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  1. In today’s rankings, there are some interesting names. There are a few college draft picks that had some ups and downs throughout the season, but their tool set remains quality and clear. There is a former highly ranked international free agent who came to the team in a trade and made his unexpected debut in 2021. And there is a young player that hasn’t spent a lot of time in the organization yet but who is really exciting. Here are my choices for the 6-10 hitting prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization. #10 1B Aaron Sabato 2021 STATS: .202/.373/.410, 18 2B, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 32.1 K%, 19.8 BB%, 1/1 SB Aaron Sabato was the Twins first-round draft pick (27th overall) out of the University of North Carolina in 2020. Over 83 college games, he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. He was added to the Twins depth camp at 2021 spring training and then began the season with Low-A Ft. Myers. It was certainly a struggle for him, especially in the first half of the season. Only one player in all of minor league baseball had more walks than Sabato, but he also struck out a lot more than was expected. However, late in the summer he started showing a little more power. In 85 games with the Mussels, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 homers. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids and played in 22 games. He hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with eight homers. He had 92 walks and 149 strikeouts on the season, certainly more than was expected from a strong college bat. But, getting out of the former Florida State League and experiencing the success in Iowa reminds us of the immense power potential that he does have. #9 IF Edouard Julien 2021 STATS: .266/.434/.480, 28 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 28.0 K%, 21.4 BB%, 34/39 SB Edouard Julien grew up in Quebec. Out of high school, the Phillies drafted him in the 37th round in 2017. He declined and went to Auburn where he (and teammate Will Holland) led Auburn to the 2019 College World Series. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft. While he really wanted to go back to Auburn, the Twins gave up fourth-round money and he decided to sign. Unfortunately, he went to Peru for the Can-Am Games but hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He likely would have missed at least half of a 2020 season either way. So, his professional debut came in May in Ft. Myers. He played 47 games and hit .299/490/.456 (.946) with 12 doubles, three homers and 21 steals (in 23 attempts). Yes, a .490 on-base percentage. He moved up to Cedar Rapids for 65 more games. He hit .247/.397/.494 (.891) with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 13 more stolen bases. On the season, he struck out 144 times, but he led minor league baseball with 110 walks. In college, he was a power hitter and upon joining the Kernels, he showed that again. But he added the speed dimension back to his game. He’s got a great eye and with those things combined, he becomes a very intriguing prospect. We just don’t know where he is going to play. #8 IF Spencer Steer 2021 STATS: .254/.348/.484, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 66 RBI, 21.5 K%, 11.3 BB%, 8/12 SB A southern California native, Spencer Steer headed north to the University of Oregon despite being drafted by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 draft. He was a starter all three years in Eugene. He hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 20 extra base hits as a junior, and the Twins selected him with their third round pick. He played 20 games in Elizabethton before ending with 44 games in Cedar Rapids. Following the lost 2020 season, Steer was a late addition to the Twins depth camp during spring training in 2021. He homered in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was a sign of things to come. In an interview with Twins Daily following the 2019 season, Steer said, “I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.” He began the season with High-A Cedar Rapids and hit .274/.409/.506 (.915) with seven doubles and ten home runs in 45 games. He was promoted to Wichita where he hit .241/.304/.470 (.773) with 11 doubles and 14 more homers. As Torii Hunter would have said, his man-muscles arrived. Defensively, he played 46 games at second base, 38 games at third base and 15 games at shortstop. Asked early in the year if Steer was a future utility player, Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said no. He thinks he can be an everyday second baseman, but they will continue playing him around the infield. Steer should start 2022 with the Wind Surge, but he could get a chance to play in St. Paul in the season’s second half. He just turned 24 in December. #7 OF Gilberto Celestino 2021 STATS: .277/.371/.423, 18 2B, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21.8 K%, 11.4 BB%, 4/5 SB 2021 MLB STATS: .136/.177/.288, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 22.2 K%, 4.8 BB%, 0/0 SB First and foremost, Twins fans need to realize that what they saw from Gilberto Celestino isn’t necessarily the player that he is or certainly will become. Frankly, the 22-year-old looked like a guy who had only played eight games of High-A baseball in 2019, missed all of 2020 and had just 21 games in Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. What we saw late in the year in St. Paul. We saw a guy who takes good plate appearances and is willing to walk. He can hit for some average, and he does have a little pop in his bat. Defensively, despite some nervous issues in his first stint with the Twins, he is a plus defensive outfielder, fully capable of play centerfield well. He has good (though not great) speed. He typically takes good routes, and he has a strong and generally accurate arm. Expect that he will spend most of the 2022 season at age 23 and in St. Paul. He should mostly play in centerfield, but with Byron Buxton locked in, he really should play all three outfield spots and be ready when needed. #6 OF Kala’i Rosario 2021 STATS: .277/.341/.452, 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 31.7 K%, 9.1 BB%, 4/4 SB There were just five rounds in the 2020 draft due to the lockout. The Twins drafted Kala’i Rosario from Waiakea High School in Hawaii with their fifth round pick. It was noted that, along with Red Sox early pick Blaze Jordan, Rosario had as much power as any prep player from that draft. He signed, but of course, there was no season for him to report to Ft. Myers. In 2021, he stayed at the complex and then played most everyday for the FCL Twins once their season. With solid all-around offensive numbers, Rosario was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year. He played in 51 games and showed off the extra base power. He also walked at a decent clip. Clearly he will need to keep working and try to reduce that strikeout rate, but the bat is legit and the power is legit. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder. He spent about 75% of his innings in right field and the rest in left field. He also still has work to do with the glove and arm, but he does have the potential to an average corner outfielder. Obviously he has several levels to work through on his way up the organizational ladder. He’s going to be fun to watch. Presumably, he will spend the majority of the 2022 season in Ft. Myers again, this time with the Mighty Mussels. If he is able to show much power in that league (he’ll turn 20 in July) next year, his prospect status should go up even further. And if he doesn’t, but he shows an improved eye and produces more contact, it will be very exciting to see how he does when he moves up to Cedar Rapids. I think this is another interesting group. The first three listed above are college bats. Sabato certainly had his struggles early, but he came on late and his power is legit. Julien showed off all of his skills, his ability to know the strike zone and get on base, use his speed and also hit for a lot of power. Steer’s power certainly arrived and has moved up quickly. Celestino remains really young, and certainly was not at all ready for the big leagues when he was called up, but he has upside both offensively and defensively. Finally, Rosario is very young, and a long way from the big leagues, but he has a lot of potential with his bat that will be fun to watch. So there are hitting prospects 6-10. What do you think of this group? Please feel free to discuss and ask questions. And also try to guess how the Top 5 will be ranked when that is posted later this week. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10
  2. When he blew up, Miranda was outside the top 15 on virtually all Twins prospect lists and barely within the top 30 on others. It’s a bit rare that a meteoric rise occurs, but there are prospects all over the Minnesota system capable of notable 2022 seasons. While their situations may differ, the talent taking over once the games get going seems like a pretty good bet. Royce Lewis Now 22-years-old and playing for the first time in two years, the time has certainly gotten the better part of the former number one overall pick. We last saw Lewis in the Arizona Fall League at the end of 2019, and he tore up the competition. After a disappointing season that resulted in just a .661 OPS between High-A and Double-A, that was nice to see. The leg kick and swing path have been highly discussed, as has his case to stick at shortstop or move into the outfield. Regardless of the talking points, it will be nice to see the Twins top prospect back on the field, and I’d bet on his maturity and talent taking over. Give me a focused Lewis producing in a big way this season to remind pundits why he was raved about for so long. Simeon Woods-Richardson The second piece brought to the Twins in their swap of Jose Berrios, Woods-Richardson was well regarded and a popular trade target. He posted just a 5.91 ERA in 2021 and gave up six earned runs in eight innings within Minnesota’s system. It certainly wasn’t a great debut, but plenty was going against him following the trade. He played for Team USA in the Olympics, but played should be used loosely as he never made an appearance. Shutting down his workload in the middle of a season for that long created a significant road back and ultimately created a less-than-ideal situation. He’s talented and has been ranked highly because of it. The strikeout stuff should be expected to return in 2022, and seeing Woods-Richardson dominate en route to a Major League Debut would be far from unexpected. Misael Urbina Playing in his age-20 season for 2022, Urbina was stateside for the first time in 2021. He posted just a .585 OPS in the Complex League, but the 82/54 K/BB rate is where things get exciting. It’s clear he has a strong sense of plate discipline, and with another year of training as he grows into his body, Urbina’s ceiling continues to be worthy of dreaming on. There’s a substantial speed and power combination here, and playing centerfield is something he looks natural doing. I’d be far from shocked in the upcoming year, isn’t his coming out party. Spencer Steer If you haven’t been keeping tabs on Steer, it’s been time for a while. A third-round pick in 2019, Steer has posted OPS numbers north of .800 each of the past two seasons. Last year he blew up for 24 homers and posted a .409 OBP at High-A Cedar Rapids. Steer is now 24 and likely not going to be a Major League All-Star, but he has shown the makings of a solid regular. Utilizing the 2021 season, Steer could make his start at Double-A in 2022 a short one and be knocking on the door from St. Paul. Kala’i Rosario A fifth-round pick in 2020, Rosario didn’t get his opportunity to make a pro debut until last season due to Covid. However, he didn’t disappoint and posted a .793 OPS as an 18-year-old in the Complex League. His five homers in just 188 at-bats were nice to see, and there’s plenty of room for the plate discipline to take a step forward. Rosario is a corner outfielder, and his calling card will never be defense, so the bat needs to play, but the exciting part is that it looks the part so early. Getting into full-season ball this year, I’d be far-from-shocked if Rosario doesn’t immediately turn heads and see two promotions over the course of the year. What other prospects do you see worthy of keeping a particularly close eye on this season? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  3. The 2020 draft was different than it had been before. There were just five rounds due to the COVID pandemic. When the Twins called their fifth-round pick, they went with a high school power-hitting outfielder from Hawaii named Kala'i Rosario. Legendary Twins scout John Leavitt covers southern California, but he also gets the opportunity to cover Hawaii. He saw Rosario before the season was shut down in 2020, but he had seen him other times previously. Rosario had some of the highest Exit Velocity readings at Perfect Game events, and he beat Red Sox pick Blaze Jordan in the home run derby at the Area Code games as well. He reportedly hit one ball 440 feet. In 2021, he played in 51 games for the FCL Twins. He hit .277/.341/.452 (.793) with 10 doubles, four triples, five homers and 40 RBI. He was named the Twins Daily Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year, and was just named to the Florida Complex League All-Star team. Join us on your lunch break as we go live at 6:00 pm central time. You can then participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics over about 20-25 minutes. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE Tuesday at 6:00 pm (central time) on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show live, or later. For more on Kala'i Rosario: Follow him on Instagram at @kalai25. Follow him on Twitter at @KalaiRosario. Click here for Twins Daily articles on Kala'i Rosario. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 36: Jose Miranda
  4. This season Major League Baseball removed a large contingent of the minor leagues, and for Minnesota that meant losing Elizabethton. Now with just the Florida Complex League to draw from, there are still plenty of strong performances to highlight in a year where we got action back on the farm. Before we get into the bats that made noise this season, here are the previous winners: 2016: Lewin Diaz 2017: Akil Badoo 2018: Chris Williams 2019: Matt Wallner Here are the guys that rounded out the Short Season Hitter of the Year ballots: Others Receiving Votes: Alexander Pena 27-84 .321/.380/.393, 6 2B, 10 RBI Wander Valdez 30-122 .246/.359/.385, 8 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI Carlos Aguiar 21-97 .216/.280/.495, 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 20 RBI Luis Gomez 17-70 .243/.424/.314, 5 2B, 3 RBI Short Season Hitter of the Year: Here are the top four players for the Twins Daily Hitter of the Year 4. Wilfri Castro 15-58 .259/.377/.517, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI Minnesota signed Castro as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2018 season. 2021 was his first year stateside and he competed in the Complex League as a 20-year-old. His two triples and three home runs were also career firsts. The .894 OPS was a very strong showing, and his career has started with a great eye and level of discipline at the plate. 3. Luis Baez 25-84 .298/.385/.405, 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 RBI Baez was signed as an international free agent prior to the 2018 season. He made his stateside debut in 2019 as an 18-year-old. Playing 28 games during the Complex League this year, Baez continued to post a very strong on-base percentage. He is now just past the average age for the league and should see a larger challenge next season. 2. Emmanuel Rodriguez 27-126 .214/.346/.524, 5 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 23 RBI Signed as part of the 2019 international free agent class, Emmanuel Rodriguez netted himself a $2.5 million bonus. He participated in instructs each of the past two seasons, but this was his first year in pro ball. Popping off for 10 home runs in just 37 games was a nice power display, and both the on-base and slugging aspects of his game were impressive this year. 1. Kala’i Rosario 52-188 .277/.341/.452 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI Selected in the 5th round of last years draft, it was often suggested that Kala'i Rosario was a very strong value selection by Minnesota. It was expected that the Hawaii native’s bat would play, and it absolutely looked that way in his pro debut. Just recently having turned 19, Rosario should be playing for Low-A Fort Myers in 2022. This was a different season at the short season level with just one team playing games. Rosario played in 51 games during the Complex League, however, and was able to kick off a very strong sample size to get his feet wet. Minnesota had Rosario playing on the corners in the outfield with right field being the role twice as often. He did also get 12 starts as the designated hitter. The Ballots Here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Luis Baez 3) Kala’i Rosario Nash Walker - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Emmanuel Rodriguez 3) Luis Baez Lucas Seehafer - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Carlos Aguiar Cody Christie - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Wilfri Castro Tom Froemming - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Wander Valdez Ted Schwerzler - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Wilfri Castro Steve Lien - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Emmanuel Rodriguez 3) Alexander Pena David Youngs - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Alexander Pena 3) Wander Valdez Allen Post - 1) Kala’i Rosario 2) Wilfri Castro 3) Luis Baez Matt Braun - 1) Emmanuel Rodriguez 2) Kala’i Rosario 3) Luis Gomez Other 2021 Twins Daily Awards Minor League Hitter of the Year: Jose Miranda Minor League Starting PItcher of the Year: Louie Varland Minor League Relief PItcher of the Year: Jovani Moran Feel free to discuss. What do you think of our rankings? How would you rank them? How would your ballot look?
  5. TRANSACTIONS INF Drew Maggi selected by Twins from AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 5, Indianapolis 9 Box Score Bryan Sammons: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Tomás Telis (3-for-5), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-4, RBI) The Saints lost on Saturday. Bryan Sammons had a rough day at the office. He allowed seven runs as Indianapolis put up back-to-back four-run efforts in the 3rd and 4th innings. The score was close at times. The Saints originally took the lead in the 2nd inning thanks to singles by Sherman Johnson and Drew Stankiewicz, but that lead did not last for long. Indianapolis instantly responded with five runs over the next two innings; runs that were capped off with a bases-clearing double from Taylor Davis. Damek Tomscha brought the game within striking distance with a triple and eventually came around thanks to a balk. The good news ends there as Indianapolis piled on four more runs in the 4th inning and essentially ended the game there. Mitch Garver went 1-4 with a single and a strikeout in his rehab appearance. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 3, Arkansas 5 Box Score Austin Schulfer: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Wind Surge lost a close one on Saturday. Offensively, Wichita was limited to only singles and walks, but the team was able to scrap themselves to a few runs. Austin Martin, Aaron Whitefield, Jermaine Palacios, and Leobaldo Cabrera all stole a base on Saturday (and Palacios stole two). The steals directly to the three runs the Wind Surge scored. Three runs would not be enough to win. Austin Schulfer allowed two runs in his start, but Evan Sisk matched that total in relief of Schulfer. The Travelers tacked on another run, but that proved to just be unnecessary breathing room. Wichita put together a rally in the 9th inning as Palacios and Trey Cabbage both took walks, but Whitefield and Andrew Bechtold were unable to bring any more runners home. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Peoria 3 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long: 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Edouard Julien (14), Aaron Sabato (8) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4) The Kernels won a close game on Saturday. Sawyer Gipson-Long continued his ridiculous strikeout streak by punching out eight Chiefs. He now has 134 punchies on the season, which, by my count, is pretty darn good. Gipson-Long might still fly under the radar on prospect lists, but he certainly is a name that should be kept track of. Offensively, the Kernels dominated. Only one hitter had multiple hits but that was because every other hitter was too busy taking walks. The team walked eight times with Aaron Sabato leading the way with three free passes on top of his homerun. Let’s talk about his homer. Sabato’s 5th inning shot was his eighth in 92 plate appearances with the Kernels. Over a 600 plate appearance season (a traditional full year of play), that would be good for 52 blasts. I don’t think you need me to tell you how good that is. Not to be outdone, Edouard Julien blasted his 14th homer with the Kernels in the 3rd inning. Julien has seen a dramatic boost in home runs since his promotion (three with Fort Myers, 14 with Cedar Rapids over a comparable amount of playing time), and the new power is quite intriguing. If he can find the perfect mix of discipline and power, then we may be looking at a great hitter for the Twins. Osiris German and Tyler Watson combined to end the game for Cedar Rapids with 2 2/3 clean innings of work between the two pitchers. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 5, Tampa 6 (7 innings) Box Score Jackson Hicks: 0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K HR: Willie Joe Garry Jr. (4) Multi-hit games: Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI) The Fort Myers Miracle lost their paused game on Saturday. Cade Povich took over for Jackson Hicks and performed admirably. He struck out five batters over his two innings of work without allowing an earned run. Povich now has 16 strikeouts over eight innings with Fort Myers, not a bad start at all. Fort Myers held the lead late in the game thanks to Willie Joe Garry Jr’s. two-run homer, Misael Urbina’s double, and some early-inning shenanigans from Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Kole McKinnon. The 6th inning proved to be the back-breaker, though. A single from Tyler Hardman, with the aid of a Garry Jr. error, scored the game-ending go-ahead run. The Mighty Mussels had three total errors in the game. The three errors, along with going 1-9 with RISP, proved to be too much for Fort Myers to overcome. Game two: Fort Myers 3, Tampa 0 Box Score Regi Grace: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels threw a no-hitter* in game two. ...Kind of. MLB already established that a seven-inning no-hitter does not technically count, but I find that to be lame, so Fort Myers threw a no-hitter on Saturday (as declared by Matt Braun.) Regi Grace was astonishingly efficient in his start. Landon Leach, Bradley Hanner, and Matthew Swain combined to complete the game in relief of Grace. In total, the Mighty Mussels struck out 11 batters, allowed no hits (duh), and walked just one batter. That lone walk proved to be the sole blemish on the night. The Fort Myers offense, to their credit, did their part as well. Will Holland doubled home a run, Jake Rucker brought in another with a sacrifice fly, and Patrick Winkel added on with a run-scoring double. Those three runs were more than enough for the Mighty Mussels in game two. Quotes following the game: Matthew Swain, who struck out the side in the ninth inning, said, "I just focused and took it pitch-by pitch. Just trying to get strike one and eliminate hitters. Just wanted to finish out the season strong, on a good note. I had a little chip on my shoulder this game." Tonight's starter, Regi Grace, said of the group, "It's just our organizational philosophy; throw nasty (stuff) in the zone. I guess all four of us were all a little extra nasty tonight." Catcher Patrick Winkel said, "(Manager) Brian (Meyer) told us before the week, this might be the last time you guys play together, so try to have fun with it, and that's exactly what we're doing. That just comes through on the field, the level of energy and the focus we have. We're just trying to enjoy these last few days as a group. We don't know if or when we'll ever play together again. Just trying to go out on a good note." Winkel said of his pitchers, "Regi was dominating with his fastball and then going to his curveball, keeping them off balance. Leach came out and was working really fast, not giving them a chance to breathe and catching them off guard. Working down and away. Putting the ball where he wanted to put it. Hanner came in and had great energy and focus. He didn't back down. He had the top of the order, some of the best hitters in this league, and obviously Swain came in and closed the door by just blew fastballs by them." Hanner said, "I just wanted to end the season on a high note, and I can't think of a better way to do it." Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 4, FCL Red Sox 3 (7 innings) Box Score Mike Paredes: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: Kala’i Rosario (5) Multi-hit games: Kala’i Rosario (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Gregory Duran (2-for-3, 2B) The FCL Twins won their paused game on Saturday. Technically, Kala’i Rosario kicked off the game yesterday with a monstrous first-inning home run. But, because the game did not end until today, I am commandeering the content for today’s write-up. Here it is: Mike Paredes mowed through the FCL Red Sox offense to begin the game before Chase Petty took over to carry the torch. His second professional outing resulted in three earned runs over his three innings of work-not the best performance on the surface, but he also struck out four batters. Those three earned runs turned the tide of the game against the FCL Twins as they now found themselves down by a run. The team was not finished, though. A 6th inning double-steal brought home the tying run, and a 7th inning single from Ricardo Olivar ended the game for good. The Twins and Red Sox were supposed to play a second game, but that game was canceled. Today was also the last day of the season for the FCL and it appears that the team will not make up the game on Sunday. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Aaron Sabato PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, 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) - 1-5, 2B #7 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, R, 2 K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-3, 2 R, K #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-3, BB, K #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-6, R, RBI, 2B, BB, K #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Tampa @ Fort Myers (10:00 AM) LHP Zarion Sharpe St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:35 AM) RHP Drew Strotman Arkansas @ Wichita (12:05 PM) RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (12:35 PM) TBD
  6. The Twins had just four draft picks in the 2020 draft, as you know. 1st round - Aaron Sabato, 1B North Carolina Comp Balance Pick - Traded to Dodgers in Kenta Maeda trade 2nd round - Alerick Soularie, OF/2B Tennessee 3rd round - pick forfeited due to the signing of Josh Donalson 4th round - Marco Raya, RHP (HS pitcher from Texas) 5th round - Kala’i Rosario, OF (HS outfielder from Hawaii) Presumably, these four players will sign in the next few weeks, becoming professional ballplayers. What about the undrafted players? The draft ended on Thursday night and there was a 48-hour quiet period where teams could not contact those undrafted players. During that time, the players can “opt-out” of the process, essentially saying that they are not willing to sign at that time and would be going to school. For those willing to sign, on Sunday, that changes and teams will start their recruiting process. Two questions come to mind: How active do we anticipate the Twins being in signing undrafted players for up to $20,000? For those players they would like to sign, how will they go about recruiting them? So let’s start with the first question. How active will the Twins be in the post-draft, undrafted player process? Like all teams, there is no question that the Twins will be quite involved. How nice would it be to add a player on your draft board for just $20,000?! They would like to add several players. (Seth Prediction, I think they may sign a handful of players to $20K bonuses, but that's just a guess. It is going to be a very competitive market, to be sure.) However, several other factors have to come into play. For instance, the Twins didn’t release any minor league players this year. Several will become free agents at season’s end, but the team will have to make decisions on those players as well. Also remember that it is highly likely that at least one affiliate will be eliminated in 2021. That is potentially another 30 to 35 players that will find themselves out of jobs by next summer. So, it is possible that the overall pool available may not be real large. And there will be a lot of competition for jobs next spring (which isn’t the worst thing, in many cases). Following the draft, Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said the team has a plan for this unprecedented process. “We are certainly hopeful (to sign some players). We have a lot of the things in the works to approach and recruit these players. We have the next two days to see what that pool looks like.” So the first step is determining which players will be available and which ones they will target. Despite the 48-hour timeline between the draft and being able to sign players, the scouts did not get a day off on Friday. Instead, several spent time putting together their board of the best available players. Johnson said, “There are guys on the board we’d love to have and bring into our organization. Now, whether we’re the right fit for the player or that player actually wants to take $20,000 starting on Sunday is to be determined. I’d be guessing if I knew how it’d play out. We are ready to put our best foot forward.” Fair enough. It’s impossible to know the motivation for each individual eligible player. But for those that opt-in and make themselves eligible, the Twins can plan their full-court press to try to sign them. So what are the areas that the Twins will focus their recruitment of players? Johnson highlighted some of their plans, and the areas in which they feel they may have a competitive advantage. But the first one is probably the most important. ““I think at the heart of it, we want to show the player that we want them in the system.” He continued, “And (secondly), here are the things we see with your swing or your pitches or your body that we can do to advance you, to optimize you and to give you a chance to be a major-league prospect.” A player should be excited about that. We all want to know we are truly wanted, but I think that constructive criticism and willingness to accept it are huge in any career. For a player to hear that the Twins not only want them in their organization, but have already had their scouting and player development staff spend time looking at video of them and coming up with a plan of action to make them the best possible player is exciting. As we have seen and touted over the last few spring trainings and seasons, the Twins have invested in their player development in so many ways on the field (with more coaches, coordinators) and off the field (training and education). Johnson and his team of scouts draft and sign players, but then those players get turned over to the capable hands of Jeremy Zoll, Alex Hassan and the coaches and coordinators in Player Development. The nice thing is that the Derek Falvey regime has encouraged having the player development group get a glimpse at potential draft picks and voice thoughts and opinions. “Our player development has incredible staff. They have plentiful tools to educate and show the player the path toward becoming a prospect one day. We feel like our player development is at the top of the industry from a staffing perspective, from a technology perspective, facilities, our academy is unmatched. It’s an incredible place for players. We have players that want to be there year-round. We think that is a separator for us, from a facilities standpoint. We’re hoping that gets us a few wins in that column. So on Sunday morning at 8:00 am Central Time, it will primarily be the team’s area scouts around the country that will be relied upon to attract key targets. They have likely been in contact with the player over the years, especially leading up to the draft. They are the people doing background and talking to parents and coaches and teammates and school administrators and neighbors and, who knows, maybe even pets. The area scouts are the unsung heroes in any organization. In addition, the Twins front office is relying on other relationships that have been built over time. “We’re hoping that the right agents that know what we bring to the table may guide players in our direction.” For the players, they will all have legitimate reasons to sign and not to sign. Maybe they just think they can go to college and develop and eventually make more than $20,000. Maybe a college senior knows that he won’t make $20,000 now or in a year, so they want to take advantage of colleges allowing them an additional year to play. There are also non-economic factors. There will be factors out of the Twins control. Another may be location and geography. A kid from Georgia with a $20,000 offer from the Braves may just want to take that. Or, if you’re a Minnesota kid, maybe the idea of signing with the Twins for $10,000 might be very appealing. The Twins have a loaded offense and lots of great hitting prospects. They have begun to develop more pitchers as well. A player may look at the team’s organizational depth chart and believe they could be blocked or slowed, or simply have a better opportunity elsewhere. Ultimately, the decision is with the players. Some will want to sign, take some money, be done with school and start playing professionally (when possible). Many may decide to bet on themselves, thinking that in a year, they can end up with more money if things return closer to normal. Injuries certainly can factor into their decisions. For some, academics may be a factor. Family. Background. There are many factors that the players could consider. And, for those players willing to sign, the Twins scouts will try to counter any narrative and let them know the benefits of developing in the Twins organization as opposed to other organizations. Ultimately, Sean Johnson says, they will make their pitch and see what happens. “We’re basically going to show the player, here’s what we have to offer you, and we hope that you want to be a part of it. Check in often at Twins Daily as we will try to keep track of the Twins draft picks as they sign as well as trying to keep up with signings of any non-drafted players.
  7. If you're just catching up, the Twins took Aaron Sabato in the first round. Sabato is a first baseman from North Carolina. You can learn about him here. In the second round, the Twins took an outfielder, Alerick Soularie, from Tennessee. There's a ton of information on Soularie on this site. After forfeiting their third round pick, the Twins took a prep pitcher, Marco Raya, in the fourth round. The last pick the Twins made of the 2020 Draft is who this article is about: Kala'i Rosario, a prep outfielder from Hawaii. The Twins popped the best prospect from Hawaii in outfielder Kala'i Rosario, a slugger who has impressed with raw power and impressive exit velocities. Twins Scouting Director Sean Johnson said, "This guy can do real damage to the baseball. He’s strong. He’s got a good swing. Much in line with the three hitters we took." You can view some video of Rosario hitting here. Johnson said that the team met with about 50 of the top 60 players on their draft board via Zoom meetings. They didn't meet with ten or so at the top that they just knew wouldn't be there at 27. "We were able to connect with him. Technology really helped us here too, getting to know the player. John had a great relationship with the kid. We were lucky to connect with him on Zoom, like we did every guy we considered in the first 60 picks." Along with area scout John Leavitt, who was the only Twins guy to see Rosario play this spring before the seasons were cut short, they also received rave reviews from Kolton Wong's father. "We drafted Kolton. His brother is a phenomenal player as well. (Rosario) trains with that group. Kolton’s dad had rave reviews about the player. Comes from a great family. Tremendous kid. Really wired the right way." Baseball America has Rosario ranked as the draft's 88th best prospect and says this about the California Baptist commit: "Hawaii’s top 2020 draft prospect, Rosario separated himself last summer when he tied for the second-highest exit velocity at PG National and won the home run derby at the Area Code Games, sending one shot 440 feet. A strong, physical right-handed hitter, Rosario already posts exit velocities upward of 100 mph and elevates the ball to get the most from his brute strength. He draws consistent plus-plus power grades from evaluators and even an occasional 80. More than just a slugger, Rosario is a mature hitter who makes adjustments, can shoot the ball the other way and limits his strikeouts, although he is prone to swinging and missing at times. He is a good athlete for his size who currently plays center field but projects to move to a corner, likely left field unless his arm improves. Rosario has the bat to profile at any position and the strong makeup components to get the most from his talent. Many scouts consider him Hawaii's best high school draft prospect since 2014 first-rounder Kodi Medeiros." MLB.com viewed Rosario a little lower, plugging him in at 188. "All talk around Rosario centers around his bat, more specifically his plus-plus raw power. Rosario beat fellow Draft prospect Blaze Jordan in the Area Code Games home run derby last summer. He can get a little pull-happy and out front on his swing at times, and there are some concerns about his ability to hit enough to get to that raw pop consistently in games at the next level." "Rosario is a decent athlete, and he does play center field in high school, but as a tick-below-average runner who is already fairly physically mature, he is likely going to be limited to a corner, with left field his likely destination. He does have the power potential to profile well in an outfield corner, and that could be enough for the California Baptist recruit to get drafted." After five round (four picks), with three being offensive players, it was clear that the Twins continue to view the draft as an avenue to add players that they believe will be very good in the batter's box. It's less clear where these players will play defensively and, honestly, where the fit in the hierarchy of the existing depth chart - in many cases, we figure behind many others. But when you have a surplus, or potentially have a surplus, it makes it much easier to make moves to supplement your current major league team. And that's a position that we hope the Twins are at - adding to a potential world series team. The Twins added four assets in the last two days. Let's see what else they have up their sleeves.
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