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Prospect lists are fun to look at and review. I think that they’re fun because they can be questioned and discussed. As mentioned yesterday, I’ve separated the pitchers and hitters to get rid of one question, that being how do you compare pitchers to hitters? But still, how do you rank an 18-year-old who played in the FCL to a 25-year-old at Double-A? Prospect rankings are far from a perfect science, but if nothing else, it gives us the opportunity to discuss more players and give them the recognition that they deserve. Hopefully you find this entertaining and also gives you the opportunity to learn about some new Twins prospects. #30 - RHP Steven Cruz 2021 STATS: 4-2, 4.32 ERA, 28/2 G/GS, 1.36 WHIP, 80/33 K/BB, 50.0 IP If you like velocity, then you should really like Steven Cruz. The 6-7 right-hander from the Dominican Republic frequently topped 100 mph in 2021, topping out at 102 mph. There are times, as you would expect, when he gets a little wild with his fastball and his improving secondary pitches. However, 80 strikeouts in 50 innings is certainly noteworthy. He spent the season in Ft. Myers with just a couple of appearances in Cedar Rapids late in the season. Cruz signed back in March of 2017 and will turn 23 in June. #29 - RHP Luis Rijo 2021 STATS: 0-0, 9.95 ERA, 4/2 G/GS, 2.53 WHIP, 7/6 K/BB, 6.1 IP Luis Rijo came to the Twins in the July 2018 trade from the Yankees for Lance Lynn. He looked really good in 2019 with Low-A Cedar Rapids. He was always known for being a good control pitcher with quality secondary pitches but that season he was suddenly touching 95-96 with a fastball. He lost the 2020 season, and after attempting to return from elbow issues a couple of times, his season came to an end when he had Tommy John surgery. He will be just 23 throughout the 2022 season, but he likely won’t pitch and if he does it would be a few innings late. He has a ton of potential. The concern is that he becomes a free agent after the 2022 season. #28 - RHP Travis Adams 2021 STATS: 0-1, 20.25 ERA, 1/1 G/GS, 3.00 WHIP, 3/2 K/BB, 1.1 IP Adams pitched in just one game in the FCL late in the 2021 season. He had already made 14 starts for Sacramento State before the Twins made him their sixth round pick. In his 79 1/3 innings in college, he walked just 16 and struck out 72 batters. He’s got a good, smooth delivery with a low-90s fastball. He also has a really good changeup and command of both pitches. He is developing a curveball that has shown some potential. He certainly profiles as a starter. Adams will turn 22 in January. #27 - RHP Tyler Beck 2021 STATS: 3-4, 3.00 ERA, 19/13 G/GS, 1.12 WHIP, 91/30 K/BB, 84.0 IP Tyler Beck had a long and circuitous route to professional baseball, but after helping the University of Tampa to a national championship, the Twins drafted him in 2019. He began the 2021 season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels either starting or working in a piggyback role, and he pitched well. His fastball is in the low-90s, and he’s got a really good split-finger/sinker/changeup and mixes his pitches and velocities. He ended the season in Double-A Wichita but soon started experiencing some elbow pain and had Tommy John in the offseason. He hopes to get some innings late in the 2022 season. He is 26 years old. #26 - RHP Ben Gross 2021 STATS: 5-4, 4.06 ERA, 21/17 G/GS, 1.37 WHIP, 122/32 K/BB, 95.1 IP Ben Gross graduated from Princeton in three years and then spent his senior season at Duke. The Twins drafted him in the tenth round in 2019. After a missed 2020 season, Gross was a starter for High-A Cedar Rapids in 2021. He also pitched well and was durable. With Cedar Rapids, he had 106 strikeouts and just 23 walks over 82 innings. He was then promoted to Wichita late in the season and got some innings out of the bullpen. He had 16 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old is mostly a fastball thrower in the low-90s. He’s got a good curveball and a changeup. He also has a strong idea of what he wants to do on the mound. I think this is an interesting group of players ranked, and maybe you agree. There are a couple of older, senior-sign pitchers who have found success in High-A ball and touched Double-A in their first full season of pro ball. We have an intriguing pick from the 2021 draft. Luis Rijo has a high ceiling, but he had Tommy John surgery in 2021, so we can’t be sure how much he (or Tyler Beck) will pitch in 2022. And finally, Steven Cruz could go up and down the rankings. He may be ‘just’ a reliever, but when a guy can throw 102, he becomes intriguing. He’s still fairly young. Please feel free to add comments to this discussion and ask questions about players or rankings.
I can’t speak for everybody, but a lot of my thought process into these final picks was about seeing where I could shuffle anybody else around if I had a personal cheeseball I wanted on my team. As these picks complete our rosters, let us know who you think did the best in the comments, and be on the lookout tomorrow for a full summary! If you missed the rest of the draft, you can view rounds 1-4 here, 5-8 here, and 9-12 here. A brief reminder: We're taking 16 players who still hold "prospect" or "rookie" status in the Twins organization. Positions on each team included: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, three outfielders, a bench player/hitter, three starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and an extra pitcher. (Please note that comments under each pick were made by the person making the selection.) Round 13 Seth Stohs - Taylor Grzelakowski, C “Gelly” had a tough 2019 season in Pensacola after a great 2018 in Ft. Myers. A lot of the issue was an ankle injury that he had previous surgery on. It wasn’t recovering well. There was a lot of pain which actually kept him from catching much. But that was taken care of and this spring he said he was feeling great. I’ll take this bat behind the plate. (Get to Know Taylor Grzelakowski) Steve Lein - Andrew Bechtold DH Hoped Gelly would slide to my next pick for the reasons Seth mentions, oh well! I'll take a similar potential bat with Bechtold. Gets on base at a good clip, finishing 2nd in the organization in walks in 2019 with a .359 OBP across Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. (Get to Know Andrew Bechtold) Ted Schwerzler - Jake Reed RH RP Jake Reed had an awful 2019, no way around it. He’s got a new arm slot and the walk rate is ugly. Beyond that though, he’s got an electric fastball and can sit batters down in bunches. He keeps the ball in the yard and owned a sub 2.00 ERA in 2018. (Twins Prospect Spotlight: Jake Reed, 2019 Killebrew Award Winner – Jake Reed) Cody Christie - Steven Cruz, RH RP Cruz posted some big strikeout numbers last season with the E-Twins (13.9 K/9) and I need a strikeout arm to put in my bullpen. His walk rate could improve, but he’s only pitched a little over 86 professional innings so far. Hopefully, he can continue to strike out batters as he climbs the ladder. (Get to Know: Osiris German, Steve Cruz, and Frandy Torres) Jeremy Nygaard - Jared Akins DH Akins provides me a lefty bat (which I’m short in) with a little bit of pop (11 home runs last year). Akins also put up over 10 steals last year, which fits my theme to have a team that is active on the basepaths. Getting on base can be an issue for Akins, though, who had an OBP of .265 last year. (MiLB Hitter of the Month – May 2019: Jared Akins #5) Matt Braun - Tyler Webb, OF Considering the fact that Webb was a 40th round pick, the fact that he has already hit Cedar Rapids is kind of amazing. He brings a solid OBP to the lineup and can afford to pass on the power as there are other boppers who will make up for it. (Get to Know Tyler Webb) Round 14 Matt Braun - Cody Laweryson, Pitcher I saw that Cody wanted Laweryson so I took him instead. Laweryson was dominant with Elizabethton as he struck out nearly 40% of batters faced in his short time there. I’m banking on that immense strikeout potential to continue developing as he moves through the minors. (2019 MiLB Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Cody Laweryson) Jeremy Nygaard - Benjamin Dum RP Despite going undrafted and being signed out of the Indy League - hey, we’ve seen this before - Dum put up a stupid 20:0 K:BB ratio in 14 innings of affiliated ball. You may argue that a few of my picks may have “been dumb”; this one literally is, but I like his numbers albeit only in rookie ball. Cody Christie - Tyler Watson, LHP Watson came to the Twins in the Brandon Kintzler deal back at the 2017 deadline. He spent all of last season in Fort Myers and he’s still only 23-years old. I needed a left-handed arm for my pitching staff and he has posted some good numbers in his time with the Nationals and Twins. Ted Schwerzler - Ryan Mason RHP A 13th round pick in 2016, Ryan Mason took a big step forwards last season. He has consistently produced low ERA’s and avoided free passes since entering pro ball. In his first taste of Double-A action though, he posted a 2.35 ERA with an 11.0 K/9. If those numbers are substantiated in 2020 and beyond, he’ll be a legitimate contender for a big league bullpen spot. (MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month – April 2019: Ryan Mason #1, 5 Prospects Who Could Be the Next Cody Stashak) Steve Lein - Andrew Vasquez RP I need a lefty in my bullpen, and despite his struggles in 2019 in part due to a shoulder injury, it's hard to ignore Vasquez's potential. He shot up the system in 2018 from Single-A to make his MLB debut while striking out nearly everybody along the way with his slider heavy approach. I like getting him here as a big time bounce back candidate. (Get to Know Andrew Vasquez, 2018 MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Vasquez) Seth Stohs - Parker Phillips, 1B He was the Twins 27th round pick a year ago out of Austin Peay where he hit 56 homers over his three seasons (including 25 in 2019). He added six more home runs as a pro last year. Round 15 Seth Stohs - Charlie Barnes, LHP The Twins drafted Barnes in the 4th round of the 2017 draft out of Clemson. In 2019, he split time between Ft. Myers and Pensacola, and he also made four starts for Rochester. The Twins invited him to big league camp this spring. (Seth’s Twins On Deck Podcast – Episode 5) Steve Lein - Albee Weiss 1B At this point I'm looking for any big tools that are left, and Weiss has one with his power. He was fourth in the Appy League last year with a .604 slugging percentage. Lots of K's so far, but when he connects there's a good chance the ball is leaving the yard. This pick will slide Kirilloff into the outfield and complete my lineup. (2019 MiLB Short Season Hitter of the Year: Albee Weiss #5) Ted Schwerzler - Trevor Casanova C Taking my bench bat here and using it on a left-handed hitting catcher. Casanova hasn’t hit for power yet in pro ball, and he put up an ugly average last year as well. However, he showed a strong ability to draw walks and if he can better the bat to ball skills, this could be a key guy to work a good plate appearance. (Get to Know Trevor Casanova) (Seth Note - Back-to-Back Cal State-Northridge teammates in Weiss and Casanova) Cody Christie - Evan Gillespie, LH RP Gillespie was old for the GCL last season, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers he put up in his professional debut. My bullpen was lacking a lefty and he finished as an honorable mention in the Twins Daily Short Season Pitcher of the Year. Sign me up. Jeremy Nygaard - Austin Schulfer RHRP Went with a Wisconsin guy with my second-to-last pick. Schulfer strikes a lot of guys out, but he also issues a fair amount of walks as well. (Prospect Spotlight Series: Austin Schulfur, Get to Know Podcast: Austin Schulfur, Caleb Hamilton, Nick Anderson) Matt Braun - Adam Bray, RHRP Bray was great at AA last season but his peripherals dropped when he made the move to AAA. I’m banking on the major league ball being the problem there. Bray rounds out a relief corps that has no lefties but I’m banking on the three batter minimum making that shortcoming less impactful. (Spring Trade Brings Bray Back Home) Round 16 Matt Braun - Luis Baez, Hitter Did you know that Luis Baez had the 6th highest wRC+ among all hitters in the Twins system with at least 50 plate appearances? Yeah, I didn’t either until I did some research and I had to pick up that kind of offensive upside with my very last pick. Jeremy Nygaard - Kidany Salva C Switch-hitter who threw out over 30% of potential base stealers in 2019. Has a ways to go offensively. Cody Christie - Ricky De La Torre, UTL De La Torre had an OPS of 700+ in his first two professional seasons when he was over two year younger than the average age of the competition in the GCL and the Appy League. The Twins pushed him to Cedar Rapids last year and he had some offensive struggles for the first time in his career. He can play multiple defensive positions and I like how he completes my roster. Ted Schwerzler - Ben Gross RHP Gross was drafted in the 10th round of the 2019 draft. His college track record isn’t long and he was a senior sign out of Duke. Working as a starter in his pro debut, Gross could eventually transition to the pen. It looks like there’s strikeout stuff here, and that could help to accelerate his path to the majors. Steve Lein - Alex Phillips RP Phillips absolutely dominated the Florida State League (0.79 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 11.6 K/9) while being shuffled to and from Pensacola during last season, where he had some adjustments to make. But for his efforts overall he was an honorable mention in our Relief Pitcher of the Year voting. (MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month – April 2019: Alex Phillips #2) Seth Stohs - Carlos Aguiar, Hitter Last pick, frankly, I am just going with my highest ranked prospect. Like Wander Valdez, Aguiar is incredibly impressive in person. He’s huge, strong, massive power potential, and incredibly young and has a long ways to go. I’ll take the upside. (Seth’s Spring Training Standouts: 2020 Edition) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
Osiris German is in his third year as a professional. When I asked him about his career and pitch repertoire, he replied: “I think I'm on the right track. I think I have a pretty good change up. I think it is my best pitch. I have to work more on my slider because I want to be able to feel more confidence when I use it”. For German, last year was his first year playing here in the States. He started 17 games with GCL, and he ended the season with 2-2 and 2.57 ERA. For him, being a Dominican and playing in the States has been a beautiful challenge, “For me, it has been key do not feel ashamed (about the fact that I am not a native English speaker). I always practice and speak English because that’s the only way to survive.” Elizabethton Twins has a total of eight Latin players between Dominicans and Venezuelans, and if you are a baseball fan you know that those baseball players spend more time with their “baseball brothers” than with their families. German told me that there is a nice environment in the clubhouse, especially with the Latin players. “All the Latin players have a good relationship, for me Prelander Berroa (now with San Francisco) is the one that is always making jokes, and Frandy Torres is the opposite. He is super quiet”. After the daily pitcher’s workout, I sat with Steven Cruz, the young RHP from Tanares, D.R, to talk a little bit about his beginning. “I’m from a really small town in the Dominican Republic. I started to play baseball because my brother used to play baseball. Unfortunately, he was not able to become a pro player, but I always said that I will do it, and Thank God, here I am.” With Elizabethton, Cruz has the second best ERA among pitchers with 20 or more innings (2.49 ERA). With three years as a professional, Cruz has been able to develop his pitches and recognize which one works better for him, “If I’m in trouble, then I use my sinker.” Cruz agrees with Germán about the good relationship they have with their teammates. “We have a good relationship. We are like brothers.” Baseball life also represents the opportunity to adapt to multiple changes, not just as a player but as a person. “Now everything is different because we do not live at the Twins complex (Fort Myers). We live in a house. We have to cook, to do everything by ourselves.” That’s something he says has been a good experience for him. Minnesota Twins Latin American Scout, Fred Guerrero was responsible for the signing of Frandy Torres. Unlike most baseball players, Torres wasn’t part of a regular tryout with the Twins, but he had the opportunity to go directly to the Twins complex in Boca Chica where he was evaluated by Guerrero. For Torres, baseball is a continuous learning process, “I try to be focused every day. For me, concentration is key. Sometimes it is hard to be away from your family, but I always try to be positive, and I always remember that I’m also doing this for them”. Frandy is 23 years old but mature enough to know how important it is to have a man like Jeff Smith as a Manager. “He is a good person. He treats everyone in the same way and that’s very important.” Torres also talked about the importance of having Richard Salazar as a Pitching Coach. “It is very positive to have a pitching coach that can speak Spanish. He is a good person, and he is always helping us”. I asked Frandy how he sees himself in couple of years, and he said “I see myself as a better player but also as a better person. I want to keep working hard and I always want God to help me be humble.” Thank you to Mariana Guzman for this article, but also to Osiris German, Steven Cruz and Frandy Torres for their insights.
Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS RH RP Cody Allen was reinstated from the temporary inactive list and promoted from Ft. Myers to Rochester. IF Brian Schales was promoted from Pensacola to Rochester. The Red Wings officially received recently-optioned RHP Kohl Stewart and LHP Devin Smeltzer from the Twins. DJ Baxendale was placed on the Red Wings Injured List. LH RP Andrew Vasquez was sent from Rochester to Pensacola. The Blue Wahoos also announced that the Twins have signed veteran infielder (and former big leaguer) Ivan De Jesus, Jr. to a minor league deal and assigned him to Pensacola. RHP Edwar Colina was promoted from Ft. Myers to Pensacola. RH RP Moises Gomez was promoted from Cedar Rapids to Ft. Myers. RH RP Nate Hadley, the Twins 25th round pick last month, was promoted to the Kernels from Elizabethton. RED WINGS REPORT Game 1 - Rochester 13, Lehigh Valley 5 Box Score Zander Wiel continues to quietly put up big numbers for the Red Wings this year. In this game, he hit his 23rd and 24th doubles and his 14th and 15th home runs. He drove in seven runs. That is a good week! https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1149469182062317570 Ronald Torreyes knocked his sixth and seventh homers and drove in four runs. He went 3-for-4. Wilin Rosario was also 3-for-4 in the game. Jaylin Davis went 2-for-4. Nick Gordon drove in two runs with a single. Sean Poppen started Game 1 and gave up three runs on four hits and four walks over four innings. He also struck out four batters. Carlos Torres came on to start the fifth inning. He went the final three innings and gave up two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out three… to win his third game since joining the Red Wings. Game 2 - Rochester, Lehigh Valley Box Score Game is in progress. This will be updated upon game's completion. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 2, Montgomery 6 Box Score Lefty Bryan Sammons started and gave up four runs on four hits over the first four innings. He walked one, hit two batters, and struck out three batters. Zack Weiss came on and gave up one run on one hit over 2 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one batter. Alex Phillips gave up two runs on two hits over the next two innings. He walked three and struck out one. Hector Lujan got the final two outs of the top of the ninth inning, but not before allowing an inherited runner to score and two more of his own. He gave up three hits and struck out one batter. Travis Blankenhorn led the offense. He went 2-for-4 with his 14th double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers, Daytona Box Score Game cancelled by Rain. It will not be made up. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Great Lakes 3 Box Score Luis Rijo put together one of the best starts in the organization in his most recent starts, and he followed it with another really strong start. The right-hander started with six shutout innings. He gave up two runs in the seventh. In 6 2/3 innings, he gave up those two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out six batters. Alex Schick came on and gave up one run on two hits over the final 2 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out two batters. For the second straight game, Trevor Casanova hit a home run, his third in 15 games since joining the Kernels. A catcher, he has been playing often in the Kernels outfield, and on this night he threw out a runner at home. It provided the team their lone run. Gabe Snyder went 2-for-3 with a walk. --------------------------------------------- In case you missed it, on Wednesday night in Cedar Rapids, they introduced their 2019 Hall of Fame class. The group included long-time Board of Directors member Gary Keoppel, players Jerry Reuss and Hector Cruz ,and manager Jake Mauer. Jeff Johnson chatted with Mauer about getting away from the game, what he misses and what he’s up to these days. E-TWINS E-NOTES E-Twins 0, Burlington 5 Box Score The E-Twins had a rough game. The offense only managed four hits, the same number of errors that they had in the night. Spencer Steer hit a triple, the team’s lone extra-base hit. Matt Wallner had a single, and he also threw out a runner at third base from right field. Ben Gross made the start for the E-Twins. He went the first four innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits. He struck out six without a walk. Lefty Erik Cha came on and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in two innings. He struck out three. Steven Cruz struck out six batters in three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 3, GCL Orioles 2 Box Score German right-hander Niklas Rimmel made the start for the Twins on Thursday afternoon. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits over five innings .He struck out five without walking any, though he did hit one batter. Venezuelan righty Miguel Rodriguez came on and tossed three scoreless innings for his second straight outing. On this day, he gave up one hit, walked one and struck out seven batters. Lefty Evan Gillespie, recently signed out of Faulkner University, gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth. He was credited with his first professional win. The Twins entered the bottom of the ninth inning down 2-0. With one out, Wander Valdez, Francisco Martinez and Bryson Gandy all singled to load the bases. Alec Craig walked to bring in the team’s first run. Martinez scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. Jesus Feliz walked to reload the bases. Parker Phillips ended the game with a sacrifice fly deep enough to score Bryson Gandy with the winning run. LaRon Smith went 2-for-4. Along with the game-winning RBI, Phillips went 2-for-4. Wander Valdez entered the game late and went 2-for-2. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Luis Rijo, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Zander Wiel, Rochester Red Wings PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 0-4, RBI, 3 K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 2 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Did Not Play #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Game 2 ( #9 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Game 1 (1-4, R, 2 RBI), Game 2 ( #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - All Star Break #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - 1-3, 2 K, OF Assist #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - 1-4, K #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - 0-3, 2 BB, R, RBI #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 2-4, 2B(14), RBI FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (5:05 CST) - LHP Lewis Thorpe (4-4, 5.50 ERA) Montgomery @ Pensacola (6:35 CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak (4-0, 2.92 ERA) Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (2-2, 1.95 ERA) Great Lakes @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Josh Winder (6-1, 2.32 ERA) Burlington @ Elizabethton (5:30 CST) - Andriu Marin (1-1, 2.77 ERA) GCL Twins @ GCL Red Sox (11:00 CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Thursday games or any other minor league topics you would like.