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  1. This is an exciting group with high-risk, high-reward prospects mixed with established minor league hitters. Let's break it down. 13. SS Noah Miller The Twins picked Miller, 19, in the first round of the 2021 draft. JD Cameron recently broke down Millers’ all-around skills, if not his lack of a transparent standout tool. Miller could see Low-A in 2022, but a slow progression is a good bet. 12. OF Emmanuel Rodríguez The Twins may have a budding top prospect in Rodríguez. At 18 years old, Rodríguez posted an .870 OPS in 153 plate appearances for the FCL Twins in 2021. That’s quite impressive for someone listed at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds. 11. OF Misael Urbina Urbina, 19, is still a ways away from the high-minors. He hit just .191/.299/.286 for Fort Myers in 2021. He was over two years younger than the average Low-A position player, but Urbina has work to do before 2022. 10. SS Keoni Cavaco Cavaco, 20, has had a rough two years in the minors. He’s played only 88 games, but Cavaco has hit just .217/.276/.289 while striking out in 35% of his plate appearances. 2022 is a big year for the former first-round pick. 9. UTIL Alerick Soularie There is a noticeable gap between Soularie and the four above him on this list. Soularie is an advanced college hitter who has yet to settle into the minors. Soularie, 22, was a monster at Tennessee and is a sleeper breakout candidate for 2022. 8. UTIL Edouard Julien Julien, 22, hit .267/.434/.480 across both A-levels in 2021, showing off impressive speed with 34 steals and power with 47 extra-base hits. One should expect Julien to hit in the heart of Wichita’s order for much of 2022. 7. 1B Aaron Sabato The Twins’ first-round pick in 2020 didn’t exactly turn heads during his pro debut. Sabato, 22, hit .202/.373/.410 across two levels, but that included a monstrous showing at High-A. Sabato could move up rapidly if he carries that late-season production into 2022. 6. OF Matt Wallner Twins fans have paid closer attention to Wallner, 24, because of his roots. A Forest Lake native, his performance should draw just as many eyes. Wallner hit .264/.350/.508 at Cedar Rapids despite working through a broken hamate bone in 2021. 5. SS Royce Lewis Many are anxiously awaiting the return of Lewis, 22, who has lost two full minor league seasons of development. He’s the type of talent who could move up quickly if everything clicks. Lewis’ progression is one of the biggest storylines for the Twins in 2022. 4. UTIL Spencer Steer Steer, 24, quietly broke out with a powerful 2021 campaign. Steer hit ten homers in 45 games for Cedar Rapids and earned a promotion to Wichita. His overall line there wasn’t great, but he had a 35-game stretch where he hit .272/.336/.544 with 18 extra-base hits. 3. UTIL Austin Martin Martin, 22, shouldn’t spend too much longer in the minors if things go as planned. Martin posted a .414 On-Base Percentage at Double-A last year and could spend most of his time in St. Paul in 2022. He’s a prime September call-up candidate. 2. OF Gilberto Celestino Arguably the Twins’ best defensive replacement for Byron Buxton in centerfield, Celestino, 22, is primed for another look in 2022. He hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games for the Saints following a less-than-stellar debut with the Twins. 1. INF José Miranda A lock for a prominent role if he’s healthy, Miranda is far and away the closest Twins prospect to the majors. Miranda, 23, was spotless at the plate in 2021. His adjustment to major league pitching is a story to watch in 2022. The takeaway: prepare for Miranda Mania at Target Field. The breakout prospect is guaranteed to debut if healthy. Sleeper contributors include Lewis, Celestino, and Steer, with Martin likely joining the team later in the summer. The lefty-righty combo of Wallner and Sabato is intriguing for the future, as is Rodríguez. Who are you most excited to see in 2022? Comment below! FOR THE PITCHER LIST, CLICK HERE -> Ranking the Twins Top Pitching Prospects by ETA 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
  2. The intent of this list was to answer a question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? We ranked current MLB players and prospects based on factors like production, age, upside, pedigree, health, contract, and positional scarcity. Here's how the top 20 shakes out for 2022 (click on the player's name to find his writeup): 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 19. Josh Winder, RHP 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 16. Chase Petty, RHP 15. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 14. Jhoan Duran, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Trevor Larnach, OF 11. Luis Arraez, UTIL 10. Ryan Jeffers, C 9. Max Kepler, RF 8. Mitch Garver, C 7. Joe Ryan, RHP 6. Bailey Ober, RHP 5. Austin Martin, OF 4. Royce Lewis, SS 3. Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF 2. Jorge Polanco, 2B 1. Byron Buxton, CF If we're treating Kirilloff as an outfielder and Arraez as an infielder, that breaks down to: 8 pitchers 6 outfielders 4 infielders 2 catchers It's not a bad balance, roughly reflecting the proportions of positions on an MLB roster. However, the Twins do have a few clear areas of weakness and scarcity, as well as some areas of abundance that point to possible trade opportunities. We'll explore these along with other noteworthy observations and takeaways as we break down the list, taking stock of the Twins organization as a whole. Return of the King When I first took a shot at compiling this list, ahead of the 2018 season, Byron Buxton was at the top. At that time he was 24 years old, coming off a breakout season in which he was (mostly) healthy, a fringe MVP contender, and recipient of a Platinum Glove. It all seemed to be coming together. If only we knew. Recurring injuries and progressively diminishing team control have kept Buxton's stock in check since then, to the point where he nearly slipped out of the top 10 in last year's rankings. But all that's transpired since has vaulted him back to the #1 spot at last. While still dealing with his share of injuries in 2021, Buxton proved more than ever he's a rare difference-maker, stacking up against any player in franchise history on a per-rate basis. And after the season, Minnesota opportunistically locked him up. The uniquely team-friendly nature of Buxton's contract extension, which takes him through the entirety of his remaining prime, makes him one of the most valuable assets in all of baseball. The Fall of Maeda In last year's rankings, Kenta Maeda ranked #1. He was an accomplished veteran starter coming off a Cy Young runner-up season, with a highly favorable contract to boot. Maeda was the centerpiece around which the rotation would be built. Maeda didn't appear in this year's rankings. His dramatic drop-off encompasses the rotation's downfall as a whole. The 2021 season really couldn't have done much more to tank Maeda's value: he largely struggled through 21 starts, then underwent elbow surgery late in the season. By the time he returns in 2023, he'll be 35 and in his walk year. His team-friendly contract, with only $3M in guaranteed base salary, means Maeda's absence in 2022 won't hurt the team too much resource-wise, which was a big part of his value. But the Twins were counting on his arm for the coming season, and now they'll be without it, as well as that of José Berríos (#4 in last year's rankings). In a nutshell, this tees up the immense challenge of building a new starting rotation – from two starting pitchers among the top five assets to zero. On the bright side, Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan (#6 and #7 this year) are both under control for the next six years, so if either or both can affirm their early promise, they are poised to become premium commodities. Notably, neither one cost this front office very much to acquire. Power and Parity in the Pitching Pipeline This franchise's success over the next 3-4 years will be heavily dependent on the fruits of a pitching pipeline this front office has been cultivating since it arrived. The disruption of a pandemic stalled progress, but the Twins currently have a huge assortment of high-upside arms nearing MLB-readiness. Those arms are all grouped together around the back end of this top 20 list. The last three players we ranked – Simeon Woods Richardson, Josh Winder, Matt Canterino – are all part of this group, and if we extended the list to 30 or 40, several more would show up: Cole Sands, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, Chris Vallimont, Drew Strotman. Maybe even Randy Dobnak and Griffin Jax. By passing up the high end of free agent pitching, the front office has essentially made clear that it's staking itself to this group. If next year's rankings are flush with pitchers from it, that'll be a good sign. If not, then that'll be the most damning strike against this regime yet. Short on Shortstops Around the time I first put these rankings together in 2018, people were wondering if the Twins were filling their system with *too many* shortstops. They'd taken Royce Lewis first overall in the previous draft, adding him to a system that already included Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, and Wander Javier (all of whom appeared in that inaugural top 20 ranking). What's happened since shows why it's so damn hard to develop shortstops (and why the great ones are such tremendous commodities). Javier flamed out. Polanco and Gordon have moved to different positions. Lewis is still tenuously considered a shortstop, but the jury is out. Outside of him, the cupboard is now bare. With Andrelton Simmons gone, there's no current occupant at the MLB level, though the Twins will presumably sign someone to a short-term deal. In the system, Lewis sorta stands alone as a high-end prospect with legitimate major-league shortstop potential. Lacking Left-handers One commonality among all eight pitchers to appear on this list – and the next handful of honorable mentions – is that they're all right-handers. The most glaring scarcity in this system, without question, is left-handed pitchers. Were we to extend the list, who would be the top-ranked lefty pitcher? It's an interesting question. Without thinking too deeply about it, it's probably a toss-up between their three top bullpen lefties: Taylor Rogers, Caleb Thielbar and Jovani Moran. But they're all relievers with flaws and limited upside. How much does this particular scarcity matter? Hard to say. The Twins aren't short on high-quality arms in their system, but the most valuable and projectable ones are virtually all right-handers. I wonder to what extent this was intentional, and to what extent the team might try to course-correct and add balance going forward. Top Trade Candidates One of the most pertinent insights to emerge through this exercise is a clear understanding of where the logjams exist and which areas of strength the Twins are most likely to trade from. That analysis feels especially meaningful in this offseason, because the front office essentially has no choice but to leverage the trade market in order to acquire impact talent, with free agency now picked at key positions. For me, this is a pretty simple equation: Which players rank lower on this Twins-specific list than they would in other organizations? From this angle, five names stand out (listed roughly in order of what they'd bring back): Austin Martin Max Kepler Luis Arraez Jose Miranda Gilberto Celestino One could theoretically add Mitch Garver or Ryan Jeffers to this list, although I'm not sure I have enough confidence in either one to feel good about trading the other. Kepler and Celestino are both made somewhat more expandable by the Buxton extension, but the most intriguing redundancy from my view is with Martin, Arraez, and Miranda. With Buxton now entrenched in center, Martin's most likely destinations seem to be second, third, or left. The same can basically said for Arraez and Miranda (though I suspect left field is considered much less desirable for both). Second and third are currently occupied by Jorge Polanco and Josh Donaldson, who are under guaranteed contract for two more years. Trading Donaldson would alleviate this logjam in a big way, but the team's opportunities to do so are much more limited. Martin, Arraez and Miranda are all coveted young players with appealing contract situations. If the Twins want to bring in frontline pitching via trade once the lockdown ends, this would appear to be the path. What strikes you as you review this evaluation of players in the Twins system? Are you feeling good about the state of the franchise? Bad? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to catch up on past lists for a trip down memory lane: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 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
  3. Again, I certainly think that the Twins system is strong. It likely won’t be a Top 10 organization by the national publications, but I legitimately think that as many as 25 or more from each of the lists can play in the big leagues with continued development, health, and of course a little luck. Before getting too far, let’s take a look at the two lists... And before I do that, I will acknowledge my mistakes. (Yes, I make them from time to time...) 1.) I switched shortstops Jermaine Palacios and Wander Javier in my rankings. I showed Palacios ranking as the #25 hitter with Javier checking in at #15. Those should be reversed. 2.) I was looking at my living Twins Top 152 prospect rankings (Yes, I have one, and no, not going to share it) for this summary and realized that I just missed RHP Austin Schulfer. I have placed him in where I had ranked him among pitchers and overall in the below charts. I acknowledged in one of the pitcher articles that while it is a good start to split up the Hitters and Pitchers, there was a logical additional separation that is needed... Starting Pitchers and Relief Pitchers. You see, right or wrong, I still have it in my head that a #3 of #4 starter is still going to through 150-160 innings a season while even the best relievers will throw 60-70 innings in a season. Fair? Not necessarily because no one is questioning the importance of a quality bullpen. Twins fans certainly understand that need. And, maybe it's something that will change in time. If we're being honest, we have seen pitching roles change over the past few years and I would expect that will continue. Aside from the top starting pitchers, most starters are only going through the batting order twice, pitching four or five innings. That is making the value of relievers much more important. So, I did want to take a few minutes and also provide my list of the top 15 Twins relief pitching prospects. Top 15 Relief Pitching Prospects 1. Jovani Moran, LHP 2. Osiris German, RHP 3. Yennier Cano, RHP 4. Jordan Gore, RHP 5. Steven Cruz, RHP 6. Ryan Mason, RHP 7. Alex Scherff, RHP 8. Denny Bentley, LHP 9. Zach Featherstone, LHP 10. Ryan Shreve, RHP 11. Derek Molina, RHP 12. Zach Neff, LHP 13. David Festa, RHP 14. Josh Mitchell, LHP 15. Melvi Acosta, RHP Again, that is a really good group. The top five were included among the Top 30 Pitching Prospects, and likely #6 through #12 on this list would have appeared very soon. Seth's Top 50 Twins Prospects (Clicking on the player links will bring you to a list of any article that player has been tagged in on Twins Daily. It's fun to look back and see how they've progressed, and other interesting information from their careers.) Royce Lewis, SS (Hitter 1) Jose Miranda, IF (H2) Austin Martin, SS/OF (H3) Matt Canterino, RHP (Pitcher 1) Joe Ryan, RHP (P2) Jordan Balazovic, RHP (P3) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (P4) Josh Winder, RHP (P5) Chase Petty, RHP (P6) Marco Raya, RHP (P7) Jhoan Duran, RHP (P8) Cade Povich, LHP (P9) Noah Miller, SS (H4) Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (H5) Steve Hajjar, LHP (P10) Kala’I Rosario, OF (H6) Blayne Enlow, RHP (P11) Gilberto Celestino, OF (H7) Louie Varland, RHP (P12) Spencer Steer, IF (H8) Cole Sands, RHP (P13) Edouard Julien, IF (H9) Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP (P14) Drew Strotman, RHP (P15) Aaron Sabato, 1B (H10) Matt Wallner, OF (H11) Misael Urbina, OF (H12) Jovani Moran, LHP (P16) Casey Legumina, RHP (P17) Keoni Cavaco, SS (H13) Chris Vallimont, RHP (P18) Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B (H14) Jermaine Palacios, SS (H15) Regi Grace, RHP (P19) Yunior Severino, IF (H16) Alerick Soularie, OF (H17) Jair Camargo, C (H18) Osiris German, RHP (P20) Christian MacLeod, LHP (P21) Alex Isola, C/1B (H19) Sean Mooney, RHP (P22) Yennier Cano, RHP (P23) Austin Schulfer, RHP (P24) Jeferson Morales, C/OF (H20) Seth Gray, 3B (H21) Will Holland, SS/CF (H22) Cody Laweryson, RHP (P24) Jordan Gore, RHP (P25) Mark Contreras, OF (H23) Charlie Mack, C (H24) Notes It is hard not to notice that the top three prospects are hitters. However, prospects four through 12 are all pitchers. Frankly, an argument could be made that those nine pitchers could be fairly interchangeable. If you were to tell me that Jhoan Duran or Josh Winder or Chase Petty should rank fourth, I'm not going to argue too vehemently. More important than the actual ranking is that the Twins have a lot of pitchers with not only big-league potential, but they have potential to be playoff starters in the future. I noted this throughout the series, particularly in the comments, but it's important to note who is no longer eligible for prospect status. On the mound, Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax , and Ralph Garza, Jr. surpassed rookie qualifications. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, Ben Rortvedt, and Nick Gordon are no longer "prospects" either. For those curious, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala were not rookies in 2021 after their big-league time in 2020. Breakdown (Pitchers): Right-Handed Starting Pitchers (19), Left-Handed Starting Pitchers (3), Right-Handed Relief Pitchers (3), Left-Handed Relief Pitchers (1). All three left-handed starters were drafted in 2021. Breakdown (Position Players): Catchers (4), Infielders (13), Outfielders (7). Obviously versatility is important in the organization and several players got time in multiple spots. I tried to include them where they played most often. How Acquired: Drafted by Twins (35), Acquired in Trade (8), International Signing (6), Minor League Signing (1, Jermaine Palacios). This is a large number, but more important, three of the top 7 prospects were acquired in July. 13 of these 50 players are on the Twins 40-man roster, so if there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they will not be able to start spring training. They can't just go to minor league spring training. Several have told me (in the Twins organization and elsewhere ) that Covid could potentially have rippling negative impact on organizations and player development for a couple of years. Obviously that is primarily regarding pitchers, but there can also be hitters who will hopefully get their groove back again in 2022. It's also important to remember that a pitcher drafted out of college in 2019 was likely 21-22 years old. With the missed 2020 season, they pitched in 2021 at 23-24. Four-year college players even a year older. While age-to-level of competition is often a factor in prospect rankings, and it needs to be, it's my opinion that it has almost no bearing right now on what a pitcher can be as we move forward, and if they come up at 24 or 26 isn't a very big deal. So when I read comments like, "Well, Pitcher A is already 24, he has to be rushed up now..." I can't disagree more. As always, what makes doing these rankings fun is the interaction with the readers. Here at Twins Daily, I believe we have the best Twins minor league coverage around, and we have a lot of our readers and writers that have a strong interest in learning more. These lists serve many purposes. First, it's to highlight players that deserve to be talked about. Second, it's fun to think we are smart and that there is some science to these prospect rankings. I've done Twins prospect rankings going back to 2003 or 2004 online. It is not a science. These are kids, working their way up an organizational ladder, just like many kids just out of high school or college. The develop at different rates. They work hard. They get hurt. Things happen and they don't always pan out. So, we need to give them credit when we can, and we can dream on them helping our favorite team become a viable, consistent winning team. I enjoy the comments section. I enjoy being challenged. I try not to run from questions you ask while also being respectful of the players and their families. So please discuss these players and more in the comments. And also, please let us know what you want to see from Twins Daily's minor league coverage in 2022? What can we do better? What would you like to see more of, or less of? Your feedback helps us so much and we want to continue to improve. Twins Spotlight Several of these Twins players have been a guest on Twins Spotlight over the past two offseasons. We have now had 51 episodes. To look back and see who we have interviewed and listen back to them, click here. Previous Rankings (To look back at what I wrote about the 60 players, click below) Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Hitters Part 6: 1-5 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
  4. Welcome to my choices as the Minnesota Twins top five hitting prospects. There may be some interesting ratings as you proceed down this list, and I’m guessing there will be plenty of good discussion. The exciting thing, in my opinion, is that the top three hitters on this list all have huge potential and high ceilings. All three have defensive versatility. All three are very exciting. And my choices for prospects four and five are very young and have a world of potential, but a lot of runs to move up the organizational ladder yet. Enjoy this final installment of my Top 30 Twins hitting prospects, and then let’s discuss. #5 OF Emmanuel Rodriguez 2021 STATS: .214/.346/.524, 5 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 23 RBI, 36.6 K%, 15.0 BB%, 9/13 SB The Twins signed Emmanuel Rodriguez in July 2019 out of the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately there was no 2020 season so 2021 marked the professional debut for the talented young outfielder. He remained in Ft. Myers for Extended Spring Training and then spent the remainder of the season with the FCL Twins. He is a really good athlete. He played centerfield most of the season, but as he grows, he is more likely to play in the corners. He has a good arm. But as you can see from the numbers, it is his bat that will get people excited… at least when he makes contact. A 37% strikeout rate is obviously not ideal, but the 15% walk rate is obviously very impressive. Is he being too passive? Is his swing simply too big at this point? However, he certainly has immense power and power potential. Talking to people who played with him in the FCL or were around him at Instructional League saw what he is capable of and pointed out that his future is very bright. If he can improve his contact rate, he could spend time with the Mighty Mussels. He will turn 19 at the end of February, so it might make most sense to spend time with the FCL Twins again. Just two of his 2021 plate appearances came against a younger pitcher. #4 SS Noah Miller 2021 STATS: .238/.316/.369, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 27.1 K%, 9.4% BB%, 1/2 SB The Twins were very excited to get Noah Miller, a high school shortstop from Wisconsin, with the 36th overall pick in the 2021 draft. The Twins not only loved his makeup, but they feel that he will be able to hit and hit for power from both sides of the plate. They also think that he has the soft hands, strong arms and quick feet to handle shortstop as he gets stronger and moves up. His older brother Owen made his MLB debut for Cleveland in 2021. Noah was there. Cleveland put his photo on the big scoreboard, congratulating him on his high school graduation as he was missing the ceremony. Unfortunately, Noah didn’t see it as he was in the concourse getting food. Noah mentioned that he has always worked with his brother and done the drills that Owen was doing while in college and Noah was still in middle school. Noah made his pro debut in the FCL and certainly held his own. He had one 5-for-5 game. He showed a little bit of power. He struck out a bit much, but that will improve with time and he showed a good, mature approach at the plate. Miller will be just 19 throughout the 2022 season. I would guess he will spend most of the season with the Mighty Mussels. #3 SS/CF Austin Martin 2021 STATS: .254/.399/.381, 8 2B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 17.9 K%, 13.7 BB%, 5/6 SB Cleveland drafted Austin Martin out of his Florida high school in 2017. However, he enrolled at Vanderbilt and became one of the best, most all-around players in college baseball. He hit .338 as a freshman with a .452 on-base percentage. As a sophomore in 2019, he hit .392/.486/.604 (1.091) with 19 doubles, four triples, 10 homers and 18 steals. He also walked more than he struck out. In 2020, he played in 16 games before the season was shut down. He hit .377/.507/.660 (1.168) with six doubles and three home runs. He had 10 walks and just two strikeouts. Some considered him the best available player in the 2020 draft, but he fell to the Blue Jays with the fifth overall pick. The Jays pushed him. He started his pro career in Double-A New Hampshire. In 56 games, he hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with 10 doubles and two homers. He represented the Jays in the 2021 Futures Game. Then to acquire Jose Berrios at the trade deadline, the Jays finally gave in and dealt Martin to the Twins. After joining the Wind Surge, he hit .254/.399/.381 (.779) with eight doubles and three homers. So, what’s to like? A lot. First and foremost, Austin Martin is an on-base machine. Not only does he control the plate and take walks but he appears happy to be hit by pitches to get on base. Some worry about the power developing, and like most, I think that he will. I think he can be a 20-25 homer per year guy. He could also potentially steal 20 bases if the opportunity presents itself. He is a great athlete. Obviously there are questions about if he can play shortstop. I think he could. That said, he played third base at Vanderbilt, and with Wichita, he played over half of his time in centerfield. He can likely play all three outfield spots and all four infield spots. However, most important, he is a guy that you want at or near the top of the batting order. He may spend a little time in Wichita to start the 2022 season, if only to start him with his Team USA 15U teammate and roommate Royce Lewis, but he should spend most of his season with the Saints. There is a pretty strong chance that he will make his major-league debut in 2022. He turns 23 in late March. #2 IF Jose Miranda 2021 STATS: .344/.401/.572, 32 2B, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 12.5 K%, 7.1 BB%, 4/8 SB Twins fans have read a ton about Jose Miranda in 2022, and for the reasons that was true, he made the biggest jump of any Twins prospect in 2021. It was a huge season for the former Twins 2nd round pick from Puerto Rico in 2016. I mean, just look at those numbers! OK, now look at them again. He earned the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year Award, and the Sherry Robertson Twins Minor League Player of the Year award. He was a first team all minor league baseball guy for most of the national publications. But what about his 2021 performance may lead us to believe that it is sustainable? For me, there are a few things. First, his statistics were just as good, if not even better, after being promoted to the Saints. Second, he has always had great bat-to-ball skills and puts a lot of pitches in play. It was a focus for him to avoid swinging at bad pitches, and in doing so, he was able to do much more damage on pitches he could really drive. That fundamental change in approach is incredibly difficult to make, and he did it for the full season. He won’t be one to take a ton of walks. He wants to crush the baseball, but now he’s got a plan. Defensively, he won’t win Gold Gloves anyway, but he can be a decent second baseman and average or better at both corner infield spots. He was drafted as a shortstop, though that is certainly a stretch for him. He did get games there for both Wichita and St. Paul in 2021. Following the season, the Twins added him to the 40-man roster. And while he may not make the opening day roster, Twins fans are likely to continue asking for him to be called up until he is. He will turn 24 in late June, and his offensive potential is as high as anyone in the organization. #1 SS Royce Lewis 2021 STATS: Did Not Play—Injured And some may have been surprised by my choice of #1 Twins pitching prospect, and I would guess that many will be surprised by this choice. I’m sticking with Royce Lewis. Understandably, there are questions. The only way to answer those questions is to get on the field, so hopefully he will be able to do that soon (please, MLB and MLBPA!). Since being the Arizona Fall League MVP after the 2019 season, Lewis has not played a competitive game. Like most, he missed the 2020 season. That said, he certainly impressed coaches and teammates with his work and performance at the Twins alternate site that summer. And as excited as he was about getting to spring training a year ago, he had to be disappointed when he learned that he had a torn ACL and needed season-ending surgery. But Lewis, the #1 overall pick of the 2017 draft, handled the adversity in style. He came to work every day and remained positive throughout. At season’s end, he was able to get some at bats in the final two Instructional League games. There’s no doubt that an extended lockout would hurt Lewis. He needs to play and get back into the swing of things. However, the tools remain. Lewis is strong and has 30-homer potential. He is still one of the fastest players in the Twins organization, so a 30-30 season is certainly possible. Sure, there are questions about whether or not he will stick at shortstop, but he has good range and a strong arm. He sometimes struggles with routine plays, but he can make any play a shortstop needs to make. Lewis will turn 23 in early March, so he remains young. I would suspect that following spring training, he will go to Wichita and play up to half of the season there. At that point, he will presumably move up to St. Paul for the second half of the season. Of course, if healthy, and if he’s producing and playing well, he certainly could make his MLB debut in 2022. So there you have it. The top three prospects are all at Double-A or Triple-A and could see big-league time in 2022. All three have huge ceilings and potential to be long-term answers in the big leagues. Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez are very young and haven’t even played for a full-season team yet. That said, both have big potential as well. This is a pretty solid group, and while I think it’s fair to say that the pitching in the organization may be deeper than the hitting, but let’s not forget that Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker and Ben Rortvedt are no longer “prospects,” and Luis Arraez is still very young. But what do you think? How would you rank the top five or the top ten Twins hitting prospects? Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Hitters Part 6: 1-5 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
  5. Before getting started, you can get up to speed on the ground rules, which were covered in the first installment. Here are the players we've ranked so far: 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 19. Josh Winder, RHP 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 16. Chase Petty, RHP 15. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 14. Jhoan Duran, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Trevor Larnach, OF 11. Luis Arraez, UTIL 10. Ryan Jeffers, C 9. Max Kepler, RF 8. Mitch Garver, C 7. Joe Ryan, RHP 6. Bailey Ober, RHP From there, we round it out with the top five. If you haven't yet, be sure to check out the writeups on #6 through #20: Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16-20 Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 11-15 Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 6-10 Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 1 through 5 5. Austin Martin, OF 2021 Ranking: NR Since I started putting these rankings together after the 2017 season, here's where José Berríos has ranked: #3, #2, #3, #4. Ideally you keep an asset like that, but as it became clear the Twins were not going to be able to extend their two-time All-Star, they opted for the next-best thing: recouping value. By taking advantage of deadline urgency, as well as Berríos' additional year of team control, the Twins were able to extract a premium talent package from Toronto, including Simeon Woods Richardson (#18 on this list) but headlined by Austin Martin. The 22-year-old was one year removed from being the #5 overall draft pick, and recipient of a $7M signing bonus from Toronto. He was unanimously ranked as a Top 25 prospect in the game ahead of 2021, and appeared in the Futures Game in July. An athletic on-base machine who is nearly ready for The Show, Martin is one of baseball's premier young talents. His high floor – reflected by a .414 OBP through 93 minor-league games, all played at Double-A – offsets a ceiling that's uncertain due to his lack of established power or a clear defensive home. There is very realistic star potential here, and that's known around the league. Which is why some folks are wondering if the Twins might look to flip him in a trade for pitching when action resumes this offseason. Although he's played a lot of shortstop in the minors, no one really expects him to end up there. Martin's most valuable positions are likely center field and second base, where the Twins happen to be well set. 4. Royce Lewis, SS 2021 Ranking: 5 Here's an example of the Twins' needs outweighing a neutral assessment of player value. In a vacuum, I would probably rate Martin as a better prospect and player asset than Royce Lewis, who is an unknown commodity after struggling in 2019 and then missing two straight years. In spite of this, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Lewis was a #1 overall draft pick who has been a regular on the top end of prospect rankings since joining the pro ranks. His high character and innate physical gifts lead many to believe he'll find his footing quickly and re-establish himself as an electric difference-maker across multiple phases of the game. Most importantly, for the purposes of this list, you'll notice that Lewis is the only player on it listed as "SS." He's hardly a lock to stick at short, but he's got a better chance than any other player or prospect in the system currently. The Twins seem to firmly believe he can remain there, which may have guided them away from pursuing a free agent on a long-term deal. Unless the situation changes, Minnesota is putting the future of a vital position in Lewis' hands, which makes him one of the organization's most critical players. Here's hoping he can rise to the occasion after a lengthy dormant period. 3. Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF 2021 Ranking: 2 Long viewed as one of the most advanced and explosive bats in the minor leagues, Alex Kirilloff arrived in 2021 and affirmed his rep. The overall numbers – .251/.299/.423 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 59 games – were perfectly solid for a 23-year-old rookie. They also undersell his performance, which was hampered by a flukishly bad 0-for-15 start and then a serious wrist injury he played through for weeks before shutting it down in mid-July. Kirilloff underwent surgery around that time, and is expected to be back at full strength for spring training (whenever it starts). Hopefully he'll pick up where he left off: straight mashing. Kirilloff's xSLG as a rookie, according to Statcast, was .541 – same as Josh Donaldson (who was in the Top 8% of all qualified MLB hitters). With superb plate coverage, Kirilloff drives the ball to all fields and tortures opposing pitchers. Having watched him, I have little doubt he is going to be an offensive force (maybe even an MVP-caliber hitter) so long as he can keep future bouts with injury at bay. Defensively, he was serviceable in left but looked like a natural at first base, with instincts and movements that point to Gold Glove potential. For the time being, he's blocked there by Miguel Sanó, and given the team's current needs, Kirilloff's ability to play in the corners is quite helpful. The Twins still control him for six years (through age 29) after slightly delaying his arrival in 2021. 2. Jorge Polanco, 2B 2021 Ranking: 6 It's been quite the roller coaster for Jorge Polanco over the past few years. Coming off a breakthrough season where he was an All-Star shortstop and credible MVP candidate at age 25, he and his team-friendly contract reached the #1 spot in our rankings heading into 2020. Then, Polanco's performance nosedived in a shortened campaign marred by ankle issues. He dropped back to #6 last year – his more customary range prior to the 2019 glow-up. Unlike Max Kepler, however, Polanco rebounded to prove his star turn with the Bomba Squad was no outlier. In 2021, following a move to second base, Polanco regained his peak offensive form, shaking off a slow start to launch 33 homers and 35 doubles while setting career highs in SLG (.503) and OPS+ (125). He was a consistent centerpiece of the lineup, mashing from both sides of the plate as a switch-hitter. His transition to a new position was rocky at times, but Polanco seemed to get more comfortable as the season went on and showed all the skills to excel. Shifting down the defensive spectrum is theoretically a ding to his value, but sub-par play at shortstop limited his benefit there. He can offer plenty of value as a top-tier offensive second baseman in his prime, with two years of inexpensive team control followed by a pair of reasonable team options. 1. Byron Buxton, CF 2021 Ranking: 9 Byron Buxton's durability issues were hardly erased in 2021, another season cut short by long absences. But while he was on the field for 61 games, the center fielder's brilliance and MVP-caliber impact was more evident than ever before. He won AL Player of the Month in April, and had a 1.180 OPS in early May before back-to-back major injuries (a strained hip and broken hand) cost him nearly four months. When he was able to play, Buxton was a remarkable difference-maker, producing an absurd 4.2 fWAR in less than half a season. But while he was out, the team struggled to counteract his absence. Buxton's reliable unreliability will remain a reality until it's not. But his newly-minted contract extension accounts for that. The stunningly favorable terms of Buxton's deal make him an easy choice for #1 on this list. It's essentially unheard of to be able to lock up an elite talent throughout his prime while largely paying him based on rate of production. Buck's recurring base salary of $15M/year is an absolute bargain for a franchise centerpiece and premier player in the game. His unique contract, driven heavily by MVP voting incentives, is a perpetual self-motivator. Any other team in the league would be thrilled to have this contract. But a no-trade clause ensures none of them can have it. Buxton's here for the long haul, and now the Twins can fully focus on building a championship team around him. With our countdown complete, here's a look at the full list of the top 20 Twins assets of 2022: Byron Buxton, CF Jorge Polanco, 2B Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF Royce Lewis, SS Austin Martin, OF Bailey Ober, RHP Joe Ryan, RHP Mitch Garver, C Max Kepler, RF Ryan Jeffers, C Luis Arraez, UTIL Trevor Larnach, OF Jordan Balazovic, RHP Jhoan Duran, RHP Jose Miranda, 2B/3B Chase Petty, RHP Gilberto Celestino, CF Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Matt Canterino, RHP Check back next week for a full recap of the list, featuring analysis, takeaways, and more. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your thoughts on these rankings in the comments 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
  6. Entering the 2021 season, it's not as if Miranda was a completely unknown commodity. Minnesota selected him in the second-round pack in 2016, and his first two professional seasons were spent in the rookie leagues, where he posted a .722 OPS. In 2018, most of his season was at Low-A as Miranda combined for a .760 OPS. Before the pandemic, he played at High-A and was limited to a .663 OPS. Minnesota eventually left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, but he luckily stayed in the organization. Miranda's 2021 production is what an organization hopes can happen as a player develops through their system. He was a surprise player that produced big power numbers in the minor's upper levels. Here are three prospects that can follow Miranda's footsteps this year for various reasons. Power Production: Austin Martin One of the knocks against Martin throughout his professional career has been his lack of power. When the Blue Jays drafted him, he was coming off a collegiate career where he posted a 1.007 OPS. Last season, he made his professional debut and played the entire season at Double-A. In 93 games, he combined for a .796 OPS with 25 extra-base hits. Before his 30 home run explosion, there were questions about Miranda's power development. After 2021, Miranda's power concerns have been put to rest, and Minnesota hopes for the same kind of transformation from Martin in 2022. Surprise Production: Yunior Severino Initially, the Braves signed him, but MLB granted his free agency after Atlanta was punished for illegal infractions on the international market. Atlanta's loss was Minnesota's gain. Like Miranda, Minnesota left Severino unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft. Last season, he hit .273/.372/.430 (.802) between Low- and High-A. He was younger than the average age of the competition at both levels. Next season, he will be 22-years-old, and he should reach Double-A. There is a chance a team selects him in the Rule 5 Draft, but it's tough to imagine him sticking as a big-league utility player for the entire 2022 season. Upper-Level Production: Aaron Sabato Things didn't go perfectly for Sabato in his first professional season. Minnesota selected him with their first-round pick in 2020, so expectations for him entering the year were high. At Low-A, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with a 117 to 73 strikeout to walk ratio in 85 games. After being promoted to High-A, he posted a 1.015 OPS with 11 extra-base hits in 22 games. Based on his college experience, Sabato should be penciled in to spend the bulk of 2022 in the upper-levels of the minors. Can Sabato duplicate his production from Cedar Rapids as he moves up the organizational ladder? Which player do you think will be this year's Miranda? Are there other players that should be on the list? 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
  7. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  8. If you missed the first half of the series, take a look back at some of the year's other top stories. Below is a rundown of the top-10 stories of the year at Twins Daily. 10. Three Starting Pitchers to Trade for this Winter Published: September 19 Author: Cody Pirkl Trading for starting pitching might be the most logical path to building Minnesota's 2022 rotation, and that was even before Minnesota missed out on many of the top-tier free agent arms. There are multiple teams with controllable arms that offer intriguing trade options. Which player makes the most sense for the Twins? 9. Get Ready for the Opposite of Joe Mauer Published: November 18 Author: Ted Schwerzler With Joe Mauer, the Twins paid a premium for one of baseball's best players. He was coming off an MVP season, and his hometown connections were tough to ignore. Like Mauer, Byron Buxton was a homegrown star on the cusp of free agency. Luckily, the Twins didn't bypass a Buxton extension. Fans may continue to connect Mauer and Buxton because of their injury histories, but Twins fans won't have to watch Buxton in another team's uniform. 8. The 10 Best Twins Target Among Remaining Free Agents Published: January 17 Author: Nick Nelson Last winter, multiple free agents seemed like fits for the 2021 Twins. Two of the names identified ended up signing with the Twins, and both players signed for one-year deals. This leaves the Twins looking for replacements for these players during the current off-season. Also on the list, there were some names that Minnesota was lucky to avoid 7. 4 Possible Teams Interested in a Byron Buxton Trade Published: June 15 Author: Cody Christie During the summer, rumors swirled about the Twins and Buxton not reaching an agreement on a contract extension. It seemed like a very real possibility the team would entertain trading their Gold Glove center fielder. Imagining Buxton in a Yankees or Red Sox uniform might have been tough to swallow for Twins Territory. Luckily, fans won't have to worry about that for the foreseeable future. 6. Sano Sets Strikeout Record Published: September 18 Author: Seth Stohs When he was a top prospect, Miguel Sano breaking a record was something all Twins fans hoped for, but this probably isn't the record most fans had in mind. Not only did he set the record for fastest player to 1,000 career strikeouts, but he also smashed the record. The other players on the list aren't exactly a group of Hall of Fame players, but this is the type of player Sano has become throughout his career. 5. Notebook: Twins Have Offer Out to Veteran SP Published: February 11 Author: Matthew Lenz Twins fans were excited about the possibility of adding a veteran pitcher to Minnesota's starting staff. Unfortunately, the signing became one of the worst free-agent moves under the current regime. Other news covered in this story included the Twins claiming Kyle Garlick, who eventually made the team's Opening Day roster over Brent Rooker. 4. Simmons Wants to Know the Real Story Behind Reliever's Broken Hand Published: October 1 Author: Randballs Stu Randballs Stu offers a little humor to the Twins Daily site, and this piece was one of multiple he has in the top stories of the year. After celebrating the team's playoff-clinching victory, Milwaukee's Devin Williams broke his hand. Andrelton Simmons, a player with a known anti-vaccine stance, questions whether fans are getting the full story with the relief pitcher's injury. 3. What Happened Between Josh Donaldson and Luis Arraez? Published: July 18 Author: Tom Froemming There were plenty of frustrations with the Twins in the middle of the season. During the middle of July, Josh Donaldson got frustrated with Luis Arraez during a game in Detroit. Arraez was slow to get his lead off second base with Donaldson batting. This caused Donaldson to call time and step out. Eventually, the two had a heated discussion with Nelson Cruz playing mediator. 2. 5 Things to Know About Twins Deadline Centerpiece Austin Martin Published: July 30 Author: Nick Nelson After his blockbuster trade to the Twins, fans were excited to know more about Austin Martin. Austin Martin immediately entered the conversation as one of the team's top prospects after being a 2020 top draft pick. His college experience and defensive flexibility make him one of the exciting prospects in the Twins farm system. 1. Rare Unwritten Rule Triggers Name Change for Minnesota Twins Published: May 21 Author: Randballs Stu Baseball's unwritten rules can undoubtedly cause some on-field headaches. Randballs Stu painted a satirical picture of how ridiculous these rules can be when teams follow some of these old-school mentalities. It might be fun to have some Minnesota Cocaine Dentist gear. I wonder if MLB.com still has some available? Which of these stories will you remember the most? 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
  9. Current Center Fielder: Byron Buxton In the days leading into the MLB lock-out, the Twins signed Byron Buxton to a seven-year, $100 million contract extension to keep him tied to Minnesota until his mid-30s. Buxton has played at a superstar level over the last three seasons when he has been healthy. Unfortunately, he has played 87 games or fewer in all but one of his big-league seasons. The Twins were able to sign Buxton for a relatively cheap deal because of these injury concerns, and he expressed a strong desire to stay in the Twin Cities. Now, Minnesota has to make a plan to keep him healthy, so some of the players below aren't relied on in center field. 40-Man Roster Options The Twins have used Max Kepler as a backup option in center field. He has made 127 starts and logged over 1,100 big-league innings at the position. In the past, Kepler preferred playing in a corner outfield spot because of the increased physical demand from playing in center. Kepler might be one of baseball's most valuable trade assets, and this may result in him being dealt this winter for starting pitching depth. Some younger players on the 40-man roster also fit into the team's center field plans. The Twins rushed Gilberto Celestino to the big leagues last season because the team was out of outfield options on the 40-man roster. Entering last season, he had never appeared above the High-A level. In 70-games between Double- and Triple-A last year, he posted a .795 OPS and combined for 25 extra-base hits. If Buxton gets hurt, Celestino should get some opportunities next season. Royce Lewis is another intriguing option on the 40-man roster that may end up playing center field at the big-league level. Minnesota will give him every opportunity to prove he can be a shortstop before transitioning him to a new defensive position. However, his knee injury last spring means he hasn't been on the field since the 2019 Arizona Fall League, where he was named MVP. 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 center field depth. Minnesota has multiple center field options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. According to FanGraphs, there are seven players scheduled to be outfielders at Triple-A next season, and all of them have some experience in center field. One of the team's top prospects, Austin Martin, is the most intriguing option as he split time between shortstop and center field after being acquired at last year's trade deadline. Few think he will stick at shortstop, so his eventual defensive home is likely in the outfield or at third base, his college position. Jake Cave is off the 40-man roster, but the team has used him in the center field in the past. His increasing age and more athletic options at Triple-A will likely relegate Cave to a corner outfield spot. Mark Contreras played over 180 innings in center field for St. Paul last season, but he profiles more as a corner outfielder. Last season, he posted an .824 OPS in 114 games with 53 extra-base hits. Jimmy Kerrigan played all three outfield positions for the Saints in 2021 while hitting .260/.330/.478 (.808) with 38 extra-base hits. DaShawn Keirsey was a 4th round pick in 2018 and served as one of the primary center fielders in Cedar Rapids last season. He was over a year and a half older than the average age of the competition at that level, and he posted a .733 OPS. Willie Joe Garry made 32 starts in center field for Fort Myers but only compiled a .601 OPS in 95 games. Misael Urbina was Minnesota's top international signee in the class of 2018. Last season, he made his stateside debut, where he was over two years younger than the competition. In 101 games, he batted .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 21 extra-base hits. One year after Urbina, Emmanuel Rodriguez was Minnesota's top international signee. Last season, he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with 17 extra-base hits in 37 games for the FCL Twins. Overall, Minnesota has one of baseball's best players in center field, but depth is critical with his injury history. What do you think about the organization's center field depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catcher — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop
  10. Current Shortstop: TBD If the season started today, Jorge Polanco might be the team's only option at shortstop. Minnesota doesn't want to move Polanco back to shortstop, so they need to add a veteran shortstop when the lockout ends. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are two of the top available free-agent options, but it will take a ton of money to sign either of these players. Other players like Andrelton Simmons and Jonathan Villar are options on much cheaper deals to be placeholders to some of the team's top prospects. 40-Man Roster Options There are defensive question marks around both of the team's shortstop options on the 40-man roster. A former first-round pick, Nick Gordon played shortstop throughout his professional career. However, the Twins were hesitant to use him at that position throughout his rookie campaign. In 73 games last year, Gordon made eight starts at shortstop. He posted a .647 OPS with 10 steals in 11 chances. He has the opportunity to fill a utility role with the club, but being the team's starting shortstop seems out of the question. Royce Lewis could very well be the organization's shortstop of the future, but there have been questions about his defensive position throughout his professional career. He may have been able to put some of those questions to rest in 2021, but a knee injury leading into spring training cost him the entire season. The last time Lewis was on the field, he was winning MVP in the Arizona Fall League, but that was coming on the heels of a season where he posted to a .661 OPS. 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 shortstop depth. Minnesota has multiple shortstop options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. With Lewis working his way back, Minnesota has another top-prospect in Austin Martin in the upper minors. The Twins acquired Martin as part of the Jose Berrios trade, and he posted a .796 OPS in 93 Double-A games last season. Like Lewis, there are questions about his future defensive home as the Twins used him at shortstop and center field. At this point, it seems most likely for him to be an outfielder for the long term. Wander Javier is another familiar name to many Twins fans as he has been in the organization since he signed in 2015. At one point, he was considered one of the organization's top prospects, including being on Baseball America's Top-100 list leading into 2018. However, he has struggled through injuries and poor play as he moved up the organizational ladder. Last year at High-A, he hit .225/.280/.413 (.693) with 37 extra-base hits and 141 strikeouts in 96 games. Minnesota left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, and a rebuilding team could take a flyer on him as a utility option. Will Holland played all of the 2021 season at Low-A, where he was 1.7 years older than the average age of the competition. He combined to hit .214/.336/.401 (.736) with 26 extra-base hits. Joining Holland at Fort Myers was former first-round pick Keoni Cavaco, who combined for a .598 OPS in 60 games. Holland should move up to High-A while Cavaco seems likely to return to Low-A. There are multiple teenage options in the organization's rookie leagues too. Noah Miller was the 36th overall pick in 2021 out of high school in Wisconsin. He played in 22 games for the FCL Twins and hit .238/.316/.369 (.685) with six extra-base hits. Danny De Andrade and Fredy Michel were both 2021 international signees that made their professional debuts in the Dominican Summer League. In 50 games, De Andrade hit .264/.340/.348 (.688) with 14 extra-base hits, while Michel posted a .583 OPS with 62 strikeouts in 43 games. Overall, Minnesota has question marks at the big-league level and with it's two biggest prospects. What do you think about the organization's shortstop depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base
  11. Twins Territory can finally take a sigh of relief as late Sunday afternoon multiple sources announced Byron Buxton’s seven-year, $100 million extension with the Minnesota Twins. Buxton’s extension ensures that the Twins will not have to worry about pursuing a new starting center fielder for a long time. However, there is still the likelihood Buxton could miss playing time with an injury in 2022. With Buxton’s injury history still a concern for many, even after this contract extension, the Twins will be weighing their options on who will get the most playing time in centerfield when Buxton is not playing. Right now the Twins have three possible internal choices to back up Buxton when he is not playing in centerfield whether due to injury or a day off from the field. The first option is Max Kepler. Kepler has totaled 84 games in centerfield since 2019 and both he and the Twins front office are looking for him to spend less time in center and more time at his primary position, right field. This does not rule out that Kepler won’t play center field at all in 2022. It’s just more likely that another player will be seen there more often. The next likely player to see playing time in center field behind Buxton is Jake Cave. The majority of Cave’s 281 career games have been played in center field and now that the Twins have signed him to a Major League contract for the 2022 season, there could be an increase in his playing time. Cave’s 2021 season was abysmal at best and one that both he and Twins fans want to put behind them. It is likely, at this time, that Cave will be the primary backup to Buxton in centerfield to start 2022. One other option within the Twins organization, and on the 40-man roster, that could see playing time in center field for the team in 2022 is Gilberto Celestino. Celestino’s brief time with the Twins in 2021 did help the team defensively in Buxton’s absence. Yet Celestino showed he is not ready to face major-league pitching. In his time with the club last season, he had eight hits in just 59 at-bats. Celestino will still need time to develop his hitting with the St. Paul Saints in 2022. If his hitting continues to improve, as it did in Triple-A in 2021, it could provide another chance for him to play in center for the Twins in 2022. There is a fourth option currently in the Twins minor league system that is hopeful to make his MLB debut in 2022 and could see playing time in center field if he does get called up. That is Austin Martin. The timeframe on when the Twins second-best prospect could make his MLB debut is still uncertain. Martin split time between center field and shortstop following his trade to the Twins organization near the July deadline. He played 46 games in center and 43 at short for the Wichita Wind Surge. Martin’s primary position may be tweaked by the Twins following the Buxton extension, but if he does get called up in 2022, that won’t rule out any playing time he could see in center field with the Twins. Buxton’s extension with the Twins doesn’t dismiss the fact that the Twins won’t try to add more depth to the outfield either. A utility player like Danny Santana or super-utility player such as Chris Taylor could be options for the Twins to still pursue. Taylor and Santana are examples of players who aren’t primarily center fielders yet can still fill in holes for the Twins at other positions where they’re needed such as shortstop. Taylor would be the perfect fit for the Twins because he can play shortstop and back up Buxton in center. Santana, not so much. Santana has only played 12 games at shortstop since the start of the 2016 season and many more games at almost every other position, including center field. The great take away from the Buxton extension is that the Twins organization can be comfortable with a star centerfielder once again playing out his career with the Twins. Buxton’s injury history does warrant a need to have depth in center field. The Twins have solid options to work within the organization, but they could still pursue options outside their system to help ensure Buxton has the right players supporting him in center field when he isn’t playing.
  12. With the World Series having concluded, fans of teams that have been sitting out most of October have already begun their prediction lists for the upcoming free agent class. Minnesota Twins fans are a part of this yearly “tradition” and rumors have speculated that the Twins will once again be going after a shortstop in free agency to improve the left side of the infield’s defense. As nice as it would be for the Twins to land a player like Javier Baez or Trevor Story from the stacked 2021-22 free agent shortstop class, they don't necessarily need to pursue a shortstop. There are several reasons why the Twins should not pursue a shortstop this offseason, and the lessons learned from signing Andrelton Simmons last offseason is an example why they should not. As always, the top priority that the Twins need to pursue this offseason is top quality starting pitching. Going after another high-cost shortstop will take away needed funds for the Twins to get a top free agent starter, such as Marcus Stroman or Kevin Gausman, within their budget. Even a one-year, $10 million deal offered to the likes of Jonathan Villar or Chris Taylor could easily take away needed money for one starting pitcher. Another reason for the Twins not to pursue any free agent shortstops is that they already have enough shortstops within the organization to work with. Jorge Polanco is likely to be the everyday second baseman in 2022. There will be some days where Polanco might see action at shortstop. There are also a couple of top prospects that could be the long term shortstop for the Minnesota Twins; Royce Lewis and Austin Martin. Now, the timeframe in which either Martin or Lewis could be called up for their MLB debuts is still uncertain, yet the likelihood of them making their debuts in 2022 seems high. With the two top prospects in the Twins system (according to TwinsDaily) being shortstops, why would the Twins bother looking into signing a new one? On top of all these other factors, the infield depth for the Minnesota Twins is fairly stable as is without signing any of the shortstops in this year’s free agent class. Nick Gordon, finally made his MLB debut in 2021, proved he may be worthy of some starting time in 2022. Gordon was limited to 200 at bats this season, but if the Twins need someone to platoon at the position prior to calling up Martin or Lewis. The 2021-22 offseason is still in its infancy and there will be many transactions made between now and the hopeful Opening Day of 2022. One thing that the Twins could still do between now and then is sign another shortstop from free agency. The Twins have players from within the organization that could help fill the role of an everyday shortstop however, most of these players are not ones who are used to playing there every day anymore. As discussed before, Polanco looks to be the new everyday second baseman for the Twins, and Gordon a super utility player in training that looks to improve in 2022. MLB is now in the era of baseball where no player has the guarantee of remaining at one position for their entire career, let alone an entire season. Polanco is a perfect case of that along with Luis Arraez. Martin too could be seeing a role similar to Arraez where he could be platooning multiple positions when called up, and a position such as center field could take priority for Martin over shortstop. For the Opening Day roster (as of right now), the best move for the Twins might be to find a player within the organization that can start at the position. With Polanco set to be at second base every day and Arraez at third when Josh Donaldson DHs, the guy to go with at shortstop is Nick Gordon. The Twins first pick from the 2014 MLB Draft has put in years of work to finally make the big leagues, almost seven years after being drafted. It’s only fair that the Twins give him a chance to start his first Opening Day when their top priority isn’t finding a new shortstop this offseason. If the Twins do not decide to go with Gordon, there is one man who has been in the minor leagues much longer that is just as deserving as Gordon to deserve a spot on the Twins Opening Day roster in 2022; Drew Maggi. 11 seasons in the minors and getting the callup in September by the Twins only to not play a single game. It’s only fair that Maggi gets some consideration for Opening Day 2022. Of course, he is currently a minor league free agent, but the Twins could certainly bring him back. Do you agree? Should the Twins hand the starting shortstop job to an internal candidate such as Nick Gordon, or bring back Drew Maggi and give him an opportunity? Or, should they get a mid-tier shortstop? Or, should they just pony up and add an elite shortstop and forget about adding pitching? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  13. Three of Twins' top position prospects have a chance to debut during the 2022 season. Minnesota's front office must consider each prospect's defensive future when making a blueprint to be competitive in 2022. Here is a look at how some of the team's top prospects stack up on the defensive side of the ball. Royce Lewis Current Position: SS One of the Twins' questions to decide this winter is what position Lewis will play for the long-term. If Minnesota feels like he is still a shortstop, there is no reason to spend big money on the current free-agent class. There were defensive questions about Lewis before this recent injury, and those questions will follow him moving forward. He is back on the field, but he hasn't taken any defensive reps in game action yet. He has the speed and athleticism that should make him an above-average player at multiple positions. Future Position: Center Field Austin Martin Current Position: CF/SS Martin played six different defensive positions in college before settling in at third base. During the 2021 season, he got reps at shortstop and center field. After being traded to the Twins, Martin finished the year playing at Double-A, and he logged more innings in center than at shortstop. There are questions about his infield arm, which might push him to the outfield for the long term. However, he has shown the ability to play multiple defensive positions, which can be valuable to a big-league team. Future Position: Outfield Jose Miranda Current Position: Infield During his breakout 2021 season, Miranda logged over 200 innings at first, second, and third. This defensive flexibility should help him to find a role at the big-league level. It was a little surprising he didn't make his MLB debut at the end of 2021, but he certainly cemented his place in the team's long-term plans. If Josh Donaldson is traded this winter, Miranda can slide into third base for the 2022 season. Even if Donaldson stays, nothing is saying he will be healthy for the entire season. This should give Miranda the chance to be part of the big-league roster at some point in 2022. Future Position: Third Base There are other off-season decisions tied to each of these players. Will Minnesota sign Buxton to a long-term extension? That can change the long-term plan for Martin or Lewis. Will the Twins trade Donaldson? That can open up third base for Miranda. Depth is essential when creating a big-league roster, and these prospects have the defensive flexibility to add long-term value to the team's outlook. Which player do you think has the best chance to stick at their current defensive position? 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
  14. 1. Pitching Depth is the Strength... For years, the Twins were known for producing soft-tossing pitchers and preaching a pitch-to-contact approach. However, if one needs an example to display that is no longer the case, it would be challenging to produce a more blatant example than the 2021 season. Partially due to the natural evolution of the game as well as the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime's propensity to select hard-throwing high schoolers and college arms with solid reputations, the Twins farm system is currently replete with pitching talent. Jhoan Duran and Chase Petty are among those who sit in the upper 90s and touch 100 mph with regularity. Sawyer Gipson-Long, Matt Canterino, and Louie Varland all boasted K% north of 30%. There's so much talent in the system that top prospects Jordan Balazovic, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Simeon Woods Richardson couldn't even be bothered to pop up until the fifth paragraph of this article! And the talent doesn't stop at the backend of the starting rotation. While Jovani Moran and his 42% strikeout rate earned a promotion to the big league club by the end of the season, he was only one of a handful of genuine bullpen arms that excelled over the summer. Zach Featherstone, Jordan Gore, Osiris German, Aaron Rozek, Yennier Cano, and Denny Bentley put up huge strikeout numbers across various levels, and all boasted ERAs below 3.40. Ian Hamilton, a former top prospect in the White Sox system, put together a strong season at Triple-A, and it could be argued that he deserved a call-up at multiple points this season. In short, this is no longer your Dad's Twins farm system. Their approach to acquiring and developing pitching is night and day from 5-10 years ago. In short order, the team will be reaping the benefits of what they sowed, whether by advancing critical pieces to the majors or by swapping prospects for MLB-ready talent. 2. …, However, Offensive Depth is Lacking It's well known at this point that infield prospect Jose Miranda had one of the best seasons in all of MiLB this past summer. The 23-year-old slashed .344/.401/.572 to go along with 30 home runs, 32 doubles, and a 158 wRC+ across Double- and Triple-A en route to garnering numerous awards. Besides Miranda, who could play a prominent role on the Twins as early as next spring, the system lacks definite MLB-caliber offensive talent, particularly up the middle. Top prospects Royce Lewis and Austin Martin possess the raw talent to succeed at the MLB level for years to come. However, Lewis has not played organized baseball for nearly two years due to COVID and injury, and neither are guaranteed to stick at shortstop. (In fact, Martin played the majority of his innings in centerfield after coming over from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade.) Utility guy Edouard Julien put together arguably the most potent offensive season besides Miranda — he posted a 154 wRC+ due largely to his absurd 21.4% walk rate. He also showed more pop (18 home runs, 28 doubles) and base stealing ability (34 in 39 attempts) at Low- and High-A than he did while at Auburn University. However, he lacks a true defensive home, having appeared all over the diamond this past summer, though he is most robust at second base. Beyond the two, the Twins top offensive performers, according to FanGraphs, were a who’s-who of borderline top 30 prospects and minor league veterans. Luckily for the Twins, the majority of their offense at the big league level comprises established athletes who are under contract, so the need for prospects to reach the majors next summer is at a minimum. However, beyond the summer of 2022, the lack of offensive depth in the system may begin to rear its head unless key pieces are retained or a few of the borderline prospects breakout. 3. Watching Minor League Ball was a Good Distraction Perhaps distraction isn't the correct term here. The Twins were terrible this year and, at many points, virtually unwatchable. But their minor league teams all performed well this year and served as an excellent alternative for the baseball hungry. There are many issues with minor league baseball — the players are poorly compensated, the life is a grind, the production value of non-Twins streams was often pretty bad, etc. — but baseball is baseball at the end of the day. Few teams across MLB put forth a better minor league product than the Twins, which made the summer much more enjoyable. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  15. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. With that, let's look at Week 21 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-1, hosting Iowa), overall (65-60) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Regular Season (69-51) Week (0-3 vs NW Arkansas in the Double-A Central League championship series) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Regular Season (67-53) Week (2-3 vs Quad Cities in the High-A Central League championship series) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Regular Season (60-54) Complex League FCL Twins: Regular Season (21-38) In Case You Missed It... Here are the week's Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Playoff Time for Wind Surge, Kernels Tuesday: Playoffs?! Yes, We’re Talking About Playoffs! Unsung Heroes of Lowertown: The St. Paul Saints Grounds Crew Wednesday: Game Twos and an 0-fer Thursday: Saints Ride the High of the Long Ball Prospect Retrospective: Justin Morneau Friday: Wind Surge Swept, Kernels Take Control Saturday: River Bandits Force Decisive Game 5, Saints Beat Cubs Sunday: Eliminated Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year: Jose Miranda Highlights St. Paul Saints The Saints played their final home series of the season. CHS Field and the Saints hosted the Iowa Cubs in the first of two Final Stretch weeks in Triple-A. The Saints won four of the five games. BJ Boyd went 4-for-10 (.400) with three walks, a triple, a homer and three RBI. Ben Rortvedt played in four games. He went 5-for-12 (.417) with three walks, a double, a homer and four RBI. Of course, Jose Miranda had another terrific week. In five games, he went 9-for-20 (.450) with two walks, a double, a homer and six RBI. Finally, David Banuelos played in just one game, but in that game, he went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a homer and three RBI. That’s a solid 2.100 OPS day! On the mound, Beau Burrows pitched the fifth through ninth innings. In five scoreless innings, he gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out six batters. Edgar Garcia had a four-inning outing. He gave up no runs on just one hit and one walk. Ian Gibaut pitched twice in the five-game set. He struck out four batters over two perfect innings. Lefty Chris Nunn struck out three batters over three scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit. Chandler Shepherd struck out four batters over 3 2/3 scoreless frames. He gave up just one hit and one walk. Andrew Albers had another strong start. He gave up one run on four hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out seven batters. Wichita Wind Surge The Wind Surge went into the championship series as the #1 see which meant the first two games on the road. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of positives in their three-game sweep at the hands of NW Arkansas. But there were a couple… Austin Martin went 6-for-12 (.500) with two walks. He had two-hit games in all three games. Likewise, Jermaine Palacios had three multi-hit games. All told, he was 7-11 (.636) with a walk, a double and two home runs. Cedar Rapids Kernels The Kernels jumped out to a 2-1 lead after three games, but the River Bandits won games four and five. As you would expect, there were a few more positives. Sawyer Gipson-Long gave up one run and struck out nine batters over 4 2/3 innings in his start. Louie Varland continued to throw well. He gave up just one run on six hits over seven innings in Game 1. Osiris German pitched twice out of the bullpen. He pitched a perfect inning in Game 1 and was credited with the Win. In Game four, he gave up just one hit over three scoreless innings. No walks. Five strikeouts. Zach Featherstone struck out three batters in the ninth inning to record the save in Game 1. In Game 1, Jair Camargo was the hitting star. He went 2-for-3 with a double and a late-inning homer to give the Kernels a lead. After going 0-for-7 in the first two games, Edouard Julien went 2-for-4 with a walk and two home runs in Game 3. He had two more hits in Game 4. In the series, Alex Isola had four walks, two doubles and a three-run homer. DaShawn Keirsey had two doubles and a homer in the series. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our updated Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 37 games, .254/.399/.381 (.779) with 8 doubles, 3 home runs, 19 RBI, 23 BB, 30 K. #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 20 GS, 97.0 IP, 98 H, 38 BB, 102 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.40 WHIP #4 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - 4 G, 3 GS, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 10 K, 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP. #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 122 games, .342/.400/.568 (.968) with 29 doubles, 29 homers, 92 RBI, 41 BB, 73 K #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - St. Paul (2 GS, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K, 2.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP), Minnesota (4 GS, 22.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 25 K, 2.45 ERA, 0.59 WHIP) #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 5 GS, 21.0 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 43 K, 0.86 ERA, 0.67 WHIP (IL, elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - 2 G, 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP. #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 60 games, .233/.296/.301 (.597) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 24 RBI, 18 BB, 89 K, 5 SB (Temporary Inactive List) #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP (IL, shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 66 games, .264/.350/.508 (.858) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 15 homers, 47 RBI, 28 BB, 98 K. #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (44 games, .296/.397/.457 (.854) with 11 doubles, 5 homers, 24 RBI, 23 BB, 38 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 11 GS, 53.0 IP, 63 H, 26 BB, 41 K, 6.96 ERA, 1.68 WHIP. #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 22 games, .238/.316/.369 (.685) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 14 RBI, 9 BB, 26 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (52 games, .201/.294/.397 (.691) with 10 doubles, 8 homers, 15 RBI, 15 BB, 64 K) #17 - 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) #18 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 101 games, .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers, 52 RBI, 54 BB, 82 K, 16 SB) #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 19 G, 18 GS, 80.1 IP, 59 H, 35 BB, 96 K, 2.46 ERA, 1.17 WHIP #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 110 games, .254/.348/.484 (.833) with 18 doubles, 3 triples, 24 homers, 66 RBI, 55 BB, 105 K) LOOKING AHEAD FCL Twins Season is Complete. Ft. Myers Season is Complete. Cedar Rapids Season is Complete. Wichita Season is Complete. St. Paul @ Toledo: (Jason Garcia, Derek Law, Beau Burrows, Drew Strotman, Andrew Albers): Also, Instructional League/camp began last Tuesday. Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  16. SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 4, St. Paul 1 Box Score Entering their final stretch of games on a balmy evening, the Saints grounds crew busted out some new field artwork. David Youngs recently wrote up a great piece on the guys the get things ready in St. Paul. Derek Law made the start tonight for St. Paul but unfortunately recorded just two outs before being lifted. He gave up a run on one hit and two walks while striking out one. Former Twins outfielder Ian Miller scored the run on a 1st inning wild pitch. After a three-run blast in the 2nd inning put Iowa up by four, it was on the Saints to chip away. Ben Rortvedt came through with the first tally for St. Paul on a 6th inning single that scored Tomas Telis. Despite out hitting Iowa 6-to-5, St. Paul couldn’t push across another run. Jose Miranda continued his great season with a two-hit night after signing autographs on the off day. He was the long batter to record a multi-hit effort. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 2: NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score After the Wind Surge dropped game one of the series with Jordan Balazovic on the mound, Cole Sands took the ball in game two. Wichita’s starter went five innings allowing five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. The bullpen did their job blanking the Naturals over the next three innings, but the Wind Surge were able to generate just one run off of their seven hits. Giving up three runs in the 4th inning, Wichita needed to rebound fast. D.J. Burt scored Aaron Whitefield with a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning to trim the deficit, but that was the lone run production available on the evening. Catcher Chris Williams kept the base paths in order for Wichita all night. Nabbing three would-be base stealers, he shut the Naturals running game down. As Northwest Arkansas tacked on, the Wind Surge saw their hill to climb steepen, and they’ll now face the test of winning three straight should they want to capture a title. Austin Martin and Jermaine Palacios both had two-hit nights for Wichita. The Wind Surge didn’t have anyone record an extra-base hit in this one. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 2: Quad Cities 6, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jumping out to a 1-0 series lead last night, Cedar Rapids turned to Sean Mooney for game two. He went three innings allowing three earned runs on three hits. Mooney did fan six while allowing just a single free pass. Two long balls are what did him in for an early exit. The River Bandits scored first on a two-run blast in the 1st inning, and they added on with a solo shot in the third. Another run crossed in the 4th inning before a pair were plated in the 7th inning. Cedar Rapids was held to just three hits in the contest, and DaShawn Keirsey was responsible for two of them. The Kernels didn’t have a player reach third base, and Michael Helman was the lone player to touch second after his single was followed by an Aaron Sabato walk. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4 PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-5, K #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, 2K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-2, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-3 #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Bryan Sammons (1-3, 6.50 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the playoff games from Wednesday!
  17. SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 10, Saints 3 Box Score Drew Strotman: 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Drew Stankiewicz (2) Multi-hit games: Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-3, 2 2B, RBI, BB), Stankiewicz (2-for-3, HR, RBI, R) Drew Strotman started allowed seven runs in four innings in the Saints’ loss Sunday. Strotman has allowed 23 runs over his last 23 innings. Yennier Cano gave up two runs in relief on two hits and two walks. Ryan Mason allowed an unearned run and Vinny Nittoli and Chris Nunn each pitched scoreless innings. Drew Stankiewicz blasted a homer in the third and added another hit from the nine-hole. Jimmy Kerrigan drove in Mitch Garver in the fourth with a double and BJ Boyd picked up an RBI with a groundout. Indianapolis recorded 13 singles and zero extra-base hits, scoring 10 runs and walking five times. The Saints fell to 61-59. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 10, Travelers 6 Box Score Ben Gross: 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: Spencer Steer (14), Andrew Bechtold (18) Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-2, 2 2B, 3 BB, 3 R), D.J. Burt (2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI), Steer (2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI), Aaron Whitefield (2-for-4, 2B) Spencer Steer hit a three-run homer in the first, setting the tone for a great offensive day for the Surge. Ben Gross started and allowed five runs (four earned) in four innings of work. Austin Martin reached base five times, including two doubles and three walks. Andrew Bechtold continued his power-breakout with his 18th homer of the season. Simeon Woods Richardson pitched two scoreless innings and struck out one. Alex Phillips and Erik Manoah Jr. each threw scoreless innings. Jordan Gore allowed one run on two hits in the ninth. The Surge will compete in the playoffs next week. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 11, Chiefs 0 Box Score Aaron Rozek: 5 IP, 0 R/ER, BB, 4 K HR: Edouard Julien (15), Matt Wallner (15), DaShawn Keirsey 2 (7) Multi-hit games: Julien (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB), Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, 2 R, BB), Wallner (2-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Alex Isola (2-for-5, RBI, R), Daniel Ozoria (2-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI, R), Keirsey (2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) The Kernels clinched a playoff berth with a huge 11-0 win Sunday. Aaron Rozek started and dazzled with five scoreless innings. Rozek struck out four. Denny Bentley, Carlos Suniaga, Zach Featherstone, and Andrew Cabezas combined for four scoreless innings out of the Kernels’ bullpen. Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner both hit two-run homers in the third and the Kernels never looked back. DaShawn Keirsey then added a solo homer in the fourth before Michael Helman drove in a run on an RBI double. The Kernels didn’t stop. Alex Isola added an RBI double, Daniel Ozoria drove in two as a pinch-hitter, and DaShawn Keirsey hit two homers, his sixth and seventh of the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Mussels 5, Tarpons 4 Box Score Brent Headrick: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-4, 3B, RBI), Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, R), Mikey Perez (2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, R), Willie Joe Gary Jr. (2-for-4, 3B, RBI, R) Willie Joe Garry got things going with an RBI triple in the second and things were looking good for the Mussels early. Brent Headrick started and dominated in three innings, striking out seven. Unfortunately David Festa couldn’t hold the lead, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and a walk. Zarion Sharpe pitched very well in relief, striking out three in 3 1/3 one-run innings. The Mussels rallied in the eighth as Patrick Winkel and Mikey Perez added clutch hits to drive in runs. Ramon Pineda, younger brother of Twins pitcher Michael Pineda, earned the win. Fort Myers finished its season with a 60-54 record. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Season is Complete. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Aaron Rozek (5 IP, 0 R/ER, BB, 4 K) Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – DaShawn Keirsey (2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) 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 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 2 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, K #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, K #7 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not play #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, R #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - Did not play #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, R, 3 K #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI
  18. TRANSACTIONS: C Ben Rortvedt recalled to the Minnesota Twin LHP Charlie Barnes optioned to the St.Paul Saints SAINTS SENTINEL Game one: Mud Hens 10, Saints 9 Box Score Drew Strotman: 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 R/ER, 6 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (2-for-7, 2B, 2 RBI, R), Tomás Telis (3-for-7, 2B, R), Gilberto Celestino (3-for-7, RBI, R), Ben Rortvedt (2-for-6, RBI, R), Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-5, 2 R, BB), Drew Maggi (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI) This wild affair finally finished Sunday afternoon, unfortunately in a loss for St. Paul. The game was halted Saturday night in the 14th inning due to curfew. No inning could start after 1:30 am local time. Drew Strotman started and once again struggled with his command. Strotman has walked nearly 13% of batters he’s faced since being traded to the Twins. Offensively, the Saints got plenty. Eight of their nine starters recorded a hit and three recorded three hits each. The Saints issued 14 walks and pitched with runners in scoring position 27 times. Game two: Mud Hens 9, Saints 8 Box Score Beau Burrows: 4 IP, 4 H, 8 R/ER, 4 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (2-for-5, RBI), Tomás Telis (2-for-5, RBI), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-5, 2 R), JT Riddle (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB), David Bañuelos (2-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI) This one came down to the wire with the tying run on second in the ninth. Jose Miranda and Tomás Telis each drove in a run with singles in the eighth, but the Saints couldn’t get Miranda back to the plate in the ninth. Twins fans may need to get used to watching Riley Greene do damage. The top Tigers prospect blasted a two-run homer off Beau Burrows in the first. Greene is ranked as the No. 7 prospect in baseball via MLB Pipeline. His teammate, Spencer Torkelson, is ranked No. 4. The Saints fell to 53-49 after the losses. WIND SURGE WISDOM Surge 8, Drillers 6 Box Score Austin Schulfer: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: Austin Martin (3), Leobaldo Cabrera (9), Caleb Hamilton (8) Multi-hit games: Martin (3-for-4, HR, 2B), Cabrera (2-for-3, HR, 3B, 3 R, RBI, BB), Aaron Whitefield (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI) The Drillers got out to a 2-0 lead before Austin Martin hit his second homer in as many days. Martin is six for his last nine with two homers, a double and five runs driven in. Leobaldo Cabrera stayed hot with a triple and a homer. Cabrera entered the game hitting .255/.371/.509 in 35 games with the Wind Surge. Austin Schulfer came into the game with a 2.84 ERA over his last four starts. He battled through five hits and three walks in Sunday’s win, providing five innings. Schulfer’s ERA on the season rose to 4.38. The first-place Surge have shown incredible fight and tenacity, especially over the last few weeks. The offense is clicking on all cylinders and Martin’s ability to sparkplug at the top of the lineup is benefitting the group. KERNELS NUGGETS Snappers 9, Kernels 8 Box Score Aaron Rozek: 3 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K HR: Aaron Sabato 2 (2), Alex Isola (11), Jeferson Morales (4) Multi-hit games: Sabato (2-for-4, 2 HR, BB), Isola (5-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) Alex Isola was three for his last 28 entering Sunday’s game. He turned it around in a big way. Isola homered in his first at-bat, drove in a run with a single in his second, singled in his third and singled again in his fourth. Oh, and he singled again in the 10th inning. Aaron Sabato also had a great day at the dish, hitting his first two home runs for the Kernels. Sabato earned a promotion after a hot start to the month in Fort Myers. He’s now hit nine homers in 19 August games. The Kernels are 56-46 after the walk-off. They still sit 11 games behind the Quad Cities powerhouse (67-33) in the High-A Central. MUSSEL MATTERS Marauders 22, Mussels 5 Box Score Landon Leach: 2 2/3 IP, 4 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K HR: Christian Encarnación-Strand (2) Multi-hit games: Jesús Feliz (2-for-4, RBI), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-4, R) Yes, you read that right. The Mussels gave up 22 runs while allowing zero home runs. The Marauders went 21-for-49 (.429) with eight doubles and 20 runs driven in. Bradenton went 14-for-30 (.467) with runners in scoring position. It was a hitting clinic. It was out of character for the Mussels to pitch so poorly considering they have the second-lowest ERA (4.03) in the Low-A Southeast. Third baseman Christian Encarnación-Strand, the Twins’ fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, hit a solo homer in the ninth. He’s recorded a hit in all six games since debuting. Struggles continued this week for Twins’ top prospects Keoni Cavaco and Misael Urbina. Cavaco went 1-for-14 with a single and no walks while Urbina went 3-for-18 with three singles and five walks. Both are sporting an OPS at .600 or below. COMPLEX CHRONICLES The FCL Twins did not play Sunday. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Adam Lau (1 ⅔ IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 2 K, 0 BB) Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alex Isola (5-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) 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 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 4-for-12, 2B, 3 RBI, R #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - 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) - 0-for-4, RBI, R #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 2 K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-7, RBI, R #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - No game #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-4, 3 K #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, BB #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, RBI
  19. TRANSACTIONS RHP Miguel Rodriguez reinstated from 7-day IL at A Fort Myers RHP Ramon Pineda transferred from FCL Twins to A Fort Myers Saints Sentinel St. Paul 9, Toledo 9 (Paused game) Box Score Drew Strotman: 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Well, I had a write-up here, but apparently the game ran so late that it was paused due to a curfew. I'll leave the box score link so that people can check it out as they please, but know that the game is not technically finished. Also know that this is the first time I have ever seen something like this happen in a minor league game. Weird stuff. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 13, Tulsa 4 Box Score Cole Sands: 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K HR: Leobaldo Cabrera (8), Andrew Bechtold (16), Austin Martin (2), Spencer Steer (13) Multi-hit games: Spencer Steer (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB), Austin Martin (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), Wichita gave Tulsa the business on Saturday. ...Oh, I need to say more? (Editor's Note: Yes, please.) Here are a few questions: Is it a good thing when eight out of nine of your batters get a hit? Is it a good thing when six different hitters earn an RBI? Is it a good thing when your 1-2 hitters combine for six runs? I’m not a baseball expert, but I tend to think that the answer to all of those questions is yes. Tulsa actually had the first lead of the game but a homer by Leobaldo Cabrera put the lead firmly in Wichita’s grasp. They would not let go. With five runs already on the board, Andrew Bechtold demolished a three-run homerun to make it a cruel seven-run lead. With a nine-run lead, Austin Martin clobbered a homer to make it an evil 11-run lead. Finally, with 12 runs on the board, Spencer Steer obliterated a solo shot to add a cherry on top of this battered cake. Tulsa actually out-hit the Wind Surge on Saturday which is objectively hilarious. Cabrera: Bechtold: Martin: Steer: Cole Sands allowed only one run over three innings but was inefficient as he tossed 80 pitches in order to do so. From there the combination of Kody Funderburk, Zach Neff, and Hector Lujan took Wichita to the finish line on Saturday. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 1, Beloit 6 Box Score Ben Gross: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Daniel Ozoria (2-for-3, RBI) Cedar Rapids had the lone offensive dud on Saturday. Ben Gross brought the strikeouts, but the Snappers proved resilient, and dropped 10 hits on the starter. It was an all-or-nothing approach that netted Beloit six extra-base hits off of Gross en route to a lead that would never really be challenged. The lone Kernels run came thanks to a Daniel Ozoria infield single in the 5th inning. The team put together just six hits on the night, but oddly enough, three of those hits were doubles. In another odd turn, both teams had matching one walk, 14 strikeout performances by their respective pitching staffs (and lineups, technically). But, Beloit bunching their extra-base hits proved to be a wise strategy as they easily beat Cedar Rapids on Saturday. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 8 Box Score Miguel Rodriguez: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K HR: Jesus Feliz (7) Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-5, 3 R), Will Holland (3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) Fort Myers was unable to recover from a 4-0 deficit on Saturday. Starter Miguel Rodriguez had one to forget. The righty was activated just before the game and more than a bit rusty on Saturday. Allowing three walks over just a single inning more or less speaks for itself. Let’s hope that Rodriguez can get back on the horse the next time he’s called upon. To their credit, the Mighty Mussels did not lie down and let the Marauders win this game without a fight. They were down by a score of 7-1 before a burning offensive spirit took hold across the dugout. Jesus Feliz kicked off the rebuttal with a solo homer in the 7th while Will Holland doubled home a run later in the inning. This would be just the first attack. Kyler Fedko unloaded the bases in the 8th with a double that was followed by the classic double error on the part of the Marauders. Unfortunately, the fight would end there. Bradenton plated one more run in the 9th, and Fort Myers fell narrowly short of a victory. Casey Legumina provided a strong effort in the loss. He was able to siphon off the bleeding over five strong innings of one-run ball in relief of Rodriguez. Complex Chronicles The FCL Twins game was suspended in the 8th inning on Saturday. Nash will have the update for you on this game when it is completed on Sunday. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Casey Legumina Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer 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 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - Suspended game #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - Suspended game #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-1, R, BB, K #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-3, 2 BB #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Bradenton @ Fort Myers (10:00 AM) RHP Landon Leach St. Paul @ Toledo (12:05 PM) RHP Beau Burrows Tulsa @ Wichita (12:05 PM) RHP Austin Schulfer Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (1:05 PM) TBD
  20. Joe Ryan, RH SP Ryan was one of the key pieces as part of the Nelson Cruz trade and he made his organizational debut last week after returning from the Olympics. His Saints debut was ridiculous as he struck out nine batters in four innings. Ryan, a former water polo player, is known for the life on his fastball and his command of the strike zone. He led the minor-league baseball in strikeout rate in 2019 by fanning 183 batters in 123 2/3 innings. As a 25-year-old, he has already found success in the high minors, and the Twins may want to give him a September audition for the 2022 rotation. Jose Miranda, INF Miranda is having one of the best offensive seasons in team history among players in the high minors, and he is a lock to be the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. There are multiple ways to get him to Minneapolis before the season’s end. Entering 2021, he had struggled with working counts in his favor, which led to a lot of weak contact. Minnesota worked on his approach last season, and the results speak for themselves. St. Paul has been a remarkably better team with Miranda in the line-up, and the team has taken over first place in the division. Jovani Moran, LHRP Moran was left unprotected during this past season’s Rule 5 Draft (and the year before), but he went unselected, which looks like a mistake by MLB’s other organizations. Moran’s stock rose significantly this season as he has compiled strong numbers at Double- and Triple-A. He’s held opponents to hitting .115/.213/.230 (.443) as he has collected 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. His dominant change-up is how he misses bats, as MLB Pipeline calls it a double-plus pitch. Moran is big-league ready, but the Saints are fighting for a division title so the Twins may want to keep him in St. Paul. Austin Martin, SS/CF Martin, one of the pieces of the Jose Berrios trade, is the only player on this list not at Triple-A. He has been playing well at Double-A, and the argument can be made for him as the organization’s top prospect. He is an on-base machine, but there have been some questions raised this year about his power. Defensively, he can play multiple infield positions and centerfield, so this flexibility can allow him to reach the big leagues more quickly. Minnesota has two series against the Blue Jays near the end of September, and that might make for an intriguing big-league debut for Martin. There are a few things to consider when looking at the names above. Three of the players are currently at Triple-A, and St. Paul is in the playoff hunt. Also, none of the players are currently on the 40-man roster, but all but Martin will need to be added this winter. There will be plenty of 40-man roster clean-up to do during the off-season, so the team might not want to add another wrinkle to that equation. All four of these players look more than ready to help the big-league squad. Now the question remains, who will be the first to make it to the show? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. TRANSACTIONS RHP Matt Canterino placed on the 7-day IL at A+ Cedar Rapids (right elbow strain) RHP Breckin Williams placed on the 7-day IL at A+ Cedar Rapids (right shoulder strain) LHP Bryan Sammons promoted to AAA St. Paul RHP Randy Dobnak assigned to A Fort Myers for a rehab assignment Saints Sentinel St. Paul 7, Iowa 4 Box Score Bryan Sammons: 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Jose Miranda (12) Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Tomás Telis (2-for-4, R) Jose Miranda. Yeah, usually I begin with the pitcher, but this one is going to be different. Jose Miranda dropped four hits on Saturday, including a home run, and I’m left wondering what in the world he possibly needs to do in order to get called up. I mean, he’s having one of the best minor league seasons these eyes have seen, and the major league team is not doing much of anything at the moment. Figure it out. Speaking of guys that need to be called up, Jovani Moran pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief with one earned run and three strikeouts. He will certainly be up at some point, but whenever that time comes, it’ll already be overdue. Beyond Miranda, the Saints found the 5th inning to be the perfect time to strike. Mark Contereras singled home a run, Drew Maggi brought another run in with a groundout, and a wild pitch scored the final run of the inning. All-in-all, the Saints had six runs on the board. Ian Hamilton brought us all home with two clean innings to end the game. Yeah, maybe he walked a guy, but he was just keeping the hitters on their toes. It appears that it worked. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Springfield 0 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Wichita’s pitching took care of business on Saturday. Jordan Balazovic had an interesting day on the mound. He held the Cardinals scoreless, which is good; but then he walked five batters, which is not good. This is one of those times we just say “we take those” and move on. Details don’t matter. Wichita did not score much, but they didn’t need to. Austin Martin plated the first run of the game with an 8th inning single, and Andrew Bechtold brought home the final run with a single of his own in the 9th inning. Honestly, that was it. But that was all that was needed. After Balazovic’s six innings of work, Adam Lau took the team to the ninth and Erik Manoah Jr. ended it. Those three pitchers combined to allow just five hits total in the entire game. That’ll work. Funny enough, the Wind Surge actually only had four hits. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 5, Wisconsin 12 Box Score Cody Laweryson: 4 2.3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K HR: Matt Wallner (11), Michael Helman (15) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB), Matt Wallner (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Daniel Ozoria (2-for-4) The Kernels were unable to come back on Saturday. Cody Laweryson put forth an impressive effort with half of his outs coming via the K. He was bogged down by some 4th inning shenanigans that saw a double error play score a run. This was actually not even the only double error play of the game by the Kernels; the 7th inning saw a similar effort that ended up plating a pair of runs. As you will read later, it was not a great day for defense in the system. I hope Laweryson’s fielders bought him one of those real cheesy Hallmark apology cards after the game. Despite scoring just three runs, Cedar Rapids brought some firepower. Matt Wallner deposited his 11th homer of the year over the fence while Michael Helman, who suddenly has been possessed by the spirit of Hank Aaron, blasted his 15th home run. The problem was that both of these blasts came without a runner on base. Edouard Julien reached base four times because of course he did. I find myself more shocked when he doesn’t get on base multiple times than when he does. I assume that his season OBP is still .600 or something like that. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 3, Dunedin 4 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Charles Mack (2-for-4) Well, Randy Dobnak sure came to play on Saturday. The right-hander emerged from his long slumber (or injury) and took the mound for the first time in two months. Using his major league success as well as his right hand, Dobnak completely shut down the Dunedin lineup in just 32 pitches. It’s good to see Dobnak back on the mound; his return will hopefully be a relief for a depleted major league pitching staff. On the offensive side of things, Jesus Feliz carried the team. He broke the 0-0 tie in the 5th with a solo homer, before then putting a ball into play in the 7th that brought home two off of an error. That must have been one impressive error. It appears that defense was the Achilles heel for Fort Myers on Saturday. The team had five errors in total (Keoni Cavaco had his 17th error of the year), and it was a Charles Mack throwing error that sent the game-winning runner to third base in the 9th inning. That run was then brought home off an infield single. Hopefully the team can clean it up on Sunday. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 5, FCL Red Sox 11 Box Score Develson Aria: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Endy Rodriguez (1) Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost a rough one to the FCL Red Sox on Saturday. A certain swear for poop hit the fan quickly in this effort as the Red Sox plated two runs before fans could even find their seats. Top draft pick, Marcelo Mayer, dropped an RBI single while Bryan Gonzalez singled home another run. In fact, the Red Sox scored 10 times before the Twins plated a single run. In the 5th, Mayer then blasted his first career professional home run. This is far from the first time that we’ve seen a Mayer have multiple hits. Alright, let’s get back to talking about the Twins. The team responded to the 10-0 deficit with an impressive gusto. A 6th inning rally brought three runs home while individual runs were then scored in the 7th and 8th, respectively. That 8th inning run came due to Endy Rodriguez’s first home run of the season; so congrats to Rodriguez. The run of, well, runs, was not enough, and the team fell to the Red Sox on Saturday. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jose Miranda 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 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, RBI #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 6 K #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 4-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-5, 3 K #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-3 #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-4 #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Fort Myers @ Dunedin (11:00 AM) RHP Bobby Milacki Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) TBD Iowa @ St. Paul (1:05 PM) RHP Drew Strotman Wichita @ Springfield (4:05 PM) RHP Chris Vallimont
  22. Minnesota Twins Top 30 Prospects 30. Marco Raya, RHP: Four-pitch mix has the Twins excited about his future. 29. Jovani Moran, LHP: Dominant change-up has him close to the big leagues. 28. Steve Hajjar, LHP: 2021 Second Round Pick that led the Big 10 in Ks. 27. Wander Javier, SS: Five-tool potential that hasn’t put it all together yet. 26. Alerick Soularie, 2B: One of the best athletes in the Twins system. 25. Chris Vallimont, RHP: Has dynamic stuff, but can his command improve? 24. Louie Varland, RHP: Had dominant stretches at Low- and High-A this season. 23. Nick Gordon, UTL: May have a bright future as a true utility man. 22. Aaron Sabato, 1B: 2020 First Round Pick, whose power is now showing up. 21. Edouard Julien, INF: An on-base machine with some pop and defensive flexibility. 20. Spencer Steer, INF: Powerful infielder with college experience. 19. Cole Sands, RHP: Striking out nearly 12 batters per nine at Double-A. 18. Misael Urbina, OF: Showcasing advanced approach even against older competition. 17. Blayne Enlow, RHP: Tommy John surgery will keep him out until 2022. 16: Brent Rooker, OF: Already 26-years old, but has the system's best power tool. 15. Noah Miller, INF: 2021 Compensation Pick that will take time to develop. 14. Drew Strotman, RHP: Intriguing repertoire of major league quality pitches. 13. Gilberto Celestino, OF: Rushed to the MLB level this year but has plenty of tools. 12. Matt Wallner, OF: High strikeout guy with light-tower power. 11. Josh Winder, RHP: He struck out more than 30% of batters he faced at Double-A. 10. Keoni Cavaco, SS: 2019 First Round Pick with five-tool athleticism. 9. Chase Petty, RHP: 2021 First Round Pick with an electric fastball. 8. Matt Canterino, RHP: Recently returned from injury and racking up strikeouts. 7. Joe Ryan, RHP: Acquired for Cruz, he figures to be in the mix for the 2022 rotation. 6. Jose Miranda, 3B: Likely the organization’s minor league player of the year. 5. Jhoan Duran, RHP: Has immense potential if he can stay healthy. 4. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP: Newly acquired pitcher is very young for Double-A. 3. Jordan Balazovic, RHP: Strikeout rate is improving. Triple-A might be his horizon. 2. Austin Martin, SS/CF: Newly acquired prospect is an OBP machine, but will the power come? 1. Royce Lewis, SS: Has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in baseball. DEBATE AT THE TOP Austin Martin will be ranked higher than Royce Lewis on many national prospect lists, especially with Lewis missing the entire 2021 season. Both players have tremendous potential, but they each come with their own flaws. Martin’s stock might have been low when the Twins dealt for him. He has been getting on-base over 40% of the time this season, but the power he showed in college hasn’t shown up during his pro career. Defensively, he has a lot of flexibility, but that also means there are some questions about his defensive future. Lewis dominated the 2019 Arizona Fall League, but this came on the heels of a season where he struggled offensively at High-A and Double-A. He made strides at the team’s alternate site in 2020, and then a fluke injury put him on the sidelines for all of 2021. Like Martin, there are questions about his defensive future, but he has the athleticism to play in multiple spots. Overall, Lewis may have the higher ceiling, and Martin has the higher floor. MOVEMENT ON THE LIST Because of the influx of new prospects, most prospects on this list dropped from their midseason rankings. Jordan Balazovic and Jose Miranda are two prospects that have seen their stock rise the most during the 2021 season. Miranda has been dominating the upper levels of the minors this season, and he should make his big-league debut before the season’s end. Balazovic started the year on the IL, but he has been healthy since then, and his strikeout rate continues to rise. One of the most significant drops this season has been Aaron Sabato. When the Twins drafted him in 2020, scouting reports touted his powerful swing and advanced approach. His power hadn't made much of an appearance in his first professional season as he was limited to four home runs entering August. Now, he's clubbed six home runs in eight August games. If he continues this powerful pace, there's certainly potential for him to move up this list during the offseason. TOP 30 POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN C- 0 IF- 10 OF- 5 RHP- 13 LHP- 2 Back in February, Nick identified two deficiencies in the Twins system, high-level infield talent, and left-handed pitching. Minnesota has seen some changes in those two categories this season. Austin Martin adds to the team’s high-level infield talent even if he ends up at second base. Jose Miranda’s emergence also adds to the team’s long-term infield plans. As far as left-handed pitchers, there weren’t any on the Twins Daily Top-20 list entering the season, and there weren’t any in the top-20 listed above. However, Jovani Moran (29th) looks like he can be a dominant big-league reliever. Steve Hajjar brings in college experience with the potential to move quickly through the minors. What are your thoughts on the changes to the team’s top prospects? How do you feel about the system as a whole? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion
  23. 5. RHP Jhoan Duran (23 years old) Season Stats (AAA): 16.0 IP (5 G), 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 12.4 K/9. 7.3 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 2, 2021 Preseason: 5 Duran is one of the most exciting pitching prospects to come through the Twins system in quite some time. He can consistently hit triple digits with his fastball while mixing in a splitter, curveball, and changeup. One of his pitches sometimes referred to as a splinker, is similar to another big-leaguer. His biggest concerns are control and staying healthy. Currently, he is out with an elbow strain, and he also dealt with a trapezius issue earlier in the year. When he went on the IL at the end of June, the recommendation was for him to be shut down for 5-6 weeks, and surgery will not be needed for the time being. Minnesota can hold its collective breath and hope Duran doesn’t need to go under the knife and miss significant time in 2022. 4. RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (20 years old) Season Stats (AA): 45.1 IP (11 G), 5.76 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13.3 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: Joined organization at the trade deadline There are probably plenty of things you don’t know about Woods-Richardson as he was acquired as part of the José Berríos trade. He showcases a traditional mix of pitches, including a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. According to MLB Pipeline, all four pitches already grade at a 55 (20-80 scale) or higher. Toronto was aggressive with sending him to Double-A as a 20-year old, and the Twins have assigned him to the same level as he returned from the Olympics. Minnesota will be his third organization since being drafted in 2018, and it should be the organization where he will make his big-league debut. 3. RHP Jordan Balazovic (22 years old) Season Stats (AA): 63.1 IP (13 G), 3.84 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 3, 2021 Preseason: 6 Minnesota snagged Balazovic back in 2016 in the fifth round out of Canada. Balazovic started the year on the IL, so his first game action didn’t come until the beginning of June. After shaking some dust off, he had a terrific month of July as he posted a 2.86 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 31 strikeouts. In nine of his 13 appearances, he has allowed three runs or fewer, including seven appearances with no runs allowed. His strikeout rate is higher than his career mark, and he faces older batters over 80% of the time. Will he get a shot at Triple-A before the season’s done? 2. SS/CF Austin Martin (22 years old) Season Stats (AA): 62 G, .291/.438/.391 (.829), 2 HR, 12 2B, 2 3B,19.4 K%, 15.2 BB% Previous Rankings: Joined organization at the trade deadline While most will have Martin in the #1 spot among Twins prospects, he slots in at #2 here as the organization might have bought low on him. There are a lot of similarities between Lewis and Martin which means they both have immense potential. Since he is new to the organization, here are a few things to learn about him. Martin may be able to play shortstop, but he can also play other infield and outfield positions as needed. He played a lot of third base in college, but the Twins will have him focus on center field. He will hit for average and get on base. The remaining question is how much power he’ll be able to provide. 1. SS Royce Lewis (22 years old) Season Stats: Out for the season after ACL surgery Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 1, 2021 Preseason: 2 Eight out of ten Twins Daily Minor League Writers agree, Royce Lewis returns to the #1 spot in our Twins Top Prospect rankings. He made strides in 2020 at the alternate site. He’s begun some baseball activities recently after spring training ACL reconstruction. Lewis has power. He has speed. He has the potential to stick at shortstop but can be versatile. Other players taken in the 2017 MLB Draft have started to perform, so some might question whether Lewis was the right choice. Martin might have a higher floor than Lewis, but Lewis has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in baseball. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Prospects 6-10 -Prospects 11-15 -Prospects 16-20 -Prospects 21-25 -Prospects 26-30
  24. 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.
  25. TRANSACTIONS RHP Matt Canterino assigned to Low-A Fort Myers on rehab assignment LHP Lewis Thorpe activated from IL, assigned to Triple-A St. Paul Saints Sentinel Louisville 4, St. Paul 3 Box Score SP: Lewis Thorpe: 2 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras: 2-for-3, 2B, BB Jose Miranda’s incredible streak has come to an end. The highly-touted Twins prospect went 0-for-5 on the day and did not reach base, marking the first time this has happened during his 35 games at Triple-A. Mark Contreras contributed the team’s only multi-hit game while Gilberto Celestino, Ben Rortvedt, and Drew Stankiewicz all drove in an RBI. Lewis Thorpe got the start after being activated from the IL. He looked every bit as much as the Lewis Thorpe we saw earlier in the season; fastball in the upper-80s, touching 90, with decent secondary stuff. Jovani Moran, Yennier Cano, and Kyle Barraclough combined for 5 ⅔ innings of scoreless ball and struck out five. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 5, Midland 2 Box Score SP: Cole Sands: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Austin Martin: 3-for-4; Roy Morales: 2-for-4, 2B; Jermaine Palacios: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI Cole Sands started his second game of the week and quickly settled into a groove after allowing a solo home run in the first inning. He surrendered only two more hits the rest of the way and struck out five en route to picking up the win. Zach Neff and Chris Nunn combined to throw the final four innings, striking out four and allowing one run. Austin Martin continued his hot streak since joining the Twins by picking up three hits in four at-bats as the DH. Martin is slashing .400/.571/.500 with two doubles, six walks, and only a single strikeout since being traded. Jermaine Palacios picked up his 12th double of the season and improved his OPS to .818, further cementing his argument for a promotion. Kernels Nuggets Quad Cities 7, Cedar Rapids 5 Box Score SP: Cody Lawyerson: 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Wander Javier (10) Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino: 4-for-5, RBI Seven of the nine Kernels that came to the plate on Sunday afternoon picked up hits, but only Yunior Severino grabbed more than one. The 21-year-old formerly-hyped prospect has been en fuego since being called up to High-A, having accumulated a .375 batting average and .944 OPS in 11 games. Fellow formerly-hyped prospect Wander Javier contributed his 10th home run of the season. On the mound, it was yet another group effort. Cody Lawyerson started, but was removed in the third inning after being roughed up. Ryan Shreve, Osiris German, Erik Manoah, Jr., and Derek Molina finished the game, but served up three more runs. As a group, the Kernels struckout seven and walked three. Mussel Matters Dunedin 3, Fort Myers 0 Box Score SP: Matt Canterino: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels must have had tomorrow’s off-day on their mind as they managed only a single hit — a single by Jesus Feliz — and struck out 13 times collectively during their loss to the Blue Jays. On the bright side, pitching prospect Matt Canterino made his first appearance since being shut down with an elbow injury in late May and tossed two perfect innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long came on in relief for Canterino and pitched the next four innings, striking out six while allowing two earned runs; he was ultimately tagged with the loss. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins No Game Scheduled. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K Twins Daily Co-Minor League Hitters of the Day – Austin Martin: 3-for-4; Yunior Severino: 4-for-5, RBI 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) – 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (Fort Myers) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) — 0-for-5 #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4 #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, RBI #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-for-3, BB #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5 #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 0-for-4, BB #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4 #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 1-for-4 #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, HR (10) #18 – Alerick Soularie (FCL Twins) – Did not play #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS FCL Twins vs. FCL Braves — TBD MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Checkout all of Lucas Seehafer's minor league reports here
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