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  1. We have read about and written about and talked about a “Pitching Pipeline” for the Minnesota Twins. It was one of the reasons that many were so excited about the Twins bringing in Derek Falvey as President of Baseball Operations seven years ago. Starting Pitchers 2023 Starting Staff: Pablo Lopez, Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Louie Varland Free Agents: Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda Projected 2024 Starting Staff: RHP Pablo Lopez, RHP Chris Paddack, RHP Joe Ryan, RHP Bailey Ober, RHP Louie Varland. Ended 2023 in St. Paul: RHP Randy Dobnak, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick. Ended 2023 in AA Wichita: RHP Marco Raya, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, LHP Jaylen Nowlin, LHP Jordan Carr. The six starting pitchers mentioned above made 149 of the team’s 162 starts (92.0%). Add Dallas Keuchel’s six starts and Tyler Mahle’s five starts, and you cover 160 starts. That is not normal, and the Twins can’t make any sort of assumption that it will happen again. Chris Paddack returned late in the season in the bullpen and showed that he is strong. The Twins are still likely to add a pitcher or two in free agency or via trade, but which minor leaguers have a chance to contribute in 2024? Also, who are the exciting prospects to follow through the pitching pipeline? We saw some of the candidates make their debuts in 2022 and 2023. Josh Winder and Cole Sands moved to the bullpen full-time in 2023. In addition, former top starting pitcher prospect Jordan Balazovic debuted in the bullpen. He had one strong month with the Twins and was getting opportunities in key spots before struggling late and being optioned. Brent Headrick came up a few times and worked in relief, both long and short. However, when he was in St. Paul, he was used as a starter. Louie Varland made 10 starts for the Twins, but in September, he was used out of the bullpen and showed dominance. However, he should remain a starter, at least for the foreseeable future. And, finally healthy, Randy Dobnak should be considered for a spot just like others who reach St. Paul.
  2. Simeon Woods Richardson is a young and spry 23-year-old, and he wants you to know that. In an interview with ABC 6 News Rochester, Zone Coverage, and Twins Daily's Theodore Tollefson, Woods Richardson stated, "I’m still one of the youngest guys here. I may not carry myself like it, but I’m still one of the youngest guys here." Being young and spry is, of course, a favorable situation to find oneself in. To be young is to be strong, full of energy and stamina, and sharp-minded. These qualities ought to be used on something of purpose, and Woods Richardson is using his in an attempt to make a living as a professional baseball pitcher. I, as a fellow "young and spry" 23-year-old, am using mine in an attempt to be a public school teacher. Now, Woods Richardson has the potential to make millions of dollars, have access to the best healthcare in the world, and travel around the United States and the Canadian province of Ontario for free. I, on the other hand, have the opportunity to make roughly $50,000 a year, access to unreliable state healthcare, and the ability to travel to the Wisconsin Dells, barring I get an increase on my credit card spending limit (please, Discover, I want to go to Mt. Olympus). Obviously, one unnamed individual is winning here, but author Kurt Vonnegut once proclaimed, "Teaching, may I say, is the noblest profession of all in a democracy." Notice how he didn't mention professional baseball players? Regardless, Woods Richardson is prime to contribute to a Major League Baseball team. Unfortunately, he has yet to do so. Since being drafted by the New York Mets in the 2018 MLB Draft out of I. H. Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas, Woods Richardson has been a part of two prominent league-altering trades and three organizations. Here is a brief history of said trades: (July 28, 2019) The New York Mets traded pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson to the Toronto Blue Jays for right-handed starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and cash considerations. (July 30, 2021) The Toronto Blue Jays traded pitching prospect Simeon Woods Richardson and infield/outfield prospect Austin Martin to the Minnesota Twins for starting pitcher Jose Berríos. A silver lining for Woods Richardson being a prominent component of significant trades is that he is a wanted commodity. Unfortunately, he has yet to find consistent footing with a sole organization. Woods Richardson never pitched for the Mets or Blue Jays at the Major League level. However, he has made two Major League appearances for the Twins, including his Major League debut against the Detroit Tigers on October 2, 2022. Woods Richardson impressed in his Major League debut, facing 20 total batters over five innings pitched, giving up two earned runs while walking two and striking out three. Woods Richardson didn't make the Twins 2023 Opening Day roster and made only one Major League appearance, facing 24 total batters and giving up five earned runs while walking three and striking out five over 4 2/3 innings of stretch relief against the Washington Nationals on April 22. On April 23, Woods Richardson was demoted to Triple-A St. Paul and spent the rest of the 2023 season with the Saints. Woods Richardson struggled mightily upon his demotion, sporting a 7.38 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in early June. Luckily, a switch flipped for Woods Richardson, and he was able to manufacture the lowest ERA, opponent BA, SLG, OPS, and wOBA of all Triple-A starting pitchers from mid-June to mid-September. Woods Richardson's quick turnaround is what the kids like to call “an unprecedented stark contrast in performance.” Woods Richardson finished his 2023 Triple-A campaign with a 4.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and .253 opponent BA with 109 hits allowed, 13 home runs allowed, 61 walks, and 96 strikeouts. Though these numbers are overall uninspiring, considering where Woods Richardson was in mid-June, his late-season turnaround is unequivocally impressive. Combining Woods Richardson's immense early struggles with his incredible finish to the season, it is difficult to get a grasp on his potential as a future Major League starting pitcher. Though this is the case, it appears that Woods Richardson is destined to be a productive Major League-caliber starting pitcher, and his Stuff+ at the Triple-A level greatly infers that. Stuff+ is a pitching-specific sabermetric created by Max Bay and Eno Sarris. According to FanGraphs, Stuff+ looks only at the physical characteristics of a pitch. Important features include, but are not limited to, release point, velocity, vertical and horizontal movement, and spin rate. Woods Richardson threw 1,985 pitches over 24 appearances at the Triple-A level this season, and according to Eno Sarris' Pitcher Report spreadsheet, Woods Richardson finished the 2023 season ranked 10th out of 1239 Triple-A pitchers in Stuff+ with a rating of 116.9. For reference, rookie pitchers who made immediate contributions for their clubs, Bobby Miller (124.9) and Tanner Bibee (120.2), finished ahead of Woods Richardson in 3rd and 8th place, respectively. Woods Richardson also finished ahead of fellow young pitchers who pitched well during their debut 2023 seasons in AJ Smith-Shawvver (113.9) and Gavin Williams (113.6), who finished in 19th and 20th place, respectively. Now, Stuff+ doesn't attempt to predict whether a pitcher will be successful or not, but what it does do is measure how effective or "nasty" their pitches are. Young pitchers who throw nasty pitches, like Miller and Bibee, tend to be successful at the Major League level. What is interesting about Woods Richardson is that his pitches are "nasty" in a different way from the traditionally effective Miller and Bibee. Whereas Miller and Bibee can overpower hitters with overpowering fastballs and complementary offspeed pitches, Woods Richardson tends to outmatch hitters due to his unique release point and pitch movement combination. According to FanGraphs, Stuff+ values the release point of a pitcher. So, some pitchers with unique release points, movement combinations, and, in turn, effective pitch deception tactics score very well despite lower velocities. Woods Richardson has a unique overhead release point. Also, Woods Richardson, a right-handed pitcher, maxes out at 92-93 MPH. Combined, these two Woods Richardson-specific quirks create deception and play into the more obscure elements of pitching that Stuff+ values, making him a prime candidate to be highly valued by Bay and Sarris' Stuff+ model. Interestingly, Sarris' Pitcher Report model projects Woods Richardson to have a lackluster 2024 season as the 629th-best pitcher out of the 4017 qualified pitchers between the Majors and all Minor League levels. To add context, here is how Sarris' model projects Woods Richardson's 2024 campaign to play out: 4.73 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 21% K%, 9.5% BB%, .290 BABIP, 116 Stuff+, 142 strikeouts, 4.6 innings pitched/game, 146 innings pitched Sarris has Woods Richardson projected to finish just behind pending free agent Lucas Giolito (628th place) and ahead of Philadelphia Phillies starter Ranger Suarez (636th place) in performance during the 2024 season. Woods Richardson's projected statistics are undesirable at the surface level, particularly after how well the Twins starting rotation performed during the 2023 season. However, getting this performance out of a fringe-fifth starter would be ideal. "Fringe-fifth starter" is precisely how I would describe Woods Richardson's impending role with the Twins for the 2024 season, much like his role during the 2023 season. Going into the 2024 season, Woods Richardson is going to have to come into Spring Training prepared after what is hopefully a productive offseason to apply himself and compete with fellow "fringe-fifth starters" in fellow 40-man roster spot occupiers in Louie Varland, Brent Headrick, Josh Winder, and Cole Sands for a more meaningful role. Woods Richardson has the tools and skill to succeed at the Major League level, as evidenced by his impressive Stuff+ and remarkable last three months of his 2023 Triple-A campaign. Nonetheless, he still needs to prove himself to be a viable Major League pitcher if he wants to be part of the Twins' plans beyond 2024. Do you think Woods Richardson has a future with the Twins? What do you make of Woods Richardson's remarkable three-month stretch to end his 2023 Triple-A season? Comment below.
  3. Yesterday we took a look at the three biggest risers from the Twins system in 2023, comparing our preseason top prospect rankings against our latest postseason update to highlight three players who made huge jumps: David Festa, Tanner Schobel and Kala'i Rosario. Today, we'll take a look at the flip side: the prospects who fell farthest in our rankings from the beginning of the season to the end. No one should count any of these guys out, but they'll be looking to rebound and build back following campaigns that can only be labeled as major setbacks. Two of these players were acquired in high-profile trades, while the other was a high-stakes draft gamble that has so far failed to pay any dividends. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Preseason Rank: 6 Postseason Rank: 17 In 2022, Woods Richardson closed out a stellar first full season in the Twins system with an impressive major-league debut: five innings of one-run ball in Detroit. The right-hander, acquired alongside Austin Martin in exchange José Berríos at the previous deadline, excelled at both Wichita and St. Paul, setting himself up as ready-made MLB depth. He was riding high. This year was a totally different story. Woods Richardson's first half was a disaster – through 12 outings (11 at AAA, one in MLB), he had a 7.66 ERA and with a .932 opponent OPS. His velocity, stuff, and command all lagged. The big righty bounced back in the second half, posting much better numbers down the stretch for the Saints, but even then his peripherals were nothing special. He finished with a 4.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 96-to-61 K/BB ratio in 114 innings. Age has always been on SWR's side, but at 23, he's not THAT young by prospect standards anymore. It's too soon to give up on him, but it might be time to start thinking hard about a future in the bullpen. (He completed six innings only three times in 22 starts at Triple-A.) Connor Prielipp, LHP Preseason Rank: 7 Postseason Rank: 13 High-risk, high-reward. That was always the book on Prielipp, and unfortunately we've seen all of that risk come to fruition in a young yet tumultuous pro career. The hope was that the left-hander's elbow troubles were behind him after undergoing Tommy John surgery while still in college at Alabama, where he was limited to just 28 total innings in three years. His upside when healthy was high enough for the Twins to set aside his injury concerns and draft the Wisconsin native 48th overall in 2022. Unfortunately Prielipp, who didn't pitch after being drafted last year, made only two appearances this year – one in April, one in June – before another surgery was deemed necessary for the elbow issues that continued to plague him. Over the past four years, between college and the pros, Prielipp has thrown a total of 34 ⅔ innings. There's no framing that fact, nor back-to-back UCL repairs, in any kind of positive light. But there is some semblance of good news: Prielipp's most recent surgery, an increasingly common variation of Tommy John surgery that involves an internal brace, is considered a bit less serious than the standard version. Prielipp turns 23 this offseason. He's got a long way to go in terms of getting healthy and building up strength, but the upside remains high if this second surgery takes. Jose Salas, 2B/3BSS Preseason Rank: 8 Postseason Rank: 23 The Twins thought they were getting themselves a find in Salas, who was added by the Marlins as an additional piece alongside Pablo Lopez in January's Luis Arraez trade. They weren't the only ones. Baseball Prospectus was very high on the teenaged infielder in the spring, ranking him #93 in their global top prospects list. The enthusiasm was easy to understand: Salas had put forth an impressive effort at age in 19 in Single-A, flashing speed, power, and contact hitting skills. Plus, he has good genetics – his younger brother Ethan Salas is considered a top-five prospect in baseball. Unlike Ethan, Jose did not improve his stock in 2023. It was a tough campaign for the 20-year-old as he onboarded into the Twins organization. Salas slashed .188/.263/.268 while spending nearly his entire season at High-A Cedar Rapids. His budding power took a nose dive and his plate discipline spiraled. The good news is that Salas still has plenty of time to turn it around, although he will (I believe) be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason if the Twins don't add him to the 40-man roster (which they presumably won't). Perhaps this underwhelming season will temper the interest of other teams and prove to ultimately be a blessing in disguise for Minnesota – a la Jose Miranda.
  4. Sonny Gray walked off the mound in Game 3 of the ALDS with his head down. The Twins had returned to Target Field with a chance to take the series lead. Instead, Gray allowed more home runs than any other game this season. It was a disappointing end to what was likely his last appearance for the Twins. Gray turns 34 next month, and he’s reaching free agency for the first time. The Twins will make him a qualifying offer that amounts to a one-year deal of around $20 million. He will decline the offer, and the Twins can receive draft pick compensation if he signs with another team. Gray told reporters that money isn’t the only factor in his search, but he wants to be fairly compensated. It seems unlikely for the Twins’ front office to give Gray a multi-year deal, so the focus turns to replacing him. The Twins aren’t magically going to find a starting pitcher who will produce a five WAR season. Instead, the team will need to piece together value from multiple players. Chris Paddack Paddack returned from Tommy John surgery in the season’s final weeks and showed some tremendous stuff in a bullpen role. Some pitchers can struggle with their command after arm surgery, but Paddack filled up the strike zone and utilized all his pitches, including an increased use of his changeup. He will likely have an innings limit in his first full season back from surgery, but the Twins managed Kenta Maeda well this season. Paddack won’t be in the running for the Cy Young like Gray was this season, but he should fit nicely into the middle of the rotation and add value the Twins didn’t get in 2023. Potential Value: +2.0 WAR Joe Ryan Ryan’s sophomore season was a tale of two halves. Before the All-Star Break, Ryan posted a 3.70 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP and a 124-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 107 innings. His second half was marred by a groin injury that he tried to pitch through with some disastrous results. In 11 starts (54 2/3 innings), he posted a 6.09 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP while surrendering 16 home runs, the same amount he allowed in the first half in half as many innings. According to rWAR, Ryan provided less value to the Twins than Brock Stewart, Emilio Pagan, and Bailey Ober. The Twins can get more value from Ryan if he can spread his first-half totals over the entire season. Potential Value: +1.0 WAR Bailey Ober Ober finished third on the team among pitchers in rWAR behind Gray and Lopez, but he left other value on the table. He started the season in St. Paul, making four starts before joining the Twins rotation. At the end of August, the Twins sent him back to Triple-A to give him time off, and he made one additional start at that level. There is no question that he would have provided more value to the Twins if those five starts came at the big-league level. Next season, there should be fewer concerns about Ober’s workload after he threw over 170 innings for the first time in his career. He deserves to be in the Twins rotation coming out of spring training, and he might have a chip on his shoulder after the way he was used this season. Potential Value: +0.5 WAR Other Options The Twins will also have other internal options to complete the back end of the rotation. Louie Varland was fantastic in his transition to the bullpen at the end of the season. Minnesota might be tempted to leave him in that role, but that likely won’t happen to start the year. He should get the chance to start and earn the fifth spot in the rotation out of spring training. Despite struggling through different parts of the 2023 season, Simeon Woods Richardson is another intriguing option. He posted a 4.91 ERA at Triple-A with a 1.50 WHIP in 113 2/3 innings. Woods Richardson was nearly five years younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and St. Paul has proven to be a hitter’s park. He won’t begin the year in the rotation, but he should factor into the equation later in the year. Potential Value: +1.0 WAR There is also a potential for the Twins to go out and add another starting pitcher through free agency or a trade. Many were surprised by the Twins adding Lopez last winter when the rotation seemed to have five viable options. Minnesota’s front office values depth, and the team’s younger pitchers might need more time at Triple-A. How do you think the Twins will replace Gray? Do they have enough value with their internal options? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Seemingly every day, Yunior Severino has continued to mash and hit home run after home run. Find out below how impressive his current streak is, and how unique his season has been in Twins minor-league history. And while it may not be as historically significant, you'll want to see the run that Wind Surge starter Pierson Ohl is on too. The Saints got a nice start from a prospect who appears to have turned around his season. The Wind Surge played another one-run game. And, it was a travel day for the Kernels as they head back home hoping to keep their season alive on Thursday night. All that and much more in Wednesday's Minor League Report. Here are the records of the Twins and their active affiliates through games on Wednesday. Minnesota Twins: 76-70 St. Paul Saints: 80-59 Wichita Wind Surge: 62-71 Cedar Rapids Kernels: 82-50 regular season (0-1 in playoffs) Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS Before the games on Sunday, the Twins activated Jorge Polanco from the Bereavement List. To make room, OF Gilberto Celestino was optioned having not played during his short stint with the big club. . SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 2, Louisville 3 (10 innings) Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson started on Wednesday afternoon for the Saints in Des Moines. He gave up one run on three hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out five batters. His ERA this season is now down to 4.92. Now, that may not sound great, but when the calendar turned to July, he was 0-5 with an ERA of 7.47 over 11 starts and 47 innings. However, since then, He is 6-1 with an ERA of 2.95 over 12 games (10 starts) and 61 innings. It has been gradual, but it’s great to see that improvement. Andrew Bechtold came on in relief for the sixth inning. He gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. However, both outs he recorded were on strikeouts. He has made 18 appearances out of the bullpen since trying to take up pitching on the fly. Blessed with a big arm that is capable of hitting the upper-90s with a fastball, it is worth a shot, and it will be interesting to see if he’s shown enough potential to invest another season in that transition. Bechtold can be a free agent at season’s end. If that happens, it will be interesting to see how he is utilized moving forward. So, it’s important to take his numbers - which haven’t been good - into proper perspective, understanding he hasn’t pitched since high school (10 years ago) and he’s doing it in Triple-A against a lot of veteran players. In 16 innings, he has an ERA of 11.81 and a WHIP at 2.63. He has 14 strikes, but 21 walks, in those 16 innings. But he is 2-1 if you’re interested in Win-Loss record for relievers. Michael Boyle came on and faced four batters. He got all four of them out, two on strikeouts. Jordan Balazovic gave up a hit and struck out one batter in a scoreless inning. The Saints took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Michael Helman scored on a Wild Pitch. The Saints took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth when Hernan Perez hit his 10th home run of the season. The Saints cut their deficit to 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning when Yunior Severino hit his 10th Saints homer and his 34th homer overall. He has homered in three straight games and in five of the past seven games. Only seven players in Twins minor-league history (62 seasons) have hit more home runs in a season than Severino. And he’s got nine games remaining to move up the lists. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 1, Midland 2 Box Score Pierson Ohl continues to roll. The right-hander from Grand Canyon tossed 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in this game. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out five batters. He also hit two batters. Early in June, Ohl was promoted to Wichita. In his first three Double-A starts, he went 0-2 with an ERA of 6.61 and opponents hit .297 against him. Since then, he has gone 7-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). His WHIP has been 0.89, and opponents have hit just .198 off of him. He’s got 62 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 70 2/3 innings. Isaac Mattson got out of the sixth inning and then gave up a single run in the seventh inning on a solo homer. Sean Mooney came into a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth inning. He recorded one out and gave up only an unearned run on two walks. Miguel Rodriguez came into the game with the bases loaded and one out. He got the final two outs of the eighth inning and allowed just one inherited runner to score. He then pitched a scoreless ninth inning. He had three strikeouts. The Surge did score the first run of the game in the second inning. Ben Ross drove in Alex Isola with a single. That was about it for the offense. They had just six hits, and Alex Isola went 3-for-4 in the game and is now hitting .280 on the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria The Kernels have their backs to the wall in Round 1 of the Midwest League playoffs. Fortunately, the team will find their backs on the walls at their home stadium in Cedar Rapids. And, if they find a way to win Game 2, then Game 3 will be at home as well. They are sending righty Cory Lewis to the mound on Thursday night. He’s arguably been the best pitcher in the Twins organization this season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day – Yunior Severino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, HR(10/34), R, RBI, K Pitcher of the Day – Pierson Ohl (Wichita) - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 5 K, 83 pitches, 53 strikes (63.9%) PROSPECT SUMMARY Check out the Prospect Tracker for much more on the new Twins Top 20 prospects after seeing how they did on Wednesday. #1 - Brooks Lee (St. Paul) - 0-for-4 #7 - Austin Martin (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB, 2 K #8 - Tanner Schobel (Wichita) - 0-for-4 #14 - Yunior Severino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, HR(10/34), R, RBI, 1 K #15 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 84 pitches, 53 strikes (63.1%) #16 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 16 pitches, 11 strikes (68.8%) THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE AND PITCHING PROBABLES St. Paul @ Iowa (12:08 PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak (5-8, 5.10 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams (4-10, 5.55 ERA) Playoffs: Game 2: Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - Cory Lewis (9-4, 2.49 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games or any other Twins minor league topics!
  6. TRANSACTIONS RHP Alex Scherff placed on temporary inactive list by St. Paul RHP John Klein promoted from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids The Twins released RHP Chad Donato from Wichita's roster SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 10, Louisville 3 Box Score St. Paul turned to Simeon Woods Richardson on Thursday night, and he was nothing short of lights out. He worked six innings and allowed just a single run on four hits and a walk. The run didn’t come until the sixth inning, and he punched out five on the evening. It didn’t take long for the electric Saints lineup to produce. Kyle Garlick launched a two-run homer that brought in Trevor Larnach and put St. Paul ahead. Gilberto Celestino nabbed a homer the hard way, an inside-the-park variety, that brought home Jair Camargo in the second inning. Up 4-0, Woods Richardson had a comfortable lead. For the second time on the night, Garlick spiced things up with a homer. The two-run shot was his 14th of the year, and again plated Larnach in the process. Hernan Perez then singled with both Yunior Severino and Anthony Prato on base, driving both in, and making it an 8-0 ballgame. In the sixth inning, Prato ripped an RBI single to score Larnach for the third time. With the bases loaded, Celestino drew a walk to drive Garlick in and make it a 10-0 game. Louisville recorded their first run in the sixth inning, and then plated a pair in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make this one a game. While Austin Martin didn't make his mark with the bat tonight, he certainly made his presence felt with the glove. The Saints recorded a whopping 14 hits on Thursday with Larnach, Garlick, Severino, Prato, and Camargo all recording a pair each. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Corpus Christi 1 Box Score The Wind Surge gave the ball to Pierson Ohl on Thursday night and he worked 5 1/3 innings allowing one run on four hits. Ohl also gave up a walk while striking out four. His one mistake came on a home run that Chad Stevens sent to left field. Wichita jumped out to an early advantage when Seth Gray crushed his ninth home run of the season. A second inning solo shot represented the game’s first run. Corpus Christi responded with a solo shot of their own in the bottom half and the game stayed tied until the ninth inning. Needing some separation to avoid extras, Wichita made things happen in the ninth inning. Willie Joe Garry Jr. stole second base, and when catcher C.J. Stubbs sailed the throw, he came around the score. The costly miscue put Corpus Christi behind by a run with only three runs to work with. Picking up six hits on the night, no one recorded more than one hit for Wichita. The late run was enough to win it. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 11, Cedar Rapids 6 Box Score C.J. Culpepper made the start on Thursday night for the Kernels, and unfortunately it was a tough outing for him. He lasted just two innings while allowing seven runs on seven hits. Culpepper also walked two and struck out just one. Despite a very good season, this wasn’t an outing to hang his hat on. Trailing 7-0 by the third inning, the Kernels didn’t fold and looked to bounce back. Jefferson Morales doubled home Misael Urbina to put Cedar Rapids on the board. In the fourth inning Luke Keaschall added another when he singled home Jorel Ortega. Then in the fifth inning, Kala’i Rosario kept up his hot-hitting while blasting his 21st dinger of the season. The three-run shot also scored Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez while bringing the Kernels within two. Wisconsin added a pair of runs back in the fifth inning to push it back to a four-run lead. Adding another pair in the seventh inning, it was an 11-5 game and Cedar Rapids found themselves staring at a sizeable deficit once again. Attempting to mount a comeback, the Kernels gained a run back when Rodriguez drew a bases loaded walk in the eighth inning to score Keaschall. They couldn't capitalize with other runners on base however. Unable to add in the ninth inning, the Kernels dropped the contest by five. The Kernels had just five hits Thursday night, and while Rosario posted three RBI, no one added multiple hits. MUSSEL MATTERS Bradenton 9, Fort Myers 5(F/7) Box Score With inclement weather in the area, the start of Thursday night’s tilt for the Marauders and Mighty Mussels was delayed. After finally getting underway, Miguelangel Boadas took the ball for Fort Myers. In the first inning, Nate Baez doubled with Jay Harry scoring and the Mighty Mussels were on the board first. Yohander Martinez added another with a single during the third inning that scored Danny De Andrade. Leading 2-0, the Mighty Mussels gave both back in the fourth inning and saw the Marauders tie the contest. Bradenton jumped on top of Fort Myers with three runs in the fifth inning. The Mighty Mussels weren't ok with playing from behind and immediately stormed back. De Andrade doubled home Ricardo Olivar before Baez traded places with him on a double of his own. Martinez then singled to drive in Baez and make it a tie ballgame. The Marauders loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning and rather than emerge unscathed, the Mighty Mussels gave up a grand slam. The 9-5 lead was going to be difficult to overcome with just three outs left. Fort Myers couldn't mount a late comeback and that was enough to do them in. With both squads recording ten hits on the evening, Fort Myers saw two each come from De Andrade, Baez, and Martinez. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day – Kyle Garlick (St. Paul) - 2-3, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR(14), 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #3 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids) - 0-2, R, RBI, 3 BB #7 - Austin Martin (St. Paul) - 1-6, 2 K #8 - Tanner Schobel (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, K #10 - Luke Keaschall (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #13 - Kala’i Rosario (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, R, 3 RBI, HR(21), BB, K #14 - Yunior Severino (St. Paul) - 2-6, R, 2 K #15 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #17 - Danny De Andrade (Fort Myers) - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B(20) FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:15PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak Wichita @ Corpus Christi (7:05PM CST) - RHP Marco Raya Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:40 CST) - RHP Zebby Matthews Bradenton @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - RHP Matt Gabbert Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games!
  7. TRANSACTIONS None Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 5 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: Yunior Severino (2) Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI), Gilberto Celestino (3-for-3, R, BB), DaShawn Keirsey Jr. (2-for-4, R) The Saints made it close on Saturday. Simeon Woods Richardson continued to pitch effectively on Saturday; the 22-year-old held an ERA of 2.96 in July, and now he’s at a 2.79 mark in August. It took a while for the bats to get going, but when they did, they did so with gusto. Yunior Severino blasted a 461 foot moonshot to center, apparently clearing the batter's eye for the first time since St. Paul became an affiliate of the Twins. More runs soon followed for the Saints—they plated a trio in the 8th—but Indianapolis struck for three before they could, leaving St. Paul with a one run disadvantage. All three runs scored off a Hernán Pérez double. The heart of St. Paul’s lineup came up in the 9th, but they went down 1-2-3. Brooks Lee’s sharp lineup was the only non-strikeout. Indianapolis possesses a few notable players. The first, Quinn Priester, started for the first time since his brief, ineffective stint with the Pirates. He pitched four shutout innings. The other—Canaan Smith-Njigba—is brothers with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, whom the Seahawks just selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft in May. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Springfield 11 Box Score Curtis Taylor: ⅓ IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (3-for-4, 2B, R), David Bañuelos (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) The Wind Surge were thoroughly blown out on Saturday. It’s never great when your starter can’t finish the first inning; it’s even worse when he can only find one out. The Cardinals lineup struck him for four earned runs, turning a leadoff double into a nightmare frame. The more astute amongst us may notice that Taylor earned three strikeouts but only one out. That means that—yes—twice a man reached first on a wild pitch strikeout. Sometimes, it may have been better to avoid the ballpark altogether. Wichita’s bats weren’t up to the herculean task of matching their opponents, but two batters—Alex Isola, and David Bañuelos—collected three hits in the game. For Isola, the game was simply a continuation of an outstanding August; he’s now slashing .295/.396/.659 in the month. Will Holland swiped his 24th base of the season. Cardinals leadoff man Victor Scott II is St. Louis’ 4th-best prospect; he went 3-for-5, with a walk, a stolen base, and a caught stealing. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 5 Box Score C.J. Culpepper: 5 ⅔ IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: Ben Ross (17), Kyler Fedko (4) Multi-hit games: Ben Ross (2-for-5, HR, 3B, R, 3 RBI), Jorel Ortega (2-for-4, 3B, RBI), Kyler Fedko (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB) The Kernels won on a walk-off on Saturday. Cedar Rapids blew a lead late, coming close to sending their fans home disappointed, before they struck with a run in the 9th, overcoming the Timber Rattlers for an exciting win. Starter C.J. Culpepper was strong as usual, reaching the sixth inning while only allowing one run along the way. He struck out four and walked two. His bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, however, as Alejandro Hidaglo and Malik Barrington allowed runs to eventually knot the game at five. It stung for a Cedar Rapids offense that had been explosive up to that point. They collected a perfectly normal nine hits, but fully loaded them with extra-base hits, giving them two doubles, two triples, and two homers respectively in the game. With Emmanuel Rodriguez on first, Jorel Ortega blasted one out to left field, greeting the yellow home run line in left with a startling crack. The shot didn’t clear the fence, but it was enough to plate Rodriguez, who ran like lightning to score off the hit. Big leaguer Jesse Winker played 1st base for the Timber Rattlers, singling once in three at bats. Milwaukee’s 1st-round pick in 2023—3rd baseman Brock Wilken—singled twice in four trips to the plate. Mussel Matters Ft. Myers 4, Palm Beach 0 Box Score John Klein: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jay Harry (2-for-3, R, BB) Mighty Mussels pitching and defense allowed just one hit on Saturday. John Klein was dominant. The Brooklyn Park native diced up Palm Beach’s lineup, tossing six scoreless innings with eight punchouts and two baserunners allowed. The 21-year-old has been fairly nondescript outside of an incredible debut start for the FCL Twins on June 10th, but starts like this will certainly put him on the prospect map. The Fort Myers offense wasn’t overwhelming, but that did everything they needed to do to support their excellent pitching. Maddux Houghton scored on an error. Luke Keaschall—the man on base because of the mistake—scored on a single. Later efforts pushed Fort Myers’ scoring to four runs. That was enough. The Mighty Mussels swiped three bases on Saturday—one each from Maddux Houghton, Luke Keaschall, and Rubel Cespedes. The Cardinals’ 21st overall pick in 2023—and outfielder named Chase Davis—walked once in three plate appearances. Complex Chronicles Game One: FCL Twins 1, FCL Red Sox 2 (7 Innings) Box Score Spencer Bengard: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost the first game of their doubleheader against the FCL Red Sox on Saturday. The bats were cool all game; the Twins collected just two hits—singles from Brayan Acuna and Walker Jenkins. They did take three walks, though. It was a bullpen day on the mound with Devin Kirby pitching the bulk of the game’s innings. His relation to Seattle’s George and Nintendo’s pink blob is unclear. His pitching was excellent, though, as he punched out six over just three frames of work. The team committed four errors, three of which came from 3rd baseman Issac Pena. Game Two: FCL Twins 5, FCL Red Sox 0 (7 Innings) Box Score Nolan Santos: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K HR: Jose Rodriguez (6), Jankel Ortiz (2) Multi-hit games: Walker Jenkins (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI), Brandon Winokur (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) The FCL Twins took game two, though. The bats were much more potent in their second look at FCL Red Sox pitching. It started early, as Brandon Winokur knocked in a pair in the 1st inning, setting the expectations for the game. Later extra-base hits by Jose Rodriguez, Walker Jenkins, and Jankel Ortiz brought the team to five runs. 2023 draftee Nolan Santos started the game for the Twins. The 7th-round selection out of Bethune-Cookman University—the alma mater of a handful of former big leaguers—pitched one scoreless inning, striking out a batter in the process. Kyle Bischoff inhaled the plurality of innings, though, as he whiffed six over four scoreless frames. FCL Twins pitchers struck out 21 batters in the doubleheader. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 3, DSL Phillies White 5 Box Score De Jesus: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K HR: Junior Del Valle (1) Multi-hit games: None The DSL Twins reached halfway to Satan on Saturday. That is, each number in their “R,” “H,” and “E” column was 3. As you could probably predict, that didn’t go well for them; DSL Twins pitchers actually never allowed an earned run, as, instead, all five runs were unearned. DSL Twins hitters had a tough time at the plate, striking out 11 times while earning just three hits. Junior Del Valle’s homer served as the long extra-base knock. Big-name international signing, Hendry Chivilli, continued his abysmal start to affiliated ball, striking out three times while committing his 12th error of the season. The 17-year-old has plenty of time to turn it around, but his Twins introduction has not gone well so far. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – John Klein Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ben Ross PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Brooks Lee (St. Paul) - 1-4, 2B, BB #2 - Walker Jenkins (FCL Twins) - 3-6, 2B, R, RBI, BB #3 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 3B, R, RBI, BB, K #8 - Austin Martin (St. Paul) - 1-5, 2 K #10 - Tanner Schobel (Wichita) - 1-4, R, 2 K #12 - Luke Keaschall (Ft. Myers) - 2-4, R, K #13 - Brandon Winokur (FCL Twins) - 2-7, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K #14 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #15 - Jordan Balazovic (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K #17 - Yunior Severino (St. Paul) - 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 K #18 - Jose Salas (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 2 K #20 - Jose Rodriguez (FCL Twins) - 3-7, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Randy Dobnak Springfield @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Pierson Ohl Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (1:00 PM) - RHP Zebby Matthews Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (10:00 AM) - RHP Jose Olivares
  8. The Twins have developed a solid young core carrying the team's offense throughout the 2023 season. Each player below is in their age-25 season or younger while playing in the upper level of the minors. Some players no longer qualify for the organization's top prospect list; others have yet to make their big-league debut. Players not eligible for the list include Ryan Jeffers, Trevor Larnach, and Willi Castro, who are all in their age-26 season. 10. Austin Martin, IF/OF Age: 24 Martin was considered the top prospect the Twins received as part of the Jose Berrios trade, but he's struggled since the trade. During the 2022 season, he posted a .683 OPS at Double-A. During spring training, Martin sustained a sprained ligament in his right elbow. Thankfully, he has been able to avoid surgery. In 26 Triple-A games, he has hit .261/.374/.364 (.737) with six doubles and one home run. It will be interesting to see if his performance improves with an entire off-season to recover from his elbow injury. 9. Jose Miranda, 3B/1B Age: 25 Miranda would have easily been in the top-5 of this list at the season's start, but his performance has struggled in 2023. He suffered a shoulder injury during spring training and tried to play through the injury. In 40 big-league games, he posted a 56 OPS+ with seven extra-base hits and 24 strikeouts. Miranda is currently on the IL because of his shoulder issue. When healthy, Miranda is an elite hitter, and the Twins hope this version of Miranda returns for the 2024 campaign. 8. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Age: 22 It's easy to forget that Woods Richardson is this young, especially after making his big-league debut during the 2022 campaign. He's pitched at Triple-A for nearly the entire 2023 season, where he is over five years younger than the average age of the competition. In 18 appearances, he has a 5.56 ERA with a 1.61 WHIP and 7.4 K/9. Luckily, he still has plenty of time to improve his performance and will be in the conversation for the Twins' 2024 starting rotation. 7. Louie Varland, RHP Age: 25 Varland might seem like the organization's forgotten starting pitching prospect, but he's won back-to-back Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He split time between the Triple-A and MLB levels in 2023 with results that don't match his previous performance. In 12 Triple-A starts, he has a 4.53 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP and 10.6 K/9. The Twins might still need Varland during the 2023 season, but his performance has yet to warrant the team promoting him. He is still part of the team's long-term plans and projects to be in the Twins' rotation for 2024 and beyond. 6. Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF Age: 25 Kirilloff would rank higher on this list for many teams, but he has struggled to stay healthy for multiple seasons. His wrist impacted his performance over the last two seasons, so the Twins ramped him up slowly to start the 2023 campaign. He looked like one of the team's best hitters for a stretch, including winning the AL Player of the Week. However, a shoulder injury has him back in the IL. An argument can be made for Kirilloff to be in the top-5, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy and productive at the big-league level. How would you rank these players? Which player will have the most significant long-term impact on the club? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. An issue that pops up in these lists is that of role assignments: pitchers in the minors often flip-flop between starting and relieving to eat up innings whenever they can. This poses challenges for those who acknowledge the delegation of title, as a starter with one relief appearance is still obviously a starter, but some situations aren't as clear-cut. I did my best to adhere to the spirit of the award while still understanding the sometimes silly nature of minor-league pitching order. Below are the names I thought most deserved to be on the list. Their ranking is entirely subjective; I value innings thrown, as those are outs, and outs are valuable, but also like to weigh strikeouts and peripherals as they can differentiate between dominance and a pitcher merely getting lucky. In times when it's a toss-up, I valued the almighty ERA as the great equalizer—got that? Good; let's start. Honorable mentions: RHP C.J. Culpepper - A+ Cedar Rapids C.J. “not Daunte” Culpepper has been one of the biggest stories in the Twins’ farm system this year. Drafted out of a California university not known for baseball stars, Culpepper cruised through Low-A before continuing his excellence at High-A. Why only an honorable mention? The Ks haven’t quite been there after the promotion. RHP Andrew Morris - A/A+ Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids Andrew Morris had a fighting chance at cracking the top five before he tossed up a stinker in his A+ debut on Sunday. Still, his stock is rising as much as his fastball, and he can make the list next month if he settles down at the new level. RHP Matt Gabbert - FCL Twins The short-season teams needed representation on the list as well—and Matt Gabbert is well-deserving of being mentioned. Plucked from indy ball this year, the Evanston, Illinois native struck out nearly 30% of the batters he faced in July, with his six-K outing on the 28th serving as the zenith of his punch out powers. RHP Juan Cota - DSL Twins And now the DSL representative: Juan Cota displayed impressive strikeout stuff with a K% above 30, and also the sort of diminished command typical of a literal teenager, walking three and hitting two over nine frames. 5. LHP Christian MacLeod - A+ Cedar Rapids, 23 1/3 IP, 22.8 K%, 3.47 ERA, 4.72 FIP An injury limited Christian MacLeod to 1 2/3 measly innings in 2021, and an even more measly 0 innings in 2022. Finally healthy, the big lefty drafted out of Mississippi State has done well in his first full-ish season of playing without limits following Tommy John surgery and rehab. The peak of MacLeod’s month came on July 3rd; he decimated the Peoria Chiefs with 5 2/3 overpowering innings, leading to a pair of earned runs along with seven strikeouts. The rest of the month wasn’t quite as impressive, but it was still deeply respectable for a pitcher who—for all intents and purposes—was making his professional debut. Plus, his overhand curveball is just a classic: 4. Zebby Matthews - A+ Cedar Rapids, 22 1/3 IP, 27.1 K%, 3.22 ERA, 4.02 FIP This is now the third “Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month” article I’ve written this year; Zebby Matthews has made the list all three times. His introduction to A+ ball was bumpy, with a ruinous June 10th outing scorching him with eight earned runs over just 2/3 of an inning. Still, Matthews did what Matthews has done since the start of the year: he settled in. He crushed the month of July, flattening his ERA to an acceptable level while punching out hitters at an elevated level. He walked one batter the entire month. One. The eighth-round selection out of Western Carolina University certainly now looks the part, and it should only be a matter of time before he shoots up prospect lists, joining the likes of Bailey Ober as an underrated, undervalued arm from a Carolina college no one has heard of*. Aaron Gleeman already did just that, placing Matthews 19th in his updated top 20 ranking two weeks ago. *With Ryan Jeffers and now Walker Jenkins also hailing from North Carolina, it seems that they will soon be the Carolina Twins, not just the Puerto Rico Twins. 3. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson - AAA St. Paul, 24 1/3 IP, 20.4 K%, 2.96 ERA, 4.27 FIP Almost everything had been a disaster. Entering July, Simeon Woods Richardson held an ERA of 7.47 at AAA, with a FIP at a still unfathomable 5.63. Given the mess, the Twins knew they had to change something up, so they tried a small experiment on July 8th. Brent Headrick started the game, going two innings with four strikeouts while leaving a clean slate for the following arm. Woods Richardson—for just the third time in his professional career—emerged out of the bullpen. The result was mastery: five innings with seven strikeouts, one walk, and a single earned run. He used the momentum to propel himself to a tremendous July, one that finally lowered his ERA, and perhaps righted himself enough to place himself back on the prospect map. Woods Richardson moved back to being a traditional starter after just two relief appearances, and he walked five in his most recent start, potentially signaling that he needs more work before being declared fixed. Still, a fine month deserves praise; here's some recognition for the 22-year-old. 2. RHP Pierson Ohl - AA Wichita, 18 2/3 IP, 29.5 K%, 3.38 ERA, 3.75 FIP Pierson Ohl won’t knock you down with stuff blazing and true; rather, the 14th-round pick from the 2021 draft prefers to carve up hitters with command, placing perfect pitches in precious places, coaxing flailing swings and soft contact. He’s now reached AA in his second full season since being drafted—and he appears to be gaining confidence. Other pitchers may have better numbers, but when you consider Ohl’s placement in the offensive pressure cooker known as the Texas League, his numbers become that much more impressive. Wichita’s team ERA in July was 6.30; lord only knows what it would have been without Pierson Ohl. His July was actually antithetical to his usual body of work: the typically walk-stingy righty handed out seven free passes, but with the trade-off being a near 30% K rate, Ohl was probably fine with the extra base runners. 1. LHP Dallas Keuchel - AAA St. Paul, 28 IP, 20.5 K%, 0.96 ERA, 4.11 FIP Is having Dallas Keuchel on your AAA team like the scene from Billy Madison where Adam Sandler pelts little kids with a dodgeball? Maybe. But it’s impossible to ignore what he’s done in his short stint with the Saints. The 2015 AL Cy Young winner was dominant. He allowed three earned runs the entire month, accruing 28 innings—far more than any other hurler in the system—while striking out a hair over 20% of the batters he faced. That’s a solid showing for his first time in pro ball since September of 2022. With all the attention on his potential opt-out, and whether the Twins will trade, promote, or move on from Dallas Keuchel, it appears he did just about all he could do to earn a spot back in MLB.
  10. Don’t forget to read Nick’s Week in Review to catch up on the Twins week. Please check out all the upcoming draft content here! All referenced stats are over the last 15 days. WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints Overall: 53-36 Overview: The Saints have played .500 ball since the last update. 🔥: Anthony Prato has slowly worked his way up the organization ladder and, though it's only been 91 at-bats at AAA, is posting his career-best OPS of 1.069. His three home runs in the last 15 days gives him six for St. Paul and eight total on the year (only two short of his career best). He's worked his way into the conversation in that he could be a utility-type player who can give you defensive value in the infield or outfield and can swipe a base too. 🔥: Simeon Woods Richardson is sporting a 0.60 WHIP and 1.52 batting average against over his last two games/ten innings. He's struck out nine and walked one. 🔥: Though he's been relatively dreadful on the whole, Kyle Garlick continues to beat lefties up. He's got an OPS of 1.004 against southpaws this season and collected nine hits (including two doubles and two home runs) in his last two weeks. 🥶: Blayne Enlow had a rough start, allowing four earned runs in five innings. He struck out four. 🥶: Austin Martin has finally reached Triple-A and the results aren't great. In his last nine games, he's 5-for-36 with two doubles. He's struck out only seven times and has drawn four walks, but his OPS over the last two weeks is a team-low .438 (minimum 10 at-bats). What's Next: The Saints will head to Omaha for a road trip this week. Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge Overall: 35-48 Overview: It's been a rough two weeks for the Wind Surge. Sunday's fun win was the team's first in eight days (yeah, there was a four-day break in there), but Wichita is only 3-8 since July 2. 🔥: Brooks Lee heard the rumbles that fans thought the organization had a new #1 prospect and responded by posting a 1.263 OPS over the last eight games going 13-for-33 with four doubles, three home runs, ten RBIs and more walks (6) than strikeouts (5). 🔥: Marco Raya has made two starts for Wichita so far. He's thrown 5 2/3 innings and has struck out seven. He has only allowed two hits. He'll need to reduced his walks as he's already issued five free passes. 🔥: Alex Scherff was excellent in his five relief outings. He struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings and only allowed one unearned run on three hits and four walks. 🤔: Pierson Ohl was impressive with 11 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings, and you can live with hit eights and three walks in those outings. But he allowed two home runs. 🥶: Will Holland got only five hits this week in 27 at-bats and struck out in 11 of those trips to the bat. He walked twice and did swipe three bags. 🥶: Aaron Rozek has done some good things this year. The last 15 days weren't good, however. In 8 2/3 innings, he allowed 16 hits and 12 earned runs. He walked five and only struck out three. What's Next: Wichita will be on the road facing Amarillo. High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels Overall: 11-7 in the second half. Overview: The Kernels continue to play good baseball. They took four of six from Quad Cities and two of three from Beloit. 🔥: Noah Cardenas and Ben Ross both had an OPS over 1.000 in somewhat limited at-bats (23 and 19, respectively). Cardenas had ten hits including three doubles and two home runs. Ross had seven hits including three doubles and a home run. 🔥: Multiple good performances from the pitchers in this edition: Jaylen Nowlin struck out ten in six innings. He allowed two runs on two hits and a walks. (Home runs will get you.) C.J. Culpepper struck out six in five three-hit shutout innings. Christian MacLeod gave up too many hits and walks, but carried a K/9 over nine. 🔥: Kala'i Rosario (13 hits), Tanner Schobel (11 hits, including six extra-base hits) and Jorel Ortega (11 hits, two home runs) all had over ten hits on the week. 🥶: Kyle Jones got roughed up over his two starts. In nine innings, he allowed 12 hits and two walks, which turn into nine runs (eight earned). He also gave up two home runs. 🥶: Alejandro Hidalgo allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits and four walks in just two innings. What's Next: The Kernels will play host to Peoria for six games as they look to climb up from one game behind the Chiefs. Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Overall: 8-10 in the second half. Overview: Fort Myers went into and came out of the break with wins, but has only played .500 baseball since the last update. 🔥: Carson McCusker joined the Mighty Mussels at the end of the June and he's spent the month of July showing off his mighty muscles. With 18 hits in 42 at-bats, McCusker has a .429 batting average, but he's also belted five home runs in that time. McCusker joined the organization after playing in the Frontier League for three seasons. He's a big (6-8, 250) right-handed bat with high-level experience (Oklahoma State), so this might be a fun story to watch. 🔥: Andrew Morris is the highest of last year's draft picks who hasn't made it to Cedar Rapids yet, but he's making his case. In two starts (nine innings), Morris allowed only five hits and two walks and struck out nine with no earned runs allowed. 🔥: Not to be outdone by McCusker, Mikey Perez has four home runs (out of seven hits) in only 28 at-bats. He also stole three bases. 🥶: Rafael Cruz (4-24, two walks, eight strikeouts, .389 OPS) and Carlos Aguiar (2-21, two walks, eight strikeouts, .317 OPS) both had rough weeks. 🥶: Develson Aria had impressed earlier in the year, but had another rough week. He allowed five earned runs on six hits and six walks in only three innings. What's Next: A visit to Bradenton is on the agenda. Rookie: FCL Twins Overall: 13-15, 7.5 games behind the FCL Pirates in the FCL South. 🔥: Cleiber Maldonado (4 2/3 innings, eight strikeouts), Juan Mercedes (4 1/3 innings, six strikeouts) and Bianger Liendo (two innings, two strikeouts) all made the last two weeks without allowing an earned run. 🔥: Yasser Mercedes had two home runs (among seven hits). He also stole two bases. But struck out seven times with only one walk. 🔥: Jankel Ortiz had seven hits in 15 at-bats, including a triple and home run. He walked four times with three strikeouts. 🥶: Bryan Acuna went 3-for-22. So far, he's batting .198 in his stateside debut. But he is only 17, so there's plenty of time. 🥶: Cesar Lares and Jeferson Lopez both got roughed up for lots of runs (nine and 11, respectively), but Lares was able to strike out nine in 6 2/3 innings. Lopez only got six outs. Rookie: DSL Twins Overall: 7-21, 15 games back in the DSL South. 🔥: Dameury Pena collected 13 hits over the last eight games. The 17-year-old is batting .417/.467/.548 (1.045) . 🔥: Juan Cota struck out five batters in five innings. He struck out five. He did allow three runs, but only allowed two hits and two walks. His 0.80 WHIP and .118 batting average against were both team-bests. 🔥: Jesus Peraza (seven hits, three doubles, 1.286 OPS), Ewing Matos (seven hits, four doubles, one triple), Jayson Bass (eight hits, double) all had good offensive weeks. 🥶: Jeicol Surumay allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on eight hits and four walks. He pitched three innings. 🥶: Yilber Herrera (3-for-20) and Angel Trinidad (1-for-13) really struggled. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week. The Prospect Tracker will be updated periodically throughout the season. Notice that these pages now include stats and splits, as well as past article links, video and more. Season-long stats will be in parenthesis. Fielding stats are since the last update three weeks ago. 20. Michael Helman, UTIL, St. Paul: On the 60-day Injured List with a dislocated shoulder. (.333/.434/.711. 1.145 OPS) 19. Yunior Severino, 3B, Wichita: 6-21, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K, CS. (.275/.349/.514. .863 OPS). 18. Jose Rodriguez, OF, FCL Twins: 4-19, 2B, HR, RBI, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K. (.263/.336/.404. .740 OPS) 17. Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Paul: 0-1, 7.20 ERA, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 HRA, 1 HB, BB, 4 K. (AAA/AA combined 1.21 WHIP, .235 BAA) 16. Matt Canterino , RHP: Still recovering from Tommy John surgery. 15. Brent Headrick, RHP, St. Paul: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 5 H, 8 K. (1.27 WHIP, .268 BAA). 14. Jordan Balazovic, RHP, Minnesota. St. Paul: (1.60 WHIP, .261 BAA); currently pitching out of the Twins bullpen. 13. Noah Miller, SS, Cedar Rapids: 9-35, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 7 K, CS. (.214/.283/.303. .586 OPS), played shortstop in eight games (67 total) and committed no errors in 34 chances (six errors in 287 total chances); played two games (eight total) at second base and committed no errors in 11 chances (no errors in 27 total chances). 12. Jose Salas, INF, Cedar Rapids: 8-30, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB, 7 K, SB. (.181/.268/.265. .533 OPS), played two games at shortstop and committed one error in seven chances (13 total; four errors in 43 chances total), played one game (14 total) at third base and committed no errors in one chance (three errors in 32 total chances). He played five games (40 total) at second base with no errors in 16 chances (three errors in 161 total chances). 11. Austin Martin , SS, St. Paul: 5-36, 2 2B, RBI, 3 R, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 SB, CS. (.177/.282/.258. .540 OPS), 10. Yasser Mercedes, OF, FCL Twins: 7-25, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, BB, 7 K, 2 SB. (.213/.269/.393. .662 OPS) 9. Matt Wallner, OF, St. Paul: 5-31, 2B, 5 RBI, 6 R, 7 BB, 7 K. (.291/.403/.524. .927 OPS); Minnesota: (.368/.520/.579. 1.099 OPS) 8. David Festa, RHP, Wichita: 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 4 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K. (1.39 WHIP, .256 BAA) 7. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, St. Paul: 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 10 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), BB, 9 K (1.68 WHIP, .290 BAA); Minnesota: (1.85 WHIP, .313 BAA) 6. Marco Raya, RHP, Wichita: 0-0, 3.18 ERA, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 7 K. (AA/h-A combined 0.97 WHIP, .180 BAA) 5. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Cedar Rapids: Announced recently that Prielipp will be undergoing season-ending elbow surgery. (1.75 WHIP, .294 BAA) 4. Edouard Julien, 2B, Minnesota. St. Paul: (.293/.435/.496. .931 OPS), has played all 34 games at second base and has committed three errors in 158 chances; currently up with the Twins. 3. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Cedar Rapids: 6-27, , 3B, 2 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 11 K, 2 SB. (.212/.374/.406. .780 OPS) 2. Royce Lewis, SS: Minnesota. Currently on the injured list and expected to miss another month. 1. Brooks Lee, SS, Wichita: 13-33, 4 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R, 6 BB, 5 K. (.279/.358/.468. .826 OPS), played 8 games (71 total) at shortstop and committed one error in 26 chances (11 errors in 293 total chances). Lee has committed one error in three chances in one game at third base this season. PLAYERS OF THE WEEK will return next week when we can vote on a day when there are no games. Ask questions and discuss the Twins prospects in the COMMENTS below.
  11. TRANSACTIONS INF Yohander Martinez reinstated from 7-day IL at Fort Myers OF Luis Baez transferred from 7-day IL to 60-day IL at Fort Myers OF Matt Wallner recalled by Twins RHP Pierson Ohl reinstated from development list RHP Jose Bravo reinstated from development list and released RHP Jordan Brink released OF Armani Smith released Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Durham 2 Box Score Brent Headrick: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: Anthony Prato (6), Jair Camargo Multi-hit games: Jair Camargo (2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, RBI) The Saints scored late to win on Saturday. They did it again. After the wild success that was last Saturday’s Brent Headrick/Simeon Woods Richardson’s piggyback, the Saints tried the strategy again. Headrick crushed his start, tossing a trio of scoreless innings, while Woods Richardson flourished as well, allowing a lone earned run over five frames. Kody Funderburk slammed the door with a quiet 9th. The bats aided the outstanding pitching effort. Anthony Prato and Jair Camargo both hammered late homers, earning and extending the precious lead. 0Prato now has a 1.064 OPS since joining the Saints. No hitter batting 1-4 got a hit on Saturday; only once did they reach base. Durham’s finest prospect is INF Curtis Mead. The Australian—third in the system; 32nd in MLB—doubled and singled in three at-bats. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Springfield 10 Box Score Pierson Ohl: 4 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Brooks Lee (8) Multi-hit games: None The Wind Surge got smoked on Saturday. Pierson Ohl was not himself. The righty, so adept at throwing strikes, never found his command; he walked three with a smattering of base hits to allow three runs on his watch. Given that he was only reinstated from the Development List today, he may have just been rusty. Hopefully his typical strike-throwing self appears soon. Brooks Lee gave Wichita their first run when he smoked a solo shot in the 4th inning. But they could only score once more against the Cardinals. Ace pitching prospect, Tink Hence, allowed both runs in an atypically mediocre outing, but Springfield’s bullpen was nails, and the Wind Surge never even got a hit after Hence exited the game. Wichita’s pitchers found no such fortune. Taylor Floyd and Hunter McMahon allowed seven combined runs in support of their starter. The team never recovered. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 9, Beloit 7 Box Score Kyle Jones: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: Kyler Fedko (3) Multi-hit games: Andrew Cossetti (3-for-3, R, RBI, BB) An explosive 1st inning carried the Kernels to victory on Saturday. It took until the seventh batter for Beloit starter Zach King to earn his first out; even that ended up as a run-scoring sacrifice fly. Cedar Rapids went double, hit by pitch, single, single, walk, single, before earning their fifth and final score of the inning when Andrew Cossetti flew a ball deep enough to coax in a run. The Kernels all-around offense continued throughout the game—and the team ended up walking more than they struck out (nine to eight) with every hitter reaching base at least once. Pitching wasn’t as smooth. Kyle Jones was cromulent over five innings, allowing a trio of earned runs, but a few late runs pushed the game within striking distance; fortunately, the Sky Carp never found the critical game-tying knot. Miguel Rodriguez stared down his last man and caught him looking, stranding a runner at third to conclude the game. The Kernels improved their season record to 51-32. Beloit’s star prospect—the second-in-the-system third baseman, Jacob Berry—doubled and struck out three times in five trips to the plate. Mussel Matters Ft. Myers 7, Clearwater 8 (10 Innings) Box Score Jarret Whorff: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: Danny De Andrade (7), Mikey Perez (5) Multi-hit games: Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB) The Mighty Mussels blew a late lead, turning a three-run advantage with one in the 9th into an extra-innings loss. Jarret Whorff was who he needed to be. The 24-year-old righty worked five scoreless frames, holding the second-scariest offense in the Florida State League to just a pair of singles, scattered and harmless. He unfortunately exited before his bats could give him the support he deserved. But they did come through eventually. Clearwater took a slim lead before Fort Myers roared back, plating four with a Danny De Andrade two-run shot exclaiming the scoring with authority. The lead held strong, guiding the Mighty Mussels into the 9th confident in their work. Gabriel Yanez acquired the first out before Jackson Hicks entered the game. He fell apart. A pair of singles and a three-run homer instantly zapped away the lead. The game entered extra innings. Zach Veen suffered just as well. The new pitcher allowed a back-breaking bases-clearing triple, eventually exiting with four runs standing between Fort Myers and the game continuing. They nearly did it. Mikey Perez blasted home himself and the Manfred Man. A productive groundout brought the game within one, but that was as close as the team could get, and Rubel Cespedes’ full-count strikeout delivered the game its final, disappointing verdict. Outfielder Justin Crawford, Philadelphia’s 3rd-best prospect, and the best prospect playing for the Threshers, singled in five plate appearances. Complex Chronicles The FCL Twins game was halted in the fifth; they will continue their match against the FCL Red Sox on the 21st. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 2, DSL Guardians Red 6 Box Score Juan Cota: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jayson Bass (2-for-3), Juan Zapata (2-for-3, 3B, RBI) The DSL Twins lost handily on Saturday. It took until the 5th for either team to score—and the game still ended up a seemingly normal affair. Starter Juan Cota has his stuff, leading to three scoreless frames with a pair of strikeouts—and, unusual for a DSL pitcher—no walks. But the Twins’ batters couldn’t take advantage of the effort; a Juan Zapata triple was their lone extra-base hit. The Guardians Red (what a clunky team name) stole four bases, and caught the Twins stealing twice. Hendry Chivilli, Minnesota’s big international signing in January, struck out three times in the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jair Camargo PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 1-4, HR, R, RBI, 3 K #3 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, R, BB, 2 K #7 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #11 - Austin Martin (St. Paul) - 0-4, K, SB #13 - Noah Miller (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, R, BB K #15 - Brent Headrick (St. Paul) - 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K #19 - Yunior Severino (Wichita) - 0-4 SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Durham @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - LHP Dallas Keuchel Springfield @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Travis Adams Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (1:05 PM) - LHP Christian MacLeod Clearwater @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM) - RHP Andrew Morris
  12. TRANSACTIONS None Futures Game Buried somewhere deep beneath the streaming super highway, MLB’s yearly Futures Game played out, with the NL team handily beating the AL team 5-0. More important to us Twins fans: RHP David Festa pitched a scoreless inning with one hit and a strikeout of Milwaukee uber-prospect Jackson Chourio on three-straight sliders. He touched 97.6 MPH with his fastball. Saints Sentinel St. Paul 5, Iowa 2 Box Score Brent Headrick: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: Anthony Prato (4), Chris Williams (16) Multi-hit games: None A breakout seventh inning led the Saints to victory on Saturday. It wasn’t working. No matter the start, and no matter the strategy, Simeon Woods Richardson couldn’t get anyone out. The top prospect entered the weekend with a 7.27 ERA on the year at AAA—and had peripherals unable to offer him any comfort. The Saints offered a solution: Brent Headrick would start the game—acquiring as many outs as he could—allowing Woods Richardson to enter facing a Cubs lineup tuned into a left-hander. It worked. Not only did Headrick crush his outing, Woods Richardson had one of his finest performances all year, punching out seven batters over five innings of work with a lone homer as his only blemish. This may be the blueprint needed for the talented youngster. The bats, while not overwhelming, were well-coordinated, leading to five runs off of six hits—more than enough to best the Cubs. Austin Martin plated the first run with a double into the right-center gap, marking St. Paul’s only score until the third act. Patience begat rewards, with an Anthony Prato moonshot finally breaking the stalemate. And fruit continued to bear, turning a 3-1 advantage into a 5-1 lead after Chris Williams cracked a homer out to the right-center power alley. The Cubs played feisty to end the game, scoring a second time to bring the game within three. With two runners on, Josh Winder snapped off a high curve—thought too high by the home plate ump. Williams, the catcher, disagreed. He quickly called for a challenge, and the robots agreed with his assessment, ending the game on a call overturned. Of course, one could opine about the minors having a better strike/ball system than MLB, but that’s better saved for later. The best Cubs prospect in Saturday’s game was Chase Strumpf. Ranked 23rd in the system by MLB.com, Strumpf struck out three times and committed an error. (Strumpf was the shortstop at JSerra High School which is why Royce Lewis played third base his first three years of varsity baseball.) Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 4, Tulsa 3 Box Score Travis Adams: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: Seth Gray (5), Aaron Sabato (5), Alerick Soularie (6) Multi-hit games: DaShawn Keirsey Jr. (3-for-5, 2B) The Wind Surge came back late to win on Saturday. Travis Adams was fine—maybe not great—over his five innings of work, allowing three runs against a surprisingly disappointing Drillers lineup. The 23-year-old started the season poorly, but now has back-to-back five inning starts with one and three runs allowed respectively. His bullpen had his back as well, as Regi Grace and Alex Scherff combined to toss four scoreless frames, carrying Wichita to the finish line as their bats came alive to win it. First it was Seth Gray—sudden and violent—blasting a ball over the centerfield wall to start the scoring, then Aaron Sabato shot one the other way to tie the game at two; Alerick Soularie’s skyscraper gave Wichita the lead for good. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. collected three hits and stole his 28th base of the season. The Drillers are led by Diego Cartaya, the Dodgers next big catcher in their efficient development system. He singled and walked in four trips to the plate. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 8 Box Score Cory Lewis: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: Tanner Schobel (14), Noah Miller (3) Multi-hit games: Ben Ross (3-for-4, 2B, 3 R), Noah Miller (2-for-4, HR, R, 4 RBI), Noah Cardenas (2-for-5) The Kernels scored four in the 1st, but couldn’t hold on in a thriller. It was an ambush. Tanner Schobel blasted a fastball 420 feet away into centerfield, surging ahead to first place on the Midwest League homer leaderboard. A few batters later, Noah Miller became the one jogging safely around the bases—and his homer plated three runners, leading to a commanding 4-0 advantage. Unfortunately, Cory Lewis wasn’t sharp. The typically tough righty mis-fired and battled, leading to an inflated pitch count as the River Bandits spit on obvious balls and waited out hittable strikes. He was out after three. Malik Barrington held down the fort for two frames, handing the game off to Alejandro Hidalgo. His Mr. Hyde appeared. A laborious sixth shifted favor towards the River Bandits; a two-run seventh ended the game for good. While Cedar Rapids scored twice after their initial outburst, their bats couldn’t break through to save their lost lead, and the Kernels ended up falling with a bases-loaded groundout in the 9th. Gavin Cross—Kansas City’s best prospect—singled once and plated two runs. Mussel Matters Wet playing conditions ended this game before it began, and the Mussels will play a double-header on Sunday. Complex Chronicles The FCL Twins did not play on Saturday. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 10, DSL Rockies 11 (10 Innings) Box Score Miguel Cordero: 3 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K HR: Carlos Silva (1) Multi-hit games: Dameury Pena (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI), Moises Lopez (3-for-4, 2B, 3B, R, 4 RBI), Carlos Silva (2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI) The DSL Twins lost a classic, sloppy DSL game on Saturday. These things happen when your starting pitcher is 16-years-old (born in 2006; hope that doesn’t ruin your Sunday). Miguel Cordero peppered the plate, making judicial use of his allotted targets to fire off four walks and five runs allowed. In his defense, his defense failed him for a few of those runs. Also in his defense, he’s two years away from being legally allowed to vote. The DSL Twins offense was prolific, plating 10 runs off of eight hits and seven walks, leaving just five men on base. Dameury Pena, Moises Lopez, and Carlos Silva (not that one) were your stars: the trio combined for seven knocks—with four going for extra-bases. Lopez served as a complex hero, though, as he drove in four runs and gave a few back with a pair of errors. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Carlos Silva PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #3 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5 #4 - Edouard Julien (Minnesota) - 2-4, 2B, R #7 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #8 - David Festa (Wichita) - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (Futures Game) #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-5, RBI #11 - Austin Martin (St. Paul) - 1-5, 2B, RBI, K #13 - Noah Miller (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI, K #15 - Brent Headrick (St. Paul) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (1:08 PM) - RHP Louie Varland Wichita @ Tulsa (1:05 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) - LHP Christian MacLeod Fort Myers @ Tampa (10:00 AM) - RHP Jose Olivares Fort Myers @ Tampa (30 minutes later)
  13. In looking to find their way forward from an organizational building capacity, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had to decide whether Byron Buxton or Jose Berrios would be franchise cornerstones. Buxton was someone they had previously negotiated with, and ultimately he landed a $100 million deal prior to the 2022 season. Berrios was an arm awaiting a payday, and the Twins front office decided it wasn’t going to come from them. When the names came out after the Toronto Blue Jays acquired the Twins ace, comments across the industry highlight how well Minnesota had done. It wasn’t universally believed that a deal involving Berrios could land either Austin Martin or Simeon Woods Richardson. Instead, Minnesota’s front office found a way to land both of the coveted top-100 prospects. Only Nate Pearson and Jordan Groshans were left from the top four prospects for Toronto, and the Twins netting that sort of firepower for a player that they were going to let walk 15 months later was nothing short of exceptional. The only unfortunate aspect of the deal is that neither player has made a real impact thus far. Martin came to Minnesota a year after he was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft out of Vanderbilt. He was a top-20 prospect across baseball going into 2021, and he flashed his abilities during the Futures Game. Posting an .807 OPS with a .424 OBP, there was a lot to be excited about surrounding his offensive profile. Left relatively unchanged after joining Minnesota’s organization in 2021, things started to go awry last season. Martin was urged to change his approach and swing in an attempt to unlock some power. He had never shown that sort of ability in his game, and tapping into it clearly caused issues across the board. He finished with an ugly .685 OPS despite still posting a .368 OBP. Fast-forward to this season and things couldn’t be foggier for Martin. He has played in rehab games this season as he works his way back from an elbow injury. He recently was activated by the St. Paul Saints, and the hope would be that he can avoid Tommy John surgery. He is now 24 years old, and no longer looks like an answer at shortstop, while having the most clear path as a utility player. There is no denying that Martin can have significant value for Minnesota, but he is Rule 5 Draft eligible this offseason, and surgery or not, the Twins will have a decision to make. He could certainly play the Willi Castro or Nick Gordon role a season from now, but the front office likely hoped for more when making him the centerpiece of a Berrios deal. Helping to hedge their bet, Woods Richardson was seen as a candidate to be featured in a good rotation. He competed (in that he was on the roster) alongside Joe Ryan during the Olympics, and ultimately pitched just eight innings at Double-A during 2021. Last season, Woods Richardson made his mark at both Double and Triple-A, posting a 2.77 ERA across 107 1/3 innings. He was every bit the star prospect Minnesota had hoped for. Despite being flipped by the Mets previously, it seemed that his third organization was going to be the one to benefit. At the end of the year, with Minnesota’s season in the tank, his first MLB start took place in the final weekend. The train has fully derailed on Woods Richardson at St. Paul this season. He has made 11 starts and owns an ugly 7.47 ERA with declining strikeouts and increasing walks. He was lit up during a spot-start for the Twins, and his repertoire has never looked less belief-instilling. Still just 22 years old, he is incredibly young, but such a substantial step backwards is anything but ideal. Although the Twins did exceptionally well when flipping Berrios as an asset, this is a reminder that prospect evaluations are increasingly difficult to pin down. We aren’t yet at a point where the return is a wash, but Martin being lost before getting started would be a substantial blow. Woods Richardson needs a sizable turnaround to avoid a future role in the bullpen, and Minnesota wants to capitalize much more than they have. At the end of the day, the Twins were able to use Berrios dollars elsewhere, and they netted a massive prospect haul in the process. The dollars have made sense, but the prospects have proven less fruitful. No matter how big of a win at the time of a deal, how something plays out in the future is much less of a given.
  14. Don’t forget to read Nick’s Week in Review to catch up on the Twins week. TRANSACTIONS None as of publishing. RESULTS Tuesday (5/23): Carlos Aguiar Flexes His Mussels Wednesday (5/24): A Walkoff, a Blowout Win, a Loss, and a Rainout Thursday (5/25): Sanchez Slings for Saints Friday (5/26): Pitching Continues To Be Solid, Even in Losses Saturday (5/27): The Dog Days Are Over; a Near Clean Sweep for Minnesota's Affiliates Sunday (5/28): Royce Lewis Catches a Flight MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT Carlos Aguiar Slugging His Way Into the Top Prospect Conversation Playing at 120 Percent, Royce Lewis is Ready for his Return to the Big Leagues These 3 Minnesota Twins Prospects Are Off to Disappointing Starts in 2023 Blayne Enlow is Out to Prove He Belongs Is Royce Lewis Going to be Here to Stay? TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - TBD Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) -RHP Blayne Enlow (2-1, 3.02 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (5:00PM CST) - RHP Jaylin Nowlin (2-3, 3.75 ERA) St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints (Week: 4-2) Overall: 27-22, 2.5 games back in the International League West. Overview: A good week with four wins over Omaha only kept pace with the Iowa Cubs. 🔥: It hasn’t been a good year for Aaron Sanchez , but he had a very good start last week pitching six shutout innings. 🔥: Hernan Perez and Andrew Stevenson both had huge weeks at the plate. Perez totaled 17 total bases on 10 hits in 20 at-bats with 10 RBI and Stevenson had 18 total bases on the nine hits and scored nine runs. 🥶: Simeon Woods Richardson threw 8 1/3 innings over two starts and allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits and five walks. He only struck out four. A hard reset may be in order. 🥶: Jose Miranda is floundering. Four singles in 24 at-bats. Six strikeouts. One walk. Two runs batted in and one run scored. What's Next: A trip to Buffalo (24-27) for six games. Both teams are 5-5 in their last ten. Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge (Week: 2-4) Overall: 20-24, 9.5 games back in the Texas League North. Overview: A poor week against Springfield dropped the Wind Surge even further behind Tulsa. 🔥: DaShawn Keirsey led the offense with nine hits (and three doubles). Brooks Lee had eight hits and hit his fourth home run of the season. 🔥: Aaron Rozek pitched seven one-run innings and struck out five while only walking one and allowing just three hits. 🥶: Will Holland was 3-for-16, but his three hits were two doubles and a triple. He struck out five times. 🥶: Andrew Cabezas struggled in his lone appearance of the week. He allowed four runs on four hits and three walks while only retiring three batters. What's Next: Wichita will host first-place Tulsa (30-15), who is on a six-game winning streak. Though dominant at home, the Drillers are only 8-10 on the road. High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels (Week: 3-3) Overall: 25-20, 1.0 game up in the Midwest League West. Overview: A 3-3 week was enough to propel the Kernels past a struggling South Bend team (losers of five straight). But Quad Cities has gone from 12-21 to 24-21 and are now just a game behind Cedar Rapids. 🔥: Marco Raya was perfect in his three innings, striking out five. 🔥: Jordan Carr pitched six innings and earned a win. He allowed only an unearned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out six. 🔥: Kala’i Rosario and Noah Miller led the offense. Rosario had two home runs among his six hits. Miller had seven hits including three extra-base hits. 🤩: Andrew Cossetti gets a write-up almost every week, so we should mention his promotion. He got three hits in 13 at-bats including two doubles. 🥶: Pierson Ohl had an interesting start. He was one out short of pitching six innings. He struck out seven… but he allowed nine hits and two walks which turned into seven runs (six earned). 🥶: Jose Salas . Man, it’s been a rough start for Salas. Nine strikeouts in a 2-for-20 week. What's Next: A road trip to Lansing (21-24). The Kernels have a better road record so far this year, so hopefully they can keep the lead in the West Division. Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels (Week: 3-3) Overall: 25-20, 6.5 games behind Clearwater in the Florida State League West. Overview: Fort Myers split with a decent Dunedin team and made up a half-game in the standings. 🔥: Ricardo Olivar’s nine hits were tied for an organizational high this past week. But his solid performance may have been overshadowed by Carlos Aguiar’s three-home run game and Jorel Ortega continuing to impress with his bat (two home runs) and legs (three stolen bases). 🔥: Zebby Matthews earned a promotion with six strikeouts in five shutout innings. He allowed two hits. 🥶: Maddux Houghton struck out six times in 10 hitless at-bats. 🥶: Jose Olivares is the youngest pitcher on the staff, but allowing seven runs on six hits (three home runs) isn’t great. What's Next: It should be a big week for the Mighty Mussels. St. Lucie (13-31) is the worst team in the entire league… but they are coming in with a three-game winning streak. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week. The Prospect Tracker will be updated on the first of each month throughout the season. Notice that these pages now include stats and splits, as well as past article links, videos, and more. (Season-long stats will be in parenthesis.) 20. Michael Helman, UTIL, St. Paul: On the Injured List with a dislocated shoulder. (.333/.434/.711. 1.145 OPS) 19. Yunior Severino, 3B, Wichita: 7-24, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K. (.279/.355/.526. .881 OPS), played his first game at second base this past week after playing exclusively at third base all season. 18. Jose Rodriguez, OF: Extended Spring Training 17. Blayne Enlow, RHP, Wichita: 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 6 H, ER, 1 K. (1.13 WHIP, .237 BAA) 16. Matt Canterino, RHP: Still recovering from Tommy John surgery. 15. Brent Headrick, RHP, St. Paul: 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), HRA, 2 BB, 3 K. (1.41 WHIP, .292 BAA) 14. Jordan Balazovic, RHP, St. Paul: 0-0, 7.36 ERA, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. (1.37 WHIP, .227 BAA) 13. Noah Miller, SS, Cedar Rapids: 7-21, 2 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, R, 4 K, SB. (.216/.293/.302. .595 OPS), played shortstop in four games (35 total) and committed no errors in 21 chances (four errors in 151 total chances); played no games (six total) at second base (no errors in 16 total chances). 12. Jose Salas, INF, Cedar Rapids: 2-17, 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB, 9 K. (.154/.231/.215. .446 OPS), didn’t play shortstop (three errors in 29 chances in nine games total), played one game (nine total) at third base with one error in five chances (three errors in 22 total chances). He played four games (18 total) at second base with no errors in 12 chances (one error in 72 total chances). 11. Austin Martin, SS: Martin is still recovering from an arm injury. 10. Yasser Mercedes, OF: Extended Spring Training 9. Matt Wallner, OF, St. Paul: (.271/.392/.486. 878 OPS); Minnesota: 7-11, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, SB (.368/.520/.579. 1.099 OPS) 8. David Festa, RHP, Wichita: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K. (1.49 WHIP, .260 BAA) 7. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, St. Paul: 0-1, 11.88 ERA, 8.1 IP (2 starts), 16 H, 11 ER, HRA, 5 BB, 4 K (1.88 WHIP, .329 BAA); Minnesota: (2.14 WHIP, .350 BAA) 6. Marco Raya, RHP, Cedar Rapids: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 5 K. (0.74 WHIP, .138 BAA) 5. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Cedar Rapids: On the injured list, but expected to resume throwing. (1.75 WHIP, .294 BAA) 4. Edouard Julien, 2B, St. Paul: (.287/.442/.481. .923 OPS), has played all 27 games at second base and has committed two errors in 119 chances; Minnesota: 4-17, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K. (.224/.316/.510. .826 OPS) 3. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Cedar Rapids: 3-22, 2B, HR, 6 R, RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, SB. (.160/.316/.362. 678 OPS) 2. Royce Lewis, SS: St. Paul: 5-17, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K, SB. (.333/.395/.692. 1.087 OPS), played one game (four total) at shortstop and committed no errors in four chances (no errors in 12 total chances). Lewis played one game (four total) at third base and committed one error in five chances (one error in eight total chances). 1. Brooks Lee, SS, Wichita: 8-26, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K, CS. (.261/.335/.418. .753 OPS), played five games (38 total) at shortstop and committed no errors in 25 chances (three errors in 161 total chances). Lee has committed one error in three chances in one game at third base this season. PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (as voted on by fans on Twitter) PITCHER - Marco Raya, Cedar Rapids (Raya 42%, Matthews 35%, Rozek 15%, Sanchez 7%) HITTER - Hernan Perez, St. Paul (Perez 68%, Rosario 23%, Keirsey 5%, Olivar 3%) Who would have been your picks? Any early season surprises or disappointments? Ask questions and discuss the Twins prospects in the COMMENTS below.
  15. Baseball prospects can be some of the most volatile players to follow in all of sports. As young players moving up through various levels of competition in a short period of time, it can be expected to see extreme peaks and valleys, even for some of the most highly-touted prospects. While the Twins have certainly seen some promising starts for some of their top prospects (article coming soon…), there have been some disappointing starts as well. These three prospects have been off to the most disappointing starts of the 2023 season: Jose Salas, Cedar Rapids Kernels (A+) .154/.229/.214, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 36 K, 8 BB Twins Daily Prospect Rank: 12 Jose Salas was a borderline top-100 prospect that the Minnesota Twins picked up this offseason in the Pablo López/Luis Arraez swap after posting a .723 OPS across Low-A and High-A last in 2022 as a 19-year-old. While many were optimistic about the infielders bat, and his potential to turn into a top-notch prospect, the start to the 2023 season has been disastrous for the switch-hitter. In 135 plate appearances to start the season, Salas has posted an OPS of just .438 with just five extra base hits and a lowly 36/8 K/BB ratio. For these reasons, Twins Daily has dropped Salas from the eighth ranked prospect coming into the season down to 12. Salas has always excelled at getting on base throughout his young career as a prospect, but this season he has done anything but get on base with just a .230 on-base percentage through his first 34 games. Salas is still just 20 years old and has plenty of time to adjust to the pitching at the High-A level, but it’s been a disappointing start to the season to say the least. Simeon Woods Richardson, St. Paul Saints (AAA) 30 1/3 IP, 7.12 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 8.0 K/9 Twins Daily Prospect Rank: 7 Simeon Woods Richardson came into the season as one of the likeliest prospects to join the Minnesota Twins rotation with an injury and, depending on his performance, stay up with the rotation as a key piece moving forward. After posting a 2.21 ERA in seven starts with the Saints in 2022, SWR appeared ready to take the next step in 2023. Things haven’t quite gone according to plan for Woods Richardson this season, though. Other than a spot start with the Twins in April (it didn’t go well), SWR has spent his entire season in St. Paul where he has posted a 7.12 ERA in seven starts with a 1.93 K/BB ratio. One big reason for the poor performance for SWR this season has been a lack of control. After walking just three batters per nine innings across multiple levels of the minor leagues in 2022, he has been walking 4.2 batters per nine innings this season. If Woods Richardson can get his control back in order and start throwing like he did last season, he could still get another chance up with the Twins later this season. If not, the Twins might be looking at a bullpen role for the right hander down the road. Emmanuel Rodriguez, Cedar Rapids Kernels (A+) .171/.326/.408, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 40 K, 17 BB Twins Daily Prospect Rank: 3 Coming into the season, some considered Emmanuel Rodriguez to be the Minnesota Twins prospect with the highest ceiling and that he might just be the Twins’ top prospect by the end of the 2023 season. While both of those statements might still be true, it hasn’t been an awesome start to the 2023 season for the left-handed prospect. After posting a .870 and 1.044 OPS in 2021 and 2022, respectively, Rodriguez has posted just a .734 OPS through his first 21 games with the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season. While Rodriguez still has shown similar power numbers to each of the last two seasons (five home runs in 95 plate appearances after posting nine home runs in 199 plate appearances in 2022), his eye at the plate has been extremely discouraging thus far. This season, Rodriguez has 41 strikeouts compared to just 18 walks. By comparison, last year the left hander struck out 52 times compared to 57 walks. It’s possible that injury has something to do with E-Rod’s struggles in 2023. Since coming off of the injured list with an abdominal strain on May 6, Rodriguez has just a .582 OPS with 24 strikeouts and 13 walks. Do you have confidence that the players listed above will turn things around? What other prospects have been off to disappointing starts? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  16. TRANSACTIONS RHP Dereck Rodriguez contract purchases by Minnesota from St. Paul OF/1B Alex Kirilloff recalled by Minnesota OF Trevor Larnach optioned to St. Paul RHP Jose Bravo transferred to St. Paul from Wichita SAINTS SENTINEL Nashville 3, St. Paul 2 Box Score After a multitude of roster moves, and rain that delayed the start, St. Paul finally sent Simeon Woods Richardson to the mound. He touched 94 mph in the first inning, and this game was something of historic importance as it represented the first time the challenge system has been used at CHS Field. On Friday through Sunday games at Triple-A umpires will have more control. While the ABS system is being used on Tuesday through Thursday, the home plate umpire will again call the games during the final three days. Each team gets three challenges (but successful challenges don’t take away from the total), and when one is initiated, the pitch is immediately relayed to the umpire and then put on the videoboard. The first challenge of the night came when Nashville’s Andruw Monasterio didn’t like a low strike call. He was incorrect, but got revenge on the very next pitch as he blasted a three run homer. Woods Richardson then used St. Paul’s first challenge on a called ball four. He was incorrect and the umpire found himself two for two. Answering in the bottom half of the second inning, Chris Williams and Andrew Bechtold went back-to-back on a pair of long blasts. Bechtold knew he got all of it, and a fan attempted to grab the dinger in a beer. As the 3rd inning looked to get underway, the rain came back and the tarp was on. With rain steadily falling and the forecast not looking great for the remainder of the evening, the Saints decided to bang this one on Cinco De Mayo. It will be resumed tomorrow afternoon with a seven inning game to follow. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 (Game 1) Box Score Playing a twin bill tonight after a rainout yesterday, the Wind Surge kicked off game one with Chad Donato on the mound. He went 3 1/3 innings while allowing five runs on eight hits. Donato did strike out three while not allowing any walks. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. started things well for the Wind Surge when he drove Yoyner Fajardo in on a 1st inning groundout. That was Wichita’s only lead of the contest though as Northwest Arkansas immediately answered with two runs in the bottom half. Donato was touched up for a two-run homer in the 4th inning that made it 4-1, and a run-scoring triple chased him from the game. Managing just four hits for the game, Alex Isola was the only Wichita player to record a pair of knocks. They would look to forget this one and bounce back in the second game. NW Arkansas 4, Wichita 3 (Game 2) Box Score Carlos Luna was the starter for game two this evening, and the Travelers once again jumped out to a lead. Allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits in the 1st inning wasn’t how he wanted things to go. Similarly to game one, Keirsey Jr. again drove in a run on a groundout. Fajardo scored and put the Wind Surge ahead. A single and a homer were recorded for Northwest Arkansas in their half of the frame and they had their second 4-1 lead of the day. Wichita did get one back in the 2nd inning, but still trailed by two through four innings of play. Seth Gray did make things interesting with a solo homer in the 6th inning, but Wichita couldn't even it up and they fell twice on the day. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, South Bend 0 Box Score Marco Raya was on the bump tonight for the Kernels, and he looked strong in a short outing as he continues to build up. Working three innings, Raya allowed just two hits while striking out three and walking only one. Pierson Ohl then came on as a piggyback starter and continued his strong start to the year. It was a scoreless game through the first couple of innings until Tanner Schobel came up in the 3rd inning. With the bases loaded, Schobel worked a walk and drew an RBI as Kyle Fedko waltzed across the plate. Though they couldn’t push any more across in the 3rd, Schobel picked up another RBI when he lifted a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning. Ernie Yake scampered home and the Kernels doubled up their lead. Adding again in the 6th inning, Ben Ross singled to right field and Willie Joe Garry Jr. raced home. The story of this game was certainly how dominant Ohl performed in relief. Working the final six innings, Cedar Rapids saw the righty allow only three hits while punching out nine. Keeping South Bend at bay, he lowered his season ERA to 2.25 and struck out the side to end it in the 9th inning. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 7, Fort Myers 6 (F/11) Box Score Tonight it was Develson Aria starting for the Mighty Mussels. He went 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and a pair of walks. Aria did strike out five on the evening. Florida State League reigning player of the month, Andrew Cossetti, singled in the 1st inning to drive in Jorel Ortega. A wild pitch then allowed Dalton Shuffield to score and make it a 2-0 game before the inning ended. By the end of the 4th inning, Dunedin had taken the lead 3-2. In the bottom of the 5th inning though, Maddux Houghton answered with a two-run blast that scored Alec Sayre and helped Fort Myers to regain the lead. As the game entered the final innings, it was Dunedin again regaining the lead. A two-run double put them back up by a score of 5-4. Fort Myers had just four hits on the night thus far, and they'd need to find a way to battle back. After a Mike Perez pop out Sayre took a walk to put the tying run on base. Houghton struck out and it was up to Ortega as the last hope. He answered the call and roped his first triple of the season to tie the game and represent the winning run just 90 feet away. Shuffield couldn't bring him home though, and the sides were headed to extras. Neither team could get anything going in the 10th inning, but Dunedin put the pressure on with a two-run blast in the top of the 11th inning. Houghton didn't have another homer in him but his single scored Rubel Cespedes to bring Fort Myers back within one. Ortega couldn't recapture the magic again, and they Mighty Mussels came up just short. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Pierson Ohl (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-6, 2 2B, K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-5, 2 2B, K #4 - Marco Raya (Cedar Rapids) - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #5 - Edouard Julien (St. Paul) - 0-1, K #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K #8 - Jose Salas (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, K #14 - Noah Miller (Cedar Rapids) - 0-5, 3 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, 2 RBI, BB, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Nashville @ St. Paul (2:07PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak Wichita @ NW Arkansas (6:35PM CST) - LHP Blayne Enlow Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (3:05PM CST) - RHP Jaylen Nowlin Dunedin @ Fort Myers (5:00PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
  17. Simeon Woods Richardson was drafted out of high school and was a rare top prospect traded multiple times before reaching the majors. First to Toronto, then to the Twins, all before age 21. His minor-league career began as a low to mid-90s thrower with well over a strikeout per inning, and both of these skills have fallen precipitously as he’s moved up the ladder. Having totaled just over nine innings at the MLB level, it’s impossible to judge Woods Richardson. That being said, the brief results haven’t been awe-inspiring, nor has the eye test. As he now appears to be the next man up in Triple-A, can we rely on Woods Richardson if he gets the call in the case of another injury? Simeon Woods Richardson’s best skill by scout grades is his 55 current and 60-grade future command. None of his individual pitches eclipse even a 50 grade by Fangraphs measure, meaning nothing else, in particular, stands out. This alone doesn’t give reason to worry about Woods Richardson’s future as a starting pitcher, but a few more red flags have developed as he’s reached the major leagues. For starters, the velocity has fallen off a cliff. He never sat in the mid-90s, but he was noted to have sat around 93 in his pro debut with the ability to run his fastball up to 97. Reports across his minor league career the last few years have had him around 90-91, which has been the case in his two Major League appearances in which he sat 91.1 and 90.9 respectively. As we’ve seen with Kenta Maeda, such low velocity requires a high-line act involving put-away secondary stuff and pinpoint command. Woods Richardson did have it all working in 2022 when he posted a 3.06 ERA in Double-A Wichita and a 2.21 ERA in Triple-A St. Paul across just over 100 total innings. He struck out more than a batter per inning at both levels although his St. Paul success was assisted by a .143 batting average on balls in play. It’s possible that once SWR gets rolling, he can mix and match his offspeed pitches in a way that nullifies the below-average velocity. Woods Richardson showed an interesting plan of attack in his 2023 MLB debut, not only throwing his changeup as his primary offspeed pitch but using it nearly as much as his fastball and doing so almost equally to right and left-handed hitters. He used his changeup against right-handed hitters more than he used his slider, though the Washington Nationals lineup absolutely clubbed both pitches. It isn’t fair to judge Woods Richardson based on his 2023 debut of just under five innings, but his numbers in the minors have taken a step back thus far as well. With less than a strikeout per inning this season and a near 6 ERA, he’s not exactly kicking in the door to the majors at this point. By "stuff" measures, Woods Richardson has impressed in St. Paul and actually graded out well in his 2023 big league debut. These measures haven’t translated into the dominance you'd expect thus far. For now, Woods Richardson will remain a starting pitching prospect, and will likely get a legitimate shot in the MLB rotation before the Twins even consider a change. It’s unfortunately just difficult to hold him in the same regard as Bailey Ober and Louie Varland when it comes to starting pitching depth at this point. The flashes of dominance just haven’t really been there. He could still turn out to be a serviceable starting pitcher, though the eye test and his steady decline in velocity and strikeouts as he’s advanced through the minors has raised some questions. We’ll see him again in 2023 to get more of a sample size to analyze, whether in the rotation or out of the bullpen. Simeon Woods Richardson has had a strange professional career thus far between being part of multiple trades and sharply declining velocity by age 22. Where do you think his future role is?
  18. Injuries were one of the main storylines for the 2022 Twins, and that's why the front office focused on adding depth to the starting rotation. Entering the season, there were questions surrounding Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle since both ended last year on the injured list. Maeda is returning from Tommy John surgery, and Mahle dealt with shoulder issues after being traded to the Twins. Last week, Maeda left his start early with a right elbow issue. His injury can allow the Twins to give Maeda time to rest on the injured list, especially since pitchers returning from Tommy John need to monitor their workload. Mahle left his start on Thursday with right posterior elbow soreness after his velocity dipped from 94+ mph earlier in the game to 89 mph. He is expected to be shut down from pitching for at least four weeks. Starting pitching has catapulted the Twins to the top of the AL Central in the season's full month. Now, the team has built-in rotational depth but one more injury, and the organization will need to rely on a combination of these players to have continued success in the weeks ahead. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Woods Richardson entered the year as one of the organization's top prospects after a tremendous 2022 season. He posted a 2.93 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and a 115-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 107 1/3 innings. Those numbers likely had him in the conversation for the organization's minor league pitcher of the year, but he lost out to Varland. In 2023, he allowed nine earned runs on 17 hits in 14 innings (three starts). Minnesota called him up to be a long reliever, and he threw 97 pitches out of the bullpen in relief of Pablo Lopez. Woods Richardson has struggled to start the year, and that might push the Twins to explore one of the other options below. However, in his most recent start, he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and completed seven innings. Brent Headrick, LHP The Twins drafted Headrick in the ninth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and he has moved swiftly through the organization. Last season, he split time between High-A and Double-A with a 3.32 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and 11.3 K/9. Minnesota thought highly enough of him to add him to the 40-man roster before the 2023 season. With St. Paul, he made two appearances (one start) and allowed six earned runs on 12 hits. The Twins have used him exclusively out of the bullpen at the big-league level, but he has pitched three innings or more in two of his three appearances. If needed, the Twins can move Headrick back into a starting role to help bolster the rotation. Aaron Sanchez, RHP Sanchez should be a familiar name to Twins fans as he made eight appearances with the club during the 2022 season. In eight appearances (three starts), Sanchez allowed 15 earned runs on 31 hits with a 1.33 WHIP. The Twins granted him his free agency this winter, but he decided to re-sign with the organization. In 2023, he has been one of the most consistent starters for the Saints. Sanchez has made five starts (22 1/3 innings) with a 2.42 ERA. His WHIP is high (1.57) because he has a 6.9 BB/9, significantly higher than his career average (3.8 BB/9). It seems likely for the Twins to need Sanchez at some point this season, but he is behind others on this list and isn't on the 40-man roster. Jose De Leon, RHP De Leon was once a top pitching prospect in the Dodgers organization, and the 2023 season marks his first in the Twins organization. Fans got excited this spring when De Leon pitched 5 2/3 hitless innings while striking out 10. With the Saints, he has made seven appearances, including three starts. De Leon has a 2.95 ERA with a 1.42 WHIP and a 17-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (8.3 K/9) is over four strikeouts lower than his career mark, so it will be interesting to see if he can increase his strikeouts as the weather improves. How much can these players impact the Twins' rotation? Which pitcher deserves a more extended look? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  19. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor leagues. TRANSACTIONS Alex Kirilloff was activated from the Twins injured list and optioned to Triple-A. Trevor Megill was traded to the Brewers for a PTBN and cash considerations. RESULTS Tuesday (4/25): Blowouts and Bombs Wednesday (4/26): Not a Good Day in the Twins Organization Thursday (4/27): Saints March Home Early Friday (4/28): Woods Richardson Takes No-No to the 6th Inning Saturday (4/29): Wichita Offensive Explosion Highlights Disappointing Night in the Minors MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - April 2023 Alex Kirilloff and Embracing the Unknown Edouard Julien’s Triple-A Improvement Checklist TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Nashville @ St. Paul (11:07 PM CST) - RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-1, 2.42 ERA) Wichita @ Northwest Arkansas (11:05 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-3, 7.71 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (5:05 PM CST) - LHP Jordan Carr (0-1, 3.38 ERA) Dunedin @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - RHP Cory Lewis (2-1, 3.32 ERA) WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints (Week: 2-3) Overall: 15-10, 2.0 games back in the International League West. Overview: After a convincing series win against Rochester, the Saints lost three of their final four games before the finale was rained out on Sunday. 🔥: Michael Helman returned to the Saints and had two home runs (among four hits) and six runs batted in. 🔥: Mark Contreras was the only Saint who batted better than .300 (8-22, .421) and supplied a nice power supply with three doubles and a home run. 🔥: Louie Varland and Simeon Woods Richardson are both jockeying to join the Twins rotation and did well in their starts. (You can see entire stat lines for them in the Top 20 roundup below.) 🥶: Dereck Rodriguez allowed four runs on five hits in his lone inning of work. 🥶: Andrew Stevenson had been very good for the Saints, but was 3-15 this week with six strikeouts. What's Next: The Saints will host Nashville (14-12) in the front half of a two-week homestand. Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge (Week: 2-4) Overall: 9-12, 5.0 games back in the Texas League North and currently tied for last place. Overview: Lots of scoring for both Wichita and Springfield this past week (all games had 10 or more combined runs), but the Wind Surge had two games where they combined for one run. They also lost while scoring 10 and now have a three-game losing streak. 🔥: Yoyner Fajardo tied for the organizational lead with 9 hits on the week. He scored six runs, walked twice and stole a base. He only had one strikeout in 23 at-bats. 🔥: Yunior Severino has continued to provide power and a load of strikeouts for Wichita. Three more home runs this week, ten runs batted in and also ten strikeouts. You can take the swing-and-miss when you have a .373 OBP with a .958 OPS on the season. 🥶: The pitching staff, as a whole, struggled mightily. Five different pitchers who pitched three or more inning had ERAs of 12.00 or greater. All but two pitchers on the entire staff allowed two or more earned runs. Five pitchers issued three or more walks. What's Next: Wichita will look to get back on track as they travel to Northwest Arkansas (10-11). High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels (Week: 3-3) Overall: 9-11, 5.0 games back and in last place in the Midwest League West. Overview: The Kernels took three of the first four in the series, but lost the final two games to settle for a split. 🔥: Ben Ross was the lone hitter with a batting average over .300 (6-19, .316). Ross had two doubles, two walks and stole a base. 🔥: Regi Grace pitched well at the back of the Kernels bullpen. He earned a win and picked up a save by pitching three near-perfect innings over two games. He struck out three in three innings and only allowed a walk. 🔥: Kyle Jones has been inconsistent through four starts, but when he’s good, he’s really good. In five shutout innings this week, he allowed three hits and a walk while striking out five. 🥶: Keoni Cavaco has had a bumpy go since being drafted. In four games this past week, he was hitless in 11 at-bats, striking out seven times. He did walk four times though, if you’re looking for a silver lining. What's Next: Cedar Rapids hits the road for a two-week road trip, starting in South Bend (13-8). Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels (Week: 4-2) Overall: 12-9, 3.0 games behind Bradenton in the Florida State League West. Overview: Fort Myers took three of the first four before a Saturday rainout forced a Sunday double-header, which they split. 🔥: Carlos Aguiar had five extra base hits (two doubles, three triples) among his eight hits. He scored six runs and drove in four. He did strike out 10 times, though, in 26 plate appearances. 🔥: Andrew Cossetti keeps raking. He had six hits this week and five of them were doubles. 🔥: CJ Culpepper threw five shutout innings and struck out seven. He only allowed three hits. 🥶: Mikey Perez had 24 hits in 10 games after being drafted in 2021. He really struggled in 2022 and 2023 hasn’t been much better. A 2-16 week drops him to .118/.211/.206 on the season. 🥶: Develson Aria, who’s been highlighted before, struggle in his start this week, allowing five hits, three walks and four runs in the 3 ⅔ innings. He did strike out five. What's Next: Fort Myers will host Dunedin (10-11) this week and get to stay at home again the following week. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week. The Prospect Tracker will be updated on the first of each month throughout the season. Notice that these pages now include stats and splits, as well as past article links, video and more. (Season-long stats will be in parenthesis.) 20. Misael Urbina, OF, Cedar Rapids: 4-21, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB, 11 K. (.138/.230/.246. .476 OPS) 19. Jose Rodriguez, OF: Extended Spring Training 18. Tanner Schobel, 2B, Cedar Rapids: 4-19, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K. (.203/.260/.348. .608 OPS), played two games at second base (ten total) and committed one error chances (two in 42 chances total); played two games at third base and was perfect in seven chances (has not committed any errors in 11 total chances in six games). 17. Ronny Henriquez, RHP: On Minnesota’s injured list with elbow inflammation. 16. Jordan Balazovic, RHP, St. Paul: 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2 IP, 2 H, ER, HRA, 4 K. (1.30 WHIP, .192 BAA) 15. Matt Canterino, RHP: Still recovering from Tommy John surgery. 14. Noah Miller, SS, Cedar Rapids: 3-24, 3 RBI, R, 2 BB, 5 K. (.247/.333/.315. .648 OPS), played shortstop in five games (15 total) and committed no errors in 20 chances (one error in 58 total chances); played one game (three total) at second base and committed no errors in six chances (15 total). 13. David Festa, RHP, Wichita: 0-0, 6.23 ERA, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 HRA, 1 BB, 7 K. (1.11 WHIP, .229 BAA) 12. Yasser Mercedes, OF: Extended Spring Training 11. Matt Wallner, OF, St. Paul: 2-12, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K. (.268/.453/.500. 953 OPS); Minnesota: (.000/.273/.000. .273 OPS) 10. Austin Martin, SS: Martin is still recovering from an arm injury. 9. Louie Varland, RHP, St. Paul: 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K. (1.27 WHIP, .263 BAA); Minnesota: (1.17 WHIP, .250 BAA) 8. Jose Salas, INF: 3-15, 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB (.143/.226/.161. .387 OPS), played one game at shortstop and had no errors in two chances (one error in 17 chances in five games total) and two games (six total) at third base with no errors (one total) in three chances (12 total). He played two games (five total) at second base with no errors in five chances (no errors in 14 total chances). 7. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Cedar Rapids: Prielipp is expected to resume throwing this week, though it’s unclear when he will return to game action. (1.75 WHIP, .294 BAA) 6. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, St. Paul: 0-1, 2.57 ERA, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (1.57 WHIP, .298 BAA); Minnesota: (2.14 WHIP, .350 BAA) 5. Edouard Julien, 2B, St. Paul: 3-13, 2B, RBI, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K, SB. (.241/.414/.426. .840 OPS); Minnesota: (.222/.276/.444. .720 OPS) 4. Marco Raya, RHP, Cedar Rapids: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, 2 K. (1.41 WHIP, .211 BAA) 3. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Cedar Rapids: Rodriguez is still recovering from an abdomen strain. 2. Royce Lewis, SS: Lewis is still recovering from his second ACL surgery, but is getting back into action in extended spring games. 1. Brooks Lee, SS, Wichita: 7-22, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K. (.263/.323/.439. .762 OPS), played all five games (19 total) at shortstop and committed no errors in 20 chances (two errors in 84 total chances). PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (as voted on by fans on Twitter) PITCHER - Simeon Woods Richardson, St. Paul. (Woods Richardson 36%, Enlow 27%, Culpepper 25%, Grace 12%) HITTER - Mark Contreras, St. Paul. (Contreras 49%, Severino 40%, Aguiar 6%, Ross 5%) Who would have been your picks? Any early season surprises or disappointments? Ask questions and discuss the Twins prospects in the COMMENTS below.
  20. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the Twins minor leagues on Friday. However, we know that Bailey Ober will be starting for the Twins on Saturday, and for that to be OK, the Twins will have to put a player on the Injured List. If I were to guess… I’d take my chances that the player will be Kenta Maeda. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 1, Rochester 2 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson fell to 0-3 on the season, but he really put together a terrific start. In fact, he carried a perfect game through four innings. He faced the minimum number of batters through five innings. In the sixth inning, a Derek Hill single broke up the no-hit bid. He advanced to third base on a single. Darren Baker bunted and Woods Richardson flipped it home but Hill was safe. The second run scored on a wild pitch. Richardson was charged with the two runs on three hits and two walks in seven innings. He had four strikeouts. Austin Schulfer tossed a perfect eighth inning. Unfortunately, Red Wings (Nationals) pitcher Cory Abbott also kept a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. Alex Kirilloff had a walk in the fourth inning to end the perfect game bid, and Elliot Soto broke up the no-hitter with a double in the sixth inning. Down 2-0 going into the ninth inning, the Red Wings mounted a bit of a comeback. Mark Contreras doubled in Kyle Garlick to cut the deficit to 2-1 with nobody out. Andrew Bechtold followed with a walk. Andrew Stevenson bunted the runners to second and third with one out. However, two strikeouts later and the Saints had a 2-1 loss. The Red Wings had five walks, but they also struck out 18 times in the game. Not much for base runners, but the team went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base in the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 1, Springfield 9 Box Score Chad Donato is a 27-year-old pitcher that the Twins signed in the offseason to provide innings and maybe some mentorship. He was originally drafted by the Astros in 2016 out of West Virginia and spent the 2022 season at Triple-A Sugar Land where he went 4-8 but tossed 124 2/3 innings. Upon becoming a free agent, he signed with the Twins this offseason On Friday, he made his third start for the Wind Surge, and it didn’t go well. He went 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs, two each in the first, third and fourth innings. He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out two. Andrew Cabezas came off of the Development List on Thursday. On Friday, he struck out four batters over two scoreless innings. Hunter McMahon is off to a slow start this season. In this one, he gave up three runs (2 earned) on two walks in just 1 1/3 innings. He did strike out three batters. Michael Boyle came in and allowed both inherited runners to score. But he was able to complete the final two innings. Wichita pitchers have given up 30 runs over the past three games. The Wind Surge bats just weren’t able to get much going in the game. They had just six hits and walked just twice. Alex Isola went 2-for-4 in the game. Jake Rucker went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, West Michigan 5 Box Score Marco Raya made the start for the Kernels in this game. The youngster completed the first three innings. He gave up three runs on three hits (including 2 homers) and a walk. He struck out two batters. Orlando Rodriguez came on and worked four innings out of the bullpen. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out five batters. Niklas Rimmel walked one and struck one out in a scoreless eighth inning. Regi Grace has had a nice breakout in the first month of this season for the Kernels. In this game, he had a perfect ninth and ended the game with a big strikeout to earn his first Save. Rimmel gets the Win because the Kernels scored three runs to take the lead in the eighth inning. Kala’i had an RBI double to tie the game. Then Tanner Schobel and Misael Urbina hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to give the Kernels the two-run lead. The first three runs of the game for the Kernels came off of the bat of Noah MIller. He had an RBI single in the second inning. Then in the fifth inning, he hit a two-run single. Miller went 2-for-5 with those three RBI. Ben Ross went 2-for-4 with a walk. He stole a base too. Noah Cardenas walked once and added his third double of the season. The Kernels gave up three home runs in the game. Two of them came off of the bat of the #12 overall pick in the 2022 draft, Jace Jung. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Daytona 2 Box Score Zebby Matthews, the Twins eighth round pick last summer out of Western Carolina, has started off his season 3-0 after another solid start on Friday night. In this game, he gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight batters. Jonathan Lavallee struck out three over 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. Jackson Hicks struck out three batters over the final 1 2/3 innings to record his first save as a pro. The Mussels had plenty of baserunners that this game could have been a blowout. They had nine hits and six walks, but they were just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. However, Dylan Neuse and Carlos Aguiar provided the big hits. In the second inning, Neuse gave the team a 1-0 lead with an RBI single. In the third inning, Aguiar drove in a run to make it 2-0 Fort Myers. The Tortugas got on the board with a run in the fourth inning. In the sixth frame, Neuse came up big again with another run-scoring hit to provide the team with just enough insurance since Dayton scored a run in the bottom of that inning to make it 3-2. Neuse went 2-for-3 with a walk in the game. He also stole his fifth bag of the season. Aguiar added a triple to his run-scoring double. Jorel Ortega went 2-for-4 with a walk. Rubel Cespedes went 2-for-4. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Hitter of the Day – Carlos Aguiar (Fort Myers) - 2-for-5, 2B (4), 3B (1), RBI. PROSPECT SUMMARY Check out the Prospect Tracker for much more on the new Twins Top 20 prospects after seeing how they did on Wednesday. #1 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 0-for-4, K #2 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - IL (news came out on Friday that he is playing three games in Extended Spring Training games every other day. They hope to have him start a rehab assignment in May.) #4 - Marco Raya (Cedar Rapids) - 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 50 pitches, 30 strikes. #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. 78 pitches, 55 strikes. #11 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB, 2 K. #14 - Noah Miller (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-5, 3 RBI #18 - Tanner Schobel (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, R, RBI, HBP, SF. #20 - Misael Urbina (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 K, SF. THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE AND PITCHING PROBABLES St. Paul @ Rochester (12:05 PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak (1-0, 5.94 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (2:05 PM CST) - RHP Carlos Luna (0-0, 4.09 ERA) West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl (1-2, 2.70 ERA) Fort Myers @ Daytona (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Tomas Cleto (0-1, 2.57 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
  21. Out of the gate, Minnesota decided against keeping Danny Coulombe or Jeff Hoffman. Instead, Rocco Baldelli went with Cole Sands to operate as his long man out of the bullpen. Sands not needing to be prioritized for innings could provide bulk work when Minnesota needed it, or mop things up if games got out of hand. Sparingly used, and pitching just a total of four innings, Sands was optioned. Simeon Woods Richardson recently provided the Twins some length in a game that got away against the Washington Nationals, but the goal has been for him to remain a member of the rotation. For now, that happens in St. Paul, but ultimately, he provides Minnesota depth behind Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Tyler Mahle, and Joe Ryan. Finishing the weekend series against the Nationals was Bailey Ober making a spot start. He was solid last year as a starter for the Twins, and disappointed his strong spring didn’t provide an opportunity to crack the Opening Day roster. After looking good in his 2023 debut, it is that 13-man pitching staff where the greatest group lies. The caveat obviously is that Kenta Maeda moves to the bullpen. Shockingly, Maeda is fine after taking a line drive to his ankle. Avoiding a trip to the injured list, the Twins have Maeda listed as the probable starter on Wednesday against New York’s cheater starter, Domingo German. Minnesota has remained steadfast that Maeda would be in the rotation coming back from Tommy John surgery. Thus far, he’s been fine, but the opportunity to maximize the roster lies in front of them. Continuing to let a capable starter in Ober work out of the rotation seems to make too much sense. Ober has been nothing short of spectacular in his past three outings, and it’s clear he’s much better than being stashed away at Triple-A. Vaulting him to the big-league rotation still leaves arms like Louie Varland and Woods Richardson as immediate starting depth. By inserting him into Minnesota’s group, Maeda’s innings can be managed, and the pen becomes more fluid. Looking for a high-level arm that can eat innings, there may be no more ideal option than Maeda. He has topped out at 83 pitches this season, and has been skipped once to ease him back in. By working out of the pen, he provides a middle-inning option that can remain stretched out, but also focus on executing in short stretches rather than being perfect throughout the entirety of a start. Of course, Maeda would not be a fan of this outcome, and he wasn’t while used in the role with the Dodgers. However, he is in the final year of his deal with the Twins and isn’t likely to be around in 2024. It should not be of highest concern for Minnesota to appease everyone, and certainly not carrying more weight than building their most optimal roster. When used as a reliever with Los Angeles in 2019, Maeda posted a lower ERA and a 22/4 K/BB. He was better as a reliever in 2018 as well, and that season saw him tally a 26/3 K/BB. Being able to insert that type of dominating arm into the non-leverage spots that provide themselves during a game would immediately give Baldelli starter protection on a nightly basis. I don’t foresee the Twins making this change any time soon. They were too vocal about him being a starter, and Maeda is clearly more happy in that role. That said, if you want to put the best 13 pitchers on the roster and get more from the bullpen one through eight, this is the way to get it done.
  22. Box Score SP: Pablo Lopez: 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 83 pitches (60 strikes, 37 strikes 72.2%) Home Runs: Buxton (3) Bottom 3 WPA: Lopez (-0.313), Jorge Polanco (-0.096), Max Kepler (-0.73) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs): Pablo López falls victim to the Washington Piranhas The first inning got off to an auspicious start, as López got ahead of the leadoff hitter 0-2 before running an inside fastball too far inside for a hit-by-pitch. The next hitter doubled which may have been the only real mistake López made in the inning. Joey Meneses then hit a grounder that Jose Miranda ranged far to his left but made an off balance throw to first, failing to record an out, although the runner at third would have scored regardless. A walk followed, then two dominating strikeouts. Side Note: The game time temperature at Target Field today was 35 degrees. Pablo Lopez's previous coldest first-pitch temperature was 56 degrees in Cleveland in 2019. López then threw one of his better sweepers that Christian Vázquez couldn’t handle, resulting in a wild pitch and a 2-0 deficit. López had good stuff and decent command, spotting his fastball up in the zone and his changeup below the zone. He did seem to make an adjustment following the lone walk, getting a visit from Pete Maki and challenging the National’s crop of underwhelming hitters. It did seem as though championship-winning manager Davey Martinez had the Nats ready to play, despite the dearth of talent on his roster. They dinked and dunked on a pitcher they were familiar with from López’s days in the NL East, selling out for contact and building a 4-0 lead by the second inning despite only one hard hit ball. The “death by a thousand paper cuts” attack continued in the fourth, with Victor Robles doubling off Michael A. Taylor’s glove and taking third because he assumed Taylor would struggle to make a good throw back to the infield. He was correct, and made that same assumption on a short fly ball to Taylor in the next at-bat, scoring the Nat’s fifth run. It begs the question of whether a more competent offense trying to get off more “A” swings may have been, ironically, easier to pitch to given Saturday’s weather. Lopez was removed after 83 pitches in what had to be one of the more frustrating outings of his career. Chad Kuhl doesn’t lose his cool, or the game Kuhl isn’t devoid of ability, as his complete game shutout against the Dodgers at Coors Field last summer may indicate. He threw plenty of sliders that the Twins didn’t do much damage off of, but overall lacked command, walking four and unleashing a wild pitch. He was worked hard and was not efficient, throwing 96 pitches while failing to complete four innings. The Nationals’ bullpen kept the lead intact, as Mason Thompson, Hobie Harris, Carl Edwards Jr. and Anthony Banda combined to allow just three additional runs over five and a third innings. Buxton continues to improve Byron Buxton was in an extended strikeout stretch following his collision at second base in the White Sox series. Things have turned around a bit since then, with Buxton entering the game not striking out in 14 straight plate appearances. Making a dedicated effort to avoid striking out, Byron Buxton continues to look better and better, drawing a walk in the first and crushing an inside fastball for a home run in the third. He just missed a pitch with two men on in the fourth, flying out to center to end the inning. Woods Richardson makes his 2023 debut Simeon Woods Richardson, called up to provide length after the Boston series depleted the back end of the bullpen, was sharp, hitting 93 MPH on his fastball and pairing it with an effective change-up. The questions with SWR have been, can he be effective in the lower 90’s after sitting in the mid-90’s with the fastball earlier in his minor league career, and is his changeup a plus pitch or just an average offering. His stuff looked good against the Nationals, but its hard to draw any definitive conclusions facing a team whose best hitter, Jeimer Candelario, was released by the Tigers over the offseason. The Nat’s highest upside hitter, CJ Abrams, delivered the big blow, waiting on a changeup down and in and golfing it for a three-run home run to put the game away in the seventh. Trying to stretch his outing out and complete the game, SWR was clearly gassed in the ninth, losing his command and allowing some hard contact, resulting in giving up the last two runs of the game. Joey Gallo hitting second Imagine this scenario playing out two months ago. No one who writes about the Twins was especially keen on the Gallo signing, but to Gallo’s and hitting coach David Popkins’ credit, he looks like the only force in the Twins lineup. Health may be a factor, as Gallo was in the midst of a breakout season in 2019 when he fractured his wrist, hitting for a .253 batting average and .986 OPS while playing the majority of his games in center-field. He followed with a terrible 2020 season, a wildly inconsistent 2021, and a brutal 2022 where he hit .160. Maybe the wrist injury changed his mechanics and Popkins helped him restore his 2019 form, or maybe Gallo is simply getting fat off of mediocre pitching thus far in 2023. Either way, his insertion into the two-hole is more than justified given the underperformance from all the other Twins hitters. He didn’t have his best day, going 0-4 with two strikeouts. Larnach averages 97.1 exit velocity against offspeed Trevor Larnach, much maligned for his inability to hit breaking/offspeed pitches, did quite well against them today, not recording a strikeout and posting exit velocities of 98.1 MPH against a Chad Kuhl slider in the second, 97.6 MPH against a Kuhl slider in the fourth, and hitting a two RBI single in the seventh at 95.3 MPH against a Hobie Harris split-changeup. Adjustments have been made, but it will be interesting to see if those hold against stiffer competition. What’s Next Bailey Ober will make his first start for the Twins this season on Sunday as the Twins try to prevent what would be an embarrassing home sweep against the Nationals. Ober will face off against Patrick Corbin (1-2, 6.30 ERA) whose contract pays him $24.4M this year and $35.4M next year. He has specialized in waking up dormant offenses the past few years, so we’ll see what the Twins can do. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Chart TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Woods Richardson 0 0 0 0 97 97 Moran 26 0 44 0 0 70 Jax 26 0 0 31 0 57 Headrick 0 47 0 0 3 50 Pagan 0 0 42 0 0 42 Thielbar 17 0 0 12 0 29 López 10 0 0 16 0 26 Durán 19 0 0 0 0 19
  23. TRANSACTIONS OF Matt Wallner optioned from Minnesota to AAA St. Paul C David Bañuelos moved to development list Saints Sentinel St. Paul 2, Indianapolis 9 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson: 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Andrew Bechtold (2-for-4, 2B, R) The Saints were blown out on Saturday. It was not Simeon Woods Richardson’s day; the Sugar Land native couldn’t find the right answers against Indianapolis' lineup, allowing 10 hits—the most he’s relinquished in his minor-league career. Randy Dobnak relieved Woods Richardson—probably emotionally as well as physically—after the starter allowed a pair of hits in the 4th. Dobnak quickly learned that Indianapolis’ hitters didn’t mind the pitcher, though, and he subsequently saw four runs score against him. St. Paul’s hitters faced a Quinn Priester that was sharp and effective, punching out nine times against the top prospect; a pair of runs blemished his stat line but make no mistake: this was a dominating performance from Priester. And Indianapolis' bullpen continued the trend, adding 4 1/3 scoreless frames with seven extra strikeouts; the Saints only collected one extra-base hit off Indianapolis relievers. Andrew Bechtold and Connor Sadzeck served as the two bright spots, with the former adding two more hits—a double included—to his early-season stash; the latter pitched 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run. He struck out three. Beyond Priester, Indianapolis boasts a talented squad, enjoying the unique talents of catcher/infielder/outfielder Endy Rodriguez and the piranha-ish Nick Gonzales. Rodriguez earned three hits while Gonzales collected four; they totaled four extra-base hits. Joey Gallo struck out all four times he stepped to the plate; Chris Williams pinch-hit for him in the 9th inning and walked. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 3, NW Arkansas 12 Box Score Aaron Rozek: 2 1/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 1 K HR: Yunior Severino (2), Alerick Soularie (1) Multi-hit games: Brooks Lee (2-for-3), Yoyner Fajardo (2-for-4) The Wind Surge experienced a good old-fashioned butt-kicking on Saturday. It started out bad and only got uglier. The Naturals pounced on Aaron Rozek for two runs in the 1st before coming back with vigor in the 2nd, smacking three extra runs onto his ledger. That would normally be enough to punish a pitcher—five runs wins you most ballgames—but NW Arkansas felt especially spicy on Saturday; they plated five more runs in the 3rd, this time splitting the damage between Rozek and reliever Seth Nordlin. Wichita’s offensive burst, while soft in comparison, was admirable, as both Yunior Severino and Alerick Soularie blasted homers in support of their ailing pitchers. Severino’s shot was a classic pulled meteor; but Soularie’s was incredible: he somehow pushed a casual fly ball deep enough to clear the fences the other way. You don’t see that every day. Unfortunately, the good news ends there. Wichita’s offense set a season-high for strikeouts with 16 and have now struck out at least 12 times in five consecutive games. The NW Arkansas Naturals are typically led by catcher Luca Tresh, the Royals’ 13th-best prospect according to MLB.com, but since he had the day off, Andrew Hoffmann—the starter who mowed down seven batters over five innings—served as their finest prospect representative. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Quad Cities 5 Box Score Alejandro Hidalgo: 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 3 K HR: Emmanuel Rodriguez (3) Multi-hit games: Ben Ross (4-for-4, 2 2B, R) The Kernels could not get out of their way on Saturday. Alejandro Hidalgo—fresh-faced, still just a teenager—took the mound for the first time in the Twins’ system. The Venezuelan change-up specialist found no fortune with command; walking six and hitting one in a curt, ineffective start. Strangely, all of his walks came with two outs. Hopefully, Hidalgo, who joined the Twins following an off-season deal with the Angels that sent Gio Urshela out west, will find more fruitful days in his future. The short start placed Cedar Rapids’ bullpen in a tough spot, needing 7 1/3 frames of work to finish the game, but they nearly pulled it off. Regi Grace established order by ending the 2nd and pushing the effort to the 5th, making Miguel Rodriguez the next crucial cog. He faltered. The Kernels’ second Venezuelan hurler of the night breezed through the 5th, but stepped into a 6th-inning ambush, leading to three runs and a burned ego; Cedar Rapids never recovered. But they put up a solid fight: Noah Cardenas bounced into a run-scoring double play in the 2nd and Emmanuel Rodriguez continued his habit of only hitting homers to the deepest parts of the ballpark. He now leads the Midwest league in RBIs with 12. That was all, though, and a run-scoring balk in the 8th nailed the Kernels into their coffin. Ben Ross, Minnesota’s 5th-round pick in 2022 out of Notre Dame College—no, the other one—collected four hits, doubling twice in an effective day from the cleanup spot. The River Bandits are led by outfielder Gavin Cross—the Royals’ best prospect and the 56th-best prospect according to MLB.com. He tripled and walked in five plate appearances. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Clearwater 3 Box Score Jose Olivares: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels lost an offensive-deficient game on Saturday. Jose Olivares owned the mound; the Venezuelan righty worked five efficient innings, striking out a trio of batters while allowing a lonely run to score off a solo homer in the 4th. Not bad for the first start of the season at an elevated level. The bats, though, were locked up, evidently tossed away or hidden as the Mighty Mussels only collected three hits—all singles—on top of five walks; a Jorge Polanco sacrifice fly in the 3rd served as the only run they could muster. Catcher Ricardo Olivar caught the worst of it, striking out all four times he stepped up to the plate; left-fielder Dalton Shuffield punched out three times. Josh Winder tossed 1 2/3 innings in relief of Olivares, allowing one run and three hits while striking out three. Alex Kirilloff drew two walks and played seven innings in the field at first base; Polanco played the full game at second base, drawing a walk on top of his sacrifice fly in four trips to the plate. The Threshers are led by outfielder Justin Crawford—son of Carl, and the fourth best prospect in the Phillies system; he tripled, singled, and scored a pair of runs from the lead-off spot. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jose Olivares Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ben Ross PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 2-3 #3 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, 3 K #5 - Edouard Julien (Minnesota) - 0-4, 2 K #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #8 - Jose Salas (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, K #11 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-5, 2B, 2 K #14 - Noah Miller (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, R, BB #18 - Tanner Schobel (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K #20 - Misael Urbina (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (12:35 PM) - LHP Brent Headrick NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Chad Donato Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) - RHP Orlando Rodriguez Fort Myers @ Clearwater (11:00 AM) - RHP Zebby Matthews
  24. The St. Paul Saints are beginning their third season as an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. However, it is their first season under new ownership. While the team starts the season with a weekend series in Toledo, their home opener will be on Tuesday against the Iowa Cubs. Tickets are still available on the Saints website for all six games. It should be a fun season with the Saints as they are loaded with prospects. Let's take a look at the Saints Opening Day roster. That way, you can go through your baseball card collection and find these players, then go to CHS Field and get them signed. Oh, and watch some really good baseball too! Coaching Staff Toby Gardenhire is back for his third season as the Saints manager. His hitting coach is recently-retired Nate Spears. Tyler Smarslok is the team's Defensive Coach and usually the first base coach as well. As all Twins affiliates do, the Saints have two pitching coaches. Cibney Bello is there for the third straight season. Peter Larson joins the Saints staff this year. He has quickly moved up the Twins organizational ladder. Pitchers Pitching wins, right? So that's where we'll start. Starting Pitchers: Jordan Balazovic, Randy Dobnak, Brent Headrick, Bailey Ober, Aaron Sanchez, Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson. When we talk about the Twins starting pitching depth, this is where it is. If Bailey Ober is your #6 starter, your staff is pretty deep. However, Varland and Woods Richardson both made their major-league debuts late last year and they're likely Options #7 and #8. Aaron Sanchez made a few starts and long-relief appearances for the Twins last year. He is probably Option #9 at this point. He's obviously had some strong seasons in his long big-league career. Randy Dobnak appears to be healthy. It will be great for him to get some innings, find that control and command of his sinker again. He maybe starts out the season as the #10 option, but he could move up that list quickly. And Headrick made a really strong impression in his first spring training. He ended last year with starts at Double-A, so he just needs some time. While they certainly want Ober, Varland and Woods Richardson to start, the rest of the list could team with Cole Sands, Ronny Henriquez, Josh Winder and several from the below reliever list as the long-man out of the bullpen. That is the group that is really happy that St. Paul and Minneapolis are just miles apart. Weekend Rotation FRIDAY: Bailey Ober SATURDAY: Aaron Sanchez SUNDAY: Simeon Woods Richardson Relief Pitchers: Jose De Leon, Cody Laweryson, Trevor Megill, Oliver Ortega, Dereck Rodriguez, Connor Sadzeck, Austin Schulfer, Brock Stewart, Patrick Murphy (Development List) This is also an intriguing group of relievers. As you look at the list, who is the closer? However, there are a lot of guys who can pitch multiple innings, have experience as a starter and as a reliever, and could fit a role in the big leagues... where they have a pretty strong backend of their bullpen already. The most intriguing names on this list, at least for me, are Cody Laweryson and Austin Schulfer. They are both home-grown talents who have had a lot of success in their minor-league careers, as starters and as relievers. Schulfer's stuff impressed me. He's throwing a running fastball that sits 95-97 and a slider from the same release point that darts away from a right-hander at 90. He also has a pretty good changeup that he can bring out at any time. Laweryson doesn't throw as hard. He probably tops out at about 92, but he's got a funky delivery and deception. He's got really good command and still is able to miss bats. Trevor Megill is the only pitcher in this group on the 40-man roster. We've seen what he can do, the good and the not-so-good, but this is just his second option, so it makes sense to just keep working with him. And then you've got several veterans with upside. Dereck Rodriguez started out as an outfielder in the Twins organization and transitioned to the bullpen. He eventually debuted with the Giants and had a nice rookie season. Since then, he's been on a few teams, and gets some opportunities. Last year, he had a couple of really good, long-relief appearances with the Twins. Then we've got the Dream Brian Dozier Package, aka Jose De Leon and Brock Stewart. Both 30-year-olds were top pitching prospects with the Dodgers seven or eight years ago, and their names were both said to be requested by the Twins in deals involving Dozier. Well, both have had injuries over the last half-dozen years, their prospect stars have burned out, but they both still have the kind of talent that make them intriguing as potential bullpen options or long relievers. And Oliver Ortega throws hard. Catchers: Jair Camargo, Chris Williams, Tony Wolters, David Banuelos (Development List) We might as well follow the pitchers with the guys who will catch them. Tony Wolters is the presumed Twins #3 starter and would be the guy called up should Christian Vazquez or Ryan Jeffers get injured. Jair Camargo quietly came to the Twins in the Maeda/Graterol deal. He became a free agent this offseason but quickly signed to return to the organization. Chris Williams is listed as a catcher. He may get some time behind the plate, but he will likely play a lot at first base and DH. David Banuelos is fantastic behind the plate and pitchers really like throwing to him. He'll get plenty of opportunities with the Saints. In addition, Andrew Bechtold could get some games where he dons the tools of ignorance as well. Infielders: Andrew Bechtold, Edouard Julien, Hernan Perez, Elliot Soto, Tyler White, Austin Martin (Injured List) Julien may have had to wait nearly two seasons after signing with the Twins to make his pro debut, but since the beginning of that 2021 season, he has done it all with the bat. He gets on base. He has some power. He's got goods speed. He uses the whole field. He strikes out, but those walks make up for it. He has done it at three minor-league levels. He has done it in spring training, and he has done it for Team Canada in the WBC. The final stop on the way to the Twins is some time with the Saints. But get to CHS Field quickly. He may not be there real long. Bechtold has one of the strongest arms in baseball, certainly in the organization. He ended the last season with the Saints and returns, likely to play primarily at third base. Tyler White got a lot of run in spring training at first base. Elliot Soto is back. And, when Austin Martin was diagnosed with a UCL sprain, the Twins signed veteran Hernan Perez to a minor-league deal. The 32-year-old has a lot of big league time, generally in a utility role, but he is a really good shortstop, so it makes sense to bring him in. At least until Brooks Lee is ready to move up. Outfielders: Mark Contreras, Kyle Garlick, Ryan LaMarre, Andrew Stevenson, Matt Wallner, Michael Helman (Injured List) Matt Wallner is the big prospect of this group. He was the Twins 2022 minor-league hitter of the year and ended the season in the big leagues. He will likely get some significant time in the big leagues in 2023 as well. Mark Contreras has had a couple of strong seasons the past two years, most of that time with the Saints. Good speed and power combo, along with terrific defense. As we know, Kyle Garlick provides outfield depth and a guy who absolutely mashes right-handers. Stevenson was added to the organization midway through spring training. He has spent parts of the past three seasons with the Washington Nationals. Michael Helman had a big breakout in 2022, half of the season with the Saints. He has really good speed and extra base pop, and he can play seven positions very well. He was invited to big-league spring training. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury meant that he didn't play and will start the season on the IL. TWINS DAILY TOP 20 PROSPECTS #5 - Edouard Julien #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson #9 - Louie Varland #10 - Austin Martin #11 - Matt Wallner #16 - Jordan Balazovic
  25. Saints fans can be excited about the amount of talent projected in St. Paul to start the 2023 season. Many of the team's top prospects are closing in on the big-league level, including multiple starting pitchers that debuted in 2022. Here's a look at who could populate the Saints' pitching staff on Opening Day. Trio At the Top: Bailey Ober, Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson Ober was potentially pushed out of the Twins rotation after the team acquired Pablo Lopez from the Marlins. However, he is only one injury away from being back at the big-league level. Last season, Ober made 11 starts (56 innings) for the Twins and posted a 3.21 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and a 51-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He missed a large chunk of the season with a groin injury and has pitched fewer than 100 innings in all but one professional season. Ober will be in St. Paul for a short time with injury questions surrounding multiple starters on the big-league roster. Varland is the first Twins pitcher to win back-to-back Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year since Jose Berrios. The St. Paul native changed his arm action after joining the Twins organization, improving his entire pitching repertoire. As a 24-year-old, he dominated the upper minors with a 3.06 ERA and a 10.4 K/9 in over 126 innings. He got a brief taste of the big leagues at the end of 2022 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in five starts. Varland might not profile as an ace, but the Twins believe he can fit into the middle of the team's rotation for the majority of the next decade. Woods Richardson has the highest ceiling of any pitcher on this list and is coming off his best professional season. The Twins sent him back to Double-A, a level he struggled at in 2021, and he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. He performed even better after his promotion to Triple-A, lowering his ERA to 2.21 and posting a 38-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His walk rate had been a concern in 2021 (5.7 BB/9) but returned to form with a 3.0 BB/9 last season. Only one pitching prospect ranks higher than SWR in the Twins Daily Top Prospect Rankings. Options to Fill Out the Rotation The Twins have a variety of directions to go when it comes to filling out the rest of the starting rotation. Some of these decisions will be based on health and injuries, while others will be based on the team's long-term role for the pitcher. Are they a starter or a reliever? Josh Winder is in the mix for a starting role, but he just started throwing bullpens this week after dealing with shoulder issues in the offseason. His shoulder has bothered him for multiple seasons, so it might be time to move to a bullpen role. Ronny Henriquez is one of the youngest pitchers on the 40-man roster, and the team likely wants him to continue to start games. Last season, Cole Sands split time between starter and reliever, so his best path back to the big league might be a multi-inning reliever. Randy Dobnak, Brent Headrick, and Jordan Balazovic are also interesting names to consider at Triple-A. Dobnak missed time over the last two seasons with a finger injury, and he is no longer on the 40-man roster. Expectations don't need to be high for him, but there is a good chance he will return to the MLB level if his finger injury is behind him. Balazovic is currently recovering from a broken jaw after being punched at a Fort Myers bar. His build-up to the season will be behind other pitchers while he waits for the injury to heal. Headrick had a breakout season in 2022, and the Twins hope he can continue to build on that success. What are your thoughts on the Triple-A rotation? Which players fill the final spots? Who will have the most significant impact on the Twins in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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