearance with a Twins affiliate didn’t go great. He gave up three runs on two hits and two walks and recorded just two outs. Wichita Wind Surge Both Aaron Whitefield and Andrew Bechtold went 3-for-20 (.150), though each had a home run, and Bechtold also had a double. Sean Gilmartin gave up four runs on four hits in his innings of work before going on the Injured List. Jordan Balazovic went 4 2/3 innings in his start. He gave up six runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter. Alex Phillips gave up four runs on four hits (2 HR) over 3 2/3 innings over two appearances. Cedar Rapids Kernels Seth Gray went 3-for-23 (.130). Michael Helman went 2-for-18 (.111). Gabriel Maciel went 1-for-9 (.111). Edouard Julien went 1-for-10 (.100). Matt Wallner went 2-for-22 (.091). Tyler Watson has been really good this season, but he had a rough one this past week. The lefty gave up six runs on four hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings in his start. Cody Laweryson gave up four runs on six hits and three walks over just 2 2/3 innings in his start. Even Ben Gross had an off start. He gave up seven runs on eight hits (3 HR) and a walk in 4 1/3 innings. He’s been pretty terrific of late. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Ruben Santana played in all six games and went 0-for-16. Misael Urbina went 1-for-18 (.056) over his six games. The one hit was a home run. Keoni Cavaco played in five games and went 2-for-19 (.105). Will Holland was 2-for-16 (.125) though he had a home run. TRENDING STORYLINE One very cool benefit of the Twins academies both in Ft. Myers and in the Dominican Republic is that beyond baseball work, they are able to take classes. There is a program which allows players to take classes and receive their high school equivalency and graduate. On Monday, there was a virtual celebration of the graduates from 2020 (were not able to celebrate in person) and 2021. Here is the list of Twins players who have received their diplomas. 2021 Graduating Class Carlos Aguiar Luis Baez Miguelangel Boadas Rubel Céspedes Gregory Durán Osiris Germán Oscar Paredes Alexander Peña Emmanuel Rodríguez Endy Rodríguez Malfrin Sosa 2020 Graduating Class Develson Aria Rafael Feliz Giovahniey Germán Argenis Jiménez Jeferson Morales Juan Pichardo Breilin Ramírez Wilker Reyes Carlos Suniaga Wander Valdez Join us in congratulating each of these, well, student-athletes. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. As you have seen, we have started to share the Twins Daily Top 30 Prospect rankings after the draft and trade deadline. Here is Part 1. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - 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) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 12 GS, 57.1 IP, 55 H, 21 BB, 68 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.33 WHIP #4 - 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, made first rehab appearance for Ft. Myers, 2 perfect innings) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 82 games, .337/.401/.587 (.987) with 19 doubles, 22 homers, 63 RBI, 30 BB, 52 K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 45 games, .249/.323/.341 (.664) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 19 RBI, 17 BB, 57 K, 5 SB #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (7 games, .250/.276/.464 (.740) with 2 homers, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 75 games, .185/.364/.309 (.674) with 13 doubles, 6 homers, 32 RBI, 67 BB, 101 K #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 33 games, .279/.338/.558 (.896) with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 9 homers, 23 RBI, 10 BB, 49 K. #11 - 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) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (12 GS, 52.1 IP, 53 H, 15 BB, 56 K, 4.99 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 12 G, 11 GS, 49.1 IP, 33 H, 21 BB, 64 K, 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (23 games, .176/.235/.374 (.608) with 6 doubles, 4 homers, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 27 K) #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 73 games, .193/.295/.294 (589) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homer, 46 RBI, 37 BB, 60 K, 12 SB) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 79 games, .255/.363/.497 (.860) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 19 homers, 48 RBI, 45 BB, 67 K) #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 77 games, .219/.273/.415 (.688) with 12 doubles, 9 triples, 10 homers, 41 RBI, 20 BB, 112 K) #18 - Alerick Soularie (FCL Twins) – 3 games, .556/.636/1.000 (1.636) with 1 doubles, 1 homer, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K) #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 15 GS, 64.1 IP, 60 H, 40 BB, 102 K, 4.76 ERA, 1.55 WHIP LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (Sean Mooney, Landon Leach, Casey Legumina, Miguel Rodriguez, Bobby Milacki, Aaron Rozek): Cedar Rapids @ Peoria:(Ben Gross, Louie Varland, TBD, Jon Olsen, Sawyer Gipson-Long, TBD) Wichita @ Tulsa: (Jordan Balazovic, Bryan Sammons, Chris Vallmont, Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic) St. Paul @ Indianapolis: (Andrew Albers, Drew Strotman, Chandler Shepherd, TBD, TBD, TBD) Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  13. 30. RHP Marco Raya (19 years old) Season Stats: Yet to Debut Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round draft pick in 2020 out of United South High School in Laredo, Texas. His fastball can hit in the low- to mid-90s, and he mixes in three breaking pitches, including a slider, a curveball, and a change-up. At 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, he isn’t tall on the mound, but he is a good athlete, and the Twins are excited about the promise he shows for the future. Currently, he is on the IL with the FCL Twins. 29. LHP Jovani Moran (24 years old) Season Stats (AA/AAA): 50 IP (26 G), 1.98 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NA Moran has one of the best change-ups in the Twins system, and he has been able to use it to dominate the minor’s upper levels this season. Originally, he was taken by the Twins in the seventh round in 2015 out of Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. During July, he struck out nearly 50% of the batter he faced. Right-handed batters have been limited to a .352 OPS against him in 2021. With his success at Triple-A, he seems likely to make his big-league debut before the season's end. 28. LHP Steve Hajjar (21 years old) Season Stats (College): 81.2 IP (14 G), 3.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Hajjar was Minnesota’s second-round pick in this year’s draft from the University of Michigan. He signed for the full slot value of $1,129,700 but has yet to make his professional debut. At Michigan, he led the Big Ten with 110 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. He is 6-foot-5 and weighs 215 pounds, so he is quite the presence on the mound. Typically, his fastball sits in the low-90s, but he can reach the mid-90s with some movement. He mixes in a change-up and a curveball to keep batters off balance. 27. SS Wander Javier (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 76 G, .219/.274/.409 (.683), 9 HR, 12 2B, 9 3B, 33.8 K%, 6.1 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 17, 2021 Preseason: NA Javier was initially signed by the Twins in July 2015, and his name has populated the team’s top prospect lists throughout that time. At one point, he was considered a top-100 prospect in baseball, but he hasn’t put it all together to the point where he has been left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft the past two years. He had a tremendous month of June with a .834 OPS, but he struck out 41 times in 112 plate appearances in July. Fans can hope he develops into a five-tool talent, but that dream might have passed at this point. 26. 2B Alerick Soularie (22 years old) Season Stats: Rehab Assignment Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 18, 2021 Preseason: 18 Soularie rolled his ankle during spring training and then broke his foot going down some stairs, which has kept him out of action until late last week. He was taken in the second round in 2020 out of the University of Tennessee and he is 22-years old. Soularie has started his rehab assignment by going 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. He is considered one of the best athletes in the Twins system, and the organization has to be excited to have him back on the field. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions.
  14. TRANSACTIONS C Jeferson Morales promoted to A+ Cedar Rapids RHP Luis Rijo placed on 7-day IL at A+ Cedar Rapids (right elbow sprain) C Allante Hall transferred to A Fort Myers LHP Sean Gilmartin placed on 7-day IL at AA Wichita C Jair Camargo placed on 7-day IL at A+ Cedar Rapids retroactive to August 6th (right hamstring strain) RHP Josh Winder placed on 7-day IL at AAA St. Paul retroactive to July 22nd (right shoulder impingement) Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 2 Box Score Ian Hamilton: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None St. Paul was nearly no-hit on Saturday. Bo Takahashi held the squad hitless while he was on the mound but the team was able to pounce on rehabbing reliever Tejay Antone for their first hit, and their first run of the game. The run tied the game; a fact aided in no small part by the Saints pitching staff on Saturday. It was a bullpen game and Ian Hamilton drew the first straw. Hamilton was able to shed his previous issues with command, and staunchly allowed no Reds hitter to reach base via the walk. All in all, Hamilton tossed three quality innings. The game was even at one headed into the 9th inning. Ryan Mason ran into some trouble, and before anyone could even realize it, the bases were loaded. The Bats plated a run but nearly scored another if Jimmy Kerrigan did not hose the runner at home with a great play: It looked as if Louisville was going to walk away with a win, but Mark Contreras had other plans. He sent a ball to what was previously an undocumented dimension with his game-tying blast: Édgar García ran into some trouble in the top half of the 10th inning, but was able to escape any real damage. In the bottom half of the inning, Ben Rortvedt was called upon to pinch hit for J.T. Riddle and send the home crowd into a frenzy with a walk-off two-run bomb: Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 5, Midland 4 Box Score SP: Austin Schulfer: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: Caleb Hamilton (7), Jermaine Palacios (16) Multi-hit games: Caleb Hamilton (2-for-3, HR, 2B, R, 4 RBI) The Wind Surge won a thriller on Saturday. Austin Schulfer carried the squad early with yet another wonderful start. The right-hander has been workhorse-like in 2021 with nearly 80 innings on the year; an impressive total considering the non-existent 2020 minor league season. Caleb Hamilton backed his starter quickly with a 2nd inning, two-run homer. The 26-year-old is now creeping up on his career-high in homers for a season (9) which he set in 2017. In the least surprising news since the election of George Washington, Jermaine Palacios crushed his 16th homer of the year on Saturday. The blast moved Palacios into the top 10 for homeruns among all minor league shortstops. Yes, all of them. His new-found power is real and, if you happen to be the unfortunate soul pitching to him, terrifying. The game was knotted at three headed into the 9th inning. The Rockhounds inched ahead thanks to a Jonah Bride homer, but the Wind Surge refused to end quietly. With the bases loaded, Caleb Hamilton sent everyone home with a sacrifice fly that scored not one, but two runs. Take a look for yourself: Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 1, Quad Cities 4 Box Score SP: Tyler Beck: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Kernels lost a clean game on Saturday. Tyler Beck’s line looks uglier than reality. Four runs is poor no matter how it’s sliced, but Beck’s runs came in the form of a duo of two-run shots. The sudden nature of home runs reflects a pitcher who was more unlucky than poor. Two pitches made the difference between four earned runs and a potentially better outing. In any case, the Kernels offense did little to help Beck. Wander Javier’s 7th inning triple was the lone extra-base hit by Cedar Rapids in the game. In total, only four base hits came off the bats of Kernels hitters on Saturday. For an inkling of good news from this game, Breckin Williams and Andrew Cabezas combined for three perfect innings of relief. The two righties punched out four batters in total. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 5, Dunedin 3 Box Score SP: Miguel Rodriguez: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jesus Feliz (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-4, R) Fort Myers won a (somewhat) close one on Saturday. Despite falling down into a quick 1-0 pit, the Mighty Mussels easily rebounded. In the 2nd inning, Ruben Santana grounded home a run and Misael Urbina walked home another to steal the lead from Dunedin. Jesus Feliz singled home a third run in the 3rd inning, and a wild pitch in the 5th plated the final two runs scored by Fort Myers on the night. One has to unleash a truly reckless pitch to score two baserunners. If only the play was televised. Both Charles Mack and Nick Anderson reached base four times on Saturday. They combined for enough walks to challenge an old-persons home. But that’s enough for the offense. Let’s honor the pitchers who paved the path for the Mighty Mussels on Saturday. Beyond Miguel Rodriguez, whose great performance was self-evident, Zarion Sharpe held the Blue Jays scoreless for four crucial innings. Combining both of their pitching lines gives you one singular starter who gave up just one run over seven innings of work. That will play. Originally, I had written that the Mighty Mussels “won a comfortable one on Saturday”, but that became false in the 9th inning. Steven Cruz was called upon to guard a four-run lead. He would end the game with a two-run lead. But hey, the size of the lead does not matter at all as long as it holds. Complex Chronicles Game one: FCL Twins 5, FCL Red Sox 11 Box Score SP: Erasmo Moreno: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K R: Emmanuel Rodriguez (5) Multi-hit games: Emmanuel Rodriguez (3-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI) This game was a continuation of the battle that began yesterday, but was suspended. Perhaps the FCL Twins would have preferred it if the matchup was just canceled instead. FCL Twins pitchers were struck well and often by the FCL Red Sox offense. No Twin escaped the endeavor without a wounded ERA with the lone exception of John Wilson. There was good news on the offensive front, however. Emmanuel Rodriguez knocked around a pair of extra-base hits, and Alerick Soularie finally graced a baseball diamond as a member of the Twins. Other than that, it is best to leave this game to the history books. Game two: FCL Twins 5, FCL Red Sox 1 Box Score SP: Develson Aria: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: Alerick Soularie (1), Ricardo Oliver (1) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-2, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-4, RBI) While the first game was considerably unremarkable, game two was anything but. This type of glow-up has not been seen since George Gordon Meade took over command of the Army of the Potomac. In a level of irony well-suited for Alanis Morissette, the FCL Twins scored as many runs in this game as they had in the previous encounter. Alerick Soularie demanded that his presence be acknowledged as he blasted his first career homer in the first inning of the game. In all, three runs would be scored before three outs were netted. All three pitchers for the FCL Twins left the game with a clean slate. Develson Aria proved that he is more than just a phenomenal name, and he held the Red Sox scoreless in his start. Danny Moreno and Samuel Perez were called upon to relieve Aria, and both players evaded allowing any earned runs. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Austin Schulfer Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Caleb Hamilton PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-3 #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 0-4, 2 K #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 1-4, R, K #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – Did not play #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 0-4, K #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 1-5, 2 R, K #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-4, BB, K #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-4, K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-4, 3B, 2 K #18 – Alerick Soularie (FCL Twins) – 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Dunedin @ Fort Myers (10:00 AM) RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Midland @ Wichita (12:05 PM) RHP Cole Sands Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) RHP Cody Laweryson Louisville @ St. Paul (1:05 PM) LHP Lewis Thorpe
  15. 5. Alerick Soularie, OF Current/Future Hit Tool: 35/50 Scouts have differing views when it comes to Soularie and his hitting skills. In parts of two seasons at Tennessee, he hit .336/.448/.586 with 31 extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts. These numbers were compiled in what is considered the toughest college baseball conference after starting his collegiate career at a community college. His short, compact swing can help him adjust to different hitting environments and he has enough raw athleticism to make adjustments throughout his career. There’s also a chance his swing can’t adjust to the higher levels of the minors and he fizzles out. 4. Gilberto Celestino, OF Current/Future Hit Tool: 35/55 Celestino was part of the Twins return in the Ryan Pressly trade and his stock has been rising in recent years. He puts the bat on the ball, and he hits it hard on a consistent basis and that trait is only going to improve as he moves up the organizational ladder. Celestino can be the heir apparent to Byron Buxton in centerfield, especially since Buxton only has two years left of team control. On his current path, Celestino projects to a terrific defender in center field and his hitting skills should be more than enough to make him a regular in the Twins outfield. 3. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B Current/Future Hit Tool: 45/50 Blankenhorn is entering his seventh professional season and he is trying to solidify a role at the big-league level. Last year, he appeared in one game and went 1-for-3 with a double. There’s a potential for him to get more use this season, but it will take an injury or two to get him regular at-bats. In the minors, he’s shown the ability to hit at every level and he’s more advanced than other’s below him on this list. He’s on the fringes of being part of the Twins roster, but he might need to shift to another organization to get more regular playing time. 2. Trevor Larnach, OF Current/Future Hit Tool: 45/55 Larnach might not be as advanced as the number one hitter on this list, but he has the potential to be an above average MLB hitter. Some powerful hitters need to swing with max effort to generate their swing, but Larnach isn’t one of those players. His naturally smooth swing allows him to spray balls to all fields. Also, Larnach isn’t afraid to tinker with his swing by watching video and asking questions to coaches and players. “I tease him about being a psychopath in terms of his pursuit of perfection,” Twins minor-league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus said. “He wants good conversation, and honest feedback and ideas.” https://twitter.com/NoDakTwinsFan/status/1369318691142332422?s=20 1. Alex Kirilloff, OF Current/Future Hit Tool: 50/60 As Minnesota’s top prospect, Kirilloff’s known for his offensive prowess. He already projects as a league average hitter with a chance to be above average before all things are said and done. He has great plate coverage, and like Larnach, he can spray the ball to all fields. The Twins were confident in him last season and he showed his professional approach while debuting in one of the highest-pressure situations, an elimination game. He hits lefties. He hits righties. He just plain out hits. Fans can hope that he showcases a rare combination of hitting and hitting for power that can make him a generational talent. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. Evaluating prospects in a pandemic certainly presents multiple challenges. Three of these names have yet to make their professional debut and that adds another wrinkle to the evaluation process. Minnesota’s system is deep and any of these names could impact the big-league roster in the years ahead. 20. Danny De Andrade- SS (16-years old) Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 The 2021 international signing period opened on January 15 and the Twins were expected to be aggressive. De Andrade was the organization’s highest rated signee, but he’s only 16-years old and he’s a long way from making his Target Field debut. Many players at his age are listed as shortstops, but there is no guarantee he will stick at that position. At 6-feet tall and 160 pounds, there is some room to add weight and even more power in the batter’s box. Scouting reports already praise him for his ability to drive the ball to all fields so he will be an exciting player to follow in the year’s ahead. 19. Jose Miranda- INF (22-years old) Acquired: 2016 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2021 Miranda has steadily been working his way through the Twins system since the club drafted him back in 2016. As a 21-year-old, he spent nearly all of 2019 at High-A, but he was able to make one appearance at Double-A. This winter he has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League and he’s had a strong offensive showing in 15 games. He hit .302/.377/.472 with six doubles and a home run. Fans can expect him to spend most of 2021 at both of the organization’s highest minor league levels with an outside chance of him making his big-league debut. 18. Emmanuel Rodriguez- OF (17-years old) Acquired: 2019 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 Rodriguez was Minnesota’s top international signing from the 2019 signing period, when MLB.com ranked him as the eighth best player available. He has yet to make his professional debut because of the pandemic. His best tool is his hit tool, and he is often praised for his baseball instincts. Some compared him to a young Eddie Rosario. When he signed, he was listed at 165-pounds and there are reports that he added upwards of 20 pounds since that point. He trained at home all last year so it will be nice for him to get a chance to work with Twins coaches more regularly in 2021. 17. Alerick Soularie- OF/2B (21-years old) Acquired: 2020 Second Round Pick ETA: 2024 Soularie is the third name on this list that has yet to make his professional debut. The Twins took him in the second round of last year’s draft out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 in just over a season’s worth of at-bats. In college, he played a lot of outfield in college, but the Twins are likely going to shift him to second base since he profiles better that that position. Some scouts question his approach at the plate, but his raw athleticism should help him to make adjustments when he is able to make his professional debut. 16. Cole Sands- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: 2018 5th Round Pick ETA: 2021 Injuries have been part of his professional career as IL trips cost him parts of the 2018 and 2019 campaign. On the mound, his stuff is hard to ignore as he has a mid-90s fastball with some good movement that he combines with a plus breaking ball. Missing the 2020 season was tough on him because it would have allowed him to prove he can stay healthy and build up his innings total. Next winter, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster, so he has a lot to prove during the 2021 campaign. Which of these prospects stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. When meeting with media, Aaron Sabato reiterated often just how well he fits into the Minnesota Twins organization. At one point, he noted, “I’m in the perfect spot with this organization and I want to be a Minnesota Twin.” That connection is obvious. As we discussed before the draft, the Sean Johnson-led Twins scouting group has made a concerted effort to select powerful collegiate bats in the high rounds. That has been evident in the selections of Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers, Matt Wallner and now Aaron Sabato; all college sluggers who absolutely mash. In 83 college games at North Carolina (64 in 2019, 19 in 2020), he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles, 25 homers and 81 RBI. He walked 61 times to go with 72 strikeouts. Sabato recalled a conversation he had with Twins minor league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus shortly following the draft. Sabato said that Fergus reiterated the Twins hitting philosophy. “We want you to swing at strikes. We want you to take balls, and we want you to hit the ball a long way and do it at a high rate without striking out and walking a ton. For me, that’s what I base my hitting about. I’m trying to do the most damage on every pitch, but also be disciplined enough to take my walks and spit on the good pitches.” Sabato knew right then and there that he was in a great situation for himself. “Right there, (I realized) that I was in a pretty good spot with the organization that had just drafted me.” Sabato discussed drills that he has done often in college with his hitting coaches. He stands in the batter’s box and takes pitches, calling out the pitch type and its location. He said it has helped burn into his brain what strikes and balls look like, and ultimately which pitches he can try to hit really hard. He also talked about hitting against top pitchers such as former Gopher right-hander, and the #3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Max Meyer in February. It is a challenge, of course, but Sabato has learned how he wants to handle those situations. “People say you have to get amped up, but for me it’s How calm can I be and How relaxed can I be against the best guys? And that’s when I’m at my best.” Sabato continued, “I realized I need to get more disciplined and more fine tuned in how I go about it. That’s what I’ve learned. I stopped worrying about who I am facing and started just worrying about what am I doing in the box.” The reality is that he has lofty goals for himself and all pitchers that he will face going forward are going to be good, and should he get to the big leagues, he will want to remain calm for every at bat. “I want to play Major League Baseball, and I want to do really well for a really long time.” With the signing of Sabato, the Twins have signed three of their four 2020 draft picks. Last week, they signed UT outfielder Alerick Soularie and prep pitcher Marco Raya. Kala’i Rosario, a high school outfielder from Hawaii, was their fifth round pick. He remains unsigned. The team is about $150,000 under their slot value, so they could go well above Rosario’s slot value of about $330,000.
  18. Soularie is one of the better college hitters in the draft. He is a bat first guy without a true defensive position which follows Minnesota’s first round pick that fits the same mold. The current Twins regime has also surprised with recent second round picks like Ryan Jeffers and Landon Leach. Jeffers is now one of the team’s top-10 prospects and they are hoping for more of the same with Soularie. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1271203118513115137?s=20 He entered his junior season at Tennessee and he was named a Preseason All-SEC First Team member and a D1Baseball.com Preseason First Team All-American. In 2019, he had a .357 batting average with 11 home runs and 13 doubles. He also posted a strong 39 to 37 strike out to walk ratio. During 16 games in 2020, he went 16-for-60 with five home runs and a double. Since joining the Volunteers, he has clearly taken some steps in the right direction. He posted some great numbers during his sophomore season and he looked set-up for a great junior campaign. He slugged five home runs in 16 games before the college season was cut short because of COVID-19. https://twitter.com/TwinsDingers/status/1271203812485804032?s=20 He didn't rank inside any top-100 lists, but the current Twins regime might have earned the benefit of the doubt about stealing Jeffers at this point two years ago. Soularie is a tight-handed-hitting corner outfielder who was among the SEC's top three in AVG, OBP, and SLG last season. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1271213150499680258?s=20 Defensively, the Twins drafted Soularie as an outfielder, but he can also play some second base. According to Twins Scouting Director Sean Johnson, that's a possibility too. What are your thoughts on their second-round pick? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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