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  1. Alex Kirilloff will be the first in line to replace Luis Arraez at first and against righties. Hoping Kirilloff's wrist doesn't flare up is the Twins' top priority when replacing Arraez. If Kirilloff misses time, however, the Twins will have an abundance of options to replace him, and one of the most exciting options is Edouard Julien. Similarities between Arraez and Julien Julien and Luis Arraez both came up as second baseman. Neither is renowned for their defense at the position, and it is not a premium position. That limits their value and forces them to hit to be valuable players. Luckily for Arraez and Julien, they've shown they can hit, especially against right-handed pitchers. In 2022, Arraez posted a very good .824 OPS against right-handed pitchers, and Julien at AA posted a 1.031 OPS against right-handed pitchers. Arraez’s strong .386 OBP primarily drives his success against righties. That on-base ability against righties is something the Twins will desperately need to replace. Last year, Julien posted a remarkable .465 OBP at AA against righties. If he can bring some of that on-base ability to the Twins, that would lessen the blow of losing Arraez. While Arraez and Julien share defensive limitations and overall production against right-handed pitchers, each has particular areas of their game where they excel over the other. So, it definitely won't be a one-for-one swap. Of course, you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody like Luis Arraez. Where Arraez is Better Luis Arraez famously rarely strikes out. In his major league career, Arraez has more walks than strikeouts. His strikeout rate for his career is a tiny 8.3%. On the other hand, Julien strikes out at a poor rate, with a 24.6% strikeout rate in 2022 at AA. Surely, that would only increase at the major league level. Arraez has also established himself as a premier hitter for average. While batting average isn't a great measure of overall offensive production, it’s certainly a component. For batting average, Luis Arraez is your man. Of course, he's the batting champion, which tells you all you need to know about his ability to hit for average. Diving deeper in comparing him to Julien, his age-22 season in 2019 at AA seems most relevant as Julien just completed his age-23 season at AA. In limited games at AA in 2019 at age 22, Arraez hit a fantastic .348, which helped him on his ascent to the majors that season. Julien hit a much more mortal .300, which is still nothing to sneeze at. Another key differentiator between Arraez and Julien is that Arraez proved he could hit over his 3+ years in the majors. Julien seems on the path to hitting at the major league level too, but he hasn't even reached AAA, so he has a lot to prove. But Julien has shown he can do things that Arraez's limited skill set cannot match. Where Julien is Better Julien's strikeout rate is ugly, but like many strikeout-prone hitters, Julien walks a ton. He had an elite 19.3% walk rate in 2022, which is a significant driver in his terrific on-base success. Arraez's walk rate for his career is a much more average of 8.7%. Another common characteristic of strikeout-prone players is power, and Julien has plenty. Of course, most of that comes against righties. He slugged .566 against righties with 15 of his 17 home runs in those matchups. This dimension of power and a more patient plate approach is where Julien differentiates himself from Arraez, at the cost of batting average. The Twins need more slugging in 2022 to maximize their offense, so Julien will boost their lineup. They especially need that from the left side. Last season, Nick Gordon had the highest slugging percentage of any Twins left-handed hitter. Whether the Twins won or lost the Luis Arraez for Pablo López trade will mostly depend on López pitching well and staying healthy. But it will also hinge on young left-handed hitters replacing Arraez in the lineup against right-handed pitching. The Twins have their fair share of young left-handed hitters capable of stepping up. While Julien is still young and hasn't yet reached AAA, Twins fans shouldn't be surprised if they see him terrorizing right-handers in the majors come summertime.
  2. On March 30th in Kansas City, the Twins will kick off their season against the Royals and presumably a right-handed starter (Brady Singer?). Prior to last week's Pablo López trade, the most likely Opening Day lineup for Minnesota would have featured Alex Kirilloff at first base, José Miranda at third base, and Luis Arraez at designated hitter. Now, they'll need to find another way to fill that last spot. In some ways, the question feels rather unimportant; it's just one game, and the Twins are likely to rotate different players like Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Miranda through the DH spot frequently. There doesn't necessarily need to be a "primary" guy at the position, and indeed we saw this play out last year in the absence of Nelson Cruz, with 10 different players getting distributed starts at DH. However, trying to figure out who Rocco Baldelli will write in at designated hitter against a right-handed pitcher on Opening Day will tell us a great deal about the current state of the roster, the quality of the 'A lineup,' and the decisions (or opportunities) that still lie ahead. INTERNAL OPTIONS If the Twins don't make any more significant additions to the mix (which I rather doubt), here are the options in play to handle DH on Opening Day, and on a semi-regular basis against righties: Nick Gordon Gordon is probably the simplest default answer, in that he will assuredly be on the roster and won't have a designated starting position. He slashed .289/.329/.465 against right-handed pitchers last year so he's definitely a viable threat versus someone like Singer but ... the wiry utility man would be an odd fit as designated hitter on Opening Day, or as the regular plug there. Last year, he made zero starts at DH. Trevor Larnach I think Larnach is by far the best fit as lefty-swinging DH option for the Twins, so long as he is on the roster. At the moment, it's not totally clear he will be. If the club is carrying Joey Gallo, Max Kepler, Kirilloff and Gordon, is there room for a fifth lefty-swinging corner guy? Maybe – especially if they treat Larnach as more of a regular DH and Gordon more as the fourth outfielder. But Larnach is still developing and the Twins need to be thoughtful about getting him consistent action. Matt Wallner Similar to Larnach, Wallner is victimized by the backlog of lefty corner outfielders. Since he's behind (a healthy) Larnach in line, his path to claiming this role is even more obstructed. Trading Kepler would create a much clearer path for either to carve out an immediate spot on the big-league roster. Edouard Julien The emergence of Julien was likely a major factor in the front office's willingness to deal Arraez. Julien is quite similar in profile: a lefty-hitting infielder with excellent OBP skills and no clear defensive fit. If the Twins wanted to replace some semblance of what Arraez brought to the table in the DH spot, this would be the route. It would also be pretty aggressive, as the 23-year-old Julien has yet to play above Double-A (where he slashed a ridiculous .332/.465/.566 vs. RHP last year). If the Twins keep their current personnel and hold an open competition at DH this spring, I could see Julien claiming the gig, drawing most of the DH starts against righties while Buxton, Correa, and Miranda fill in against lefties. Alex Kirilloff I'm including Kirilloff in this list because he would theoretically be a logical fit as DH against right-handers. He'll probably get the occasional look there. But I think the Twins view him as by far their best defensive first baseman. If his wrist is good enough to swing, it's good enough to play first base, and that's where they'll want him on Opening Day and most days. EXTERNAL OPTIONS None of the above options would be bad, per se. But for the Twins to go one of those routes would feel like leaving an opportunity on the table – opportunity to add one more potential impact veteran bat, and a player who could be useful in additional ways. Here are a few options that stand out to me as potential late-offseason additions capable of upgrading the Twins' lineup and helping fill in at DH with Arraez gone. Yuli Gurriel He was a longtime fixture at first base for the Astros, and preceded Arraez as AL batting champ in 2021. He's also 38 and struggled to an 84 OPS+ this past season, which is why he's still trying to land a contract at this stage of the offseason. Gurriel is a righty hitter, so he doesn't quite fit the bill as a masher to rotate in against RHP, but his splits are fairly neutral. The hope here would be that his bat rebounds, while his contending experience (including 85 career postseason games) and veteran presence combine to deliver a "Nelson Cruz Lite" impact. Interestingly, the Twins have reportedly shown interest in Gurriel of late. Robbie Grossman Our old friend spent three seasons with the Twins (2016-18), accruing a .266/.371/.400 slash line, which is basically Arraez with fewer singles. He's since spent time with Oakland, Detroit, and Atlanta, struggling last year to a .622 OPS. He maintained his usual patience, and the switch-hitting 33-year-old would represent a cheap rebound bet. (In 2020-21 he had a 118 OPS+.) This is the kind of modest gamble the Twins could afford – so long as they're willing to cut the cord relatively quickly if it's not working – because they have so many fallback options in place. Jurickson Profar In terms of the role we're discussing here, this is probably the biggest splash the Twins could realistically make. Profar is one of the best remaining free agents on the market, coming off a 2.5 fWAR season in San Diego. He's an intriguing fit for the Twins as a switch-hitter with defensive versatility. Profar also has ties to Thad Levine from his days in Texas. An acquisition of this magnitude would really put a bow on the offseason, but you wonder if Minnesota's realistically willing to offer enough guaranteed money or playing time to sway the 29-year-old. Miguel Sanó Look, there would be no risk in signing Sanó to a minor-league contract and seeing what he's got in spring training, if he's not getting bites elsewhere. A version of the big slugger that even approximates his career 116 OPS+ would be useful to the Twins as a part-time DH and starter at first against lefties. No one wants to hear it anymore but Sanó was actually hitting the ball reasonably well in 2022, despite the paltry production before a knee injury ended his season. While skill sets like his tend to degrade more quickly, I'm not convinced he's cooked. Franmil Reyes This would be similar to the Sanó gamble, except with a fresh face and less all the baggage. Reyes was of course a highly touted young slugger when Cleveland acquired him from San Diego in 2019, but he's stagnated and regressed after some early success. Alas, Reyes is only 27 and has a .251/.313/.470 career slash line. Why not? As recently as 2021 he launched 30 homers in 121 games with an .846 OPS. Luke Voit Voit would represent a lower-upside but higher-floor variation of the above two suggestions. The Twins wouldn't be banking so much on a rebound because he wasn't bad in 2022, he was just himself: a plodding righty slugger who will strike out a bunch and hit some home runs, translating to average-ish production overall. He definitely belongs at DH but can fill in at first base occasionally. What are your thoughts? Does anyone on the free agent or trade market stand out as a strong fit to you? Or are you more interested in going with internal options?
  3. Prospect development is not a linear path. Some prospects reach the higher levels of the minor leagues and struggle, while others move quickly to the big-league level. Two of the prospects outlined below had a chance to reach the big leagues in 2022, but their performance didn't warrant a promotion. Injuries and poor performance can hurt a prospect's long-term outlook, but these players have the potential to impact the Twins in 2023. Brooks Lee TD Top Prospect Rank: 2 Debut Prediction: September Minnesota selected Lee as the team's top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. He flew through three levels in the Twins system and ended the year at Double-A. In 31-games, he hit .303/.389/.451 (.839) with six doubles and four home runs. He likely spends most of 2023 at the Double-A level, but his performance will dictate his ultimate landing spot. There is no need to rush Lee to the big leagues, but his college experience and advanced bat can put him on track to be a late-season call-up. Austin Martin TD Top Prospect Rank: 6 Debut Prediction: July Martin entered the 2022 campaign as one of the Twins' top prospects, but his season went differently than planned. There was an opportunity for him to make his big-league debut in 2022 since he was repeating the Double-A level. Unfortunately, he struggled offensively with a .685 OPS while also dealing with a wrist injury. Martin ended September on a strong note and carried his hot hitting into the Arizona Fall League. If healthy, Martin is still part of the team's long-term plans while offering plenty of upside. Edouard Julien TD Top Prospect Rank: 10 Debut Prediction: May While Martin struggled in Wichita, Julien was one of the organization's breakout prospects in 2022. In 113 games, he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. He posted an eye-popping 1.248 OPS this fall on the way to being named the AFL's Breakout Prospect. Julien is close to big-league-ready when it comes to his prospect development. He will play the year in the upper minors waiting for an opportunity to arise at the big-league level. Since he's on the 40-man roster, one injury is all it will take for a call-up. Jordan Balazovic TD Top Prospect Rank: 15 Debut Prediction: June Balazovic struggled through much of 2022 but ended the year on a high note. Minnesota needed many starting pitchers last season, but Balazovic never got the call. In 22 appearances (70.2 IP), he posted a 7.39 ERA with a 1.94 WHIP and a 76-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Multiple starting pitchers have passed him on the organizational depth chart, but there have been times when he was considered one of the team's best pitching prospects. His September might signify that he is ready to take the next step, which can set him up for a bounce back year in 2023. Will all of these prospects debut in 2023? Can Martin and Balazovic bounce back? Who are you most excited to see? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. Despite a strong 2021 in the minor leagues, Jose Miranda did not start the year on the Twins Opening Day roster. He needed to wait for an opportunity and then ran with it once one presented itself. We saw Matt Wallner force his way into the big league outfield by season’s end, and a handful of pitchers including both Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland made their way to the majors. For Rocco Baldelli and the 2023 Minnesota Twins, plenty will be made about the remaining moves to come this offseason. There is no denying that Joey Gallo and Christian Vazquez aren’t enough to supplement this team. There is plenty more to be done in terms of acquisitions, but the more that Minnesota can draw from internal development the better. Who are some of the names on the farm that could fill some gaps in the year ahead? Edouard Julien A late round pick from Auburn in 2019, Julien has progressed nicely. He put on a show during the Arizona Fall League this year, and it only further substantiated his .931 OPS from Double-A Wichita. His power stroke is legit, and that’s a strong asset from the second base position. He could be a replacement for Jorge Polanco should he suffer an injury, or he could move around the diamond some. Julien will be 24 in 2023, and there is almost no reason for him to start anywhere but Triple-A St. Paul this season. He has crushed the ball every place he has gone for Minnesota, and getting this type of production from an 18th round selection is a massive win. Jordan Balazovic If there was a Twins prospect that had a nightmarish 2022 it was Balazovic. He entered the season as arguably Minnesota’s best pitching prospect, and he ended it failing to remain among many top 15’s. His 3.62 ERA at Double-A Wichita last season looked to have him close to Major League ready. Then the season got off to a slow start with a knee injury, and despite suggesting he was healthy, a 7.39 ERA across 70 2/3 Triple-A innings followed. The strikeouts stayed, and while his command faltered some, Balazovic basically became a batting practice pitcher allowing a whopping 2.5 HR/9. His previous career worst was 1.1 HR/9 as an 18-year-old in 2017, and if that can be figured out, a sucessful rebound should be in store. Brooks Lee A candidate to be taken first overall in the 2022 MLB Draft, Lee fell into the Twins lap at number eight. He wound up advancing all the way to Double-A and posted an .839 OPS in his first professional season. I’m still not sure if Lee will remain a shortstop, but there is zero question about his hit tool. There is probably not a ton of power in the bat, but he’s going to be a consistent gap hitter, and he looks extremely refined at the dish already. Barring an unexpected turn of events at shortstop, Lee could factor into an infield that will include young talents like Royce Lewis and Jose Miranda as soon as this year. With a ton of pre-draft hype, he’s lived up to all of it. David Festa Another later round pick that Minnesota has turned into found money, Festa was taken in the 13th round out of Seton Hall. He threw just 8 1/3 innings as a pro during his 2021 debut. Last season he racked up 103 2/3 innings split between two Single-A levels and posted a combined 2.43 ERA. His 9.4 K/9 was strong and Festa allowed only six homers. It may be a leap to think he’ll jump up high enough to make a Major League debut in 2023, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t start at Double-A, and that basically puts him on the doorstep following strong performance. Festa could take a path similar to that of Louie Varland, Bailey Ober, or Josh Winder in being somewhat of an overlooked prospect that forces his way into significant action. Blayne Enlow Another season removed from his Tommy John surgery, this could be the one that Enlow puts it all together. He was a draft prospect that this front office targeted with saved pool money, and he was projected to have a power arm. Throughout his minor league career Enlow has certainly been a strikeout pitcher, and that came back last season. Command was a bit of an issue during his first exposure at Double-A, but that’s not entirely unexpected given the return from injury. He’s done a good job limiting homers and has progressed nicely from a physical development perspective. It remains to be seen if he’ll stay starting or transition to a bullpen role, but there is reason to believe he’s not far from contributing at the Major League level. After a season in which we saw plenty of big league debuts, some from highly noteworthy Minnesota prospects, is there someone you’re excited for in the year ahead? Who do you think is worthy of this list and went unmentioned?
  5. Although the Twins may decide to deal Max Kepler this offseason rather than roster him alongside Joey Gallo, there seems to be less of an inclination that slugging second baseman Jorge Polanco is going anywhere. Although he is a failed shortstop, and has dealt with multiple ankle injuries in recent seasons, it’s clear Polanco is still a key piece of what Rocco Baldelli and the Twins want to do. 2023 is a very important juncture for Polanco with the Twins, and while the decision in front of him is not his, the level of health he can display will trigger an option for an extended payday. When Minnesota inked Polanco to his five-year deal back in 2019, it actually provided an opportunity for the Twins to get seven years out of their former star prospect. The contract includes a vesting option that triggers a $10.5 million salary for 2024 should he reach 550 plate appearances this year, and that would also allow for a $12 million team option to be triggered for 2025 if Minnesota wants to keep him at age-31. Given a full season of play, 550 plate appearances is something any regular should be able to blitz by. In fact, Polanco has done so in two of the past three full seasons (not including the truncated pandemic year), and he nearly accomplished that feat despite playing in just 133 games during 2017. Why this becomes a discussion is because Polanco missed substantial time in 2022, and the 2018 season suggests it may not be a fluke. The Twins truly employ one of the best offensive second baseman in baseball when Polanco is healthy. From 2019-2021 Polanco missed just 24 games. He was horrendous offensively during the Covid season, but still managed a 117 OPS+ combined over that stretch. Blasting a career best 33 homers in 2021 made him nothing short of a lineup pillar, even with team expectations having drastically fallen short. Minnesota may find themselves struggling to quantify Polanco’s production last season given the offensive downturn across the league as a whole. We know again that Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball used multiple different gameballs, and the league saw a substantial drop in OPS across the board. While his slugging percentage fell, Polanco’s .346 OBP checked in as his second-best mark, ranking only behind the .356 he put up in 2019. From a production standpoint, his presence in the lineup remained constant. The problem for Polanco, and the Twins, was the amount of time he was unavailable. Missing more than 35% of the games, Baldelli’s lineups were constantly without their starting second basemen, and fill-in Luis Arraez was already being asked to pull double-duty at first base. If Polanco’s injury history, namely his ankle, winds up being a nagging issue, the Twins could be in for a world of hurt. Despite being a batting champion and dearly beloved by Twins fans, it’s more than clear Arraez’s knees aren’t meant for every day action. Nick Gordon has shown to be a solid utility defender, but isn’t someone you want playing every day. Maybe Polanco gives way to a prospect like Brooks Lee, Austin Martin, or Edouard Julien if he misses time, but it’s safe to assume that both the team and the starter would like to see 2024 vest. We have seen Polanco remain healthy over extended periods of time previously, and he’ll need to play in something like 135 games to trigger the next phase of his contract. Getting him there should be something new athletic trainer Nick Paparesta is focused on through his offseason program, and the Twins would have no problem paying a guy posting 3 or 4 fWAR upwards of $10 million an offseason from now.
  6. The Twins were very active at last year’s trade deadline, which saw the team acquire two relievers (Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer) and one starter (Tyler Mahle). Acquiring these players cost multiple prospects that were close to big-league ready. Minnesota may need to dip deeper into an already depleted farm system to acquire other players to improve the 2023 roster. Rising Stock: Edouard Julien Twins Daily Prospect Rank: 10 Earlier this week, MLB Pipeline named Julien as the most tradeable prospect. Last season at Double-A, Julien hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 39 extra-base hits in 113 games. He carried that performance to the Arizona Fall League, where he led the league in hitting (28-for-70, .400 BA). Julien did so well that he was named the AFL’s Breakout Player of the Year. Currently, there is no direct path for Julien to the big leagues, as his defensive future isn’t clear. Minnesota may decide that other better infield options can make Julien expendable. His stock is likely at its highest point, so the team may want to sell high. Top Talent: Brooks Lee Twins Daily Prospect Rank: 2 On most national rankings, Lee is considered the team’s top prospect entering the 2023 campaign. He was widely considered the best college bat in the 2022 MLB Draft, and the Twins were lucky he fell to them with the eighth overall pick. During his pro debut, he impressed by hitting .303/.389/.451 (.839) with ten extra-base hits in 31 games. Minnesota was also aggressive with him by pushing him all the way to Double-A for Wichita’s playoff run. The Twins will likely want to hang on to Lee, but the club might want to acquire a top of the rotation starter. Trading for that type of pitcher will require Lee to be included in the prospect package. Upside Starter: Simeon Woods Richardson Twins Daily Prospect Rank: 5 At this time last year, Woods Richardson saw his stock drop to the point where he fell off national top-100 prospect lists. He had a resurgent year in the upper minors with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP on his way to making his big-league debut. Woods Richardson is entering his age-22 season, so it seems likely for him to reappear on top-100 prospect lists this winter. Woods Richardson seems the least likely to be traded out of the players on this list. He has multiple years of team control, and he is big-league-ready. Minnesota can include him in a trade for a top-tier starter, or the club can hold on to him and hope he continues to develop. Many fans get attached to top prospects because they offer unlimited hope for the future. Unfortunately, no prospects are guaranteed to succeed at baseball’s highest level. The Twins roster is far from complete for 2023, and trading prospects is undoubtedly one path the front office has to consider. Do the Twins want to go all-in for 2023 and trade other top prospects? Or should the team hang on to the names above and hope they can help the club in the years ahead? Will the Twins consider trading any of these prospects? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Minnesota has yet to have an AL Rookie of the Year winner since Marty Cordova took home the hardware in 1995. Other winners in team history include Tony Oliva (1964), Rod Carew (1967), John Castino (1979), and Chuck Knoblauch (1991). The five candidates below will attempt to end the Twins' nearly three-decade drought without a ROY winner. 5. Royce Lewis, SS Lewis is the highest-ranking prospect on this list, but his Rookie of the Year candidacy is complicated. Following his second ACL surgery, Lewis won't be on the field until the second half of 2022, and that's why he is lower on this list. He can return and significantly impact the line-up, especially if the team doesn't sign one of the top free-agent shortstops. If the Twins are in contention, Lewis can provide a second-half boost that might make it hard for voters to ignore. 4. Edouard Julien, 2B Julien was arguably Minnesota's highest-rising prospect during the 2022 season, and the team has already added him to the 40-man roster. In 113 games at Double-A, he hit .300/.441/.490 (931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. His hot hitting continued in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 1.248 OPS with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. He was named the AFL Breakout Player of the Year, and it looks like his bat is big-league-ready. Julien ranks lower on this list because other players are ahead of him on the depth chart, and he has yet to play at Triple-A. 3. Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Woods Richardson is the organization's highest-ranked pitching prospect who projects to pitch significant big-league innings next season. In 107 1/3 innings last season, he posted a 2.93 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 115 strikeouts. He only faced younger batters in 14 plate appearances this season since he didn't turn 22 years old until September. He's been a step behind other pitchers in the organizational depth chart, and that's why he sits at this spot in the rankings. 2. Louie Varland, SP Last season, Varland became the Twins' first back-to-back Minor League Pitcher of the Year since Jose Berrios. In 24 minor league appearances, he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and 10.4 K/9. Currently, Varland is scheduled to start the year at Triple-A, but there are questions about the health of other Twins starters. If others are healthy, it might be more challenging for him to accumulate the innings needed to put himself in the ROY conversation. 1. Matt Wallner, OF Wallner is an exciting name to consider when examining the Twins' future. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were considered better prospects than Wallner, but he may have passed them over the last year. His power profile comes with many swings and misses, with strikeouts in over 37% of his minor league at-bats last season. Still, Wallner's power is legitimate, as he combined for 35 doubles and 29 home runs between three levels last season. Wallner may not start the year in the big leagues, but he will be one of the team's first call-ups. Who has the best chance to win the 2023 AL Rookie of the Year Award? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. Gio Urshela was one of Minnesota's most consistent players in 2022, but that didn't guarantee him a spot on the 2023 roster. Comments from the front office at the season's end pointed to them wanting to hand the reins to Jose Miranda after a strong rookie campaign. Offensively, Miranda struggled down the stretch, but he was one of the organization's top prospects entering the season. His future's still bright, but where will the Twins turn if he struggles or gets injured? MLB Options: Jose Miranda, Kyle Farmer, Luis Arraez Minnesota is entering the season with Miranda penciled in as the starting third baseman. He isn't the strongest defender, so Miranda will likely see time at first base and designated hitter. Last season, he played over 70% of his innings at first base, but Urshela's presence forced the Twins to use the better defender at the hot corner. Last week, the Twins also acquired Farmer in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds. During the 2022 season, Farmer played 74% of his defensive innings at shortstop, but he started 35 games at third base. At shortstop, only two qualified players had a lower SDI total than Farmer. He posted -2 defensive runs saved at third base with a 0.1 UZR. He has defensive flexibility, but he currently projects as the team's starting shortstop. Arraez is coming off a season where he won the AL Batting Title and a Silver Slugger as a utility player. The Twins likely want Arraez to move back to the utility spot to try and keep him healthier than last season. During the 2021 season, Arraez played over 400 innings at third, but the presence of better defenders meant he was limited to fewer than 45 innings last season. Nick Gordon can fill in at third base in a pinch, but he saw very limited innings at the position last season. Triple-A Options: Andrew Bechtold, Yunior Severino, Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee Bechtold played over 80 innings at four defensive positions in 2022, but third base was the lone position he logged over 400 innings. In 123 games, he hit .233/.329/.400 (.729) with 16 doubles and 19 home runs. Severino split time between second and third base last season while reaching Double-A. He's been limited to fewer than 100 games in two consecutive seasons, but he posted a .907 OPS during the 2022 campaign. Neither player is on the 40-man roster, so that adds an extra wrinkle if they are needed at the big-league level. Fans can debate whether Lewis or Lee is the Twins' top prospect, but both can fit into the team's future plans at third base. Lewis is out following his second ACL surgery until the middle of the 2023 season. He has played 21 defensive innings at third base in his professional career. Lee's played shortstop since the Twins drafted him with the eighth overall pick, but many project him to move off the position. Lee likely starts the year at Double-A, but the Twins showed last season that they would be aggressive with his promotions, especially with his college experience. Double-A Options: Edouard Julien, Seth Gray, Jake Rucker Julien was one of Minnesota's breakout prospects in the 2022 season, and he'd likely get a big-league shot before the other minor-league options on this list. He played 113 games at Double-A last season and hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. His success continued in the Arizona Fall League, where MLB recently named him the AFL's Breakout Player of the Year. Julien hasn't played a lot of innings at third in the minors, but his bat will perform at any defensive position. Minnesota took Gray in the fourth round of the 2019 Draft, and he spent most of 2022 at High-A. In Cedar Rapids, he had a .740 OPS with 31 extra-base hits in 113 games. He splits time between both corner infield positions, but he likely needs more upper-minor experience. Rucker played at three levels last season, even getting a short stint at Triple-A. Last season, he made 47 starts at third base, the position he played most regularly in college. In 124 games, he hit .236/.333/.378 (.711) with 25 doubles, six triples, and nine home runs. Who do you think the Twins will turn to if Miranda struggles or gets injured? Does Minnesota have enough depth at third base? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Read through our choices for each position. Check back at past Twins Daily Minor League All-Stars. Then discuss and cast your votes as well. Potentially more in 2022 than in most previous years, most of our All-Star selections spent time in the upper-levels of the minor league system. That is especially encouraging when you consider how many young players there are on the MLB roster. Now the key is to get everyone healthy and let them keep on working to earn more shots in the big leagues. Let’s get started. The Twins Daily 2022 Minnesota Twins Minor League All-Star Team Catcher: Noah Cardenas (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels) Acquired: 2021 Draft (8th Round) from UCLA 2022 Stats: .261/.421/.413 (.834) with 18 doubles, 9 home runs, and 43 RBI. In 2022, Cardenas was an on-base machine for the Mighty Mussels. Isolated Discipline is simply On-Base Percentage minus Batting Average. An Isolated Discipline of 0.160 is huge. He had 73 walks to just 70 strikeouts. However, he isn’t just a passive hitter, he bashed 28 extra-base hits around the diamond. He also does a nice job defensively and has taken to some of the new catching techniques well. He’s got a strong arm. To learn much more about Cardenas, please watch his recent Twins Spotlight interview. For more Twins Daily content on Noah Cardenas, click here. ETA - June 2025 First Base: Chris Williams (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 8th round pick in 2018 from Clemson 2022 Stats: .246/.343/.500 (.843) with 21 doubles, 28 home runs, and 89 RBI. The Twins drafted Williams as a catcher, though he spent a lot of time at first base at Clemson after an elbow injury. He has continued to work as a catcher and can play there, but he has spent most of his time playing first base. In 2022, he made 81 starts at first base and 21 starts behind the plate. But Williams makes this team due to his powerful bat. He started the season with 75 games in Wichita where he hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished the season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit .192, but he maintained the power. He had 10 more homers. There will be strikeouts, but there will also be walks, and there is the potential for a lot of power. For more Twins Daily content on Chris Williams, click here. ETA - July 2023 Second Base: Edouard Julien (Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (17th Round) from Auburn 2022 Stats:.300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs, and 67 RBI The Quebec native had a breakout in his pro debut in 2021. Between Low-A and High-A, he played 112 games and hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles and 18 triples. He also had 34 stolen bases and his 110 walks led all of minor-league baseball. He played all over the place. In 2022 at Double-A, you can see that he was even better. His 98 walks ranked sixth and his .441 OBP ranked fourth in minor-league ball. He went to the Arizona Fall League and played in the Fall Stars game and was named the league’s Breakout Player. Earlier this week, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. Want to see some bat speed? For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. ETA: May 2023 Third Base: Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent 2022 Stats: .278/.370/.536 (.907) with 17 doubles, 19 home runs, and 65 RBI. As a youth, Severino was such an impressive prospect, he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. In 2022, he was limited to 83 games by a midseason injury, but he put together a strong season. In 46 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 home runs. He finished the season with 37 games in Wichita where he hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. The Twins left him off of their 40-man roster, and after putting up solid numbers in Double-A, a team could have interest and think he’d be ready for some role. For more Twins Daily content on Yunior Severino, click here. ETA: July 2024 Shortstop: Jermaine Palacios (St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Signed as minor league free agent 2022 Stats: .252/.354/.456 (.810) with 13 doubles, 2 triples, 16 homers, and 50 RBI Palacios became a Top 10 Twins prospect with the Twins, and then he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi. Before the 2021 season, he came back to the Twins as a minor-league free agent. He had a solid season at Wichita, hitting .259 with 17 doubles, 19 homers, and 18 stolen bases. He quickly re-signed with the Twins. He spent most of the season with the Saints and did a nice job getting on base and showing some pop. He made his MLB debut on May 31st, playing shortstop in both games of a doubleheader. He made eight straight starts at short while Carlos Correa was on the Covid-IL. He earned a spot on the 40-man roster in September. In his first 16 games of the month, he went a combined 0-for-33 before a three-hit game in Detroit. He ended the season by hitting his first two homers in the final two games of the year. Following the season, he was claimed by the Tigers who then elected free agency. For more Twins Daily content on Jermaine Palacios, click here. ETA: May 2022 Left fielder: Anthony Prato (Cedar Rapids, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (7th round) from the University of Connecticut 2022 Stats: .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, 8 triples, 10 home runs, 64 RBI. The scouting report on Prato might tell us that he doesn’t have a lot of tools that immediately jump out, but when you watch him on a regular basis for a while, you start to realize that he can do a lot of things well. His approach is ideal for a top-of-the-lineup hitter. He knows the strike zone and is willing to take walks. But he also has an aggressive swing that produced nearly 50 extra-base hits this year. In 45 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .271/.349/.486 (.836). In 87 games in Wichita, he hit .294/.403/.419 (.822). He was a shortstop at UConn. In pro ball, he’s played several positions. In 2022, he played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 more games at third base. For more Twins Daily content on Anthony Prato, click here. ETA: August 2024 Center fielder: Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels) Acquired: Signed as international free agent in July 2019 2022 Stats: .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs and 25 RBI. Rodriguez was a big prospect out of the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, he was unable to play in 2020 but the Twins pushed him to the FCL in 2021. He hit just .214 in 37 games, but he got on base 35% of the time and he had five doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs. He was certainly a prospect but in 2022, he broke out in a big way in Ft. Myers. He continued to strike out, but incredibly, he walked more than he struck out, and he got on base nearly 50% of the time. Just as impressive he hit for a lot of power in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee and surgery ended his season. In mid-September, he was the #1 overall pick of Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League and has hit a couple more home runs with them already. For more Twins Daily content on Emmanuel Rodriguez, click here. ETA: August 2024 Right fielder - Matt Wallner (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2019 Draft (1st Round, Comp Balance A) from Southern Mississippi 2022 Stats: .277/.412/.542 (.953), with 32 doubles, 4 triples, 27 home runs and 95 RBI. After missing a couple of months of the 2021 season with a broken hamate bone, he went to the Arizona Fall League where he hit six home runs in 18 games. If there were question marks surrounding the Forest Lake native entering the 2022 season, but less than a year later, it is clear he has a big-league future. He began with 78 games in Wichita where he hit .299/.436/.597 (1.033) with 15 doubles and 21 homers. He moved up to St. Paul in August. In 50 games, he hit .247/. 376/.463 (.839) with 17 doubles, three triples and six homers. He hit for the cycle in one game. He was named the Twins and Twins Daily’s Minor League Hitter of the Year. He ended the season with 18 games for the Twins in which he hit .228/.323/.386 (.709) with three doubles and two homers. Is he a finished product? Not at all, which is really exciting if you are a Twins fan. For much more Twins Daily content on Matt Wallner, click here. ETA: September 2022 Designated Hitter: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2021 Draft (4th Round) from Oklahoma State 2022 Stats: 302/.374/.612 (.987) with 25 doubles, 4 triples, 25 home runs, and 85 RBI Matt Wallner was the easy choice for Minor League Hitter of the Year, but if Encarnacion-Strand had not been traded at the deadline, it could have been a very tight race. Drafted from Oklahoma State, where his head coach was Robin Ventura and his hitting coach was Matt Holliday, he is a hitting machine. In 74 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .296/.370/.599 (.968) with 23 doubles and 20 home runs. He was our Hitter of the Month in both April and June. He moved up to Wichita and in just 13 games he hit .333/.400/.685 (1.085) with two doubles, a triple, and five home runs. After being traded to the Reds and in 35 games, he hit ..309/.351/.522 (.874) with six doubles and seven homers. While it is likely he will wind up at first base, he continues to play at the hot corner. He was traded to the Reds in the Tyler Mahle deal in early August. For more Twins Daily content on Christian Encarnacion-Strand, click here. ETA: August 2023 Utility Player: Michael Helman (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2018 Draft (11th Round) from Texas A&M 2022 Stats: .258/.337/.432 (.769) with 23 doubles, 3 triples, 20 home runs, and 60 RBI Something clicked for Michael Helman in Cedar Rapids in 2021, and he added some pop to his game. He also began playing all over the diamond. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season to continue the progress. He began 2022 with 39 games in Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles and six homers. He moved up to St. Paul where he finished the season with 96 games played. He hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. In addition, he stole a combined 40 bases in 45 attempts. On the season, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at first base. In 2021, he made 64 starts between left field and right field. He has become an intriguing utility player with some right-handed pop and speed as well. For more Twins Daily content on Michael Helman, click here. ETA: May 2023 Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2019 Draft (15th Round) from Concordia-St. Paul 2022 Stats: 10-4, 2.10 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103.0 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 12.4 K/9 Louie Varland was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2021 after pitching in Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. Despite moving up, Varland pitched all in both Wichita and St. Paul not only earned him the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year again in 2022, but he earned a handful of big-league starts late in the season. In 20 games (19 starts) with Wichita, he went 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA. In 105 innings, he struck out 119 batters with just 39 walks. He moved up to his hometown St. Paul Saints and made five starts. In five starts, he went 1-2 with a 3.81 ERA. It was at that point that he made his MLB debut in Yankees Stadium, and on the final day of the season, he earned his first MLB win. For much more Twins Daily content on Louie Varland, click here. ETA: September 2022 Starting Pitcher: Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Traded from Blue Jays with Austin Martin for Jose Berrios (July 2021) 2022 Stats: 5-3, 2.77 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 107.1 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.6 K/9 2021 was a strange season for Woods Richardson, but he returned in 2022 and had a fantastic season. He began 2020 as a 20-year-old in Double-A, but early on he was named to Team USA and then went to the Olympics where he earned a Silver Medal. While in Japan, he was traded to the Twins. Woods Richardson got off to a strong start in Wichita. In 16 games (15 starts), he went 3-3 with a 3.06 ERA. He had 77 strikeouts (and 26 walks) in 70 2/3 innings. He moved up to St. Paul where he made seven starts and went 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA. He had 38 strikeouts (to just 10 walks) in 36 2/3 innings. When the Saints season finished, Woods Richardson was called up to the Twins for one start in which he gave up three runs (2 earned) in five innings. For more Twins Daily content on Simeon Woods Richardson, click here. ETA: September 2022 Starting Pitcher: David Festa (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, Cedar Rapids Kernels) Acquired: 2021 Draft (13th Round) from Seton Hall 2022 Stats: 9-4, 2.43 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103 2/3 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 Last offseason, reports surfaced that Festa was hitting 97 mph in the Instructional League. He began his first full pro season with the Mighty Mussels, but he needed just five starts to prove he was ready to move up to Hi-A. He went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. In 24 innings, he had 33 strikeouts to go with just six walks. He pitched in 16 games (13 starts) for Cedar Rapids and went 7-3 with a 2.71 ERA. He added 75 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings. As impressive, he was clocked over 99 mph on several occasions and even his secondary pitches showed improvement. He is another good example of the scouting department finding guys in the later rounds and the Twins pitcher development working with them to make them intriguing prospects. For more Twins Daily content on David Festa, click here. ETA: June 2024 Starting Pitcher: Brent Headrick (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (7th Round) from Illinois State 2022 Stats: 10-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 108.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 11.3 K/9 Headrick stands 6-6. He’s long and lean, and a lefty. After missing some time in 2021 with some shoulder issues, Headrick began the 2022 season in Cedar Rapids. In 15 starts, he went 8-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. He was promoted to Wichita where he made 10 appearances (8 starts). He went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. However, most of the damage came in his Double-A debut when he gave up seven runs on 10 hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Over his final nine appearances, he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA. He had at least six strikeouts in each of his final seven starts. Headrick sits 90-92 with the fastball, though he can hit 94 at times. He’s found an ability to miss bats despite throwing a ton of strikes. Last week, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. ETA: July 2024 Right-Handed Relief Pitcher: Cody Laweryson (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (14th round) from the University of Maine 2022 Stats: 6-0, 1 save, 1.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 10.6 K/9 He ended the season by making starts in Double-A, but Laweryson spent most of the season working out of the bullpen. In all, he pitched in 35 games and made 10 starts. He pitched in 16 games for the Kernels and went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He ended the season with 19 games in Wichita (8 starts) and went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. As you can see, Laweryson throws strikes, but he’s also got an unusual delivery and misses a lot of bats. He played in the Arizona Fall League in 2021 and pitched very well. For more Cody Laweryson content at Twins Daily, click here. ETA: August 2024 Left-Handed Relief Pitcher: Evan Sisk (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Traded from Cardinals with John Gant for J.A. Happ (July 2021) 2022 MiLB Stats: 5-1, 1 save, 1.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 Fair to say that when the Twins got anything at the July 2021 trade deadline for J.A. Happ. John Gant came to the Twins and was able to eat up some innings at the end of a long, frustrating season, but they also got Sisk, a Double-A left-handed reliever too. After 13 games with Wichita, the Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He began 2022 with 19 more games for the Wind Surge. He went 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He moved up to Triple-A and was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 31 appearances. In 63 combined innings, he had an impressive 76 strikeouts. His 29 walks were too many, but then he gave up just 5.0 hits per nine innings which is incredible. Sisk sits in the low-90s with his fastball, but it is his breaking stuff that makes him really good. He throws from an angle that could make left-handed batters think that the ball starts behind them, but then breaks over the strike zone. He can be devastating against same-siders. He was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft and is certainly someone that the Twins could lose at that time. For more Evan Sisk content from Twins Daily, click here. ETA: June 2023 ------------------------------------------------------------------ PREVIOUS Twins Daily Minor League All Stars Looking Back: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Nelson Molina, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Daniel Palka, DH: Adam Brett Walker, RH SP: Fernando Romero, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Trevor Hildenberger, LH RP: Michael Theofanopoulos. Looking Back: 2017 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Jonathan Rodriguez, 2B: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B: TJ White, SS: Jermaine Palacios, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Akil Baddoo, DH: Brent Rooker, RH SP: Clark Beeker, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: John Curtiss, LH RP: Andrew Vasquez. Looking Back: 2018 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Taylor Grzelakowski, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Jose Miranda, SS: Royce Lewis, OF: Alex Kirilloff, Jaylin Davis, Akil Baddoo, DH: Brent Rooker, RH SP: Tyler Wells, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Cody Stashak, LH RP: Andrew Vasquez. Looking Back: 2019 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Ryan Jeffers, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B: Spencer Steer, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: Trevor Larnach, Jaylin Davis, Brent Rooker, DH: Gabe Snyder, RH SP: Randy Dobnak, LH SP: Devin Smeltzer, RH RP: Moises Gomez, LH RP: Zach Neff Looking Back: 2021 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Jeferson Morales, 1B: Alex Isola, 2B: Spencer Steer, 3B: Jose Miranda, SS: Drew Maggi, OF: Trey Cabbage, BJ Boyd, Mark Contreras, DH: Edouard Julien, UT: Michael Helman, SP (4): Louie Varland, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic, RH RP: Jordan Gore, LH RP: Jovani Moran.
  10. There were two Givens for the Twins to add to their 40-man roster. The team simply was not going to leave Edouard Julien and Matt Canterino at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft next month. So they were added. Here is what I wrote about them in my 40-man roster prediction column: 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. For more Twins Daily content on Matt Canterino, click here. Lefty Brent Headrick was my #3 prediction to be added, and here's what I wrote about him. 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. 4th addition.) But I completely missed on Casey Legumina . He was the Twins 8th round draft pick in 2019 out of Gonzaga. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and therefore didn't make his professional debut until 2021. He was given some opportunities to star, but he has had his most success out of the bullpen. In 2022, he made three appearances in Cedar Rapids before jumping up to Wichita for 30 games. He went 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 33 games (16 starts). In 86 1/3 innings, he walked 36 and struck out 92 batters. He's got a closer's potential when healthy. For more Twins Daily content on Casey Legumina, click here. However, there are several players that were left unprotected who now could be selected by other teams. Catchers, or at least guys that can catch and also play first base, that could be lost include Chris Williams and Alex Isola. Williams provided power for Wichita and St. Paul. Isola played well in Wichita but missed a couple of months with an injury. He just finished his stint in the Arizona Fall League. High-upside prospects can be scary to be left unprotected. The Twins left toolsy outfielder Misael Urbina off of their 40-man roster. He probably isn't ready for the big leagues at this point, but his talent will be intriguing. Yunior Severino is a talent, and he did well in 2022 in High-A, but also in Double-A, so for the right team, he could be a bench fit for the 2023 season. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. is a little older than those two, but his athleticism, speed and defense are incredibly intriguing. He was finally healthy in 2022 and started to show what he is capable of. Michael Helman could certainly be selected. His ability to play at least seven positions well would make him intriguing to teams. However, he broke out in the upper levels with 20 homers and he also had 40 stolen bases. In the same vein, Anthony Prato is another utility player, capable of playing at least four positions. He was healthy in 2022 and did well in Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Utility players are one of the areas that do often get selected in the Rule 5 draft. So do relief pitchers who are, or very soon could be, big-league ready. Twins Daily's 2022 Relief Pitcher of the Year Evan Sisk was dominant in Wichita and at St. Paul. He's also left-handed and mixes pitches well with his low-90s fastball. Austin Schulfer keeps producing in whatever role the Twins have had him work in, starting or relieving. He ended the season with the Saints as well. Sisk isn't the only left-hander that could be at risk either. Southpaw Kody Funderburk pitched very well in 2022 for Wichita, posting a sub-3.00 ERA. He mostly started but has worked in various roles out of the bullpen as well. So, what do you think about the fourTwins additions? Which of the Twins minor leaguers left off of the roster are most at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 draft and lost? Share your thoughts in the Comments below. For more Twins Daily content on other players mentioned in this article, click the links below: Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Michael Helman, Anthony Prato, Evan Sisk, Austin Schulfer, Kody Funderburk.
  11. Since the end of the season, the Twins' front office has been cleaning up the 40-man roster that, had way more than 40 men on it. When the World Series finished, several players automatically came off the roster and became free agents. Carlos Correa exercised his option and became a free agent. The Twins Designated five players for Assignment early in the offseason. Three of them (Jermaine Palacios, Jake Cave, Caleb Hamilton) were claimed by other teams. Just last week, players still on the 60-Day Injured List were removed from the Injured List. At the same time, Cody Stashak was outrighted from the roster and elected free agency. All that is to say that a lot of roster work has been done already. Some of that is because, on Tuesday, teams have to submit additions to their 40-man rosters by 5:00 central time. The Twins' 40-man roster is currently at 36 players. There are 21 pitchers, one catcher, five infielders, and nine outfielders. The Twins (and other teams) may make a few small trades to clean up a couple more roster spots before the additions. Friday is another key date in the offseason when teams will need to decide which arbitration-eligible players to tender (or non-tender) a 2023 contract. A couple more players could potentially come off of the roster at that time. Before getting into the predictions for which Twins minor leaguers will be added to the team’s 40-man roster, it is important to note that some of these decisions were already made during the season. Louie Varland, Matt Wallner, and Simeon Woods Richardson all were added to the roster in September. If they had not been, they would have been Givens to be added now. Those three put up tremendous 2022 seasons in both Wichita and St. Paul and earned their late-season promotions. Secondly, who is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft if they are not protected? Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2018 or earlier. Players who were 19 or older when they signed in 2019 or earlier. The age at signing is the key, but a general rule would be: Players drafted out of high school in 2017 or 2018. (unless they signed when they were 19) Players drafted out of junior college or four-year college in 2017, 2018, or 2019. International players signed at 16, 17, or 18 years old in 2016, 2017, or 2018. Finally, players added to the 40-man roster on Tuesday cannot be removed from the 40-man roster until spring training. That is important to remember when the team signs free agents or makes a trade this winter. So, here are my quick thoughts on players that should be, or at least should be considered to be, added to the Twins' 40-man roster. THE GIVENS 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. STRONG CONSIDERATIONS 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. 4.) UT Michael Helman - The Twins were excited to select Helman out of Texas A&M in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. After a strong pro debut that year, he really struggled in 2019 at High-A Ft. Myers and ended the season injured. After a lost 2020 season, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles, four triples, and 19 home runs in Cedar Rapids. He added 21 steals. He finished that season by playing in the Arizona Fall League. He began the 2022 season with 39 games at Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles, two triples, and six home runs. He finished the season in St. Paul where, in 96 games, he hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. Combined, he ended the season with 23 doubles, 20 home runs, and an impressive 40 stolen bases. He has made himself a solid contributor at the bat. He has also worked very hard to get strong all over the field on defense. Drafted as a middle infielder, he started playing all over the place in 2021. In 2022, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at shortstop. In 2021, he played more in the corner outfield spots than in center field. He legitimately can play seven positions on the field, and maybe I should mention that when he went to junior college, he was a catcher. 5.) Misael Urbina - This is the potential upside addition. This is the guy with talent and athleticism and tools. The 20-year-old Urbina signed in July of 2018 out of Venezuela. He spent 2019 in the Dominican Summer League where he posted a solid .825 OPS with 21 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in 50 games. After the lost 2020 season, he came to the States in 2021. He didn’t make the Mighty Mussels Opening Day roster, but he was on the roster about a week later. He played 101 games for the Mighty Mussels and hit .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, four triples, five homes, and 16 steals. Unfortunately, Urbina missed about half of the 2022 season due to some visa issues. In 50 games for the Mighty Mussels, he hit .246/.323/.419 (.741) with 16 doubles, five homers, and nine stolen bases. The Twins have added players after they spend a year in Low-A. They did it in November 2013 when they added Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler after they played in Cedar Rapids that season. Of course, they also added Deibinson Romero and Estarlin de Los Santos to the 40-man roster after their Low-A seasons. (I’m sure @Roger will appreciate that reference.) It’s hard for me to believe that Urbina would be able to stick on a big-league roster all season, so this is very borderline. 6.) IF Yunior Severino - As you know, Atlanta signed Severino as a 16-year-old in 2016. He spent the following season with the Braves organization until they were deemed to have broken the rules of international signing and a bunch of their recently-signed international players became free agents again. This time, it was the Twins that gave him a big, seven-figure signing bonus. Severino has shown glimpses of talent, but he’s also missed time with injury. He broke out with a strong 35 games at the end of the 2021 season in Cedar Rapids when he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. He began 2022 with 46 games with the Kernels and hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 homers. He moved up to Wichita and hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. At Cedar Rapids, he played mostly second base (and DH). With the Wind Surge, he played almost exclusively at third base. He is now 23 and could be a year away from being ready. 7.) C/1B Chris Williams - Chris Williams was the Twins' eighth-round pick in 2018 out of Clemson University. In 75 games for Wichita this summer, Williams hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished his season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit just .192, but he had five doubles and 10 more home runs. This season, he played 83 games at first base and caught 24 games. He will turn 26 this month, but the Twins have a need for right-handed power and currently have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. Now, Williams is not going to do a lot of catching in the big leagues, but he can be a guy who can be a #3 catcher, a backup first base option, and a power bat off the bench might provide some value to the organization. 8.) RHP Cody Laweryson - Laweryson (pronounced Lor-ih-sun) was the Twins 14th round draft pick out of the University of Maine in 2019. In 2021, he missed the first two months of the season and then posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 15 games for Cedar Rapids. He did have 73 strikeouts and just 19 walks over his 58 2/3 innings. He went to the Arizona Fall League and struck out 18 batters in 14 innings and pitched in the Fall Stars game. He began 2022 in the Kernels' bullpen. In 35 innings, he struck out 42 and walked 12 batters. He posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He moved up to Wichita where after 11 bullpen appearances, he made eight starts. He went 5-0 with a minuscule 1.06 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 59 2/3 innings, he struck out 69 and walked just 15 batters. In the entire season, he gave up just two homers over 94 2/3 innings. He’s got decent stuff and a bit of a funky delivery. Was his half-season in Wichita enough for someone to select him in the Rule 5 draft, or for the Twins to add him? 9.) OF DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. - Keirsey was the Twins' fourth-round pick in 2018 out of the University of Utah. He had a brutal injury after crashing into the wall at the end of his sophomore season in college, but inexplicably returned for his junior season and posted an OPS of 1.049. Since the Twins drafted him, his biggest issue has been staying on the field. He was limited to 45 games in Cedar Rapids in 2021 due to leg muscle issues. He never was able to get into a rhythm. In 2022, he was bumped up to Wichita and was on the field for 121 games. He had a solid showing, if not a bit of a breakout season. He hit .271/.329/.395 (.724) with 26 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs. While not a power hitter, at times he can really drive the ball and use the whole field. But his speed is absolutely electric and can be game-changing. He stole 42 bases in 49 attempts this year (86%), but he is an elite defensive center fielder, able to run down almost anything and unafraid to throw his body around to make a catch. His athleticism alone has to get him considered, and in 2022, he stayed on the field and really contributed. 10.) LHP Kody Funderburk - When the Twins drafted the lefty from Dallas Baptist in the 15th round of the 2018 draft, they had him as a pitcher only. In college, he was a very good hitter as well. Over time, he has worked solely as a pitcher and very quietly has made himself into a prospect to watch. He had a solid 2021 season between Cedar Rapids (where he started) and Wichita (where he was a reliever). He then went and made six starts in the Arizona Fall League. In 2022 at Double-A Wichita, he went 10-5 with a 2.94 ERA. In 107 innings, he had 103 strikeouts to 44 walks. He has a bit of a funky delivery that might make him intriguing to a team in the Rule 5 draft. 11.) C/1B Alex Isola - In 2017, Isola and Keirsey were teammates at Utah. Isola transferred a couple of times before the Twins made him their 29th-round pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University. Isola just completed his six-week stint in the Arizona Fall League where he hit five doubles, and in the semi-final game launched a 420+ foot home run to help send his team to the championship game. Like Williams, part of the allure of Isola is his ability to play behind the plate as needed. With Wichita, he made 17 starts at first base and 17 starts behind the plate. He won’t win any Gold Gloves, but he could be a #3 catcher in the big leagues. His calling card is his bat. In 58 games with the Wind Surge in 2022, he hit .286/.377/.471 (.848) with nine doubles and 10 home runs. He puts together solid plate appearances with a good knowledge of the strike zone. He’s willing to take his walks, but he also can drive the ball to the gaps and over the wall. 12.) RHP Austin Schulfer - The 26-year-old was the Twins 19th round pick in 2018 out of UW-Milwaukee. In 2021, he led all Twins minor-league pitchers with 110 innings pitched over 24 starts at Double-A Wichita. In 2022, he returned to the Wind Surge to start the season and worked in 15 games out of the bullpen. He gave up just one earned run over 23 innings (0.39 ERA) and struck out 30 and walked only four batters. He recorded seven saves. He moved up to St. Paul where he went 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA. In 32 2/3 Triple-A innings, he struck out 31 batters and walked 13 batters. Schulfer has always made adjustments and should return to the Saints in 2023. Depending on the injury front in the Twins bullpen, we could see him debut at some point. HAVE TO AT LEAST CONSIDER LHP Evan Sisk - Acquired from the Cardinals at the deadline in 2021, he was the 2022 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. 5-1, 2.08 ERA in a combined 63 innings between Wichita and St. Paul. Had 76 strikeouts to go with 29 walks. SS/OF Will Holland - the fastest runner in the Twins minor leagues, he is a great athlete and could provide a team with solid outfield or shortstop defense and pinch-running abilities. He was the team’s 5th-round pick in 2019 from Auburn. LHRP Denny Bentley - Bentley has been very good in the Twins minor leagues and can record a lot of strikeouts, but he does walk a lot of batters, as he did in the Arizona Fall League. RHRP Osiris German - German remains a very intriguing 24-year-old reliever. His best pitch is his changeup. After six games in Cedar Rapids, he worked in 37 games for Wichita. He posted a 3.02 ERA and had 17 walks and 59 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. RHRP Hunter McMahon - he was the ninth-round pick by the Nationals in the 2019 draft. The Twins acquired him that offseason for Ryne Harper. He has pitched very little since. In 2021, he pitched in just five games. This year, he began in Ft. Myers (2.23 ERA), moved up to Cedar Rapids (1.19 ERA), and finished with four games in Double-A. In 73 2/3 combined innings. He had 76 strikeouts and just 16 walks. RHP Sean Mooney - The Twins 12th round pick in 2019 from St. John’s had Tommy John surgery that spring. So, he didn’t make his pro debut, officially, until 2021. In 42 innings, he had 71 strikeouts. In 2022 with Cedar Rapids, he posted a 3.30 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 60 innings. Needs to stay healthy. UT Anthony Prato - 7th round pick in 2019 from UConn, Prato had a nice breakout season in 2022. He was limited in 2021 due to a broken hamate bone. In 2022, he played 45 games in Cedar Rapids before ending with 87 games in Wichita. Combined, he hit .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, eight triples, 10 homers, and 22 stolen bases. He played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 games at third base. RHP Randy Dobnak - Off the 40-man roster, if a team selected Dobnak, they would take on his contract too, so that’s unlikely. But, when he was healthy in 2019 and 2020, he was a solid back-of-rotation starter, and if he is healthy, could be that for a non-contender. RHRP Steven Cruz - MLB Pipeline ranks Cruz 28th in the organization. Ten (or even five) years ago, he would have ranked higher because he is capable of reaching triple-digits with his fastball. At 23, he posted a 5.14 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in Wichita in 2022. In 56 innings, he had 72 strikeouts, but he also walked 35 batters. Love the arm, but hard to see him sticking in the big leagues. OTHER ELIGIBLE PLAYERS Hitters: David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, Kyle Schmidt, Seth Gray, Charles Mack, Jeferson Morales, Daniel Ozoria, Willie Joe Garry, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Baez, Wilfri Castro, Alexander Pena. Pitchers: Tyler Beck, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, Ryan Shreve, Brock Stewart, Michael Boyle, Jordan Brink, Jordan Gore, Casey Legumina, Alex Phillips, Regi Grace, Bradley Hanner, Derek Molina, Owen Griffith, Tyler Palm, Miguel Rodriguez, Matthew Swain, Zaquiel Puentes, Niklas Rimmel, Elpidio Perez, Wilker Reyes, Rafael Feliz, Danny Moreno, Alex Scherff, Andrew Cabezas, Ben Gross, Zach Neff, Josh Mitchell, Jose Brito. My prediction? This is as tough as I can remember this being. Again, we should be able to assume Canterino and Julien are added. After that, there are at least six to 10 others (and maybe more) where a legitimate case could be made. I am going to officially predict that they will also add Headrick, Helman, and Severino. I think Urbina is just not yet in a spot where he could stick in the big leagues, but I think he is at risk of being taken. He is probably the most interesting case (which is why I found a photo of him for the article). I think Chris Williams and Alex Isola are guys that could be at risk as well. Your turn? How many players will the Twins add to their 40-man roster by Tuesday’s deadline? Make your predictions for which players get added below.
  12. Game Results: Tuesday, 11/8 | Glendale 9, Peoria 3 Wednesday, 11/9 | Glendale 10, Mesa 4 Thursday, 11/10 | Salt River 2, Glendale 5 The Glendale Desert Dogs finished their season strong, going 3-0 in their final three games to secure the #2 spot in the standings. In the past, this meant they’d be playing in the AFL Championship game, but the league implemented a four-team playoff this season so they would have to win another game to make it that far. IF Austin Martin Week: 4-for-12, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB (3 games) Overall: .373/.454/.482 (.936 OPS) Martin finished his AFL season with another solid week, batting .333 in three games and continuing to be a menace from the top of the order, scoring at least one run in each. He played center field in his first game of the week, then was back at shortstop for the last two. In Tuesday’s win over Peoria, he helped key a six-run fifth inning with a single that loaded the bases. He’d later score on a bases-loaded single and finished 1-for-5. He was 2-for-4 and scored two runs in Wednesday’s 10-4 win over Mesa, leading off the game with a single, advancing to second base on a wild pitch, and scampering home on Edouard Julien’s single that followed for the game's first run. He’d cross the plate for the second time in the eighth to cap the Desert Dogs scoring on the game. He did it a little differently in Thursday’s win over Salt River, finishing 1-for-3 but that lone hit, a single in the sixth inning, drove in two runners to tie the game at two, and Glendale went on to add three more runs in the frame to take the game and secure their playoff position. Martin was the epitome of your “prototypical leadoff hitter” in his time in the desert, getting on base at a .454 clip (ranking 6th in AFL play), stealing 10 bases (3rd), and scoring 23 runs in 21 games (2nd, to only Julien’s 24). His .936 OPS also ranked 11th in the circuit, while his 31 total hits were second to League MVP Heston Kjerstad’s 35, and his .373 batting average came in at third overall. I’ve followed this league for a long time, and just like Royce Lewis’ MVP campaign of 2019 (where he had a .975 OPS after a .661 in the regular season), this performance absolutely should restore some prospect luster for Austin Martin. Now the Twins just need to find him a position, but I can see him functioning as a very athletic super-utility type when it comes to defense in the majors, much like how Luis Arraez got his start. IF Edouard Julien Week: 5-for-7, 3 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K (2 games) Overall: .400/.563/.686 (1.249 OPS) Julien saw action in two of their three wins on the week, batting second in each and serving as the second baseman in one and designated hitter in the other. He got on base in four of his five trips to the plate against the Javelinas on Tuesday, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored, RBI, and two walks. In Wednesday’s big win over Mesa, it was Julien driving the ship, as his three singles in four at-bats led to three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Two of his hits came in a seven-run eighth inning that the Desert Dogs used to blow the game open. He led off the inning with a single and trotted home on a home run to the next batter that gave Glendale the lead 5-4. After they had batted around, his two-RBI single made the score 9-4. He also drew a walk to reach base in four of five trips for the second time during the week. While he didn’t take home the AFL MVP award (Heston Kjerstad is a top 100 prospect, which has always factored into this award’s voting), instead having to settle for the Breakout Player of the Year Award, Julien was the best hitter in the entire AFL this year by a decent margin. He ranked first in runs scored (24), walks (23), batting average (.400), on-base percentage (.563), and OPS (1.249). He was also third in total hits (28), second in slugging percentage (.686), tied for second in home runs (5), tied for third in RBI (17), and also stole six bases which ranked top ten in his 21 games played. If Julien wasn’t a top-ten Minnesota Twins prospect before this, he should be there firmly now. Just imagine the pitch counts a lineup starting with Martin, Julien, and Luis Arraez could run up on starters in the majors someday soon. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 2-for-6, 1 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB (2 games) Overall: .228/.343/.316 (.659 OPS) Like Julien, Isola made the start in two of the Desert Dogs' three games on the week, playing first base in the games on Tuesday and Thursday. He scored a run and drew two walks in his first game of the week, finishing 1-for-3 out of the sixth spot in the lineup. He moved up to the cleanup position in the batting order for Thursday’s win over Salt River, and his two-RBI double in the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie and put the Desert Dogs out front for good. While Isola didn’t see as much action at the catcher position as he may have liked, he did improve as a hitter as the season wore on, moving into the middle of Glendale’s batting order for the final few weeks of the season after beginning as their number nine hitter. He also displayed a strong eye at the plate, drawing 10 walks compared to just 11 strikeouts on the season in his 16 games. His five doubles also matched Julien’s total and were second on the Desert Dogs to just Austin Martin on the season. RHP Jon Olsen Week: Did not pitch Overall: 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .288 BAA, 10 BB, 17 K (13 2/3 IP) Olsen did not pitch in any of Glendale’s final regular season games, but that was because they had him slotted for something better, which we will recap further below. Overall on the season, Olsen’s stats may not look that great in the above, but what was important for him was getting some innings against increased competition after missing multiple seasons of development time. He recovered from a poor first outing in the AFL to be solid down the stretch, getting the win and allowing just one earned run in his last two starts. Over those final seven innings, he gave up just four hits, walked two, and struck out eight. LHP Denny Bentley Week: Did not pitch Overall: 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, .189 BAA, 14 BB, 9 K (11 1/3 IP) The left-handed Bentley did not make any appearances in the final three games of the AFL regular season, but he did pitch in the playoffs. He ends his regular season campaign with a solid ERA and batting average against numbers, but the walks remain worrisome as he issued them at a far higher rate than he piled up strikeouts. He has excelled particularly against same-sided hitters, but the command of his pitches will continue to be an area to work on for him. He ended his 2022 season in the bullpen of the Wichita Wind Surge, and I’d expect him to remain there to start the 2023 season. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 1.84 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .152 BAA, 8 BB, 12 K (14 2/3 IP) Shreve was the only pitcher to make an appearance in any of the regular season games this week, and it came Wednesday’s win over Mesa. He was the first reliever summoned in the game, with one out in the bottom of the fourth after Glendale’s starter had given up the lead. He came in with a runner on third base and walked the first batter, but recovered to strike out the next two and keep the Solar Sox from expanding their lead. Back out for the fifth, he delivered a one-two-three inning, needing just five pitches to do so. Shreve was one of the Desert Dogs' top performers out of their bullpen, ranking second on their team in ERA (1.84) and WHIP (1.02) while holding hitters to a team-best .152 batting average against. He gave up a few walks early in the campaign, but over his final three weeks struck out seven compared to just two walks allowed in his final 6 2/3 innings. RHP Francis Peguero Week: Did not pitch Overall: 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .227 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Like three of the other four pitchers on this list, Peguero did not make an appearance in any of Glendale’s final three regular-season games but did see action in the playoffs. New to the Minnesota Twins organization for 2022 after being part of the Sonny Gray trade package from the Cincinnati Reds, there wasn’t a lot known about this pitcher. While he walked basically nobody during the season with Wichita, that number spiked significantly in AFL play. Despite that, he was still good at keeping runs off the scoreboard, finishing several of the games for the Desert Dogs. AFL Playoffs Friday, 11/11 - Semifinal | Peoria 3, Glendale 6 In the semifinal game against the Peoria Javelinas on Friday, the Twins' own Jon Olsen made the start for the home team. He went the first two innings, pitching a scoreless first before running into trouble in the second. He got two quick outs, but the next five hitters would reach base via walks or singles before they were able to escape by catching a runner trying to advance an extra base on the last of those hits. Before it was over he had allowed three runs, and the Javelinas had an early 3-0 lead. After clawing back with a pair of runs of their own in the second, it was Alex Isola who tied the game for Glendale with his home run to left-center leading off the fourth. Francis Peguero came out of the bullpen for the fifth and delivered a scoreless inning in his only appearance of the week. He allowed a single to the leadoff man but got outs from the next three hitters, including one strikeout to keep the game tied at the time. In the bottom of the seventh, it was Austin Martin who gave the Desert Dogs their first lead with an RBI single, and they would hold on to win and advance to the championship game against the Surprise Saguaros. Martin was 1-for-3 with a run scored, RBI, and walk in this one, playing centerfield while Edouard Julien finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. Isola finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk in addition to the big home run. Saturday, 11/12 - Championship Game | Glendale 6, Surprise 7 (11 innings) The title game against Surprise was a back-and-forth affair throughout, with either team never leading by more than two runs, and the game being tied on five separate occasions. Martin was again the leadoff man playing center field to start, followed by Julien at his usual second base spot. Isola was also at first base, hitting sixth. Julien drew a walk in the first but was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the inning. This would be a familiar theme on the night for him, as he drew a walk in four of his six plate appearances, finishing 0-for-2 with a run scored in the game. In the top of the sixth, his walk to lead off resulted in him scoring a run to give Glendale a 3-2 lead. He also made a play in the extra innings to keep it going: Pitchers Denny Bentley and Ryan Shreve both made appearances in this one, being the first two relievers out of the bullpen after their starter was done. Bentley came on with one out in the third after a home run tied the game at one, and allowed a walk but otherwise got out of the inning. He also got two quick outs in the fourth before another walk brought on Shreve for the final out. Shreve then picked up a pair of strikeouts in the fifth, but an error led to a 2-2 tie after five. Tied at four after nine innings, the game went to extras, where the teams again traded blows, each scoring one run in the tenth, but Martin did his best to win the game for Glendale in both the ninth and eleventh innings. He was at the plate with the score 4-4 in the ninth, when his groundball to short ended with the runner coming home being thrown out. Then in the eleventh with two outs and runners on first and second, Martin delivered a single into right field to give the Desert Dogs a 6-5 lead. It took only two batters with the runner starting on second base for Surprise to dash their hopes in the bottom half, as two consecutive RBI singles won the game for the team that ended the regular season with the best record. Martin finished 1-for-6 with an RBI, and Isola was 0-for-4 with a walk in the championship game. While they weren’t able to take it home, it was an exciting game and season for Twins prospects. Austin Martin and Edouard Julien were fantastic throughout, leading Glendale to the final game and coming as close as they possibly could to winning it for them. Congrats on all the players for a fun season, and I look forward to 2023! Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  13. Game Results: Tuesday, 11/1 | Glendale 4, Peoria 0 Wednesday, 11/2 | Glendale 1, Surprise 2 Thursday, 11/3 | Surprise 12, Glendale 4 Friday, 11/4 | Glendale 6, Scottsdale 1 Sunday 11/6 | AL Fall Stars 3, NL Fall Stars 9 The Glendale Desert Dogs went 2-2 in the win-loss column in week 5, continuing their trend of being a .500 team in Arizona Fall League play. As of Tuesday, they are tied with three other teams at 13-13 on the season for second place in the standings with two games left to play. (Apologies for the delay on the report this week! There’s this thing called deer hunting that opened up in Minnesota this past weekend, and I never miss it. The deer and blizzard didn’t cooperate much though…) IF Austin Martin Week: 5-for-8, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 SB (2 games) Overall: .380/.464/.507 (.971 OPS) Austin Martin got back to his hitting ways in week five, though he played in just two of the Desert Dogs' games. In Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Peoria, he was 2-for-4 and started off the sixth inning with a single, later coming around to score to make it 2-0. He played center field and batted leadoff. On Wednesday he was again the leadoff man, but back to manning shortstop. He made a big impact in this one, finishing 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and stealing two bases. He was left stranded in scoring position a couple of times, otherwise, the box score may have been a bit different for Glendale. IF Edouard Julien Week: 4-for-12, 4 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 2 SB (4 games) Overall: .365/.535/.683 (1.218 OPS) Julien continued to hit with authority, and reach base at a greater than .500 clip on the AFL season in week five. He slugged his fifth home run of the season to start the bottom of the first inning in Thursday’s game against Surprise for an early lead. He reached base in each game during the week, scored four runs total, and also stole two bases. He played second base in all of the games, and in Martin’s absence on Thursday and Friday, took over the leadoff duties after batting second in the prior two games. Julien leads all hitters in the AFL in runs scored, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS heading into the final three games of the season. He also started in the AFL Fall Stars game on Sunday, and competed in the home run derby, as his five home runs on the season rank second in the league. No matter who actually wins the award (star power has always played a role here), this is your on-field-performance Arizona Fall League MVP, hands down. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 3-for-16, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K (4 games) Overall: .216/.322/.294 (.616 OPS) Isola also played in all four games on the week, getting bumped up to the middle of the lineup after a strong week four. He played first base in two games, catcher in one, and served as the designated hitter in the other. He scored two runs in Thursday’s loss to Surprise and drove in two runs with a double in the seventh inning to add some insurance runs in Friday’s win over Scottsdale. RHP Jon Olsen Week: W, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (1 start) Overall: 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .288 BAA, 10 BB, 17 K (13 2/3 IP) The right-hander got the starting nod in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Scorpions, finishing three solid innings to get credited with his second win of the season. He worked around a triple and a walk in the first for a scoreless frame and added a one-two-three second inning. In the third Scottsdale finally strung a pair of singles and a walk together to get their only run of the game. Olsen threw 65 pitches in the outing, with 37 going for strikes (57%). LHP Denny Bentley Week: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, .189 BAA, 14 BB, 9 K (11 1/3 IP) The left-handed Bentley made one appearance during the week, finishing the ninth inning in Thursday’s loss to Surprise. He faced four hitters, allowing just a single while picking up one strikeout. The more encouraging aspect was Bentley needed just 13 pitches, with 9 going for strikes (69%) in the scoreless inning. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .171 BAA, 7 BB, 10 K (13 IP) Shreve continued to be a steadying presence in the Desert Dogs bullpen, delivering two scoreless innings in Tuesday’s shutout of Peoria to open the week. He came on for the sixth inning and was credited with a hold as he faced just eight hitters over his two innings, walking one in the sixth, and hitting a batter in the seventh. 16 of his 21 pitches went for strikes (76%) in the outing. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .227 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Like the rest of his fellow Twins pitching prospects, Peguero made one appearance on the week, coming in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Surprise. Unfortunately, he was credited with the loss, as he came on for the top of the ninth inning and surrendered a two-out go-ahead home run. AFL Fall Stars Game All the best prospects in the league came together for the Fall Stars Game on Sunday, with the National League squad coming out on top in the game 9-3. Edouard Julien got the start at second base, batting second, and finished 0-for-2 with a walk. He grounded out in the first, struck out in the third, and made it to third base in the fifth after drawing his walk. He also participated in the pre-game home run derby, launching three home runs in his first round before being shut out in the second. The only other Twins prospect to make an appearance, was pitcher Francis Peguero, who pitched a one-two-three sixth inning, needing just seven pitches. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  14. Game Results: Monday, 10/24 | Scottsdale 12, Glendale 14 Tuesday, 10/125 | Glendale 3, Surprise 9 Wednesday, 10/26 | Peoria 5, Glendale 5 Thursday, 10/27 | Salt River 9, Glendale 6 Friday, 10/28 | Surprise 1, Glendale 11 Saturday, 10/29 | Mesa 10, Glendale 3 The Glendale Desert Dogs continued to play around .500 baseball in Week 4, winning two games and losing three, along with ending their sixth game in another tie. Despite that, the good competition in the AFL has them just two games back of first place in the standings, well within striking distance of an appearance in the title game heading into the season’s penultimate week. Edouard Julien came on strong in Week 3 of the AFL season, how did he and the rest of the Minnesota Twins prospects perform for the Desert Dogs in Week 4? IF Austin Martin Week: 4-for-22, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, SB (5 games) Overall: .349/.447/.460 (.907 OPS) Martin cooled off a bit in Week 3 after having a blazing start to his Arizona Fall League campaign. Despite that, he played in five of six games, all from atop the lineup for the Desert Dogs, and still managed to score five runs on the week. He made three starts at shortstop, one in center field, and was also the designated hitter for one game. His best game of the week came in Monday’s 14-12 win over Scottsdale, in which he was 3-for-5 with a double and scored three runs. In Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Mesa, he chipped in another double, drew a walk, scored two runs, and stole his eighth base of the season. IF Edouard Julien Week: 7-for-18, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 SB (5 games) Overall: .373/.536/.706 (1.242 OPS) Julien ended his Week 3 with a monster performance, that he incredibly matched with his first game of Week 4. For the second consecutive game, he launched two home runs, finishing 4-for-5 with four RBI in Monday’s win over the Scorpions. He also added a double and scored three runs. He reached base at least once in each of his five games on the week, playing second base in four games and serving as the designated hitter in the other. He added another double in Wednesday’s tie with Peoria, and also stole three bases on the week. Heading into Week 5, Julien leads the AFL in runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. He also ranks Top 3 in home runs, batting average, and walks. This is an MVP-level performance from another Twins prospect in the league if he keeps this up after Royce Lewis took home that honor in 2019, and Matt Wallner was worthy of consideration in 2021. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 5-for-11, R, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K (3 games) Overall: .229/.357/.314 (.671 OPS) Isola had a breakout Week 4 performance, improving his numbers across the board with hits in each of his three games. He played first base in two of those games, and another at catcher to close out his week on Friday. He especially made his mark in Wednesday’s tie against Peoria, collecting three hits in four at-bats, including two doubles and two RBI. He also drew a walk in each of his appearances on the week to raise his on-base percentage during the AFL season to .357. RHP Jon Olsen Week: W, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 K (1 start) Overall: 1-1, 5.91 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, .300 BAA, 8 BB, 13 K (10 2/3 IP) Olson got the start in Friday’s 11-1 win over Surprise and was dominant in his four innings to pick up the win. He faced the minimum number of hitters, allowing just one single that was erased on a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play in the second inning with teammate Alex Isola. Of his 52 pitches in the game, 35 went for strikes (67%) and the outing was a tremendous boost of confidence for a pitcher who has had the kitchen sink thrown at him since being drafted in 2018. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 4 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 3.48 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, .182 BAA, 14 BB, 8 K (10 2/3 IP) While Bentley continued to struggle with his command, walking seven hitters in two appearances on the week, he has been able to limit the damage by not allowing any big hits. In Thursday’s 9-6 loss to Salt River, he pitched the fourth and fifth innings, walking four but also punching out four as he proves to be an enigma for opposing AFL hitters. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .194 BAA, 6 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Shreve made two perfect appearances on the week, picking up the win with two hitless innings against Scottsdale on Monday, and a one-two-three ninth inning in the tie with Peoria on Wednesday. He struck out two hitters in each outing and has been one of the top performers for the Desert Dogs out of their bullpen thus far. In the game on Monday, Shreve was summoned after six straight hitters had reached base, culminating with a grand slam that gave Scottsdale a 7-5 lead, but his offense answered with nine runs of their own over the next three innings to put him in line for the win. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 3 K (3 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .225 BAA, 7 BB, 8 K (10 IP) Peguero finally ran into some trouble in Week 4, giving up a run in each of his three outings after not allowing any prior. Of his five runs allowed on the week, just two were earned as his defense let him down in Thursday’s loss to Salt River as a two-out, three-run homer came after a throwing error to start off the inning. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! In things I find interesting for Major League Baseball’s future, the AFL was experimenting with a “challenge” system for balls and strikes in some games during the season, and the results sound promising and fun for both fans and players! It is similar to the system that was used at times in the Florida State League this season.
  15. Game Results: Monday, 10/17 | Glendale 6, Mesa 3 Tuesday, 10/18 | Mesa 6, Glendale 3 Wednesday, 10/19 | Salt River 4, Glendale 5 Thursday, 10/20 | Glendale 4, Peoria 3 Friday, 10/21 | Surprise 7, Glendale 2 Saturday, 10/22 | Glendale 7, Scottsdale 9 The Glendale Desert Dogs completed another .500 week, going 3-3 in their six games. Their 8-8 overall record (including one tie) is tied for third place in the standings, a half-game behind second place heading into week four. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in week three of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin Week: 2-for-9, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K (3 games) Overall: .439/.538/.561 (1.099 OPS) Martin continued his scorching hot hitting to start the week, going 2-for-6 in Monday’s win over the Mesa Solar Sox. That gave him 13 hits in his last five games and he added another stolen base. In Tuesday’s loss to the Solar Sox, Martin got just two plate appearances, drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch. After the HBP, he stole his seventh base of the season, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a groundout before being replaced in the field in the fifth inning (no reason has been given). He wouldn’t play again until Saturday when he went 0-for-3, but reached base in the game with another hit-by-pitch and also scored another run. On the week Martin played one game in center field, DH’ed, and finished his week up at shortstop after getting a few days off. IF Edouard Julien Week: 6-for-13, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 3 K (4 games) Overall: .364/.543/.636 (1.179 OPS) Julien entered the week with no extra-base hits yet on the season and a .800 OPS. He finished it with three doubles, two home runs, and a 1.179 OPS that leads his team and ranks fourth in the AFL overall (Martin is fifth). It was a monster week for the infielder that just kept getting better. In Monday’s win, he was 1-for-3 with his first double, scored a run, and drew two walks. In Wednesday's win over Salt River, he added two more doubles, scored two runs, and drew another walk as the leadoff man with Martin out. While he was 0-for-3 in his next game, he continued to do what he’s known for, drawing a pair of walks and scoring another run. Then he turned it up to eleven on Saturday, batting in the cleanup spot as the DH. While his team lost the game, Julien did everything he could to help. His two-run homer in the first inning put them up 2-0 early. He added an RBI single in the fifth inning before his second two-run blast in the seventh got his team within three late. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 1-for-9, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K (3 games) Overall: .125/.250/.125 (.375 OPS) Isola saw action in three games on the week, including his first game at catcher in Friday’s loss to Surprise. In Monday’s win against Mesa, he got the first run of the game on the board for the Desert Dogs with his RBI single in the fourth inning that drove in Julien. Later in the frame, he’d score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and he also drew a walk to lead off the seventh. RHP Jon Olsen Week: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (1 start) Overall: 0-1, 9.75 ERA, 2.85 WHIP, .393 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (6 2/3 IP) Olsen made the start in Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Surprise Saguaros, pitching into the fourth inning. He kept them scoreless for the first three frames, striking out one in the first, three in the second, and another in the third as Glendale had a 1-0 lead. A pair of walks to start the fourth inning put an end to his outing, but it was solid up until that point. Two runs were charged to him as his replacement gave up a single, and on the same play committed an egregious throwing error that allowed that batter to come all the way home for a 3-1 Saguaros lead. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .167 BAA, 7 BB, 4 K (7 1/3 IP) The lefty reliever made two appearances on the week, going multiple innings in Monday’s win over Mesa for his first hold of the season, and picking up his second in Thursday’s win over Peoria. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings against the Solar Sox, giving up a single, walk, and a solo home run. Against the Javelinas he came on for the seventh inning, striking out one in a scoreless frame. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, .269 BAA, 6 BB, 5 K (8 IP) Shreve was the first reliever summoned in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Salt River, coming into the game in the middle of the third inning with his team up 2-1 at the time. He retired both hitters he faced to keep them out front, but a pair of singles in the fourth inning led to the Rafters tying the game at two before he was able to get out of the inning. RHP Francis Peguero Week: W, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .095 BAA, 6 BB, 5 K (6 1/3 IP) Peguero is becoming somewhat of a finisher for his Desert Dogs roster, as he again was the final pitcher for his team in his only appearance of the week. He got credited with the win by pitching the eighth and ninth innings against the Rafters on Wednesday, as the Desert Dogs scored three in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead after his one-two-three top half. He allowed a single in the ninth but struck out one in each of his frames to secure the win. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  16. Not many teams hit on an 18th-round draft pick, but the Twins may have found a sleeper in the 2019 MLB Draft. He was a draft-eligible sophomore because MLB ruled his secondary school year in Canada counted as a college season. During his final amateur season, he posted an .841 OPS with 14 doubles and ten home runs in 65 games. Minnesota took Edouard Julien with the 539th overall pick and went way over slot to sign him for $493,000. Julien's pro debut had to wait until 2021 because of the shutdown, but he quickly made his mark on the Twins system. He split time between Low-A and High-A while hitting .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 steals in 112 games. His 110 walks led all of the minor leagues, but he struck out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances. He was roughly the same age as the competition at his level, so there was some concern with his lack of consistent contact and high strikeout totals. Luckily, he remedied some of those issues in 2022. Minnesota sent Julien to Double-A for the entire 2022 season, and he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. His .441 OBP ranked fifth in the minor leagues. He reduced his aggressiveness, allowing him to make more consistent contact. He also struck out in 24.6% of his plate appearances after striking out in 28% of his plate appearances in 2021. He can drive the ball to all fields with plenty of power. Julien was also over a year younger than the average age of the competition Double-A, so he faced older pitchers in 87% of his at-bats. There were positive signs, and Minnesota wanted him to continue to develop in the 2022 AFL. Julien is an on-base machine, and that trend has continued in limited AFL action. He drew ten walks in his first seven games compared to eight strikeouts. Offensively, he has gone 7-for-23 with six runs scored, a double, and a stolen base. All his defensive innings have come at second base in the AFL, and that's another area for him to improve as he gets closer to the big-league level. During his professional career, the Twins have used Julien at multiple defensive positions, including first base, second base, third base, and left field. Over 70% of his defensive innings have come at second base because his arm typically rates below average. He likely won't be an above-average defender at any defensive position, but he can continue to improve at second base. The Twins have developed Julien from a late-round pick into one of the team's top-15 prospects. If he continues on his current path, there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2023. He has inserted himself into the team's long-term plans and will be an exciting prospect to watch in the years ahead. How do you view Julien at this point in his professional career? Can he be the Twins' second baseman of the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. Game Results: Monday, 10/10 | Glendale 8, Salt River 3 Tuesday, 10/11 | Glendale 20, Salt River 4 Thursday, 10/13 | Glendale 7, Mesa 9 Friday, 10/14 | Scottsdale 2, Glendale 0 Saturday, 10/15 | Mesa 1, Glendale 1 The Glendale Desert Dogs again went .500 on the week, which is odd as they played five total games. That’s the nature of the Arizona Fall League, as they blew out the Salt River Rafters, outsourcing them 28-7 in their two games to start the week’s action, but then fell to Mesa and Scottsdale in close contests before a game with Mesa was called with the score tied 1-1 after eight innings. They’ll enter Week 3 with a record of 5-5-1 and a game and a half behind the league-leading Surprise Saguaros. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in week two of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin Week: 11-for-18, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 SB (4 games) Overall: .500/.575/.656 (1.231 OPS) Martin played in four of the Desert Dogs' five games this week and batted leadoff in each. He played two games at shortstop, one in center field, and DH-ed in the other. He was on fire all week, collecting three or more hits in three of those games, and is now batting .500 going into Week 3. In Monday’s 8-3 win over Salt River, he was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. He followed that up with a 4-for-6 effort in the Desert Dogs' destruction of the Rafters on Tuesday, where he scored two runs and drove in five. He fell a triple shy of the cycle and hit the first pitch of the game out to left-center for his first AFL home run. His quietest game of the week came in Thursday’s loss to Mesa, but he still reached base multiple times with a single and a walk. After a day off on Friday, he closed out his week with three more hits in four at-bats in their tie with the Solar Sox. He also drove in their only run with his single in the eighth inning. After two weeks, Martin leads the AFL in hits with 16, is third with five stolen bases (has been caught once), and is fifth in OPS with a 1.231 mark. Martin will look to continue his scorching hot hitting in Week 3, but Twins fans should be ecstatic about what he’s showing in the AFL so far. IF Edouard Julien Week: 3-for-6, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K (2 games) Overall: .300/.500/.300 (.800 OPS). Julien got the start in just two games on the week, serving as the DH in the blowout of Salt River, and playing second base in Friday’s 2-0 loss against Scottsdale. He batted seventh in the lineup in the 20-4 win and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and keeping with his professional theme, drew three walks to reach base in five-of-six trips. On Friday, he knocked one base hit in three at-bats, batting second in the lineup. His hit came in the bottom of the first inning, and he reached third base before their early rally got stalled. They then went on to be shut out as the Desert Dogs managed just three hits total in the game. While Julien is still looking for his first extra-base-hit of the AFL season, he has reached base in half his plate appearances and trails only teammate Matt McLain in walks drawn overall, with eight in six games. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 1-for-5, 1 RBI (1 game) Overall: .133/.235/.133 (.368 OPS) Alex Isola got into only one game during the week, and that came in Monday’s 8-3 win over the Salt River Rafters. He batted ninth in the lineup, played first base, and finished 1-for-5 with an RBI. His single in the top of the sixth inning drove in the Desert Dogs' third and final run of the inning, putting them out front in the game 3-1 at the time. While it has to be disappointing to play in only one game during the week, the player rotation hopefully gets him more time in Week 3. RHP Jon Olsen Week: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (1 appearance) Overall: 12.27 ERA, 3.82 WHIP (3 2/3 IP) The right-hander made one appearance on the week, as the first reliever summoned in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions. He came on to start the fourth inning and after a leadoff walk got the next hitter to line into a double play. He allowed a single and hit a batter before getting a groundout for a scoreless frame. Back out for the fifth, he got a strikeout before a walk and a triple led to an earned run, but he finished off the final two hitters with two more strikeouts to end his outing on a high note. Olsen’s numbers in the AFL likely aren’t going to ever look great after his first outing of the season last week, but he can be encouraged by the strikeouts that came late in this one moving forward. And he only had a couple of rehab outings during the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 4.15 ERA, 1.62 WHIP (4 1/3 IP). Bentley came out of the bullpen for just one appearance during the week. He entered the blowout game against Salt River in the seventh inning with the game already well out of hand. His predecessor had loaded the bases with one out, and after a sac fly made it 19-2, Bentley entered the game to try and keep it moving. He gave up a single that made it 19-4 but was not charged with either of those runs. He then got a pop-out to end the inning before coming back out for the eighth with a clean slate. He walked one batter but retired all three others, including a strikeout. In a positive change from week one, 14 of his 24 pitches in this one went for strikes (58%) as he looks to keep his pitches in the zone better. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 3 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 K (2 appearances) Overall: 2.84 ERA, 1.74 WHIP (6 1/3 IP). Shreve made two appearances on the week, going more than one inning in both of them. In Monday’s win over the Rafters, he was the first reliever summoned. He came into the game to start the fourth inning. He promptly gave up a solo home run but got some help from his defense to keep that run as his only one allowed during the week. After a walk to the next hitter, he got a pair of flyouts before his defense executed a nice relay throw to catch the runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Back out for the fifth, he picked up a strikeout but then loaded the bases before he was removed from the game. His pitching counterpart Ben Harris picked him up by getting a double-play grounder. In Friday’s loss to Scottsdale, Shreve finished the game for Glendale, pitching two shutout innings. He gave up two walks, but no hits and struck out one to keep the game close in the final two innings. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K (2 appearances) Overall: 0.00 ERA, 1.62 WHIP (4 1/3 IP). The little-known right-hander made two appearances. He finished the game for Glendale in both of them. In Tuesday’s big win over the Salt River Rafters, he walked the first batter of the ninth inning but proceeded to strike out two of the next three to close it out. In Saturday’s tie with the Mesa Solar Sox, he took over for the “extra” eighth inning with the score still 0-0, and a runner starting on second base. He gave up his first hit of the season to put runners on the corners before a double-play ball allowed the first run of the game to score. As it was the “ghost” runner, it was of the unearned variety. Another batter reached due to an error before giving up a walk, but he then got a lineout to keep his team in it, and Austin Martin was able to tie it with his RBI single before it was called. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! (Another Austin Martin highlight for tax)
  18. Game Results: Monday, 10/3 | Peoria 5, Glendale 3 Tuesday, 10/4 | Glendale 11, Salt River 9 Wednesday, 10/5 | Glendale 5, Surprise 6 Thursday, 10/6 | Glendale 8, Peoria 9 Friday, 10/7 | Scottsdale 6, Glendale 10 Saturday, 10/8 | Glendale 13, Scottsdale 11 As a team, the Glendale Desert Dogs racked up a ton of runs on the week, averaging more than eight per game. They also gave up runs in bunches, however, and because of that finished an even 3-3 on the week. Twins Daily's Seth Stohs also caught up with a few of the prospects before their seasons began, and you'll find some quotes below. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in Week 1 of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin: 4 games - 5-for-14, 6 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 3 SB; .357/.526/.357 (.883 OPS) overall. Martin played four games on the week, playing shortstop in three of them, and DH-ing in the other. He batted in the sixth spot in the lineup in each game and scored at least one run in all of them. While he didn’t pick up any extra-base hits on the week, he was on base over half the time and active while there, stealing three bases and leading the team with six runs scored. As their primary shortstop on the week, he committed one throwing error, but otherwise made all the plays that came his way. He ended the week with a big game on Saturday, finishing 3-for-5, with two runs scored, two RBI, and two stolen bases in Glendale’s 13-11 win over Scottsdale. IF Edouard Julien: 4 games - 3-for-14, 3 R, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 SB; .214/.421/.214 (.635 OPS) overall. Julien also saw action in four games, splitting his time with two games at second base, and two as the designated hitter. In the first game of the week, he was in the cleanup spot but batted seventh in his three other contests. Despite only three singles on the week, Julien did reach base in each game, and at least twice in three of his four games, as he continued to control the strike zone, drawing five walks total. His best game of the week came in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Peoria, in which he finished 1-for-2, scored a run, stole a base, and drew two walks. C Alex Isola: 3 games - 1-for-10, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K; .100/.250/.100 (.350 OPS) overall. Isola played in three games during the week, getting the start at first base in all of them and hitting at the bottom of the Desert Dogs' batting order. He was responsible for the second RBI of the season in Monday’s opener, as he reached base via an error but his ball in play would have scored the run either way. He also picked up his only hit of the week in this one, a single in the ninth inning, and also reached base a third time thanks to another error. His second RBI of his season came in the same fashion as the first, as a ground ball to third allowed Austin Martin to score in Friday’s 10-6 win. While he didn’t catch any games on the week, I do expect we’ll see a few of those as the season goes on, and it's one of the things he is looking forward to working on in the AFL. When asked what he wanted to work on, he told Seth, "I'm really trying to focus on my defense and show that I can catch and play first at a high level." He added, "Looking forward to the experience and competition of playing against some of the best players in the minor leagues." He was also excited to be playing in the league, saying "I actually went (while in) high school and watched Francisco Lindor play here. It was for a tournament and we happened to go. I remember being very impressed. It's amazing to think I'm actually here now!" RHP Jon Olsen: 1 start - 1 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K; 21.60 ERA, 6.00 WHIP (1 2/3 IP) overall. Olsen made the start in Friday’s 10-6 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions, but he needed some help from his offense as he wasn’t as sharp as he would like to be in his first game. The first batter he faced doubled, then a pair of walks and singles led to a 3-0 lead for the Scorpions. Back out for the second inning, he allowed one run before loading the bases with two outs, putting an end to his outing after 1 2/3 innings. He threw 49 pitches, with 25 of them going for strikes (51%). Thankfully, his offense let him off the hook, scoring ten runs over the next three innings and the bullpen held up for the win. LHP Denny Bentley: 2 appearances - 3 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 K; 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP (3 IP) overall. Bentley made two appearances on the week, picking up the win in Tuesday’s game against Salt River. In that one, Bentley was the first reliever out of the bullpen after Glendale fell behind 6-1 after the first inning. He delivered two scoreless frames as his team stormed back, scoring eight runs in the fourth inning that put them in front before he was replaced. He allowed no hits, walked two, and struck out one. In Friday’s 10-6 win over Scottsdale, Bentley came on for the fifth inning and despite making it through the frame and not allowing a hit, gave up two runs thanks to three walks and a couple of wild pitches. He’ll look to keep it in the zone better in week two of the AFL season, as just 21 of his 52 pitches (40%) thus far have gone for strikes. When asked what he looking forward to while playing in the AFL, Bentley answered "To play at Chase Field. Having never played in a major league stadium before, I can't wait to see what it's like being on the field at night and want to try to hit the pool out in right-center, LOL!" He also has plenty he wants to work on, saying "I'm going to be working on commanding my off-speed in the zone at the higher levels. It's good to have [those pitches] that you can land in the zone early. Always working on control in the zone. Out of the bullpen is huge because you usually come into the game with runners on. I'm honored to represent the Twins and I'm really thankful to be here." RHP Ryan Shreve: 2 appearances - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (3 IP) overall. Shreve’s first appearance of the week came in the season opener, where he was the first reliever summoned for the fourth inning. He pitched two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one as he kept the game scoreless to that point. He needed just 17 pitches to finish those two innings, with 12 of them going for strikes (71%). He came on for the sixth inning in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Peoria, with the score 2-1 Javelinas at the time. He picked up a strikeout to start the frame, but a walk was followed by a double and a sac fly that made the score 3-1 before it was over. He threw 25 pitches in this one, with 13 of them going for strikes (52%). Asked what he was looking forward to most in the AFL, Shreve responded "Competing on a big stage against high-level competition and continuing to learn from it." He also has a plan for his time there, saying "I'd like to continue developing my pitches and stay comfortable in my mechanics." RHP Francis Peguero: 2 appearances - 2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 4 BB, 1 K; 0.00 ERA, 1.71 WHIP (2 1/3 IP) overall. Like his other two reliever teammates, Peguero also made two appearances on the week, finishing the game in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Surprise, and pitching the sixth inning in Friday’s 10-6 win over Scottsdale. He entered the game on Wednesday in the seventh inning after Surprise had extended their lead to 6-2, and got a lineout to end the threat. In the eighth, he walked the leadoff man and was called for a balk, but recovered to get a pair of groundouts and a flyout to give his team a chance. They almost accomplished that task with three runs in the top of the ninth but fell one short of tying the game. In Friday’s contest, Peguero had to work to finish his lone inning, as he walked the bases loaded, but mixed in a strikeout and was able to escape without allowing a run. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  19. Some of baseball's best prospects head to Arizona every year to showcase their skills against other top players. Throughout the AFL's history, some of the league's biggest stars have gotten their careers boosted by a strong AFL performance. AFL Games started this week, and the Twins are sending some of their top prospects with something to prove. Can Austin Martin Have a Wallner-Type Breakout? Last year, the Twins sent Matt Wallner to the AFL because he missed time during the season with an injury. In 18 games, he hit .303/.405/.606 (1.011) with two doubles and six home runs. Wallner carried that performance over to the 2022 season, where he posted a .953 OPS between Double- and Triple-A. Also, he was recently named the TD Minor League Hitter of the Year. Martin dealt with a wrist injury during the 2022 season, but he ended the year strongly. Now, Minnesota hopes Martin can follow the same path as Wallner from the AFL to making his big-league debut. Is Edouard Julien the Twins' Second Baseman of the Future? Julien is coming off a breakout season at Double-A, where the 23-year-old was over a year younger than the average age of the competition. In 113 games, he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. Defensively, the Twins had moved Julien around during his first two professional seasons, but he played the entire 2022 season at second base. Jorge Polanco has one guaranteed year left on his contract with the Twins controlling the next two seasons as well. If Julien continues to develop, he has a chance to become the heir apparent to Polanco in the Twins infield. Can Denny Bentley Become a Dominant Reliever? Minnesota's front office hasn't spent a lot on bullpen arms in recent years, instead relying on the farm system to produce cheaper relief options. During the 2022 season, the Twins used younger organizational arms like Jhoan Duran, Jovani Moran, and Griffin Jax to impact the bullpen. Bentley spent the majority of the 2022 season at Double-A and posted an 11.8 K/9 across 55 2/3 innings. His WHIP has been high during his first two professional seasons because he allows more than 7.0 H/9 and close to 5.0 BB/9. Bentley will need to improve in both of those areas if he wants to become a dominant reliever at the big-league level. What Do the Twins Have in Francis Peguero? The Twins acquired Peguero as part of the Sonny Gray trade, and his professional career has seen some ups and downs. His debut in the Twins system was delayed because of an injury, and then he made 17 appearances out of the Wind Surge bullpen. In August, he posted a 3.65 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in nine appearances, but his strikeout totals have remained low. He can hit in the mid-90s with his fastball, so the AFL will allow him the opportunity to work on his secondary pitches. Can one of his secondary offerings improve enough for him to limit hits and start collecting more strikeouts? Check out the TD AFL Preview to read more about the other Twins prospects participating in the 2022 AFL. Which of the prospects above has the most to prove? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  20. Minnesota has 18 players on the injured list, with 11 players on the 60-day IL. Because of these injuries, the team currently has 50 players on the 40-man roster. Before the team makes any moves this winter, the 40-man roster must be cleaned up. Here are the moves the Twins will need to explore before the offseason begins. Heading to Free Agency: Carlos Correa (player option), Gary Sanchez, Sandy Leon, Billy Hamilton, Michael Fulmer, Miguel Sano (club option), Chris Archer (club option), Dylan Bundy (club option) Correa’s opt-out will be something fans eagerly watch, but all signs point to him opting out and looking for a significant free agent contract. Minnesota will need catching depth with Sanchez and Leon out of the picture, so the team may look to re-sign one of their veterans. Fulmer is an intriguing option if the club wants to add him to the bullpen mix for 2023. Based on their performances this season, it seems unlikely for the team to bring back Sano, Archer, or Bundy. 40-Man Roster: Down to 42 with these subtractions Designate for Assignment: Jake Cave, Jermaine Palacios, Mark Contreras, Emilio Pagan (arbitration-eligible), Kyle Garlick, Danny Coulombe, Jhon Romero, Devin Smeltzer, Trevor Megill There are some tough decisions in this group and some players many fans don’t want to see again. Cave was optioned off the 40-man roster earlier this season and stayed in the organization, so the Twins may try something similar this winter. Minnesota can attempt to trade Pagan for a low-level prospect, or the team might DFA him without receiving anything in return. Megill is also a tough call to make for the roster. Megill looked good at different points during the 2022 season, and certainly has some really good "stuff," but has struggled recently. 40-Man Roster: Down to 33 with these subtractions Prospects to Add: Simeon Woods Richardson, Matt Canterino, Edouard Julien, Misael Urbina Woods Richardson was added on Sunday before his MLB debut and is part of the team’s long-term pitching plans. Canterino will miss most of the 2023 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. However, he has one of the highest upsides of any prospect in the organization. Julien posted a .931 OPS at Double-A this season and has experience playing multiple defensive positions. According to MLB Pipeline, Urbina is a top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. He struggled in 2021 with a .585 OPS in Fort Myers, and his 2022 season started late because of visa issues. This year, he hit .247/.323/.407 (.730) with 26 extra-base hits in 60 games. Do the Twins still view him as highly as when he signed back in 2018? 40-Man Roster: Up to 37 with these additions The Twins will have room to add a player in the Rule 5 Draft by making these moves. This roster flexibility also allows the team to add other players via free agency when the World Series ends. Will Minnesota keep any of the players mentioned above on the 40-man roster? Has Urbina done enough to earn a 40-man spot? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the organization ahead of Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 3, St. Paul 10 Box Score The St. Paul Saints took care of business on Tuesday, riding home runs from David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, and Roy Morales to a 10-3 victory in their penultimate game of the season against the Omaha Storm Chasers. Right-hander Jordan Balazovic got the start, and was solid over five innings, allowing his only run of the game on a solo homer in the fifth inning. In all, he completed five frames, allowing three hits, walking three, and striking out five. While it wasn’t the season Balazovic or fans were hoping for, he did finish the season much better than he started. Over his final five starts, he allowed two or fewer runs in four of them and struck out 30 over those 21 innings. St. Paul got the scoring started in the third inning thanks to an RBI triple from Dalton Shuffield, followed by an RBI double from Michael Helman. Cole Sands came on for the start of the sixth inning and would complete three frames, being charged win a blown save but also the win for his efforts. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out three. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, David Banuelos tied the game with a solo home run, before the Saints exploded in the eighth inning. They sent 10 men to the plate, and seven of them scored thanks in large part to the home runs from Bechtold and Morales. Evan Sisk then shut the door with a perfect ninth, striking out two, to close out on a high note in a season full of them for Twins Daily’s 2022 Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Bechtold (2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Banuelos (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, RBI), and Shuffield (2-for-4, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI, SB) had multiple hits in the game. Morales drove in three, and Nash Knight added a double. WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Championship Series (Game 2 of 3) Frisco 7, Wichita 5 (10 innings) Box Score Down 1-0 in their League Championship Series, the Wichita Wind Surge called upon Brent Headrick to keep their title dreams alive. He would be facing off against 2021’s number two overall draft pick, Jack Leiter of the Frisco RoughRiders. Though Leiter had success against Wichita during the regular season, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 16 across two games and 11 innings, Austin Martin and Edouard Julien were ready for him on this night. Martin led off the bottom of the first with a double to center field, and Julien followed with a double into the right-center gap to make it 1-0 early. In the second inning, Leobaldo Cabrera, Martin, and Julien all drew walks to end Leiter’s night after just 1 2/3 innings. They were not able to score any of those runners after his exit, but they wouldn’t need any more for the first seven innings. That’s because Headrick was the pitcher who looked like the top prospect in this one. He tied his career high for strikeouts in finishing seven shutout innings. He allowed just three hits, walked none, and punched out 11 in a dominating effort. Of his 95 pitches, 64 went for strikes (67%) and included 15 swinging strikes. He struck out multiple hitters in each of the second, third, fourth, and sixth innings to keep his team in the lead. From the second through the seventh inning, the Wind Surge had opportunities to extend their lead, but couldn’t take advantage, leaving eight men on base in that timeframe. Bullpen stalwart Cody Laweryson came on for the eighth inning, but after striking out the first hitter he faced ran into some trouble. A walk followed by a double resulted in the RoughRiders first run of the game, and an error on the play put the tying run 90 just feet away. A sac fly to the next batter tied the game at two before Laweryson was able to escape the jam. In the bottom of the eighth the Wind Surge were able to manufacture a run to retake the lead, but again squandered opportunities to put the game away. Brooks Lee led off with a single, Anthony Prato drew a walk, then a bunt from DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led to a throwing error and a 3-2 lead. It wasn’t enough again, as Casey Legumina allowed a leadoff single, then a two-out walk, and another single to tie it at three. A pair of walks in the bottom half gave Wichita a chance, but it would go to extra innings. Back out for the tenth, Legumina recorded one out but an RBI single put the RoughRiders out front for the first time in the game, then a walk brought in Alex Phillips to try and keep it close. Three consecutive singles broke it open for Frisco, and they’d take a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the tenth. With the runner starting on second base, DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led off with a two-run home run to make it 7-5, and they’d get the tying run into the batter's box, but it wasn’t meant to be. The Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas Rangers organization, are your 2022 Texas League Champions, rallying late to steal the game after Headrick’s fantastic outing. Martin finished the game 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and drew three walks. Julien was 2-for-5 with a double, RBI, and walk. Brooks Lee finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and walk. Keirsey Jr. also chipped in two hits on the game, including his 2-run home run. Despite the loss, congratulations on a great season to the Wichita Wind Surge! TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (7 IP, 3 H, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - David Banuelos, St. Paul Saints (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-4, R, BB #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 2B, 3 BB, K #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - W, 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CDT) - RHP Randy Dobnak (1-2, 7.04 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  22. Last season, Jose Miranda compiled one of the best minor league seasons in Twins' history. He was named the Twins Daily 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year, and fans have seen how he has translated that into a successful rookie campaign. For the second consecutive season, there was a clear choice for the organization's Minor League Hitter of the Year, with Matt Wallner cementing himself into the team's long-term plans. Wallner grew up in Forest Lake, MN, and was impressive as a high school slugger. Minnesota took him in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft (as a pitcher), but Wallner was committed to playing at the University of Southern Mississippi. He became a three-year starter at the school while averaging over 19 home runs per season with a 1.113 OPS. He helped his draft stock significantly, and the Twins took him with the 39th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, this time as a three-time All-American outfielder. Wallner showed some power in the lower minors as his OPS was .810 or higher in 2019 and 2021. For the most part, he was slightly older than the average age of the competition at each level, so it would have been nice to see him post even better offensive numbers. He missed over two months of the 2021 season with a broken hamate bone, so the Twins decided to find him some extra at-bats after the minor league season concluded. His performance in the 2021 Arizona Fall League might have been what pushed him to a tremendous 2022 campaign. In 18 games, he went 20-for-66 (.303 BA) with two doubles and six home runs, which resulted in a 1.011 OPS. Minnesota sent Wallner to Double-A to start the 2022 campaign, where he was younger than the average age of the competition at his level for the first time since 2019. His season started slowly as he posted a .200 BA and a .741 OPS in April. His bat started to heat up in May when he hit seven doubles and six homers in 24 games (.984 OPS). However, the month of June is where he solidified his prospect status. As the calendar flipped to June, Pitchers couldn't find a way to retire Wallner. He got on base in 50% of his plate appearances for the month. In 27 games that month, he only failed to reach base in three contests. He had two multi-homer games and seven games where he walked twice or more. Wallner ended the month hitting .345/.500/.714 (1.214) with five doubles, one triple, and eight home runs. July saw Wallner's bat cool off a bit, but the month also saw some other impressive feats. He represented the Twins at the 2022 Futures Game in Los Angeles and hit a two-run homer in a tie game. Minnesota also promoted him to Triple-A, where he was four years younger than the average age of the competition. After adjusting to St. Paul, Wallner posted a .978 OPS with 17 doubles, three triples, and six home runs in 39 games from August 2- September 15. With the big-league club struggling, there was some question about why the team wasn't promoting Wallner for the team's playoff push. He quickly made his mark with the Twins as his first big-league hit was a home run with his family in attendance. It was a perfect way to cap a tremendous 2022 season, and there is little doubt that Wallner's powerful bat will be part of the Twins line-up for most of the next decade. Runner-Up: Edouard Julien, IF AA Stats (113 G): .300/.441/.490 (.931), 19 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 67 RBI Like Wallner, Julien was drafted out of college in 2019 but was taken in the 18th round. In his first two professional seasons, he has combined for a .922 OPS while moving from Low-A to Double-A. He was a staple in the Wind Surge line-up this season and faced older pitchers in over 87% of his plate appearances. Defensively, Minnesota had him focus on second base in 2022, so that's his most likely path to the big leagues. Second Runner-Up: Chris Williams, 1B/C AA/AAA Stats (109 G): .255/.352/.528 (.880), 21 2B, 1 3B, 28 HR, 88 RBI Williams posted impressive power numbers, including double-digit home runs at Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota took him in the 8th round of the 2018 MLB Draft from Clemson. The 2022 season was the first where most of his plate appearances came as a first baseman instead of a catcher. This may have helped his power numbers increase, as he could keep his legs stronger throughout the season. Honorable Mention: Noah Cardenas, C/1B Low-A Stats (99 G): .261/.421/.413 (.834), 18 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 43 RBI Minnesota took Cardenas with their 8th-round pick in 2021 from UCLA. He impressed in his first full professional season as he caught over 460 innings and played time at first base. Cardenas led the team in many offensive categories. His prospect stock will continue to rise if he can hit for power while continuing to catch. What impressed you the most about the names mentioned above? Should a different player have made the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS WINNERS: 2012 - Oswaldo Arcia 2013 - Miguel Sano 2014 - Mitch Garver 2015 - Max Kepler 2016 - Daniel Palka 2017 - Mitch Garver 2018 - Alex Kirilloff 2019 - Trevor Larnach 2021 - Jose Miranda
  23. TRANSACTIONS Ahead of St. Paul’s game with Indianapolis, RHP Melvi Acosta was promoted from Wichita, and RHP Matt Mullenbach was also called up from Cedar Rapids. In addition to those moves, RHP Dereck Rodriguez was also outrighted to Triple-A. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 7 Box Score On Tuesday the St. Paul Saints kicked off their penultimate series of the season, against the Tulsa Drillers with right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson on the bump. His lineup gave him some run support before he even took the mound when Michael Helman led off the game with a single. He advanced to third after a fielder’s choice (no out recorded) and double-play ball, before a passed ball allowed him to scamper home. With the early lead, Woods Richardson came out ready to go. He delivered a one-two-three first inning, before striking out five hitters over his next two innings. Through five innings he had scattered four hits and kept Indianapolis off the scoreboard. Back out for the sixth, he finally ran into his first real trouble. A leadoff single was followed by a walk to put multiple runners on base, then three stolen bases allowed two consecutive sac flies to put the home team out front 2-1. Woods Richardson delivered a quality outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. He threw 85 pitches, with 61 going for strikes (72%), including 16 swinging. The Saints lineup picked him up in the top of the seventh, with a leadoff walk from Andrew Bechtold that was followed by a Dalton Shuffield home run, of the inside-the-park variety, to retake the lead. Just as quickly, however, the bullpen let their starter down. Devin Smeltzer gave up the game-tying home run in the seventh, then wasn’t able to record an out in the eighth before being replaced by Mario Sanchez. Smeltzer was charged with a blown save and loss, allowing three runs (two earned) in one-plus innings on two hits. He struck out one. Sanchez was then hit for two earned runs of his own, allowing four hits in his inning. St. Paul’s lineup was led by multiple hits from Bechtold (2-for-3, R, BB, K) and Shuffield (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. Trevor Larnach was 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout, while Ryan Jeffers was 0-for-4 in their rehabs. Wander Javier was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. As a team, the Saints were just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. Catcher Jose Godoy got some revenge on his former team and organization, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead Indianapolis. Number six Pirates prospect (per MLB.com) Endy Rodriguez, was 2-for-3 with an RBI double, batting fifth as the DH. WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Division Series (Game 1 of Best of 3 Series) Tulsa 1, Wichita 17 Box Score The Wind Surge never died down in this one, as they battered the Drillers from start to finish to take game one of their Division Series. A five-run second inning got the damage started, and before it was over they scored at least four runs in two other innings. They took advantage of nine walks by crushing three separate three-run homers among seven extra-base hits in the game. Those home runs came off the bats of DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Edouard Julien, and Anthony Prato. Austin Martin added a solo shot of his own, and Keirsey Jr. also added an RBI triple. Left-hander Brent Headrick got the start for Wichita and was fantastic for the first five innings, never letting the Drillers build any momentum in the blowout. He scattered six hits and allowed just an unearned run. He punched out eight hitters, including multiple in each of the first, third, and fourth innings. The recently fast-tracked Brooks Lee, got the party started with an RBI single in the second inning, and two batters later Keirsey Jr. delivered the first three-run blast of the game. After an RBI single from Prato in the third, a Jair Camargo RBI double and Alex Isola sac fly in the fourth, Wichita was already rolling 8-0. A four-run fifth included an RBI triple from Keirsey Jr., and then the Julien blast to make it 12-1. Martin led off the seventh with his home run, and later Prato slugged the Wind Surge’s third big blast of the night, giving them the final score of 17-1. After Headrick’s exit, relievers Osiris German, Jordan Gore, Blayne Enlow, and Casey Legumina combined to keep the Drillers stuck at one run to finish the final four innings, pitching one frame apiece. German struck out the side in the sixth, Gore two in the seventh, Enlow one in the eighth, and Legumina two in the ninth. As a staff, they combined for 16 K’s to just one walk. Martin (2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB), Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB), Camargo (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Lee (3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI), Prato (2-for-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), and Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI) all had multiple hits in the blowout victory. Game 2 of the Texas League Division series will be on Thursday in Tulsa, with right-hander (and no-hitter throwing) Daniel Gossett getting the starting nod for Wichita. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 8 K) Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, BB, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (12:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-6, 7.47 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  24. TRANSACTIONS OF Matt Wallner was assigned to the Minnesota Twins Taxi Squad C Ryan Jeffers assigned to the St. Paul Saints on Major League rehab INF Jorge Polanco assigned to the St. Paul Saints on Major League rehab RHP Randy Dobnak cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to the St. Paul Saints RHP Bailey Ober has completed his Major League rehab and returned to Minnesota Twins OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Twins Austin Martin, Edouard Julien Alex Isola, Denny Bentley, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, and Ryan Shreve to participate in Arizona Fall League SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Louisville 6, F/10 Box Score The Saints took down the Bats in dramatic fashion Friday evening after trailing for the vast majority of the game. Down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Jeffers three-run home run tied the game up at 5-5. After failing to score with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and surrendering a run in the top of the 10th, St. Paul filled the bags again following a Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3, 2B, BB) double and a Chris Williams (0-for-2, 3 BB, HBP) hit by pitch. Andrew Bechtold (0-for-4, RBI, 2 BB) tied the game with a walk and Nash Knight (3-for-3, RBI, 3 BB) brought home the winning run on a walk-off single. In less fun news, Jorge Polanco exited the game after five innings. He was originally slated to play seven innings. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Midland 1 Box Score Daniel Gossett continued his strong season for the Wind Surge, shutting down the RockHounds to help his team pull off a close victory. He threw five innings and struck out seven while surrendering a single run. His ERA dropped to 2.26 on the year. Denny Bentley, Jordan Gore, Francis Peguero, and Alex Phillips pitched lights out from the pen, striking out two and allowing only a single Midland batter to reach base in four innings of work. Edouard Julien led the Wichita charge offensively, going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI, and a walk. Austin Martin (2-for-4) was the only Wind Surge batter to register multiple hits. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 9, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score The Kernels’ season came to a close Friday night as they fell to the Cubs, dropping the Division Series contest, 2-1. South Bend touched starter Orlando Rodriguez for four runs in the top of the first, a total that was ultimately enough to secure the win. Rodriguez recorded just one out in the game. He was followed by six more Kernels pitchers. Cedar Rapids managed only four hits on the night, all of them singles. Mikey Perez (1-for-3, 2 RBI) and Willie Joe Garry Jr. (1-for-3, RBI) plated the Kernels’ runs. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 3: Fort Myers vs. Dunedin, PPD Series tied 1-1 Darn rain. They plan to try to get it in on Saturday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Daniel Gossett (Wichita): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul): 2-for-6, HR, 3 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: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Louisville (7:07 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (7-4, 5.02 ERA) Wichita @ Midland (5:00 CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (5-0, 0.82 ERA) Wichita @ Midland (TBD CST) - TBD Fort Myers vs. Dunedin (11:00 am CST) - TBD
  25. Joining infielders Austin Martin and Edouard Julien on the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs will be catcher Alex Isola, and pitchers Denny Bentley (LHP), Jon Olsen, Francis Peguero, and Ryan Shreve. Countless numbers of top prospects have gone through the Arizona Fall League, which is often used as a proving ground for those near the top of their team’s system looking to make their jump to the majors. It’s also a mechanism utilized to help make 40-man roster decisions heading into the next season and to make up for lost development time among players. Last season, for example, the Twins were represented by pitchers Kody Funderburk, Cody Laweryson, Evan Sisk, and Zach Featherstone as well as hitters Matt Wallner, Andrew Bechtold, and Michael Helman. Almost all of these players took that experience and ran with it in 2022, pushing themselves up the organizational ladder and having great seasons in many different ways. So who are the players for the 2022 season? IF/OF Austin Martin (Twins Daily’s #4 prospect) Austin Martin came to the Twins from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade, after being drafted fifth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. His elite contact ability and athleticism had him in the running for the first overall pick and was widely considered as perhaps the best overall hitter in the class after hitting .368/.474/.532 in his career at Vanderbilt. It hasn’t necessarily played out that way so far for Martin as a professional, but the potential still remains. Martin missed over a month this season with a wrist injury, so he’s in the AFL both looking to make up for lost time, and attempting to recapture some of that “top prospect” status. His inclusion reminds me a lot of Royce Lewis’ during the 2019 season, where he had struggled in High-A and Double-A, but went on to win the AFL’s Most Valuable Player award while playing all over the diamond. For more Twins Daily content on Austin Martin, click here. IF/OF Edouard Julien (TD’s #14 prospect) Julien continues to fly a bit under the radar as a prospect despite owning a career OPS over .900 in two minor league seasons, spending all of this season at Double-A Wichita. Known primarily for his ability to draw a walk, Julien has also demonstrated some pop and speed since turning pro, slugging 35 home runs, and stealing 51 bases in his career thus far. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn, and they have to be ecstatic about the return they’ve received thus far. He may not have a defined defensive position at this point, but he has played second base exclusively during the 2022 season, after splitting time in the infield and outfield in 2021. His time in the AFL will likely be spent proving his hitting prowess is no fluke, and perhaps seeing if he can handle multiple positions. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. C Alex Isola Isola joined the Twins organization in the 2019 draft, being selected in the 29th round out of Texas Christian University. He’s spent his career in the minors splitting time between catcher, first base, and designated hitter. His bat has continued to develop since turning pro, improving a .243/.342/.425 line with Cedar Rapids in 2021, to .286/.384/.473 line with Wichita this season. He will likely continue to work on his receiving skills once a week in the desert, while also getting plugged in at first base or designated hitter. He also missed two months of the 2022 season with an injury, so he’s getting the opportunity to make up for missed at-bats as well. We've written several articles on Alex Isola at Twins Daily. Check them out here. RHP Jon Olsen Projected to go much higher in the 2018 draft initially, Olsen fell to the Twins in the 12th round due to undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then later had a Thoracic Outlet procedure. Because of that and the COVID pandemic, Olsen has pitched less than 100 innings in four seasons since being drafted. Olsen is the most likely of the four pitchers the Twins are sending to the league to start games for the Desert Dogs, but it’s all about simply getting on the mound and throwing innings for the right-hander. He’s pitched just over 20 innings for the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season, and it will be interesting to follow if he can keep his strikeout rate up against the improved competition. For more Twins Daily content on Jon Olsen, click here. LHP Denny Bentley Bentley was drafted by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard Community College, a well-known JUCO program in Texas. He’s been purely a reliever since then, posting excellent strikeout rates as well as high walk rates, while pitching at five different levels thus far, including a brief jump to Rochester in 2019. He’s spent the 2022 season split between Cedar Rapids and Wichita, accumulating a 3.52 ERA, three saves, and 71 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings (11.9K/9IP) thanks in large part to an improving slider. He was Twins Daily’s choice for MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month in June after being promoted to Wichita. Like several relievers before him (think Jovani Moran), Bentley will look to keep his strikeouts up and bring his walks down against the better competition in the AFL, and perhaps improve his stock in the system. Bentley has frequently been mentioned and a strong candidate for Relief Pitcher of the Month. For more, click here. RHP Ryan Shreve Shreve made his mark on the Twins system during the 2021 season, after being taken in the 16th round of the 2019 draft from Pacific University. He accumulated 73 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings, a drastic increase from his college days, that was good for a 3.62 ERA at three levels, holding hitters to a .167 average in the Midwest League. He suffered a shoulder impingement early in the 2022 season, and upon his return, the strikeouts didn’t come back right away. He got stronger as the season wore on, however, and since the start of July owns a 1.26 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just 8. For those efforts, he took home Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Month award for August. In the AFL he will look to keep up that momentum heading into the 2023 season, adding innings to his ledger after the missed time. For more Twins Daily content on Ryan Shreve, click here. RHP Francis Peguero Peguero came to the organization just before the 2022 season started, as part of the trade package that netted the Twins Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds. He was signed by the Reds in the 2017 international signing period and has since made it to Double-A, appearing in 15 games for the Wind Surge this year. He did not appear in games until July as he dealt with an injury, so his time in the AFL is also about making up innings and allowing the Twins to get a better idea of what they have with the 25-year-old right-hander. He boasts a mid-90s fastball, doesn’t walk anybody, and can pick up strikeouts in bunches at times, but has had trouble limiting contact, allowing well over a hit per inning in his career. He will likely use the AFL to work on his secondary offerings with a plethora of new coaching voices, to see if he can unlock any new tricks. He hasn't been in the organization long, but Peguero has been mentioned in a few Twins Daily articles. Click here for more. What do you think of the contingent the Minnesota Twins are sending to the Arizona Fall League? What are you looking for out of the prospects above?
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