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  1. Matt Wallner: 3 games, 3-for-11, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K; .273/.385/.545 (.930 OPS) overall. After missing about half of the 2021 minor league season with a hand injury, Matt Wallner is looking to make up development time in the AFL. He got off to a pretty good start. In the AFL season’s opening game that Scottsdale lost to Glendale 4-3, Wallner batted third in the lineup (which is a good indication of his talent level on a team with Marco Luciano and Triston Casas in the same lineup) and played in right field. He finished the game 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but notched a single in the third inning that put runners on the corners for a Scorpions scoring threat they didn’t cash in. His other at-bat was a lineout to left field in the fifth. After a day off, Wallner was back in the lineup on Friday for the Scorpions first win, a reverse of their opener where they defeated the Desert Dogs 4-3. Wallner batted fifth and switched sides in the outfield, getting the nod in left in this one. He finished 0-for-2, but drew a pair of walks and was on base when Curtis Mead clubbed the deciding three-run homer in the top of the seventh. In his final game of the week, an 8-2 victory over Peoria, Wallner was again batting fifth and was the designated hitter. Down 1-0 after three innings, Wallner stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on first before putting the Scorpions ahead for good with one swing of the bat. His homer to left-center field made the score 2-1. He got another RBI opportunity in the ninth, and delivered a run-scoring single to account for the Scorpions eighth and final run. It was an exclamation point game for the slugger to end his first week of action on a high note. Zach Featherstone: 2 appearances, 2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, BB, 4 K; 4.50 ERA, 2.50 WHIP overall. Zach Featherstone was an excellent part of the Cedar Rapids Kernels bullpen during the 2021 season, amassing 93 strikeouts in 55 innings with a 2.13 ERA and nine saves. He came in third in Twins Daily’s 2021 MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Year voting. While he definitely walked too many (42 batters) and is likely part of the reason he’s in Arizona, hoping to learn some new tricks when it comes to his command and control. He appeared in two games on the week, the first of which came in the season opener against Glendale. He was tabbed for the sixth inning and struck out the first two hitters he faced before allowing a double and single that put runners on the corners. He recovered nicely, striking out the next hitter on three pitches for a scoreless frame and a nice start to his AFL ledger when it comes to strikeouts. His second appearance of the AFL season came in Saturday’s 8-2 win over the Javelinas. He was the second reliever of the game for the Scorpions and came on to start the fifth inning. It wasn’t as clean as his first game, as he allowed a leadoff single where the runner ended up coming around to score on a double three batters later. He walked one and struck out one in his inning, being credited with a hold, and will look to continue racking up strikeouts in week 2. Andrew Bechtold: 2 games, 2-for-8, 2B, 0 BB, 3 K; .250/.250.375 (.625 OPS) overall. Andrew Bechtold was the Twins fifth round pick in the 2017 draft after an excellent season at Chipola College. He was among the organization's leaders in home runs during the 2021 minor league season with 18 in 99 games for Wichita. One interesting development for Bechtold that he will continue in the AFL, is the Twins working with him at the catcher position, where he advanced enough during the year that they got him in a single game there late. Bechtold had to wait for the Scorpions third game to get his first AFL action, and he was tabbed to play third base and bat seventh in the lineup in their 4-3 win over Glendale. He finished the game 1-for-4, clubbing a two-out double in the fifth inning before being stranded. His other three at-bats included three ground balls, including two that ended in double-plays. In Saturday’s 8-2 win, Bechtold again was batting seventh and got the start behind the dish for the Scorpions. I’m sure he’d like to have been better than his first three at-bats in his first game as the catcher for the Scorpions that all ended in strikeouts, but he got another chance in the eighth, where he singled to put a runner in scoring position. As the catcher, Bechtold allowed one stolen base with an errant throw, but later also threw a runner out at second. Scorpions pitchers walked eight Javelinas and had two wild pitches, but Bechtold surely contributed to them scoring just two runs calling the game as they were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. Kody Funderburk: 1 start, 2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 2 K; 18.00 ERA, 3.50 WHIP overall. After finishing the 2021 season as a reliever with Wichita, Kody Funderburk is tabbed as a starter for the Scorpions in the AFL. He did make 10 starts for Cedar Rapids before his promotion to Wichita where he was used only as a reliever. However, he was a long reliever and averaged more than three innings per appearance. He also had a sub 1.00 WHIP with Wichita and is likely in Arizona in part due to his limited innings as a professional, as he’s thrown just 155 innings since being drafted in 2018. Funderburk was on the mound to start Scottsdale’s second game of the season on Thursday, a game they lost big. You might think Funderburk was the biggest reason for that after you see he allowed four runs on six hits in his two innings, but those that followed him on the mound were infinitely worse as the Scorpions lost 13-5 behind a nine-run third inning after Funderburk’s day was over. He pitched a scoreless first inning, allowing only an infield single, but with a 4-0 lead after the top of the second, Funderburk wasn’t able to keep runners off the bases in the bottom half. Two doubles, three singles, and a walk in the inning led to the score being tied at four, but he did end his outing with his second strikeout of the frame and his outing. When I used that term “infinitely” above I was being quite literal, as the next two pitchers for Scottsdale in the third inning didn’t record a single out and were charged with nine earned runs. Michael Helman: 2 games, 3-for-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB, 0 K; .500/.625/.667 (1.292 OPS) overall. Like Bechtold, Michael Helman was among the organization's leaders in home runs during the 2021 season, slugging 19 with the Kernels in 111 games. He was an infielder when drafted and played mostly second base in his first two seasons, but in 2021 was primarily an outfielder (all three positions) with some middle-infield mixed in. He’ll likely play all around the diamond in Arizona, but I’ll be watching for his opportunities in center field especially. His first game of the week came in Thursday’s big loss to Mesa, but it wasn’t because of anything he did as he reached base three times and scored a run. He batted eighth in the lineup and played third base, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks. He drew his first base on balls in the second inning and later scored on a Jeter Downs single. In the fourth inning, he singled to right field and was on third base when the bases were loaded, but was forced out at home on a comebacker to the pitcher. His second walk of the game came in the eighth inning, but he was again the force out on a double-play ball that ended the inning. Helman was tabbed for center field in Saturday’s 8-2 win over the Javelinas, and batted eighth in the lineup behind his organizational teammate Andrew Bechtold. He singled in the fifth inning and later scored Scottsdale’s third run of the game on a double. In the seventh inning, his first double of the AFL season put a runner on third that later scored on a sacrifice fly from the next hitter. He finished the game 2-for-4 and his first week with an excellent batting line. Cody Laweryson: 1 appearance, 2 1/3 IP, 2 BB, 6 K; 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP overall. After a strong debut season in 2019 in which he struck out 63 batters in 46 innings with a 0.80 WHIP and 1.57 ERA, Cody Laweryson missed some time to start the 2021 and wasn’t back to pitching until June. The strikeouts were still there as he racked up 73 in just 58 2/3 innings with the Kernels over 15 games (14 starts), but the missed 2020 season and injury loomed large as his ERA was 4.91 with a 1.33 WHIP. He’s looking to make up some innings and gain confidence in the AFL. Laweryson’s lone appearance on the week came in Thursday’s 13-5 loss to Mesa. After his team fell behind so big he was one of the stabilizing forces, along with another of his organizational teammates, as he entered the game in the middle of the fourth inning with the bases loaded and only one out. He struck out both hitters he faced to squash that threat, and followed that up by striking out all three hitters in the fifth. Back out for the sixth he got two more outs, including another strikeout, before losing some steam and walking his final two hitters before being removed. I say that last bit a little tongue in cheek, as if you believe the data available, he should have gotten his seventh strikeout of the night on multiple pitches in the at-bat resulting in the first of those walks: In all, Laweryson struck out six hitters and walked two in his 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and if this game is any indication his confidence should be sky high moving forward. Evan Sisk: 1 appearance, 1 1/3 IP, H, 2 BB; 0.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP overall. Evan Sisk is new to the Twins organization, coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals in the trade of J.A. Happ during the 2021 season. He pitched in 14 games with the Wichita Wind Surge that resulted in a 4.87 ERA and 1.82 WHIP. Like Featherstone he’ll need to work to cut down his walks and the AFL gives him a good opportunity to hone those skills against top competition. Sisk’s only outing of the week also came in the Scorpions blowout loss to Mesa, but he was the pitcher who picked up where Laweryson left off after those walks in the sixth inning. He did issue another walk to the first hitter he faced to load the bases, but got a fly out to escape that jam. Back out for the seventh, Sisk gave up a leadoff single and a walk later in the inning, but otherwise got three ground ball outs to finish his game with a scoreless outing. In total, he allowed no runs on one hit and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Check back every week to see how Minnesota Twins prospects have played during the AFL season, and please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. The Scottsdale Scorpions team contains seven players from the Twins, Giants, “Guardians,” Rays, and Red Sox. As was announced just last week, the Twins are sending four pitchers and three position players. Right-hander Cody Laweryson and lefties Kody Funderburk, Zach Featherstone, and Evan Sisk will get some extra innings on the mound. Outfielder Matt Wallner, infielder Andrew Bechtold, and utility man Michael Helman will get more opportunities at the plate and in the field. For the Twins representatives, it is their first time playing in the league. Most of them hadn’t even been to Arizona for the Fall League as a fan. The lone exception is Kody Funderburk, who grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and frequented the ballparks in the Fall. The southpaw was a two-way player at Dallas Baptist, but he has been solely a pitcher since joining the Twins as their 15th round draft pick in 2018. He began this season at High-A Cedar Rapids, where he made ten starts and was 1-3 with a 3.18 ERA. In 45 1/3 innings, he had 59 strikeouts. He moved up to Double-A Wichita, and all seven of his appearances came out of the bullpen. He posted a 1.25 ERA and had 23 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. Ryan Smith has earned praise for his terrific work as the hitting coach of the Wichita Wind Surge, the same role he will have for Scottsdale. Smith noted, “Prior to last week, I had never been in Arizona!” The Twins prospects finished the season in either Cedar Rapids or Wichita. Both teams made the playoffs. They got a couple of weeks off before heading to Arizona for a week of practice. Each player has things they want to work on during their time in the Fall League. Likewise, Smith intends to continue to improve himself during his time there. He said, “ I’d like to continue to sharpen my communication (and Spanish-speaking) skills with this new group of players.” For Evan Sisk, the Fall League provides him with an opportunity to work on pitches and such. He came to the Twins at the trade deadline from the Cardinals in the J.A. Happ trade and spent the final two months working in the Wind Surge bullpen. He will also get to know these Twins teammates better. Minnesota native Matt Wallner missed about two months of the 2021 season because of a broken hamate bone. This time will allow him to get some of those missed at-bats back. He noted, “Working on seeing and being more comfortable against the better arms in this league.” Kernels starter Cody Laweryson missed time early in the season. His season began in June, and he made 14 starts. In 58 2/3 innings, he had 73 strikeouts. For him, it is mainly about working on his confidence. “My biggest thing to work on is keeping my confidence high no matter how my outings are going.” Like Funderburk, Zach Featherstone was a two-way player in college. The Twins drafted him in the 12th round of the 2016 draft as a first baseman/outfielder. He spent that first year in the organization as a hitter. However, he quickly moved to the mound. Unfortunately, after just a handful of innings in 2017, he had Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He was ready for a rehab appearance when a hurricane shut down the GCL season. Like others, he did not pitch in 2020. So you can imagine what it meant for him to get back on the mound for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2021. And he was terrific. By season’s end, he was the Kernels closer, and his pitches were much sharper. He noted, “I’m going to be working on getting ahead of hitters more often, attacking the strike zone with all three of my pitches.” Featherstone throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a curveball, and a slider that can be devastating at times. Michael Helman was drafted as a middle infielder in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Texas A&M. His power arrived in 2021. In 121 pro games between 2018 and 2019, he had 19 doubles and seven homers. In 111 games for the Kernels in 2021, he hit 21 doubles and 19 home runs. Helman did so while spending time playing all over the diamond. Having played one pro game in the outfield over his first two pro seasons, he played 42 games in left field, 27 games in right field, and 26 games in center field. He played 20 games in the middle infield. He pointed out, “I would like to become more of a complete player all around both on the offensive and defensive sides. I’m not sure if I’ll be playing more outfield or infield. I guess it just depends on where they want to work me in.” In the season’s first half, he split his time between first base and third base. After the Twins promoted Jose Miranda to St. Paul, Bechtold played more third base. In 99 games, he hit 23 doubles and 18 home runs. The day after the Wind Surge clinched a playoff spot, Bechtold played his first game as a catcher. It is something he had been working on for about a month. “I’m definitely going to be continuing to work on my catching. Catching for me was a project the last month or so of the season, and we put in a lot of work. I was able to catch in a game in Double-A this year because of how well the progression we were working on worked. I know catching is a valuable tool for me to have. I’m excited to continue to work on it and continue to get more experience. Along with catching, I want to continue to develop as much range as possible at third base and continue to fine-tune my approach at the plate.” The Arizona Fall League is something that baseball fans should include on their bucket list. And for players, the opportunity to play in the league is tremendous. The players should be excited about this opportunity, and they all are. Bechtold said, “I’m most looking forward to playing against guys you may not normally see, whether that’s because of the league they are in or level. I think the AFL is a great opportunity to see guys first-hand and see how you compare to some of the other organizations’ top talents. I think playing with high-caliber players for an extended period of time pushes you and forces you to play your best baseball, so I’m looking forward to that.” It is about testing yourself against prospects from around baseball. Featherstone said, “I’m looking forward to getting to compete against some of the best minor league competition from this year.” Laweryson explained, “I would say I’m most looking forward to the competition I’m going to face and the great players I’m going to be playing with.” Wallner echoed the sentiment, “ Looking forward to competing against upper-level competition that’s out here.” And so did Helman, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play against some great competition.” One of the great things about the Fall League and playing with coaches and players from other organizations is the chance to learn from others. Maybe try something that will click for them and help them achieve another level of success. Smith is undoubtedly looking forward to that. “I’m really looking forward to the collaboration with coaches and players from other organizations, as well as enjoying the great fall weather out in AZ. ” To summarize, Bechtold said, “I’ve heard a lot about it just being a baseball fan growing up, and I always knew it was something I would want to play in one day if given the opportunity. I think the Twins have a good group of guys here, so I’m excited to experience it with them and really take it all in and enjoy my time here.” In the past, I have chatted with players after the AFL season is complete to hear their experiences. Most are just thrilled to have had the opportunity to have met such great players and people from other organizations. It’s fun to see if they were able to accomplish some of the things they wanted to. Each week throughout the AFL season, Twins Daily will update how the Twins prospects have performed.
  3. The Arizona Fall League started in 1992 as an off-season league where some of baseball’s best up-and-coming prospects can take the field together. Six teams make up the AFL, and each club plays a 30-game schedule. According to MLB.com, “Nearly 60 percent of all AFL players make a Major League roster, with the league boasting 321 All-Stars, 21 MVPs, six Cy Young Award winners, eight World Series MVPs, 103 Silver Sluggers, 96 Gold Gloves and 32 Rookies of the Year.” Will any of the names mentioned below be able to add to the accolades mentioned above? Here are the top five Twins prospects heading to the 2021 Arizona Fall League: 5. Michael Helman, 2B/OF 2021 Stats: .246/.336/.462 (.798), 19 HR, 21 2B, 4 3B, 87 K, 51 BB (111 G) Helman ended the 2019 season at High-A, and he spent all of 2021 at the same level. He was over 2.5 years older than the average age of the competition at that level. During the 2021 season, he was among the organization leaders in homers. He is listed as a second baseman on the AFL rosters, even though he primarily played in the outfield this season. This might be an opportunity to get him more reps in the infield. 4. Kody Funderburk, LHP 2021 Stats: 2.55 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 82 K, 28 BB (67.0 IP) Minnesota selected Funderburk with their 15th round pick back in 2018. During the 2019 season, he struggled at Low-A as he posted a 4.68 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 13 appearances (10 starts). Funderburk posted strong numbers between High- and Double-A this season while being used as a starter and a reliever. He has only pitched 155 innings as a professional, so this is likely an opportunity for him to get more innings under his belt. 3. Zach Featherstone, LHP 2021 Stats: 2.13 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 93 K, 42 BB (55.0 IP) Entering 2021, Featherstone was limited to 18 1/3 innings since the Twins drafted him as a position player in 2016. None of those innings came above the rookie leagues. Minnesota pushed him to High-A this season, where the 25-year old was 1.7 years older than the average age of the competition. Featherstone posted an eye-popping 15.2 K/9 out of the bullpen this season. Unfortunately, he also walked nearly seven batters per nine. This is likely an opportunity to get Featherstone some more innings so he can work on his control. 2. Andrew Bechtold, 3B 2021 Stats: .239/.328/.459 (.786), 18 HR, 23 2B, 131 K, 45 BB (99 Games) Originally, Bechtold was a fifth-round pick by the Twins back in 2017. His college experience at Maryland helped him post an .829 OPS at Elizabethton. He struggled in 2018 at Low-A as his OPS dropped by 236 points. The Twins sent him back to Low-A in 2019, and he split time between Low- and High-A with a .738 OPS. Like Helman, he was among the organization leaders in homers this season. Defensively, he continues to play at third base with some time at first. 1. Matt Wallner, OF 2021 Stats: .265/.350/.504 (.854), 15 HR, 14 2B, 2 3B, 100 K, 28 BB (68 Games) Wallner strikes out a bunch, but he has light-tower power, which puts him at the top of this list. He came in as the organization’s 12th best prospect in the most recent Twins Daily prospect rankings. A broken hamate bone limited him to 68 games, so sending him to the AFL to recoup some last at-bats makes sense. In a third of his plate appearances this season, he struck out, so that will be something to watch in Arizona. How would you rank these players? What will you be looking for in the AFL? 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
  4. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the organization’s transactions and the FCL Twins game from Monday. TRANSACTIONS There were several announced transactions on Monday’s minor league off day. Several 2021 Twins draft picks debuted in the FCL on Monday. 10th round pick Ernie Yake from Gonzaga, 15th round pick Mikey Perez (UCLA) and 20th round pick Dillon Tatum (UC-Irvine) were activated and made their first starts. Ft. Myers shortstop Jesus Feliz was placed on the Injured List. RHP Steven Cruz was activated by the Mighty Mussels. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 9, FCL Braves 10 Box Score Ernie Yake led off and was the second baseman. He went 1-for-2 with three walks, two runs, an RBI and two stolen bases in his pro debut. Mikey Perez had a strong pro debut too. He played third base and batted fifth. He homered in his first pro at bat. He ended up going 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs, two RBI and a stolen base. Finally Dillon Tatum caught and batted ninth. He went 0-for-1 but walked in his first plate appearance. Endy Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a walk, his second double and his second home run, a three-run shot in the second inning. Niklas Rimmel started and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out four batters. Giovahnney German came on and gave up three runs on four hits. In two innings, he walked two and struck out four. Elipidio Perez tossed two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit and a walk and struck out two batters. Jackson Hicks came on and was charged with five runs (2 earned) on three hits. He recorded just one out. Samuel Perez got five outs, two on strikeouts. He gave up just one hit. With that, let’s look at Week 18 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4, @ Columbus), overall (55-53) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (2-4, @ Arkansas), overall (62-46) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (3-3, hosting Quad Cities), overall (59-49) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (2-4, hosting Bradenton), overall (52-52) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (2-4), overall (17-31) STANDINGS Triple-A East Midwest: Toledo 62-46, Omaha 61-47, St. Paul 55-53. Double-A Central North: Wichita 62-46, Arkansas 59-49, Tulsa 58-50. High-A Central West: Quad Cities 70-36, Cedar Rapids 59-49, Wisconsin 52-55. Low-A Southeast: Tampa 70-36, Bradenton 65-41, Ft. Myers 52-52. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Saints Swept, Wichita Wins Propeller Series Who will be the Twins Top Prospect in 2023? Twins to Promote Olympic Medalist Joe Ryan, Slated to Start Wednesday Tuesday: Wichita Whacks, Louie Lights it up Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - August 2021 (Trey Cabbage) Wednesday: Saints Clip Columbus, Vallimonster Not Enough for Wichita Finding the Next Bailey Ober Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - August 2021 (Sawyer Gipson-Long) Thursday: Kernels Walk it off! A Celebration of Joe Ryan’s Hair Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - August 2021 (Ryan Shreve) Friday: Wind Surge Win Wild One Saturday: Simeon Woods Richardson Debuts Sunday: Close But No Sweep-gar Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 18 performances Twins Player of the Week: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Encarnacion-Strand was the Twins fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft after a strong junior season at Oklahoma State. This past week, he played in six games, went 14-for-27 and hit .538/.556/.808 (1.363) with a double, two homers and eight RBI. After spending two seasons at Yavapai College (Arizona), he played in 56 games this year for Oklahoma State. He hit .361/.442/.661 (1.103) with 17 doubles, three triples and 15 homers. Now in 12 total games with the Mighty Mussels, he has hit .420/.431/.700 (1.131) with two doubles and four homers. Twins Pitcher of the Week: David Festa, FCL Twins Festa was the Twins 13th round in 2021 out of Seton Hall. This week, he pitched once out of relief and threw three scoreless innings. He issued no walks and six strikeouts. Overall, he has made two appearances and has given up just one hit and struck out eight batters in eight scoreless innings. This year at Seton Hall, he went 6-4 with a 2.00 ERA. In 72 innings, he gave up just 44 hits, walked 33 and struck out 67 batters. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Charlie Barnes returned from his month with the Twins and had another strong showing for the Saints. In five scoreless innings, he gave up just two hits and walked one. He struck out three batters. Fellow lefty Bryan Sammons gave up only two unearned runs on four hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out four batters. Yennier Cano had an outing in which he gave up just one hit over 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Derek Law tossed two scoreless innings in his outing, which is good, but then he was DFAd over the weekend. Caleb Hamilton made his first appearance with the Saints. He played in just two games but went 2-for-5 with a home run. Drew Maggi played five games. He hit .333/.368/.722 (1.091) with a double, two homers and eight RBI. Wichita Wind Surge Simeon Woods-Richardson returned to the mound after not pitching since mid-July. He tossed 40 pitches in 1 1/3 innings. Tyler Beck came on in relief and threw five scoreless innings in relief. He struck out five batters. Jordan Gore struck out four batters over two scoreless innings. Zach Neff tossed 3 2/3 shutout innings. He didn’t even give up a hit. Chris Vallimont gave up one run over five innings in his start last week. While he walked four batters, he struck out nine. Ben Gross struck out seven batters over four innings in relief. He gave up one run. Stevie Berman came to the Twins organization from the Dodgers in exchange for Andrew Vasquez. In his first game, he hit a big, grand slam for the Wind Surge. Roy Morales played in all six games and hit .391/.462/.522 (.983) with three doubles. DJ Burt played in six games and hit .304. Cedar Rapids Kernels Aaron Rozek gave up one run on five hits over five innings. Louie Varland gave up one run on three hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out eight batters. Sawyer Gipson-Long gave up two runs on one hit and three walks over six innings. Michael Helman played in all six games. He hit .318/.400/.591 (.991) with three doubles, a homer and five RBI. Alex Isola played four games and hit .278 with a double and two home runs. Also Seth Gray hit .333 (6-for-18) with a double and a triple. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Carlos Suniaga worked 3 2/3 one-hit innings and struck out four batters. Casey Legumina came on in relief and tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings on three hits and a walk. He struck out five batters. Regi Grace returned to the mound and gave up just one hit, one walk and one hit batter over three scoreless innings. He struck out five. Logan Campbell struck out five batters over three hitless, shutout frames. He walked one and struck out five batters. Willie Joe Garry played in four games and hit .250/.438/.583 (1.021) with a double and a homer. He walked three batters. Will Holland hit .278/.381/.611 (.992) with a double, a triple and a home run over five games. FCL Twins Develson Aria struck out six batters in three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and one walk. Juan Mendez also tossed three scoreless innings, and struck out four batters. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints Jason Garcia came up and made a start. In two innings, he gave up four runs on four hits and a walk. Ian Hamilton also gave up four runs over two innings. He gave up five hits and walked two batters. Vinny Nittoli made his return to the Saints. He gave up two runs on a walk and a home run. Chandler Shepherd gave up five runs over four innings in his start. He gave up eight hits and walked two batters. Sherman Johnson went 0-for-7. BJ Boyd went 2-for-14 (.143). Jimmy Kerrigan went 2-for-16 (.125) with a double. Trevor Larnach played in just one game before being placed in the IL with a hand contusion. Wichita Wind Surge Mitchell Osnowitz gave up four runs on two hits and three walks over just 1 1/3 innings. In five games, Aaron Whitefield went 2-for-16 (.125). Leobaldo Cabrera went 3-for-22 (.136) with 11 strikeouts in six games. Spencer Steer played six games and went 3-for-21 (.143) with 11 strikeouts. Ten of 13 Wichita hitters who played at all last week had a batting average under .200. Cedar Rapids Kernels The day that Twins Daily named Ryan Shreve the relief pitcher of the month, he gave up four runs on three walks and recorded just one out. Carlos Suniaga was called up and gave up five runs on four hits (2 homers) and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Osiris German gave up four runs in 2 2/3 innings. In his first High-A start, Sean Mooney gave up five runs on five hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out six batters. Jair Camargo went 2-for-12 (.167) with five strikeouts. Matt Wallner went 3-for-18 (.167) with nine strikeouts. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Over two appearances, AJ Labas gave up five runs on seven hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. Juan Pichardo gave up three runs on two hits (1 HR), a hit batter and two walks. Justin Washington went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts. Kole McKinnon went 1-for-8 (.125) with three strikeouts. In four games, Charles Mack went 1-for-13 (.077). Patrick Winkel went 2-for-15 (.133) with a double. Radcliff Enshrined in Professional Sports Hall of Fame On Friday in Ft. Myers Twins Vice President of Player Personnel Mike Radcliff was enshrined in the Killebrew Root Beer Professional Scouts Hall of Fame. He is the 16th person inducted into this group. He now has a plaque outside the main entrance at Hammond Stadium. To be considered for induction, a person should: Strong professional scouting background Represented the scouting community in a professional manner and made contributions to growing the game of baseball. Made a significant impact within their organization. Worked and resided in Florida for a significant portion of their career. Radcliff was hired by Terry Ryan in 1987 and remains in the organization. A Kansas City native and resident, he began as the team’s Midwest Area Scout. By 1993, he was named the team’s Scouting Director. He remained in that position until 2007 when he became the Vice President of Player Personnel. He was the scouting director during seasons in which the Twins selected players such as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, Denard Span, Todd Walker, Glen Perkins, Michael Cuddyer, AJ Pierzynski, Trevor Plouffe and many more players. Others in this Pro Scouts Hall of Fame include Terry Ryan and Larry Corrigan from the Twins organization, and Marty Scott who was involved in the early days of the St. Paul Saints. Of scouting, Radcliff said “What scouts can offer up most is the vetting of the player, the makeup of the player – what he’s about. His different personality traits are going to impact and affect how he applies his physical tools to the journey of developing. The best teams are incorporating all of that into one giant process. Hopefully we’re one of those teams.” Mike Radcliff is such a knowledgeable baseball man. It has always been enjoyable to see him on the back fields in Ft. Myers during minor league spring training, just observing players. He wasn’t afraid to answer questions about players, and very straight-forward. Always nice. Sometimes willing to offer a little more than you would think, and that’s fun. Congratulations to a man who has spent almost 35 years in this Twins organization and had a major impact on the various successes they have had over the years. 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) - 26 games, .255/.397/.408 (.805) with 6 doubles, 3 home runs, 17 RBI, 15 BB, 26 K. #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 18 GS, 87.1 IP, 94 H, 32 BB, 92 K, 3.61 ERA, 1.44 WHIP #4 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 1.1 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA, 2.25 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) – 107 games, .333/.396/.557 (.953) with 25 doubles, 25 homers, 76 RBI, 39 BB, 69 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 (1 GS, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 5.40 ERA, 0.80 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) - Has yet to pitch. #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 #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) – 54 games, .252/.339/.481 (.820) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 35 RBI, 22 BB, 82 K. #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (28 games, .277/.376/.475 (.851) with 8 doubles, 4 homers, 19 RBI, 15 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 7 GS, 31.2 IP, 38 H, 16 BB, 26 K, 7.39 ERA, 1.71 WHIP. #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 14 games, .212/.300/.327 (.627) with three doubles, 1 homer, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 15 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minneapolis) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (39 games, .200/.299/.385 (.684) with 7 doubles, 6 homers, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 50 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) – 93 games, .188/.297/.288 (.586) with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers, 50 RBI, 51 BB, 75 K, 12 SB) #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 16 G, 15 GS, 63.1 IP, 51 H, 28 BB, 82 K, 3.13 ERA, 1.25 WHIP #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 98 games, .255/.353/.496 (.849) with 15 doubles, 3 triples, 23 homers, 58 RBI, 51 BB, 95 K) LOOKING AHEAD Palm Beach @ Ft. Myers: (Zarion Sharpe, John Stankiewicz, Casey Legumina, Cade Povich, Regi Grace, TBD): Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin: TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD): NW Arkansas @ Wichita: (Cole Sands, Austin Schulfer, Simeon Woods-Richardson, TBD, TBD, TBD): Omaha @ St. Paul: (Bryan Sammons, Drew Strotman, Beau Burrows, Charlie Barnes, Andrew Albers, Bryan Sammons): Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  5. 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)
  6. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the FCL Twins game and the transactions from Monday. TRANSACTIONS There were several announced transactions on Monday’s minor league off day, and don’t be surprised if there are more tomorrow. OF BJ Boyd was promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. 1B Aaron Sabato was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. IF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, the Twins 4th round pick in the July draft, was assigned to Ft. Myers. IF Jake Rucker, the Twins 7th round pick in the July draft, was assigned to Ft. Myers. C Kole McKinnon returns to Ft. Myers after rehabbing in the FCL. OF Max Smith (Cedar Rapids) was released . C Allante Hall (FCL Twins) was released. RHP Hector Andrade (DSL Twins) was released. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 5, FCL Orioles 6 Box Score This game was shortened to seven innings due to the rains. Jackson Hicks made the start. He was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk over three innings. He struck out four batters. Ricardo Velez went the next two innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He struck out three batters. Cole Bellair struck out four batters over the final two innings. He didn’t give up a hit or issue a walk. Carlos Aguiar went 2-for-2 with a walk and his fourth home run. Emmanuel Rodriguez added his sixth homer of the season, and he threw out a runner trying to advance to third base. Kala’i Rosario had a two-run single. Noah Miller went 1-for-4. Zander Wiel went 1-for-3, and Gabe Snyder went 0-for-2 with a walk, as the first basemen continued their rehab on Monday. With that, let’s look at Week 16 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (5-2, hosting Iowa), overall (53-43) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1 @ Springfield), overall (57-39) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Wisconsin), overall (53-43) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3 @ Dunedin), overall (47-44) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (3-3), overall (12-25) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Wind Surge Power TD Top Twins Prospect Rankings (Post Draft and Trade Deadline): Recap Hard Lessons Learned in Trevor Larnach’s Rookie Campaign Tuesday: We Will, We Will, Walk-Off You Scouting Twins Prospects: RHP Ben Gross Wednesday: Affiliates Blast Off Thursday: Oh, ho, ho, it’s Maggi(c)! Joe Ryan and Byron Buxton Highlight an Eventful Night at CHS Field Friday: Ryan Dazzles in Saints Debut Saturday: You Have the Right to be a Hitting Machine Miranda: 3 Ways to Get Him to Minneapolis Sunday: Wichita Bats Surge, Buck Go Boom Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 16 performances Twins Player of the Week: BJ “Bossman” Boyd, Wichita Wind Surge After spending seven seasons in the Oakland A’s organization, reaching Triple-A in 2018 at 24, BJ Boyd decided to go a different direction. In 2019, he headed to college and played football. He played well enough that he was getting several calls from Division I schools. Then the pandemic hit. This spring, he was sitting at home when the Twins called. He signed and was sent to Double-A Wichita in late May. He has been incredible since. In 66 games, the outfielder has hit .313/.369/.543 (.912) with 12 doubles, 15 homers and 60 RBI for the Wind Surge. And on Tuesday, he will return to Triple-A after earning his promotion. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Joe Ryan, St. Paul Saints He was a strong starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Then he headed to Tokyo to pitch for Team USA. That’s where he found out he had been traded to the Twins in the Nelson Cruz trade. He responded by going 2-0 and helping Team USA to a silver medal at the Olympics! Then he came back, packed up, came to Minnesota and threw a couple of bullpens before making his first start in the Twins organization on Friday night in St. Paul. I think it’s fair to say that it went well. He struck out the first six batters he faced and nine batters in four innings. He gave up just one run, on a solo homer. Ryan was the Rays seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Cal State-Stanislaus. He appeared in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect rankings after he led minor league baseball with 183 strikeouts in 2019. That season, between two levels of A ball and Double-A, he went 9-4 with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. Before heading to Japan, he pitched in 12 games for Triple-A Durham and was 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. In 57 innings, he had 10 walks and 75 strikeouts. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Drew Maggi continues to have a strong showing in 2021. Last week, he played in five games and hit .357/.526/.571 (1.098) with a homer and five RBI. He also stole three bases. Gilberto Celestino played in all six games and hit .294/.478/.588 (1.066) with two doubles and a homer. He also walked six times with just four strikeouts. Tomas Telis also played all six games. He hit .440/.462/.600 (1.062) with a double and a homer. Jimmy Kerrigan played in just three games but hit .364 with a homer. Ian Hamilton worked 5 1/3 innings over three games last week. He went 1-0 with a save. He gave up no runs on one hit. He walked one and struck out seven. Yennier Cano tossed 3 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings. He walked three and struck out four. Chris Nunn struck out four batters over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Ryan Mason struck out six batters over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Wichita Wind Surge Leobaldo Cabrera played in five games. He hit just .263 (5-for-19), but he hit a double and three homers, and drove in nine runs. He posted a 1.164 OPS. Spencer Steer played in just four of the games. He hit .389/.450/.667 (1.117) with two doubles and a homer. Tyler Beck gave up five hits and two walks over six scoreless innings. He struck out six batters. Jordan Balazovic struck out six batters over six shutout frames. More impressive that he didn’t give up any runs when he also gave up four hits and five walks. Jordan Gore recorded a Save and worked 2 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels Michael Helman continued to show some surprising, and impressive power. Last week, he hit .261/.393/.783 (1.175) with four home runs. He also walked five times and stole two bases. Edouard Julien had a nice week. He hit .412/.615/.529 (1.145) with two doubles and nine walks. He also stole two bags. Matt Wallner played five games and hit .350/.458/.650 (1.108) with three doubles and a homer. No extra base hits, but Wander Javier hit .350 (7-for-20). Sawyer Gipson-Long made one start. In six innings, he gave up only an unearned run on three hits. He walked one and struck out eight. Louie Varland became the first Kernels starter to record an out in the 7th inning when he tossed seven full innings. He gave up one run on six hits. He struck out six batters without a walk. Ben Gross worked five innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits. He walked three and struck out six batters. Denny Bentley made his first two High-A appearances. He gave up two hits over four scoreless innings. He struck out five batters without issuing a walk. Zach Featherstone struck out six batters over 3 1/3 hitless innings. He walked one. Ryan Shreve struck out eight batters over 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and walked none. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Jesus Feliz has really come on of late. In six games last week, he hit .333/.481/.762 (1.243) with three home runs. He also walked five times and stole two bases. Patrick Winkel has a strong first full professional week. The catcher played four games and hit .400/.526/.600 (1.126) with a homer and four walks. Steven Cruz had a terrific week. He worked five innings over two outings. He gave up just an unearned run on two hits and a walk. He also struck out ten batters. Randy Dobnak’s rehab appearance was three perfect innings with five strikeouts. Casey Legumina gave up one run over four innings. He struck out seven batters. Juan Pichardo pitched twice and gave up one run over four hits in four innings. He struck out eight batters. FCL Twins Luis Gomez went 5-for-9 (.556) with three doubles in his four games. Carlos Aguiar went 5-for-13 (.385) with three homers and six RBI. Rubel Cespedes went 2-for-9 (.222) over three games this week, but both hits were home runs. Wander Valdez played in five games. He hit .333/.412/.600 (1.012) with a double and a home run. Kala’i Rosario hit .368 with two doubles, a homer and seven RBI. Wilker Reyes went 1-0. He gave up five hits but no runs over five scoreless innings. Giovahnney German threw four hitless, scoreless innings. He struck out three batters. (although he did walk six batters). Malik Barrington recorded a save in his professional debut. He gave up one hit over three scoreless innings. He struck out six batters. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints Ben Rortvedt has certainly had some moments since returning to the Saints. This past week, he went 1-for-13 (.077) with five strikeouts. Sherman Johnson went 1-for-10 (.100), and Drew Stankiewicz went 2-for 16 (.125), though he did have four walks and a homer. Robinson Leyer gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits and two walks over two innings. Nick Vincent got DFAd by the Twins and then gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits (2 homers) and a walk in 2 2/3 innings. Wichita Wind Surge Ernie de la Trinidad went 2-for-13 (.154) in his three games. Jermaine Palacios played all six games and went 3-for-19 (.158), though he had two doubles. Chris Vallimont made two starts last week. He gave up ten earned runs on ten hits (4 homers) and six walks in just nine innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels Gabriel Maciel played in four games and went 2-for-14 (.143). Seth Gray went 3-for-20 (.150) over five games. He did have a double and a homer and six RBI. Andrew Cabezas gave up six runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings in his start. Tyler Watson gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk over 2 2/3 innings. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Will Holland played in five games and went 0-for-17. Misael Urbina went 3-for-24 (.125) over six games. Trending Storyline Here is a quick look at how Twins minor leaguers rank against all minor leaguers. Jose Miranda: Batting Average (.342, 5th), Slugging Percentage (.590, 10th), OPS (.995, 8th), Hits (135, 1st), Home Runs (25, 3rd), RBI (72, 11th), Runs (79, 2nd) Extra Base Hits (48, 8th), Total Bases (233, 1st). BJ Boyd: Batting Average (.319, 16th), Trey Cabbage: Home Runs (23, 10th), RBI (71, 15th) Spencer Steer: Home Runs (22, 18th), Runs (70, 17th), Austin Martin: On-Base Percentage (.429, 15th), Hit By Pitch (22, 3rd), Wander Javier: Triples (10, 2nd), Edouard Julien: Walks (90, 1st), Runs (75, 6th), Stolen Bases: (31, 19th), Number of Pitches (1820, 1st)... Aaron Sabato: Walks (73, 5th), Yunior Severino: Doubles (27, 13th), Ben Gross: ERA (3.16, 8th), WHIP (1.19, 18th), Winning Percentage (.833, 3rd), Drew Strotman: Winning Percentage (.700, 13th), 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) - 17 games, .262/.444/.377 (.821) with 4 doubles, 1 home run, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 13 K. #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 15 GS, 71.0 IP, 70 H, 29 BB, 78 K, 3.42 ERA, 1.39 WHIP #4 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - Has not pitched since the Olympics. #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) – 95 games, .342/.405/.590 (.995) with 23 doubles, 25 homers, 72 RBI, 36 BB, 58 K #7 - Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.50 WHIP #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 5 GS, 21.0 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 43 K, 0.86 ERA, 0.67 WHIP #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Has yet to pitch. #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 54 games, .247/.305/.321 (.626) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 23 RBI, 17 BB, 78 K, 5 SB #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 44 games, .277/.354/.549 (.903) with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 35 RBI, 17 BB, 65 K. #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (18 games, .281/.395/.531 (.926) with 4 doubles, 4 homers, 15 RBI, 11 BB, 15 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 18 K, 5.63 ERA, 1.58 WHIP. #15 - Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 5 games, .222/.286/.222 (.508) with 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (32 games, .200/.273/.408 (.681) with 7 doubles, 6 homers, 10 RBI, 8 BB, 41 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) – 82 games, .190/.289/.294 (583) with 9 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homer, 49 RBI, 41 BB, 65 K, 12 SB) #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 14 G, 13 GS, 55.1 IP, 41 H, 24BB, 75 K, 2.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 87 games, .262/.363/.515 (.878) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 22 homers, 53 RBI, 46 BB, 78 K) LOOKING AHEAD Bradenton @ Ft. Myers: (Matt Mullenbach, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD): Cedar Rapids @ Beloit:(Louie Varland, Tyler Watson, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Cody Laweryson, Ben Gross, Louie Varland) Tulsa @ Wichita: (Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, Austin Schulfer) St. Paul @ Toledo: (Beau Burrows, Joe Ryan, TBD, TBD, Drew Strotman, Beau Burrows): Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  7. TRANSACTIONS Twins placed Miguel Sano on paternity list and recalled Edgar Garcia from Triple-A Nick Vincent cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Iowa 4 Box Score Saint Paul was a hot ticket tonight as both Byron Buxton and Joe Ryan were in the starting lineup. The former was kicking off a rehab assignment while the latter was making his organizational debut after being acquired in the Nelson Cruz deal while pitching in the Olympics. Returning from Tokyo and his efforts with Team USA, Ryan was every bit as impressive as you could’ve hoped. He worked four innings allowing just a single run on a solo shot, but struck out the first six batters he saw, and nine in total. Ryan Mason also looked great in relief of the Saints starter going 2 1/3 innings giving up a single hit and punching out five. The scoring started for the Saints when Byron Buxton drove in Jose Miranda on a sacrifice fly (that replay showed should have been a double). Iowa walked six batters in the first frame, so opportunities were plentiful. Jimmy Kerrigan plated Trevor Larnach on a single before a bases-loaded walk to Ben Rortvedt scored Tomas Telis. Drew Stankiewicz then walked scoring Mark Contreras, and Miranda singled in both Kerrigan and Rortvedt on his first hit. After Iowa's run scored in the 4th, Ryan Mason came on to slam the door. He picked up his first Triple-A win working 2 1/3 innings and allowing just a single hit and striking out five. Chris Nunn also extended his scoreless streak with another 1 1/3 innings worked without a run. Jimmy Kerrigan drove in Larnach in the 7th inning to match a Cubs run from the fourth frame, and Iowa did make things interesting with three in the 9th, but ultimately St. Paul held on. Kerrigan and Drew Maggi were the only Saints with two hits tonight. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 6, Springfield 4 Box Score Blossoming Twins prospect Cole Sands took the ball tonight for the Wind Surge, but he was chased after just 1 1/3 innings of work. He allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks while striking out one. Sands needed 39 pitches to record his four outs tonight. After trailing 2-0 through two innings, Wichita picked up their starter. Spencer Steer singled to drive in Austin Martin, and Trey Cabbage plated Roy Morales on a 3rd inning single of his own. The score wouldn't hold with Springfield adding a third run in the bottom half of the inning, but Aaron Whitefield singled in the 4th inning to score Andrew Bechtold and knot things at three. Getting behind again in the 4th, Wichita took the lead for good in the 5th. Cabbage reached on a throwing error that scored B.J. Boyd before Leobaldo Cabrera drove in Morales with a sacrifice fly. In the 7th inning, Cabrera hit his seventh longball of the year and gave the good guys two runs worth of breathing room. Jordan Gore continues to be great on the bump and worked 2 1/3 innings to close this one out. Morales had a three-hit night while Whitefield picked up two of his own. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Wisconsin 1 Box Score The Kernels sent Sawyer Gipson-Long to the bump tonight, and he was great over six strong innings. He allowed just a single, unearned run on three hits and gave up one free pass. He did punch out eight batters on the evening and dropped his ERA to 3.27 since joining the Kernels. Michael Helman opened the scoring with a solo shot in the 3rd; his 13th home run of the season. After the Timber Rattlers answered in the 4th, Cedar Rapids went back to work. Wander Javier drove in Yunior Severino with a 5th inning single, and Helman lifted his second solo shot of the game in the 6th to make it 3-1. That’s where this one would end with Zach Featherstone (2.0 IP, 4 K) and Melvi Acosta (1.0 IP 1 K, SV) both providing hitless relief efforts. Helman, Javier, and Max Smith all recorded two-hit nights for the Kernels. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 5, Fort Myers 4 (F/10) Box Score Taking the ball for Fort Myers tonight was Sean Mooney. He worked 3 2/3 innings and allowed just a single run on three hits and two walks. He punched out seven and his ERA now sits at a miniscule 1.08 on the campaign. Getting behind in the first, the Mighty Mussels evened things up on an Alerick Soularie single that scored Justin Washington. Keoni Cavaco then put a run on the board when Willie Joe Garry to score on his sacrifice fly in the 5th. Trailing again in the 7th, it was Cavaco who knotted things at three. A second sacrifice fly plated Justin Washington before Aaron Sabato left the yard for his 11th homer of the season. After recording the first out in the bottom of the 9th, Carlos Suniaga gave up a base runner who then came around on the inning’s second single. Tying the game at four. This one was headed to the 10th. With Fort Myers coming up short in the top half of extras, Dunedin took advantage with their turn and walked off the Mighty Mussels in the bottom half. 2021 draftee Patrick Winkel had two hits on the evening while Washington added three of his own. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 7, FCL Red Sox 2 Box Score Erasmo Moreno was on the bump for this one and provided four strong innings of work. He allowed just one run on two hits while striking out two and walking one. Malik Barrington, recently signed as an undrafted free agent from Albany State University, made his professional debut and picked up the save. He worked three innings and struck out six allowing just a single hit. The Twins took the lead in the third inning after getting down by one run. 2020 draft pick Kala’i Rosario hit his third homer of the year, a two-run shot, that also plated Zander Wiel. After giving up the lead in the 5th, and 6th inning Wander Valdez solo shot put the Twins back up by a run. Rosario was back at it again in the 7th inning as his seventh double scored another run and pushed the lead to 4-2. Two wild pitches in the 8th allowed Valdez and Argenis Jimenez to score before a Luis Gomez double plated Noah Cardenas to push the final tally out to 7-2. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day- Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K Hitter of the Day- Michael Helman (Cedar Rapids) - 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR(14) PROSPECT SUMMARY Our most recent (post deadline and draft) prospect rankings are up! Check them out here. #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Injured List (ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 BB, K #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) - 1-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, K #7 - Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-3, 2 RBI, K #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (shoulder) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, 2B, B, K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-1, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-3, BB, K #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-4, RBI, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – TBD Wichita @ Springfield (6:05PM CST) – RHP Jordan Balazovic (4-2, 3.74 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Cody Laweryson (1-3, 5.06 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30PM CST) – TBD
  8. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the FCL Twins game on Monday. There were no transactions announced on Monday. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 0, FCL Pirates Black 3 Box Score On Monday, the FCL Twins fell to 6-18 despite a nice start from a rehabbing Lewis Thorpe. The lefty from Australia tossed three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one and struck out four batters. Danny Moreno came up a run in the fourth on a hit and two walks. Matt Mullenbach gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. Cole Bellair got the final four outs, two on strikeouts. The Twins managed just four hits in the game. Yonardy Soto’s double was the lone extra-base hit. With that, let’s look at Week 13 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (3-3, hosting Indianapolis), overall (40-37) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (3-3, @ NW Arkansas), overall (44-34) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, @ Wisconsin), overall (44-34) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (1-2,@ Clearwater), overall (40-35) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-4), overall (6-18) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Second Half Success Scouting Twins Prospects: Jose Miranda Tuesday: Everybody Hits, Sometimes… Wednesday: Bombas Across the Board Thursday: Saints Hold Serve Twins Prospect Joe Ryan Excels in Olympic Debut Twins Acquire Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson Twins Acquire Evan Sisk Twins Claim Edgar Garcia off Waivers Twins Acquire Alex Scherff Friday: You Win Some, You Lose Some, Sometimes There’s COVID 5 Things to Know About Twins Deadline Centerpiece Austin Martin The Twins Have Got to Make Their Loaded Farm System Count 5 Things To Know About Twins Pitcher Simeon Woods-Richardson Saturday: A New Prospect Approaches Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - July 2021 Sunday: Tyler Beck Dazzles for Kernels, Surge Win a Thriller Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - July 2021 HIGHLIGHTS We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 13 performances Twins Player of the Week: Michael Helman, Cedar Rapids Kernels Helman played in six games last week for the Kernels and hit .435/.500/.652 (1.152) with a triple and a home run in 26 plate appearances. In 71 games this season, he has hit .237/.333/.420 (.754) with 13 doubles and ten home runs. At least twice this season, Helman has ended a game in walk-off fashion. Helman was the Twins 11th round pick in 2018 out of Texas A&M. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Kernels It has been a breakout year for St. Paul native and Concordia University alum Louie Varland. He began the season dominating in Ft. Myers, and after throwing five shutout innings this week for the Kernels, he has begun his Cedar Rapids tenure with 16 scoreless innings. He was the Twins choice for Pitcher of the Week, and he was Twins Daily’s choice for Starting Pitcher of the Month for July. Click the link for more information on the hard-throwing right-hander. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Jimmy Kerrigan was named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month, and he ended it with a strong week. In six games, he hit .391/.423/.696 (1.119) with a double and two home runs. Rob Refsnyder played four rehab games. He hit .500/.600/1.063 (1.663) with three doubles and two homers. Keon Broxton played four games and hit .333/.412/.800 (1.212) with a double and two homers. Jose Miranda played five games and hit .409/.480/.636 (1.116) with two doubles and a homer. On the mound, Matt Shoemaker tossed seven shutout innings in his start. He gave up just two hits, walked two and struck out six batters. Rob Whalen returned and tossed two perfect innings over two games. In his start last Tuesday, Chandler Shepherd gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings. Wichita Wind Surge Spencer Steer had been struggling in Wichita since his promotion, other than home runs. In five games last week, he hit .444/.565/1.056 (1.621) with three doubles, a triple and two home runs. BJ Boyd played all six games and hit .429/.448/.679 (1.127) with a double and two home runs. DJ Burt played in four games and hit .357/.550/.500 (1.050) with two doubles. Chris Williams hit .357 and had a double and a home run. Chris Nunn made his Twins organizational debut this week. He struck out seven batters in 3 2/3 innings over two games. Cedar Rapids Kernels Yunior Severino was promoted to the Kernels and in his five games, he hit .412/.524/.647 (1.171) with four doubles and four walks. Matt Wallner played in five games. He hit .304/.304/.783 (1.087) with two doubles and three home runs. Edouard Julien hit just .217, but he posted a .976 OPS because his five hits included two doubles and three home runs. Tyler Beck tossed five scoreless innings in his start. He gave up two hits and two walks, but struck out five. Zach Featherstone continues to dominate. He pitched in three games and had a hold and two saves. In four innings, he struck out seven and didn’t allow a run. Tyler Watson gave up only an unearned run over his five innings in his start. Erik Manoah, Jr., struck out eight batters in 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Obviously when the team played just three games, it’s hard to make too much out of anything. Charlie Mack played in one of the three games, and he went 3-for-4. Keoni Cavaco hit a home run in the game he played. Ruben Santana went 5-for-10 with a double and a walk (1.145 OPS). Sawyer Gipson-Long was the league’s pitcher of the week. In his start, he went seven innings and gave up just an unearned run on three hits and a walk. He struck out nine batters. Bobby Milaci tossed three perfect innings and struck out three batters. FCL Twins Emmanuel Rodriguez had just two hits in nine at bats, but both were home runs. LaRon Smith went 4-for-8 (.500) with his fourth homer of the season. Kala’i Rosario went 6-for-16 (.375) with three walks, a double and a triple. Samuel Perez tossed six innings of one-hit baseball this past week. He struck out eight batters. Ramon Pineda struck out four batters in four scoreless innings… and his brother didn’t get traded. Giovahniey German threw three innings and gave up just one hit while striking out three batters. Juan Mendez gave up just one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings. ; LOWLIGHTS Weekly Reminder: We are talking about very small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints Damek Tomscha went 1-for-12 (.083) over four games. JT Riddle was 2-for-14 (.143). In his start on Sunday, Chandler Shepherd again took one for the team. In four innings, he gave up eight runs on 11 hits. Wichita Wind Surge Roy Morales went 3-for-17 (.176). Ernie De La Trinidad went 2-for-13 (.154) over four games. Trey Cabbage went 3-for-16 (.188) with ten strikeouts. Chris Vallimont had a tough two-start week. He gave up 11 runs (10 earned) on 10 hits and eight walks in 8 1/3 innings. Byran Sammons gave up seven earned runs on five hits and four walks in four innings in his start. Jordan Balazovic went 3 1/3 innings in his start and gave up seven runs (6 earned) on six hits and four walks. Cedar Rapids Kernels Seth Gray went 4-for-26 (.154) with 12 strikeouts. Tyler Palm gave up five runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. He was replacing Cody Laweryson who gave up three runs in just 2/3 of an inning before leaving with an apparent injury. The good news is that he is on the schedule to make another start this week. Ft. Myers Might Mussels The lowlight was simply that the team played just three games up in Clearwater because of a COVID situation by their opponent. Games Friday through Sunday were canceled. TRENDING STORYLINE For this week, let’s use this section to ask our readers a couple of questions. Leave your responses or comments below. #1a. Who is the Twins top position player prospect? It would appear that it is a choice between Austin Martin and Royce Lewis, but has Jose Miranda done enough to put himself into that conversation? #1b. Who is the Twins top pitching prospect? This one is pretty challenging. In our preseason rankings, Jhoan Duran was ahead of Jordan Balazovic. Is it one of them? Does either Simeon Woods-Richardson or Joe Ryan enter the conversation? How about Matt Canterino? Maybe even Josh Winder? PROSPECT SUMMARY We have now updated this Prospect Summary to show our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings… #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 11 GS, 52.2 IP, 47 H, 19 BB, 64 K, 3.59 ERA, 1.25 WHIP #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 76 games, .347/.410/.612 (1.022) with 18 doubles, 22 homers, 62 RBI, 30 BB, 48 K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 43 games, .264/.344/.362 (.706) with 6 doubles, 2 triple, 2 homers, 20 RBI, 18 BB, 52 K, 6 SB #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (1 game, .400/.400/1.000 (1.400) with 1 homer, 0 BB, 1 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 71 games, .185/.370/.290 (.660) with 13 doubles, 4 homers, 26 RBI, 66 BB, 97 K #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 26 games, .330/.381/.680 (1.060) with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 9 homers, 20 RBI, 7 BB, 41 K. #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (11 GS, 47.1 IP, 46 H, 14 BB, 51 K, 4.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 10 G, 9 GS, 39.2 IP, 27 H, 19 BB, 53 K, 2.72 ERA, 1.16 WHIP #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (16 games, .197/.258/.443 (700) with 3 doubles, 4 homers, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 20 K) #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 67 games, .203/.303/.299 (602) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 3 homer, 43 RBI, 35 BB, 56 K, 11 SB) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 73 games, .257/.371/.504 (.874) with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 18 homers, 44 RBI, 45 BB, 63 K) #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 71 games, .226/.279/.420 (.700) with 12 doubles, 8 triples, 9 homers, 38 RBI, 18 BB, 102 K) #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured) #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 14 GS, 59.1 IP, 56 H, 36 BB, 94 K, 4.85 ERA, 1.55 WHIP LOOKING AHEAD Dunedin @ Ft. Myers (Casey Legumina, Sean Mooney, Landon Leach, Bobby Milacki, TBD, Sawyer Gipson-Long): Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids:(Jon Olsen, Tyler Watson, Ben Gross, Louie Varland, Tyler Beck Cody Laweryson) Midland @ Wichita: (Cole Sands, Bryan Sammons, Jordan Balazovic, Chris Vallimont, Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands) Louisville @ St. Paul: (Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Albers, Drew Strotman, TBD, TBD, Matt Shoemaker): Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  9. Here are the top four hitters for the month of July, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention. HONORABLE MENTION OF Keon Broxton - St. Paul Saints - 19-68, .279/.383/.618 (1.000) with 2 doubles, 7 home runs, 11 BB, 24 K. IF Andrew Bechtold - Wichita Wind Surge - 21-78, .269/.374/.577 (.951) with 6 doubles, 6 home runs, 12 BB, 31 K. OF Max Smith - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 16-65, .246/.398/.538 (.936) with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs, 17 BB, 30 K. C Charlie Mack - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 19-55, .345/.419/.491 (.910) with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 7 BB, 11 K. OF Luis Baez - FCL Twins - 18-49, .367/.466/.551 (1.017) with 3 doubles, 3 triples, 5 BB, 11 K. C Alexander Pena - FCL Twins - 21-50, .420/.473/.520 (.993) with 5 doubles, 4 BB, 13 K. OF Kala’i Rosario - FCL Twins - 26-80, .325/.360/.563 (.923) with 5 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, 5 BB, 20 K. THE TOP FOUR HITTERS Number 4 - Cedar Rapids Kernels - UT Michael Helman - 29-94, .309/.404/.521 (.925) with 6 doubles, 1 triples, 4 home runs, 14 BB, 20 K. Michael Helman was the Twins 11th round pick in 2018 after one season at Texas A&M. Previously, he had put up monster numbers at Hutchinson CC. His pro career started out well with 12 games in Elizabethton before playing 27 games at Cedar Rapids. Combined, he hit .361/.409/.510 with six doubles, two triples and four homers. He jumped to High-A Ft. Myers, but he hit just .197 in 82 before an injury ended his season. After a missed 2020 season, Helman began the season in Cedar Rapids, now the High-A affiliate. In 70 games, he is hitting .233/.332/.421 (.753) with 13 doubles and ten home runs. He’s also got 11 stolen bases. The increased power and his ability to play at least seven positions on the diamond have moved him back up prospect rankings. Number 3 – St. Paul Saints - IF Drew Maggi - 21-81, .259/.355/.667 (1.022) with 6 doubles, 9 homers, 8 BB, 27 K. 32-year-old Drew Maggi is in his third season in the Twins organization. His pro career began in 2010 when he was the 15th round pick of the Pirates. Since then, he also has played in the Dodgers and Cleveland’s system. After splitting 2019 between Pensacola and Rochester, he spent the 2020 season in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. In 56 games with the Saints this year, he has hit .238/.336/.481 (.818) with ten doubles and 11 homers, nine of which came in July. He had homers in the first four Saints games of July and seven in the first 12 games. Number 2 - St. Paul Saints – IF Jose Miranda - 37-112, .330/.402/.571 (.973) with 9 doubles, 6 home runs, 13 BB. 22 K. Jose Miranda was the Twins Daily choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month in both May and June. This month, his first full month with the Saints, he drops to second on the list despite putting up another great performance in July. Miranda was the 73rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, one spot ahead of Akil Baddoo. Like Baddoo, Miranda was left exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Unlike Baddoo, Miranda was not selected. He spent two months in Double-A to start the season and was promoted to the Saints where he has played 29 games now. Combined, he is hitting .347/.410/.612 (1.022) with 18 doubles, 22 homers and 62 RBI. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: St. Paul Saints – OF Jimmy Kerrigan - 25-68, .368/.436/.735 (1.171), 4 doubles, 7 home runs, 9 BB, 23 K. A Philadelphia native, Kerrigan stayed home and went to Temple University where he played two seasons. Then the school dropped its baseball program. He went to Virginia Commonwealth where he played well for two years but went undrafted. He played in the independent Frontier League before the Twins signed him midway through the 2017 season and played in Cedar Rapids. In both 2018 and 2019, he spent most of the seasons in Double-A with some time in Triple-A. He began the 2021 season at Double-A Wichita, but after just two games, he was promoted to the Saints. In 62 games, he has hit .261/.353/.495 (.848) with eight doubles and 12 home runs. He also can play all three outfield positions well, and has a very strong arm. We would like to congratulate St. Paul outfielder Jimmy Kerrigan, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for July 2021. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.
  10. TRANSACTIONS INF Tzu-Wei Lin transferred from 7-day IL to 60-day IL Saints Sentinel St. Paul 3, Omaha 1 Box Score Andrew Albers: 5 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: Drew Maggi (11) Multi-hit games: Tomás Telis (2-for-4, 2 RBI) The Saints took down the Omaha powerhouse on Saturday. Andrew Albers was brilliant in his start. The 35-year-old lefty almost completely shut down an offense powered by some serious prospect talent. I hope that some grateful teammates took him out for a nice steak dinner afterwards. Drew Maggi continued his power surge as he blasted his 11th homer of the year in the 6th inning. The blast gave him a new career high in home runs in any given season over his extensive minor league career. He may end up with the Twins if (when) Andrelton Simmons is traded. The big hit of the night came off the bat of Tomás Telis. His 7th inning single added two extra-crucial runs for the Saints. Jovani Moran threw a pair of scoreless innings with three strikeouts. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where he is not pitching for the Twins by September at the latest. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 5, Arkansas 4 Box Score Adam Lau: 3 ⅔ IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: Jermaine Palacios (12) Multi-hit games: Roy Morales (2-for-5, R, RBI), Andrew Bechtold (2-for-4), D.J. Burt (2-for-4) Wichita played an absolute dog fight of a game on Saturday. Adam Lau kicked off the game with an impressive start. He was not meant to get many outs, but the ones he got were efficient. It’s hard to criticize a guy who allowed just two baserunners over 11 outs. The offense was there for Wichita early as Roy Morales singled home the first run of the game in the 3rd inning and Jermaine Palacios bashed a three-run homer in the 5th. If Palacios is not the outright most surprising minor leaguer of the year, he’s at least in the conversation. He quietly returned to the Twins after the Rays were unable to work their magic on him. 2021 has been nothing but a rake fest as he came into Saturday with a 120 wRC+. It has been a good year for Palacios. It was looking like Wichita could set the game to cruise control on their way to an easy W, but things did not shake out that way. Some shenanigans in the 7th inning by Arkansas knotted the game and suddenly upped the stakes. The game went into extras where the Wind Surge were able to take advantage of Manfredball an honest runner in scoring position with a sacrifice fly by Aaron Whitefield. Zach Neff and Ryan Mason combined forces to hold the Travelers scoreless in the bottom of the inning, and Wichita was able to walk away with a win. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 10, Beloit 4 Box Score Ben Gross: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Michael Helman (9), Matt Wallner (6) Multi-hit games: Matt Wallner (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, RBI), Michael Helman (3-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, RBI, BB), Kyle Schmidt (3-for-5, R), Gabriel Maciel (3-for-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB), Daniel Ozoria (2-for-5, RBI) Something, something, beware the 7th inning, something, something. Ben Gross, was, uhh, gross in his start on Saturday. The righty struck out eight batters over five shutout innings and was generally the man in charge. I mean, how can a pitcher not succeed when he has such an appropriate last name? He proves the theory of nominative determinism. The Kernels supported Gross early as Gabriel Maciel knocked home the first run of the game in the 2nd inning, and Michael Helman added on in the 5th frame with a solo shot. Oh, but did things ever get wacky after that. The Snappers responded in the 7th inning with four runs off a sacrifice fly and a bases-clearing double. Suddenly, the game was tilted four to two in favor of Beloit. The Kernels were having none of it. In the bottom half of the inning, a wild pitch brought the game to within a run. Maciel then doubled home two runs to gain the lead before Edouard Julien doubled home two more runs for posterity sake. Matt Wallner homered in the 8th inning just for giggles (and for scoring, I guess). Daniel Ozoria singled home yet another run, and Julien walked in the tenth (and final) run for good measure. Eight hitters for the Kernels reached base multiple times on Saturday. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Daytona 4 Box Score Orlando Rodriguez: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino (2-for-3, RBI, BB) Fort Myers attempted a tribute to the Twins on Saturday, as they also could not find much offense on the day. Starter Orlando Rodriguez did his job well as he allowed just a pair of earned runs over his five innings of work. He walked three, which is a bit much, but he also struck out seven batters, which is also a bit much. So it evened out in the end. The offense just could not find anything, however. Will Holland and Nick Anderson were both able to work a pair of walks, and Yunior Severino got on base three times. Outside of them, the box score is quite dusty. Aaron Sabato and Misael Urbina both had especially rough games as they combined for seven strikeouts without a hit. You tend not to win many games when your three and four hitters put up lines like that. Matthew Swain and Steven Cruz combined for three shutout innings in relief of Rodriguez. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 4, FCL Red Sox 7 Box Score Juan Mendez: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Kala’i Rosario (2) Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost on Saturday, but not without a vicious comeback attempt. The game was even through four as Juan Mendez did his best to support his team on the mound. He would end with the best line of any FCL Twins pitcher on Saturday. A double by what I can only assume is someone’s superhero alter-ego, a man named Blaze Jordan, kicked off a run of, well, runs for the Red Sox. They would plate seven over three innings in what ended up being the dagger. The FCL Twins did not go gentle into that good night. Kala’i Rosario blasted a 9th inning grand slam that, while awesome, was not enough to turn the game around. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Ben Gross Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Michael Helman PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, K #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 0-4 #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – 0-3, 3 K #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-3, BB, 3 K #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 1-4, 3 K #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-4, 4 K #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-1, K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Daytona @ Fort Myers (10:00 AM) LHP Zarion Sharpe Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) RHP Cody Laweryson Wichita @ Arkansas (1:10 PM) RHP Jordan Balazovic St. Paul @ Omaha (4:05 PM) RHP Griffin Jax
  11. TRANSACTIONS Cedar Rapids activated pitcher Tyler Palm form the seven-day injured list and swapped him out for fellow pitcher Jose Martinez, who hits the IL due to a left groin strain. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 1 Box Score Zack Littell: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 58.5% strikes (55 of 94 pitches) HR: Zander Wiel (4) Multi-hit games: Wiel (2-for-4, 2B, HR), Adam Rosales (2-for-4, 2B) Zack Littell had a rough first start of the season but has recovered in his two outings since. Tonight was his best effort yet, as he threw 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and racked up nine strikeouts. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1119459793272496128 The Rochester bats did a nice job getting a lead early. Zander Wiel led off the third inning with a double and was later doubled around by Adam Rosales. Wiel came up again the next inning and clubbed a three-run homer. That was plenty enough wiggle room in what turned out to be a rare low-scoring Triple-A game so far this season. Matt Magill pitched for the second straight night and third overall appearance of his rehab assignment with the Red Wings. He pitched a 1-2-3 innings with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts. With 1 1/3 more scoreless innings tonight, Mike Morin is up to 7 1/3 scoreless, three-hit innings to open the year. BLUE WAHOO BITES Game 1: Pensacola 9, Biloxi 1 (7 innings) Box Score Griffin Jax: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 56.4% strikes (53 of 94 pitches) HR: Brian Navarreto (1), Brian Schales (3) Multi-hit games: Navarreto (3-for-4, 2B, HR), Mark Contreras (2-for-3, BB) Brian Schales and Brian Navarreto both hit three-run homers and Griffin Jax was very good once again, giving the Blue Wahoos a very low-stress victory in the first game of this doubleheader. Jax gave up one earned runs on five hits over six innings pitched. He now has a 0.54 ERA and 1.14 WHIP on the season. Gabriel Moya made the debut appearance of his rehab assignment, pitching the final inning. He gave up a leadoff single, then a one-out double to put runners on second and third. Things were looking a bit sketchy, but Moya struck out both of the next two batters to end the game. Game 2: Biloxi 4, Pensacola 3 Box Score Andro Cutura: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 64.4% strikes (38 of 59 pitches) HR: Mitchell Kranson (2) Multi-hit games: None This was a much different story than the first game, as it was a back-and-forth affair. The Blue Wahoos were able to fight back from early deficits to tie this game twice, but could not generate one last comeback. Biloxi scored twice in the bottom of the first, but Pensacola tied it up the next half inning thanks to a solo homer from Mitchell Kranson and an RBI groundout from Taylor Grzelakowski. Biloxi took the lead again in the bottom of the third inning, but the Blue Wahoos answered again. The Shuckers carved out another lead in the fourth inning and managed to protect it this time. Ryan Mason delivered two no-hit innings out of the bullpen. He’s only surrendered three hits and one walk over 7 2/3 scoreless innings so far this season. He’s also struck out eight batters. Brian Schales hit a double in this one. He’s making a very good first impression in the org after being acquired from Miami over the offseason. Schales leads Pensacola with a .908 OPS. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Charlotte 1 Box Score Bailey Ober: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 68.0% strikes (51 of 75 pitches) HR: Michael Helman (1) Multi-hit games: Trevor Larnach (3-for-4) WALK OFF, BABY! The Miracle trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Trevor Larnach drove in Fort Myers’ first run on what was his third single of the night. The first two batters were retired in the bottom of the ninth but Ryan Jeffers hit a single and Michael Helman blasted his first Florida State League homer to walk it off. https://twitter.com/MiracleBaseball/status/1119426987297255424 Bailey Ober, the reigning FSL Pitcher of the Week, gave up one earned run over six five-hit innings. He has not given up an earned run in 18 innings this season. Ober had six strikeouts and walked a batter, just his third walk issued on the season. Hector Lujan struck out four batters over 2 2/3 scoreless innings and Michael Quezada picked up his second win by recording the final out of the top of the ninth inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Beloit 1 Box Score Cole Sands: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 62.4% strikes (53 of 85 pitches) HR: Trey Cabbage (5) Chris Williams (2) Multi-hit games: Gabriel Maciel (2-for-4, 2B), Williams (2-for-4, 2B, HR) Trey Cabbage has come out of the gates in absolute beast mode. He homered yet again tonight, giving him five home runs in just 13 games with the Kernels. He had eight homers in 99 games with Cedar Rapids last season. In case you missed it, SD Buhr had a great feature on Cabbage here at the site earlier this week. Cabbage socked a solo homer in the seventh inning to break what was a scoreless tie at that point. Chris Williams followed with a dinger of his own to make it back-to-back jacks. He also provided a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1119456720621850626 Cole Sands was dealing again tonight. After five shutout innings his ERA is down to 1.93. With six more strikeouts, Sands has 18 Ks in just 14 innings this season. Austin Schulfer earned the win in relief by throwing three scoreless innings. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Bailey Ober, Fort Myers Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Michael Helman, Fort Myers TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 0-for-4, 3 K, E 4. Trevor Larnach (FM): 3-for-4, RBI 10. Akil Baddoo (FM): 1-for-3, BB 13. Ryan Jeffers (FM): 1-for-3, BB, R 16. Gilberto Celestino (CR): 0-for-4, 2 K 17. Zack Littell (ROC): 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 58.5% strikes 18. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 1-for-3, BB, R) 20. Jose Miranda (FM): 0-for-4 SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Lehigh Valley, 5:35 pm CT (Chase De Jong) Pensacola vs. Mobile, 6:05 pm CT (Sean Poppen) Fort Myers vs. Charlotte, 5:00 pm CT (Charlie Barnes) Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit, 2:05 pm CT (Josh Winder) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  12. Today we look at the Fort Myers Miracle players and coaching staff. We try to figure out a potential everyday lineup, and discuss the team’s top prospects. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the team or roster, and ask as many questions as you would like. COACHING STAFF After managing in Cedar Rapids in 2018, Toby Gardenhire will spend his first season managing in Ft. Myers in 2019. Luis Ramirez has been a pitching coach or coordinator in the Twins system since 2006 when he was in Venezuela. He has spent the last four years in Elizabethton. This is his first season with the Miracle. Matt Borgschulte joined the organization as a coach prior to the 2018 season when he worked in the GCL. He jumps to the Miracle as their hitting coach. ROSTER Here is a look at the Miracle Opening Day roster. Note that this is a tentative roster and can be updated before their season starts on Thursday. HITTERS Catchers: Ben Rortvedt, Ryan Jeffers Infielders: Lewin Diaz, Travis Blankenhorn, Michael Helman, Royce Lewis, Ryan Costello, Jose Miranda Outfielders: Trevor Larnach, Akil Baddoo, Aaron Whitefield, Mark Contreras PITCHERS Melvi Acosta, Charlie Barnes, Edwar Colina (IL), Randy Dobnak, Jhoan Duran, Calvin Faucher, Tom Hackimer, Hector Lujan, Bailey Ober, Alex Phillips, Johan Quezada, Alex Robinson (IL), Bryan Sammons, Anthony Vizcaya, Tyler Watson, Lachlan Wells (IL). POTENTIAL LINEUP CF - Akil Baddoo SS - Royce Lewis LF - Trevor Larnach 3B - Jose Miranda/Travis Blankenhorn 1B - Lewin Diaz/Ryan Costello 2B - Michael Helman/Travis Blankenhorn C - Ryan Jeffers/Ben Rortvedt RF - Aaron Whitefield DH - any of these guys TOP PROSPECTS Royce Lewis (Twins Daily #1 Prospect) - The #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Lewis had a strong first full season in pro ball in 2018. He was promoted to the Miracle for the final two months last year and returns to start this season. His prospect status nationally jumped and he is now a consensus top ten guy nationally. Trevor Larnach (Twins Daily #4 Prospect) - The Twins first-round pick in 2018 out of Oregon State where he helped lead the Beavers to a College World Series championship. He signed and played last year in Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. He homered in his first MLB spring training at-bat this year. Jhoan Duran (Twins Daily #7 Prospect) - Duran joined the organization at the July trade deadline last year in Eduardo Escobar deal with the Diamondbacks. He made a strong impression with the Kernels, flashing a 94-97 mph fastball and secondary pitches with potential. (Prospect Spotlight) Akil Baddoo (Twins Daily #10 Prospect) - Speed, power potential and good plate discipline, Baddoo is an intriguing prospect. After filling out the stat line in 2018 in Cedar Rapids, Baddoo will likely spend the 2019 season with the Miracle. Ryan Jeffers (Twins Daily #13 Prospect) - The Twins surprised many when they used their second-round draft pick in 2018 on the catcher from UNC-Wilmington. He debuted in Elizabethton and put up crazy numbers before moving up to the Kernels for the end of the season. Ben Rortvedt (Twins Daily #14 Prospect) - Rortvedt was the Twins 2nd-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Wisconsin. The strong-armed backstop took major strides forward offensively in 2018 and spent the second-half of 2018 with the Miracle. Jose Miranda (Twins Daily #20 Prospect) - Drafted immediately after Baddoo as a comp pick after the second round in 2016, Miranda really came on strong in the second half of 2018. Ended the season with the Miracle. Will continue to play second base and third base. Huge power potential. Edwar Colina - The Appy League Pitcher of the Year in 2017, Colina markedly improved in 2018. He went 7-4 with a 2.48 ERA before ending the season with a start in Ft. Myers. He also started the Miracle championship game. Blessed with an upper-90s fastball, Colina has a quality three-pitch mix. STORIES TO WATCH The Miracle won the Florida State League championship with the help of several players who came up to the team late in the season. Will that group be able to gain a playoff berth before they move up to Pensacola? As you can see, this team is loaded with top prospects. Most of these guys will spend at least the first half of the season with the Miracle, but at that point, any number of players could move up to Pensacola. Jhoan Duran and Edwar Colina are all upper-90s guys in the Miracle rotation. Many will wonder why the Twins aren’t being quite as aggressive with the likes of Trevor Larnach or Ryan Jeffers as they were with Brent Rooker. Rooker spent his first full season of pro ball in A last year. However, he had four years of college whereas Larnach and Jeffers each spent three years in college. That said, don’t be surprised if one or both of these guys end up in AA by the end of the season. Quietly, Michael Helman joins Larnach and Jeffers as 2018 draft picks starting in Ft. Myers. Lewin Diaz was a big dude when he signed as a 16-year-old. Last offseason, he came to camp down about 25 pounds. This offseason, he lost a similar amount and looks fantastic. He missed half of the season with an injury and will look to return to his higher prospect status. Royce Lewis won’t turn 20 until early June. He spent the final six weeks of the 2018 season with the Miracle, so getting him more time in the league is just fine. At the same time in his career (2nd full season), Joe Mauer spent the first half in Ft. Myers and the second half in New Britain (AA). He opened the next season with the big league club. Please feel free to discuss this roster. Ask lots of questions and check back often. What stories will you be following?
  13. “Growing up, I loved the game and being around it. I played pretty much 24/7; playing fall ball, playing spring ball, and in the winter, I was usually doing something related to baseball.” Michael Helman was born 22 years ago in Lincoln, Nebraska. While football is life in Lincoln (yes, even now), baseball was the sport for Helman. While he did play basketball and football, once he got to high school, it was all baseball all the time. But that started when he was young. Helman notes, “When I was a kid, I was watching baseball movies all the time. I was watching Roy Hobbs and The Natural, and Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner. I always had a passion for the game.” It was a passion that was shared in his home. “I was always playing catch with my dad, and I have a twin brother. We always played on the same teams. Even where we used to live, there was a cruddy little baseball field behind our house. We got out there a lot to play catch and our dad would throw to us. It was fun. I loved baseball, and it was how I grew up. I had a dream to make it one day.” He also appreciates his youth coaches for continually pushing him on the field and driving his passion. “Growing up, I played some travel baseball. Probably second grade to eighth grade. I had some great coaches, and I have to thank them for the kind of ballplayer and person that they made me into.” In Lincoln, most baseball fans are Kansas City Royals fans. It is the nearest MLB team to the city, but also the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate is in Omaha. Helman was a Royals fan, but not solely a Royals fan. “I was a Royals fan by default, and then I was also a Twins fan for awhile just because I have a twin brother. So we followed the Twins for a while. Actually I grew up being a Mets fans. Kind of weird. I loved Mike Piazza. ” Helman went to Lincoln’s Pius X High School. Baseball in Lincoln may not be as strong as in Omaha, but there have been several players to go to Division I schools and more playing at Division II schools, or other colleges. Speaking of Omaha, while Helman didn’t get the chance to play in the College World Series, it is an event that he has attended most years. “I would go almost every year. I went when I was in junior college. This past year, even though we didn’t make the College World Series, I was still able to go to some games. It’s like a carnival there.” Upon graduation from high school, Helman made the decision to head south and play baseball at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas. Despite a solid career in high school, Helman found himself without any college offers. He added, “The only reason I got hooked up with Hutch was because a kid that went to my high school went there and then went to the University of Nebraska. He called them up and said ‘Hey, take a look at this kid.’ They invited me to a camp, and they happened to have one spot open. They offered me a spot on the team, and I took that.” Whatever the reason, Helman took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him. As a freshman, he hit .416/.473/.654 (1.127) with 20 doubles and nine home runs in 57 games. The next year, he played 60 games and hit .487/.567/.829 (1.329) with 17 doubles and 17 home runs.In addition, he walked 34 times and struck out just 13 times that season. Despite such gaudy numbers, Helman went undrafted. Scouts were there to watch his teammate, pitcher Nolan Hoffman. He filled out the questionnaires and sat down with scouts, but nothing too major. During the draft, he did receive some phone calls, but by then he was pretty set on going to Texas A&M. He had several Division I offers, but he knew he wanted to play for the Aggies. A fellow Lincoln native Logan Foster was heading there, and so was Hutchinson teammate Nolan Hoffman (who was drafted in the fifth round by the Mariners in 2018). In addition, one of Texas A&M coaches had gone to high school at Lincoln Southeast High School and the University of Nebraska. That coach is Jeff Christy who was the sixth-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2006. He played in the Twins organization through the 2009 season and reached the Triple-A level. “It was nice to have guys I was familiar with at A&M.The coaches at Hutch really helped me out with everything. Coach Ryan Schmidt, he was great through the whole process and stuck with me the whole way, and I’m glad it worked out at Texas A&M..” His junior, and sole, season, at Texas A&M, Helman played in 61 games. He hit .369/.452/.520 (.972) with 15 doubles and six home runs. This time, Helman was ready to make the jump to pro ball. He noted, “I knew I wanted to play professional ball once I got to A&M, and I knew A&M was a great place to get more looks and have that opportunity.” Greg Runser is the Twins area scout for southeast Texas and Louisiana. He was in occasional contact with Helman. But there were several other teams that expressed interest as well. Helman said, “Close to the draft day, I know I got calls from him and calls from a bunch of other teams. It looked like the Rockies were probably most interested, and they were planning on taking me anywhere from the third to seventh round. Obviously that didn’t happen.” Helman fell to the 11th round, and the Twins were thrilled to take him with the first pick of the third day. In a story in the Lincoln Journal-Star, Helman noticed that he had likely been drafted thanks to social media and a familiar Twins website he follows. He told the newspaper, The Twins sent Helman to Elizabethton to begin his career. He was excited to get going. He thought that the time in Elizabethton was beneficial just in terms of getting back into the proverbial swing of things. “The Twins ended up coming through, and I was glad to start my professional career. I was definitely trying to get back into it because I hadn’t played for a month and a half while we were waiting for Trevor Larnach (to sign). It was nice to get back into it and see that pitching. There were a lot of good arms there, though it was all stuff that I’ve seen before. It just took time to adjust again.” It didn’t take him long to adjust at all. He played just twelve games and got just 40 at-bats in Tennessee. He hit .375 (1.010 OPS) with a triple and two home runs. In early August, Helman was surprised that he was promoted to Cedar Rapids. He made an assumption that he would spend the remainder of the season in E-Town. “Honestly, I was playing maybe three times a week. I wasn’t planning on getting called up. I brought my car to Tennessee so I could drive back home. After I got called up, my dad flew to Tennessee and drove my car up to Cedar Rapids. I was pretty shocked when I got called up. I didn’t figure I’d be up there that quick, after just 12 games, and ended up playing every single day, which was an adjustment for me. It was great.” It’s not unusual for college players to play every other day in Elizabethton as they re-adjust to playing after time off between their college season, the draft and signing. But once he got to the Kernels, he was in the lineup almost every day. And, he had fans in the stands. “It was great to be there. It was a little closer to home so my family could come up and watch. It just felt a little more like home. The competition definitely upped itself a little bit once I got to Cedar Rapids, but nothing too drastic changing from Rookie to Low A.” Soon after, the Kernels had four members of the 2018 Twins draft on its roster. First-round pick Trevor Larnach played right field most days. Second-round pick Ryan Jeffers split time catching and at DH. Helman played second base, and 25th-round pick Michael Davis played shortstop. All four found success and helped push the team forward as they prepared for the Midwest League playoffs. The four players fit in and got to know each other. “It was great to help out the team and do our jobs, to be team players. We all just kind of clicked together and we all feed off of each other, hitting the ball and on defense. We hang out together all the time, and being around those guys is great.” Helman contributed strongly in the middle of the lineup. In his 27 games with the Kernels, he hit .355/.398/.486 (.884) with six double and two home runs. As a hitter, Helman tries to keep it simple and put the ball in play. “My whole life I’ve loved swinging the bat. My whole approach at the plate has been established through my junior college play and at Texas A&M. I just figure, put the ball in play and anything can happen.” How about power? Could he add some power to his game? Helman insists. “I say I have a little power, it just hasn’t been unleashed yet. I pretty much spray the ball to all parts of the field. I’m just trying to drive the ball, and sometimes I hit the ball on the ground in a hole and can beat it out. Bunt for hits. I just compete, a scrappy player, I would say.” Defensively, he has primarily played second base the last few years, and it is a position at which he is continuing to gain confidence. “I played one game at shortstop in E-Town. It wasn’t bad, it was just getting readjusted to it because I played a little shortstop in high school. But my whole life, I was a catcher. The first time I played second base consistently was at Hutchinson. I got recruited as a second baseman, and I got drafted as a second baseman. I’m really comfortable over there. I enjoy being over there. I’m willing to play anywhere, outfield ,left side of the infield, but most comfortable at second base.” He continued, “I definitely need to work on my defense a little bit. I’ve only been playing second base for three years. There’s always room to get better in every part of my game, defense, base running, anything like that.” Helman is a very competitive, very talented player who works really hard on the field, something he considers his biggest strength right now. “I would say it’s my ability to compete, not necessarily in the box, but even making plays in the field, making the routine ones, laying out for balls that are borderline, and helping the team in any way that I can.” Away from the game, you won’t be surprised to read one of his favorite things to do. “I play Fortnite with my roommates. I love playing Fortnite. He will spend a large part of his offseason back at College Station. Winter in Texas is generally a bit warmer than in Lincoln. He’ll be able to play catch outside, take ground balls and hit on the field. But he will head back home to Nebraska a few times during the offseason. “I really want to get back to Lincoln and see a Husker football game because I’m a die-hard Husker football fan at heart. Even though they’re not playing well, things are crazy, it’s a great atmosphere.” Helman just returned from his first Instructional League. Now he’ll enjoy his first offseason as a professional baseball player. He’ll work out for baseball, and he’ll play a lot of Fortnite.
  14. Let’s take a look at the Top 4 hitters for the month of August, but first here are some players deserving of honorable mention. HONORABLE MENTION Luis Arraez - Chattanooga Lookouts - 28-81, .346/.393/.444 (.838) with two doubles and two homers. Colton Burns - Elizabethton Twins - 16-51, .314/.435/.627 (1.063) with four doubles and four home runs. Trevor Casanova - Elizabethton Twins - 19-52, .365/.397/.577 (.973) with five doubles, two homers, seven RBIs. Trevor Larnach - Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 30-105, .286/.364/.476 (.841), nine doubles, one triple, three homers, 12 RBIs. Luke Raley - Chattanooga Lookouts - 23-84, .274/.382/.440 (.823) with one double, two triples, three homers and 13 RBI. Ben Rodriguez - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 24-91, .264/.358/.462 (.819) with ten doubles, one triple, two homers and 20 RBIs. Ben Rortvedt - Ft. Myers Miracle - 16-56, .286/.344/.464 (.809) with five doubles, one triple, one homer and ten RBIs. THE TOP FOUR HITTERS Number 4 – Chattanooga Lookouts - Jaylin Davis - .290/.368/.473 (.841). 27-93 with five doubles, four home runs and 15 RBIs. 2018 has been a year of improvement for Jaylin Davis. He has dropped his strikeout rate some and increased his walk rate. He has successfully moved from High-A to Double-A. In the final week of August, Davis learned that he would be representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League. While Davis is not a big man, he is incredibly strong and full of power potential. He will need to continue showing plate discipline and strike zone judgment, but he’s put himself in a good situation going into 2019. Number 3 - Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2B Michael Helman - .367/.407/.510 (.918), 36-98 with six doubles, one triple, two homers and 14 RBIs. The Twins were excited that Helman, a shortstop from Texas A&M, was available when they made their first pick on Day 3 of June’s draft. Since signing officially on the final day, he has primarily played second base. He has also been hitting pretty much from the start. In 12 games in Elizabethton, he hit .375. In 26 games with the Kernels, he has hit .359. Over his final seven games of the month, he hit .429 (12-for-28) with three doubles and a homer. He had 12 multi-hit games in 24 games played during the month including his first three (and four of his first five) of the month after being promoted. Number 2 - Cedar Rapids Kernels – SS Michael Davis - .289/.312/.578 (.890), 26-90 with six doubles, one triple, six homers and 21 RBIs. With how quickly Davis has adjusted to pro ball and life in the Midwest League, one can’t help but wonder how it is possible that Michael Davis was available to the Twins in the 24th round of this year’s draft. After just three games in Elizabethton, Davis was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he hasn’t missed a beat. While it could potentially be hard to maintain success with the 31 strikeouts/3 walk ratio he had in August, when you produce the kind of power he produced, it can be very impressive. Not only that, but he’s playing a solid shortstop as well. Over his final seven games of the month, Davis hit .519 (14-for-27) with a double, triple, homer and 15 RBIs, helping the Kernels earn their 2nd half division title. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Ft. Myers Miracle – OF Alex Kirilloff - .351/.387/.550 (.936), 39-111 with ten doubles, four homers and 16 RBIs. Kirilloff put together one of the best seasons in recent Twins minor league history. He was our choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month in May and now again in August. Interestingly, Kirilloff’s OPS for the month of August was under 1.000 for the first time since April. But he led the Miracle to a playoff berth on the last day of the season. He continued to provide doubles and added more home runs during the month than he had previously with the Miracle this year. The former first-round pick finished his first full season of playing as a professional with 44 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs and 101 RBIs. We would like to congratulate Alex Kirilloff, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for August 2018. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.
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