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  1. Top prospect Royce Lewis and 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year Jose Miranda headline the additions. In addition, starting pitchers Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Blayne Enlow and Chris Vallimont were also added to the roster. Despite missing the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, Royce Lewis was an easy choice to add. The #1 pick in the 2017 draft (and current Twins Daily #1 prospect) remains a top prospect in the organization as well as in all of baseball. He participated at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul in 2020. Lewis should start the 2022 season at Double-A Wichita and from there we’ll just see how his knee and his swing and his glove respond. It's possible that Lewis ends the season with the Twins. Following the announcement, Lewis said he is excited. "It means a lot! I really appreciate any sort of opportunity." And after a lost season and lots of recovery, he added, "Always great to hear any good news!" Jose Miranda was a second-round pick in 2016 out of school in Puerto Rico. He’s always had good power potential and contact skills, but things really came together in 2021 when he hit a combined .343 with 30 doubles and 30 home runs between Wichita and St. Paul. Depending on other offseason moves, Miranda should start the 2022 season in St. Paul, hopefully continue mashing and be ready for an opening at third base, or second base, or first base with the Twins. Miranda was the Twins Daily #6 prospect in August. After hearing the news, Miranda told Twins Daily, "It means a lot, especially after a lost season last year. (I'm) excited and pumped for what the future holds, and this makes me want to work harder!" Josh Winder broke out in 2021 as well. After impressing coaches at Instructional League a year ago and at big-league spring training this year, he was fantastic in Wichita before starting out strong after his promotion to St. Paul. He pitched in the Futures Game before being shut down with shoulder issues. Assuming health, Winder may be competing for a big-league job in spring training. He’s likely to start in St. Paul but could be ready for The Call whenever needed. Winder is Twins Daily’s #11 prospect. Winder was the team’s seventh-round pick in 2018 from VMI. Two rounds earlier, the Twins selected Cole Sands out of Florida State. Although he missed a few starts with minor injuries, he had a terrific season in Double-A Wichita. Sands should start 2021 in St. Paul and could be ready by midseason. Sands is the #19 Twins Daily prospect. Chris Vallimont had an ERA over six and he walked far too many batters in 2021, but the former Marlins prospect was added to the 40-man roster because he has electric stuff. While there may be questions about if he’ll be a starter long-term, the worst case is he can be a strong bullpen arm. Vallimont is the Twins Daily #25-ranked prospect. Blayne Enlow was certainly a more difficult choice, but the team decided to believe in the future of their 2017 third-round pick. His potential, even as he continues to rehab from his May 2021 Tommy John surgery, remains very high. In 2021, he was throwing harder, mixed all of his pitches and was missing a lot more bats than he previously had. If all goes well, maybe he is making rehab appearances in June or July. If things go well and he continues to progress, he could debut by the end of the 2023 season. He ranked #17 on Twins Daily's prospect list. After hearing the news, Enlow told Twins Daily he's "just getting started." The goal, of course, is to avoid a situation like a year ago when the Twins lost Akil Baddoo to the Tigers and Tyler Wells to the Orioles. Both not only made their team out of spring training, but they both became important contributors. Last year, due to Covid, there were no minor league games in which to evaluate players. At least this year, they have game video and stats and more with which to do their evaluations. But, that doesn’t make all of the decisions easy. Here are several players at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Austin Schulfer is a potential Rule 5 pick. As a starter in 2021 in Wichita, he was touching 96 mph with good secondary pitches. Again, he might end up a reliever, but there is certainly potential in his right arm Others who could be at-risk to be selected in the Rule 5 draft include shortstop-turned-pitcher Jordan Gore who was Twins Daily’s Right-Handed Relief Pitcher All Star for his work in Cedar Rapids and Wichita in his first season on the mound. St. Paul Saints relievers Ian Hamilton and Ryan Mason are also now eligible to be Rule 5d next month. Both found success in Triple-A in 2021 and could contribute in the big leagues when called upon. Other relievers that could be selected include lefties Kody Funderburk and Zach Featherstone, along with recently-acquired Alex Scherff. Utility players are often taken in the Rule 5 draft. The Twins could potentially lose Jermaine Palacios (who re-signed with the Twins quickly this offseason), Michael Helman (who broke out power this year while playing six positions well), and Yunior Severino (former big-time prospect who hit well when he joined Cedar Rapids late in the season). In addition, Mark Contreras was left unprotected after hitting 30 doubles and 20 home runs, mostly in Triple-A St. Paul in 2021. He could be a team’s fourth outfielder right now if selected. For more information on the players added or left unprotected, click here. In order to make room, the Twins dropped several players from their 40-man roster. While the players added to the 40-man roster are very excited, the players removed from the 40-man roster are on the opposite end of the excitement spectrum. The Twins have signed OF Jake Cave to an MLB deal. They outrighted LHP Devin Smeltzer and outfielder Kyle Garlick to Triple-A St. Paul. Lefty Charlie Barnes and C/IF Willians Astudillo have been DFAd. The 40-man roster is now at 40. Jake Cave was a very productive fourth outfielder for the Twins in 2018 and 2019. Over those two seasons, he hit .262/.329/.466 (.795) with 27 doubles and 21 homers in 163 games. Over the past two seasons, he has played in 118 games and hit just .202/.263/.332 (.595) with nine doubles and seven homers. His OPS+ over those two seasons was just 64. As an arbitration-eligible player, it is likely that he agreed to a deal at the Twins terms. Willians Astudillo (aka, La Tortuga) has been a fan favorite since he was first called up to the Twins and his .355 in 29 games in 2018. He has spent time with the Twins each of the past four years, but taking out that first season, he hit just .251/.278/.382 (.659) in 138 games since the beginning of the 2019 season. That is an OPS+ of just 77, 23% below league average. Will he clear waivers? Will there be a team that thinks his ability to stand at five positions, as well as squat behind the plate, provides value? Kyle Garlick was claimed by the Twins before spring training in 2021. His ability to his left-handed pitching gave him and chance and he took full advantage of it. He hit well against southpaws, until he got hurt. He tried to rehab and come back, but he ended up having surgery on a sports hernia. He was drafted in 2015, so he could become a free agent. Devin Smeltzer made an impressive first impression in his debut in 2019. He tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut against the Brewers and had a 3.86 ERA over 49 innings. Unfortunately, he pitched to an ERA over six in just seven games in the shortened 2020 season. In 2021, He was hurt after just one appearance and missed the rest of the season (though he did toss 4 2/3 scoreless innings). He cleared waivers. Charlie Barnes made nine appearances (8 starts) for the Twins in 2021, usually spot starts, he went 0-3 with a 5.92 ERA. However, he went 6-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 16 starts for the St. Paul Saints, so I'm sure the Twins hope that he passes through waivers unclaimed and they can outright him to Triple-A. Let's discuss the Twins additions and subtractions from the 40-man roster.
  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. Back in August, Lucas Seehafer provided a comprehensive breakdown of some roster decisions facing the Twins. Some of those players have already made their big-league debuts, and others have completed their seasons. The 40-man roster "locks" category is where we can focus today, and the four names that will soon be elevated are worth noting. Jose Miranda, INF The Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year put up one of the most decorated seasons in recent prospect memory. Miranda posted a .973 OPS across 127 games at Double and Triple-A. I’m still not sure where he fits on the Opening Day roster for the Twins, but it is very evident that he’s ready to make an impact. Miranda could feel a further squeeze if and when Derek Falvey signs a shortstop, but on his own, you can bet he’ll keep pushing his way in. Josh Winder, RHP After a solid pro-debut season in 2019, Winder gained plenty of steam during Spring Training 2021. He did little to stop the hype train when he posted a 1.98 ERA in 10 Double-A starts before a promotion to Triple-A. Winder got just four starts for the Saints before being shut down due to injury. He’ll need to build back up this offseason and return with a clean bill of health, but barring those realities taking place, he should be expected to make starts in Minnesota in 2022. Cole Sands, RHP Another arm with an opportunity to take a further leap in 2022, Sands was a 5th round pick back in 2018. He made 18 starts for Double-A Wichita this season and turned in a 2.46 ERA. Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran drew the initial talk this season, but Sands posted the performance worthy of the hype. His 10.8 K/9 was impressive, and it’s another head-turning set of outcomes following his 2019 season. Like Winder, Sands should find himself as an option for Rocco Baldelli next season. Royce Lewis, SS Once Minnesota’s top prospect and among the best in baseball, Lewis has some work ahead of him. He slumped in 2019 and was set to break out in a big way before an ACL tear ended his 2020 season before it began. Whether it’s at shortstop or in the outfield, his skillset can potentially translate into a franchise cornerstone. Lewis is a high-character guy and will undoubtedly be an asset when it comes to roster construction. I’m not sure how his timeline will look having missed two consecutive seasons worth of games, but the talent could force Minnesota’s hand sooner rather than later. The Twins have more than a handful of options to add to the 40-man roster this offseason, and some of those on the fringes will be tough calls, but it’s this group of four that will certainly be added to the fold. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Louie Varland spent his childhood on the dirt of ballfields across the northeast sector of the Twin Cities. The Maplewood native turned his successful tenure at North St. Paul High School into an even better pitching career at Concordia-St. Paul. After that? A 15th round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft by his hometown Minnesota Twins. And after a sprinkle of 2019 games in rookie ball and just one full season of pro ball, Varland has distinguished himself as one of the most prolific pitchers in the entire Twins organization. For that, he's been voted as our 2021 Starting Pitcher of the Month. Varland started the 2021 season with Low-A Fort Myers where he posted a 4-2 record and 2.09 ERA in ten appearances (eight starts). In that span he struck out 76 men and opposing batters hit a meager .208 against Varland. Those numbers earned him a promotion to High-A Cedar Rapids, just four hours from home. With his family able to finally attend games, Varland did not disappoint, going 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA in ten starts with the Kernels. While he didn't post as many strikeouts as he did in Fort Myers, Varland was more efficient, posting a stellar 0.99 WHIP and only 14 walks while holding opponents to just a .202 batting average. Varland joined a talented Cedar Rapids rotation of Ben Gross and company upon being called up. That rotation was amplified towards the end of the season with Sawyer Gipson-Long, Cody Lawyerson, and Casey Legumina joining the rotation. Yet despite the addition of talented arms, Varland was the clear choice to start Game 1 of the High-A Central Championship Series against Quad Cities. Following a career-high 11 strikeout performance against Peoria on September 16, Varland dazzled in his postseason debut, tossing seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball while striking out four and walking one en route to a 2-1 Cedar Rapids victory. There's no doubt that Varland's 2021 stat line makes him a clear-cut selection for this award. A 10-4 record and 2.10 ERA is pretty darn great at any level. For a pitcher to tally those numbers in his first full season? Unbelievable. Prior to this season Varland only had three professional baseball appearances, all with the Elizabethton Twins in 2019. Varland only started one of those games and compiled a slim 8 2/3 innings in that three game span. With the 2020 minor league season scrapped due to COVID-19, it's truly incredible that Varland was able to trailblaze such an incredible 2021 season. Congrats, Louie! THE TOP SIX Varland wasn't the only pitcher in the Twins' farm system to have a standout season. In addition to Varland, these five pitchers round out the top six starting pitchers in 2021 per the Twins Daily Minor League staff. 1. RHP Louie Varland, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (18 GS, 10-4, 2.10 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103 IP, 82 H, 24 ER, 30 BB, 142 K) Check out Seth Stohs' interview with Louie prior to his electric season and other Twins Daily content on Varland! St Paul to Stardom: Louie Varland is the Real Deal Twins Prospect Varland Won't Stop at Pretty Good 2. RHP Cole Sands, Wichita (18 GS, 4-2, 2.46 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 80.1 IP, 59 H, 22 ER, 35 BB, 96 K) Despite loads of movement in the organization, Cole Sands was an absolute workhorse for the Wind Surge all season. While many of his starts did not surpass five innings, it wasn't because of poor performance. Sands was as efficient as could be, holding opposing hitters to a .203 average on the year and touting seven scoreless starts. Ironically enough, one of Sands' two losses came on August 14 against Tulsa in a start where he recorded a season-high ten strikeouts. 3. RHP Jordan Balazovic, Wichita (20 GS, 5-4, 3.62 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 97 IP, 98 H, 39 ER, 38 BB, 102 K) Arguably the most notable pitching prospect in the organization, Jordan Balazovic had a season full of ups and downs. When he's on, the 2016 5th round pick is unstoppable with his blazing fastball and deceptive off-speed pitches. We saw that on July 15th when the Ontario-native lit up the Tulsa Drillers with 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball. On the flipside, Balazovic has struggled with control, command, and pitch selection at times leading to a few bad outings that have deflated his stat line. It's clear that the talent is there, Balazovic will continue to hone in on consistency as he reflects on his first season of Double-A ball. 4. RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (19 GS, 8-8, 4.55 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 97 IP, 99 H, 49 ER, 27 BB, 137 K) After a rocky month of May with Fort Myers, Sawyer Gipson-Long flipped a switch and was rock-solid through the summer, posting a combined 2.76 ERA in June, July, and August. That stellar summer in the Sunshine State earned Gipson-Long a promotion to High-A Cedar Rapids on August 9th. Gipson-Long has qualities that resemble both Balazovic and Varland. Similar to Balazovic, Gipson-Long had some incredible outings this season but also saw a few outings get out of hand. Like Varland, Gipson-Long was drafted in 2019 out of Mercer and had just a few opportunities to get his feet wet in pro ball that year. After his first full-season of pro ball, Gipson-Long should be happy with his quality performance. Yet like any other young pitcher, experience and innings on the mound will help garner the young pitcher's consistency. 5. RHP Josh Winder, Wichita/St. Paul (14 GS, 4-0, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 72 IP, 55 H, 21 ER, 13 BB, 80 K) If it were not for injuries and bad luck, there's a good chance that Josh Winder would be higher on this list. After an amazing two months in Wichita, Winder was promoted to Triple-A St. Paul on June 28th. Winder dazzled in his first start with the Saints, throwing 5 2/3 innings of eight-strikeout ball while giving up one run. With all the momentum stacked his way, Winder was struck by a line drive in his next outing that removed him from the game. Two starts later, he was placed on the 7-Day IL for a shoulder injury and has not pitched since. It's likely that the Twins are taking the safe route when it comes to Winder's rehab. And why shouldn't they? The 2018 draft pick has been impressive each season since signing and will only continue to improve. If Winder continues his progress once healthy it wouldn't be shocking to see him at Target Field at some point next season. 6. RHP Ben Gross, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (17 GS, 5-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 95.1 IP, 99 H, 43 ER, 32 BB, 122 K) Ben Gross closes out a talented crop of 2019 draft picks on this list. Gross was the heart and soul of the Kernels rotation prior to his late-summer promotion to Wichita. The 10th round pick has shown versatility on the mound with his pitch arsenal but also through how he retires hitters. Most of Gross' starts feature 4-8 strikeouts and a plethora of groundouts and pop flies. However, the 24-year-old diced on August 11th against Peoria when he struck out a career-high 13 batters. While there's certainly work to be done, Gross has shown that he can be a consistent starter day in and day out. If things continue the way they are, he'll have the opportunity to showcase that consistency at a higher level. HONORABLE MENTION RHP Tyler Beck, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (13 GS, 3-4, 3.00 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 84 IP, 64 H, 28 ER, 30 BB, 91 K) LHP Charlie Barnes, St. Paul (16 GS, 6-4, 3.79 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 76 IP, 73 H, 32 ER, 24 BB, 62 K) LHP Andrew Albers, St. Paul (16 GS, 7-4, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 96 IP, 113 H, 40 ER, 11 BB, 85 K) RHP Austin Schulfer, Wichita (24 GS, 6-8, 4.34 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 110 IP, 109 H, 53 ER, 49 BB, 105 K) LHP Kody Funderburk, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (10 GS, 4-3, 2.55 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 67 IP, 46 H, 19 ER, 28 BB, 82 K) RHP Sean Mooney, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (12 GS, 0-2, 2.79 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 42 IP, 22 H, 13 ER, 23 BB, 71 K) Previous Starting Pitcher of the Year Winners: 2019 winner- Randy Dobnak 2018 winner - Tyler Wells 2017 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2016 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2015 winner - Jose Berrios 2014 winner - Jose Berrios 2013 winner - Taylor Rogers 2012 winner - BJ Hermsen Congrats to all those mentioned! Comment your thoughts below!
  5. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. Is it just me, or was that season quick. Twenty weeks of minor league ball complete. The Saints have a couple of weeks to go, to match the Twins schedule. Wichita and Cedar Rapids begin their playoff runs on Tuesday. The Mighty Mussels and FCL Twins seasons are complete, but Tuesday also begins Instructional League. But, before we get to any of that, let's look back at Week 20 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (3-3, @ Indianapolis), overall (61-59) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (4-2, hosting Arkansas), overall (69-51) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, @ Peoria), overall (67-53) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-1, hosting Tampa), overall (60-54) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (2-3), overall (21-38) STANDINGS Triple-A East Midwest: Toledo 69-51, Omaha 66-54, St. Paul 61-59. Double-A Central North: Wichita 69-51, NW Arkansas 64-55, Arkansas 64-56. High-A Central West: Quad Cities 77-41, Cedar Rapids 67-53, Wisconsin 59-60. Low-A Southeast: Tampa 73-43, Bradenton 71-48, Ft. Myers 60-54. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week's Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: One Week To Go Baseball Down Under: The Unique Journey of Aaron Whitefield Tuesday: Woods Richardson Deals, Saints Come Marching In Wednesday: Varland Does it Again Thursday: Wichita Surges Into Playoffs, Kernels Playoff Push Friday: Kernels Edge Closer Twins 2020 Rule 5 Rewind A 32-Year-Old Rookie, Twins Promote Drew Maggi Saturday: A No-Hitter?!* Kernels Klinch with Huge Win Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week and mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 20 performances. Twins Player of the Week: Aaron Sabato, Cedar Rapids Kernels Aaron Sabato has had an up and down season, but the 22-year-old has been much improved since the beginning of August, especially with the power numbers. In the final regular-season week, Sabato hit .333/.500/.833 (1.333) with three homers. He also walked seven times and had just four strikeouts. He was terrific over the final weekend when the team needed to win. In his first pro season since the Twins made him their first-round pick in the 2020 draft out of North Carolina, he began in Ft. Myers. In 85 games, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 home runs. In just 22 games with the Kernels, he has hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with three doubles and eight home runs. Overall, in 464 plate appearances, he has 92 walks and 149 strikeouts. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Louie Varland was terrific again this week. The 23-year-old from St. Paul struck out 11 batters in six innings in his start this week. He gave up just two runs (1 earned) on four hits and did not issue a walk. Varland was the team's 15th round pick in 2019 out of Concordia University in St. Paul. Varland began the season in Ft. Myers, where he pitched 47 1/3 innings over ten games (8 starts). He went 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids, where he's made ten starts. He is 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. In 103 total innings, he has struck out 142 batters while walking just 30. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints The Saints had some really strong performances, especially from bullpen types. Robinson Leyer, Ryan Mason, Vinny Nittoli, and Chris Nunn each tossed three scoreless innings over two outings. Jason Garcia tossed four innings of shutout ball in his start. Derek Law made the first start of his professional career, and he gave up just one hit and struck out six batters over four shutout innings. Also, Beau Burrows had his best start since joining the Twins organization. He gave up just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Damek Tomscha had not been playing much recently, but this past week, he played in all six games and responded by hitting .375/.400/.708 (1.108) with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. Drew Stankiewicz also played more. In five games, he hit .385/.438/.615 (1.053) with a homer. Of course, Jose Miranda had another excellent week. He played six games and hit .357/.357/.643 (1.000) with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI. Jimmy Kerrigan hit .400/.423/.560 (.983) with four doubles. Wichita Wind Surge The week's highlight has to be that the Wichita team clinched a playoff spot and the best record in the Double-A Central Division. They begin their championship series on Tuesday. The individual highlight probably is the performance of Simeon Woods Richardson. After two rough, unintentionally short outings, he made two appearances. He made one start and tossed three scoreless innings. On Sunday, he worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to prepare for the playoffs. Chris Vallimont had a nice start this week. He gave up one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings. Cole Sands was terrific again. He tossed five scoreless innings in his start. In his past three starts, he has given up only an unearned run over 17 innings. Right-hander Hector Lujan became a first-time father, and he got four outs in a perfect outing. Melvi Acosta gave up zero earned runs on one hit over three innings. Erik Manoah pitched some big innings and was terrific. He allowed just one hit and one walk over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five batters. Trey Cabbage had another solid week. Over five games, he hit .429/.500/.714 (1.214) with a double and a home run. Ernie de la Trinidad hit .308/.400/.615 (1.015) with a double and a big home run. Aaron Whitefield played five games and hit .375/.474/.438 (.911) with a double, three walks, and six stolen bases. Austin Martin hit .316/.480/.421 (.901) with two doubles. He also walked six times. Andrew Bechtold played in six games and hit .294/.357/.417 (898) with a double and a home run. I'm guessing a personal highlight for him was getting to catch a game. The day after the Wind Surge clinched their playoff spot and the top seed, Bechtold found himself behind the plate for a game. It is something that he has been working on throughout the season, trying to give himself more versatility. He caught the game that Cole Sands threw. There were no passed balls or wild pitches, and Sands tossed five scoreless innings. He must have done just fine. Cedar Rapids Kernels Not only did the Kernels have to finish with the second-best record in the High-A Central League, but they also had to win that spot by a game because Lake County and Great Lakes had the tiebreakers. The Kernels came up big and won their final three games to make the playoffs for the eighth time in eight seasons as a Twins affiliate. On Sunday, Aaron Rozek made the start, and the team couldn't have asked for more. He worked five shutout innings and gave up only a hit and a walk. Sean Mooney was outstanding too. He gave up one run on two walks and a hit batter over five innings. He did not allow a hit and struck out seven batters. Zach Featherstone worked in three games and had a big save. He worked 3 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. He walked two and struck out seven batters. Osiris German also was crucial. He came into two big situations and gave up only one hit over four scoreless innings. He struck out six batters without issuing a walk. Carlos Suniaga and Tyler Watson each had a save as well. Edouard Julien hit just .231, but he posted a .964 OPS with two doubles and three home runs. DaShawn Keirsey had two home runs in Sunday's playoff clincher and three home runs this week. Matt Wallner went 7-for-23 (.304) with a double and a home run. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Fair to say that the highlight of the week was Saturday night's combined no-hitter. Regi Grace worked the first three innings. Landon Leach followed with two innings before Bradley Hanner and Matthew Swain each worked a hitless inning. Swain blew fastballs by the three hitters he struck out in the final inning. Regi Grace struck out four batters in his three innings. Since returning from the shoulder impingement, he has worked nine scoreless innings over three appearances. Brent Headrick struck out seven batters over three scoreless innings in his final start of the season. Cade Povich struck out five batters over two innings in his outing. He gave up an unearned run. John Stankiewicz had a strong start. In six innings, he gave up one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out six batters. Charlie Mack played in three games. He went just 2-for-6 (.333), but he walked five times (.636 OBP) and had a big triple. Patrick Winkel went 3-for-8 (.375) with two doubles and two walks to give him a 1.170 OPS. Mikey Perez has been fantastic since debuting a couple of weeks ago. In four games this week, he hit .444/.500/.667 (1.167) with two doubles. Willie Joe Garry hit .385/.385/.769 (1.154) with a triple and a home run. FCL Twins The FCL Twins concluded their season on Saturday morning. The highlight(s) of the week involved more players getting just a taste of pro ball before the end of the season. 2021 draft picks, right-handed pitchers Christian McLeod, Travis Adams, and Johnathan Lavallee made their pro debuts. Righty Hunter McMahon returned to the mound for a rehab appearance and struck out four batters in two scoreless innings. Mike Paredes, another 2021 pick, made another appearance and struck out five batters over two perfect innings. Wilker Reyes gave up just one hit over three scoreless innings. Kala'i Rosario ended his season strong. He went 4-for-10 (.400) with a double and a home run. Rubel Cespedes and LaRon Smith each hit a homer during the week. Lowlights St. Paul Saints Bryan Sammons struggled in his start. He was charged with seven runs on seven hits (2 HR) and three walks in 3 1/3 innings. Ian Hamilton gave up four runs on five hits and four walks over 2 2/3 innings (though he did strike out six of the eight batters he got out). Yennier Cano gave up three runs on four hits and four walks over 2 1/3 innings. Tomas Telis has been terrific again for the Saints this season. In five games last week, however, he hit .136/.208/.136 (.345). BJ Boyd hit .150/.190/.200 (.390) in five games. Wichita Wind Surge Ben Gross made two appearances, one out of the bullpen and then his first Double-A start on Sunday. Combined, he gave up nine runs (8 earned) on 11 hits and six walks in just 5 2/3 innings. Jordan Balazovic gave up four runs on four hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings. Zach Neff pitched once, but he gave up five runs (4 earned) on three hits and two walks. No player with more than five plate appearances had an OPS under .619. Cedar Rapids Kernels Cody Laweryson gave up six runs on eight hits, a walk, and a hit batter over 5 1/3 innings. Denny Bentley gave up two runs on five hits and got just four outs. Seth Gray had a tough week overall. He had two hits in 20 at-bats (.100) in six games. However, his home run on Saturday night gave the Kernels a 7-6 lead in the ninth inning. Anthony Prato went 2-for-14 (.143). Alex Isola as 4-for-22 (.182). Ft. Myers Might Mussels Jake Rucker went 0-for-9 for the week. Alerick Soularie went 1-for-14 (.071). Misael Urbina went 2-for-13 (.154), though he did have a double. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our updated Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 37 games, .254/.399/.381 (.779) with 8 doubles, 3 home runs, 19 RBI, 23 BB, 30 K. #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 20 GS, 97.0 IP, 98 H, 38 BB, 102 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.40 WHIP #4 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - 4 G, 3 GS, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 10 K, 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP. #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 117 games, .338/.394/.565 (.959) with 28 doubles, 28 homers, 86 RBI, 39 BB, 72 K #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - St. Paul (2 GS, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K, 2.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP), Minnesota (3 GS, 17.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 14 K, 2.12 ERA, 0.53 WHIP) #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 5 GS, 21.0 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 43 K, 0.86 ERA, 0.67 WHIP (IL, elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - 2 G, 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP. #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 60 games, .233/.296/.301 (.597) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 24 RBI, 18 BB, 89 K, 5 SB (Temporary Inactive List) #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP (IL, shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 66 games, .264/.350/.508 (.858) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 15 homers, 47 RBI, 28 BB, 98 K. #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (39 games, .310/.405/.490 (.894) with 11 doubles, 5 homers, 24 RBI, 20 BB, 33 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 10 GS, 47.0 IP, 55 H, 25 BB, 38 K, 7.28 ERA, 1.70 WHIP. #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 22 games, .238/.316/.369 (.685) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 14 RBI, 9 BB, 26 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (46 games, .206/.294/.413 (.707) with 9 doubles, 8 homers, 15 RBI, 13 BB, 58 K) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #18 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 101 games, .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers, 52 RBI, 54 BB, 82 K, 16 SB) #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 19 G, 18 GS, 80.1 IP, 59 H, 35 BB, 96 K, 2.46 ERA, 1.17 WHIP #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 110 games, .254/.348/.484 (.833) with 18 doubles, 3 triples, 24 homers, 66 RBI, 55 BB, 105 K) LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers Season is Complete. High-A Central League Championship Series: Cedar Rapids vs. Quad Cities: (Louie Varland, Sean Mooney, Casey Legumina, Sawyer Gipson-Long, TBD) Double-A Central League Championship Series: Wichita vs. NW Arkansas: (Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, Austin Schulfer, TBD, TBD): Iowa @ St. Paul: (Derek Law, Bryan Sammons, Beau Burrows, Drew Strotman, Andrew Albers): Also, Instructional League/camp starts on Tuesday in Ft. Myers for some players, particularly those who have lost time due to injury. Good luck to the Wind Surge and the Kernels this week!
  6. Transactions Minnesota Twins select the contract of RHP Nick Vincent from Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins option LHP Andrew Albers to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins sent C Mitch Garver on a rehab assignment to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins promote IF Ernie Yake to Triple-A St. Paul from Twins Complex SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 2, St. Paul 0 Box Score The Saints' never got in gear in this one, spoiling a solid pitching performance across the board. Jason Garcia got the start for Saint Paul and was effective over four full innings. He allowed four hits and walked one but did not allow a run and struck out one. Unfortunately, the Saints’ bats struggled early as well and this contest stayed scoreless until the fifth, when Indianapolis got on the board first. Now facing reliever Edgar Garcia, Indianapolis grabbed a run in the fifth off a Bligh Madris double and another in the sixth from an Ethan Paul single. Those turned out to be the only runs of the game, spurring Indianapolis to a 2-0 win. The Saints only managed multiple base runners in the first and ninth innings and didn’t score in either inning. Miguel Yajure sailed through six against St. Paul before turning it over to the bullpen that was just as effective. Gilberto Celestino had a big 3-for-3 night, but he was the only Saints hitter with more than one knock. Chris Nunn pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings but the damage was done during Edgar Garcia’s outing. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Arkansas 1 Box Score Fresh off clinching a spot in the playoff, Wichita gave the ball to Cole Sands and Twins Daily’s #19 prospect was dominant, as he and Kody Funderburk keyed a pitcher’s duel victory. Sands went five full innings and only allowed three hits while striking out four. He did allow three walks but did not allow any of them to score. In fact he, didn’t allow anyone to score. From there, Funderburk took over and it was as if nothing changed. Kody cruised through three hitless innings, and though he ran into some trouble and allowed a run in the ninth, he still closed out the win. On the offensive end, the Surge didn’t do a lot, but it was just enough. The first run of the game came in the second, when a Jermaine Palacios single finished off a rally that brought Leobaldo Cabrera to the plate. Hours of scoreless baseball later, Ernie De La Trinidad blasted a shot into the bullpen to grab Wichita’s second run of the game. Those runs proved to be all the Surge needed, thanks to the dominant pitching. D.J Burt and Ernie De La Trinidad had the only multi-hit games for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 6 Box Score With a playoff berth very much in the balance, Cedar Rapids turned to Casey Legumina tonight for his debut start for the Kernels. Legumina allowed three runs and struck out seven in 4 ⅔ innings, keeping the Kernels in it and allowing their late offensive explosion to carry the day. The Kernels didn’t wait to take the lead in this one as Michael Helman came to the plate on a throwing error from Peoria third baseman Jacob Buchberger. Peoria answered in the bottom of the third with a run coming in on a Jhon Torres double, but the Kernels took their lead right back off a massive solo homer from Aaron Sabato. Unfortunately, the Chiefs took the lead for themselves in the fifth with two runs, with Torres and Pedro Pages registering RBI singles. Cedar Rapids still trailed 3-2 heading in the eighth inning, but then they decided they’d had enough of that. The offense blasted three homers in the inning for four runs to take a strong three-run lead. The bombs came from Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, and Aaron Sabato for his second of the night. However, the Chiefs took that punch and responded with one of their own in their half of the eighth. They strung together four straight hits and put up three runs to tie the game, with RBI going to Tommy Jew (2) and Tyler Reichenborn. But, as if to spit in the face of Peoria’s comeback, Seth Gray hit a go-ahead bomb to dead center to lead off the ninth inning. And, though the bottom of the ninth inning didn't go smoothly for Cedar Rapids, no runs were scored and the Kernels secured a massive win. Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for the second playoff spot in High-A Central and both teams were just one game up on Great Lakes with three to play. With losses tonight from both of their playoff rivals, this Kernels win gives them a one-game lead over Lake County. Cedar Rapids trails both Lake County and Great Lakes in the playoff tiebreaker, so that one-game lead is crucial as they'll need it to secure a spot against Quad Cities in the playoff. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 0, Fort Myers 0 (postponed top first) Box Score The Mussels were scheduled to finish last night’s postponed game against Tampa tonight. Unfortunately, the rain continued to create problems in Fort Myers and no baseball could be played today. The game that had been scheduled for today has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The Mussels and Tarpons will play a doubleheader tomorrow, weather permitting. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Game 1: FCL Red Sox 10, FCL Twins 2 Box Score It’s Friday, so you already know that the FCL Twins lost to the Red Sox. In the first half of a scheduled doubleheader the Twins struggled on both sides of the ball, losing 10-2. The Twins only managed four hits in this one and no hitter had a multi-hit game. The runs scored on two solo homers, one from LaRon Smith in the second, and the other from Rubel Cespedes in the fifth. The Red Sox offense scored runs in all but two innings and built their substantial lead with a four-run second inning and a three-run second. On the mound for the Twins, Giovahniey German started the game and struggled, allowing five runs (four earned) in less than two innings. Control was an issue for German, as he walked three batters and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Danny Moreno took over from German and was better, allowing a run and striking out three in two innings of work. Cole Bellair’s 2 ⅔ innings was the longest outing of the night, though he was touched for four earned runs during his time on the bump. Ricardo Velez took care of the seventh and was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run. Game 2: FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 0 (postponed, bottom second) Box Score TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR (7) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 3 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-3, BB, 2B #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR (8) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 5.49 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (6-7, 4.37 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-3, 4.63 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Doubleheader (Game 1: 3:30 PM CST, Game 2 to follow) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
  7. TRANSACTIONS In Cedar Rapids, RHP Steven Cruz was promoted to the Kernels from Fort Myers, and OF DaShawn Keirsey was activated from the injured list. In low-A Fort Myers, RHP David Festa and SS Mikey Perez were assigned to the Mighty Mussels from the FCL Twins, and LHP Brent Headrick was activated from the injured list. For the FCL Twins, RHP Orlando Rodriguez was sent on a rehab assignment from Fort Myers. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 5, St. Paul 6 Box Score With lefty Bryan Sammons getting the start, the Saints found themselves down 5-1 after the top half of the fifth inning. That was due in large part as Sammons couldn’t keep the ball in the yard, with four of those five runs coming courtesy of the longball. He made it through 4 2/3 innings in total, allowing those runs on seven total hits while striking out two Storm Chasers. Lucky for him, his offense wasn’t going to let that be the story of the game, as they put together a rally in the bottom of the fifth that ended with the score tied. Drew Stankiewicz got it started with a one-out double, then Tomas Telis drove him in with a two-out single to score the first run of the frame. A Gilberto Celestino single was then followed by a Mark Contreras three run blast to knot the game up at five. It remained that way until the bottom of the ninth inning, as the bullpen trio of Robinson Leyer, Jovani Moran, and Kyle Barraclough combined to hold Omaha to just one hit over the final 4 1/3 innings. Leyer struck out two in 1 1/3 while Moran walked two and punched out two in two innings. That led into Barraclough coming on for the top of the ninth and he delivered two huge strikeouts after a leadoff double and sac bunt put the go-ahead run just 90 feet away. The Saints lineup was likely energized by those pitches, and Stankiewicz started the bottom of the frame with a walk, Jose Miranda and Telis followed with singles to load the bases, then Celestino walked it off with a high chopper that allowed Stankiewicz to beat the throw home. Take it any way you can get it when you’re at home, St. Paul Saints! In all the offense racked up thirteen hits, with the top four in the lineup of Miranda (2-for-5, R), Telis (3-for-5, R, RBI, K), Celestino (3-for-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI, K), and Contreras (2-for-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K) collecting multiple knocks. Stankiewicz also added a double, walk, and two runs scored to the effort out of the nine-hole. Barraclough picked up his eighth win of the season thanks to the walk-off. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 1, Wichita 3 Box Score It was a low-scoring affair in Wichita on Tuesday, with the teams combining for just four runs on 12 hits in the game. The Naturals got on the board first against Wind Surge starter Cole Sands thanks to a double and single from the first two hitters, then a throwing error on a steal attempt that allowed the runner on third to score. But Sands recovered and got himself out of that jam by getting a pop-out, fielder's choice that nabbed a runner at home, and a lineout to keep the damage to just one run (unearned) in the top half of the first. Sands then settled in from there and dominated for six innings, allowing no more runs on just two hits and two walks, while striking out five hitters. He was replaced by Kody Funderburk to start the seventh inning with the score tied at one so he’d finish with a no-decision for his efforts. Wichita tied the game at one in the third inning when Austin Martin drove in D.J. Burt, who had doubled earlier in the inning, with a single to left field. In the bottom of the seventh the Wind Surge finally took the lead on Andrew Bechtold’s 17th home run of the season, a solo blast to the opposite corner of the field. That was followed by consecutive doubles by Burt and Aaron Whitefield to put them out front 3-1. Funderburk kept the score that way for the rest of the game, holding the Naturals to just one hit in three innings pitched, and striking out two along the way, to pick up his third win with Wichita. Burt led the offense with a 3-for-3 night at the dish, scoring two runs and picking up his seventh and eighth doubles on the year. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Wisconsin 8 Box Score Kernels starter Sawyer Gipson-Long came into this game on a streak of three straight starts where he pitched six innings and just two total earned runs, while striking out 21 hitters compared to issuing just four walks. Two of those starts were included in a fantastic month of August where he took home Twins Daily’s Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month award. He started this one off on the same foot, striking out the first batter he faced, but unfortunately that was the only out he’d record on the night. The next six hitters went double, walk, single, triple, walk, walk and three runs were on the board before he was replaced by Andrew Cabezas. Three more runs would be charged to Gipson-Long before the inning was over and his ERA with Cedar Rapids in five starts ballooned from 2.35 to 4.63. Cabezas would steady the ship for the next 3 1/3 innings, allowing only a single run (on a home run) of his own on four hits and two walks, while he struck out four Timber Rattlers hitters. While Cabezas was on the mound, the Kernels closed that early gap in a big way thanks to the bat of Matt Wallner, who laced a grand slam to right in the third inning, his 12th home run of the season. Reliever Tyler Palm recorded one out in the fourth inning before Cedar Rapids cut the lead back to two in the top of the fifth when Edouard Julien launched his 10th homer with Kernels to make it 7-5. Palm was back out for the bottom of the fifth in which Wisconsin scratched across an insurance run that would prove the difference maker in the end. In all Palm completed two innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one batter. Osiris German was brought on with two outs in the sixth and would finish 2 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the game in reach. He allowed two hits and struck out two. Things continued to look up for the Kernels when they closed the gap to one in the top of the sixth thanks to a two-run shot from Seth Gray, but weren’t able to cash in a two-out double from Wallner in the seventh. In the ninth, Julien drew a one-out walk and Aaron Sabato singled to put him in scoring position with Wallner coming up, but the comeback was not meant to be completed as he was struck out swinging to end the game. The Kernels got multiple hits in the game from Sabato (2-for-5, R, 3 K) and Wallner (3-for-5, R, 2B, GS HR, 4 RBI, 2 K). Julien also finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored, an RBI, three walks, and a stolen base, but as a team they also struck out 15 times, hurting their chances to take advantage when it counted. With a record of 59-50, the Kernels are tied with the Lake County Captains in the High-A Central League standings, one game back of the Great Lakes Loons for a playoff spot. MUSSEL MATTERS Palm Beach 2, Fort Myers 6 Box Score The Fort Myers lineup used a big fifth inning to put Palm Beach away in this one, but also got some excellent work from their pitchers to keep them at bay. Left-hander Zarion Sharpe got the start for the Mighty Mussels and mowed through the Cardinals lineup for the first four innings, allowing only one walk and a double through that point in the game while striking out five hitters. A two-out single in the fifth finally got Palm Beach on the board, but the third out of the inning was also recorded on the play so any rally was cut short. That run had tied the game at one as Fort Myers got on the board first in the second inning thanks to a Willie Joe Garry ground out that scored Charles Mack, who had doubled earlier in the inning and advanced to third on a Jake Rucker single. The home team didn’t strike again until the fifth inning, but they made sure it was a big one. It didn’t really get started until there were two outs, as a Christian Encarnacion-Strand triple scored Will Holland from first before a combination of walks, a wild pitch, and a throwing error made it 4-1. Charles Mack then delivered the big blow, a two-run homer to the opposite field and a 6-1 lead for the Mighty Mussels. Sharpe allowed another run in the top of the sixth after a leadoff double, but finished his day with six quality innings. He allowed just two runs while scattering five hits and two walks, and punching out eight total Palm Beach hitters, improving to 6-2 on the season along the way. Matthew Swain was summoned to start the seventh and finished off the Cardinals in the final three innings, allowing only one hit, one walk, and striking out five to pick up his second save of the season. The Fort Myers offense was led by multi-hit efforts from Encarnacion-Strand (3-for-3, R, RBI, BB) and Mack (2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K), which was plenty of a one-two punch on the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Braves 7, FCL Twins 3 Box Score The Braves used a four-run seventh inning to overcome a 3-2 deficit at the time, pulling away from the Twins late in Fort Myers. The Twins got a solid start from left-hander Wilker Reyes, who allowed just one run (unearned) on one hit and a walk in five innings. He struck out two. Orlando Rodriguez got saddled with the loss as he allowed four runs on two hits and two walks in his 1 1/3 innings pitched. John Wilson allowed an unearned run in 2/3 of an inning, and Erasmo Ramirez finished the final two innings allowing one run on one hit and three walks while striking out one hitter. The Twins offense had just five hits on the game, and the big one was a two-out solo home run from Nelson Roberto in the sixth inning. LaRon Smith scored the first run of the game in the second inning thanks to a bases loaded wild pitch. And their third run came right before Roberto's home run in the sixth thanks to a sac fly from Noah Cardenas to score Smith. Smith and Alexander Pena each drew three walks on the game, and Pena and Emmanuel Rodriguez each also stole a base in the loss. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands, Wichita Wind Surge (6 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-5, R, 2B, GS HR, 4 RBI, 2 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, R #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 3-for-5, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI, K, walk-off single #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, R, HR, RBI, K #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (zero earned), 2 BB, 5 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (1:05 PM CST) - RHP Drew Strotman (7-3, 4.80 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (6-7, 4.56 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (12:05 PM CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (1-4, 4.94 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:05 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (0-0, 2.70 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  8. TRANSACTIONS Cedar Rapids Kernels placed RHP Jon Olsen on the 7-day injured list. SAINTS SENTINEL Columbus 8, St. Paul 1 Box Score In one of their few day games of the season, the Saints were only able to muster up one-run in a blowout loss to Columbus. St. Paul only recorded two hits on the afternoon and gave up a total of 15 hits to the Clippers. The Saints' hits came courtesy of Jose Miranda and Drew Maggi. Miranda punched a single in the fourth inning and Maggi lined a single to center field in the eighth. Maggi would score the Saints' lone run, when Drew Stankiewicz reached on a fielder's error that scored Maggi. St. Paul starter Chandler Shepherd (L, 6-6) lasted four innings, giving up eight hits, five runs, and two walks while striking out one. Ian Hamilton followed Shepherd with 1 2/3 innings of one-run, four hit ball, striking out three. Reliever Chris Nunn was the best Saints pitcher on the day, tossing 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts, giving up only one hit. WIND SURGE WISDOM Arkansas 6, Wichita 0 Box Score The Wind Surge were victims to a combined-no hitter on Thursday against Arkansas. Roy Morales drew two walks and Spencer Steer drew a walk, registering as the only baserunners for Wichita in the game. Wichita starter Cole Sands tossed five innings, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out two. Cody Funderburk was the only reliever to see action for the Surge, giving up three runs on three hits while striking out one. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Quad Cities 9 Box Score After giving up three runs in the first the Kernels soared back for a walk-off win against league-leading Quad Cities. Yunior Severino and Michael Helman each knocked homers for the Kernels, Helman now has 17 homers on the year and has emerged as an underrated star for Cedar Rapids. All nine of Cedar Rapids' runs came in the fourth and fifth innings. Those fourth inning runs came courtesy of a Severino grand slam. Helman knocked a three-run homer of his own in the fifth. The runs kept coming when Wander Javier punched a double to left field to score Matt Wallner and Aaron Sabato. Javier now has 15 doubles on the 2021 season. Cedar Rapids starter Cody Lawyerson had a rough first inning but settled in after that. Lawyerson tossed 5 2/3 innings of four-run ball, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out four. Reliever Zach Featherstone was as dominant as he's been all season. Featherstone tossed 2 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, striking out three and giving up only one hit. Despite a pair of dominant innings, Quad Cities mounted a comeback to tie the game at nine in the ninth inning. That didn't matter. With runners on the pond, Yunior Severino reached on a fielder's choice to score Michael Helman in the ninth to walk the Kernels off. It was only fitting that Severino and Helman, the two most dominant hitters on the night, played a role in the winning play. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Daytona 1 (Suspended, Bottom of 3) Gameday Rain put a halt to Thursday evening's contest in the Sunshine State. Yet in the few innings that took place, the Mussels looked great. Kyler Fedko knocked an RBI single in the first inning that scored Christian Encarnacion-Strand to put the Mussels on the board. After Jesus Feliz scored another run in the second thanks to a wild pitch, Encarnacion-Strand laced a single to score Tennessee alum Alerick Soularie to put the Kernels up 3-1. Starting pitcher John Stankiewicz was solid through 2 1/3, giving up one run and two hits while striking out three. Fort Myers will complete the game as a part of a double header tomorrow. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Zach Featherstone, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K) Hitter of the Day - Michael Helman, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB,) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Did not play #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, K #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - No game #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Game Suspended #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, R, K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - No game #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - No game #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Game Suspended #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Game Suspended #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for 3, BB, 3 K FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CST)- RHP Drew Strotman (7-3, 4.55 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10 PM CST) RHP Austin Schulffer (6-7, 4.38 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST)- RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 1.24 ERA) Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST)- RHP Casey Legumina (2-2. 3.78 ERA)
  9. There appear to be plenty of innings to go around in 2022. While we hope to see prospects such as Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran debut, Bailey Ober is proof that it isn’t always the shiny top prospect that storms into the Major Leagues. The Twins have a few arms in the minors who could be a pleasant surprise to the MLB club next season. Drew Strotman - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 17 The less-hyped player in the Nelson Cruz return this summer, Strotman went straight to St. Paul upon his arrival where it appears he’ll finish his season. Once a strong control pitcher, Strotman has had a walk rate over 12% this year. The Twins may be able to attribute this to his 2018 Tommy John surgery and inability to knock off the last of the rust with the lack of a 2020 season. Still, Strotman has plenty to like. He can hit the mid-90s as a starter with his best offering being a cutter with a decent curveball to pair with it. He was striking out nearly 25% of his hitters faced with a mid-3s ERA with Tampa’s AAA team in Durham before struggling across the board with the Saints, possibly a result of him hitting an innings wall in his first full season back. Strotman will be 25 next season and already possesses a 40-man roster spot. He’s in the most convenient spot of all three of these pitchers to get one of the first calls next season, especially if he comes out on fire to open the season. Cole Sands - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 19 Sands has spent 2021 exclusively at AA after a brief debut there in 2019. Despite his 10.4% walk rate this year, he’s long had the reputation as a strike-thrower, never before walking more than 6.3% of hitters. It’s a safe bet on Sands regaining that control which would bode well for his future considering he’s maintained a strikeout rate of 30% in 2021. Sands has also limited the long ball in his minor league career. 2021 is his career-worst with a still-respectable 0.93 HR/9. With a 2.93 ERA at AA this year, Sands will get the call to the next level sooner rather than later. At that point, his high floor for strikeouts, low walk totals and limiting homers puts him in a great spot to get an opportunity when the Twins need innings filled in 2022. It’s the same baseline of skills that Bailey Ober used to get to the big leagues. Chris Vallimont - Twins MLB.com Ranking: 21 In some ways, 2021 has been a disappointment for Chris Vallimont who’s sporting a 6.00 ERA at the AA level through 78 innings. He hadn’t shown a huge control problem prior to this year but has walked 14.4% of batters faced. He used to limit homers but has allowed a 1.27 per 9 innings this year. Still, that 6.00 ERA indicates a bit of bad luck according to his 4.40 FIP and 4.62 xFIP. Vallimont still shows a strong ability to strike out opponents, and has done so at a 32.1% rate. If he can return to his career norms in terms of walks and homers allowed, he could move aggressively to the MLB level as he’ll be 25 to begin 2022. He seems to have the raw stuff to dominate hitters if he can manage to iron out some kinks. If there’s one thing we can expect from the pitching staff next season, it’s that there will be plenty of opportunities. Bailey Ober appears to be a diamond in the rough, thrown into a trial by fire due to a pitching staff that completely turned over by season’s end. Could one of these three be the next development arm to take this route to success? Could it be one not listed here? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  10. TRANSACTIONS INF Anthony Prato added to A+ Cedar Rapids following rehab assignment RHP Matt Canterino activated from IL at A+ Cedar Rapids RHP Ralph Garza Jr. recalled by Minnesota Twins Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 7 Box Score Starter: Beau Burrows: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Tomás Telis (8), Nick Gordon (3) Multi-hit games: Nick Gordon (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI), Tomás Telis (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI), Damek Tomscha (2-for-4, R) St. Paul lost their momentum on Saturday. It began with some Beau on Beau action as both starting pitchers were named “Beau” (seriously). Burrows (or BB, as the cool kids call him), held Indianapolis scoreless over his three innings of work with five strikeouts. Burrows then passed the baton to Jovani Moran who, as usual, shut it down. He struck out three over two innings of work, and could be heard muttering “what else did I have to do to get called up?*” *I cannot confirm this. Offensively, St. Paul jumped out in front first. Tomás Telis plopped his eighth homer of the year in the first inning to give the Saints a quick 1-0 lead. Nick Gordon was not to be outdone, and he sent his third home run of the year over the right field wall. Now, usually I don’t point out defense in these games because, well, who cares. But Nick Gordon played at third base while Jose Miranda played in left field. I assume that this was done out of necessity, but if both players can play at those positions in just a passable manner, then their value to the major league club will be just that much more. This game revealed one of the problems that can arise in a bullpen game. Burrows and Moran did their part well, but Ryan Mason struggled and it allowed Indianapolis to tie the game in the 7th inning. Indianapolis then jumped on Ian Hamilton in the 8th with a bases-clearing double, and that ended up being all she wrote. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Tulsa 5 Box Score Starter: Cole Sands: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K HR: B.J. Boyd 2 (11, 12) Multi-hit games: B.J. Boyd (2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-3, BB) The Wind Surge lost on Saturday. ...But not due to Cole Sands. The righty was on his game on Saturday. Of the 17 outs he netted, 10 came via strikeouts. Yeah, that’ll work. It was his first start of the season with double-digit punch outs, and it was also his seventh start allowing one or fewer walks. They also did not lose because of B.J. Boyd. The free agent signee has been nothing short of elite in his time with Wichita. His OPS on the season is now above .900, and I imagine that one more game like this will finally force Wichita to build a statue in his honor. It was not enough to top the Drillers, though. Tulsa took out their frustration on Erik Manoah Jr., and put the game out of reach after the 7th inning. Oddly enough, Tulsa only had one more hit than Wichita. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 7 Box Score Starter: Sawyer Gipson-Long: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 R) The Kernels lost to a rehabbing major leaguer on Saturday. Miles Mikolas started for the Chiefs and was excellent. He held the Kernels to three runs over seven innings of work with eight strikeouts to boot. Come on man, go pick on players your own age (I’m sure he will soon). Sawyer Gipson-Long’s line is misleading. Two of his earned runs came via a two-run homer, while another run scored due to a throwing error by his catcher (not sure why it counts as an earned run, actually). No matter the runs, striking out nine batters over five innings of work is impressive. The bats were a bit quiet on Saturday. Every run was scored off the bat of Matt Wallner (a first inning DP, and a 6th inning two-run single), and Edouard Julien was the only batter to net multiple hits. Of course it was Julien. I swear he gets on base twice every time I check the box score. The game slipped away in the 7th inning as the Chiefs ambushed Osiris German to the tune of three earned runs. Much like how the Saints lost, this proved to be too back-breaking for the Kernels to overcome. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Bradenton 2 Box Score Starter: Bobby Milacki: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: Aaron Sabato (10) Multi-hit games: Misael Urbina (2-for-5, 2B) Fort Myers lost in extra-innings on Saturday. Bobby Milacki started the Mighty Mussels off right with an excellent start on Saturday. His six strikeouts tied a personal single-game record, and it was his sixth outing in 2021 that ended without a walk. Not bad for a 38th round pick who the Twins signed out of independent ball. John Stankiewicz, Zaquiel Puentes, and Aaron Rozek carried the weight the rest of the way with five combined innings, and just a single hit allowed. They struck out three in total. Offensively, things were a bit tough. Misael Urbina was the lone hitter to drop in multiple hits, and just one other batter had an extra-base hit. But that one batter was Aaron Sabato who, unsurprisingly now, bopped his 10th homer of the year. He had just four home runs coming into the month of August. It has been great to see Sabato turn the corner like this. No prospect dropped as much as him when we at Twinsdaily updated our top prospect list, and a monster August to cap off his season would go a long way towards regaining his old 1st-round pick status. Will he do it? I suppose we shall see. Unfortunately, the Mighty Mussels got Manfred-ed and the very first opposing batter in the bottom of the 10th singled home a run to end the game. I’m sure that they didn’t mind getting out of the way of the tropical storm, though. Complex Chronicles The FCL Twins game was suspended on Saturday, and will be finished on Sunday. A quick scan of the box score reveals that Zander Wiel was in the starting lineup working through a rehab assignment. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – B.J. Boyd PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 K #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-3, BB #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-5, K #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2 RBI, K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-3 #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (Complex) - #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-5, 2B #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:35 AM) LHP Andrew Albers Wichita @ Tulsa (12:05 PM) RHP Jordan Balazovic Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (12:35 PM) RHP Matt Canterino Fort Myers will not play on Sunday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Fred.
  11. 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
  12. TRANSACTIONS RHP Matt Canterino assigned to Low-A Fort Myers on rehab assignment LHP Lewis Thorpe activated from IL, assigned to Triple-A St. Paul Saints Sentinel Louisville 4, St. Paul 3 Box Score SP: Lewis Thorpe: 2 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras: 2-for-3, 2B, BB Jose Miranda’s incredible streak has come to an end. The highly-touted Twins prospect went 0-for-5 on the day and did not reach base, marking the first time this has happened during his 35 games at Triple-A. Mark Contreras contributed the team’s only multi-hit game while Gilberto Celestino, Ben Rortvedt, and Drew Stankiewicz all drove in an RBI. Lewis Thorpe got the start after being activated from the IL. He looked every bit as much as the Lewis Thorpe we saw earlier in the season; fastball in the upper-80s, touching 90, with decent secondary stuff. Jovani Moran, Yennier Cano, and Kyle Barraclough combined for 5 ⅔ innings of scoreless ball and struck out five. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 5, Midland 2 Box Score SP: Cole Sands: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Austin Martin: 3-for-4; Roy Morales: 2-for-4, 2B; Jermaine Palacios: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI Cole Sands started his second game of the week and quickly settled into a groove after allowing a solo home run in the first inning. He surrendered only two more hits the rest of the way and struck out five en route to picking up the win. Zach Neff and Chris Nunn combined to throw the final four innings, striking out four and allowing one run. Austin Martin continued his hot streak since joining the Twins by picking up three hits in four at-bats as the DH. Martin is slashing .400/.571/.500 with two doubles, six walks, and only a single strikeout since being traded. Jermaine Palacios picked up his 12th double of the season and improved his OPS to .818, further cementing his argument for a promotion. Kernels Nuggets Quad Cities 7, Cedar Rapids 5 Box Score SP: Cody Lawyerson: 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Wander Javier (10) Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino: 4-for-5, RBI Seven of the nine Kernels that came to the plate on Sunday afternoon picked up hits, but only Yunior Severino grabbed more than one. The 21-year-old formerly-hyped prospect has been en fuego since being called up to High-A, having accumulated a .375 batting average and .944 OPS in 11 games. Fellow formerly-hyped prospect Wander Javier contributed his 10th home run of the season. On the mound, it was yet another group effort. Cody Lawyerson started, but was removed in the third inning after being roughed up. Ryan Shreve, Osiris German, Erik Manoah, Jr., and Derek Molina finished the game, but served up three more runs. As a group, the Kernels struckout seven and walked three. Mussel Matters Dunedin 3, Fort Myers 0 Box Score SP: Matt Canterino: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels must have had tomorrow’s off-day on their mind as they managed only a single hit — a single by Jesus Feliz — and struck out 13 times collectively during their loss to the Blue Jays. On the bright side, pitching prospect Matt Canterino made his first appearance since being shut down with an elbow injury in late May and tossed two perfect innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long came on in relief for Canterino and pitched the next four innings, striking out six while allowing two earned runs; he was ultimately tagged with the loss. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins No Game Scheduled. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K Twins Daily Co-Minor League Hitters of the Day – Austin Martin: 3-for-4; Yunior Severino: 4-for-5, RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (Fort Myers) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) — 0-for-5 #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4 #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, RBI #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-for-3, BB #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5 #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 0-for-4, BB #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4 #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 1-for-4 #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, HR (10) #18 – Alerick Soularie (FCL Twins) – Did not play #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS FCL Twins vs. FCL Braves — TBD MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Checkout all of Lucas Seehafer's minor league reports here
  13. Sands stands tall throughout his delivery and releases the ball from an almost wholly sidearm slot, though the slight tilt of his torso makes it appear as a three-quarters slot to opposing batters. He owns a three-pitch mix consisting of a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His fastball is good, if uninspiring, but his bread and butter pitch is his curveball. (The changeup has potential though he doesn't deploy it nearly as often as the other two.) What makes Sands' curveball so good is its heavy 12-6 break. In the video example above, the curve's movement isn't necessarily anything to write home about; however, as the game marches on and fatigue sets in, it tends to adopt a more significant break. Sands has the raw stuff to be an MLB pitcher, but two aspects of his game will determine whether he will be a starter or come out of the pen: His command and his changeup. As with many of the up-and-coming pitchers in the Twins' system, Sands sometimes struggles with walks while simultaneously boasting substantial strikeout numbers. This summer's 4.15 BB/9 is nearly double any rate he posted before this season, while his 12.25 K/9 is commensurate with what he's done in the past. If 2021 is a blip and his actual level of command is more in line with what he showed in 2019 and prior, he'll have a much greater chance at sticking as a starter. Likewise, Sands will be more likely to remain a starting pitcher if he develops his changeup further. As of this report, Sands' curveball is MLB-ready, while his fastball is good enough. His changeup boasts MLB caliber movement. He needs to, again, improve his command of it. A good player comparison for Sands may be Tyler Duffey. Duffey was a borderline starter who truly excelled with a move to the bullpen and an increased reliance on his excellent curveball. It also doesn't hurt that everything about their profile, from their background as college starters to even their mechanics, is similar. Cole Sands typically slots in around the 12-18 range in most Twins prospects lists alongside fellow pitchers Chris Vallimont and Drew Strotman. While all three are drastically different pitchers, much of the story behind their game is the same: They have at least one MLB level pitch, miss a ton of bats, and, at times, struggle with command. Sands's ceiling probably doesn't reach as high of the three, but his track record at the low minors suggests that his floor isn't as low either. Check back in five years, and you may find Sands as an anchor in the Twins bullpen. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Checkout all of Lucas Seehafer's minor league reports here
  14. To find out how that debut went, and what all the rest of your favorite Minnesota Twins prospects did on Tuesday night, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS SS/OF Austin Martin was activated for the Wichita Wind Surge and he led off their game tonight, playing shortstop. RHP John Stankiewicz was assigned from the FCL Twins to Fort Myers. RHP Miguel Rodriguez was activated from the injured list for the Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL Louisville 4, St. Paul 5 Box Score The Saints utilized a bullpen game in the first game of the week’s series against the Bats on Tuesday, sending out Ian Hamilton as the opener. He went three innings, allowing two runs on two solo homers, and striking out two. He was followed by Kyle Barraclough who went the next two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out three batters. Robinson Leyer got the sixth and seventh innings and was charged with a blown save. That’s due to him allowing Louisville to tie the game at three on another solo home run in the sixth, to the rehabbing Mike Moustakas. Edgar Garcia pitched a scoreless eighth inning, picking up his third win in the process, by allowing one hit and striking out one. Nick Vincent finished the game to pick up his fifth save of the season, but made it a little interesting by allowing another solo home run to close the gap to 5-4. He struck out two hitters. On offense the Saints got on the scoreboard in the second inning thanks to a Ben Rortvedt home run, his second on the season in Triple-A. They took the lead 3-2 after five innings when Rob Refsnyder and Gilberto Celestino each delivered RBI singles. In the eighth inning it was a two-run single from Twins Daily’s Hitter of the Month for July, Jimmy Kerrigan, that put the game just out of reach for Louisville. Jose Miranda (2-for-4, R, 2B, K), Rortvedt (3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI), and Kerrigan (2-for-4, 2 RBI) each had multiple hits for the home team in the win. WIND SURGE WISDOM Midland 5, Wichita 6 Box Score The story in this game was sure to be the organization debut of prospect Austin Martin, whom the Twins received in their trade of Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays. It was a bit of a mixed bag as far as offense and defense goes, but he was certainly exciting in his debut. Martin reached base twice out of the leadoff spot for the Wind Surge, first with a single in the fourth inning for his first hit in the organization. On B.J. Boyd’s double that followed, he came around to score all the way from first, including a nifty slide to avoid the tag at home. He reached base again in the sixth after being hit by a pitch in the back of his knee (his 15th HBP of the year), and it looked a lot worse than it actually was at first as he collapsed in the batters box, then seemed to head immediately toward the dugout. But he did stay in the game and on defense later in the seventh, ended a bases loaded threat with a 6-3 double play on a grounder up the middle that kept the Wind Surge in the lead at 6-5. Martin was also charged with two errors in the game. The first came in the fifth inning on a hard hit ball up the middle. He made a nice half-dive smother to keep it in the infield, but lost control on the transfer and ended up sailing his throw to first base. The second came in the seventh on a ball he tried backhand in the hole but it bounced off him into the outfield and led to an unearned run before he killed the rally later with that nice double play. But enough about the new guy! Wichita scored first in this one in the bottom of the first, thanks to B.J. Boyd’s eighth home run of the season, and added a second run in the third on a wild pitch after Spencer Steer clubbed a two-out double. They added three more runs in the fourth on a two-run homer from Aaron Whitefield, and then the double from Boyd to score Martin. Whitefield added a necessary insurance run in the sixth with a sac fly to score Trey Cabbage, who had led off the inning with a double. Making the start for the Wind Surge was Cole Sands, who has been on a strict pitch count since returning from injury in the middle of July. To open the game he gave up a triple, but worked around it with a popout and pair of strikeouts to come out unscathed. He finished 3 2/3 innings on the night, and finally got bit in the fourth inning. Overall he was charged with two earned runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out six batters. Alex Phillips was the first reliever summoned from the bullpen and went the next 1 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs of his own on a homer in the sixth, but also struck out two. The recently acquired Evan Sisk finished the next 2/3 of an inning, fighting his control to allow one run on three walks while striking out one. With the score 6-5 Wind Surge at this point, Mitchell Osnowitz and Chris Nunn finished off any further comeback attempt with a combined three scoreless innings. Osnowitz picked up a hold with two scoreless, allowing three hits and striking out two. Nunn picked up his first save with Wichita with a one-two-three ninth, including a K. Boyd (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), Spencer Steer (2-for-4, R, 2B, K), and Cabbage (2-for-4, R, 2B, K) had multiple hits for the offense. Whitefield led the way with three RBIs. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 8, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score Cedar Rapids got on the scoreboard first in this one in the second inning after loading the bases with nobody out. Max Smith delivered an RBI single and was followed by a sac fly from Gabriel Maciel and 2-0 lead. Starting pitcher Jon Olson held the River Bandits to just one hit through the first three innings, but a single followed by a double in the fourth finally put a runner across in the fourth. After a one-two-three fifth inning Olsen came back out for the sixth, and ran into trouble immediately. He was lifted after loading the bases, and finished five plus innings. He was charged with four earned runs on six hits, one walk, and struck out three batters. He was supplanted by reliever Andrew Cabezas, who promptly gave up a bases clearing triple, then a double for a run allowed of his own. A bit mad at himself probably, he channeled some anger and struck out the next three hitters he faced to end the inning with his team down 5-2. He would add a scoreless seventh inning to keep his team within striking distance. The Kernels closed the lead to two in the bottom of the sixth with another sac fly from Maciel, but the lone run was a bit disappointing as they had the bases with nobody out. The bullpen duo of Breckin Williams and Melvi Acosta then wasn’t able to keep Quad Cities at bay in the eighth and ninth innings, allowing them to extend their lead to the final of 8-3. Williams gave up one run (unearned) on one hit while striking out one in the eighth. Acosta allowed two earned runs on four hits in the ninth and struck out two batters. The loss extends the River Bandits lead in the Central-West Division standings to nine games, but the Kernels remain tied for the second best record in the league. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin @ Fort Myers, Postponed (rain) The Mighty Mussels and Blue Jays were rained out on Tuesday. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon, with righthander Sean Mooney on the mound for Fort Myers in game one. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Orioles Orange @ FCL Twins, Postponed (rain) The FCL Twins were affected by the same rain as their Hammond Stadium friends across the Lee County Sports Complex parking lot, and did not play Tuesday morning. They will make up the game on Wednesday as both teams do not have another scheduled.. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands, Wichita Wind Surge (3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day - Ben Rortvedt, St. Paul Saints (3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, R, 2B, K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, RBI, K #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #9 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K #14 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB, K #15 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, 2B, K #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-2, R, 2 BB, K #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) - N/A (foot injury) #19 - Edwar Colina (rehab) - Injured List (elbow) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - Did not pitch WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (1:05PM CST) - LHP Andrew Albers (4-4, 4.44 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (2-4, 7.08 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (2-1, 1.68 ERA) Dunedin @ Fort Myers (Game 1, 3:30PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 0.56 ERA) Dunedin @ Fort Myers (Game 2, 30 minutes after game 1) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  15. 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.
  16. 5. Cole Sands, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 50/55 Sands gets a lot of life in the upper half of the strike zone. Typically, he is in the low-90s, but he has the ability to hit 95-96 mph. According to FanGraphs, “his fastball will creep into the mid-90s with big time tail, the kind that can run off the hip of left-handed hitters and back over the plate.” His control has improved during his professional career and there is still room for him to make improvements moving forward. 4. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 55/55 Outside of Jhoan Duran (see below), Balazovic is the other pitcher in contention for being the team’s top pitching prospect. His fastball doesn’t have quite the velocity as others on this list, but he typically sits in the low- to mid-90s while topping out at 96 mph. His fastball plays up because hitters have a tough time picking it up out of his hand. He uses it a lot at the top of the zone and that means that the strikeouts will continue to pile up. 3. Josh Winder, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 60/60 During last year’s shutdown, Winder might have earned the award for most improved pitcher in the Twins organization. During the 2019 season, his fastball sat in the low-90s, but he can now hit 98 mph consistently and he proved this during instructs. There is good movement on the pitch too, which helps his off-speed pitches to play up. During the 2021 season, he needs to prove his 2020 development is for real. If he does, fans better be prepared for how fast Winder will fly up prospect lists next off-season. 2. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 65/65 Colina might not be as well known as some of the other names on this list, because he is destined for a role in the bullpen. His fastball consistently sits in the mid- to upper-90s and he can touch 100 mph. Even with this big velocity, his fastball doesn’t have a ton of movement, so hitters have a better chance of putting it in play. There’s a good chance he is part of the Twins bullpen at some point in 2021 and he can fill a late inning role in the years to come. 1. Jhoan Duran, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 70/70 Minnesota acquired Duran as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade and now he is considered one of the team’s best pitching prospects. He has grown into his frame throughout his time in the Twins organization as he now sits at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. His fastball consistently hits in the high 90’s and he can hit triple digits on a regular basis. His four-seam fastball might not even be his best fastball as he has a hybrid “splinker” pitch that can also reach into the mid-90s. His velocity is elite, and the Twins hope he can mix-in more strikeouts as he gets closer to the big leagues this season. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -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
  17. 15. Cole Sands, RHP Age: 23 (DOB: 7/17/1997) 2019 Stats (A/AA): 97.1 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 19 The lack of a minor-league season in 2020 hurt many prospects, and Sands is certainly among them. He was just beginning to ramp up his workload – from 75 ⅓ innings during his final year at Florida State to 97 ⅓ in his first year with the Twins – and then it all got shut down. Now, the former fifth-round draft pick will try to pick up where he left off. Prior to the pandemic, he had quite a bit of momentum going. Sands was extremely impressive during his first professional season in 2019, posting a 2.68 ERA along with a brilliant 108-to-19 K/BB over 18 starts. He started out at Low-A and ended in Double-A. Solidly built at 6-foot-3 and 215 lbs, Sands brings a fastball in the mid-90s and his changeup is rated by Baseball America as the best in the Twins system. The mission for Sands in 2021 is to rebuild his workload and get back on track toward a full starter's regimen, while also translating his early success into the high minors. It's a tall task, but all signs suggest the right-hander is up to it. He's a sleeper candidate to debut in the majors this year. 14. Misael Urbina, OF Age: 18 (DOB: 4/26/02) 2019 Stats (Rookie): 217 PA, .279/.382/.443 , 2 HR, 26 RBI ETA: 2024 2020 Ranking: 17 Urbina was considered one of the best international prospects available in 2018 when the Twins landed him with a $2.75 million signing bonus. The toolsy outfielder arrived with an exceptional pro debut the following year, slashing .279/.382/.443 over 50 games in the Dominican Summer League. In 217 plate appearances, Urbina showed excellent plate discipline (23 walks, 14 strikeouts), hit for power (21 extra-base hits), and flashed standout speed (19 steals and five triples). He also played a very sharp center field defensively. The Twins signed Urbina as a scrawny 16-year-old, and now he's going to be challenged to grow up in a hurry. He's still young, but turns 19 in April and hasn't been exposed to a full-season league. That'll happen now. If the uber-athletic teenager can come anywhere close to replicating his 2019 performance as he presumably graduates to A-ball, he'll climb these rankings quickly. 13. Matt Wallner, OF Age: 23 (DOB: 12/12/1997) 2019 Stats (Rookie/A): 291 PA, .258/.357/.452, 8 HR, 34 RBI ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 14 Like Urbina, Wallner was a highly touted young outfielder who made an impressive debut in 2019, posting an .810 OPS in 65 games between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids after being selected in the supplemental first round of June's draft. But unlike Urbina, time is not on Wallner's side. The Twins took him out of the University of Southern Mississippi with the 39th overall pick, valuing the Forest Lake native as a polished and potentially fast-moving collegiate lefty bat. Now, after the lost 2020 season, he's 23 and has played 12 games above rookie ball. To put that in context: Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler were all established as full-time major-league outfielders at 23, and Alex Kirillloff will probably do so for himself this year at the same age. None of this is damning for Wallner, who faces the same need to make up for lost time as his minor-league peers, but it leaves him with little margin for error. If he struggles at all to acclimate in A-ball, he'll quickly fall behind the curve. Conversely, if he hits the ground running, Wallner is in line to move quickly as a relatively advanced hitter. 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B Age: 26 (DOB: 11/1/1994) 2020 Stats (MLB): 21 PA, .316/.381/.579, 1 HR, 5 RBI ETA: 2021 2020 Ranking: 9 Rooker is different from almost every other prospect we'll rank on this list, in that he gave us some actual, concrete performance to evaluate in 2020. Granted, it was an absurdly small sample: 21 plate appearances with the Twins before a fractured forearm ended his season in mid-September. But what we saw mostly confirmed what we've come to believe about Rooker: he's a quality right-handed bat with real power potential, and ready for the big leagues. The Twins called up Rooker in early September after Kepler went down with a groin strain. He wasted no time at the plate, collecting six hits including a home run and two doubles. "I don’t want to say he’s got Miguel Sanó power, but it’s that type of power to the big part of the field,” said hitting coach Edgar Varela of the slugger. Rooker's defensive limitations were also on display during brief action in right and left field, and while he is ostensibly an option at first base, he hasn't played it since 2018. With Nelson Cruz returning in 2021, Rooker doesn't have much of a path to regular playing time at the moment, but he's useful as a rotational righty bench bat. To become more than that, he'll need to cut down the strikeouts, prove his defensive viability, and above all, find an opportunity. 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF Age: 21 (DOB: 2/13/99) 2019 Stats (A): 536 PA, .277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 54 RBI ETA: 2023 2020 Ranking: 12 Celestino was on a roll before his 2020 season got wiped out. After a slow start at Cedar Rapids in 2019, the outfielder pressed the pedal to the medal, slashing .357/.427/.550 in 43 games after July 1st and earning a late-season call-up to Ft. Myers. After the season, Minnesota added him to the 40-man roster, fearing that another club might try to snap him up in the Rule 5 draft. For a 20-year-old who had barely skimmed High-A, it was a rather extraordinary move, setting Celestino's options clock in motion at a very early stage. Clearly, the Twins like this kid, and with good reason. He was seeing plenty of early action in spring training last year before the shutdown. Celestino was on Minnesota's extended 60-man roster last summer, and got his work in daily at the alternate site in St. Paul, so his development was impeded less than many ohter prospects who weren't so lucky. That might give him a leg up heading into the coming season. He's probably the best center fielder in the system after Byron Buxton, which is noteworthy given Buxton's proneness to injury. Although Celestino is not a candidate to be called up early in the 2021 season, he could quickly enter the conversation with a fast start and a major-league opening. The combination of speed and power, combined with improving discipline and strong defense in center, makes him a multi-dimensional prospect with big impact potential. Although Ryan Pressly became an All-Star after the Twins traded him to Houston, it's still looking like the Twins – with young fireballer Jorge Alcala penned into their bullpen and Celestino fast on the rise – might end up getting the best of that 2018 trade. Twins 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. José Miranda, 3B/2B 18. Alerick Soularie, UTIL 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP
  18. Evaluating prospects in a pandemic certainly presents multiple challenges. Three of these names have yet to make their professional debut and that adds another wrinkle to the evaluation process. Minnesota’s system is deep and any of these names could impact the big-league roster in the years ahead. 20. Danny De Andrade- SS (16-years old) Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 The 2021 international signing period opened on January 15 and the Twins were expected to be aggressive. De Andrade was the organization’s highest rated signee, but he’s only 16-years old and he’s a long way from making his Target Field debut. Many players at his age are listed as shortstops, but there is no guarantee he will stick at that position. At 6-feet tall and 160 pounds, there is some room to add weight and even more power in the batter’s box. Scouting reports already praise him for his ability to drive the ball to all fields so he will be an exciting player to follow in the year’s ahead. 19. Jose Miranda- INF (22-years old) Acquired: 2016 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2021 Miranda has steadily been working his way through the Twins system since the club drafted him back in 2016. As a 21-year-old, he spent nearly all of 2019 at High-A, but he was able to make one appearance at Double-A. This winter he has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League and he’s had a strong offensive showing in 15 games. He hit .302/.377/.472 with six doubles and a home run. Fans can expect him to spend most of 2021 at both of the organization’s highest minor league levels with an outside chance of him making his big-league debut. 18. Emmanuel Rodriguez- OF (17-years old) Acquired: 2019 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 Rodriguez was Minnesota’s top international signing from the 2019 signing period, when MLB.com ranked him as the eighth best player available. He has yet to make his professional debut because of the pandemic. His best tool is his hit tool, and he is often praised for his baseball instincts. Some compared him to a young Eddie Rosario. When he signed, he was listed at 165-pounds and there are reports that he added upwards of 20 pounds since that point. He trained at home all last year so it will be nice for him to get a chance to work with Twins coaches more regularly in 2021. 17. Alerick Soularie- OF/2B (21-years old) Acquired: 2020 Second Round Pick ETA: 2024 Soularie is the third name on this list that has yet to make his professional debut. The Twins took him in the second round of last year’s draft out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 in just over a season’s worth of at-bats. In college, he played a lot of outfield in college, but the Twins are likely going to shift him to second base since he profiles better that that position. Some scouts question his approach at the plate, but his raw athleticism should help him to make adjustments when he is able to make his professional debut. 16. Cole Sands- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: 2018 5th Round Pick ETA: 2021 Injuries have been part of his professional career as IL trips cost him parts of the 2018 and 2019 campaign. On the mound, his stuff is hard to ignore as he has a mid-90s fastball with some good movement that he combines with a plus breaking ball. Missing the 2020 season was tough on him because it would have allowed him to prove he can stay healthy and build up his innings total. Next winter, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster, so he has a lot to prove during the 2021 campaign. Which of these prospects stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. 20. Randy Dobnak, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA, AAA): 12-4, 2.07 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 109 K, 28 BB, 135.0 IP 2019 MLB Stats: 2-1, 1.59 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 23 K, 5 BB, 28.1 IP Dobnak went on a tremendous ride last season with his first pitches of the year coming with the Fort Myers Miracle and his last pitches coming at Yankee Stadium in the playoffs. While Dobnak posted fantastic numbers last season, few expect him be the ace of a pitching staff. He has the potential to be a solid back end of the rotation pitcher for multiple years. His spot in the 2020 rotation wasn’t a guarantee so it will be interesting to see how he is used this year, especially with little chance of a minor league season occurring. His pitch mix includes four pitches with his sinker being used over 36% of the time. He also mixes in a changeup, curve, and four seamer. According to MLB’s Baseball Savant, his fastball spin was in the third percental when compared to the rest of baseball. His fastball velocity and curve spin also ranked in the 44th percentile or lower. Still, batters were only able to manage to barrel up the ball 2.3% of the time and his average exit velocity was 88.6. 19. Cole Sands, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+, AA): 7-3, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 108 K, 19 BB, 97.1 IP Much like Dobnak, Sands made stops at three different minor league levels in 2019 where he was younger than the average age of the competition. His most impressive stop was in the Florida State League where he posted a 2.25 ERA and a 53 to 7 strikeout to walk ratio in 52 IP. He utilizes a fastball in the low-90s but there are times he can rear back and reach the mid-90s. His curveball and change-up are both good pitches that help to separate him from other starters in the organization. In his professional debut, Sands put up numbers that were far superior than anything he was able to compile as a three-year starter in college. His lowest ERA for any college season was 4.13 and he had a 4.73 ERA for his entire collegiate career. There were some good peripheral numbers that might have stood out to the Twins front office. Over his final two college seasons, he struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings and his WHIP dropped in every season. 18. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA): .252/.302/.369, 8 HR, 26 2B, 54 K, 24 BB, 119 G Miranda played all but one regular season game in the Florida State League during 2019. He started off slow but ended the year on quite the offense run. Over his final 162 plate appearances, he hit .295/.333/.436 with 13 extra-base hits and almost as many walks (8) as strikeouts (10). Minnesota thought highly enough about him to send him to Pensacola for the playoffs where he compiled a .955 OPS in five postseason games. Defensively, he played more time at third base last season than any other season. Last season was the first time since his professional debut that he failed to hit double-digits in home runs. If he continues to add power, he could become quite the weapon at third base. He almost never strikes out and he has the defensive flexibility to play other infield positions as well. 17. Misael Urbina, OF 2019 MiLB Stats (FRK): .279/.382/.443, 2 HR, 14 2B, 5 3B, 19 SB, 23 BB, 14 K, 50 G Urbina signed for a boatload of cash ($2.75 million) back during the 2018 international signing period. He made his professional debut in 2019 and showed many of the skills that made him one of the top prospects in that signing class. He had 21 extra-base hits and 19 steals in 27 attempts. Also, he showed an advanced approach at the plate with more walks (23) than strikeouts (14). He can play all over the outfield, but 34 of his 44 defensive appearances came in center field. His speed will help him to stick in center field and he has the other tools to make himself a defensive weapon. As Twins fans have seen with Byron Buxton, speed can help to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. With more experience, he should also become better at stealing a higher percentage of bases. 16. Matt Wallner, OF 2019 MiLB Stats (RK, A): .258/.357/.452, 8 HR, 21 2B, 80 K, 24 BB, 65 G The Twins selected Wallner with the 39th overall pick in last year’s draft and he quickly made his presence known in the organization. In June and July, he hit .289/.392/.465 with 18 home runs in 37 games. He tired a little down the stretch by hitting .218/.312/.436 over the season’s final 28 games which included a dozen games in Cedar Rapids. Wallner was set to go to college at the University of North Dakota, but they cut their baseball program, and this might have actually helped him in the long run. He decided to play at Southern Mississippi and this likely allowed him to play a higher level of competition and for more scouts to put their eyes on him. His junior year really put him on a lot of team’s draft radars (if he wasn’t already there). In those 61 games, he posted a 1.127 OPS with 23 home runs. Stop back in the coming days to see who completes the top-20 list. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. The Astros drafted Sands in the 22nd round of the 2015 draft but his heart seemed set on pitching for Florida State in his hometown. You have to look deeper at his college numbers to fully appreciate them. In his first four starts for the Seminoles, Sands posted a tremendous 1.84 ERA in 14 ⅔ innings. His next six starts were not as pearly. He allowed 15 runs in 19 innings (7.11 ERA). He finished the season with a respectable 4.13 ERA but walks were an issue and strikeouts were few and far between. Sands finished his freshman year with a less-than-stellar 1.52 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Sands flashed his formidable upside that summer in the Cape Cod League by striking out 18 in 14 innings. He allowed only seven hits and two runs (1.29 ERA). That wouldn’t exactly carry into his sophomore season at Florida State. His ERA jumped to 5.40 the following spring, but he boosted his strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.48), and his strikeouts (7.8) and walks (3.1) per nine rates were much improved. It was again a tale of multiple streaks for Sands. Here is how his sophomore season broke down: First 7 starts: 3.38 ERA Next 7 starts: 8.81 ERA Last 4 starts: 3.52 ERA Sands was a beast in the 2017 ACC Tournament, shutting down 15 straight Duke hitters and sending the 'Noles to the championship. He pitched three scoreless innings in the final and helped Florida State to Omaha. You can start to see the trend here. Sands has always had the ability, but struggled to consistently utilize his stuff in college. His junior season was no different. He started 4-0, dazzling and dominating to a sterling 2.45 ERA with 31 punchies and only five walks in 22 innings. In the two appearances after that, he allowed 14 runs, more than double as many as his first four starts combined (6). Of course, he bounced back with two consecutive seven inning quality starts against a great Louisville team and a winning Georgia Tech club. He threw over 100 pitches six times, including five consecutive starts in March and April. When the Twins drafted him in the fifth round of that draft, they elected to rest his arm and save his pro debut for 2019. And what a debut it was. Sands was excellent in his first start for Cedar Rapids, pitching five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. In three starts from April 19th to May 5th, Sands produced a 1.05 ERA and struck out 16 in 17 innings. He stymied hitters with a mid-90s fastball and a well-commanded curveball. He pitched very well against lefties all year long, holding them to a .621 OPS. His splits suggest that his changeup is indeed a quality pitch, and he can use it to get lefties out consistently. Sands made it to Fort Myers by June and further impressed there. He finished with a 2.25 ERA for the Miracle and opponents hit .199 off him. He struck out 53 and walked seven in 52 innings. The Twins sent him a message by moving him to Pensacola before the conclusion of the season. He struck out six in his lone four-inning start for the Blue Wahoos. He was likely set to spend much of the 2020 season in Pensacola’s rotation with quick ascension still in the cards. https://twitter.com/Nashwalker9/status/1250501028983836674?s=20 Sands’ fastball command has certainly developed over the years. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has skyrocketed since joining the Twins organization. His walk rate fell below 2.0 per nine last year and his WHIP (1.027) was lower than any of his three seasons at Florida State. His ground-ball rate was just 40%, which would’ve ranked as the 15th lowest in MLB last year. If you look closely, you can see the Twins stamp on him. Throwing up in the zone, pushing for fastball velocity, walking fewer batters and supressing home runs are all points of focus for pitching coach Wes Johnson and company. The Twins walked only 2.8 per nine last year, down from 3.6 in 2018. They struck out one batter per inning, an increase from 8.6 strikeouts per nine in 2018. They allowed an equal number of homers in 2019 as 2018 (198), but the league hit 1,191 more home runs. Sands is an exciting young pitcher with plenty of upside. Maintaining his fastball command, upping his velocity, and further blossoming his curveball and changeup will be important moving forward. Furthermore, with a somewhat violent delivery, avoiding elbow and shoulder complications will be vital. Sands missed some time during his junior year with biceps tendonitis. Nevertheless, there is a shining glimmer of a front-of-the-rotation starter here in the budding right-hander. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. The Narrative: The former Twins front office leadership was slow to push pitchers up the ladder, especially in their first full professional season. The 2019 Case: In 2019, Twins right-handed pitcher Cole Sands made his professional debut. He had been the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2018 out of Florida State. After being drafted, he was shut down. He began the 2019 season in Cedar Rapids. He went 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA. After eight starts and just 41 1/3 innings with the Kernels, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. With the Miracle, he made nine starts and went 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 52 innings. He ended the season with one start at Double-A Pensacola in which he gave up two runs in four innings. He threw a total of 97 1/3 innings in his first full season. I have seen it written or spoken about in a few places over the last couple of years that under the previous regime, the Twins would likely not have pushed a college pitcher like Sands quite as quickly. Is that true? Is that a fair critique? Obviously there is no perfect way to analyze this. Pitcher development (like hitter development) is very much dependent upon the individual. However, I wanted to go back several seasons and find out if the previous Twins regime had any (or many, or lots, or no) cases that fit the model that we saw in 2019 with Cole Sands. What are those qualifications to meet? So I went back through all of the Twins drafts from 2001 through 2019. I looked for these two things from each pitcher drafted out of college. If, in his first full professional season, the pitcher did one or both of them, I included him. Did the pitcher reach AA (or AAA)? Sands made one start at AA, or Did the pitcher pitch at three or more levels? Sands pitched at Low-A, High-A and AA. With that, let’s take a look at the Twins history this century. CURRENT REGIME (2017-2019) Cole Sands (5th round, 2019) - Pitched at three levels. Reached AA in 2020. PREVIOUS REGIME Tyler Jay (1st round, 2015) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2016.. Nick Burdi (supp 1st, 2014) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2015. Jake Reed (5th round, 2014) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2015. DJ Baxendale (10th round, 2012) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2013. Pat Dean (3rd round, 2010) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2011. Logan Darnell (6th round, 2010) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2011. Kyle Gibson (1st round, 2009) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2010. Billy Bullock (2nd round, 2009) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2010. Carlos Gutierrez (supp 1st, 2008) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2009. Matt Garza (1st round, 2005) - Pitched at four levels, High-A, AA, AAA and MLB in 2006. Kevin Slowey (2nd round, 2005) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2006. Brian Duensing (3rd round, 2005) - Pitched at three levels, Low-A, High-A and AA in 2006. Glen Perkins (1st round, 2004) - Pitched at two levels, High-A and AA in 2005. Scott Baker (2nd round, 2003) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2004. Jesse Crain (2nd round, 2002) - Pitched at three levels, High-A, AA and AAA in 2003. Adam Johnson (1st round, 2000) - Pitched at three levels, AA, AAA and MLB. CONCLUSIONS While this doesn’t dispute the studies done five years or so ago stating that the Twins were among the slowest, if not the slowest, to promote pitchers to the big leagues, this does show that the previous Twins regime was not afraid of pushing college pitchers quickly through the lower levels of the minor leagues. In fact, it happened most years. This isn’t a scientific study. I have done nothing more than a quick search of Twins draft picks in Baseball-Reference, so it’s possible that I am missing something. Please feel free to let me know.
  22. Find more on these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback and as an ebook. 20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B Age: 21 (DOB 6/29/1998) 2019 Stats (A+/AA): 483 PA, .252/.302/.369 (.671 OPS), 8 HR, 11.2 K%, 5.0 BB% 2019 Ranking: 20 We start this year’s list the exact same way we did in 2019. Miranda’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but keep in mind he still slugged better than the Florida State League average (.353) and was young for the level. He faced pitchers who were older than him in over 96 percent of his plate appearances last season. Miranda reached Pensacola to end the year. He played one regular season game, then hit .368/.429/.526 (.955) over five postseason games for the Blue Wahoos. That continued a trend, as Miranda has hit .350/.429/.583 (1.012 OPS) in 16 career playoff games. Once again, Miranda posted an insanely low strikeout rate. His 11.2 K% ranked 23rd among the 686 minor leaguers to log 400 plate appearances last season (inside the top four percent). He also mashed lefties, hitting .303/.330/.506 (.835 OPS), and continued to work on his defensive versatility. Sometimes the biggest thing that needs to happen for a player’s power to emerge is simply to get the heck out of Fort Myers. The guy at No. 18 on this list is a great example of just that ... 19. Cole Sands, RHP Age: 22 (DOB 7/17/1997) 2019 Stats (A/A+/AA): 97 1/3 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 28.2 K%, 5.0 BB% 2019 Ranking: NR The Twins drafted Sands in 2018, but he didn’t make his professional debut until this past season. He opened the year with Cedar Rapids and immediately outmatched Midwest League hitters. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1114718482913005568 Sands made eight starts for the Kernels, nine for Fort Myers, then closed out the season by making his Double-A debut in the second leg of a doubleheader for Pensacola. I’d say that’s quite a busy first year on the job. Among the 667 minor league pitchers to log at least 80 innings in 2019, Sands’ 2.45 FIP ranked eighth. He did an incredible job of racking up strikeouts while limiting his walks, posting a K:BB ratio of 5.68. Another positive development was that Sands increased his workload from 75 1/3 innings at Florida State in 2018 to 97 1/3 innings this past season. 18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF Age: 23 (DOB 8/3/1996) 2019 Stats (A+/AA): 471 PA, .277/.321/.466 (.787 OPS), 19 HR, 22.3 K%, 5.7BB% 2019 Ranking: NR Blankenhorn slipped off our list and onto the honorable mentions last year, but was No. 17 on the Twins Daily 2018 list and No. 9 on the 2017 list. He opened 2019 back in Fort Myers, but was headed up the coast after just 15 games with the Miracle. Despite facing tougher pitchers, the move to Pensacola did wonders for Blankenhorn’s power production. After hitting 12 home runs in 139 total games for the Miracle, Blankenhorn needed just 49 games to reach a dozen bombas for the Blue Wahoos. He hit .298/.337/.521 (.857 OPS) in his first 70 Double-A games, but suffered an injury in mid-July and slumped upon his return. Blankenhorn also continued to display his athleticism in 2019. He spent most of his time at second base (70 starts), but played more outfield than he had in previous seasons, and had three outfield assists in just 24 starts in left field. He was also a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts. The Twins added Blankenhorn to the 40-man roster this offseason, so expect him to get plenty of looks during spring training. 17. Misael Urbina, OF Age: 17 (DOB 4/26/2002) 2019 Stats (FRk): 217 PA, .279/.382/.443 (.825 OPS), 2 HR, 6.5 K%, 10.6 BB% 2019 Ranking: NR This guy has a chance to be the Twins’ No. 1 prospect a few years from now. Urbina’s speed and overall athleticism were hyped when the Twins signed him to a $2.75 million bonus, but the Venezuelan dynamo also proved he can control his plate appearances in. Urbina’s 6.5 K% was the fourth lowest among the 343 hitters who logged at least 170 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League. He paired that with a strong 10.6 BB%. He also slugged nearly 100 points better than the DSL average and stole 19 bases in 50 games, oh, by the way. DSL stats aren’t particularly sticky. Taking a look back at prior years you’ll find quite a few guys who shine and then fizzle once they reach full-season ball. Still, Urbina’s tools, pedigree and now performance makes for a tantalizing player to pin dreams on. 16. Edwar Colina, RHP Age: 22 (DOB 5/3/1997) 2019 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 97 1/3 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 25.4 K%, 8.0 BB% 2019 Ranking: NR Colina’s talent was on full display throughout July, where gave up just two earned runs in 31 2/3 innings (0.57 ERA) and struck out 36 batters. He was named Twins Daily’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month for that performance. Colina made 10 starts for Fort Myers and four more for Pensacola. In those outings, he pitched to a 2.29 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and struck out 89 batters in 82 2/3 innings. His overall numbers were dragged down a bit by five relief outings that didn’t go nearly as well. The product of Venezuela has always had a knack for keeping the ball in the yard, and tied Cole Sands for the lowest HR/9 in the system (minimum 90 innings). Both of them surrendered just four homers in 97 1/3 innings pitched. Over his entire minor league career, Colina has given up a grand total of just 16 home runs in 324 2/3 innings pitched. Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions Stop by tomorrow for prospects 11-15 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. Previous Starting Pitcher of the Year Winners: 2018 winner - Tyler Wells 2017 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2016 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2015 winner - Jose Berrios 2014 winner - Jose Berrios 2013 winner - Taylor Rogers 2012 winner - BJ Hermsen Previous 2019 Winners: 2019 minor league relief pitcher of the year-Anthony Vizcaya 2019 short-season pitcher of the year-Cody Laweryson 2019 short-season hitter of the year-Matt Wallner The Twins’ minor league system has seen some large advancements recently in player development and the most impacted area has arguably been the starting pitching. New players have come in and seen their velocity gain a tick or two, recent draft picks have flourished quickly at each level, and great performances have come from unexpected areas. It has become almost astounding to look to each affiliate’s starting rotation and see how much talent there is in every single rotation. There were many great choices here and I know that I personally found this vote the most challenging one to make. Six Twins Daily Minor League writers voted for the various awards this year. For the starting pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below. Others receiving votes: Luis Rijo - 19 GS, 5-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 107 IP, 89 H, 23 BB, 99 K Jhoan Duran - 22 GS, 5-12, 3.76 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 115 IP, 97 H, 40 BB, 136 K Devin Smeltzer - 19 GS, 4-5, 2.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 104 ⅓ IP, 87 H, 22 BB, 104 K Josh Winder - 21 GS, 7-2, 2.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 125 ⅔ IP, 93 H, 30 BB, 118 K Starting Pitcher of the Year: Here are the top five vote-getters voted on by the Twins Daily minor league crew. T-#4 - Cole Sands, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 18 GS, 7-3, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 97 ⅓ IP, 81 H, 19 BB, 108 K Sands was taken by the Twins in thefifth round of the 2018 MLB draft out of Florida State University. He did not pitch in the Twins’ system that year which isn’t rare for college pitchers, so 2019 was his first year in professional baseball and what an impression he made. Splitting time between three levels of the minors, Sands dazzled with a 9.99 K/9, a 1.76 BB/9, and a 2.45 FIP. Injuries limited him to 97 1/3 innings pitched in 2019 but a strong season on the field made Sands one of the premier starters in the system and he may be up in the majors as soon as next year. T-#4 - Griffin Jax, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rochester Red Wings: 23 GS, 5-7, 2.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 127 ⅓ IP, 117 H, 27 BB, 94 K Jax was a graduate of the Air Force and was granted the ability to pitch in the Twins system full-time in 2018 under the military’s World Class Athlete Program which allows active-duty personnel to to train full-time for the Olympics. Jax backs up his cool story with some cool pitching as he threw the third most innings in the Twins’ system in 2019 and held the third lowest ERA among those in the system with at least 100 innings pitched. Jax ended the season at AA, had a taste of AAA, and will need to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the rule 5 draft, so he may factor into the Twins’ starting rotation in 2020. #3-Bailey Ober, GCL Twins, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 13 GS, 8-0, 0.69 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 78 ⅔ IP, 55 H, 9 BB, 100 K Ober unfortunately was not able to throw as many innings as the other names on this list, but his numbers were absolutely eye-popping in 2019. Out of every minor league pitcher who had at least 70 innings pitched in 2019, Ober had the lowest ERA with his 0.69 mark (second place was 1.10). Ober’s K-BB% of 30.7% would be the second highest mark among qualified MLB starting pitchers with Gerrit Cole being the only starter with a better percentage. Really, this is all just me saying that Ober had a fantastic year and when healthy he is one of the best pitchers in the entire system. He discussed his 2019 season, his pitches and more in a Twins Daily interview earlier this week. #2-Jordan Balazovic, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Myers Miracle: 18 GS, 8-5, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 93 ⅔ IP, 67 H, 25 BB, 129 K As a cold-weather pitcher before the draft, Balazovic was a prime candidate for developing quickly when placed into a professional system...and that he did. Balazovic had a good 2018 and then followed it up with an absolutely phenomenal 2019 that saw his prospect stock rise to the top of the Twins’ system. Balazovic’s K% of 33.9% in 2019 would be the fifth highest among qualified MLB starters this year and his batting average allowed of .191 would the third lowest among qualified MLB starters. His 2019 was mostly spent at Fort Myers but he was promoted late in the season and was able to make a single playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in which seven of the 14 outs he made were by strikeout. #1-Randy Dobnak, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rochester Red Wings 21 GS, 12-4, 2.07 ERA, .98 WHIP, 135 IP, 104 H, 28 BB, 109 K Dobnak is the only starter in the top five to pitch for the Twins in 2019 and he very well may be the only one to pitch at four different levels in 2019 if you consider MLB as its own “level”. Nevertheless, Dobnak was an absolute horse in 2019 as he was first among all Twins’ minor league pitchers in innings pitched and his 2.07 ERA was the lowest among starters in the Twins’ system with more than 80 innings pitched. Dobnak was undrafted out of college and went to pitch in independent ball to start in 2017. Not long after the start of his career for the Utica Unicorns, Dobnak was picked up by the Twins on a minor league deal and he pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids that year. Beyond baseball, Dobnak was an Uber driver as recently as spring training in 2019 and he apparently was excellent as he had a rating of 4.99 stars out of 5. Man, these advanced stats are getting pretty weird even for me. Luckily for Dobnak, the major league paycheck is just a touch higher than the minor league one so he can retire from his Uber career. Dobnak’s professional career so far has been nothing short of incredible but he is much more than just a story. Dobnak’s wonderful 2019 season earned him a promotion to the majors where has allowed just two earned runs so far over his 11 major league innings. With some question marks in the Twins’ starting rotation at the moment, Dobnak will certainly get a few opportunities to prove that he belongs in the majors and that one’s draft position (or lack thereof) does not necessarily dictate how successful they will be in baseball. Dobnak has had a great 2019 in the minors and hopefully he will continue to have a great 2019 in the majors. The Ballots: Seth Stohs: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Bailey Ober 3) Jordan Balazovic 4) Josh Winder 5) Luis Rijo Tom Froemming: 1) Jordan Balazovic 2) Randy Dobnak 3) Cole Sands 4) Bailey Ober 5) Luis Rijo Cody Christie: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Griffin Jax 3) Devin Smeltzer 4) Jhoan Duran 5) Josh Winder Matt Braun: 1) Bailey Ober 2) Jordan Balazovic 3) Cole Sands 4) Jhoan Duran 5) Luis Rijo Ted Schwerzler: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Bailey Ober 3) Griffin Jax 4) Jordan Balazovic 5) Devin Smeltzer Steve Lein: 1) Jordan Balazovic 2) Randy Dobnak 3) Josh Winder 4) Bailey Ober 5) Cole Sands Feel free to discuss our ballots! Who was completely wrong? Who needs a shout out because they were overlooked? What would your ballot look like?
  24. TRANSACTIONS OF Ramon Flores signed by Minnesota and assigned to Rochester. 3B Jake Hirabayashi assigned to Rochester from GCL Twins. RHP Anthony Vizcaya placed on the 7-day IL with Pensacola. RHP Marcos Diplan acquired in trade with/ MIL and assigned to Pensacola. RHP Kai-Wei Ten to SF as part of the Sam Dyson deal. RHP Carlos Suniaga on 7-day IL with Pensacola. RHP Josh Winder on 7-day IL with Pensacola. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Scranton/WB 3 Box Score Kohl Stewart got the nod for the Red Wings on Thursday afternoon. He pitched into the sixth inning (5 2/3 innings) and held the RailRiders to one run on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Jake Reed struggled in taking over for Stewart. He allowed two earned runs without allowing a hit. He struck out three and walked one in 1 1/3 innings. In the second inning, Alejandro De Aza got the scoring started with a solo-home run, his fourth long-ball of the year. Rochester added another in the fourth. De Aza and Zander Wiel both singled before Ramon Flores doubled in a run. De Aza was in the middle of the action in the fifth inning as well. Tomas Telis singled with two outs and De Aza cracked his second home run of the day. Jake Cave added his seventh home run in the seventh. Fernando Romero and Sam Clay finished off the game with two scoreless innings. Romero pitched 1 2/3 innings and limited Scranton/WB to one hit while striking out two and walking one. Clay was asked to get only one out and he recorded his first save. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 11, Birmingham 8 Box Score Pensacola needed every one of Alex Kirilloff’s five RBIs in this one as they battled through a slugfest. Kirilloff finished 2-for-5 with his 14th double and his fifth home run, a three-run shot. Ivan De Jesus Jr also had a big night at the plate by going 3-for-4 with four RBIs including a three-run home run. Ben Rortvedt drove in a pair of runs with two outs in the inning. Overall, the club went 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Griffin Jax started and got roughed up. He allowed five runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Jorge Alcala pitched out the of the bullpen and surrendered one run on two hits with a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings. Andrew Vasquez blew the save but was credited with the win. He allowed two runs in two innings and struck out three. Jonathan Cheshire earned his first save since joining the Twins organization with a perfect ninth inning. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Dunedin 0 (Game 1- 7 Innings) Box Score Cole Sands was outstanding even with a weather delay that impacted the start time of Game 1. He pitched six shutout innings and limited Dunedin to two hits. He struck out seven and walked one. Joe Record earned his third save with a perfect seventh inning. CJ Cron, on rehab assignment, got things started in the third inning with a solo home run. Jose Miranda also scored in that inning on a wild pitch. Miranda was also involved in the final run of the game. Jacob Pearson drove him in for an important insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Andrew Bechtold reached base three times and was the lone Fort Myers batter with multiple hits. Ft. Myers 2, Dunedin 6 (Game 2- 7 Innings) Box Score Fort Myers got smoked for six runs in the third inning and it was tough to mount a comeback. Chris Vallimont was charged with all six earned runs as he couldn’t make it out of the third inning. Melvi Acosta pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings by striking out two. Gabriel Maciel got the Miracle on the scoreboard with a run-scoring triple in the fourth inning. Ernie De La Trinidad and Yelstin Encarnacion both doubled in the fifth to score another run but that was it for the Miracle. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Beloit 2 Box Score Cedar Rapids and Luis Rijo allowed two runs in the first inning but that’s where the scoring stopped for the Snappers. Rijo settled in after the first and threw five straight scoreless frames. He compiled three strikeouts and one walk. He has pitched six innings or more in every start since July 4. Alex Schick and Rickey Ramirez combined for three shutout innings to end the game. Schick picked up his fourth win as he recorded four strikeouts out of the six outs he was asked to collect. Ramirez pitched a perfect ninth inning and added a strikeout. Tyler Webb led off the third inning with a single before Daniel Ozoria knocked his first home run of the season. The game remained tied until the ninth inning. Webb struck out to start the inning but reached first on a wild pitch. Ricky De La Torre walked to move a runner into scoring position. Ozoria bunted both runners over and then two batters later Gabe Snyder doubled, his 20th, to plate two runs. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 3, GCL Braves 2 Box Score Brusdar Graterol continued his comeback by making his second appearance in the GCL. He faced the minimum in the first inning as he allowed a single and then erased that runner on a double play. He was able to hit over 100 mph again. In his second inning, the first batter flew out to center. Then he struck out each of the next two batters on three pitches and they were all swinging strikes. Would the Twins consider adding him to the bullpen for the stretch run? https://twitter.com/AndrewBern12/status/1156958794825555969 With two outs in the third inning, Taylor Grzelakowski walked before moving to second on a Jesus Feliz single. Victor Heredia doubled, his third of the year, to drive in both runners. The GCL Twins added to their lead in the fourth when Sergio Toribio singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a ground out moved him to third, Yunior Severino drove in what turned out to be the game winning run. Regi Grace took over from Graterol and was credited with his first win. He pitched four innings and allowed one run, a solo home run, with four strikeouts and three walks. Petru Balan came in for the top of the seventh, but he walked the first two batters and was removed. Bradley Hanner stepped in to finish the game with three shutout innings. He struck out two and walked one. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Cole Sands, Fort Myers (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K, BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Alejandro De Aza, Rochester (3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) – 1-4, R, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 2-4, 5 RBI, HR, 2B, 2 R, K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (GCL Twins- Rehab) – 2.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 2 K #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) – 0-4, 3 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) – Did not pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) – 1-4, 3 K #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Injured list #9 - Jhoan Duran (Fort Myers) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 0-5 #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) – Did not play #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) – 1-6, R #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – 1-3, 2 RBI, R #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – 1.2 IP, ER, 2 H, K #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) – Did not play #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) – Injured list FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Pawtucket (6:05 CST) – TBD Pensacola vs. Birmingham (6:35 CST) – RHP Jhoan Duran (3-9, 3.04 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 CST) – LHP Tyler Watson (1-4, 3.88 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:30 CST) – TBD Elizabethton vs. Bristol (5:30 CST) – TBD GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox (11:00 AM CST) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  25. To find out everything that happened with your favorite prospects on Tuesday, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS Southern League All-Star Catcher Caleb Hamilton was promoted to Rochester from Pensacola as the Red Wings placed 3B Brian Schales on the temporarily inactive list. As a replacement for Hamilton, the Blue Wahoos received 1B Ryan Costello from Fort Myers. The Miracle were assigned IF Yeltsin Encarnacion from Cedar Rapids. RED WINGS REPORT Norfolk 3, Rochester 16 Box Score The Rochester lineup bludgeoned Norfolk on Tuesday, where if this were an amateur game the mercy rule would have come into play after the fifth inning. Drew Maggi started the bottom of the first with a home run to set the tone for everyone else, and Wilin Rosario added a trifecta of two-run blasts, and seven RBI in total, to break it wide open. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1153851619915763713 The just promoted (again) Randy Dobnak took the mound for the Red Wings and did his thing, which is outfoxing and dominating opposing lineups. In six innings he gave up no runs on four hits and two walks to stem the Tides, while also striking out six to lower his triple-A ERA on the season to below 2.00 in 23 2/3 total innings. His ERA on the year is at 2.11 across 18 starts (20 games) with Fort Myers, Pensacola, and Rochester. In this one 54 of his 87 pitches went for strikes (62%), including 13 swinging as he picked up his ninth win of the year. Also this: https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1153835384066887681 The big inning for the Red Wings lineup was the second, where they scored six runs as they sent nine men to the plate and was punctuated by Rosario’s first blast. The top four hitters in the lineup combined to go 14-for-20 with 10 runs scored, four doubles, four home runs, and 10 RBI. Jaylin Davis had three of those doubles and scored four runs in a 5-for-5 night. Ronald Torreyes added two doubles and scored two runs, while Tomas Telis added a triple. The team combined for 22 hits and were 7-12 with runners in scoring position. Cody Allen came on for the seventh and had a one-two-three inning, striking out one. Sam Clay allowed a run on one hit in the eighth, while Preston Guilmet struck out two but also gave up a two-run homer in the ninth to account for the final score. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Mobile @ Pensacola - Postponed The Blue Wahoos matchup with the BayBears Tuesday night was affected by the weather and postponed. They’ll play a doubleheader on Thursday to make it up. https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1153822527015145474 MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1: Fort Myers 5, Dunedin 4 Box Score The Miracle struck first in game one of their doubleheader as Royce Lewis led off the inning with his ninth home run on the season for a 1-0 lead. https://twitter.com/MiracleBaseball/status/1153723835495211008 Starting pitcher Cole Sands had breezed through the first three innings of his outing, but a two-out rally of the bloop and a blast variety got to him in the bottom of the fourth to put the Blue Jays up 2-1. His offense picked him back up right away though with a run in the fifth after three singles, and three more in the sixth when Ernie De La Trinidad connected for his first home run of the year to put them up for good at 5-2. Sands later would strike out the first two hitters he faced in the sixth before giving up a solo home run to end his day. He went 5 2/3 innings to pick up his fourth win, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five. Zach Neff finished the final 1 1/3, allowing one run on a hit and a walk to pick up his third save. He struck out three. Game 2: Fort Myers 0, Dunedin 2 Box Score It was an even better pitcher’s duel in game two with the Miracle’s Jhoan Duran facing off against Maximo Castillo of the Blue Jays. A couple of walks from Duran in the second inning loaded the bases for a single to bring in two for Dunedin, and that would be it for the game. Duran went the first four innings, allowing those two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out five. Joe Record would finish the game, striking out two in two innings. Both teams managed only five hits in the contest, but the Blue Jays went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position while the Miracle went hitless in seven of their own opportunities, leaving eight men on base for the game. Lewis and Jose Miranda each contributed a double to the effort. KERNELS NUGGETS Scheduled Day Off The Kernels had Tuesday off after a six-game road trip where they went 3-3 against the Lake County Captains and Fort Wayne TinCaps. They will begin a six-game homestand against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Wednesday with right-hander Josh Winder on the mound looking to get back on the dominating track after a rough outing last time out. E-TWINS E-NOTES Princeton 8, Elizabethton 3 Box Score Elizabethton was unable to solve Princeton’s pitching for most of this one, as they managed just two hits and a walk as a team through the first eight innings. Both hits to that point were doubles off the bats of Parker Phillips and Trevor Jensen. They finally got on the board in the ninth when Seth Gray drew a two-out walk, and Phillips followed with his first home run in the Appalachian League. Max Smith then followed with one of his own to make the game at least appear closer when looking at only the box score. Taking the hill for the E-Twins was righthander Tyler Benninghoff, who was able to limit the damage against him through 5 2/3 by striking out eleven Rays hitters. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk but was saddled with the loss. Ryan Shreve got them through the eighth inning, but at the expense of four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk. He struck out two in 2 1/3. Erik Cha came on for the ninth and allowed a run on two hits and a walk, striking out one. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Pirates @ GCL Twins - Postponed Four games in the Gulf Coast League were affected by rain on Tuesday, including the Pirates facing the Twins at the Lee County Sports Complex. They will host the Orioles Wednesday morning looking to improve their record to .500 on the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak, Rochester Red Wings (W, 6.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day – Wilin Rosario, Rochester Red Wings (4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 3 HR (13), 7 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Fort Myers) - 2-for-8, R, 2B (17), HR (9), 3 K (2 games) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Game postponed #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - Game postponed #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - No game #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) - Game postponed #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List (groin) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Fort Myers) - L (2-9), 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) - Game in progress #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 1-for-5, K #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - Game in progress #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - Did not play #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Game postponed #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Game postponed #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) - No game #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - Game postponed WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Norfolk @ Rochester (6:05PM CST) - RHP Drew Hutchison (6-6, 5.88 ERA) Mobile @ Pensacola (6:35PM CST) - RHP Edwar Colina (0-0, 4.50 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (12:00PM CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (1-4, 4.10 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP Josh Winder (6-2, 2.86 ERA) Princeton @ Elizabethton (5:30PM CST) - RHP Ben Gross (3-1, 2.08 ERA) GCL Orioles @ GCL Twins (11:00AM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
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