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  1. Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Twins had acquired RHP Tyler Mahle from Cincinnati for three top prospects, infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and starting pitching prospect Steve Hajjar. The 6’3 210 pound right-handed pitcher has been a solid starter with the Cincinnati Reds. In his most-recent game, three days ago, he recorded his fifth win of the season. He pitched six innings and had seven strikeouts, just two days after coming off the IL. While he had to go on the IL due to shoulder issues right before the All-Star break. He made two starts before the deadline and his medicals must have been to the Twins' liking. Mahle is 27 years old and is under team control through the 2023 season. In 2022, he's 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.25 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings. He was 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 180 innings last season and has resembled a mid-rotation workhorse for the last three seasons or so. Mahle was the lone starting pitcher added by the Twins at the deadline. They also added two, late-inning relievers at the deadline. What did the Twins give up? The Twins gave up three top-20 prospects to make the trade happen. Spencer Steer, a St. Paul favorite, will be a great asset to the Reds and is likely to be called up sooner than he would if he stayed with the Twins. He hit .269/.361/.528 with 20 home runs and just a 17.0 K% in 388 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A. He is a very nice prospect, but as a third baseman. he is currently blocked by the likes of Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela and others. Steer has seen time at third base, second base, and even shortstop this season. Christian Encarnacion-Strand is a huge bat on the Wichita team. He was named the Midwest League's Hitter of the Month in two of the three months he was with Cedar Rapids. Overall, he hit .302/.374/.612 with 25 home runs and a 33.1 percent hard-hit rate in 390 plate appearances between High-A and Double-A. He is only 22-years-old and has seen time at third base, first base and designated hitter this season. The 2021 fifth-round draft pick's best position defensively is DH. Steven Hajjar is the only pitcher sent in the package to Cincinnati. Hajjar is a young left-handed pitcher. He was the Twins second-round draft pick in 2021 out of Michigan. He has spent this season with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels where he has posted some outstanding numbers. Through 12 starts, he has logged a 2.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 71:22 K:BB in 43 2/3 innings. He has been limited by a couple of stints in the Injured List this year. His potential to move up in the Reds system looks good and could potentially start at High-A. The Twins front office has been making stealthy deadline-day moves and keeping fans on their toes. Do you think the Twins have made the right moves? What do you think of giving up three top-25 prospects for Mahle?
  2. 2022 Prospect PreviewToo often, as the draft approaches, we focus on the first-round pick and nothing else. That’s a mistake we’re doomed to repeat over and over again. It’s also true retrospectively, and it clouds our analysis and judgment. For example, thinking about the 2020 draft, folks immediately think about Aaron Sabato and less about Marco Raya. With that in mind ahead of draft kickoff on Sunday night, let’s check in with the Minnesota Twins draft class of 2021. It’s shaping up to be incredibly impressive. Round 1: Chase Petty, RHP (A-Ball) Petty was an exciting pick for the Twins, bucking a trend of not selecting prep pitchers in early rounds. A 102 mph fastball also added to the excitement (let’s hope they stick with the high-velocity trend). Petty was traded in the off-season to the Reds for Sonny Gray. So far in 2022, Petty has struck out 58 in 61 innings of work to go along with a 3.39 ERA in A ball, a solid start for a 19-year-old. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Preseason #9 Prospect) Competitive Balance A: Noah Miller, SS (Fort Myers) Miller is still just 19 and has spent all of 2022 at Fort Myers. A legitimate shortstop prospect, he has the defensive chops, movement, and range to stay at the position long-term. While Miller’s hitting is still a work in progress (.238 average) he has incredible strike zone control and has worked 50 walks in 73 games in 2022 (.365 OBP). Patience is key with Miller, but things are ticking over nicely in Fort Myers. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Sire of Ft. Myers Consideration) 2: Steven Hajjar, LHP (Fort Myers) The first of a pair of talented left-handed starters drafted by the Twins, Hajjar has battled injuries in 2022 but has been completely dominant when on the mound. Despite walks being an issue (23 in 37 innings), Hajjar has struck out 61 batters and limited opposing offenses to a .160 batting average. (2022 Prospect Preview) 3: Cade Povich, LHP (Cedar Rapids) Povich is another exciting talent from the early rounds of the 2021 draft that is proving abundant for the organization. Povich has a 3.62 ERA at Cedar Rapids in 69 2/3 innings of work in 2022. He’s also managed an eye-popping 97 strikeouts in that time. Povich has added velocity as he has filled out and has a ton more projectability in his frame. He’s one to watch for the Twins. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 4: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B/3B (Wichita) Encarnacion Strand is another incredible success story in 2022, with a Jose Miranda-like breakout. He’s already crushed 26 home runs in his first 98 minor league games across three levels. After putting up a .370 OBP at Cedar Rapids he was promoted to Wichita. In his second Double-A game on Friday night, he clobbered two home runs. In 76 games this season across two levels, he’s managed a .616 SLG, 22 home runs, and 74 RBIs. Based purely on performance, Encarnacion-Strand would be a first-round pick in a redraft of 2021 selections. 5: Christian MacLeod, LHP (Rookie Ball) MacLeod has pitched just 1 2/3 innings so far in his pro career. His career with the Twins is yet to get off the ground because he had Tommy John surgery during spring training. 6: Travis Adams, RHP (Fort Myers) Adams has been in the rotation for Fort Myers all season, accumulating 14 starts. He’s pitched well overall, striking out 64 batters in 64 2/3 innings to go along with a 3.62 ERA and pinpoint control (15 walks). 7: Jake Rucker, 3B (Cedar Rapids) A 22-year-old third baseman, Rucker has played at two levels in 2022, recently being promoted to Cedar Rapids. In his first 12 games in Iowa, he has a .367 OBP. 8: Noah Cardenas, C (Fort Myers) The Twins eighth-round pick out of UCLA has been at Fort Myers all season after getting his feet wet in rookie ball at the end of 2021. Cardenas has shown excellent strike zone control, racking up 50 walks in 63 games, contributing to a gaudy .409 OBP. 9: Pat Winkel, C (Cedar Rapids) A college teammate of Kyler Fedko, Winkel is currently at Cedar Rapids. His season was delayed by almost two months on the Injured List. The Twins 9th round pick has a .726 OPS through his first 25 games at High A. 10: Ernie Yake, SS (St. Paul) Yake has played at four levels in 2022, mostly to plug holes for other promotions. He began the season in Ft. Myers but was called up to St. Paul when needed. He then spent time in Wichita. Currently, he is rehabbing in the FCL. Speaks to the confidence the organization has in his makeup, and his defense. 11: Brandon Birdsell, RHP (did not sign) Birdsell was a pitcher who fell in the draft due to injury concerns and opted to return to school at Texas Tech. He struck out 106 in 85 innings of work in college in 2022 and promises to be a top 150 pick this July. 12: Kyler Fedko, OF (Cedar Rapids) An outfielder selected out of UConn, Fedko lit up Fort Myers early in the 2022 season to the tune of a .422 OBP through 26 games. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids, where the on-base numbers still look good (.340). (Three Questions With... Interview) 13: David Festa, RHP (Cedar Rapids) Festa is one of the greatest early success stories of the 2021 draft. A weekend starter for Seton Hall, he checks in at 6’6, 185 pounds (so plenty of projectability left). Festa struck out 33 batters in just 24 innings at Fort Myers, sporting a 1.50 ERA. He was the starter in the Mussels first no-hitter of the season. After being promoted to Cedar Rapids, he’s kept at it. In 48-plus innings at High A, he has a 1.86 ERA with 51 punch outs. Festa sports an upper 90s fastball and is a rising star in the Twins system. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 14: Pierson Ohl, RHP (Fort Myers) Ohl was a pitcher Seth interviewed and we wrote up prior to the 2022 season. Drafted as a control pitcher, Ohl has put up impressive strikeout numbers so far at Fort Myers. In 55 innings, he’s struck out 65 batters. His great challenge is lower velocity. He’s surrendering a .282 batting average against in his 12 starts so far this season. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 15: Mikey Perez, SS (Fort Myers) The 22-year-old infielder already has 240 at-bats at Fort Myers in 2022. He’s hitting .222/.327/.396 through 70 games so far this season. 16: Jonathan Lavallee, RHP Lavallee has pitched very limited innings in 2022. After starting at rookie ball, he was moved up to Fort Myers. The 22-year-old is yet to give up a run in five innings of work in A ball, striking out six batters. 17: Dylan Neuse, SS (Cedar Rapids) An older prospect at 23, Neuse started the season at Fort Myers but was moved up to Cedar Rapids. He’s struggled in his first 26 games with the bat, hitting just .198, but is on base plenty (.343). His brother Sheldon plays for the Oakland A's. 18: Mike Paredes, RHP (Fort Myers) A 21-year-old right-handed pitcher, Paredes is at Fort Myers in 2022. In 54 plus innings pitched this season, he surrendered just a 2.15 ERA, striking out 44, and walking just 10. His highlight may be throwing the first six innings of one of the Mighty Mussels no-hitters. 19: Jaylen Nowlin, LHP (Fort Myers) Nowlin is a developmental arm to watch. Pitching for Fort Myers, largely in a starting role in 2022, he’s racked up 68 strikeouts in just 41.2 innings pitched. Walks have been a problem (25 so far in 2022), but he’s giving up a .226 average to opposing hitters. Keep an eye out for his development. 20: Dillon Tatum, C (Fort Myers) The 22 year old catcher drafted out of UC-Irvine is currently at Fort Myers. In 145 at-bats, he’s hitting just .166 with five home runs. He has also been the catcher for both of the Mussels no-hitters this season. How do you think the Twins 2021 draft class is shaping up? Who are the prospects you are most excited about?
  3. Previous 2022 Starting Pitcher of the Month April - John Stankiewicz Methodology: This isn’t a scientific ranking by any stretch of the imagination. Other minor league writers gave feedback on their top players before the author weighed their choices with his own opinions. Results were less clear-cut than one would hope (one writer had Matt Canterino 2nd while another had him 6th). This is meant to act as a general spotlight to shine on many players, not just the one we deemed “the best,” so don’t take this any more seriously than it needs to be. Honorable Mention - Travis Adams - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 3.15 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 29.7 K%, 20 IP Travis Adams, the Twins 6th round pick in 2021 out of Sacramento State, threw his hat in the ring of notable college arms making noise in 2022. He allowed a few more runs than the arms that will grace this list, but he was still outstanding—allowing an opponent batting average of .162 in May against a WHIP of 0.85. Honorable Mention - Chi Chi González - St. Paul Saints, 2.53 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 24.4 K%, 21 1/3 IP Chi Chi González joined the Twins organization this past off-season, inking a minor league deal hoping that he could pitch his way into an unsteady major league rotation. That hasn’t happened yet, but González took a significant step towards that future in May. He rebounded from a shaky April to pitch to a respectable 2.53 ERA in May without giving up a long ball in four starts. Number Five - Sawyer Gipson-Long - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.74 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 29.5 K%, 20 2/3 IP Sawyer Gipson-Long, another recent college arm (someone should write about that), popped up on the prospect radar last season and is proving that his success is no fluke. The righty from Mercer crushed his competition in May, allowing a sub-.200 batting average against while striking out batters at nearly a 30% clip. That’s good, folks. His age, combined with his status as an older arm, curses his evaluations to be bland; Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin described him as someone who sits “90-94 with an above-average slider and plenty of strikes.” Keep an eye on him as an under-the-radar pitcher who could be in Wichita very soon. Number Four - Brent Headrick - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 0.93 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 26.0 K%, 19 ⅓ IP Another former-collegiate pitcher, Brent Headrick, has found command in 2022, and hitters have suffered for it. Headrick crushed May, holding a WHIP of just 0.78 with three of his four starts ending without him surrendering an earned run. His FIP held him back from placing higher on this list—the next three pitchers all dominated in ERA and peripherals—but that’s hardly a knock on Headrick’s pitching ability. Allowing two earned runs in an entire month is elite, no matter how you slice it. Number Three - Matt Canterino - Wichita Wind Surge, 2.00 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 37.3 K%, 18 IP Matt Canterino had an unusual month of May; he started four games while piggybacking in another but still ended up with fewer innings than all previously named starters. Nonetheless, he dominated. Canterino allowed runs in just one outing while striking out the world as he returns from an elbow injury that shortened his 2021 season. The Rice product walked more batters than one would prefer (12.0% of them), but his strikeout total in May was so ridiculous that he still ended up at the number three spot. Number Two - David Festa- Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.45 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 36.8 K%, 18 2/3 IP One of the most talked-about Twins prospects this year, David Festa, had a month to remember in May. The 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall embodied efficiency, striking out hitters like an elite MLB reliever while not sacrificing command in favor of his stuff; he walked just 5.9% of hitters in May. His performance earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids, where he made two outings; one great and one forgettable. His ascent through the minors could be rapid, so make sure to stop and appreciate Festa before he switches levels again. Number One - Steve Hajjar - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 0.51 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 42.6 K%, 17 ⅔ IP For a while, Steve Hajjar was like Cthulu—legendary and fearsome, but never seen as he pitched with a Fort Myers team that doesn’t broadcast their games and only occasionally plays against a team that does. Then May 26th happened. Hajjar took the mound against the Bradenton Marauders and shut them down completely, fanning 10 over 5 ⅔ innings with no earned runs. It was the perfect culmination of Hajjar’s ability. The Twins drafted the tall lefty out of Michigan in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft; enamored by his potential, they handed him over $1 million. Hajjar didn’t pitch for the organization that year, but grumblings from team sources indicated that they were pleased with his internal performance. 2022 hasn’t left much for the imagination. The fewest amount of strikeouts Hajjar netted in a single game is 5, and he’s already punched out 50 batters through 29 innings of work. 29; he’s thrown 29 innings and has 50 strikeouts. Walker Buehler has thrown nearly 60 innings and only has 49. The primary issue left for Hajjar is command—he’s walked 17 hitters in those 29 innings to give him a ghastly 14.7 BB% on the year. Although, there may be signs of control as he’s walked just one batter respectively in each of his last two starts. Hajjar is a starter with immense potential, and it will be a great joy to watch him develop in the Twins system.
  4. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization. TRANSACTIONS The Twins optioned Cole Sands to AAA following Tuesday’s doubleheader The St. Paul Saints activated Jake Petricka from the 7-day IL The Cedar Rapids Kernels activated Yunior Severino from the 7-day IL SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 3, Iowa 13 Box Score The St. Paul Saints dropped a tough one to the Iowa Cubs on Wednesday by a score of 13-3. Daniel Gossett made his fourth start of the year for the Saints and struggled mightily. Gossett only went two innings, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on eight hits and three walks and not striking out any batters. Gossett took the loss, dropping his record to 1-2 on the year. In his last two outings, he has allowed 14 earned runs in only five innings, as his ERA has skyrocketed to an unimpressive 10.65. The Saints were down 9-0 after the second inning, so the rest of the game was simply a formality. In the top of the fourth, Jake Cave closed the deficit to eight with a solo home run, his fifth homer of the year. In the fifth inning, Elliot Soto scored on a Spencer Steer groundout to make it a 9-2 game. Wladimir Pinto came on in relief of Gossett and gave up two earned runs in three innings of work, striking out five. Pinto has been very solid for the Saints this year, only allowing three earned runs in 20 innings for an ERA of 1.35. He has also struck out 27 batters in those 20 innings. In his first game since being activated from the 7-day IL, Jake Petricka came on in relief of Pinto and threw two scoreless innings, not allowing a hit and striking out two batters. His season ERA is now down to 4.22. Tim Beckham singled in Michael Helman in the top of the eighth to make it 11-3, but the Saints stranded two runners on base to end the inning. Beckham, Cave, and Jose Godoy all had multi-hit games for the Saints. With the loss, the Saints record falls to 21-28 on the year. They will be back in action on Thursday against Iowa. WIND SURGE (AA) Game 1: Wichita 0, Frisco 3 Box Score In a game that was picked up in the second inning after being delayed Tuesday, the bats were delayed too as the Wind Surge lost 3-0 to Frisco and Rangers’ top prospect Jack Leiter. Blayne Enlow took the mound when the game re-started on Wednesday, and he pitched well, going 2 2/3 innings, allowing no runs, and striking out four. Bryan Sammons and Alex Scherff each pitched in relief of Enlow, allowing two and zero runs respectively. Sammons went three innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out three. Sammons took the loss as his record moved to 1-3 on the year. Scherff pitched the final two innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks. In the bottom of the seventh, the Wind Surge had a chance to tie the game but they stranded runners on first and second after DaShawn Keirsey and Leobaldo Cabrera singled. Keirsey went 2-for-3 with a walk and stole his 14th base of the year. Cabrera was 1-for-2 with a walk, Edouard Julien was 1-for-3 with a walk, and Ernie Yake picked up the only other hit for the Wind Surge in a disappointing loss. With the loss, the Wind Surge dropped to 26-18, half a game behind Tulsa for the best record in the Texas League. Game 2: Wichita 7, Frisco 1 Box Score The Wind Surge bounced back in Game 2, salvaging a doubleheader split with Frisco by winning 7-1 to improve to 27-18 on the season. Kody Funderburk got the ball in game two, throwing four scoreless innings in his debut as a starter. Funderburk struck out four batters and only allowed two hits. Denny Bentley, Steven Cruz, and Steve Klimek all threw in relief of Funderburk, and the only run allowed was by Cruz, but was unearned. Klimek picked up his first win of the season. The Wind Surge got the offense going early in this one, as Austin Martin led off the bottom half of the first with his second triple of the year and Jair Camargo followed that with a homer to make it 2-0. This was Camargo's first hit as a member of the Wind Surge. Three batters later, Dennis Ortega drove in Alex Isola with his seventh double of the year to make it 3-0. In the bottom of the second, Isola hit his sixth homer of the season to make it a 5-0 game. Isola started off June strong after a month of May where he had a .925 OPS in 68 at-bats. In the fourth, Camargo hit another two-run bomb to make it 7-0. The Wind Surge were resilient and split the double-header. Martin, Camargo, and Isola all had multi-hit games and Camargo picked up four RBI. They will send one of the Twins’ top prospects to the mound tomorrow in Matt Canterino. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 10, Lansing 2 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels won in dominating fashion on Wednesday by a score of 10-2. The win pushed their record to 30-17, the best record in the West division of the Midwest league by a one-game margin. Sawyer Gipson-Long started on the mound for the Kernels and picked up his fourth win of the year. Gipson-Long went six innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three batters. His season ERA improved to a very good 2.06. Orlando Rodriguez and Ryan Shreve pitched in relief of Gipson-Long. Rodriguez went two innings, allowing only one run despite walking three batters. Shreve pitched the final inning, only needing eight pitches to put the final touches on a Kernel victory. The Kernels put on a show offensively in this one, and it started right away when Anthony Prato led off the game with his eighth double of the year. Prato came around to score on a run-scoring single by Kyler Fedko. One batter later, Yunior Severino tripled in his first at-bat since being activated from the IL Fedko scored. Severino came around to score on a throwing error to give the Kernels a 3-0 lead before Gipson-Long had even thrown a pitch. In the top of the third, Alerick Soularie blasted a two-out, three-run homer to give the Kernels a 6-0 lead. The homer was Soularie’s fourth of the year. Two innings later, Fedko picked up his third hit of the game with a solo homer to right-field for his third homer of the season. Fedko finished 3-for-4 with four runs scored, two RBI, a walk, and a homer. His season OPS is now up to .913. Severino went 2-for-3 with two runs, a triple, and two walks. Soularie finished 1-for-2 with two runs, four RBI, the homer, and three walks. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) Fort Myers 1, Tampa 2 Box Score The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels dropped a tough contest 2-1 on Wednesday, dropping their record to a still great 31-15. Steve Hajjar took the mound for Fort Myers, throwing 4.1 innings while allowing one run on two hits and two walks. Hajjar struck out seven batters, continuing his utter dominance over Low-A hitters in 2022. He has struck out 57 batters in 33 innings at Low-A and if he keeps dominating, he may not be in Fort Myers for much longer. Jorge Alcala made a rehab stint, throwing one inning and allowing one unearned run while striking out one batter. He took the loss in this one but his fastball averaged 96 miles per hour and he was up to 99, so it is safe to say he is feeling healthy. One unknown pitcher who has been dominant is Matthew Swain. Swain threw two scoreless innings in this game, making it 21 innings so far this year without allowing an earned run. He has struck out 31 batters while only allowing four hits and five walks on the year. Emmanuel Rodriguez continued to do Emmanuel Rodriguez things in this game, hitting his eighth homer of the year and drawing two walks. His season OPS is now up to .998, which leads the Florida State League by over 100 points, and he is one of the highest upside players in the Twins whole system as he is still only 19 years old. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long (Cedar Rapids) - 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Kyler Fedko (Cedar Rapids) - 3-for-4, 4 R, 2 RBI, HR (3), 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: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-8, 2 R, 3B (2), K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, 3 K #5 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (24 pitches, 11 strikes (45.8%)) (Tuesday) #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, RBI #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, HR (8), RBI, 2 BB #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, BB, 2 K #14 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (65 pitches, 38 strikes (58.5%) #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-7, 2 K #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-3, BB, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2B (9), BB, K #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (81 pitches, 47 strikes (58%)) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (12:08 CST) - RHP Mario Sanchez (3-1, 3.99 ERA) Frisco @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - RHP Matt Canterino (0-1, 2.05 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (6:05 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (2-2, 6.38 ERA) Tampa @ Ft. Myers (6:00 PM CST) - RHP Marco Raya (3-1, 2.48 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  5. If you hadn’t been paying attention to the Twins’ minor leagues, you don’t read this site enough, which is a shame. Twins Daily has been covering the system, uhhh, daily, and there has been an apparent development so far in the season: college arms dominating. Cade Povich, Brent Headrick, Steve Hajjar, David Festa, Travis Adams, Matt Canterino, and Sawyer Gipson-Long have all performed well, especially in the context of a minor league system with less sheen after graduations and under-performance amongst the best prospects. Those names stand out. I find K-BB% to be the best quick-and-dirty stat analysis for pitching prospects. It sums up just how dominant a pitcher is against his penchant for walking batters, and it completely removes poor minor league defense from the equation. It’s an incomplete picture for sure, but that’s how minor league stat-scouting goes. How well are those arms performing in context with their peers? With a minimum of 30 innings pitched, here’s how they compare with pitchers in their division. Players ranked by rank relative to division: *Hajjar has 29 innings pitched as of writing this, but he’s an essential piece of the story, so I included him anyway. Festa has pitched with both Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids in 2022, which makes his placement in the table messy—just know his K-BB% would be elite in either league. The Twins have targeted college arms specifically for years now. Since 2017, their drafts have been 43%, 43%, 38%, and 45% college arms, respectively, with 2020 ignored as it should be for every topic. Bailey Ober, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder were college arms, and while they didn’t draft Joe Ryan, he came from the collegiate ranks as well. It took a few years of cleaning out the gutters, but the system is now overflowing with college arms. This focus is nothing new for Derek Falvey; he coveted multiple collegiate arms during his time as a Cleveland executive. Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, and Aaron Civale rose through the college ranks before joining Cleveland’s system and found varying levels of success in the majors. That’s three Cy Young winners for those keeping track. An advantage to drafting college arms is their seasoning; those players have more time performing against high-level talent and require less time in the minors than their high school counterparts. Teams know this; it’s why the Angels, probably foolishly, drafted 19 college pitchers in 2021. The draft is 20 rounds. Another truism about drafting college pitchers is that, because their cement is more dry, taking one is less a game of projections and more a project of finding undervalued characteristics. High schoolers might as well be light-years away from the majors, and their development presents an immense risk. The Moneyball book perfectly represented the idea with Billy Beane’s anger at drafting Jeremy Bonderman, a projectable arm with a “clean delivery, and a body that looked as if it had been created to wear a baseball uniform.” Although, Bonderman had the last laugh when he pitched more than 1,200 innings in MLB over a nine-year career. Is this simply just the game repeating itself; it’s meta-game moving full-circle back towards what was cutting edge thinking 20 years ago? Perhaps, perhaps not. If you looked carefully, you’d see that players like Povich and Hajjar found extra velocity ticks after joining the organization. The team could be identifying players with more data attached to them to target a fix or two and enjoy the benefits of a more realized player. After all, this is the landscape of Big Data in baseball, and the Twins might be using it to their advantage.
  6. Transactions: RHP Ben Gross placed on Injured List by Wichita SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 1 Box Score St. Paul gave the ball to Mario Sanchez tonight and he was great. Working six innings, Sanchez allowed just one run on four hits while striking out five and walking none. Even without the offensive explosion, he’d have kept the good guys in it. Getting behind 1-0 on some poor throwing in the 1st inning, St. Paul charged back in the 4th inning. Alex Kirilloff flashed some much-needed power with a two-run homer to right-center that also brought in Royce Lewis. Tonight was Lewis' second game at the hot corner for St. Paul and he quickly saw the opportunity for a web gem. In the 5th inning the Saints continued to add and did so in a big way. First Lewis drove in Derek Fisher with a single. Then Kirilloff singled to right scoring Lewis, and Spencer Steer followed with his first Triple-A home run, a two-run blast plating Kirilloff. The Saints weren’t satisfied with their lead and Jose Godoy drove in a run with Jermaine Palacios scoring on his ground out in the 6th inning before Mark Contreras drove in Kirilloff with a single of his own. Now up by seven runs, St. Paul had seen plenty of production from their 10 hits tonight. Lewis, Kirilloff, and Steer all had multi-hit games tonight for St. Paul. WIND SURGE WISDOM Corpus Christi 9, Wichita 5 Box Score Twins pitching prospect Blayne Enlow was making his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery tonight. It was a rough one as he allowed five runs on five hits in just three innings. Although Enlow struck out three batters, he walked four and his season ERA is up to 7.59. Wichita jumped out to an early lead with Chris Williams launching a three-run blast in the top of the 1st inning. It was his second dinger of the year. Corpus Christi immediately answered with two of their own in the bottom half. Matt Wallner, who’s been going very well at the plate of late, launched his 9th home run in the 3rd inning. With Austin Martin on base, Wallner’s homer was a two-run blast and erased the two earlier Corpus Christi runs. Although Martin is going through it offensively, he did swipe his 19th base of the season tonight. Unfortunately that’s where the momentum shifted as the home team grabbed three runs in the bottom half of the third inning and then a two-run homer in the 5th inning put them on top for their first lead of the game. In the 7th inning Corpus Christi pushed across two more and the Wind Surge were looking at a four-run deficit. Scoring four runs on five hits was nice, but that wasn’t going to get it done for Wichita this evening. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Wisconsin 0 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long worked six innings tonight for the Kernels and he was sharp. Allowing no runs on just two hits, Gipson-Long worked around four walks and punched out seven. His season ERA drops to 2.15 with this performance. Neither team jumped out to an early lead, but Cedar Rapids was able to break the zeroes in the 5th inning. Recently promoted Kyler Fedko reached on a fielder’s choice with Jair Camargo scoring on a throwing error. Wander Javier then roped his 6th double of the season to score Seth Gray and Fedko before an Alerick Soularie ground out brought Javier home. Things again got quiet until the 7th inning when Aaron Sabato stepped in and grounded a single to center, scoring Anthony Prato. Cedar Rapids had a five-run lead and with Wisconsin generating just two hits on the night that seemed like plenty of breathing room. Still not content, the Kernels went back to work in the 8th inning. A Will Holland single plated Fedko again before a Prato single scored Alerick Soularie. Christian Encarnacion-Strand made his presence felt hustling down the line and giving Holland a chance to score on an errant throw. Then with two on, Sabato came through again and his 5th double of the season drove in Prato. Adding four more runs in, this one was over before Wisconsin would even get their last raps. Despite the run production, Prato was the only Cedar Rapids batter with a multi-hit effort on the evening. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Bradenton 0 Box Score Fort Myers turned to prospect Steven Hajjar tonight and he was nothing short of exceptional. Working 5 2/3 innings, Hajjar allowed just two hits and a walk. He punched out a whopping ten hitters and lowered his ERA to 2.17 on the season. Jumping on the board early, Fort Myers tallied their first run when Noah Cardenas put a ball in play to score Mikey Perez. Cardenas was doubled up on the grounder so no RBI was recorded, but it started the cascade in the run column. The 5th inning was highlighted in a big way when Kyle Schmidt went out deep to centerfield for a grand slam. Cardenas, Kala’i Rosario, and Dylan Neuse all touched home plate with him on the big fly. Two more came across in the 7th inning when a botched play at shortstop allowed both Emmanuel Rodriguez and Cardenas to scamper home. Rosario made sure the Mighty Mussels weren’t done when he pushed Keoni Cavaco across the plate on a force out. Following up his earlier grand slam, Schmidt added a solo shot in the 9th inning to push the lead back to seven. Giving up two runs to Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning, the six-run deficit was as close as they’d get. Tonight’s run production was a team effort as the lone batter for Fort Myers with two hits was Schmidt. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day – Kyle Schmidt (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR(4) Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 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 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, R, BB, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-5, 2 R, RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 2-4, R, 2B #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Covid-IL #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2 K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-2, RBI #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(9) #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, 3 K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(1) #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Wichita @ Corpus Christi (7:05PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:300PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  7. TRANSACTIONS RHP Jharel Cotton cleared waivers and accepted the assignment to St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 8, St. Paul 7 Box Score The Saints rallied late, scoring all seven of their runs after the first four innings, but were unable to overcome the Storm Chasers. Alex Kirilloff was one of the top performers for St. Paul, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and walk. He’s now picked up seven hits in his last 14 at-bats at Triple-A. Kevin Merrell produced the Saints’ best game offensively, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Unfortunately for St. Paul, the pitching staff did not have their best stuff tonight as the collection of Mario Sanchez, Juan Minaya, Wladimir Pinto, and Jharel Cotton combined to allow nine hits and walk seven. Royce Lewis appeared at third base for the first time in his career as the Minnesota Twins attempt to prepare him for a utility role in the majors this season. He went 0-for-5 at the plate with four strikeouts. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 5, Wichita 3 Box Score The Wind Surge rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead but surrendered three runs in the top of the eighth to fall to the Cardinals. Blayne Enlow started on the mound for Wichita and threw four encouraging innings, allowing two runs, a home run, and striking out six. Enlow’s fastball sat in the low- to mid-90s while his slider showed sharp break and hovered between 82-84 mph. While his command—particularly that of his non-fastballs—was spotty, the former 3rd round pick has looked solid for two-straight outings since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has served up a home run in all three of his starts this spring—a rate that will eventually regress—but he’s struck out 12 and not surrendered a walk since being called up to Double-A. Steven Cruz was saddled with the loss after giving up three runs in the eighth. Kody Funderburk, Argenis Angulo, and Alex Scherff pitched four innings of scoreless ball. Michael Helman was the only Wind Surger batter who registered more than one hit, going 3-for-4 with a double. Austin Martin went 1-for-3 with an RBI and stole his 18th bag of the season in the first inning; he’s 32-for-37 during stolen base opportunities in 126 minor league games. KERNELS NUGGETS Lake County 5, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score The Kernels bats where quieted and Sawyer Gipson-Long threw his first mediocre game of the season as the Captains sailed to an easy win. Gipson-Long surrendered two home runs—and four runs total—in 4 ⅓ innings, which was more than enough offense to earn Lake County the victory. Prior to Friday, Gipson-Long had not allowed a home run since April 23 nor an earned run since April 30. Melvi Acosta, Bobby Milacki, and Andrew Cabezas pitched well out of the pen, striking out four and allowing only one run over the game’s final 4 2/3 innings. Christian Encarnacion-Strand contributed the Kernels lone extra-base hit—a double—and also drew a walk. He now owns a .326 batting average and .937 OPS in 35 High-A games. Alerick Soularie continued on his hot streak since his frozen start to the season, and contributed two hits. He is 9-for-29 (.310) with two home runs, two triples, and seven RBI over his last eight games. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Fort Myers 3, Clearwater 1 Game 2: Fort Myers 3, Clearwater 0 Game 1 Box Score Game 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels took both games against the Threshers on Friday to push their record to a blister 24-12 on the season. While the bats were relatively quite, picking up only nine hits across 14 innings, the Fort Myers pitchers were loud, holding Clearwater to only six hits and a single run. Steven Hajjar earned the win in the first game of the day, pitching five innings of scoreless ball, striking out six. Hunter McMahon struckout five in two innings of relief. During the second game, Malik Barrington, Samuel Perez, and Matthew Swain combined to strike out five and allowed only four Threshers to reach base. Kala’i Rosario led the way for the Mighty Mussels at the plate in Game 1, smacking two doubles and driving in two runs. Noah Cardenas also connected for two doubles. In Game 2, Dylan Neuse crush a home run and added a double while Jake Rucker added two hits, with one being a triple. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hajjar (Fort Myers) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Kevin Merrell (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, RBI, SB #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, 4 K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 2-for-3, BB #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-4, 3 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-5, 3 BB #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-2, BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul at Omaha ( 6:35 PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (1-0, 1.72 ERA) Wichita vs. Springfield (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-2, 9.95 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Lake County (6:35 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (2-0, 1.80 ERA) Fort Myers at Clearwater (5:30 PM CST) - TBD
  8. Weather was a factor in just one of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Cedar Rapids Kernels game was postponed. They hope to play a doubleheader tomorrow. The Wind Surge hosted a whole bunch of students in an afternoon game. They got to see a couple of big innings, an extra inning and plenty of excitement. Ft. Myers saw one of its players knock their first professional home run, and it proved large in a one-run game. In addition, along with being named the Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Week, Mighty Mussels righty John Stankiewicz was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced that RHP Jharel Cotton has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to St. Paul. The Saints placed RHP Ian Hamilton on the 7-Day IL with a right groin strain. Ft. Myers placed RHPs Marco Raya and Niklas Rimmel on the 7-Day IL. Rimmel is out with a right shoulder impingement. Raya is getting his wisdom teeth removed. RHP Logan Campbell joins the Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Toledo 3 Box Score The Saints used one big inning and it was just enough for the pitching staff to hold on for the win. Mario Sanchez started and gave up one run on one hit (a solo homer). He walked two and struck out six batters. Dereck Rodriguez came on and completed three innings. He was charged with two unearned runs on two hits. He struck out five batters without any walks. Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Juan Minaya came on and struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning to record his third save. In the top of the third inning, Elliot Soto walked and advanced to third base on a Jose Miranda double. With Royce Lewis batting, Chase Anderson threw a wild pitch to score Soto. Lewis followed with a single to center to score Miranda. Later in the half-inning, Daniel Robertson singled in Jake Cave and Curtis Terry to give the Saints a 4-1 lead. Royce Lewis went 2-for-3 with a walk and his seventh double. Jose Miranda hit his fifth and sixth doubles. They combined for four of the Saints’ six hits, but they added six walks as well. The Saints are now 9-4. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 9, Midland 8 (10 innings) Box Score Things got a little wild in Wichita on Wednesday. First and foremost, we have to talk about Simeon Woods Richardson. The young right-hander tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six batters. Overall, he is up to 16 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run. Ben Gross came on and tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. The Wind Surge offense came in the third inning. Michael Helman singled in Alex Isola to get the Surge on the board. DaShawn Keirsey then scored on a wild pitch. First baseman Dennis Ortega drilled a triple to right-center which scored Spencer Steer and Helman. Matt Wallner followed by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field. New pitcher came in, and he was greeted by Kevin Merrell who hit his first Wichita homer and gave the team a 7-0 lead. That lead carried to the top of the ninth inning. Steven Cruz came on and was consistently sitting 98-100 mph with his fastball. However, the one issue he has had over his career has been control. He walked the leadoff batter, then hit the next guy. Austin Martin made another diving play at second base to get the first out at first base. But then Cruz walked another guy to load the bases. Then the 21-year-old made a mental error. Logan Davidson (former Twins outfielder Mark Davidson’s son) hit a bounding ball to first base. Dennis Ortego made the play, turned toward the bag, and no one was there. Cruz had forgotten to cover the base. Shutout over. And then a bases-loaded walk made it 7-2. Cruz then got a fly out to left field, which scored the third run, but also gave them two outs. However, another single to left scored a run and now it was 7-4. That was the end for Cruz. He was replaced by Argenis Angulo. He gave up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced. Tie game. He walked another, but then he got a strikeout to end the top of the ninth. The Wind Surge went scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and we had extra innings. Angulo started the 10th. With a runner on second base, a single moved him to third. A walk loaded the bases, and Davidson singled in the go-ahead run. Bases still loaded, just one out, but someone Angulo got out of the inning with a strikeout, a force out and another strikeout to end the threat. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Michael Helman started on second base. Ortega singled him to third. Wallner hit another sacrifice fly, scoring Helman and tying the game. However, the throw to the plate was cut off and a throw was made to first base. It got by and went down the line Ortega hustled to third base. Two batters were intentionally walked to load the bases. Alex Isola came up and on a 1-2 pitch, he drilled a line drive to the left-center field gap. Normally it would have been a double, but as soon as Ortega touched home plate, and Isola touched first base, the Wind Surge won in a walk-off. This was definitely a unique way to pick up the team’s sixth straight win. After starting 0-5, they are now 6-5. Isola and Keirsey each had two hits in the game. Spencer Steer had a double and two walks. Dennis Ortega had four hits. The minor-league veteran catcher (who has also played some at first base) went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs. He had a triple, a double, and a couple of singles in a game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids, Peoria (Postponed) Box Score Wednesday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Thursday, starting at 5:30. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 3 Box Score Down 2-0 heading into the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels got on the board with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Emmanuel Rodriguez. Then in the top of the seventh inning, Mikey Perez doubled in Kyle Schmidt. Later, Dylan Neuse hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot that gave the Mussels a 4-2 lead. They gave up one run in the bottom of the eighth inning but held on to the lead for the win. Kyler Fedko continued to rake. He went 2-for-4 and is hitting .432. Our choice for Minor League Hitter of the Week last week was Emmanuel Rodriguez. Along with three homers, he also had 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. A night after Marco Raya struck out ten batters in his second pro start, Steven Hajjar made his second pro start. He also struck out ten batters. In 4 1/3 innings, he gave up an unearned run. He gave up no hits and walked two batters. Regi Grace came on and got the next five outs, but not before giving up an unearned run on three hits and two walks. Sam Perez was also charged with an unearned run. Matthew Swain recorded his second save with one strikeout in a perfect ninth inning. The Mighty Mussels are now an impressive 9-2 on the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Dennis Ortega (Wichita) - 4-5, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI. 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 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2B (4), K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-3, BB, 2B (7), RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-5, R, 2-2B (6), K #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (65 pitched, 45 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-1, HBP #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 RBI (2-SF), 1 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, SF RBI, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, 2 BB, 2B (5), R. #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K (73 pitches, 47 strikes) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-1, 21.00 ERA) Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (DH @ 5:30 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (1-0, 2.00 ERA), RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 6.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, 15.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!
  9. Minor league rosters are fluid, and many of the players below will play at multiple levels during the 2022 campaign. Jose Miranda was the farm system's breakout prospect last season, but many in the organization predicted that improvements were imminent. So, who are some players to follow at each level to start the year? Triple-A: Royce Lewis, SS Minnesota stacked the Triple-A roster with some of the team's top prospects, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, and Jose Miranda. For good reasons, many prospect rankings have dropped Lewis. Baseball America dropped him 53 spots, MLB Pipeline dropped him 29 spots, and Baseball Prospectus took him out of their top-100. Entering the 2022 season, Lewis hadn't seen game action since the 2019 Arizona Fall League. His speed is one of his best tools, and there were questions about how much his knee surgery would impact this skill. Lewis is looking to prove his doubters wrong this season and put his name back into the conversation as one of baseball's best prospects. Double-A: Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Austin Martin, Matt Canterino, and Matt Wallner are all on the Wichita roster, but Woods Richardson is poised to breakout. Toronto and Minnesota were aggressive with Woods Richardson last season as he made 15 appearances at the Double-A level last season as a 20-year-old. He was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he only had four at-bats where he faced a younger batter. He will still be young for Double-A in his first full season in the Twins organization, but now he has had the opportunity to get out some of the kinks. Also, he is in his third organization since the start of the 2018 season. Staying at a level and getting used to a coaching staff can help him thrive in 2022. High-A: Yunior Severino, IF Cedar Rapids has a loaded roster with plenty of players with breakout potential. Aaron Sabato, Cade Povich, and Alerick Soularie will all look to make their mark this season. Severino is looking to have his first professional season with 100+ games, which has the potential to result in some strong numbers. Last season, he raised his OPS from .740 at Low-A to .907 at High-A. In 35 games with Cedar Rapids, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 16 extra-base hits. He struck out 125 times in 98 games, so that will be a number to watch. He ended the year with 29 doubles, and if a few more of those balls make it over the fence, he suddenly looks like a very intriguing prospect. Low-A: Steve Hajjar, SP In Fort Myers, there is a collection of young players with plenty of upside, including Noah Miller, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Keoni Cavaco. Hajjar's college experience means he has the chance to dominate in the lower levels of the minors. He has the potential to move quickly from Low-A to High-A and a chance of reaching Double-A by the season's end. There's no reason to rush him, but the Twins have already helped him make some promising mechanical adjustments. During the 2021 college season, his fastball averaged 90 mph, but the Twins have helped him add a little more velocity. He's also focused on his slider to try and help him improve against left-handed batters. Minnesota has a lot of young pitchers ready to debut this season, but Hajjar is a solid piece to have waiting in the wings for the years ahead. Which of these players is poised to breakout? Do you have other picks? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  10. In 2021, the Mighty Mussels adjusted to their first season in Low-A ball. It was even more difficult because there wasn’t an Advanced Rookie League anymore since the Elizabethton Twins were no more. Players who likely would have played in E-Town were pushed to play in full-season ball. For some, that’s good. Others will have to repeat the level. This group is filled with many 2021 draft picks, some of whom played in Ft. Myers some late last season. We will introduce you to the 2022 Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospects on this roster, and there are some great stories. COACHING STAFF Manager: Brian Meyer Hitting Coach: Rayden Sierra Pitching Coaches: Jared Gaynor, Carlos Hernandez Bench Coach: Takashi Miyoshi PITCHERS RHP Travis Adams (22) - Twins sixth-round pick in 2021 out of Cal State, Sacramento, where he was a starter for three years. He made just one appearance in the FCL last year after signing. RHP David Festa (22) - The New Jersey native spent three college seasons at Seton Hall. Last year, he went 6-4 with a 2.00 ERA. Twins 13th round pick, he throws 94-97 and will be a starter for the Mussels to start the season. RHP Regi Grace (22) - Grace was the Mighty Mussels Opening Day starter last year. He was the Twins 10th round pick in 2018 out of high school in Mississippi. LHP Steve Hajjar (21) - Hajjar was the Twins' 2nd round pick in 2021 out of Michigan. He didn’t pitch after signing, but he has a chance to move up quickly. Between 2020 and 2021 at Michigan, he went 7-2 with a 3.01 ERA. He had 134 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings. RHP Jackson Hicks (24) - signed last summer out of the USPBL, Hicks split his time between the FCL and the Mighty Mussels. He walked two with the FCL squad and struck out 16 batters in 14 innings. RHP Hunter McMahon (23) - McMahon came to the Twins from the Nationals after the 2019 season in exchange for Ryne Harper. He had been the Nats' ninth-round pick that summer. A lost 2021 and an injury-plagued 2021 in which he pitched just five games, four with the Mussels. He needs to get some innings under his belt. RHP Juan Mendez (23) - The Dominican made his pro debut last year as a 22-year-old in the FCL. He went 2-3 with a 3.58 ERA over 12 games (5 starts). In 27 2/3 innings, he walked 14 and struck out 37 batters. LHP Jaylen Nowlin (21) - The lefty was the Twins 19th round pick last summer from Chipola College. He pitched in just one game last year in the FCL. He was clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s with a good slider during instructs. He’ll need to work on control and consistency, but he has potential. RHP Pierson Ohl (22) - He was the Twins 14th round pick last year out of Grand Canyon University. Last year, he went 10-2 with a 2.60 ERA. In 100 1/3 innings, he walked just 12 and struck out 103. He pitched in just one game with the FCL Twins last year and was a guest on Twins Spotlight in the offseason. RHP Michael Paredes (21) - After three seasons at San Diego State, he was the Twins 18th round pick in 2021. In the FCL, he struck out six and walked one batter in four innings. He profiles as a starter, but he will likely work in multiple roles with the Mighty Mussels. LHP Samuel Perez (22) - Perez was the Twins Daily short-season pitcher of the year in 2021 when he went 4-2 with a 1.45 ERA. He struck out 39 batters and walked just five in 37 1/3 innings. The Twins had signed him in the spring out of the Frontier League. He had initially signed with the Angels and spent two seasons in the DSL. RHP Marco Raya (19) - Raya was the Twins' fourth-round pick in 2020 out of high school in Texas. Minor shoulder issues kept him from pitching during the 2021 season. However, in Instructs last fall, he was impressive, hitting 97 with the fastball to go along with a four-pitch mix. RHP Niklas Rimmel (22) - The Berlin, Germany, native signed with the Twins late in 2017. He pitched in the GCL in 2018 and 2019, and injuries slowed him last year limited him to just three games and seven innings in the FCL. RHP John Stankiewicz (23) - After three years at Fordham University, he went undrafted in the five-round 2020 draft. He signed with the Twins. Last year, he pitched once in the FCL before making seven appearances (4 starts) for the Mussels. Combined, he went 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA. He had 30 strikeouts and nine walks in 25 1/3 innings. RHP Matthew Swain (24) - The Twins drafted Swain in the 23rd round in 2019 out of NAIA Georgia Gwinnett College. Last year, he pitched in n35 games for the Mussels. In 60 2/3 innings, he struck out 70 batters while walking 31. He was 6-2 with five saves. He stands 6-7 and throws hard. LHP John Wilson (24) - The southpaw was a freshman All-American at Old Dominion in 2017. Unfortunately, he was hurt and missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and the 2020 season was cut short. After the draft last year, he signed with the Twins and pitched in 17 games between the FCL (14 games) and Ft. Myers. CATCHERS Noah Cardenas (22) - The Twins went over slot to sign the UCLA backstop as their eight-round pick last summer. A solid defensive catcher, he hit .268/.371/.404 (.774) with 12 doubles and five homers in 57 games. He then hit .300/.400/.500 (.900) in 13 games in the FCL last year. Kyle Schmidt (24) - Twins 33rd round pick in 2019 from Richmond, Schmidt’s defense has kept him jumping all over the Twins organization. Last year, he played 25 games in Ft. Myers, 22 in Cedar Rapids, and even one game up in St. Paul. He hit a combined .250/.370/.329 (.699), including .302/.423/.430 (.853) at Ft. Myers. Great defender all-around. Dillon Tatum (21) - Tatum was the Twins 20th round pick in 2021 out of UC-Irvine, where he hit .278/.401/.684 (1.085) over 40 games last year. He had seven doubles and 15 homers. He played just five games in the FCL late in the season. INFIELDERS Keoni Cavaco (20) - The Twins selected Cavaco with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 draft. Last year in Ft. Myers, he played in 60 games due to a concussion and other minor injuries. He hit .233/.296/.301 (.597) with six doubles, two triples, and two homers. He is a solid defender at shortstop, but he could return to his high school position, third base, in 2022. Noah Miller (19) - Miller, whose older brother Owen plays for the Guardians, was the 36th overall pick in the 2021 draft out of high school in Wisconsin. In 22 FCL games last year, he hit .238/.316/.369 (.685) with three doubles and two homers. He has impressed the spring, especially defensively, in the four games he played for the Twins. He also had two hits in seven at-bats. Daniel Ozoria (21) - Ozoria came to the Twins from the Angels after the 2018 season for John Curtiss. In 2019, he split time between E-Town and Cedar Rapids. In 2021, he was moved all over. He started the season at Cedar Rapids (now High-A). In 51 games there, he hit .252/.388/.328 (.616) with six doubles and a homer. He also played five games for Ft. Myers and three games in St. Paul. He’s been around a while; it’s hard to believe he’s still just 21. Mikey Perez (22) - After three seasons at UCLA, the Twins made Perez their 15th round pick in 2021. He only played significant time in his junior season. He played well in Mankato in the summer of 2019. After signing, he played one game in the FCL (and went 3-for-4 with a homer). He moved up to Ft. Myers and hit .500 (13-for-26) with five doubles. Primarily a second baseman, he can play around the infield. His mom is the UCLA softball team’s head coach. Jake Rucker (22) - Rucker was the Twins' seventh-round pick last year out of the University of Tennessee. As a junior, he hit .330/.399/.520 (.920) with 21 doubles and nine home runs. In 22 games with the Mussels after signing, he hit .265/.377/.324 (.700) with two doubles. Ernie Yake (24) - Yake was the Twins 10th round pick in 2021 out of Gonzaga. As a senior in 2021, he hit .333/.423/.433 (.856) with 14 doubles and one homer in 42 games). He played seven games in the FCL before moving up to St OUTFIELDERS Kyler Fedko (22) - Twins 12th round pick in 2021 out of U-Conn. In 2021, he hit .398/.485/.674 (1.159) with 14 doubles and 12 homers in 52 games. He was putting up similar numbers in 2020 before the pandemic. In 23 games last year for the Mussels, he hit .235/.346/.265 (.610) with two doubles. Dylan Neuse (23) - Neuse was the Twins 17th round pick last year from Texas Tech. He was limited to just 27 games in 2021 and hit .281/.440/.427 (.867) with seven doubles. He has good speed and stole 11 bases. He didn’t play last year after signing. Emmanuel Rodriguez (19) - Rodriguez was a big international signing in 2019 from the Dominican Republic. After a lost 2020 season, Rodriguez played 37 games in 2021 with the FCL Twins. He hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with five doubles, two triples, and ten homers. He also stole nine bases and has become a top Twins prospect. Kala’i Rosario (19) - Rosario was drafted in the fifth round of the five-round 2020 draft out of high school in Hawaii. He was one of the most potent prep bats in that draft class. In 2021, he hit .277/. 341/.452 (.793) with ten doubles, four triples, and five home runs. He was the Twins Daily short-season Hitter of the Year. So what do you think of this roster? There are several very young players with big potential. Leave your Comments and Questions below.
  11. When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 5. Steven Hajjar, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55 Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55 Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 3. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup. 1. Jovani Moran, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70 Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Slider Prospects — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects
  12. Twins prospects ranking between 16-20 in our series highlights a dynamic group of players, some brimming with upside and others with higher perceived floors. Let's break it down. 20. LHP Steve Hajjar Age: 21 2021 (Michigan): 14 starts, 81 2/3 IP, 3.09 ERA, 32% K, 8.5% BB The Twins selected Hajjar with the 61st pick in last June’s draft, expressing serious interest in Massachusetts's 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year. Hajjar is a sizeable lefty with a plus-changeup. Like Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, Hajjar’s fastball gets on hitters promptly because of his extension. Hajjar was excellent in his two seasons at Michigan, pitching to a 3.01 ERA with a 31% strikeout rate in just over 100 innings. Hajjar has a deceptive delivery, relying primarily on a fastball-changeup combo with a loopy curve. Hajjar has a chance to move quickly up the system. 19. INF Edouard Julien Age: 22 2021 (A-A+): 112 games, .267/.434/.480, 28 2B, 18 HR, 34/39 SB, 28% K, 21% BB Julien had an exciting season last summer. He walked or struck out in nearly half of his plate appearances while nabbing 34 bases in 39 tries. Julien hit .267 but walked 110 times. It was a strong season overall for Julien, but there are some blemishes, especially considering he’s still in the low minors. With a left-handed stroke, Julien reached base in 44% of his appearances against right-handed pitchers. Julien logged 20 starts at first base, 38 at second base, 22 at third, 15 in left field, and 15 at DH. Like many of the other position players in the Twins’ system, Julien will continue to play all over the diamond. 18. INF Spencer Steer Age: 24 2021 (A+-AA): 110 games, .254/.348/.484, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 21.5% K, 11% BB An example of the Twins helping their contact-oriented prospects tap into more power; Steer hit 24 homers in 110 games in 2021. He had never hit more than six homers in a season, dating back to Oregon. Steer broke out at Cedar Rapids before struggling initially in Wichita. He had a 26-game stretch where he hit .307/.371/.634 (1.004 OPS) for the Surge. Steer worked hard to add more pop to his bat, and his progression has significantly improved his ceiling. Instead of a future slap-hitting utility player, Steer now projects as a potential double-digit homer bat. Steer’s development is certainly encouraging. 17. RHP Blayne Enlow Age: 22 2021 (A+): 3 starts, 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 39% K, 10% BB Enlow was off to a terrific start in Cedar Rapids before an elbow injury (and Tommy John surgery) ended his season. Enlow will have thrown just 14 2/3 Minor League innings in over two years when he returns. Even then, the Twins chose to protect him by adding him to the 40-man roster this offseason. The Twins signed Enlow for $2M in the 2017 draft, pulling him away from a commitment to LSU with an over-slot bonus. Enlow’s fastball had ticked up last summer, an encouraging sign after it sat in the low-90s in a mediocre 2019. Enlow is young, talented, and driven and will be right back on the radar when he returns. 16. OF Emmanuel Rodríguez Age: 18 2021 (FCL): 37 games, .214/.346/.524, 5 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 37% K, 15% BB Rodríguez gained considerable buzz after his power-heavy debut for the FCL Twins. 58% of his plate appearances ended in a walk, strikeout, or home run. To slug .524 in his pro debut at 18 years old is reason enough for excitement, but there are things Rodríguez has to work on as he works his way up. Touted for his advanced approach at the plate, Rodríguez is oozing with projection. Scouts have tabbed Rodríguez with above-average speed in centerfield with a chance to stay there permanently. If you’re looking for a talented potential future top prospect for the Twins, Rodríguez is probably your best bet. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  13. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Cade Povich, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Nebraska. Scouting Grades: Unavailable The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Cade Povich with their third-round pick in the 2021 draft (98th overall) out of the University of Nebraska. Povich signed for a $500,000 bonus, slightly shy of the $593,000 slot value. Povich was not ranked in the MLB.com pre-draft process and was ranked #276 by Baseball America. One note on pre-draft rankings as several readers have alluded to them in the comments on previous entries in this series: outside of elite talents, don’t put too much stock in pre-draft rankings. Thirty of the recently released top 100 prospects at Baseball America were not drafted, at all, so take the pre-draft rankings for what they are worth. Povich was the second of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (behind Steven Hajjar in the second round). Povich, similarly to Hajjar, has a solid floor with which to become an MLB starting pitcher and adds another left-handed starting pitching prospect to a system bereft of them until the 2021 draft. Povich is 6’3 and 185 pounds had plenty of success in his time at Nebraska. He managed a 2.82 ERA in his final season, walking 19 and striking out 79 in 73 1/3 innings. Povich’s fastball operated between 89-93 mph in 2021, with questions about the consistency of its velocity similar to those posed by Hajjar’s in his final season at Michigan. Adding velocity for Povich should come easily as he fills out. Early reports from his time with the Twins suggest his fastball was already sitting in the 93-95 mph range. Early Success Povich impressed in his 2021 professional debut. He started three games and pitched in four between rookie ball and low A Fort Myers. When he moved to the Mighty Mussels he was particularly impressive, striking out 16 batters in eight innings of work as a starter and surrendering just a lone earned run. Povich’s impressive debut and added velocity led Baseball America to suggest he could move most quickly through the Twins system if he gets off to a fast start in 2022. In terms of his arsenal, Povich has used up to a five-pitch mix before, including a four-seamer, cutter, changeup, curveball, and slider. Povich’s curveball is his best secondary pitch and has an impressive 12-6 spin. When speaking with Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs, Povich mentioned he modeled his curveball after Clayton Kershaw's. Povich also boasts strong command and the ability to throw strikes, which, in combination with increased velocity will be important as his fastball doesn’t carry a ton of spin. In an additional sneaky skill, Povich has an excellent pickoff move, nabbing six batters in the 2021 college baseball season Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids A+). Conclusion Povich has a similar profile to Hajjar. He is a high-floor left-handed starting pitcher whose growing frame and increased velocity should allow him to move quickie through the Twins system. If Povich rises to meet his ceiling, he profiles as a middle rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the four draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Cade Povich ahead of the 2022 season? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller Twins Prospect Preview: Steven Hajjar
  14. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Steven Hajjar, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Michigan. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45 (grades courtesy of MLB.com) Signing and Scouting The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar with their second-round pick in the 2021 draft (61st overall) out of the University of Michigan. Hajjar signed for the exact slot-bonus of $1.13 million. Coming into the draft, Hajjar was ranked as the #60 overall prospect by Baseball America and #100 overall by MLB.com. Hajjar was the first of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (ahead of Cade Povich in the third round). Hajjar, in line with other early picks outside the Twins first, has a strong all-around skill set and provides a solid floor as a prospect for the organization, who are continuing to add and develop a stable of pitching talent. It’s notable that Hajjar and Povich are the only left-handed starting pitchers who would feature in most evaluators' top Twins prospects lists. At 6’5 and 215 pounds. the 21-year-old southpaw has a prototypical starting-pitcher's body, while still being a little on the lanky side. Interestingly, Hajjar had a significant draft pedigree from his high-school career, when his fastball was already in the low 90s and he had more projectability. Despite not being able to establish his previous velocity (mid-90s fastball) in his final year at Michigan, he had an excellent season. Hajjar put together a 3.09 ERA over 81 innings, striking out 110 and walking 29 batters. In terms of his arsenal, Hajjar has a four-pitch mix led by a fastball that sits around 91 mph. Knowing the tendencies of the Twins, it's likely they feel they can re-up Hajjar’s fastball velocity to the 93-95 mph range, which would be of significant impact. Indeed, reports from Twins instructs in Florida has Hajjar’s fastball clocked at 97 mph when working with the organization coaching staff after he was drafted. If this increase sticks, it will alter Hajjar’s ceiling and possibly his trajectory as a prospect. Hajjar’s fastball does not have a lot of spin but good vertical movement. One would imagine the organization will encourage the establishment of his fastball up in the strike zone when he makes his professional debut. Hajjar has an excellent changeup that sits in the low 80s and falls away late in its plane. He has a slow 12-6 curveball and a slider he used more intermittently. It’s possible the Twins encourage him to ditch one of his breaking pitches in favor of refining the other, particularly given the quality of his changeup. Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids (A+) Hajjar has a strong floor as a rare left-handed starting pitcher in the Twins organization due to his size, excellent college career, and already well-developed pitching arsenal. Ultimately, his end-game will probably depend on the consistency with which he can increase his velocity as he develops, with the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the three draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Steven Hajjar ahead of his professional debut with the Twins? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller
  15. Sometimes there aren’t a lot of data points or statistics available in scouting or in prospect analysis. That would be the case today. In this group of five prospects, they combined to pitch just 36 innings of pro ball in 2021. Granted, three of them were drafted in 2021 and threw plenty of innings as amateurs. The other two pitchers missed significant time during the season with injury. So for this group to be pitching prospects six through ten means that they have some impressive scouting reports, stuff, big arms and more. So let’s start. Be sure to discuss and ask questions in the comments below. #10 - LHP Steve Hajjar 2021 Stats: Did Not Pitch Back in 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Steve Hajjar in the 21st round out of Central Catholic High School in Massachusetts. He declined and enrolled at the University of Michigan. He tore his ACL in the fall of his freshman season. He put his name on the map in 2020. Due to Covid, he made just four starts, but he went 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Then in 2021, he went 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA over 14 starts. In 81 2/3 innings, he struck out 110 batters while walking just 29 batters. The Twins made him their 2nd round pick. The southpaw works in the low-to-mid 90s, though he has been clocked as high as 97 mph. He’s also an advanced pitcher and has a good breaking ball and changeup as part of his four-pitch mix. The 21-year-old will make his pro debut in 2022 and could be a fast mover through the lower levels of the system. #9 - LHP Cade Povich 2021 STATS: 0-0, 0.90 ERA, 4/3 G/GS, 0.90 WHIP, 19/2 K/BB, 10.0 IP The Twins drafted Cade Povich in the third round of the 2021 draft. In his junior season at Nebraska, he went 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA over 15 starts. He tossed 81 innings and struck out 88 batters while walking 22. After signing, he went to Ft. Myers and got adjusted to the professional game and the Twins organization. He ended the season with two innings in the FCL before pitching in eight innings (over three games) to end the season with the Mighty Mussels. Along with the impressive numbers he showed all season and in his ten pro innings, his name was the one I heard most coming out of the Instructional League after the season. He’s blessed with a very strong arm, pitching into the mid-90s, but he also has solid secondary pitches. Video surfaced of him airing it out in a cage last week, throwing 101.2 mph. He will turn 22 in April. #8 - RHP Jhoan Duran 2021 STATS: 0-3, 5.06 ERA, 5/4 G/GS, 1.81 WHIP, 22/13 K/BB, 16.0 IP 2021 was a lost season for Jhoan Duran. He began the season in the Injured List with some forearm/elbow issues. He returned to the mound about a month into the season. He showed his stuff, often hitting 102 mph for the Saints (probably actually 100 mph). He’s got a good slider. He has the noted “splinker.” He has the ability to miss bats and get strikeouts. Unfortunately, as you can see above, he couldn’t stay on the mound. After just five games, he went back on the IL and was shut down. He didn’t have surgery and reports were good late in the year. That will be the question. It is also possible that he could wind up in the bullpen where he could be a force and his arm could be protected more. He came to the Twins in the July 2018 Eduardo Escobar trade from the Diamondbacks. Duran just turned 24 years old over the weekend, so there should be no rush. #7 - RHP Marco Raya 2021 Stats: Did Not Pitch Along with Povich, the name Marco Raya also came with glowing platitudes about how good he looked at the Instructional League. Raya was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2020. He didn’t pitch during the 2021 season due to a minor injury, but he pitched at Instructs. The 19-year-old from Laredo, Texas, was consistently hitting 97 mph on the radar gun. He also has a lot of pitch-ability. He’s got a changeup. He has a couple of different breaking pitches. He has confidence. Now he just needs some innings. He should start the season with the Mighty Mussels. #6 - RHP Chase Petty 2021 STATS: 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 25/17 G/GS, 1.40 WHIP, 6/1 K/BB, 5.0 IP Chase Petty grew up in Millville, New Jersey. Yes, the hometown of Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. Petty finished out his high school career at Mainland Regional High School, and he actually threw a no-hitter against Trout’s alma mater. In July, the Twins made him the 26th overall pick in the 2021 draft. That night, he immediately showed his personality and charisma that could make him a star off the field. On the field, and specifically on the mound, he has the kind of stuff that could make him an All Star. Petty is blessed with a big arm. He regularly touched triple-digits with his fastball, reportedly hitting 102. While he stands just 6-1, he is lean and has the potential to add strength. But beyond the fastball, Petty throws a slider, a curveball and a changeup, and he has worked on more pitches. After signing, he worked at the Twins complex in Ft. Myers. However, he got into two games at the end of the FCL Twins. He gave up three runs over five innings. He also struck out six batters with just one walk. In games, he was sitting 96-98 mph with the fastball. (Personally, I see this as a good thing) In summary, these five pitchers did not get many professional innings in 2021. They all have potential, and after throwing some innings, we may find that these five and the top five could be pretty interchangeable. This is a group with a ton of potential. Duran is the one that could see big-league time in 2022 if healthy. Povich and Hajjar could be fast movers, and they're left-handed which is certainly an added bonus. Raya and Petty are all about ceiling and upside and the organization should and will be patient with them. This grouping should be a fun list to discuss. I know I'm excited about this group. Discuss these players, their rankings and feel free to ask questions. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10
  16. 30. RHP Marco Raya (19 years old) Season Stats: Yet to Debut Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round draft pick in 2020 out of United South High School in Laredo, Texas. His fastball can hit in the low- to mid-90s, and he mixes in three breaking pitches, including a slider, a curveball, and a change-up. At 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, he isn’t tall on the mound, but he is a good athlete, and the Twins are excited about the promise he shows for the future. Currently, he is on the IL with the FCL Twins. 29. LHP Jovani Moran (24 years old) Season Stats (AA/AAA): 50 IP (26 G), 1.98 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NA Moran has one of the best change-ups in the Twins system, and he has been able to use it to dominate the minor’s upper levels this season. Originally, he was taken by the Twins in the seventh round in 2015 out of Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. During July, he struck out nearly 50% of the batter he faced. Right-handed batters have been limited to a .352 OPS against him in 2021. With his success at Triple-A, he seems likely to make his big-league debut before the season's end. 28. LHP Steve Hajjar (21 years old) Season Stats (College): 81.2 IP (14 G), 3.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Hajjar was Minnesota’s second-round pick in this year’s draft from the University of Michigan. He signed for the full slot value of $1,129,700 but has yet to make his professional debut. At Michigan, he led the Big Ten with 110 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. He is 6-foot-5 and weighs 215 pounds, so he is quite the presence on the mound. Typically, his fastball sits in the low-90s, but he can reach the mid-90s with some movement. He mixes in a change-up and a curveball to keep batters off balance. 27. SS Wander Javier (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 76 G, .219/.274/.409 (.683), 9 HR, 12 2B, 9 3B, 33.8 K%, 6.1 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 17, 2021 Preseason: NA Javier was initially signed by the Twins in July 2015, and his name has populated the team’s top prospect lists throughout that time. At one point, he was considered a top-100 prospect in baseball, but he hasn’t put it all together to the point where he has been left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft the past two years. He had a tremendous month of June with a .834 OPS, but he struck out 41 times in 112 plate appearances in July. Fans can hope he develops into a five-tool talent, but that dream might have passed at this point. 26. 2B Alerick Soularie (22 years old) Season Stats: Rehab Assignment Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 18, 2021 Preseason: 18 Soularie rolled his ankle during spring training and then broke his foot going down some stairs, which has kept him out of action until late last week. He was taken in the second round in 2020 out of the University of Tennessee and he is 22-years old. Soularie has started his rehab assignment by going 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. He is considered one of the best athletes in the Twins system, and the organization has to be excited to have him back on the field. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions.
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