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  1. With the deadline to add players onto the 40 man roster affording them protection from being exposed in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins had four locks: Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. From there, the next most logical addition was Blayne Enlow. His case was an uncertain one, however, as he underwent Tommy John surgery this past summer. Enlow didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the minor league shut down, and he got in just 14 2/3 innings in 2021 before the arm surgery. Having topped out at High-A Cedar Rapids, the 22-year-old is plenty far from the majors as well. Don’t let that fool you, though, as this is an arm Minnesota should’ve had a chance at seeing this year. That would’ve been a monumental leap from Iowa to St. Paul and eventually Minneapolis across one season, but it also highlights this organization's belief in the kid. Minnesota’s front office selected Enlow in the third round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, their first with the organization. After taking Royce Lewis first overall, the Twins went with Landon Leach in round two with the hopes of saving slot value and spending more on Enlow. Ultimately agreeing to a $2 million bonus that checked in as the highest mark of the third round and was $600 thousand more than Minnesota gave to the pick before. Steering him away from a commitment to Louisiana State University, the Twins liked the right-handed prep arm. To this point in his professional career, Enlow has proven the Twins front office right. He posted a 3.26 ERA in his first full professional season as a 19-year-old and combined for a 3.82 ERA in 2019 as a 20-year-old. Spending the time working, getting bigger, and fine-tuning his stuff, there was no minor league pitcher I was higher on making a big jump in 2021 than Enlow. The first 14 2/3 innings of work this year came in to the tune of a 1.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Enlow’s command has always been the area that could use work, and seeing strikeouts jump up because of it was the expectation. A strong fastball with a plus-bender, Enlow looked the part of someone that could pitch in the top half of a Major League rotation. After going under the knife, we’ll need to see how he responds. The Twins likely won’t see Enlow in action for much of the 2022 season, but he can continue to rehab and do so while being placed on the 60-day Injured List and not occupying a 40-man roster spot. Being able to stash him like this allows Minnesota to reap the rewards of a fully healthy player in 2023. If Enlow’s trends out of the shutdown were anything to be believed, it’s worth getting excited for a kid that could undoubtedly join the ranks of the top organizational arms. Unlike Baddoo before him, no team selecting Enlow in the Rule 5 Draft would’ve been immediately able to see what they had on a big-league field. They could utilize the same Injured List designation, though, and would have added a big talent to the organization at next to no cost. Thankfully Minnesota didn’t pass on the opportunity to protect him solely to save a roster spot for what amounts to a handful of weeks. This is a long-term play that has a chance to pay big dividends. Here’s to hoping Enlow’s rehab continues to go smoothly, he returns quickly, and the results are every bit as enticing as they once looked. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. For the second consecutive year, baseball will have an interesting offseason, filled with uncertainty. Along with the normal questions, such as: When will free agents sign? Will anything much happen before February? Which players will be non-tendered? Baseball’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires at midnight on December 2nd. At that point, the offseason will come to a halt. For how long? That is the question. We obviously hope that a new, long-term, equitable deal can be reached before 2022 spring training is scheduled to start in mid-February, but we don’t know. If there is a work stoppage, will there be a Winter Meetings, and if not, will there be a Rule 5 draft? Certainly, but when? That is what we are here today to talk about.. The Rule 5 draft and which players the Twins may need to add to their 40-man roster or leave susceptible to the Rule 5 draft. Last year, the Twins lost both Akil Baddoo and Tyler Wells in the major-league portion, and the likes of Sam Clay, Jose Miranda, Griffin Jax and Charlie Barnes were left exposed as well. Teams have until Friday, November 19th, to add players to their 40 man roster. At the completion of the World Series, the Twins have been able to remove their free agents - Andrelton Simmons and Michael Pineda - from the 40-man roster. Alex Colome also became a free agent when the Twins declined their half of the mutual option for 2022. The Twins have claimed right-hander Jharel Cotton. The Twins are currently at 38 players on their 40-man roster. Several players will likely need to be removed in order to make room for this new group. The Twins still have to make decisions on several arbitration-eligible players as well. Offseason roster manipulation is incredibly fascinating from afar, but it has to provide most front offices with stress and headaches. With that as the backdrop, the Twins could potentially add as many as eight or even nine players from their system to their 40-man roster (pending others being removed from the 40-man), but it is more likely they add four to six players on Friday. So, here is a quick reminder of what players will be eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2017 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2018. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted in 2015 became free agents after the World Series was complete. That list includes Aaron Whitefield (who quickly signed with the Angels), Trey Cabbage, Hector Lujan, Tyler Watson, Leobaldo Cabrera and more. So, let’s take a look at the eligible players: There are always a lot of difficult decisions as it relates to adding players to the 40-man roster. That said, there are usually some Givens, then some intriguing options due to injury or age or something else. When so few players get selected in the Rule 5 draft, is it necessary to protect as many players? Or, are so few players selected because more (or the right) players get added to 40-man rosters? While I have this group ranked by how I would consider adding them, I think the Twins should have a good conversation to consider each. (which they most certainly have) THE GIVENS SS Royce Lewis - After the Twins took him with the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in California, Royce Lewis moved pretty quickly up the organizational ladder through the 2019 season. He was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League after the season. Then came 2020, a missed season for minor leaguers, but Lewis was able to participate at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. He was excited for the 2021 season, but shortly after he arrived in Ft. Myers for spring training, he was diagnosed with a torn ACL and had season-ending surgery. His rehab has gone smoothly, and his elite tools are still very clear and his ceiling remains high. Lewis is an easy choice to add to the roster. IF Jose Miranda - The 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft from Puerto Rico, Jose Miranda has hit some and always displayed a lot of power potential. In 2021, things came together for Miranda. He didn’t chase as many pitches outside the zone and made a lot of hard contact. He hit a combined .343 between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul with 30 doubles and 30 home runs. The Twins are lucky he wasn’t selected last year and he’s a certainty to be added this year. RH SP Josh Winder - He was the Twins seventh round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute. After missing 2020, Josh Winder jumped straight to Double-A Wichita and posted a 1.98 ERA and had 65 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his first game. He pitched in the Futures Game and was then shut down with some shoulder issues. He sits 95-97 with his fastball and has four pitches. Easy choice. RH SP Cole Sands - Sands was the team’s fifth round pick in 2018 out of Florida State. In 2019, he started in Low-A and ended the season with a start in Double-A. That’s where he spent the 2021 season. He went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA. He struck out 96 batters in 80 1/3 innings. Cole Sands has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a really good curveball. While he may not be a Given, he is more than Intriguing. I think the only chance he isn’t added is if the Twins only add three players. THE INTRIGUING RHP Blayne Enlow - The most interesting case for consideration. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in early June. Normally that would mean missing the rest of the season and all of the 2022 season. However, the success of Rich Hill’s elbow surgery procedure has given the Twins confidence in its success and Enlow had that surgery which puts him on the nine-to-12 month plan. Obviously the Twins will want to be extra cautious with a pitcher as talented as Enlow. His fastball velocity has improved, his changeup has become a solid third pitch, and he’s always had a really good breaking ball. In his brief 2021 season, he was starting to show the ability to miss bats which is very encouraging. If it was me, I would add Enlow. There are a lot of things to consider though. RH SP Chris Vallimont - Chris Vallimont was the Marlins fifth-round pick in 2018 out of Mercyhurst. The Twins acquired him with Sergio Romo at the 2019 trade deadline in exchange for first baseman Lewin Diaz. The hard-throwing right-hander made 21 starts for the Wind Surge in 2021. He went 5-7 with a 6.03 ERA. In 91 innings, he walked 61 (way too many) but struck out 130 batters (an impressive 12.9 K/9). “Control” is the key. In the past, he has had good control. The stuff is really good, but can he throw enough strikes? RH RP Jordan Gore - Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina, and he played shortstop until near the end of the 2019 season. That’s when he began the process of becoming a pitcher. In 2021, he finally got the chance to show what he could do. Jordan Gore was impressive. At Cedar Rapids, he had 58 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. He moved up to Wichita and struck out 30 batters in 28 innings. He combined to go 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He had seven saves including six at Wichita. More importantly, while his fastball sat between 93 and 96, what was impressive is that he has a good changeup and a solid breaking ball. RH SP Austin Schulfer - Another college pitcher from the 2018 draft, Austin Schulfer was the team’s 19th round pick out of UW-Milwaukee. While he split time between starting and the bullpen in 2018 and 2019, he was a starter for Double-A Wichita in 2021. He went 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA. In 110 innings, he struck out 105 batters and walked 49. In 2021, Schulfer was hitting 96 and even 97 at times with a strong three-pitch mix. While not a known prospect, Schulfer is close to MLB ready and could work out of a big-league bullpen. RH RP Ian Hamilton - The former White Sox reliever (14 games between 2018 and 2020) was Chicago’s 11th round pick in 2016 out of Washington State. The Twins claimed him last offseason and later in the year they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to St. Paul. Because it was his first outright, he could not yet become a free agent. But, while he has control and command concerns, Ian Hamilton has really good stuff and had 86 strikeouts in 59 innings this year for the Saints. He can pitch in the big leagues, and has, which might make the right team intrigued by his stuff. SS Jermaine Palacios - Palacios originally signed with the Twins in 2013. In 2017, he became a top shortstop prospect, and the Twins were able to trade him to Tampa for Jake Odorizzi. In 2018 and 2019, he really struggled offensively. He didn’t play in 2020, and while he was offered more by other teams, Palacios decided to sign with the Twins last summer. He responded with strong shortstop defense at Double-A and hit .259/.340/.439 (.779) with 17 doubles and 19 homers. He could have become a free agent after the World Series, but he re-signed with the Twins. At 25, Jermaine Palacios could fill a utility role somewhere. THE “SETH, YOU RANKED BAILEY OBER 11th LAST YEAR” CATEGORY RH RP Ryan Mason - Went 3-2 with six saves with Wichita. In 35 1/3 innings, he struck out 38 batters (9.7 K/9). He finished the season with 13 games in St. Paul. He was 1-0 with a save. In 18 2/3 innings, Ryan Mason walked ten and struck out 25 batters. While he profiles as a low-leverage reliever, he is ready now for a big-league opportunity. RH RP Steven Cruz - When it comes to big arms, this is the one. Steven Cruz (22) sat 96-100 for Ft. Myers this year. He also has a split-change and a slider that are both 90+ on the radar too. In 46 2/3 innings with the Mussels, he walked 30 and struck out 76 (14.7 K/9). Too many walks, and struggled late in the season in two games for Cedar Rapids. Great stuff, but probably too far away from being ready to stick on a roster. C Jair Camargo - He came to the Twins in the Kenta Maeda/Brusdar Graterol trade. So 2021 was his debut in the organization. In Cedar Rapids, he hit .236/.279/.418 (.697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Jair Camargo is a solid catcher defensively and athletic with a strong arm. Offensively, he’s got power, but he doesn’t like to take too many pitches. 2B Yunior Severino - Enough of an international prospect that he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. He fractured his thumb early in the 2019 season and there was no 2020 season. Yunior Severino began 2021 with 63 games in Ft. Myers where he posted a .740 OPS. He moved up to Cedar Rapids and in 35 games, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907). Combined, he had 29 doubles and eight homers. Beyond second base, he can also play third base. It’s hard to imagine he would be able to stick on a big-league roster. UT Michael Helman - The Twins selected Michael Helman in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Texas A&M. He took major strides forward in 2021 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 111 games, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles and 19 homers. He also stole 21 bases. In addition, he can play three infield positions and had significant time at all three outfield positions in 2021. He is in the Arizona Fall League, continuing to play all over the diamond. One position that has been selected in past Rule 5 drafts are utility players. OF Mark Contreras - A ninth round pick in 2017 after four years at UC-Riverside. After winning a minor league Gold Glove, but struggling with the bat in 2019, 2021 was a big year. He played 19 games in Double-A before playing 95 games with the Saints. Combined, he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles and 20 home runs. Mark Contreras can be a fourth outfielder in the big leagues right now, but that profile isn’t what typically gets selected in the Rule 5. IF Jesus Feliz - Call me intrigued by Jesus Feliz. I was impressed with him when I saw him at spring training in 2020, so when he hit six doubles and seven homers in the less-than-hitter-friendly Ft. Myers league. He can play shortstop, but probably profiles more at third base. The power is real. He hit just .222/.289/.380, so he’s not in a position to stick on a big-league roster, but he’s one to watch. RH RP Alex Scherff - Alex Scherff has yet to pitch in the Twins organization after coming from the Red Sox in the Hansel Robles trade. Before that, he had pitched at High-A and Double-A and went 3-1 with four saves and a 2.45 ERA. In 29 1/3 innings, he struck out 46 (14.1 K/9) and walked 13. LH RP Kody Funderburk - A 15th round pick in 2018 out of Dallas Baptist, Kody Funderburk was a two-way player in college. He’s been a full-time pitcher since signing. He made 10 starts in Cedar Rapids and posted a 3.18 ERA. He moved up to Wichita and made seven bullpen appearances. He posted a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. Combined, he struck out 82 batters in 67 innings (11.0 K/9). Right now, he’s pitching in the Arizona Fall League being seen by scouts from every organization. He’s got 19 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. LH RP Zach Featherstone - Another two-way player, the Twins drafted Zach Featherstone as a first baseman and outfielder in the 12th round in 2016 from Tallahassee CC. However, the southpaw was moved to the mound in 2017. Unfortunately, he hurt his elbow and had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. He was ready to throw late in 2019, but a hurricane ended his chance. Then a missed 2020 season. In 2021, he pitched in 40 games out of the Kernels bullpen. He went 3-4 with nine saves and a 2.13 ERA. In 55 innings, he walked too many (42) and struck out 93 batters (15.2 K/9). He is now in the AFL and has seven walks and 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. He throws hard, sitting 92-96 mph with a good slider. IF Andrew Bechtold - Andrew Bechtold was the Twins fifth round pick in 2017 from Chipola College. From 2017 through 2019, he had hit 12 combined home runs. In 99 games for Wichita in 2021, he hit .239/.328/.459 (.786) with 23 doubles and 18 home runs. He can play third base and first base, and probably some second base. The fact that he is adding ‘Catching’ to his game makes him more versatile and more valuable to a team potentially. He is currently in the AFL as well. Others in their first year of eligibility: Luis Baez, Denny Bentley, Andrew Cabezas, DaShawn Keirsey, Landon Leach, Jeferson Morales, Danny Moreno, Zach Neff, Jon Olsen, Tyler Palm, Alexander Pena, Alex Phillips, Seth Pinkerton, Miguel Rodriguez, Evan Sisk, Gabe Snyder, Wander Valdez, Chris Williams. Others returning to Rule 5 eligibility after 2021. Melvi Acosta, David Banuelos, Stevie Berman, Ernie De La Trinidad, Osiris German, Caleb Hamilton, Wander Javier, Jimmy Kerrigan, Gabriel Maciel, Josh Mitchell, Derek Molina, Daniel Ozoria, Luis Rijo, Bryan Sammons, Jesus Toledo. SUMMARY The Twins again have several interesting players to consider adding to the 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Like the rest of the offseason, it’s hard to feel confident about anything that’s going to happen, including the Rule 5 draft, due to a potential December 2nd work stoppage. But it will happen at some point before the 2022 season begins... we think. PREDICTION It is pretty clear that the Givens to be added are (or should be) Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Josh Winder and Cole Sands. I then think they will add two of the Enlow, Vallimont, Gore and Schulfer grouping, and based on my rankings, I would guess Enlow and Vallimont. The 40-man roster currently sits at 38 players. A quick glance tells me that as many as eight or nine more players could come off of it, if needed. Obviously not that many will be dropped at this time to allow for DFAs later in the offseason, as needed to make room for free agents. I think they’ll be busy in free agency and will want those roster spots available to them. They may be busy with trades too, including some of the mentioned players.. What do you think?
  3. 20. IF Spencer Steer (23 years old) Season Stats (A+/AA): 79 G, .255/.363/.497 (.860), 19 HR, 11 2B, 2 3B, 18.9 K%, 12.7 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 16, 2021 Preseason: NA Steer was a 2019 third-round pick out of the University of Oregon. Steer’s drop in the rankings is more about the new players in the organization than about him having a poor performance. He started the year in Cedar Rapids, where he slashed .274/.409/.506 (915) in 45 games. The transition to Double-A has seen his OBP drop by 110 points, but he is still slugging .485. In his professional career, this is the first time he has been a year younger than the average age of the competition. At Cedar Rapids, he made nearly all his defensive starts at second base, and now he has been splitting time between second and third in Wichita. 19. RHP Cole Sands (24 years old) Season Stats (AA): 48.1 IP (12 G), 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 13, 2021 Preseason: 15 Sands immediately impacted the Twins organization after being taken in the fifth round back in 2018. While pitching at three different levels, he posted a sub-2.70 ERA with a 10.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. Sands missed over a month earlier in the season, and the team has slowly been increasing his workload in recent weeks. Since coming off the IL (5 G), he has posted a 2.70 ERA while holding batters to a .190/.262/.379 slash line. His strikeout totals are up this year which is a positive since he faces older batters in over 60% of his plate appearances. 18. OF Misael Urbina (19 years old) Season Stats (A): 73 G, .193/.295/.294 (.589), 4 HR, 7 2B, 4 3B, 18.6 K%, 11.4 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 15, 2021 Preseason: 14 Urbina was signed out of Venezuela during the 2018 International Signing Period for $2.75 million. As a 19-year old, he is making his stateside debut this season, and he has only faced younger pitchers in four out of his 323 plate appearances. Even facing older competition, he has shown an advanced eye at the plate and the ability to draw walks. Defensively, he has split time between center field and left field. Urbina has some of the best tools in the Twins system, and he is a player that should move up this list in the years to come. 17. RHP Blayne Enlow (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 14.2 IP (3 G), 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 14.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 11, 2021 Preseason: 10 Enlow, a 2017 third-round pick, made quick work of High-A to start the season as he mowed down batters with career-high strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and will be out until the second half of 2022. Minnesota added pitching depth that will be ranked ahead of Enlow, but that doesn’t take anything away from his long-term potential. 16. OF Brent Rooker (26 years old) Season Stats (AAA): 61 G, .239/.362/.546 (.908), 19 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B, 30.2 K%, 14.3 BB% Season Stats (MLB): 24 G, .168/.225/.358 (.583), 4 HR, 6 2B, 30.3 K%, 5.9 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 14, 2021 Preseason: 12 Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 MLB Draft, and now he’s found himself in a unique spot with the Twins. He has little left to prove at Triple-A as he has posted an OPS north of .900 in 2019 and 2021. His power might be the best in the entire Twins system, but questions remain about how regularly he can make contact. Minnesota is also concerned about him being a defensive liability, but the team has been using him in both corner outfield spots since his call-up. Following the Nelson Cruz trade, Rooker should stick in the Twins lineup for the rest of the season, so that the club can evaluate him for the long term. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Prospects 21-25 -Prospects 26-30
  4. It is worth noting that prospect graduations have and will happen throughout 2021. Names like Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Gordon, and Rortvedt are no longer eligible for consideration. With that said, let’s get into who’s next. 15. Misael Urbina OF Age: 19 ETA: 2024 2021 Stats (A): 42 G .191/.298/.268 3 2B 3 3B HR 24 RBI 23 BB 39 K 2021 Ranking: 14th Minnesota signed Urbina out of Venezuela back in 2018 during the International Signing Period. Jesse Sanchez called him, “one of the most coveted prospects from Venezuela in this year's international class” at the time. The bonus came in at $2.75 million, and that’s indicative of how the Twins see his tools developing. Urbina is playing in his first stateside season this year, and while the numbers aren’t gaudy by any means, controlling the strike zone is something he’s shown a strong ability to do as a young player. 14. Brent Rooker OF/1B Age: 26 2021 Stats (AAA): 43 G .243/.386/.547 6 2B 13 HR 28 RBI 31 BB 54 K 2021 Ranking: 12th Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 before injury ended his season with just seven games played. Rooker has appeared in just eight games for the Twins this year going 3-for-29. Despite crushing Triple-A, his opportunities have been limited with the outfield capabilities being stretched, and him not being a true fit at first base. Should the Twins deal Nelson Cruz, Brent would appear to be in line for substantial big league at bats as the DH. 13. Cole Sands RHSP Age: 23 2021 Stats (AA): 31 2/3 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 3.10 FIP, 30.7 K%, 13.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 15th Sands was a 5th round selection in the 2018 draft and it didn’t take long to see that Minnesota had something special here. There’s velocity, there’s command, there’s a real starting pitcher. Sands dominated three separate levels in 2019, and has picked up where he left off in 2021. The 11.9 K/9 is a strong number at Double-A, and while the command has slipped some, there’s no long term worry there. Currently injured, Minnesota hopes to have Cole back on the bump sooner rather than later. 12. Bailey Ober RHSP Age: 25 2021 Stats (AAA): 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.67 FIP, 32.3 K%, 7.7 BB% 2021 Ranking: 20th Now in the big leagues taking regular turns with the Twins, Ober parlayed his quick Triple-A success into six turns in the big league rotation. He owns a 5.84 ERA there but has been bit most by the home run. Strikeouts and command continue to play, while his velocity has seen an uptick and is, in part, what has elevated his prospect status. There’s a good back-end rotation piece here, and it’d be a good bet he gets plenty of leash to showcase that the rest of 2021. 11. Blayne Enlow RHSP Age: 22 2021 Stats (A+): 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 2.80 FIP, 39.0 K%, 10.2 BB% 2021 Ranking: 10th Arguably one of the most exciting prospects to see showcased following the 2020 minor league hiatus, Enlow came out as expected. He below the doors of High-A hitters and looked the part of a prospect that could put together an amazing season. Unfortunately, it ended quickly as he’s now recovering from Tommy John surgery, but look for him to be back stronger on the back half of 2022, and still with a ceiling that could be among the highest in the system as far as pitchers go.
  5. 5. Blayne Enlow Current/Future Slider: 50/50 The last time Enlow appeared in a professional game, he was pitching well at High-A as a 20-year-old. Now he is 22-years old, and he has made some adjustments. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but he has a ton of spin on it, which can make it tough for hitters to make solid contact. When he locates his slider, it can be his best pitch. Some refer to his slider as a cutter because he gets similar action on the pitch. He should be pitching in the upper levels of the minors this year as he continues to improve his repertoire. 4. Yennier Cano, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Cano might be the least recognizable name on this list as the team signed him out of Cuba back in 2018. His fastball can reach the high-90s but his arm slot allows him to throw a slider, sinker, and splitter. He has experience on the Cuban National Team and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s already 26-years old and he has never pitched higher than High-A. That being said, his fastball and slider combination might be enough for him to earn a middle relief job at the big-league level. 3. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Colina is going to be used in the bullpen and he will likely be relying on two pitches, an overpowering fastball and a slider. His slider is hard for batters to make strong contact because of how hard he throws it. He commands his slider better than his fastball and he can rely on the pitch in almost any count. Colina’s stocky build and starter experience might give way to him becoming a multi-inning reliever in the years to come. Either way, he is a very intriguing relief prospect. 2. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Like the top name on this list, Balazovic was a late addition to the team’s alternate site and reports were good. Out of the team’s top two pitching prospects, Balazovic is the only one that throws a slider, and it is his second-best pitch overall. This is the pitch he uses to miss bats and his mechanics allow it to play up against right-handed hitters. As he continues to develop, his slider should also be a weapon against lefties, especially with the presence of his ever-improving changeup. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current/Future Slider: 55/60 During last season, Canterino was a late addition to the team’s alternate site, but he is clearly one of the team’s top pitching prospects. His slider and his changeup both project to be plus pitches and his fastball can hit the mid-90s. His four-pitch mix gives him a chance to be a big-league starter and his slider projects to be the best pitch. Since being drafted, he has slowly moved up Twins prospect lists and he can end the 2021 season in the team’s top-5 prospects. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Fastball Prospects -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Position: RHP Age: 22 (DOB: 9-17-1998) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 93.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 5 2019 Ranking: NA National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: 97 | ATH: 63 |BP: NR What’s To Like Canada hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of MLB pitching talent, but Balazovic looks to buck that trend in the years to come. Last year, he was added to the organization’s alternate site in St. Paul before ending the year in the team’s instructional league. By season’s end, he was added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster and that leaves him even closer to making his big-league debut even though he has yet to make an appearance above the High-A level. One positive to come out of last year’s pandemic was Balazovic was able to concentrate on adding weight to his lanky frame. When Minnesota selected him in the fifth round, he was a long and lean 17-year-old that was listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Since then, he has added two inches in height and bulked up to 217 pounds. This has helped his fastball move from the high-80s into the mid-90s. Many scouting reports praise him for his pitching deception as hitters can’t pick up the ball well out of his hand. Typically, he uses his fastball at the top of the zone, and it has helped him to post SO/9 totals north of 11.0 over the last two seasons. He throws strikes and he has four pitches that he isn’t afraid to throw in any situation, which make him a very projectable big-league arm. What’s Left To Work On Like many budding pitching prospects, Balazovic continues to refine his secondary pitches. His change-up is the biggest work in progress, but he has made significant strides since joining the organization and it has a chance to be an above average pitch. This pitch will help him to attack left-handed hitters, but he might already be able to do that since lefties only hit .189/.232/.269 against him in 2019. Currently, his slider is his out pitch although he uses his curveball to get strikes as well. He has yet to pitch over 100 innings in any professional season, so that will be an important milestone for 2021. His violent delivery helps to add some deception, but this can also be a concern. Some pitchers with violent deliveries suffer from health or control issues, but neither of these have been a concern so far in Balazovic’s career (knock on wood). What’s Next Last season, Balazovic worked hard to make sure he got invited to the alternate site before the season ended. This allowed the coaching staff to work closely with him and for the front office to get a better idea of how ready he was to take the next step. As mentioned last week, he is good friends with Blayne Enlow, another Twins top pitching prospect, and they keep pushing each other up the organizational ladder. How aggressive will the Twins be with Balazovic this season? It seems most likely that he would spend the majority of the season at Double-A with an outside chance of appearing with St. Paul before the season is complete. Last winter, president of baseball operation Derek Falvey said that he expected Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to make their MLB debuts. It didn’t happen in 2020, so the time might be right in 2021. Do you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #5! 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. Blayne Enlow was the Twins third-round pick in 2017 out of high school in Louisiana. He had a scholarship to pitch at LSU, but the Twins were able to agree to terms with him. Enlow has worked his way up the organizational ladder. In 2019, he began the season with eight starts in Cedar Rapids before finishing the season in Ft. Myers. Combined, he went 8-7 with a 3.82 ERA. Enlow ranked as the #10 Twins prospect by Twins Daily last week. Join us live at 5:30 tonight to watch, and participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics from his youth ball, getting drafted, his development and more. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at 5:30 pm (central time) Wednesday night on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. For More on Blayne Enlow: Follow Blayne on Instagram at @blayne_enlow. Follow Blayne on Twitter at @blayneenlow22. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells Episode 15: Sawyer Gipson-Long Episode 16: Adam Bray Episode 17: Chris Vallimont Episode 18: Ben Gross Episode 19: Regi Grace Episode 20: Louie Varland Episode 21: Max Smith Episode 22: Zander Wiel Episode 23: Blayne Enlow
  8. Age: 21 (DOB: 3-21-1999) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 110.2 IP, 3.82 ERA, 95/38 K/BB, 1.27 WHIP ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 10 2019 Ranking: 9 National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Enlow can pump his fastball up to 96 and he typically sits in the 91-94 mph range. While other pitchers might throw harder, Enlow has tremendous spin on his fastball and that makes his fastball even more dangerous. His slider/cutter has drastically improved during his professional career, but he continues to work on locating this pitch on a regular basis. This fall Enlow was one of the team’s top prospects invited to the organization’s instructional camp in Fort Myers. Back in 2019, Enlow pitched nearly 2/3rds of his innings as a 20-year-old in the Florida State League where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. In 13 appearances, he posted a 1.21 WHIP and a 4.02 ERA with a 51 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. He showed more consistency than at other levels and it could be a sign of even more positive signs in the future. What’s Left To Work On Enlow is far from a finished product especially since he is still in his early 20s. Since the Twins drafted him out of high school, Enlow has worked on command of his secondary pitches. He can throw four different pitches for strikes but development needs to continue to improve when it comes to pitch execution. If he can make the appropriate adjustments, his strikeout rate should continue to improve. His curveball might be the pitch to keep an eye on during the 2021 campaign. As previously mentioned, it was a pitch that put him on the prospect map as a teenager, but the pitch has regressed a bit as he works to add other secondary pitches. His fastball velocity continues to improve so having a dominating curveball could be a devastating recipe for opposing batters. One intriguing note is that Enlow would have been draft eligible this past year if he had decided to attend LSU. Some thought he had the best curveball in the 2017 Draft and that made the Twins very intrigued to work out an over slot bonus. For a player like Enlow, missing the entire 2020 season was tough to swallow. He is still very young, and he needs to continue to get work with all his pitches in game action. What’s Next There’s an outside chance he could make his big-league debut in 2021, but that would likely mean there were multiple injuries or COVID related issues with the MLB roster. With changes in affiliation levels, Enlow will likely make a short stop at Cedar Rapids, the team’s High-A affiliate, before moving up to Double-A Wichita, where he should spend the majority of the 2021 campaign. MLB.com notes that he and Jordan Balazovic have become good friends and they could push each other into the Twins rotation in the years ahead. The 2021 season can provide a very important opportunity and he has a chance to move up this list by next off-season. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP Stop by next week for prospect #9! 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. All but one of the players below was acquired during the current front office regime. This speaks volumes to how the organization’s player development system has evolved. Teams need their high draft picks to 10. Keoni Cavaco- SS/3B (19-years old) Acquired: 2019 1st Round Pick ETA: 2024 Cavaco was an intriguing prospect from the time the Twins drafted him. He was left off many of the summer showcase rosters entering his senior season because he was undersized, and he wasn’t expected to be a first-round pick. A growth spurt during his senior year saw his draft stock improve immensely and the Twins jumped at the opportunity. His professional debut was a disaster as he posted .172 BA with strikeouts on 38% of his plate appearances. He has the tools and the power projection to make him a player to be excited about. 9. Blayne Enlow- RHP (21-years old) Acquired: 2017 3rd Round Pick ETA: 2022 Enlow was part of the current front office’s first draft class as the Twins were able to work out an over-slot deal to keep him from going to LSU. His fastball typically sits in the mid- to low-90s, but it has some tremendous spin that can make it tough on hitters. His slider/cutter might be his best pitch when he is able to control it near the zone. He has shown the ability to throw four different pitches, but he continues to work on his secondary pitches. Enlow turns 22-years old in March, and he is a player I expect to have a big 2021 season. 8. Matt Canterino- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: 2019 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2022 Canterino is a strike thrower and he might have gotten more dangerous in 2020 as he developed a changeup at the team’s alternate site. His slider and curveball were already good pitches so adding a changeup can solidify him as a mid-rotation starter. At 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds, he is stocky on the mound and this can make some believe that he will end up as a reliever. He will get plenty of opportunities to stick as a starter with his college experience and his continued pitch development. 7. Aaron Sabato- 1B (21-years old) Acquired: 2020 1st Round Pick ETA: 2024 In a draft unlike any other, the Twins went with Sabato, a relatively safe pick. He projects to only be able to play first base or be a DH, but his bat might have been the one of the only sure things in the 2020 Draft. He can control the strike zone even with his powerful swing. MLB.com ranks him as baseball’s seventh best first base prospect and he will move up multiple spots this year as players graduate off the list. It’s hard to get too excited about a player with limited defensive skills, but his bat might be good enough to forget about the other side of the ball. 6. Jordan Balazovic- RHP (22-years old) Acquired: 2016 5th Round Pick ETA: 2021 Looking back on the 2016 draft and many teams are going to be sorry (say it with a Canadian accent) they passed over Balazovic. He can control the strike zone with four different pitches and all of them can be used to coax strikeouts. Also, the pandemic might have helped his development as he added weight to fill out his 6-foot-5 frame. When the Twins drafted him, he weighed 175 pounds and now he is north of 215 pounds. He was added to the team’s 40-man roster this off-season and that should give him a chance to make his debut in 2021. Which of these players makes it to Target Field first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Prospects 16-20 — Prospects 11-15 — Prospects 1-5 Coming Tomorrow MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. 5. RHP Matt Canterino 2019 Stats (Rookie, Low-A): 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 31 K, 8 BB, 25 IP After being a three-year starter at Rice, Canterino was the Twins second-round pick in 2019. He saw limited time during his first professional season because of the innings he had accumulated in college. He struck out 11 batters per nine innings and he only allowed earned runs in two of his five appearances after being promoted to Low-A. He controls the strike zone and his college experience could help him to move through the Twins system. 4. RHP Blayne Enlow 2019 Stats (Low-A, High-A): 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 95 K, 38 BB, 110 2/3 IP Enlow pitched nearly 2/3rds of his innings as a 20-year old in the Florida State League where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. For players like Enlow, missing the 2020 season was critical to developing towards the big-league level. Next spring, he will turn 22 and he has yet to pitch an inning above High-A and there are no guarantees a minor league season will happen in 2021. He’s the second-best pitching prospect in instructional camp and he should get a lot of work in over the next month. 3. 1B Aaron Sabato 2020 Stats (College): .292/.478/.708 (1.185), 7 HR, 6 2B, 16 K, 22 BB, 19 G Unlike the other players on this list, Sabato got to play a handful of games in 2020 before the pandemic shutdown most of the amateur baseball world. He destroyed the ball during his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina before becoming a draft eligible sophomore. His bat is legit and the biggest knock against him entering the draft was his lack of defensive position. Minnesota’s brass still felt like he was worth of a first-round selection and now the team will get a chance to work with him for the first time. 2. SS Keoni Cavaco 2019 Stats (Rookie): .172/.217/.253 (.470), 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K 4 BB, 25 G Cavaco was the Twins first round pick back in 2019 and his first taste of professional baseball didn’t go exactly to plan. Teams saw him as late riser entering the draft and the Twins were intrigued by his combination of tools. He had to be chomping at the bit to get back on the field because of those initial struggles and the lack of a 2020 campaign. He’s still only 19-years old and he has a lot of development left to prove the Twins were right to make him the 13th overall pick. 1. RHP Jordan Balazovic 2019 Stats (Low-A, High-A): 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 129 K, 25 BB, 93 2/3 IP Balazovic has seen his stock consistently rise since joining the Twins organization as a third-round pick back in 2017. Entering the 2020 season, both Baseball America and MLB.com had him ranked in their top-100 prospects. Minnesota didn’t include him in their original 60-man player pool, but he was added to the alternate site near the beginning of September. He’s only pitched 73 innings above Low-A, so it seems unlikely for him to debut in 2021 but working with the Twins coaching staff can only help his stock moving forward. Click here to see who else made the instructional league roster. Which prospects benefit the most from this shortened instructional league setting? Leave a COMMENT and join 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
  11. Back in 2016, the Twins revamped their front office by hiring Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. One of their biggest tasks in their first year on the job was preparing to have the number one overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. That draft was just the start of how they were able to add to Minnesota’s well stocked farm system. Minnesota’s current crop of regulars was moving through the system back in 2015-16 and that’s why the farm system ranked so highly. The new front office crew saw some of their impact after the 2017 MLB Draft and that continued into the following year’s draft. The results of their time at the helm are already being felt at the big-league level. 2017 Draft There were multiple options with the top overall pick back in 2017 with names like Hunter Greene, MacKenzie Gore, Brendan McKay and Kyle Wright all in the discussion. Minnesota decided Royce Lewis was the best option and he has been the organization’s highest-ranking prospect since he was drafted. Last season, Lewis finished at Double-A and under normal circumstances, he might have made his big-league debut this season. Lewis wasn’t the only strong pick in this draft. Brent Rooker was recently called up and he has been contributing to a team in the middle of a pennant race. Time will tell if he can develop into a big league regular, but his powerful swing should keep him on the roster. In the same draft, Minnesota had to offer Blayne Enlow a big signing bonus to lure him away from LSU and now he is one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. He might be a couple years away from debuting, but he add to the depth of the farm system. 2018 Draft Coming off a surprise run to the playoffs, the Twins had a much lower draft pick in 2018, but that didn’t stop them from finding players to restock the farm. Trevor Larnach was the team’s first round selection and he has developed into one of the best hitting prospects in the organization. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year and the Florida State League Player of the Year. He finished last year at Double-A and now he has been part of the team’s 60-man roster that is working out in St. Paul. Another player from this draft, Ryan Jeffers, has played a pivotal role with the club due to Mitch Garver’s injury. When he was drafted, he was seen as a bat-only catcher, but he was given very little coaching on his catching defense throughout his collegiate career. Now, his 51.2% strike rate has him in the top-20 among all MLB backstops when it comes to catcher framing. Trades Add Depth Making trades is another way to stock a farm system and the Twins front office has already seen some of the rewards of those trades. Zack Littell was acquired back at the 2017 trade deadline as part of the Jaime Garcia trade and he has fit nicely into the Twins bullpen when healthy. At that same deadline, Minnesota added LHP Tyler Watson who pitched all last season at High-A with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. The 2018 trade deadline was where Minnesota was able to revamp the farm. Trading Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks got the Twins back a trio of prospects including RHP Jhoan Duran, who is considered one of the team’s top pitching prospects. Also, Minnesota traded away Ryan Pressly for RHP Jorge Alcala and OF Gilberto Celestino. Alcala has shown electric stuff out of the Twins bullpen this year and Celestino could become a regular at the big-league level in the years ahead. For the Twins, this trade could pay dividends for multiple years into the future. How do you feel about the Twins consistency in their farm system? 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
  12. 15. Edwar Colina, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA, AAA): 8-2, 2.96 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 102 K, 32 BB, 97.1 IP Colina signed with the Twins back in 2015 and he has been slowly working his way through the Twins system. He really hit his stride over the last two seasons as he started to compete in full season leagues. In the 2018 campaign, he posted a 2.63 ERA and a 106 to 53 strikeout to walk ratio at Low- and High-A. Last season, he played at three different levels and his time at High- and Double-A was outstanding. He only allowed 23 earned runs in nearly 93 innings (2.23 ERA) and he struck out more than a batter per inning. On the mound, Colina is stocky and his fastball can give hitters nightmares. He’s been clocked at over 100 mph, but he typically sits in the mid- to high-90s. His best secondary pitch is his change-up, but he is going to need to continue to improve his breaking pitches as he moves through the higher levels of the minors. 14. Wander Javier, SS 2019 MiLB Stats (A): .177/.278/.323, 11 HR, 9 2B, 116 K, 35 BB, 80 G Back in 2015, Javier was widely considered one of the best prospects in the international class and the Twins signed him for $4 million. Unfortunately, injures have cost Javier parts of multiple professional seasons. He was limited to eight games during his pro-debut because of a hamstring injury. Then in 2018, he suffered a shoulder injury and missed the entire season. Even with the injuries, he has all the tools to be considered one of the team’s top prospects. Javier was back on the field in 2019 after missing all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. It was his first taste of a full-season league and things didn’t exactly go perfectly. He struck out over 27% of the time but there were some bright spots amid a rough season. From July 15 to the end of the season, Javier compiled a .428 SLG and a .738 OPS. Nine of his 11 home runs and seven of his nine doubles were during this stretch. 13. Matt Canterino, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (RK, A): 1-1, 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 31 K, 8 BB, 25.0 IP The Twins took Canterino in the second-round last season after a strong junior season at Rice University. He was a three-year starter at the school, and he pitched 94 innings or more in every season. In his final collegiate season, he posted a 2.81 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and a 121 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. Throughout his collegiate career, he controlled the strike zone by allowing less than 3 walks per nine innings and striking out nearly 11 batters per nine. Because of his college workload, Canterino saw limited action after signing with the Twins as he made seven regular season starts and one postseason start. His college experience really showed up as he struck out over 11 batters per nine innings. It would have been exciting to see what he could have done in a full minor league season, but that will have to wait until 2021. 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): .282/.399/.530, 14 HR, 16 2B, 36 BB, 95 K, 67 G Rooker was the 35th overall pick back in 2017, the first draft under the new Twins front office regime. In three collegiate seasons, Rooker destroyed baseballs by hitting .344/.428/.660. Yes, that is a 1.088 OPS over three seasons and he posted a 1.306 OPS during his final season. The Twins were hoping for more of the same from Rooker as he started his professional career. He didn’t disappoint during his first taste of pro-ball as he posted a .930 OPS with Elizabethton and Fort Myers. This included 29 extra-base hits in 62 games. He spent all of 2018 at Double-A and hit .254/.333/.465 with 32 doubles and 22 home runs in 130 games. He missed some time in 2019 with a wrist injury but he was still able to post some strong offensive numbers. If there is a 2020 season, there is a chance Rooker makes his debut. 11. Blayne Enlow, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): 8-7, 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 95 K, 38 BB, 110.2 IP Like Rooker, Enlow was part of the strong draft class back in 2017. The Louisiana native had committed to play at LSU, but the Twins were able to sign him after taking him in the third round. During his professional debut, he made six appearances with the GCL Twins and posted a 1.33 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 4 walks in 20.1 innings. During the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids, he was almost three years younger than the average age of the competition. He compiled a 3.26 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. He started 2019 back in Cedar Rapids and saw some struggles as he allowed 21 earned runs in 41.1 innings. There were some positive signs as he struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings. The Twins were aggressive with him and promoted him to Fort Myers where he had a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with a 51 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. If Enlow had gone to college, he’d still be pitching for LSU, so he has time to develop into the pitcher many thought he could be. Stop back in the coming days to see who completes the top-20 list. PREVIOUS TOP-20 POSTS — Prospects 16-20 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. First and foremost, the Twins minor league academy has been a tremendous success for a number of reasons: First, they have been able to conduct camps throughout the offseason. In the fall, there are camps for position players to work on their speed and agility or other specific areas of their game. In January, there are pitch camps for control or velocity. Rehabbing players are also there a lot in the offseason. They are able to do that because there is comfortable lodging for the players without sending them to a hotel. And the players are taking advantage of it. Also, players have been coming to Ft. Myers well before spring training. By the first week in January, minor leaguers start to arrive. In fact, I was told by several people that only three or four of the minor leaguers have not already shown up to camp despite the fact that the official report day is still three or four days away. That is incredible. And the players are coming into camp in really good shape and ready to go. While the practices aren’t official, there is a real level of formality to it. Coaches are assigned. Conditioning is done. Stretching. Base running. Bullpens. Batting practice. Grounders are being taken and fly balls are being caught. It’s as if practice had already started. The only difference is they aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re dressed in warmup attire, which is really creating issues for me in identifying most of the new players. I’ll adjust, don’t worry. Anyway, what is impressive is that they aren’t just in early spring mode. They’re working on things. Infield coordinator Billy Boyer is working with the infielders on specific things, on taking grounders or throws to the bases from various positions, simulating their shift positions. Hitters aren’t just taking batting practice and crushing fastballs. They are already hitting nasty sliders off of the pitching machine. Pitchers are working on location and their pitches, but they’re doing it in a fun, competitive mode. For instance, here is a video of Blayne Enlow and Jordan Balazovic. They go back and forth and simulate an 0-2 count on a hitter. What will they throw? What will the location be? https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233794708763299840 I did see Bailey Ober throwing some impressive breaking balls too. Here he is working along-side Enlow. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1234105413408370689 And Matt Canterino’s bullpen was very workmanlike. He was throwing all of his pitches; fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. All looked to have the potential to be plus pitches (based on this bullpen session, at least). https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233795751567929345 By the way, one name to kind of keep in the back of your mind during the 2020 season is RHP Jon Olsen. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2018 from UCLA. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and rehabbed from that and other arm issues in 2019. But he appears to be healthy and really had an impressive bullpen. On Saturday morning, I did a 25-minute radio spot on Bison 1660 in Fargo from the back field, trying to stay out of the wind. You can listen to that here. https://twitter.com/Bison1660/status/1233799305447776256 But following that interview, I walked to Bill Smith Field. That is the field behind the academy where the GCL Twins play. As I was approaching the field, I heard hollering. And then I see a ball launched out of the park. And then another ball well beyond the fence in left center field. That’s when I realized who was hitting in the cage. It was Twins 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco. For good measure, he hit the next ball even further. I had also seen him the day before fielding ground balls at shortstop. Very impressive defensively. And he is a big, strong kid. He has the hands and speed for shortstop, but he’s got the size to be a third baseman. Definitely one to watch progress. After his round of batting practice. He and fellow young prospect Jesus Feliz posed for a photo. Speaking of top picks, it was great to watch Forest Lake’s own Matt Wallner take some batting practice. The young man is impressive. He’s tall and strong, and he can hit the ball a long way. In just observing, he appeared to be very coachable as well. Later, he came up and introduced himself and it was a Minnesota Nice conversation. It was good to see Taylor Grzelakowski on the field and healthy. He had a tough year last year in Pensacola. He played through a lot of pain before finally having a second ankle surgery in June. He said that his offseason and rest really helped it recover. I tell you what, there are a lot of great stories to be told on the minor league side of the complex. Hopefully I can get to some of them. One name in camp that Twins fans will find interesting. Levi Michael is back in the organization. The 2010 first-round pick spent seven seasons in the Twins organization. He split time between AA and AAA with the Mets in 2018 and did the same in the Giants system in 2019. Alright, I’m sure there is more and there will continue to be more. But feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to answer, or I’ll try to watch that player/those players more closely.
  14. Age: 20 (DOB: 3-21-1999) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 110.2 IP, 3.82 ERA, 95/38 K/BB, 1.27 WHIP ETA: 2023 2019 Ranking: 9 2018 Ranking: 8 National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Enlow continued to make positive strides and grow as a player in 2019. He worked hard and gained about ten pounds in muscle over the year. While he still sits in the low-90s, he more frequently hit 93 and 94 mph. Enlow was well known on the national prospect circuit and with Team USA for his breaking pitches, and they both can be good. He’s got a nice, slower, 12-6 type of curveball. He also throws a really sharp slider that breaks just a couple of inches but very sharp with late movement. He throws an occasional changeup as well. He also tunnels the ball very well, which can add some deception for the hitter. One thing that he worked on in the last year was improving his command. He had pretty good control, but he really wanted to focus on hitting spots within the strike zone as well. After spending the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids, he went back to Iowa to start the 2019 season. In eight starts, his strikeout rate went from 6.8 K/9 to 9.6 K/9. He was promoted to Ft. Myers where he made 13 more appearances. He went 4-4 with a 3.38 ERAand a 1.21 WHIP. His strikeout rate came back down a bit with the promotion, but he pitched much better and more consistently. What’s Left To Work On Consider that Enlow would just now be entering his junior season at LSU had he not signed with the Twins. At just 20, he’s working on everything and still has a lot of room for improvement. Each of his pitches can still get a little sharper. As that happens, the strikeout rate should rise. He remains projectable and could add more velocity to his fastball. His breaking pitches, with just a little more crispness, could become plus-plus pitches. And he continues to work on the changeup, as well as his control and command. At the highest level, for Enlow, it’s really about developing more consistency with each of his pitches, from game to game and even from inning to inning. What’s Next After splitting the 2019 season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, expect Enlow to spend about half of the season with the Mighty Mussels in 2020. He should spend the second half of the season in Pensacola. Sure, he’s a Twins Daily Top 10 prospect again, but it sure feels like Enlow is primed for a breakout season in 2020. He has put in the work. He has matured, and he is confident. Expect him to make a move up this list in a year. Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B 19. Cole Sands, RHP 18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF 17. Misael Urbina, OF 16. Edwar Colina, RP 15. Matt Canterino, RHP 14. Matt Wallner, OF 13. Wander Javier, SS 12. Gilberto Celestino, OF 11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #9! --------------------------------------------------------- Get to know more about Enlow and about another 170 minor league players in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. ORDER NOW: 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback, $17.99) ORDER NOW: 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (eBook, $12.99) The 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook goes in-depth and provides player bios, scouting reports, statistics and much more on about 170 Twins minor leaguers.
  15. TRANSACTIONS RHP Blayne Enlow was activated off the IL and started for Fort Myers. IF Jake Hirabayashi was assigned to Cedar Rapids while the Kernels placed 2B Yunior Severino on the IL with a thigh strain. Elizabethton transferred RHP Casey Legumina on the 60-day IL retroactive 8/22. The GCL Twins transferred OF Bryson Gandy to the 60-day IL. RED WINGS REPORT Syracuse 5, Rochester 1 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 57.6% strikes (49 of 85 pitches) HR: Ramon Flores (3) Multi-hit games: None Willians Astudillo started this game at third base and finished it in right field. He was also 1-for-4 with a strikeout. It was a quiet night for the Red Wings lineup, as Ramon Flores’ home run was their only extra-base hit. Randy Dobnak pitched well enough to give Rochester a chance, holding the Mets to two runs over five innings. Fernando Romero had a tough night in relief, walking three batters and giving up three runs in his inning of work. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 3, Jackson 2 Box Score Jhoan Duran: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Royce Lewis (3-for-4, 3 2Bs), Travis Blankenhorn (2-for-4, 2B) Jhoan Duran entered this game with a 7.13 ERA over his first 24 innings with Pensacola. He did a 180, got pointed in the right direction and was an absolute beast tonight for the Blue Wahoos. Duran carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, completed eight shutout innings and struck out 11 batters in what was an eye-opening performance. We’re getting very late in the minor league season, so it would be great to see him finish strong. Tonight was certainly a giant leap toward that direction. For most of Duran’s outing, he was protecting a one-run lead. Travis Blankenhorn hit an RBI double in the second inning and that was it through six frames. In the seventh, the rehabbing LaMonte Wade hit an RBI double and scored on a Royce Lewis double, one of three two-baggers for Royce on the evening. Those insurance runs proved to be massive, as Jackson rallied back to score two runs in the top of the ninth. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Palm Beach 3 Box Score Blayne Enlow: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 65.9% strikes (56 of 85 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (2-for-4, 2 2Bs, BB), Yelstin Encarnacion (2-for-4, BB) Fort Myers jumped all over Palm Beach, scoring three runs in the first inning and five more in the second. That created a low-stress return to the mound for Blayne Enlow, who was making his first start since Aug. 10. Enlow picked up the victory after throwing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Four different Miracle hitters reached safely three times in this game. Jose Miranda had a pair of doubles and a walk. Yelstin Encarnacion also had two hits and a walk. Gabriel Maciel had a double and drew a pair of walks while Andrew Bechtold also had a hit and walked twice. KERNELS NUGGETS Clinton 6, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score Tyler Palm: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 60.3% strikes (47 of 78 pitches) HR: Matt Wallner (1) Multi-hit games: Wallner (2-for-4, 2B, HR, HBP), Wander Javier (2-for-4, BB) Matt Wallner hit his first home run with the Kernels, his seventh on the season overall. Wander Javier reached base safely three times, but the rest of the Cedar Rapids lineup struggled to get much going. This was a tight game through most of the middle innings, thanks to a couple of clean frames from Austin Schulfer, but Clinton tallied two runs in the eighth and the Kernels could not answer. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Danville 5 Box Score Owen Griffith: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K HR: Seth Gray (10), Charles Mack (7) Multi-hit games: Gray (3-for-5, 2B, HR), Kidany Salva (2-for-4) E-Town entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 5-4, but Willie Jo Garry Jr. sparked a rally with a one-out single. He advanced to second base on a wild pitch before Ruben Santana walked. Seth Gray stepped to the plate with the Twins down to their final out. He delivered a walk-off two-run double. https://twitter.com/ETwinsBaseball/status/1165078543585427456 Gray, the Twins fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, also hit his 10th home run, becoming just the fourth Appy League hitter to reach double digits in dingers this season. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Red Sox 1, GCL Twins 0 (8 innings) Box Score Jesus Toledo: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The GCL Twins got just two hits in this game, both singles. The rehabbing Luke Raley accounted for one of them. He also had an outfield assist. Jesus Toledo struggled with his control, walking three batters, but he managed to pitch three scoreless innings. Junior Navas followed suit with three shutout innings of his own before Niall Windeler pitched a scoreless seventh. The only run of this game was scored on a solo homer by the Red Sox in the bottom of the eighth inning. This game actually ended on a single to the next batter, as it was called early due to weather. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Jhoan Duran, Pensacola Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Seth Gray, Elizabethton TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: 1. Royce Lewis (PNS): 3-for-4, 3 2Bs, RBI 2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 1-for-4, E (fielding) 4. Trevor Larnach (PNS): 1-for-3, BB, K 5. Wander Javier (CR): 2-for-4, BB, R 7: Keoni Cavaco (GCL): 0-for-4, 2 K 9. Jhoan Duran (PNS): 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K 10. Blayne Enlow (FM): 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 65.9% strikes (56 of 85 pitches) 13. Ryan Jeffers (PNS): 1-for-4, 2B, R, K 15. Matt Wallner (CR): 2-for-4, HR, 2B, HBP, R, 3 RBIs 18. Jorge Alcala (ROC): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 40% strikes (2 of 5) 20. Travis Blankenhorn (PNS): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Syracuse, 6:05 pm CT (TBD) Pensacola vs. Jackson, 6:05 pm CT (Bryan Sammons) Fort Myers at Palm Beach, 4:30 pm CT (Chris Vallimont) Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria, 6:35 pm CT (Andrew Cabezas) Elizabethton vs. Danville, 5:30 pm CT (TBD) GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox, 9:00 am CT (TBD) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  16. TRANSACTIONS SS Mike Miller signed and assigned to AAA Rochester LHP Lewis Thorpe optioned to AAA Rochester OF Jake Cave recalled by Minnesota RHP Zack Littell recalled by Minnesota RHP Williams Ramirez released by AA Pensacola 2B Yunior Severino activated from the 7-day IL for A Cedar Rapids RHP Matt Canterino promoted to A Cedar Rapids RHP Cody Laweryson assigned to Elizabethton Twins RHP Benjamin Dunn assigned to Elizabethton Twins RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 7, Pawtucket 4 Box Score Drew Hutchison: 5 ⅓ IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 64.8% strikes (59 of 91 pitches) HR: Brandon Barnes (25) Multi-hit games: Alejandro De Aza (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Ronald Torreyes (3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI) The Red Wings won a pretty clean game this Saturday. It was the new guys in the lineup who proved to be the major force as Mike Miller, Brandon Barnes, and Alejandro De Aza all had an extra-base hit and at least one run scored. Mike Miller is the newest of those guys and he made his Rochester debut with a double and a walk. If he continues to do this, they may start to really like him over there. Alejandro De Aza now has an OPS over 1.000 with the Red Wings so he seems ready in case the Twins (knock on wood) would ever need some more OF depth. Ryan Eades worked a great outing in relief of Hutchison as he got five outs with three coming via strikeout and just one hit allowed. All in all, Rochester pitching struck out ten without walking a single batter. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 3, Birmingham 1 Box Score Bryan Sammons: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 56% strikes (56 of 100 pitches) HR: Larnach (3), Costello (3) Multi-hit games: Ivan De Jesús Jr. (2-for-3, 2B) Bryan Sammons was very very good on Saturday, notably so with a pair of goose eggs in more than one stat up there. Unfortunately, the five walks inflated the pitch count so he could not go any deeper for the no-hitter. Gabriel Moya relieved Sammons and gave up the first hit for the Barons in the eighth off a cheeky infield pop-up that didn’t get any home cooking from the official scorer. Either way, the Blue Wahoos’ pitching allowed only a single run on the day. Trevor Larnach had been having a somewhat rough time recently in his first games at AA, but he hit his third home run at AA on Saturday and that had to have felt good. In fact, the first three Blue Wahoos’ hitters (Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach) all had a hit. What are we nicknaming this group? The trifecta? C(Rush)? Let us think about it at least. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Lakeland 4 Box Score Blayne Enlow: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Yeltsin Encarnacion (2-for-4, R) The Miracle lost a heartbreaker this Saturday. They got out to a lead first thanks to a Gabriel Maciel single in the third inning that scored Ernie De La Trinidad. Blayne Enlow was on the bump and he did the job as he went six innings with just one earned run. Normally I have the pitch count but MiLB.com has it that he threw forty-two pitches and well, I can tell you that that is not true. The Miracle added two more runs in the seventh off an Aaron Whitefield single to put the game at 3-1. Zach Neff working in his second inning in relief of Enlow in the eighth allowed four straight batters to reach and two runs to make it a 4-3 deficit. The Miracle could not recover. Aaron Whitefield had a good game as he reached base three times and knocked in a run. ( The second run that scored on his single was not counted as an RBI because that run scored on a throwing error.) He was also picked off once but I won’t dwell on the negative. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Burlington 2 Box Score Matt Cantinero: 2 ⅔ IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 47.7% strikes (31 of 65 pitches) HR: Wander Javier (7) Multi-hit games: Gilberto Celestino (2-for-4, R) Matt Cantinero made his Kernels debut and did not allow any hits or runs but fought his command as he failed to hit the 50% strike mark. I watched some of his start and it looked like he could not keep the breaking ball down specifically but this was most likely just nerves. Also, his delivery has more funk than a Red Hot Chili Peppers album from the 80’s. The Kernels only scored one time and it was from Wander Javier who blasted a three-run homer in the sixth inning to take the lead. It has not been the easiest of time for Wander at Cedar Rapids but the power is starting to flash as this was his second homer in nine games. Yunior Severino made his return to the Kernels’ lineup and he got a hit while striking out twice. E-Town E-Notes Elizabethton 9, Bristol 6 Box Score Ryley Widell: 4 ⅓ IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Seth Gray (8) Multi-hit games: Seth Gray (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 1 R, 4 RBI), Anthony Prato (3-for-3, 2 R, RBI) Good pro tip: if you give up a lot of runs, make sure to score more runs. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. It was looking bleak for Elizabethton as they were down headed into the bottom of the ninth and there were some shenanigans regarding the sprinkler system: https://twitter.com/BadderUpSports/status/1157823463014502400 Anyway, it was a 6-4 game in favor of Bristol in the ninth before a Willie Joe Garry Jr. single scored a run to make it a little closer. DaShawn Keirsey walked to load the bases before Seth Gray hit a walk-off grand slam. That was Gray’s second extra- base hit of the day and he chose a great time to do it. https://twitter.com/ETwinsBaseball/status/1157839069256310785 GCL Twins Takes GCL Twins postponed The GCL Twins were postponed today so I have nothing to tell you here, move on. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Bryan Sammons Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Seth Gray PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-for-4, 3B, R #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-for-4 #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - IL #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-for-4, HR, R, RBI, 2 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB, K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Postponed #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured list #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Day to day #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - Did not play #14 - Luis Arraez (Twins) - Did not play #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - 0-for-4, R, K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-for-3, BB #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Out for year with Tommy John surgery #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - 0-for-4, R, BB #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - IL SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Pawtucket (12:05 A.M.) - RHP Adam Bray Birmingham @ Pensacola (5:05 P.M.) - RHP Edwar Colina Fort Myers @ Lakeland (12:00 P.M.) - RHP Bailey Ober Burlington @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 P.M.) - RHP Tyler Palm Bristol @ Elizabethton (5:00 P.M.) - RHP Tyler Benninghoff Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  17. That means that, for the first time in the professional baseball careers of virtually every Twins minor leaguer, there’s a chance that any one of them could find themselves packing their bags this week and moving on to another organization. Fort Myers Miracle pitcher Blayne Enlow knows the score. “No one is safe,” Enlow said on Sunday. “Not even Royce (Lewis), who is their number one prospect. If he’s not safe, no one’s safe. You can always get traded.” Enlow, the 2017 third round draft choice of the Twins, is the organization’s 12th ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, making him just about as likely to be a name on the lips of GMs talking trades with Twins brass Derek Falvey and Thad Levine this week as any other Twins prospect. Enlow said that he doesn’t feel like the trade possibilities are at the forefront of players’ minds, even as Lewin Diaz, their teammate with the Miracle until a promotion sent him up to Double-A Pensacola a few weeks ago, got the news Saturday night that he had been traded to the Marlins organization in return for reliever Sergio Romo, minor league arm Chris Vallimont and a player to be named later. “It is what it is. You get a lot of relationships and you become close to a lot of guys, but at any moment you could be traded,” he said. “So, do you (let it) get into your head? No. It’s not like you’re always thinking about (getting) traded, but if it happens, you’ve got to accept it. What are you going to do? You can’t do nothing. The Twins have got a really, really good season going. They’re trying to chase that ring and they’re going to do whatever is necessary to get it.” His manger in Fort Myers, Toby Gardenhire, agrees. “I don’t think it’s an issue at all,” he said. “The players deal with it the way they deal with it. They don’t really honestly know whether you’re buyers or sellers.” With a smile, Gardenhire added, “These guys haven’t been in pro ball long enough to really realize what that means. So, every year at the trade deadline, they all think they’re going to get traded and it doesn’t happen. “This year’s a little bit different,” he conceded. “The Twins are trying to get guys this year, so we know, as a staff, there’s a chance that some of these guys might get traded. But I don’t really think it affects them as players. I think they just go out there and play the game.” For a young player, getting traded can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you’re having to leave the teammates, coaches and development staff you’ve been working and playing with, perhaps, as with Diaz, for your entire professional career. On the other hand, as may also be the case with Diaz, the trade could open up a door to accelerate your opportunity to get to the big leagues. And in the end, that’s the ultimate goal of every minor leaguer. The Diaz trade also brought out mixed emotions for Gardenhire, who managed the first baseman during the first half of the 2019 season. “It’s tough because I really like that kid and he did a really good job. I think he’s got a very bright future,” he said. “But at the same time, I do know that the Twins got a pitcher that they desperately needed. We got some other guys in return. So, it’s a good thing for the organization. “I think for Lewin it’s going to be a good thing, also. He’s got a chance to go over there, he might be in the big leagues by the end of the year. So, it’s tough because I really like the kid and I’m happy for him. But I know he’s got mixed feelings, too, because he liked the organization and he wanted to be around, too. So, it’s tough. “I hope he goes over there and gets plenty of opportunities, which I’m sure he will. When you trade for somebody like that and you trade away a couple of guys, you want to see what you have. Hopefully, (the Marlins) will give him a shot up there and hopefully, he’ll be up there (to the big leagues) this year.” Enlow is also a big fan of his former teammate. “It don’t matter what’s coming, Lewin Diaz is unreal with the bat,” Enlow said. “He’s got incredible hand-eye coordination and he can just put it wherever he wants. Just ridiculous. I’ve seen him put balls, (that I thought) ‘how is that even hittable?’, four hundred feet out. He’s a really gifted hitter and he’s a really good dude. You never want to see one of your teammates go, but I want to see him succeed. Hopefully, it does bring him closer (to the big leagues).” For his part, the 20-year-old Enlow has had the kind of season that is almost certainly being noticed by scouts and GMs across baseball. After opening the season in Cedar Rapids and putting up a 4-3 record in eight starts for the Kernels, Enlow was promoted to Class High-A Fort Myers near the end of May. His first five starts in a Miracle uniform were quality starts. The sixth start, though, was problematic. Enlow took a comebacker off his throwing elbow in the first inning and came out of the game. He returned to the mound for his next start seven days later, but lasted just three innings. He surrendered four earned runs in five innings in his following start and gave up five earned in his most recent start on Friday. He did work a full seven innings Friday, however, facing just the minimum nine batters in the final three innings. Enlow dismissed the suggestion that maybe his elbow has had some residual effect on his mound performances this month. “I think everything’s perfectly fine,” he said. “It hit the elbow, so it was going to hurt. But nothing terrible happened. Michael Helman (Miracle infielder) got hit in the forearm the other day and broke his bone, so I’m just blessed it wasn’t something too serious. I don’t think (the elbow) has affected me. It’s just like, it happens. It’s baseball. You’re going to get hit some days and you’re going to do good (other days). Just got to keep on keeping on.” The right-hander has had some dramatic splits this season in one area. He’s notched a 2.08 ERA and .204 Batting Average Against when he faces right-handed hitters, while lefties have touched him for a .302 BAA and 5.91 ERA. Interestingly, a year ago, he had far more success against left-handers than righties. Asked about the splits, Enlow had an explanation ready “I didn’t really have a curve ball last year, so the righties felt more comfortable,” he explained. “And I had a really good change up last year which had the lefties uncomfortable at the plate. This year I’ve got my curve ball and now I’m just dominating the righties more so. But the lefties, I’ve been leaving a lot of stuff right down the middle and if you make a mistake, they’re going to punish you for it.” Gardenhire, who also managed Enlow in Cedar Rapids in 2018, is in his pitcher’s corner and likes what he’s seen out of him since he joined the Miracle. “He’s made big strides from last year with the way he goes about his business,” the manager said. “He’s still a kid. He’s only 20. So, learning how to be a professional pitcher, I think, has been the most important part for him and he’s definitely getting there. He’s making big strides, big improvements. He’s got good stuff. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to use that and how to be ready to use it all on a day to day basis is his biggest thing. So, like I said, big strides this year.” Now, we all just have to sit back and see if Enlow’s still making those strides as a member of the Twins organization come August 1.
  18. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for June, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in June. HONORABLE MENTION Edwar Colina - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 G, 4 GS, 24.0 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 23 H, 6 BB, 17 K (.253/601) Randy Dobnak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 3 GS, 30.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 31 H, 6 BB, 26 K, (267/657) Kody Funderburk - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 3 G, 3 GS, 13.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11 H, 3 BB, 18 K (.220/571) Griffin Jax - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 G, 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 1.40 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 13 H, 3 BB, 11 K, (183/399) Sean Poppen - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 4 GS, 31.0 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 26 H, 12 BB, 36 K (226/686) Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 3 G, 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 0.61 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 K (149/.418) Devin Smeltzer - Rochester Red Wings - 4 G, 4 GS, 20.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 19 H, 3 BB, 30 K (250/739) Kai-Wei Teng - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 3 GS, 21.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 19 H, 7 BB, 23 K (.235/.570) THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS #5 - RHP Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 G, 3 GS, 25.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 18 H, 7 BB, 20 K Enlow had a couple of tough, short starts for Cedar Rapids during the season’s first month, but he has been really good since then. He was a candidate for Starting Pitcher of the Month in May, and was promoted to Ft. Myers at the end of that month. He has been even better since joining the Miracle. He has produced a quality start in all five of his Miracle starts. Enlow is blessed with a low-90s fastball that occasionally pushes to 94 and even 95. He also is known for his breaking ball and ability to spin the ball. The Twins third-round pick in 2017 continues to grow as a pitcher which is exciting as he won’t turn 21 until next March. #4 - RHP Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle - 3 GS, 16.1 IP, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 8 H, 2 BB, 19 K Sands was the Twins fifth-round pick last year after three seasons at Florida State. The Twins just shut him down and didn’t have him pitch at all after the draft. He came to spring this year and pitched well in Cedar Rapids. In his first start of the season, he tossed five hitless innings. He was promoted to the Miracle right before June. He had a short IL stint, and when he returned, he threw five no-hit innings. He has given up just two hits in 11 innings over his past two starts. Sands also works in the low 90s with good secondary pitches as you would expect from a 21-year-old coming out of a quality college baseball program. In his three June starts, opponents hit just .145 off of him with a .409 OPS. #3 - RHP Austin Schulfer - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 G, 4 GS, 21.0 IP, 2.14 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 11 H, 5 BB, 23 K Schulfer was the Twins 19th-round pick a year ago after four years at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He pitched in Elizabethton last year. This year, he began the season in the Cedar Rapids bullpen, though he usually worked multiple innings. He appeared in the April Relief Pitcher of the Month list, and then Brian Dinkelman moved him into the Kernels rotation where he has continued to pitch well. Schulfer doesn’t throw real hard, but he generally throws strikes and stays away from the middle of the plate with each of his pitches. Opponents hit just .151 with a .498 OPS against him in June. #2 - RHP Jhoan Duran - 4 G, 3 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.88 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 15 H, 10 BB, 31 K, Overall this season Jhoan Duran has a record of 1-7. You might think that he must not be pitching well, but that isn’t the case. He has a 3.48 ERA on the season and has 78 strikeouts in 62 innings (26 walks). He has been pretty consistent and his stuff has continued to improve. We often hear about him hitting triple-digits multiple times in his starts. Duran came to the Twins last July in the Eduardo Escobar trade from the Diamondbacks.In June, he went 1-3 with a 1.88 ERA. He gave up one run in three of his starts, and two runs in the other. Duran recently ranked #9 in our midseason Twins top prospect rankings. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Cedar Rapids Kernels - RHP Josh Winder - 5 G, 5 GS, 34.0 IP, 1.32 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 22 H, 6 BB, 28 K (190/520) At the end of May, Steve Buhr wrote an article on Josh Winder that profiled the talented right-hander drafted a year ago out of Virginia Military Academy. He talked about liking to keep his room clean and his head clear, especially on the mound. Winder was pitching well at the time, but he was tremendous in June. In 13 starts so far this season for the Kernels, Winder is 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. As you can see above, he was tremendous in five June starts. All five starts were quality starts. He had a seven-inning shutout performance early in the month at Peoria. He ended his month with eight innings of shutout baseball against Kane County. In that start, he gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out eight. Winder works with a low-90s fastball. He has a good curveball and has worked really hard to make his changeup an effective pitch. And it has become a really good pitch for him. One would think that a promotion to Ft. Myers should be in the near future for Winder. Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of June, Cedar Rapids Kernels right-hander Josh Winder. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  19. Make sure to let us know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below. We put a lot of work into compiling these lists, but it is an inexact science. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of disagreement just between the five of us who contributed to these rankings. 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP Age: 20 ETA: 2022 2019 Stats (A+/A): 72.2 IP, 3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 3.00 K:BB Ratio 2019 Preseason Ranking: 9 Seth: 11 | Tom: 14 | Cody: 8 | Ted: 10 | Steve: 10 Enlow is on quite a roll right now. Over his final four starts with Cedar Rapids and his first five outings for Fort Myers, Enlow has pitched to a 2.13 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 55 innings. While he’s not posting huge strikeout numbers, Enlow is flashing signs that the potential is there. Among the pitchers in the system with at least 50 innings, Enlow ranks fourth with a swinging strike rate of 14.0%. The only guys he trails are Austin Schulfer (17.4%), Jhoan Duran (16.2%) and Lewis Thorpe (14.3%). On top of that ability to miss bats, Enlow is also a ground ball machine. His ground ball rate of 55.3% also ranks fourth in the system in that same sample. 9. Jhoan Duran RHP Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (A+): 59.1 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 3.26 K:BB Ratio 2019 Presason Ranking: 7 Seth: 8 | Tom: 9 | Cody: 9 | Ted: 8 | Steve: 8 Speaking of Duran and his impressive swinging strike rate, he’s our No. 9 prospect. The thing that really stands out about Duran is his velocity. He sits in the upper 90s, reaching triple-digit heat on a regular basis. Duran has also been blazing hot of late. Over his last 30 innings he has a 1.80 ERA and 45 strikeouts against 12 walks. Opposing batters are hitting just .158/.265/.198 (.463 OPS) against him over that stretch. One thing to keep an eye on going forward is how Duran handles opposite-side hitters. Lefties are hitting .316/.396/.468 (.864 OPS) against him so far this year. That being the case, it's impressive he's been effective as he has despite those struggles against southpaws. 8. Brent Rooker, LF Age: 24 ETA: 2019 2019 Stats (AAA): .283/.412/.549 (.960 OPS), 13 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 81 K, 32 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: 6 Seth: 9 | Tom: 7 | Cody: 10 | Ted: 4 | Steve: 7 A big storyline of this season across the minor league system has been injuries and underperformance, but in Rooker we now have yet another guy who is hitting his stride right now. Since being activated off the IL at the start of this month, Rooker has hit .340/.512/.617 (1.129 OPS). Prior to that stay on the IL, Rooker was having a difficult time in his first taste of Triple-A. He posted an alarming 44.3 K% and 38.1 K-BB% over his first 97 plate appearances. Since then, however, Rooker has a 29.5 K% and impressive 9.3 K-BB%. Here are some highlights of the damage he did earlier this month: 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS Age: 18 ETA: 2024 2019 Stats (Rk): .143/.143/.143 (.286 OPS), 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 K, 0 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: Unranked Seth: 6 | Tom: 6 | Cody: 7 | Ted: 11 | Steve: 11 How have so many prospects on our list thus far slid down? To make room for the next two guys on our list. First up is 2019 13th-overall pick Keoni Cavaco. Finding spots for the recent draftees is the most difficult part of doing these midseason updates, but one thing I kept asking myself was “what’s really the difference between Cavaco today and where Royce Lewis was in June of 2017?” Cavaco shows all the same athletic potential that Lewis did at that time. He has a chance to be a true five-tool player. High school picks always come with a lot of uncertainty, but when it comes down to it, the big difference is familiarity. Cavaco was a huge pop-up prospect in the draft. He was under the radar mainly due to the fact he didn’t play in the majority of showcases. Being so new to the system, we’re obviously still learning more about Cavaco, but I suspect if anything this ranking is conservative. For more on Cavaco, check out the Q&A Ted did with him shortly after the draft. 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Age: 20 ETA: 2022 2019 Stats (A+/A): 65.2 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 12.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 4.79 K:BB Ratio 2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention Seth: 7 | Tom: 10 | Cody: 6 | Ted: 7 | Steve: 5 Balazovic rockets up our list after not just being among the top performers in the system, but all of the minor leagues. Among the 580 pitchers to log 50 innings across the minors this year, Balazovic ranks 13th in K/9, 16th in K-BB%, 25th in FIP and 19th in xFIP. After a great first four starts with Cedar Rapids, Balazovic moved up to Fort Myers and made quite the first impression. He struck out 22 batters in just 12 innings his first two starts in the Florida State League. He’s had a bit of mixed results since then, and closes out June with a 4.12 ERA and 1.63 WHIP on the month. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Balazovic is still only 20 and made a grand total of 16 appearances with Cedar Rapids before making the jump to High-A. For comparison's sake, Enlow made 28 appearances for the Kernels and Duran tallied 21 outings in the Midwest League prior to moving up. So I think it’s reasonable to expect a bit of an adjustment period from Balazovic. His overall performance has been outstanding, but another reason to be encouraged is Balazovic has already set a career high in innings pitched this season. Here’s a look back at some highlights from a couple of his starts for Cedar Rapids earlier this season: Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings Prospects 36-40 Prospects 31-35 Prospects 26-30 Prospects 21-25 Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 Prospects 1-5 Coming Soon
  20. TRANSACTIONS OF LaMonte Wade promoted to Minnesota from Rochester. IF Ronald Torreyes promoted to Rochester from Fort Myers. LHP Andrew Vasquez reinstated from the IL with Rochester. RHP DJ Baxendale placed on IL with Rochester (left ankle sprain). RHP Adam Bray transferred to Pensacola to Rochester. LHP Bryan Sammons placed on the IL with Pensacola. RHP Tom Hackimer placed on the suspended list for Pensacola. LHP J.T. Perez promoted to Cedar Rapids from Elizabethton. SS Tanner Brubaker assigned to Elizabethton. LF Carlos Agular placed on the IL with the GCL Twins. RHP Regi Grace placed on the IL with the GCL Twins. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 8, Lehigh Valley 7 Box Score Rochester snuck out to an early 4-0 lead in this one and they needed every run in the end. Zander Wiel and Nick Gordon both had three-hit nights. Gordon had his 15th double while Wiel had his 13th home run and his 19th double. Jordany Valdespin, Wilin Rosario and Brian Schales all joined the multi-hit parade with two hits apiece. The Red Wings pounded out 15 total hits, but the club only went 4-for-21 with runners in scoring position. Devin Smeltzer pitched into the fifth inning, allowing one run, a home run, with five strikeouts and a walk. Rochester’s bullpen did little to support Smeltzer’s effort as every relief pitcher allowed at least one run. Jake Reed surrendered three runs in two innings. Carlos Torres pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on two hits. Ian Krol earned his third save but he also allowed a run in the ninth as the result of three walks. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 1, Biloxi 5 Box Score The Blue Wahoos offensive struggled to string together hits and found themselves on the wrong end of this one. Only one batter stepped in with a runner in scoring position and the team went 0-for-1 in those situations. Lewin Diaz continued his hot hitting ways since being called up. He homered for the second time in three games. Alex Kirilloff and Mark Contreras both added doubles. Andro Cutura was used as an opener and held Biloxi off the scoreboard even though he allowed two hits. Charlie Barnes was used as the primary pitcher. He allowed two earned runs but errors from Alex Kirilloff and Travis Blankenhorn allowed two unearned runs to score. Barnes struck out six and walked one in six innings. Jeff Ames allowed one run on one hit in two innings. He struck out one and walked two. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 1, Charlotte 2 Box Score Blayne Enlow ended up on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel. Both starting pitchers allowed a home run but Enlow’s was a two-run shot to baseball’s best prospect, Wander Franco. In 6 1/3 innings, Enlow allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He’s pitched six innings in every appearance with Fort Myers and he has yet to allow more than two runs. Ryan Jeffers accounted for the lone Miracle run. He knocked his 10th home run in the fourth inning and it gave Fort Myers a 1-0 lead. He finished 2-for-4. Royce Lewis and Gabriel Maciel both went 1-for-4. Andrew Bechtold picked up a hit in three trips. He’s now gone 3-for-20 since being promoted from Cedar Rapids. Joe Record finished off the seventh inning for Enlow. He allowed a walk and a hit. Derek Molina continued his tremendous streak. Over his last 11 appearances, Molina hasn’t allowed an earned run. In this one, he pitched two perfect innings and struck out four. In other news... https://twitter.com/SNETCampbell/status/1144239237707063296 KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Wisconsin 5 (11 Innings) Box Score Cedar Rapids scored two runs in the first three innings. However, they would be shut out from there and Wisconsin plated three runs in extra-innings for the win. Jacob Pearson did his best to keep Cedar Rapids in this one. In the first inning, Pearson set up a run all by himself. He led off the inning with a single and then he stole second. Gabe Snyder followed with a single and Pearson came around to score. In the bottom of the third, he cracked his fourth home run of the year. Chris Williams and Daniel Ozoria both went 2-for-4 in the losing effort. Tyler Palm was terrific on the mound as he was nearly unhittable. He retired the first 14 batters he faced and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. In 5 1/3 innings, he limited the Timber Rattlers to one run on three hits. He struck out three and walked one. Carlos Suniaga pitched 1 2/3 innings and only allowed one baserunner while striking out two. Moises Gomez struck out six batters in three innings, but he allowed the tying run in the eighth. Tanner Howell took the loss after Wisconsin put up a three spot in the final frame. Three walks would come back to haunt him. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 2, Bristol 6 Box Score Bristol jumped all over E-Twins starter Tyler Benninghoff in his first start of the year. The first batter doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Six straight batters reached before Benninghoff was able to record an out. He was only able to collect two outs and he allowed six runs on four hits. The E-Twins bullpen did fantastic in relief. Frandy Torres took over for Benninghoff and did well in a tough spot. Over 3 1/3 shutout innings, he limited the Pirates to two hits and added four strikeouts. Louie Varland continued the shutout innings. He tossed three innings and allowed two hits. Nate Hadley finished off the final two frames. He only allowed one baserunner and struck out three. Elizabethton was limited to four hits in the game. Matt Wallner collected his first professional home run as part of a two-hit effort. He also scored both of the team’s runs. Trevor Jensen reached base two times. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Palm, Cedar Rapids (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 K, BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Zander Wiel, Rochester (3-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) – 1-4 #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 1-3, 2B, BB #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Injured list #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) – 0-4 #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-4, BB, K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – 0-5, BB, 3 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) – Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 2 BB #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) – Tommy John surgery, out for the year #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 3-6, 2B, 2 R, BB, 3 K #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) – Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) – 2-4, HR, R, RBI #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – 1-4, 2 K #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) – 1-4, RBI, BB, K #17 - Zack Littell (Minnesota) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB #18 - LaMonte Wade (Minnesota) – Did not play #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) – 0-4, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Pawtucket (6:05 CST) – LHP Lewis Thorpe (3-4, 5.71 ERA) Pensacola vs. Biloxi (6:35 CST) – RHP Jorge Alcala (5-5, 5.65 ERA) Fort Myers vs. Bradenton (6:00 CST) – TBD Cedar Rapids vs. Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Luis Rijo (1-4, 2.72 ERA) Elizabethton @ Greeneville (5:30 CST) – TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Red Sox (11:00 AM CST) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  21. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS The Twins signed third-round pick Spencer Speer on Wednesday. They have also now signed Nate Hadley and Jake Hirabayashi. Keep up with the signings of their their 2019 draft picks here. The Twins optioned RHP Sean Poppen to Rochester and called up RHP Kohl Stewart. Adalberto Mejia’s rehab has been transferred from Ft. Myers to Pensacola. Pensacola announced that Alex Kirilloff has been activated from the IL. OFs Aaron Whitefield and Mark Contreras promoted from Ft. Myers to Pensacola. OF Gabriel Maciel has been promoted from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers. OF Malique Ziegler has been activated from the IL. RHP Brian Rapp activated from the Cedar Rapids IL. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 6, Columbus 2 (Completion of Suspended Game Monday) Box Score These two teams got into the fifth inning on Wednesday night before rains came and the game was suspended. When the game started, Cody Stashak made the spot start and was very good. He gave up one run on two hits over three innings. Fernando Romero came in to start the fourth inning and got four outs, but then the rains came. When play resumed, Adam Bray made his first AAA appearance in the Twins organization and earned his first win. He gave up one run on two hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings.He struck out two. Lefty Ian Krol made his first appearance in the Twins organization and struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning. When the game resumed, the score was tied 1-1. The Red Wings run came on Brent Rooker’s ninth homer of the season. In the seventh inning, Zander Wiel knocked his 11th homer of the year, a three-run shot that proved huge. Columbus scored one but the Wings added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Jaylin Davis’s first AAA hit scored a run, and later Nick Gordon’s 12th double of the season drove in another run. Davis and LaMonte Wade each went 1-for-3 with a walk. Wade hit his eighth double. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1141768014402064384 Rochester 4, Columbus 5 (8 innings) (Regularly Scheduled Game) Box Score In the regularly-scheduled game, the Red Wings had a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Brent Rooker came up with two runners on and hit his 10th home run of the season to give them a 4-0 lead. He has now homered in three straight games. Unfortunately, the team was unable to add on and Columbus tied the game before winning it in the eighth inning. https://twitter.com/MorrieSilver8/status/1141818743015837696 Gabriel Moya was used as the opener in this game. He struck out two in one perfect inning to drop his season ERA to 7.97. Chase De Jong made the start, moving up to take Kohl Stewart’s spot in the rotation. He gave up four runs on four hits and four walks over five innings. The problem was that three of the four hits he allowed were home runs. Preston Guilmet pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but he gave up an unearned run in the eighth inning (meaning the runner that starts the inning at second base) and falls to 0-6 on the season. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 4, Jacksonville 3 Box Score The Blue Wahoos offense didn’t do a lot overall on Thursday night, but they did a lot in the fifth inning and it was enough to carry them to a 4-3 win. Brian Navarreto got things going with his third home run. Travis Blankenhorn came up next and knocked his 12th Pensacola home run. Following an Alex Kirilloff walk, Ben Rortvedt hit a two-run homer. Rortvedt now has four homers since moving up to Double-A. Rortvedt and Blankenhorn each had two hits. Lewin Diaz went 2-for-4 with a double in his first Double-A game. Adalberto Mejia worked the first inning. He gave up one hit, but he struck out two in an uneventful inning. Lefty Bryan Sammons came in and struck out eight batters over the next six innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. Jeff Ames worked a scoreless eighth inning. Sam Clay picked up his sixth save despite giving up a single run in the bottom of the ninth. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 7, Jupiter 8 (11 innings) Box Score The Miracle certainly had opportunities to close out a win in this one, but were unable to do so. They had leads going into the bottom of the ninth, the bottom of the tenth and the bottom of the 11th. Blayne Enlow put together another quality start for the Miracle. The right-hander gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out six batters. Derek Molina made his first appearance for the Miracle and worked a scoreless eighth inning. Royce Lewis put the Miracle on the scoreboard in the third inning with a three-run home run, his fifth homer of the season and his third in two days. He had a single and a walk, as well, and stole his 12th base. Jose Miranda had a couple of big hits as well. He had a two-run double, his 14th, and an RBI single in extra innings. David Banuelos and Ernie De La Trinidad each had two hits. In his first Miracle game, Gabriel Maciel had a single and a walk and was hit by a pitch. https://twitter.com/paxton/status/1141876984794025984 The Miracle went into the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-run lead. Johan Quezada came on and struggled with his control. He gave up two runs in that inning which tied the score. He then gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the tenth (the runner that started at second base scored. Then in the 11th inning, Calvin Faucher came on. He was charged with two runs (one earned) on three hits to take the loss. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 4 Box Score Lefty Kody Funderburk was back on the mound for the Kernels and was really strong. In four innings, he gave up one run on four hits. He struck out seven without issuing a walk. Tyler Palm came on and gave up one run on two hits over the next 2 1/3 innings. Carlos Suniaga got the final five outs but not before giving up two runs (one earned). Ricky De La Torre led the offense with three hits in the game. He hit his first two doubles since joining the Kernels right before their All-Star break. Yeltsin Encarnacion went 2-for-3 with a walk. Jacob Pearson went 2-for-4. E-TWINS E-NOTES E-Twins 13, Bluefield 4 Box Score It’s always fun to follow the Firsts when the Elizabethton season starts. On Thursday night, Ben Gross (10th round, Duke) made his first professional start. He gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out two. Denny Bentley came in and struck out five batters over the next three innings. No runs on just one hit for him. Dylan Thomas (13th round, Hawaii) came on for the final two innings for his pro debut. He gave up two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out three. We saw the first professional hits for Matt Wallner (Comp A, Southern Mississippi), Seth Gray (5th round, Wright State) and Alex Isola (29th, TCU). Gray went 3-for-5. Isola went 2-for-4. Tyler Jensen (24th, Tulane) had his first hit on Wednesday, and on this night he went 1-for-3 with a walk. Tyler Webb had two doubles and drove in three runs. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Bryan Sammons, Pensacola Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ricky De La Torre, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, BB, HR(5), 3 RBI, 2 R, SB(12), K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 0-3, BB, R, 2K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, 2K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 2K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Game 1 (1-3, BB, 2R, RBI, HR(9), 2K), Game 2 (1-3, BB, HR(10), 2R, 3 RBI) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch. #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HBP, (87 pitches, 64 strikes) #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Game 1 (1-3, BB, 2B(12), RBI, SB(7), 2K), Game 2 (1-4, R, SB(8), K) #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List (elbow) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Play. #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 2-3, BB, HR(4), R, 2 RBI #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (thumb) #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 0-2, 3 BB #17 - Zack Littell (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - Game 1 (1-3, BB, R, K), Game 2 (0-2, 2BB, R) #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 2B(14), 3 RBI FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Toledo (DH @ 5:05 CST) - TBD Pensacola @ Jacksonville (6:55 CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak (2-0, 1.67 ERA) Ft. Myers @ Jupiter (5:30 CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 CST) - RHP Luis Rijo (1-4, 3.05 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Thursday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  22. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS Pensacola announced that RHP Griffin Jax has been activated from the IL. RHP Williams Ramirez has been placed on the 7 Day IL. Pensacola also announced that the Twins have traded LHP Tyler Jay, the teams 2015 first-round draft pick, to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations. LHP Adalberto Mejia began his rehab stint on Monday with the Ft. Myers Miracle. I saw that we missed the following transactions on Sunday: AWARDS RHP Sean Poppen was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week. ALL STARS On Monday, Cedar Rapids DH/1B/C Chris Williams will participate in the Home Run Derby at the Midwest League All Star game. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester Box Score No Game Scheduled. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 7, Biloxi 9 Box Score Griffin Jax returned to the mound after missing nearly a month with a strained shoulder. He gave up a first inning run but got through 2 2/3 innings before reaching his predetermined pitch count (41 pitches thrown). He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Jeff Ames came on and went the next 1 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. Tom Hackimer went the next 1 2/3 innings and was charged with three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk. He struck out one. Sam Clay worked the final two innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Jaylin Davis put the Wahoos on the scoreboard right away with a leadoff home run, his 10th of the year. He went 2-for-5 and hit his eighth double. Travis Blankenhorn hit his 11th home run since joining Pensacola. Brian Navarreto went 1-for-1 with two walks, a sacrifice fly and an RBI double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 1, Tampa 0 Box Score There wasn’t much offense, but the Miracle got one big hit and the pitching came through. Adalberto Mejia made his first rehab appearance with the Miracle. He “opened” and gave up a single in a scoreless first inning. He struck out two, and 11 of his 14 pitches were strikes. Blayne Enlow came on to start the second inning and completed six scoreless innings. The right-hander gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out three to earn the win and lower his Miracle ERA to 1.50. Hector Lujan threw two scoreless innings to record his sixth save of the season. Ryan Jeffers led off the second inning with a long, opposite field homer. It was his sixth homer of the year. And it accounted for the only run of the game. The Miracle had just two other hits. Jose Miranda hit his 13th doubles. Trey Cabbage singled, and then stole a base. The Miracle could clinch a playoff berth as early as Tuesday. https://twitter.com/MarshallKelner/status/1138270893854117889 KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Peoria 1 Box Score In a morning game, the Kernels scored four in the third inning and three more in the fourth inning and cruised to a 10-1 win in Peoria. They ended a 14-game road trip with a 9-5 record. However, let’s start with the pitching. Kai-Wei Teng started and gave up one run over six innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out eight batters to record his first Kernels win. Jose Martinez pitched a scoreless seventh frame. JT Perez made his Midwest League debut and tossed two scoreless innings. Jared Akins provided the power in the third inning with a three-run homer. It was his sixth of the season. In the fourth inning, Jacob Pearson hit his third homer of the season, a two-run shot, and Ricky De La Torre followed with his second Kernels homer. Pearson and De La Torre each had two hits. Ben Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with his seventh and eighth doubles. Andrew Bechtold went 2-for-4 with a walk and his 11th and 12th doubles. Gilberto Celestino went 2-for-4 with a walk and his eighth double. Yeltsin Encarnacion hit his second triple, and Estamy Urena added his fourth double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Blayne Enlow, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ben Rodriguez, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 0-4 #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, BB, K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, BB, K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - No Game Scheduled. #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch. #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - No Game Scheduled #9 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (79 pitches, 49 strikes) #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - No Game Scheduled. #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List (elbow) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, BB, HR(6), R, RBI, K #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-3, BB #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (thumb) #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, BB, 2B(8), R #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - No Game Scheduled #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - No Game Scheduled #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, 2B(13), K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Columbus @ Rochester (6:05 CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (0-1, 1.82 ERA) Pensacola @ Biloxi (10:35 am CST) - RHP Andro Cutura (1-2 4.45 ERA) Ft. Myers @ Tampa (DH @ 3:30 CST) - TBD, TBD Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (4-3, 3.02 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  23. To find out everything that happened in the minors on Tuesday, read on! TRANSACTIONS It was a busy day for player movement in the Minnesota Twins organization on Tuesday: In Rochester RHP Chase De Jong was activated from the injured list while left-handed reliever Andrew Vasquez was placed on the injured list due to a shoulder strain. In Double-A the Blue Wahoos added several new names to their roster, including first baseman Ryan Costello from Fort Myers, shortstop Michael Davis from Cedar Rapids, and RHP Zack Weiss from Rochester. In exchange for Costello, the Miracle received back center fielder Ernie De La Trinidad who had some struggles after starting the year in Double-A after just 27 games in the Florida State League last season. In the Midwest League the Cedar Rapids Kernels were assigned shortstop Ricky De La Torre who will be making his full season debut after spending his first two years in the rookie leagues. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 9, Syracuse 3 Box Score Rochester scratched the first run of the game across in the top of the third thanks to a Luis Arraez RBI single in his first game back in Triple-A. They later found themselves down 2-1 until the sixth when they took the lead for good after Jake Cave led off the inning with a triple. Wilin Rosario promptly drove him in with a single and would later score the go-ahead run on an error. Starting the game on the mound for the Red Wings was RHP Chase De Jong, who was making his first appearance since May 10th. He went three innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, along with notching two strikeouts. He threw 58 pitches with 34 of them going for strikes. Zack Littell also made his first appearance back in Triple-A and picked up the win by finishing the fifth inning before his teammates took the lead back. He went two innings, walking just one and striking out three. The Red Wings offense blew this one open with six runs in the top of the seventh as they loaded the bases with one out. Rosario scored two with a double and was followed by a 2-RBI single from Brent Rooker. Randy Cesar and Tomas Telis then added RBI singles of their own to make the final of 9-3. Jake Reed got the defense through the seventh with two scoreless frames. He allowed three hits and struck out one. Fernando Romero then finished the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Cave, Rosario, Rooker, and Wade Jr., and Jordany Valdespin all had multiple hits. As a team they were 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Arreaz also drew two walks in addition to finishing 1-for-4. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Jacksonville 5, Pensacola 7 Box Score The Blue Wahoos got multiple hits from four hitters including Travis Blankenhorn, Jimmy Kerrigan, Jaylin Davis, and Caleb Hamilton en route to a 7-5 victory on Tuesday. They scored runs in each of the second, fifth, sixth, and eighth innings to outlast their seafood brethren in the Southern League. Blankenhorn slugged his seventh and eighth doubles of the year while scoring two runs with a 3-for-4 night at the dish, while Kerrigan was 2-for-5 and drove in three to lead the offense. Ben Rortvedt also scored two runs and drove in another with a 1-for-2 night at the plate that included a walk. Jorge Alcala got the start on the mound and went 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out four. Of his 95 pitches, 66 went for strikes (69%) with 12 of them the swinging variety. Tom Hackimer picked up his second win of the season by finishing 1 2/3. He walked one and struck out two. Jeff Ames came on in the eighth with one out and escaped a jam with two men on base. Back out for the ninth he gave up two runs and was replaced by Sam Clay with the tying run coming up to bat. Clay shut the door with a three-pitch strikeout to pick up his fourth save. MIRACLE MATTERS Florida 8, Fort Myers 2 Box Score While the Miracle outhit the Fire Frogs 8-6 on the game, it was the eight free passes they surrendered that made the difference as the visitors took advantage of their pitching mistakes. Right-hander Blayne Enlow made his second start since being promoted to the FSL, and delivered his second quality start. He lasted 6+ innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on just two hits and two walks. He struck out five and threw 63 of his 94 pitches for strikes (67%) including 12 swinging. He left the game responsible for two runners on base and his team up 2-1. Johan Quezada came on for him and proceeded to give up two bases-loaded walks, a two-RBI single, and a run-scoring wild pitch before they could get another reliever warmed up. That was Tanner Howell who got the final out of the inning, but the damage was done. Howell then got bit by the same control bug in the eighth and allowed two more runs for Florida’s final tally. Joe Record came on in the eight and finished the final 1 1/3. He walked one and struck out two. Royce Lewis was the only batter in the lineup with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-5 with an RBI and his 12th double on the season. Ernie De La Trinidad contributed a double and scored a run in his first game back with the Miracle. As a team they finished 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 8, Clinton 6 Box Score Making his full season debut for the Kernels in this one was starting pitcher Kai-Wei Teng who the Twins signed in December of 2017 out of Taiwan for a $500,000 international signing bonus. He had a solid rookie league debut in the GCL last year and skips the Appalachian League with this promotion. It was a mixed bag for him, as the first three hitters he faced got hits, with a 2-RBI double putting Clinton up 2-0 before he recorded an out. But he got the next three to limit the damage, including his first strikeout, added two more Ks in the second, then had a one-two-three third before more trouble found him in the fourth. An error from Wander Javier cracked opened the floodgates, and another from Andrew Bechtold blew them open. The LumberKings capitalized with four runs, all unearned, to take a 6-1 lead. Teng finished 3 2/3 innings, allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out four. Reliever Zach Neff calmed it down after that going the next 2 1/3 scoreless innings and striking out three. That’s when the Kernels lineup also woke up. They cut the lead to 6-4 in the top of the fifth behind a two-out, three-run blast from Javier, his first home run of the season. In the eighth inning Bechtold led off with an infield single and advanced to second base on an errant throw, before Gabe Snyder drove him in to cut the lead to 6-5. Gabriel Maciel then delivered a game-tying triple before scoring the go-ahead run on an error off the bat of Gilberto Celestino. Jose Martinez had relieved Neff to start the seventh and had a one-two-three inning on just seven pitches. Back out for the eighth he got one out before he deflected a comeback toward short and was removed from the game due to injury (since there was no update provided from the Kernels, it may have been just for precautionary reasons). Derek Molina replaced him and finished the game to pick up his sixth save. He allowed one hit and struck out two. With the win Cedar Rapids moved to above .500 for the first time this season at 29-28. The Kernels added an insurance run in the ninth for the final score and Maciel, Javier, Snyder, and Estamy Urena finished the game with two hits. Ben Rodriguez also clubbed his fourth home run of the year. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Blayne Enlow, Fort Myers Miracle (6+ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) Hitter of the Day – Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-for-5, R, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured list #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-4 #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 2-for-3, R, 2 BB, K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - 6+ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured list (Tommy John surgery) #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Did not play #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured list #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, BB #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-for-2, 2 R, RBI, BB #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured list #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2 K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - W, 2.0 IP, BB, 3 K #18 - LaMonte Wade Jr. (Rochester) - 2-for-3, R, BB, K #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (9:35AM CST) – LHP Lewis Thorpe (3-3, 6.27 ERA) Jacksonville @ Pensacola (6:35PM CST) - TBD Florida @ Fort Myers (12:00PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson (1-4, 4.24 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfur (4-2, 2.95 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  24. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Starters for May, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in May. HONORABLE MENTION Brusdar Graterol - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP. 15 H, 7 BB, 18 K Josh Winder - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 3.67 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 19 H, 8 BB, 19 K Bryan Sammons - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 4 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 19 H, 6 BB, 29 K Randy Dobnak - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 6 GS, 26.0 IP, 3.81 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 23 H, 8 BB, 27 K THE TOP FIVE STARTING PITCHERS #5 - RHP Austin Schulfer - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 7 G, 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 13 H, 10 BB, 32 K Schulfer was the Twins 19th round pick one year ago out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he was a four-year starter. He had an impressive professional debut. For Elizabethton, he went 3-0 with a 1.58 ERA. He began the 2019 season in the Kernels bullpen, but it was in long relief. Likely that was to help with his innings count over the season. In May, opponents hit just .165/.258/.266 (.524) off of him. He now appears to be in the Kernels rotation and pitching well. #4 - RHP Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 4 GS, 1.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 18 K For the second time this season, Kohl Stewart was called up by the Twins to make a spot start. On May 7th, Stewart made a start against Toledo. He went just two innings because the team knew he would be starting game 2 of the May 11th double header against the parent club of the Mudhens, the Detroit Tigers. Stewart gave up three runs in six innings to pick up the win. Those numbers aren’t included in his monthly total above. Stewart may have walked a few too many, but the former 1st-round pick continued to throw well and show that he is ready to pitch in the big leagues when summoned. #3 - LHP Devin Smeltzer - Rochester Red Wings - 4 GS, 1.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 20 H, 7 BB, 15 K Smeltzer was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in April when he produced an impressive month in Pensacola. He was quickly promoted to the Red Wings in May and ended the month with six shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in his big-league debut. Those numbers aren’t included in the above, but I’d say that big league time can be a tie-breaker. And, these numbers do tell us that Smeltzer was very deserving of The Call. Even at the highest level of the minor leagues, Smeltzer displayed calm. He doesn’t throw hard, but he knows how to pitch and is able to hit spots. His first start in June will also be with the Twins. Get to know him here. #2 - RHP Blayne Enlow - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 5 GS, 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 29.2 IP, 22 H, 8 BB, 30 K There were a couple of rough starts for Enlow in April, but in May, Blayne Enlow was a terrific. After spending 2018 in Cedar Rapids, Enlow began 2019 as a Kernel again. He was pitching well in May. Well enough, in fact, that he was promoted to Ft. Myers and finished the month with a strong Miracle debut. He started with six shutout innings before giving up a leadoff home run in the 7th inning and coming out. For the month, opponents hit just .191/.244/.348 (.592) against him. The Twins 3rd-round pick in 2017 out of high school in Louisiana had a good fastball and can spin the ball well too. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Ft. Myers Miracle - RHP Jordan Balazovic - 5 GS, 2.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 35 K Balazovic was the Twins 5th-round draft pick in 2016 out of secondary school in Mississauga, Ontario. He had some ups and downs in 2017, but he took off last year after being pushed up to Cedar Rapids. He made 11 starts for the Kernels and showed promise. Sure, he hoped to start 2019 in Ft. Myers, but he did spend the first month of the season back with the Kernels. He pitched well last month. In four starts, he went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA and opponents hit just .195 off of him. His first start in May came for the Ft. Myers Miracle, and it was rather memorable. In a game in Palm Beach, Balazovic tossed seven perfect innings. No runs. No hits. No errors. 21 up, 21 down. And ten of those outs came on strikeouts. In his second Miracle start, he struck out 12 batters in five innings. His fourth start was again seven shutout innings.His final start of the month went just over an inning because of a rain delay. Balazovic has really good stuff. He throws hard. He throws strikes. He has swing and iss stuff. Opponents hit just .140/.211/.163 (.373) off of him in May. He is certainly rising up the charts. Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of May, Ft. Myers Miracle right-hander Jordan Balazovic. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  25. As the Kernels begin a four-game commuter series against the Clinton Lumberkings on Thursday night, they’re pretty well entrenched deep into the lower half of the Midwest League’s eight-team Western Division standings with a 17-22 record. They sit in seventh place, eight games behind Division-leading Quad Cities and six games behind second place Burlington, which is important because the top two finishers in each division during the league’s first half will qualify for the postseason. The Kernels have won just three of the season’s first 13 series and none since they won back-to-back series against Beloit and Wisconsin in mid-April. Their .219 team batting average and .654 OPS place them 14th in each of those offensive categories among the 16 teams in the MWL. There isn’t much in those numbers that shouts “success,” with just over four weeks remaining in the season’s first-half race and, to be sure, Kernels fans and the local front office would love to start seeing more productivity on the field and, frankly, more wins. But when you’re talking about the Class-A minor league level, success is as much, if not more, about developing young ballplayers and preparing them for the challenges awaiting them at the next rung on the professional baseball organizational ladder. And that’s one area where manager Brian Dinkelman and his coaching staff can take justifiable pride in their squad’s success this year. “You like to keep guys here as long as possible to try to win games,” Dinkelman said earlier this week, “but once they’re developed and feel like they’re ready for the next level, then that’s the thing for them to get up to the next level and get them closer to the big leagues.” Already this year, five of the players who came north out of spring training as part of the Kernels’ Opening Day roster have been promoted. Shortstop Joe Cronin is now playing Class Double-A ball with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, while outfielder Trey Cabbage, relief pitcher Joe Record and starting pitcher Jordan Balazovic are all playing key roles with Class High-A Fort Myers. The most recent promotion was catcher David Banuelos, who got his plane ticket to Fort Myers earlier this week after doing excellent work behind the plate for the Kernels and showing some power with seven extra-base hits on his stat line. Banuelos had one hit in four at-bats in his first game with the Miracle. Cronin is still trying to find his groove at the plate in Pensacola after putting up a 1.106 OPS for Cedar Rapids, but all three of the other players the Kernels have sent to the Miracle in Fort Myers have immediately become among their new team’s statistical leaders. In Cedar Rapids, Cabbage was hitting .313 with an OPS of 1.029 and six home runs (which is still good enough to tie him for fourth place in the Midwest League, a full two weeks after his departure from the Kernels) when he was promoted. In his nine games with the Miracle, he’s hit .344 with an OPS of .964. He’s yet to go yard for the Miracle, but he’s knocked four doubles and a triple. “I was happy for Trey,” Dinkelman said. “He’d been (in Cedar Rapids) a couple of years and he got off to a great start for us, was hitting the ball well. We knew it was time for him to move on up there and see what he can do at the next level.” Joe Record didn’t allow even one earned run during his seven appearances out of the Kernels’ bullpen, while notching five saves as the club’s closer and striking out almost two batters per inning pitched. While he can’t boast the same perfect 0.00 ERA in Fort Myers, he’s kept his WHIP down to just 0.95, while continuing to strike out just under one batter per inning. And then there’s Jordan Balazovic. The 6’ 4” 20-year-old pitched well in his four pre-promotion starts for Cedar Rapids, notching a 2.18 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, holding hitters to a .195 batting average and striking out 33 batters in his 20 2/3 innings. All he did in his Miracle debut was throw seven perfect innings. His second outing only lasted five innings and he gave up a pair of earned runs, but he also struck out 12 batters. Those performances impressed his former manager. If he keeps having performances like he had his first two outings, he may not be (in Fort Myers) long,” a smiling Dinkelman said of Balazovic. “Ten strikeouts and 12 strikeouts, something like that. It’s good to see those guys go up there and play well.” And it’s unlikely the flow of talent through the Cedar Rapids-to-Fort Myers pipeline is going to stop any time soon. Their record may not show it, but there are still several individual success stories being written in Cedar Rapids. First baseman Gabe Snyder wasn’t on the Kernels’ Opening Day roster this year, but he arrived just a week into the season and he’s hit .319 with a dozen extra-base hits, including three home runs. The Cedar Rapids rotation misses Balazovic, obviously, but other members of that group have continued to keep the Kernels in games through the first several innings, anyway. “I feel like our starting pitching is giving us a chance,” Dinkelman said. “Now they’re going five or six innings a game, keeping us in the ballgame, giving our offense a chance to put some runs on the board. Starting pitching in baseball is the key. If you can get a starter to go out there and give you six, seven strong innings, keep your team in the game, give you a chance to win, that’s all you can ask for.” Dinkelman is getting that kind of result from several of his starting pitchers. Cole Sands has a 2.59 ERA through six starts, striking out 36 batters in 31 1/3 innings. He has yet to surrender a home run this season. Josh Winder has a 2.97 ERA, also through six starts. He’s notched a 1.05 WHIP while striking out 32 batters in 36 1/3 innings. Andrew Cabezas’ 1-3 record belies his actual performance. His 1.10 WHIP and 30 strikeouts through 32 2/3 innings are among the team’s leaders. His most recent performance, in a start on Wednesday against division-leading Quad Cities, was his best of the year. In seven shutout innings, he surrendered just one hit and issued no walks while striking out nine. Blayne Enlow is the lone top-10 rated organizational prospect in the Kernels roster and, while he’s had a couple of tough outings among his six starts, he’s also shown glimpses of the talent that scouts have been impressed with. In his most recent start on May 9, he struck out six over six innings of work, without surrendering an earned run. (He is scheduled to start Thursday night’s game in Clinton.) It won’t be easy for the Kernels to catch up to the division leaders in time to lock up a postseason berth during the season’s first half, but that’s the beauty of the minor league split-season format. They get to start over on June 20. The locals are hoping that uber-prospect Wander Javier will prove himself healthy enough to provide some spark to the Kernels’ lineup well before that date. So far, however, the young shortstop has not been able to stay on the field long enough for the Twins to feel comfortable sending him to Cedar Rapids. In the end, regardless of what we see in the standings, we can be certain there will be plenty of individual success stories coming through Cedar Rapids during the summer. Kernels Notes Hitting: Gabe Snyder leads all qualifying hitters in the MWL in OPS (.957), is tied for 4th in BA (.319), 2nd in SLG (.542), 5th in OBP (.414) Yeltsin Encarnacion had a 7-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday. Pitching: (We covered the starting pitching pretty thoroughly in the article, but there are a couple of relief arms that are also performing well this month.) Derek Molina has not surrendered an earned run since April 15. In his last 8 appearances, totaling 10 IP, while not giving up an earned run, he has struck out 14 and walked 3. Zach Neff has surrendered just 1 earned run in his last 5 appearances out of the bullpen covering 8 2/3 innings, striking out 14 while walking just 1 in that stretch. Want to read more about the Kernels? Click on these links for stories from The Gazette’s Kernels beat reporter, Jeff Johnson. Kernels coach and former Twins infielder Luis Rodriguez is thinking about Venezuela. RHP Cole Sands was impressive in earning his first professional win. RHP Andrew Cabezas keep hitters off balance with a variety of windups. (This article from JJ includes an imbedded video of one of Cabezas’ most interesting windups this season.)
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