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  1. Earlier this week, Seth Stohs took a dive into the deeper end of the Minnesota Twins system, highlighting players who finished in the 21-30 range of our voting tabulation, and honorable mentions who fell just outside that threshold. (For what it's worth, note that Luis Arraez was once found in these very same outside ranks of our lists and others. And he's only one fresh-in-mind example.) With that said, the odds of an MLB future start to increase as we break into the top 20 of our list. In this group of five, representing Twins Daily's choices for the organizations 16th-through-20th best prospects of 2023, we find an intriguing mix of untapped promise and fading high-end upside. 20. Misael Urbina, OF Age: 20 2022 Stats: 263 PA, .247/.323/.407, 5 HR, 27 RBI He was the Twins' big-money signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, scoring a $2.75 million bonus, but four years later he hasn't played a game above Low-A. That's how it can go for players that sign as extremely raw talents at age 16 (especially with a lost COVID season mixed in). Through it all he still won't reach legal drinking age until this April. Urbina's outstanding tools remain intact but he needs to start backing them up with production in order to keep his prospect status from fading. Thus far he has a .228/.326/.359 slash line as a pro. 19. Jose Rodriguez, OF Age: 17 2022 Stats (Rookie): 219 PA, .290/.361/.605 , 13 HR, 49 RBI Typically speaking, when teenage players sign from another country and head to the States to play pro ball, it takes a little while to acclimate and warm up. You'll often see meager results in short-season debuts for players who go on to accomplish a great deal. Rodriguez broke the mold after he signed last summer and joined the Twins' affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. He wasn't the most high-profile player acquired in Minnesota's 2022 international signing class, which helped make his spectacular showing on the field so jarring. Rodriguez posted a jaw-dropping .966 OPS and led the short-season league with 13 homers in 55 games. He was an absolute slugging machine and it's scary to think how that might evolve as he ages. The stellar showing earned him Twins Daily's nod as short-season hitter of the year. "Rodriguez’s exit velocities may have been even more impressive than his homer total," wrote Aaron Gleeman, who is higher than most on the prospect, ranking him 13th on his list. "He destroyed the ball, in an environment where that isn’t supposed to take place." So far, so very good. And the strikeout/walk rates are promising for future development. But Rodriguez has a long way to go, as a player from a mold that has high burnout rates. He's a candidate to fly up these rankings with a reinforcing 2023 campaign. 18. Tanner Schobel, 2B Age: 21 2022 Stats (Rookie/A): 136 PA, .242/.367/.303, 1 HR, 11 RBI The Twins snagged Schobel in the second round of last year's draft out of Virginia Tech, where he emerged as a slugging shortstop to boost his appeal. After signing him to a $1 million bonus the Twins him to get his feet wet in Low-A. There, Schobel's power evaporated. Following a 19-homer outburst in the college season, Schobel managed just one home run in 120 plate appearances at Fort Myers, producing a mere .303 slugging percentage. He did, however, show good plate discipline with a 23-to-18 K/BB ratio while swiping seven bags. The power drop-off and move from short to second keep Schobel's helium in check, leading to a lower ranking than you'd normally see from such a highly-drafted prospect in the latest class. But there are some Brian Dozier parallels here, and he's the poster child for late-blooming middle infield power. 17. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Age: 22 2022 Stats (AAA): 95.1 IP, 5.66 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 The Twins were excited to get Ronny Henriquez as an addition to Isiah Kiner-Falefa in last offseason's Mitch Garver trade. They viewed him as underrated addition to their pitching pipeline, capable of racking up strikeouts and moving quickly to the majors. They were correct on those two counts. Henriquez tallied 106 strikeouts in 95 innings at Triple-A, and reached the majors in September at age 22, posting a 2.31 ERA in three appearances. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== With the goods news out of the way, he also allowed a 5.66 ERA at St. Paul, coughing up 19 homers and 33 walks in those 95 innings. Some changes in pitch usage could help Henriquez take the final step to fulfill his potential, and that'll probably start with moving him to full-time relief duty. The righty made 14 starts for the Saints last year among 24 appearances. Don't sleep on him as a significant factor in Minnesota's bullpen this year. 16. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Age: 24 2022 Stats (AAA): 70.2 IP, 7.39 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 What was supposed to be Balazovic's breakthrough year turned into a total breakdown. From start to finish it was an abject disaster. He was all over the place, utterly hittable when in the zone, and incredibly home run prone. Virtually every start unraveled on the big right-hander, at least up until a decent final month softened his landing at season's end. There were reports of a bothersome knee issue, but Balazovic was healthy enough to avoid the injured list following his late start, so this seems more an issue of mechanics and execution. The reason he remains as high as he does in our ranks is because Balazovic had elevated himself to such a level prior to this lost season. Bad as it was, it's only one season, and the 24-year-old still has time to get (at least somewhat) back on track to recapture the form that made him arguably the system's best pitching prospect prior. Over the past three years he's ranked fourth, sixth, and fifth on this list. Feel free to discuss these prospects and ask as many questions as you like in the COMMENTS below. I will try to get to as any of them as I can. For more Twins Daily content on these ten Twins prospects, click on the link with their name here: Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, Tanner Schobel, Jose Rodriguez, Misael Urbina. Previous Installments Honorable Mention Prospects 21-30 Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 - Coming Soon!
  2. Jordan Balazovic was seen as the crown jewel pitching prospect in the Twins system for a few years prior to 2022. Even as a fifth round pick out of Canada in 2016, Balazovic became a big name quickly, as his 6’5 frame filled out quickly and velocity soon followed. He dominated his way up to Double-A in 2019 before the 2020 shutdown interrupted what looked to be an ascension to one of the Twins best starting pitching prospects in some time. 2021 was a mixed bag as Balazovic threw 97 innings in Double-A with a mid-3s ERA. The strikeouts came down and walks came up a bit, but he still flashed the upside the Twins knew was there. While not the dominant pitcher he had shown he could be, 2021 never could have foreshadowed what we saw in 2022. Balazovic began the season a bit behind due to a knee issue. Still, the Twins had decided they’d seen enough in Double-A to bump him up to Triple-A, setting the stage for a potential call up later in 2022. Unfortunately, these plans did not come to fruition, as Balazovic wound up throwing around 70 innings and posting a panic-inducing 7.39 ERA. He was often chased from outings in the second or third inning, allowing a 2.55 HR/9 that would make Emilio Pagan blush. There were rumblings of the knee issue continuing to limit the right hander, but the 2022 season was enough for Balazovic to lose all national prospect status. Once bordering on Top 100 prospect lists as an up-and-coming mid-to-high end starting pitcher, Balazovic’s future is suddenly a massive question mark. The question of course, is how the Twins view him. At 24 years old, the Twins don’t have to rush to make a decision with Balazovic. Plenty of pitchers such as Josh Winder and Bailey Ober debuted at older ages. The issue, however, becomes the fact that Balazovic had to be added to the 40-man roster. If The Twins want to regain trust in him as a starter in 2023, it will likely take a sizable body of work for them to feel comfortable calling him up given what they saw last year. It also runs the risk of him either continuing to struggle or just putting up middle of the road numbers that don’t push the issue at all. Given how often the Twins churn over the fringes of the 40-man roster, it’s hard to stash Balazovic away in Triple-A as a starter if they’ve lost any faith in him. It’s possible they take another route instead. Balazovic’s stuff remains intact by all accounts. His massive frame allows him to throw mid-90s out of the rotation, and he has multiple secondary pitches that grade out well. It’s entirely possible that a move to shorter stints out of the bullpen allow him to approach triple digits, and he could greatly reduce the usage on his lowest-graded pitch being the changeup. He should have the raw stuff to put any command struggles behind him and simply overpower opposing hitters. This would also put him on an expedited track to the Major Leagues. Nobody ever wants to see a top prospect make the switch to the bullpen, but it’s a quite common outcome. Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Jhoan Duran, all former starters that made a shift for struggles of some kind and found massive success in the MLB. We’ve seen Griffin Jax, a low 90s fringe starting pitching prospect transition into a high leverage reliever who sits above 95 mph. Sometimes a move to the bullpen is exactly what a pitcher needs to reach their potential. It’s likely at this point that Balazovic opens 2023 as a starting pitcher in Triple-A once more, which is completely fair. Much like the 2022 Twins, it may be wise not to make any rash decisions when injury accounted for so much of the struggles. Still, it’s likely that Balazovic’s status as a future starting pitcher is on thin ice. Prospects get hurt and struggle every year, but Balazovic’s 2022 was so bad that it’s fair to wonder whether it’s possible for him to come all the way back. The Twins should have a backup plan on standby for Balazovic in 2023 should his struggles continue early in the year. He has the talent to make a real impact on the Major League team and if his odds of that impact coming in the rotation continue to wane, the Twins need to be ready to pivot. Jordan Balazovic could easily become the next Jhoan Duran starter turned reliever to make an impact on the Twins roster. It’s not what fans have hoped for all of these years, but it’s far from a bad outcome.
  3. Last season, three notable names returned from injury at the top of the Twins' prospect rankings. Royce Lewis was returning from a torn ACL, while Matt Canterino and Jhoan Duran were recovering from strained elbows. Lewis had a tremendous season before tearing his ACL for the second straight season. Canterino was limited to 37 innings before requiring Tommy John surgery. Thankfully, during his rookie campaign, Jhoan Duran became one of baseball's most dominant relievers. Entering the 2023 season, the Twins hope these three prospects can get back on track to prove they are healthy. Royce Lewis, SS 2022 Injury: Torn ACL Lewis didn't want to be on this list in two consecutive off-seasons. However, he has already proven that he can return from this injury and not lose a beat. There was some question last year if Lewis would need time to adjust to the Triple-A level after not appearing in a competitive game since 2019. It certainly didn't look like he missed a beat. He posted a .993 OPS in 24 games before being called up for his big-league debut. Then Lewis went 12-for-39 (.308) with six extra-base hits in his first 11 MLB games with the Twins. With Carlos Correa signed, Lewis doesn't need to be rushed back in 2023. He can take his time to prove he is healthy again at Triple-A before being being called up. Still, the Twins need Lewis to become a player that impacts both sides of the ball for the next decade. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF 2022 Injury: Torn Meniscus Last season, Rodriguez showed why the Twins were so high on him when they signed him in July 2019. He was considered a top-10 international prospect in the class. Unfortunately, the pandemic postponed his professional debut to 2021, where he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with five doubles, two triples, and ten home runs. Rodriguez spent the 2022 season in Fort Myers, where he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition. In 47 games, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with more walks (57) than strikeouts (52). His season ended in June after he tore his meniscus and needed surgery. Minnesota can start Rodriguez in Fort Myers while the weather is colder, but he should spend most of the season in Cedar Rapids. He's out to prove that his breakout season wasn't a fluke. Jordan Balazovic, SP 2022 Injury: Left Knee Strain Balazovic's 2022 season was delayed until mid-May due to a left knee strain, and he went on to have the worst season of his professional career. In 72 2/3 innings, he posted a 7.68 ERA with a 1.97 WHIP with a 77-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lucas wrote extensively on ways to fix Jordan Balazovic, saying, "It's possible that the lingering pain caused him to diminish his knee extension after foot plant, impacting his velocity and command." The Twins don't need to rush Balazovic to the big leagues with other pitchers ahead of him on the team's depth chart, including Louie Varland and Simeon Woods Richardson. Balazovic can spend the beginning of the season proving he is healthy at Triple-A before a potential mid-season call-up. Which has the most to prove this season? Can all three stay healthy? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. Jordan Balazovic was held to a mere 70 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level where he posted a mind-numbingly poor 7.39 ERA, by far the worst of his career. His peripheral numbers weren’t much better. Below is a comparison of how Balazovic has performed in many key stats over his last three seasons. (He didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the pandemic.) Like many young arms with natural talent, Balazovic crushed the lower minors. However, as he ascended through the ranks, his performance has dipped, culminating in his forgettable 2022 season at Triple-A. It’s not uncommon for an individual’s stats to decline as he moves up the minor league ladder—each level consists of better and better players, after all—but Balazovic’s represent a relatively steep decline. What stands out the most is the increase in hard contact he has surrendered, particularly last season. As he has only appeared in the minors, we don’t have publicly available Statcast data for Balazovic, but at a certain point average exit velocities and hard-hit percentages aren’t needed. His BABIP against has increased nearly 40%, while his line drive percentage has gone up 81% and his home runs per fly ball by a staggering 471% from High-A to Triple-A. In short, his pitches are getting hit harder and harder by better and better hitters. Additionally, his walk rates have increased while his strikeout rates have simultaneously dropped from 2019 to 2022. Balazovic has never been one to have pinpoint command despite respectable strikeout numbers (see his K-BB%), and that lack of command has become more troublesome as the opposing batters’ patience has improved at each level. It would be interesting to see his opposing batter chase and whiff rates at all three levels—almost assuredly they would both decrease—but that data isn’t publicly available. So that belies the question: What can Balazovic due to improve his stuff and get back on the top prospect hype train? Well, I don’t know. At least not entirely. Pitching is a complex endeavor, both mentally and physically, so rarely is there a simple answer. But I do have a few ideas that my be helpful. Potential Option #1: Increase elbow flexion at foot plant This is something that the team of biomechanics wizards at Driveline has looked into quite a bit. Elbow flexion is measured by the degree of bend at the elbow. A fully extended elbow would have 0 degrees of flexion while a fully flexed elbow—biomechanically impossible—would be 180 degrees. Driveline has found that, on average, their most elite pitchers (i.e. fastest throwers) achieve 107 degrees of elbow flexion when the foot of their lead leg hits the ground. As seen in the picture above, Balazovic frequently fails to reach beyond 90 degrees of flexion, and at times seemingly doesn’t even reach 90 degrees. (Granted, it’s difficult to say with 100 percent certainty from the behind-the-mound camera angle, but this is the best option available to the public.) Potential Option #2: Decrease posterior trunk lean (i.e. extension) at foot plant Another Driveline favorite. They have found that most elite pitchers that train with them have, on average, negative 10 degrees of anterior trunk lean at foot plant. In English, that means that the best-of-the-best pitchers generally bend backwards slightly when their foot hits the ground. It’s difficult to put an angle on Balazovic without biomechanics tracking software, but eyeballing it, it seems as though he frequently leans too far back at foot plant. This can contribute to a number of flaws during the throwing motion, particularly making the arm “drag” behind, decreasing command. Potential Option #3: Increase knee extension power throughout arm swing All pitchers land with a certain degree of knee flexion (i.e. knee bend) at foot plant. The pitchers who through hardest are able to forcefully extend (i.e. straighten) the knee as they thrust their pitching arm forward. This creates a rigid lever that increases torque and, thus, pitch velocity. Last season, Balazovic seemingly struggled with this. Perhaps of note, his lead leg is his left and he was reportedly dealing with left knee discomfort all season. It’s possible that the lingering pain caused him to diminish his knee extension after foot plant, impacting his velocity and command. Potential Option #4: Increase efficient separation between his trunk and pelvis Watch the video below. The first frame resulted in a ball while the next three were strikes. See if you can parse a difference between Balazovic’s trunk and pelvis between the three pictures. balazovic 1.mov Ok, now here’s a video with my notes. balazovic 2.mov When Balazovic is able to get his hips pointing toward the plate at foot plant, he’s able to efficiently rotate his torso and throw strikes. When he isn’t his arm lags behind and the result is more often than not a ball. In short, in order for Balazovic to improve and become a solid MLB pitcher, I would argue that he needs to not only tighten up his mechanics but improve his motion's consistency. His windup consists of many long levers and moving parts, both of which serve to reduce consistency (and, theoretically increase strain on the low back; he's struggled with back pain at time during his brief career). The options I've laid out above may help accomplish the opposite.
  7. At the onset of the 2022 season, Minnesota's front office put a vote of confidence in the pitching pipeline by not signing a frontline starting pitcher. Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer were the team's two free-agent acquisitions, and neither performed exceptionally well. Unfortunately, Minnesota's pitching pipeline also struggled, but signs point to a potential turnaround in 2023. Here are how the team's top pitching prospects performed in 2022. Triple-A: Jordan Balazovic (ETA: 2023), Simeon Woods Richardson (ETA: 2022), Louie Varland (ETA: 2022), Ronny Henriquez (ETA: 2022) Woods Richardson and Varland are the two highlights of this group, as they both started the year at Double-A and finished it in the Twins rotation. By many accounts, Woods Richardson is still considered the better prospect, but Varland has now won back-to-back awards as the organization's minor league pitcher of the year. Woods Richardson posted a 2.77 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP across 23 appearances. Varland made 24 appearances with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Next year, both arms project to start in the Saints rotation, but they will be needed at the big-league level at some point in 2023. The Twins acquired Henriquez as part of the Mitch Garver trade with Texas. He is an intriguing prospect to watch as the club must decide at some point in the future if he is a starter or reliever moving forward. Henriquez made his big-league debut in 2022 as a reliever, but the organization will likely allow him to start again in 2023. As a 22-year-old, he was very young for Triple-A and posted a 5.66 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP in 95 1/3 innings. Henriquez wasn't the only prospect to see a poor performance at Triple-A. Balazovic struggled to start 2022, but he finished the season on a positive note. Entering the 2022 season, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-100 prospects. In 23 appearances, Balazovic had a 7.68 ERA with a 1.97 WHIP. He has been one of the team's top pitching prospects for multiple seasons, and his development is key to the organization's pitching pipeline. Henriquez and Balazovic should be at Triple-A to start 2023. Double-A: Blayne Enlow (ETA: 2023), Brent Headrick (ETA: 2024) Minnesota added Enlow to the 40-man roster last winter even though he was expected to miss most of 2022 due to Tommy John surgery. Enlow was used as a starter and reliever and posted a 4.73 ERA with a 1.63 WHIP in 59 innings. It will be interesting to see if he sticks on the 40-man roster because the Twins have a lot of clean-up this winter. He will likely need to start 2022 at Double-A because he is continuing to build up his arm strength following surgery. Varland has received most of the attention, but Headrick was in the same draft class and has performed well. He split time between High-A and Double-A with a 3.32 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP in 108 innings. He struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings, and his strikeout numbers improved after being promoted to Double-A. Headrick will start next season at Double-A, but he will have the opportunity to move to Triple-A in the second half. High-A: David Festa (ETA: 2024), Sean Mooney (ETA: 2024), Jaylen Nowlin (ETA: 2024) The Twins took Festa in the 13th round in 2019, but he has seen his prospect stock rise since that point. In 2022, he made starts at Low- and High-A with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. He dominated in Fort Myers with a 12.4 K/9, but that total dipped to 8.5 K/9 after his promotion. Festa was a little young for the Midwest League, so he can start 2023 at that level before moving up the organizational ladder. Mooney is an intriguing pitching prospect, averaging 13.5 K/9 during his first two professional seasons. Unfortunately, injuries have been part of his career which has limited him to just over 100 innings pitched since 2021. Since he turns 25 in January, the team may need to push him to Double-A during the 2023 season. Nowlin was a 19th round pick in 2021 and he made it all the way to High-A last in 2022. He posted video-game strikeout numbers in his first full season with 14.1 K/9 in 71 innings. He throws hard and is left-handed, which may help his prospect status entering 2023. He only made three starts at High-A to end 2022, so he likely starts next season in Cedar Rapids. Low-A: Marco Raya (ERA: 2025) In recent memory, Raya is one of the Twins' most exciting pitching prospects. He missed most of 2021 with a shoulder strain, so the 2022 season marked his professional debut. In 19 games (65 innings), he posted a 3.05 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and a 76-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He will be 20 years old for most of the 2023 season, so it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Twins are with his promotions. It seems likely for the club to keep him in Fort Myers for the cold months to start the year and promote him to Cedar Rapids later in the year. The names above are just some of the organization's starting pitching options in the years ahead. Connor Prielipp, a 2022 second-round pick, is arguably the Twins' best pitching prospect, and he has yet to make a professional appearance. Matt Canterino has been dominant on the mound, but health was an issue, and now he will miss 2023 following Tommy John surgery. Brayan Medina is a name to watch in the rookie leagues, as MLB.com already ranks him as the team's 17th-best prospect. This group needs to start producing if Falvey wants to recreate Cleveland's pitching success. Will the Twins' pitching pipeline emerge in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. Baseball development is not a linear path. Prospects can look great one month and then spiral downward later in the same year. Organizations with the greatest success level can minimize slumps and help their prospects improve before reaching their ultimate goal. The Twins drafted Jordan Balazovic in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He was a high school pitcher from Ontario, Canada, which isn’t exactly a hotbed of MLB talent. Minnesota liked his frame and projectability, and those scouting reports looked true as he began his professional career. Since he was 17 years old, Minnesota kept Balazovic in the GCL for two seasons to start acclimating to the professional ranks. He posted a 3.61 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP, but he was adding to his frame and making adjustments to help him as he moved up the organizational ladder. His first full season came in 2018 at Cedar Rapids, where he posted an 11.4 K/9 with a 1.17 WHIP and a 3.94 ERA. At the time, he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition in the Midwest League. The 2019 season put Balazovic on the prospect map as he continued to be young for his level. In 18 appearances (93 2/3 innings), he posted a 2.69 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP and a 129-to-25 strikeout to walk ratio. He represented the Twins at the 2019 Futures Game, and it looked like the Twins had developed a top-of-the-rotation starter. Baseball America and MLB.com placed him in their top-100 lists entering the 2020 season. Coming out of the lost COVID season, Minnesota sent Balazovic to Double-A, and he made 20 starts in the Wind Surge rotation. He continued to strike out more than a batter per inning (9.5 K/9), but he also started giving up more hits (9.1 H/9) and walks (3.5 BB/9). By the season’s end, he had a 3.62 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP as over 81% of his at-bats came against older batters. The 2022 season was setting up to be a critical turning point in Balazovic’s development. Balazovic entered the 2022 season as a borderline top-100 prospect, with Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus including him on their list. At Twins Daily, he was the fourth overall prospect in the Twins organization and the highest-rated pitcher. He had success in the upper minors and was projected to make his big-league debut, but that plan didn’t work out. During spring training, Balazovic suffered a back injury that forced him to begin the 2022 season on the injured list. His first appearance came in May for Fort Myers as he worked his way back. By May 7th, he was in the Saints rotation, but there were struggles to start the year. Through his first nine starts, he posted a 9.24 ERA as batters accumulated a 1.141 OPS with eight home runs against him. His next eight starts slightly improved as his ERA dropped to 8.88, but he continued to surrender too many home runs. It looked like a lost season for Balazovic, but something clicked near the season’s end. During September, Balazovic had his best month of the season. He posted a 3.43 ERA in five starts with 30 strikeouts and ten walks in 21 innings. Batters still hit four home runs, but two of those home runs came in the same game. For the month, batters hit .247/.330/.469 (.799) as he filled the strike zone with a 62% strike rate. It had to be a satisfying end to a season that didn’t go as planned for Balazovic. Entering 2023, Balazovic won’t make any top-100 lists, and he will drop on Twins prospect rankings. However, he has something to build off of for 2023. Sometimes struggles are part of the development process, and Minnesota hopes Balazovic can learn from a rough 2022 season. What are your thoughts on Balazovic’s 2022 season? What is his ceiling? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Last winter, it was clear to anyone looking at the Twins roster that the team needed frontline starting pitching. There were other off-season needs, but they only had Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober penciled into the rotation and many other question marks. Minnesota had the financial flexibility to sign frontline starting pitching, but the club decided to go in a different direction. With the pending lockout, the Twins front office watched most frontline free agent starters ink contracts with other organizations. Minnesota's lone signing before the lockout was Dylan Bundy, who figured to fit into the rotation's back half. It was tough to decipher how the Twins expected to fill the rotation, but the team's plan became clear as spring training inched closer. Following the lockout, Sonny Gray was the Twins' biggest offseason pitching acquisition. He was a clear frontline starter and pitched that way during the 2022 season. The team added Chris Archer to join Bundy at the back of the rotation, and Chris Paddack joined the club in a last-minute deal before Opening Day. All these arms impacted the 2022 Twins, but the club wanted to rely on the young pitching in the system to supplement the veteran arms. Derek Falvey was brought to Minnesota because of his experience with the Cleveland organization. During his Cleveland tenure, one of his calling cards was cultivating young pitching, which has been a staple of the Guardians organization. Minnesota was going to start the 2022 campaign with Ryan and Ober in the rotation, but there were expectations that other young pitchers would join their ranks. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and Minnesota's pitching pipeline may have taken a step back this season. As the season began, it looked like the Twins had plenty of pitching prospects in the upper minors that had the potential to impact the roster. Minnesota had five upper minors starting pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, and others rounded out their top-20 list. Ryan had an up-and-down season as a rookie, but he is on pace to set the team's rookie record for strikeouts. Josh Winder and Cole Sands have combined to pitch just over 80 big league innings, with both missing games due to injury. Louie Varland saw his stock rise the most out of this group as he pitched well in the upper minors before making his big league debut in September. Matt Canterino and Jordan Balazovic were arguably the team's top pitching prospects entering the 2022 campaign, but it was a lost season for both. Canterino dominated on the mound in 13 appearances, but he needed Tommy John surgery before the season's end. Balazovic was on pace to debut in 2022, but he struggled at Triple-A and is now getting back on track. Besides Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson helped his stock the most this season, and he deserves to make some starts for the Twins down the stretch. Many will blame injuries for the Twins' failures during the 2022 season. However, the lack of contributions from the pitching pipeline is also concerning. Not every pitching prospect can be successful throughout their professional careers, and there is hope that some of these arms will get healthy in the offseason. As Minnesota's focus turns to 2023, the front office might not be able to rely as heavily on the pitching pipeline when building next year's roster. Did the pitching pipeline plan fail in 2022? Is there hope for improvement in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  10. TRANSACTIONS RHP Austin Schulfer placed on 7-day concussion IL by St. Paul C David Banuelos activated from 7-day concussion IL by St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 7, St. Paul 1 Box Score Jordan Balazovic drew the start today for St. Paul and was chased after three innings. He allowed five runs on six hits while striking out four. Balazovic did give up a walk and was burned by two homers. A five-run 3rd inning by Indianapolis put St. Paul in a bad spot early. They gave up two more in the 6th inning and before recording their first run, the Saints were staring at a seven-run deficit. Ryan Jeffers, still working his way back on a Major League rehab assignment, hit a homer in the 8th inning to make sure the Saints wouldn’t be shut out. Trevor Larnach, also rehabbing, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout as the designated hitter. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Melvi Acosta (St. Paul) - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Hitter of the Day – Chris Williams (St. Paul) - 1-2, 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - Twins Play Wednesday night in Kansas City. #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05PM CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Twins Daily Short Season Pitcher of the Year Twins Daily Short Season Hitter of the Year
  11. Coming into the 2022 season, Twins Daily ranked Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino as the first, fourth, and sixth best prospects in the organization, respectively. Not only were they high-caliber talents with polish and big upside, but they were all more or less on the precipice of major-league readiness. In each case, things hardly could've gone worse. Whether performance, injury, or a combination, each of these critical assets saw his stock nosedive over the past summer, and it adds another layer of complexity for a front office trying to build its way back to contention. With that said, hope isn't lost for any of these three. Let's take a look at each of their campaigns so far, as things come close to wrapping up here in September. Austin Martin and the power that never came. The prize of last year's José Berríos trade at the deadline, Martin was billed as a near-ready prospect right out of the gates. It was warranted, after he led all of Double-A in on-base percentage during his first pro season. Despite his resounding success, Minnesota sent Martin back to the same level this year, no doubt hoping he'd shore up his biggest weakness from 2022 – an absence of power to complement the excellent OBP – and earn a quick call-up to Triple-A or even the majors. That didn't happen. Martin's power trended the wrong direction this year. After slugging .382 with a .127 ISO and five home runs in 418 PAs between New Hampshire and Wichita, this year he's slugging .317 with an .074 ISO and two home runs in 406 PAs at Wichita. Martin has kept his on-base skills steady, with a .367 OBP despite the crummy .241 average, but his lack of ability to drive the ball with any authority almost renders it moot. Posting a .685 OPS as a 23-year-old in your second turn at Double-A, with no apparent underlying injury, is nothing short of disastrous. Given all the injuries the Twins have faced this season, it's likely Martin would've gotten a chance at some point if he'd even modestly improved his production from a year ago. His drop-off eliminated that possibility and will leave him as something of an afterthought heading into 2023. Martin's going to tank on national prospect lists, where he ranked around #50 by consensus coming into the season. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Martin would hardly be the first player to develop significant power rapidly in his mid-20s. In fact, two "shortstop" prospects who came before him in the Twins system serve as optimistic precedents: Brain Dozier totaled 14 home runs in 317 games through his first three minor-league seasons. Five years later he would set an American League record by launching 42 as a second baseman in 2016. Jorge Polanco hit 35 total home runs total in 598 minor-league games, and could barely muster an XBH in his early days. He hit 33 home runs for the Twins last year. Jordan Balazovic's puzzling struggles in St. Paul. We had Balazovic ranked as the #1 pitcher in the system coming into this year, following a strong campaign at Double-A where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 rate as a 22-year-old. Relative to other arms in the system, Balazovic had a more consistent track record and more established workload base, which is why it seemed feasible to envision him playing a significant role in the Twins rotation this year. His abominable performance at Triple-A has done away with that notion entirely. Balazovic started a month late with the Saints due to a knee strain. While he ostensibly put that behind him, staying healthy enough to take the mound each sixth day, he has never seemed right at any point. The right-hander's performance with St. Paul has been beyond awful. In 62 ⅔ innings across 20 appearances, he's 0-6 with a 7.47 ERA. Opponents have slashed .342/.412/.625 against him, as both his walk and home run rates have spiraled out of control. Balazovic has made 19 starts for the Saints and completed five innings ONCE. In late June, Balazovic told Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press his struggles were "like a puzzle; every day it’s something new." "I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.” The big 6-foot-5 righty boiled his issues down to consistency and execution, but expressed hope he was getting closer to solving the puzzle. "I’m still hoping for that day," he said, "and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow." It wasn't. The following day he needed 60 pitches to get through 2 ⅔ innings against the Iowa Cubs, allowing five hits (two homers) and two walks. His next time out he coughed up five earned runs in three innings against Omaha. These have been typical results for Balazovic this year, and as a result he's slid down a pitching pipeline hierarchy that's already been depleted by the Chase Petty trade and the development we'll look at next. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Balazovic didn't quite follow through on his "hoping that day is tomorrow" goal, but he might not have been far off? While he bombed in his next two starts, he's been on a bit of a roll ever since, posting a 2.52 ERA and 29-to-11 K/BB ratio with just three homers allowed over 25 innings in his past six starts. Sometimes guys need to experience their worst to unlock their best. Balazovic has plenty of talent to rebound and get back on track. Matt Canterino and the elbow that finally gave way. Canterino's elbow is the only thing that's stood in his way. Drafted 54th overall in 2019 after blowing people away at Rice University for three years, the hard-throwing righty immediately started doing the same to professional hitters. In a 25-inning debut between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a 1.44 ERA with 31 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed. Then, the pandemic happened and wiped out the 2020 season. In 2021, he was limited to 23 total innings by a forearm strain (he posted a 0.78 ERA when he was able to pitch). This year, his elbow soreness re-emerged and while the Twins continually tried to navigate around it, treating surgery as a last resort, they eventually ran out of options. "It felt like we didn't have anymore stones to turn over," said assistant GM Jeremy Zoll. Unfortunately, the efforts to avoid surgery only delayed it, and now Canterino's prospective impact has also been pushed well down the line. Since he didn't undergo Tommy John until last month, Canterino will likely miss all of next year rehabbing, meaning that by the time he's ready to fully return to the mound, he'll be a 26-year-old with fewer than 100 innings as a pro. It's really difficult to come back from that. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Difficult, but not impossible. The biggest cost of all this lost time would theoretically be missed development for a guy who's barely been able to get in-game reps since being drafted three years ago. For Canterino, I'm not sure it matters as much. He's basically always looked like a guy ready for the majors when he's pitched, with raw stuff that speaks for itself. So long as that stuff remains mostly intact after the surgery, he'll have a chance to get back up to speed quickly and make his long-awaited impact on the bullpen, even if it's not until 2024. Feeling bummed out? I hear you! Make sure to check back tomorrow when I break down the most uplifting developments on the farm for the Twins this year ... Good news: I couldn't manage to limit that list to just three.
  12. TRANSACTIONS C Kyle Schmidt activated (Wichita) INF Ernie Yake placed on 7-day IL (Wichita) OF Trevor Larnach begins rehab assignment (St. Paul) Saints Sentinel St. Paul 2, Louisville 5 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Elliot Soto (2-for-3, R, BB) St. Paul lost quietly to Louisville on Thursday. Jordan Balazovic pitched well, allowing a single earned run with six strikeouts over four innings; that punchout is good for his second-highest of the season. It’s been an up-and-down year—with far more downs than anyone wished to see—but Balazovic has turned a corner late in the season, and it has been great to see. The bats couldn’t find any momentum, only scratching out two runs off technically old friend Justin Nicolino before shutting down against the Bats’ bullpen. Elliot Soto’s three times on base represented the best of any batter. Both runs scored on a Dalton Shuffield double. Jake Jewell carried the pitching effort, striking out three over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings of work; Brad Peacock tagged in with a shutout frame of his own. Trevor Larnach singled and struck out in his first rehab game. Mike Siani—the 26th ranked prospect in the Reds system—leads the Bats; he singled in four plate appearances. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 8, Midland 6 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI), Yunior Severino (2-for-4, RBI, BB), DaShawn Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5), Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-4, 2 R, BB) Wichita won a barn burner on Thursday. The bats came alive early; Wichita scored five runs off a flurry of hits in the 2nd inning and never looked back. Dillon Tatum, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Yunior Severino all earned an RBI for their efforts. Martin doubled in another run in the 4th inning; Alex Isola singled one home in the 6th. The bullpen carried the day as their incredible effort—spearheaded by scoreless outings from Hunter McMahon and Casey Legumina—saved the game. The collection of arms pitched five innings in relief of Brent Headrick, allowing two runs with six strikeouts. Martin stole his 34th base of the season; DaShawn Keirsey Jr. nabbed his 41st. Tyler Soderstrom—the Athletics’ 2nd ranked prospect according to MLB.com— leads the RockHounds. Soderstrom singled, walked, and scored a pair of runs. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 5, South Bend 3 Box Score Travis Adams: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Wander Javier (1) Multi-hit games: Brooks Lee (2-for-4, 2 2B, R) The Kernels won on Thursday to knot the playoff series at 1. No one hitter dominated the batter’s box; Cedar Rapids rode a steady stream of walks—seven of them, to be precise—to five runs, just enough to win the game. The 5th inning proved especially fruitful, as the team scored three runs off a walk, a hit by pitch, and a balk. The team went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Travis Adams didn’t have his A-stuff; the righty allowed six hits and three runs over four innings, with runs scoring in three separate innings. Fortunately, his bullpen had his back, as Jaylen Nowlin, Miguel Rodriguez, and Ryan Shreve combined for five scoreless innings, allowing a sole hit with seven strikeouts. Brooks Lee clubbed a pair of doubles; Wander Javier blasted a solo homer. Pete Crow-Armstrong—the Cubs' top prospect according to MLB.com, and the son of Ashley Crow, the actress who played the mom in Little Big League, leads the Cubs. He had a single in four trips to the plate. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 7, Dunedin 5 Box Score Marco Raya: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Keoni Cavaco (1) Multi-hit games: Ben Ross (2-for-3, 2 R, BB), Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, R), Kala’i Rosario (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI) The Mighty Mussels won with a late comeback on Thursday. It all started with an 8th-inning movement; Fort Myers stood at a 2-5 deficit, staring up the Blue Jays as Dunedin appeared set to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. Ben Ross walked, Noah Miller singled, and Kala’i Rosario brought the Mighty Mussels one run closer with an RBI single. Ian Churchill—working to become the most well-known man with that surname—walked Misael Urbina, bringing Keoni Cavaco to the plate with the bases full. Cavaco wasted no time, stepped into the first pitch, and drove a grand slam deep out to left-center field. Marco Raya worked a tough but admirable game; the righty allowed three 1st inning runs—never an ideal start for a pitcher—but dialed himself in, and held the Blue Jays scoreless in the three following frames. Kyle Jones was probably the most important pitcher in Thursday’s effort as he pitched three innings without an earned run while striking out two. 2022 draft picks carried the game in general; Ben Ross and Tanner Schobel both clocked in multi-hit performances. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty—the 10th and 11th ranked prospects for the Blue Jays, respectively—lead the Dunedin club. Kasevich walked twice and singled; Doughty singled and struck out twice. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic, St. Paul Saints Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Keoni Cavaco, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 2B, R #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, K #8 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 2 KP #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, R #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (7:07 PM) - RHP Mario Sanchez Wichita @ Midland (7:00 PM) - RHP Daniel Gossett South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - RHP Orlano Rodriguez (Game 3 in Best of 3 series) Dunedin @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM) - LHP Jordan Carr (Game 3 in Best of 3 series)
  13. TRANSACTIONS OF Carlos Aguiar reinstated from 7-day IL at Ft. Myers Cedar Rapids placed RHP Luis Rijo on 7-day IL LHP Jovani Moran optioned to St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 9, Omaha 4 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: Chris Williams (8) Multi-hit games: Matt Wallner (3-for-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, 1 BB), Cole Sturgeon (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB) St. Paul won decisively on Saturday. It was an all-around offensive breakout; eight batters scored a run in an 11-hit, seven-walk effort. Matt Wallner may have collected the most RBIs, but this was a democratic affair; the lone hitter to not score a run drove one in. Chris Williams swatted a solo home run. Jordan Balazovic pitched arguably his best outing on Saturday; the righty struck out six while allowing a lone run over his four innings of work. It may not be the most impressive start ever, but a step in the right direction is always welcome. Michael Feliz netted four outs with one strikeout; Williams’ AAA OPS is now over 1.000. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Springfield 8 Box Score Brent Headrick: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino (2-for-4), Anthony Prato (2-for-4, 2B) Wichita played a game to forget on Saturday. The defense was the major bugaboo; the team committed five errors, with two blunders attributed to Yunior Severino and three stemming from Jair Camargo. It’s difficult to win many games with that sort of performance. Brent Headrick worked around his fielders in admirable fashion, allowing two earned runs over five innings with seven strikeouts. The lefty has 42 strikeouts over 29 innings since the beginning of August. Both runs scored late as Ernie Yake singled home a runner in the 7th, and DaShawn Keirsey Jr. brought one in with a 9th inning sacrifice fly. Keirsey also sto le two bases, giving him 37 on the season. Blayne Enlow struck out four over two innings; Anthony Prato’s double was the sole extra-base hit. Kernels Nuggets The rain ended this game before it could start; the Kernels will play a doubleheader on Sunday. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3 Box Score Tomas Cleto: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K HR: Nate Baez (1) Multi-hit games: Kala’i Rosario (2-for-4, 2 R), Nate Baez (2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 3 RBI) The Mighty Mussels won a tame game on Saturday. Nate Baez dominated the story; the catcher cracked a double and blasted a homer on his way to three RBIs. He hasn’t played much this year—the 2022 draft pick has just 47 at-bats—but more games like this could set the foundation for a phenomenal 2023 season. Kala’i Rosario was the Robin to Baez’s Batman, drumming a double and scoring a pair of runs in Saturday’s effort. Tomas Cleto was effectively wild. The starter allowed a single hit but walked four in his scoreless outing, perhaps even flummoxing himself regarding pitch location. It was no matter; Cleto walked away with a sparkling ERA, and that is all the Mighty Mussels could ask for. Noah Miller tripled for the 4th time this season; Niklas Rimmel pitched two scoreless innings to end the game. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Brent Headrick Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Matt Wallner PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4 #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, 3B, K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 3-for-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, 1 BB #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-3, BB, 2 K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, 2 R SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (5:07 PM) - RHP Josh Winder Wichita @ Springfield (6:05 PM) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Dayton (12:09 PM) - TBD Fort Myers @ Bradenton (11:00 AM) - LHP Jordan Carr
  14. Last season the Twins saw Canadian right-hander Jordan Balazovic show up on multiple top 100 prospect lists. He was a sleeper pick to rocket up those same rankings in 2022, and there’s no denying Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had dreams of him slotting into Rocco Baldelli’s rotation. Balazovic started the season late after a knee injury, and nothing has gone right since. There’s been no indication that he’s still injured, but you certainly have to hope that something has been off. The former 5th round pick in 2016 now owns a 9.06 ERA across 49 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year, and he’s gone from a double-digit strikeout pitcher to one with declining numbers and the ball leaving the park at an alarming rate. No matter how the rest of the string plays out, Minnesota has to figure out a way for Balazovic to get right next season. In his place, you could have assumed Cole Sands, Simeon Woods-Richardson, Matt Canterino or any number of other top prospects in the upper levels may have stepped up. Instead, the arm that won Minnesota’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year a season ago just kept going about his business. Louie Varland was grabbed in the 15th round during the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. Concordia St. Paul is a Division 2 school right down the street from Target Field. Gus Varland, Louie’s brother, was selected a year earlier by the Oakland Athletics. Bryan Lippincott and Jake Schmidt were drafted from legendary coach Mark McKenzie’s program before them. It’s maybe not the most glorious path, but with talent, it won’t ever matter. Varland has been a lunch-pail type of pitcher since the moment he joined the Twins organization. He posted a 2.10 ERA across his first 100 professional innings in Single-A ball, and followed it up with a 3.34 ERA for Double-A Wichita in 105 innings this season. Now knocking on the doorstep playing for the St. Paul Saints, Varland has been nothing short of magical in three turns. With 17 Triple-A innings under his belt, Varland has a 24/3 K/BB while allowing just three runs (two earned) on 11 hits. He’s never been one to give up the long ball, he’ll mow down batters in bunches, and he’s remained stingy with free passes. There isn’t a ton of deception at play here either, and Varland has worked to push his velocity into the triple-digits during offseason workouts. Nearing a 25th birthday it’s fair to understand that Varland doesn’t have the luster brought on by some of the teenage hitting prospects. He is about to capture a second-straight Minor League Pitcher of the Year award though, and it will be because he’s earned it in the most dominating fashion. With Minnesota needing to infuse the starting rotation with homegrown talent, it’s hard to get better than a kid from their own backyard, that’s taken the path less traveled, and beaten the odds. Maybe the organization can right whatever went wrong with Balazovic this season, but they have to be ecstatic with the found money and developmental progress Varland has displayed. The next stop will be on a mound with slightly more fans than Barnes Field.
  15. Getting to the major leagues can be challenging even for baseball's best prospects. Some players work their entire lives to reach the big leagues, and others make their debut before their 20th birthday. All three names below had the potential to impact the Twins roster during the 2022 season, but poor performance and injuries have cast doubt on their top prospect rankings. Minnesota's farm system continues to drop in national rankings, and these three players take a small portion of the blame for the fall. So which prospects have seen their stock drop the most this season? Austin Martin, SS/OF TD Preseason Ranking: 1 Many national rankings pegged Martin as the Twins' top prospect entering the 2022 season. All three national prospect rankings placed him in their top-60 prospects, but he has fallen off those lists as they have been updated this season. Martin is repeating Double-A this season as a 23-year-old, where he is over a year younger than the average age of the competition. His biggest concern is the lack of power development throughout his professional career. Martin posted a 1.007 OPS in college, and his OPS dropped to .676 in 2022. Martin still has all of the tools to be an above-average hitter, and he needs to continue making adjustments in the minors' upper levels. Jordan Balazovic, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 4 Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus included Balazovic at the backend of the top-100 lists entering the season. Balazovic missed time to start the 2022 season with a knee injury and has never looked right on the mound. In his first 17 appearances, he has allowed 50 earned runs in 49 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate is down (8.3 K/9), and his walk rate is up (4.7 BB/9). He is on the 40-man roster, but he has struggled so much at Triple-A that the Twins haven't been able to call him up. Luckily, he is over four years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A. Hopefully, he can call 2022 a lost season and get back on track this winter for an improved 2023. Matt Canterino, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 6 Canterino may never be ranked as a top-100 prospect, but he may have the best stuff and highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the organization. He has been unhittable with 13.8 K/9 and a 1.48 ERA in his career when on the mound. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to pitch more than 37 innings in any season since turning pro due to various injuries. His 2022 season ended abruptly when the Twins announced Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery. This injury means he will miss the rest of 2022 and the majority of 2023. Plenty of pitchers have come back strong after this surgery, and the Twins have to hope he can stay healthy moving forward. Are you worried about the future of these three players? Can they bounce back from poor 2022 campaigns? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  16. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization. TRANSACTIONS The Twins sent OF Kyle Garlick on a rehab assignment to AAA St. Paul SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 2, Iowa 4 Box Score The Saints did not start the day well for the Twins minor league affiliates as they fell 4-2 to the Iowa Cubs in an afternoon game. Jordan Balazovic took the ball for St. Paul in this one. Balazovic has had a rough year as he was 0-5 with a 9.26 ERA and a 7.41 FIP coming into today’s game. Balazovic’s first two innings were scoreless on Wednesday, and he was looking like he had maybe written the ship and turned it around. This all changed in the bottom of the third when Iowa put up two runs on four hits, including three straight two-out singles to produce the runs. Balazovic allowed John Hicks to hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, increasing Iowa’s lead to three runs. Balazovic now has allowed 16 home runs in 49 ⅔ innings for St. Paul this year, which equates to 2.9 HR per 9 innings. To put that number into perspective, Twins fan favorite, Emilio Pagan, has allowed 2.1 HR/9 this year. Despite the lead-off homer, Balazovic bounced back and struck out two batters to end the fourth and his outing. Balazovic went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. The Saints got the deficit within one in the top of the seventh thanks to solo homers from Braden Bishop and Michael Helman. Iowa gave themselves some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer off of Jharel Cotton to increase the lead to two. Jermaine Palacios led off the ninth with a single to get the tying run to the plate, but nothing sufficed, and the Saints dropped the game 4-2. Kyle Garlick played in the first game of his rehab stint and went 1-for-4 with a single and two strikeouts. Helman, Bishop, Matt Wallner, and Mark Contreras all had two-hit games to lead the offense. Drew Strotman and Jovani Moran combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief to keep the Saints in the game. The Saints fall to 57-60 on the year with the loss. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 4, Frisco 0 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge continued their incredible season and defeated Jack Leiter in a very well-played game on Wednesday night. Edouard Julien continued his incredible season by hitting his 16th homer of the year in the top of the first. Julien is now hitting .294 with a .944 OPS at Double-A this year. This gave Wichita starter Cody Laweryson a lead before he ever stepped on the mound. Laweryson never relinquished this early lead and was fantastic, throwing 4 ⅔ scoreless innings while striking out six, dropping his Double-A ERA to 0.92. The Wind Surge tacked on insurance runs in the sixth, seventh, and ninth innings. In the sixth, Jair Camargo walked, scoring Julien. In the seventh, Austin Martin doubled to score DaShawn Keirsey Jr. In the ninth, Will Holland hit his third Double-A homer to increase the lead to four. Francis Peguero, Ryan Horstman, Alex Phillips, and Steven Cruz combined to throw 4 ⅓ scoreless innings of relief to finish the game, striking out five. Peguero was credited with the win as Wichita moved to 66-49. Julien, Keirsey, and Alex Isola all had two hits to lead the offensive charge. On Thursday, Wichita will turn to Daniel Gossett who is fresh off a no-hitter. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 9, Lake County 10 Box Score Cedar Rapids dropped an extra-inning thriller to Lake County on Wednesday by a score of 10-9. The Kernels jumped out to an early lead, putting up five runs in the first inning. Mikey Perez led off with a single, advanced on an error, and was singled home by Brooks Lee. After Seth Gray walked, Jake Rucker smoked a double to score Lee and Gray. The next batter was Wander Javier, who hit his 11th homer of the year to give the Kernels a five run lead before they had recorded an out. The beneficiary of all this run support was Sean Mooney, who was making his first start since being activated from the injured list. Mooney just threw one inning and only faced three batters, getting two strikeouts and a flyout. After Mooney’s scoreless inning, Orlando Rodriguez came in as the bulk reliever for the Kernels. Rodriguez threw 4 ⅔ solid innings, allowing two runs while striking out four. After Orlando was done, the Kernels brought in Miguel Rodriguez who allowed three runs while just getting two outs as Lake County tied the game up at five in the bottom of the seventh. After not scoring from innings two through seven, the Kernels saw the game was tied and had to get it going. After Willie Joe Garry Jr. was hit by a pitch, Charles Mack smashed a two-run homer, his third of the year to give Cedar Rapids the lead. In the ninth, they added another insurance run thanks to a Mikey Perez homer. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Kernels had a three-run lead and the game was close to done. Well, three batters into the ninth Lake County had tied it up thanks to a three-run homer from Korey Holland. Garry Jr. tied it up in the top of the tenth with an RBI single but Lake County answered in the bottom half to send it to 11 innings. In the 11th, Cedar Rapids did not capitalize and Lake County did, walking off Cedar Rapids in 11 innings. Rucker led the offense with three hits, and Perez, Lee, and Dylan Neuse also chipped in with two hits a piece. Ryan Shreve was credited with the loss for Cedar Rapids as their record falls to 68-48. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) Fort Myers 7, Lakeland 6 Box Score After a four hour weather delay, Fort Myers delivered a walk-off victory in eight innings over the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Mike Paredes started on the hill for the Mighty Mussels. He went four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out one batter. Fort Myers got on the board in the first inning when Tanner Schobel singled, scoring Noah Miller. In the bottom of the fourth, Rubel Cespedes scored Ben Ross with a single to cut the Fort Myers deficit to one run. Then the rain came. Four hours later, the two teams resumed. Four hours after he hit a single, Cespedes came in to score on a wild pitch. One batter later, Misael Urbina drove in Carlos Aguiar with a single to give the Mighty Mussels a lead. The Flying Tigers tied it up in the top of the fifth and the game remained 4-4 until the first extra inning they played (the 8th inning). Juan Mendez came in to pitch for Fort Myers and allowed two runs in the top half of the eighth. With three outs to play with, Fort Myers needed a rally. Kala’i Rosario led off, reaching on an error by the second baseman to score Cespedes, who started the inning on second base. After an Aguiar walk, Luis Baez hit a single to score Rosario and tie it up. On the play, Aguiar was thrown out at home and Baez advanced to third. Three pitches later, Baez scored on a wild pitch to walk it off for Fort Myers. Schobel and Ross each had two hits to lead the offense, and Mendez picked up the win to improve his record to 3-2. Fort Myers improves to 62-50 on the year with the win. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Cody Laweryson (Wichita) - 4 ⅔ IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2B (15), HR (16), 2 R, RBI, K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-6, RBI #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B (10), RBI, BB, 2 K #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, 2B (12), R, BB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2B (15), HR (16), 2 R, RBI, K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 2-for-3, RBI, BB, SB (2) #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R, BB, 2 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (6:38 CST) - RHP Louie Varland (1-0, 1.64 ERA) Wichita @ Frisco (7:05 CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett (2-1, 2.74 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Lake County (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Luis Rijo (0-2, 8.03 ERA) Lakeland @ Fort Myers (Doubleheader - first game starts at 3:30 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  17. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization. TRANSACTIONS The Twins claimed RHP Jake Jewell off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians and optioned him to AAA St. Paul. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson was promoted from AA Wichita to AAA St. Paul The Saints placed C Roy Morales on the 7-day IL with a lower back strain LHP Aaron Rozek was promoted from High-A Cedar Rapids to AA Wichita The Wichita Wind Surge activated SS Austin Martin from the 7-day IL The Wichita Wind Surge transferred OF Leobaldo Cabrera to the development list LHP Jaylen Nowlin was promoted from Low-A Fort Myers to High-A Cedar Rapids SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 6, Scranton 0 Box Score Is Jordan Balazovic back? The former Twins’ top pitching prospect has had an abysmal year but turned in four scoreless innings tonight for St. Paul, striking out four batters. The Saints got three early runs in the top of the second. After Chris Williams hit his first AAA double, Andrew Bechtold hit a 2-run single to score Williams and Caleb Hamilton. Later in the inning, Jermaine Palacios came through with a single to tack on an extra run. The game remained scoreless for a few more innings thanks to Balazovic and Evan Sisk, who was first out of the bullpen. Sisk threw 1 ⅔ innings while not allowing a hit and striking out two. Matt Wallner picked up his first triple as a Saint in the bottom of the seventh. This was Wallner’s only hit of the night as he went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. The Saints added three more in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a catchers’ interference and a John Andreoli two-run single. Juan Minaya, Michael Feliz, and Drew Strotman all had scoreless outings in relief as the Saints quickly completed the shutout of Scranton 6-0. Sisk picked up the win, his second for the Saints. Andreoli and Michael Helman had two hits. Helman also stole his 17th base of the year. The Saints improve to 55-56. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 9, Tulsa 5 Box Score Wichita won a thrilling extra-inning game thanks to some late-game heroics from Aaron Sabato. Sabato, who was 3-for-25 with no extra-base hits going into his last at-bat on Wednesday, came up clutch. With the bases loaded and one out, Sabato took a 2-0 slider and hit it over the center field wall for a walk-off grand slam. The home run was Sabato’s 19th of the year between Cedar Rapids and Wichita, and hopefully, this breaks him out of his slump in AA so far Wichita took an early 4-1 lead through four innings, thanks to four good innings from Wichita starter Cody Laweryson who allowed one run and struck out four. Laweryson has been dominant in AA through 34 innings. He is 4-0 with 39 strikeouts and a 1.05 ERA. Alex Isola started the scoring with an RBI single in the first, and Cole Sturgeon followed with an RBI walk. In the fourth, Austin Martin drove in a run with a groundout, and Will Holland later came in to score on a wild pitch to give Wichita a 4-1 lead. Osiris German allowed three runs in 1 ⅔ innings out of the bullpen to bring the game to a tie. Will Holland came up clutch with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to give Wichita the lead back. Everything went smoothly until the ninth, when Casey Legumina allowed a leadoff homer to Ismael Alcantara to tie the game back up. After a scoreless bottom of the ninth, Legumina returned for the tenth. Legumina allowed the extra-inning runner to get to third with one out but stranded him thanks to a fielder's choice and a strikeout. In the bottom of the tenth, Holland drew a walk to open the inning. When DaShawn Keirsey moved up to third on a wild pitch, Tulsa opted to intentionally walk Edouard Julien to load the bases. After Austin Martin lined out, Aaron Sabato ended the game. Isola had the only multi-hit game for Wichita, but plenty of players had multi-walk games. Julien had four walks, Anthony Prato had three, and Sturgeon, Yunior Severino, and Keirsey had two. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Wisconsin 1 Box Score The Kernels won a pitchers’ duel on Wednesday thanks to a strong outing from starting pitcher Travis Adams. Adams had allowed 11 earned runs through 10 ⅓ innings in Cedar Rapids until Wednesday, when he turned in his best outing in High-A this far. Adams went five innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out eight. The game was tied at zero until the fourth inning, when Adams allowed his only run of the day on a single. This score held until the bottom of the sixth when Pat Winkel singled to center field, scoring Jake Rucker. After a strikeout, Wisconsin’s pitcher balked with two outs to score Seth Gray from third base. After taking the lead, the Kernel pitching locked down the game. Bobby Milacki entered the game in relief of Adams and threw two scoreless innings, picking up the win. After Milacki, Hunter McMahon threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings to lock down the save, his second of the year. McMahon has allowed only two earned runs in 29 ⅔ innings at Cedar Rapids this year. Winkel led the game offensively, going 3-for-4. Cedar Rapids improves to 65-45 with the victory and continues to be a force in High-A. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) Fort Myers 6, Palm Beach 5 Box Score Fort Myers won in an extra-inning thriller on Wednesday thanks to a game-winning RBI single in the top of the 11th by 2022 second-round pick Tanner Schobel. The scoring was very back-and-forth all game long. Palm Beach jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off of starting pitcher Malik Barrington. Fort Myers answered right away as Ben Ross hit a 2-run homer in the top of the second for his first professional home run. That was followed by a Kala’i Rosario single and a Rubel Cespedes double, adding another run to the lead. In the bottom of the third, Palm Beach added three runs to chase Barrington, who went 2 ⅔ innings, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two opposing hitters. The game was scoreless for a few innings until the top of the seventh when Misael Urbina tied it up with his fourth homer. Ross drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning to give Fort Myers a 5-4 lead. It was looking suitable for Fort Myers, who needed two more outs in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory when RJ Yeager hit a solo homer to tie it up and send it to extras. In the bottom of the tenth, Jackson Hicks induced a double play with two runners on base to send it to an extra frame, where Schobel would give Fort Myers the lead before Hicks stranded a runner at third with one out in the bottom of the eleventh to secure the win. Fort Myers had phenomenal relief pitching, as Hicks, Regi Grace, and John Wilson combined to throw 8 ⅓ innings while only allowing one run. Cespedes and Noah Cardenas each picked up two hits to lead the offense in the victory. Fort Myers improved to 59-47 with the win. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 4, DSL Brewers 6 Box Score Starting Pitcher: Orlando Rubio (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) Multi-Hit Games: Yilber Herrera (3-for-3), Isaac Pena (2-for-2) 2B: Herrera (6), Jose Rodriguez (14) TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adams (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Yilber Herrera (DSL Twins) - 3-for-3, R, 2B, BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-5, R, RBI, BB, K, 2 SB (24) #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-5, R, 2 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, 3B (1), R, 3 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-2, 2 R, 4 BB, K, SB (14) #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, RBI, BB #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 1-for-5, R, K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Scranton @ St. Paul (7:07 CST) - RHP Louie Varland (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (2-1, 5.28 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Mike Paredes (7-4, 2.88 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  18. TRANSACTIONS - 1B Aaron Sabato promoted to Double-A Wichita - SS Will Holland promoted to Double-A Wichita - C Chris Williams promoted to Triple-A St. Paul - 3B Andrew Bechtold promoted to Triple-A St. Paul And in the "Rest of the 2022 Draft Picks Got Assigned" portion of the Transactions: - RHP Kyle Jones assigned to FCL Twins. - RHP Zebby Matthews assigned to FCL Twins. - SS Ben Ross assigned to FCL Twins. - C Andrew Cossetti assigned to FCL Twins. - RHP Cory Lewis assigned to FCL Twins. - RHP Andrew Morris assigned to FCL Twins. - SS Dalton Shuffield assigned to FCL Twins. - RHP C.J. Culpepper assigned to FCL Twins. - LHP Zachary Veen assigned to FCL Twins. - LHP Connor Prielipp assigned to FCL Twins. - RHP Ben Ethridge assigned to FCL Twins. - SS Jankel Ortiz assigned to FCL Twins. - OF Alec Sayre assigned to FCL Twins. - C Nate Baez assigned to FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 6, Columbus 8 Box Score The Saints’ bullpen leaked in a loss to the Clippers Thursday. Jordan Balazovic started and pitched four innings. Balazovic allowed four hits and two runs, with two walks and one strikeout. Balazovic gave up his 16th homer of the season. Matt Wallner walked twice and hit his second Triple-A homer in the seventh, a two-run shot. Michael Helman went 2-for-5 with an RBI double and Caleb Hamilton added a two-run double out of the cleanup spot. Guardians’ top-5 prospect Gabriel Arias hit two home runs for the Clippers. Former Guardians centerfielder Oscar Mercado hit a two-run homer in the win. The Saints are 52-54. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 8, Hooks 5 Box Score The Wind Surge jumped out to an early lead thanks to a homer from Anthony Prato and an RBI single from Leobaldo Cabrera in the second. Will Holland gave the Surge a 3-1 lead with a single in the third while tallying three hits on the night. Alex Isola also had three hits, including a double. Edouard Julien entered tonight hitting .306/.432/.536 (.968) since June 1st. He blasted another homer Thursday. Julien has 14 homers on the season and has crushed since the summer months kicked off. Simeon Woods Richardson struck out five over four innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Woods Richardson has a 3.02 ERA on the season. The Wind Surge are now 10 games above .500 at 57-47. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 1, River Bandits 6 Box Score The curse of the Quad City River Bandits continued for the Kernels Thursday night. Losing their third game in a row to the Bandits, the Kernels had trouble getting their offense going outside of a solo homer from Kyler Fedko. Fedko put the Kernels on the board in the ninth, his seventh of the season. Matt Mullenbach pitched two scoreless innings in relief, lowering his Kernels ERA to 0.84. It was a tough go for starter Travis Adams, who gave up five runs in five innings. Adams struck out seven. The Kernels have had an awesome year and will look to get back in the win column Friday. The Kernels are 61-44. MUSSEL MATTERS Mighty Mussels 1, Hammerheads 10 Box Score The Mussels took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an error. Unfortunately, that would be it for their scoring. The Hammerheads scored 10 unanswered runs on 15 hits. Mussels pitchers walked seven and struck out eight. Misael Urbina had a two-hit night and continues to thrive. Urbina is hitting .305/.352/.547 since joining the Mussels. Keoni Cavaco doubled and stole a base after a walk. The Mussels had eight hits despite the lopsided final score. The Mussels have an opportunity to bounce back immediately Friday and still sit 11 games over .500. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 2, FCL Rays 7 Box Score The powerhouse FCL Rays improved to 33-12 with a 7-2 drubbing of the FCL Twins Thursday. The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the third on a Náte Baez RBI double. That lead held for one commercial break, as the Rays quickly tied things up and took the lead in the top of the fourth. José Olivares started for the Twins and pitched three innings. Olivares allowed two earned runs on three hits and three walks. Olivares struck out two and now has 35 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings this year. Danny De Andrade posted a multi-hit game and drove in a run on an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. De Andrade has a .335 on-base percentage with eight doubles, a triple and two homers on the season. The FCL Twins are 21-25. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 4, DSL Cleveland Blue 2 Box Score The Yasser Mercedes show continued with another two-hit game for the 17-year-old outfielder. Mercedes is hitting .351/.416/.573 in 35 games. Bryan Acuña went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, a key hit in a three-run rally for the Twins in the seventh. Anderson Nova added two hits in the win and is batting .347 with a .934 OPS. Anthony Narváez was terrific on the mound for the Twins, spinning four scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Narváez has a 2.18 ERA in 20 ⅔ innings. Juan Mercedes and Jeferson López added scoreless innings in relief. The DSL Twins have a very talented offense and a pitching staff to boot. They are 28-21 after the win over Cleveland. Twins fans would love to see the entire organization continue to beat Cleveland’s various teams. MINOR LEAGUE HITTER OF THE DAY - Bryan Acuna: 3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE DAY - Anthony Narvaez: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 6 K PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4 #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) -4 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, BB, 5 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St.Paul) - 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, BB #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-for-5 #20 - Kala'i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, BB Comment your thoughts/questions below!
  19. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 3, Storm Chasers 9 Box Score The Saints had trouble offensively in Thursday’s loss to the Storm Chasers. They struck out 15 times and recorded seven hits, two of which came from the new Saint Nash Knight. Elliott Soto homered in the fifth, his fifth of the season. Caleb Hamilton also went deep in the eighth, his 11th long-ball of the year. Jordan Balazovic started and gave up five runs on six hits in three innings. Balazovic walked two and struck out four. His ERA is 10.75 in 37 ⅔ innings for the Saints. Ronny Henriquez struggled in relief, allowing four runs in four innings. Henriquez walked one and struck out six. The Saints had won four straight and six of their last seven. They fell to 49-51 with the loss on their trek to .500. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 4, Missions 3 Box Score The Wind Surge, after giving up their lead in the ninth, won the game in the 10th on an RBI single from Anthony Prato and a scoreless outing from Steven Cruz. Cruz entered the game with a runner at third and one out in the bottom of the 10th. He got a key strikeout and forced a flyout to end the game. Louie Varland started for the Surge and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Varland has a 3.34 ERA on the season, his follow-up from an outstanding Minor League Pitcher of the Year season in 2021. Andrew Bechtold had a two-hit, two-walk night, including his 14th homer of the season. Prato, the hero in the top of the 10th, notched two hits on the night and drew a walk. He’s hitting .308 with an .808 OPS in 49 games for the Surge. Edouard Julien hit his 13th homer, continuing a scorching hot streak. Wichita is 52-46. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 4, Sky Carp 5 Box Score The Kernels scored their first two runs on wild pitches in the first and second innings, jumping to an early lead. Seth Gray made it a 3-1 game with a double in the fifth, his 12th double and 51st RBI of the season. Gray went 2-for-4 on the day. Orlando Rodríguez started for the Kernels and pitched well. Rodríguez struck out six of the 13 batters he faced, allowing three hits and one run in 3 2/3 innings. The Kernels blew the lead in the sixth, giving up a game-tying two-run homer and a two-run single. The Kernels battled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with three straight singles to pull within one run. They had the tying run on third and the winning run on second but couldn’t cash in. The Kernels are 59-40. They’ve lost three straight to Beloit and five of their last six. MUSSEL MATTERS Mighty Mussels 7, Marauders 4 Box Score The Mighty Mussels built a 7-0 lead behind a tremendous start from Jordan Carr. Carr pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with four strikeouts and zero walks. Misael Urbina and Rubel Cespedes each hit solo homers to give the Mussels a 2-0 lead. Urbina entered the game hitting .290/.333/.548 with 11 extra-base hits over his last 69 plate appearances. Daniel Ozoria added an RBI double in the fourth, his fourth on the season. Cespedes and Urbina had multi-hit nights, as did Noah Cardenas. Nelson Roberto added a double and came around to score. The Mussels gave up four runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but Jackson Hicks ultimately shut the door to secure the win. The Mussels are 55-40. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 8, FCL Pirates 5 Box Score Brooks Lee made his much-anticipated debut Thursday, leading off and playing shortstop for the FCL Twins. Lee went 1-for-4 with his first professional hit, a single to left. Lee, the Twins’ first-round pick mere weeks ago, should be fun to watch down the stretch. Brayan Medina started for the Twins and pitched four solid innings, allowing just one run with five strikeouts and one walk. It was a massive day for Rafael Cruz, who went 2-for-4 with a triple, a homer, and five RBI. Dennis Ortega notched two hits as he rehabs on route back to Wichita. The FCL Twins are inching back toward .500, improving to 20-21 with the win. They’ll face the FCL Red Sox Friday morning in Fort Myers at the historic JetBlue Park. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 6, DSL Dodgers 2 Box Score The DSL Twins took down the DSL Dodgers Thursday, thanks to stellar performances from Yasser Mercedes, José Rodríguez, and the pitching staff. Mercedes went 3-for-4 with a double, and Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his 10th of the season. Both Mercedes and Rodríguez have crushed DSL pitching this summer. Anthony Narváez struck out seven over his three-inning start, allowing only one run and walking none. Orlando Rubio and Bianger Liedo combined to allow zero earned runs over four innings, locking down the victory. It was a strong day. The DSL Twins improved to 27-18 with the win and will return to play the DSL Tigers Friday at 10 a.m. CT. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Minor League Hitter of the Day - José Rodríguez (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Louie Varland (6 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY #7 Jordan Balazovic - 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K #11 Louie Varland - 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K #12 Matt Wallner - 1-for-4, 2B #14 Ronny Henríquez - 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, BB, 6 K
  20. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2015 season was a compelling time in Twins Territory as the club finished in second place in the AL Central after four straight 90-loss seasons. An improved record meant Minnesota drafted in the middle of the 2016 MLB Draft instead of near the top. Because the team had the 15th overall pick, it can make it tougher to project which players will be available and how the team can get as much value as possible for their picks. Minnesota selected outfielder Alex Kirilloff out of high school in Pittsburgh, PA. He was known for his advanced hitting approach, which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. Out of players selected in the first round, Kirilloff (0.4 WAR) currently ranks 13th according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR. Eight players selected behind him rank higher in career WAR, including Will Smith (8.1 WAR), Dakota Hudson (4.5 WAR), Gavin Lux (4.3 WAR), and Eric Lauer (3.8 WAR). Many of these names played in college, so they were expected to debut before Kirilloff. Only three high school players taken in the first round have accumulated more WAR than Kirilloff (Lux, Ian Anderson, and Dylan Carlson). During the second round, the Twins had three different picks, and all three have made their debuts over the last two seasons. Minnesota selected Ben Rortvedt with the 56th overall pick, and he has been worth -0.1 WAR in 39 career games. He was included as part of the Josh Donaldson trade and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Rortvedt may never hit well enough to be an everyday catcher, but he is a solid backup with strong defensive skills. Later in the second round, the Twins had back-to-back picks and took Jose Miranda and Akil Baddoo. Miranda won the team’s minor league player of the year last year after dominating in the minor’s upper levels. His big-league career started slowly, but his bat is showing signs of the hitter he was last season. Over his last 16 games, Miranda has a 1.012 OPS with six doubles and three home runs. The Tigers selected Baddoo in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, and he posted a 111 OPS+ in 124 games last season. He started the 2022 season by going 7-for-50 (.140 BA), and he is currently in the minors trying to rediscover his swing. Minnesota’s third-round pick was Griffin Jax from the United State Air Force Academy. During his rookie campaign, the Twins used Jax as a starter, and he posted a 6.37 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP. There were some positive signs in his numbers as he did very well the first time through a line-up, so the team moved him to the bullpen for 2022. His transition to reliever has been outstanding as the team has relied on him to get some crucial outs this season. Jordan Balazovic ranks as one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, and the team took him with their fifth-round pick. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. His season started late as he dealt with a left knee strain, and he has made six starts at Triple-A this season, and he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.33 WHIP. If he can put together some more consistent outings, there will be an opportunity for him to debut in 2022. Tyler Wells is developing into a solid late-round pick by the Twins (453rd overall). Unfortunately, the Orioles selected him in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, so his value has been earned in a Baltimore jersey. His 1.8 WAR is the highest total of any Twins player taken in the 2016 Draft. Last season, he pitched out of the bullpen and posted a 109 ERA+ with a 0.91 WHIP. The Orioles moved him to the rotation this season, and he has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 12 starts. Kirilloff still has a long career ahead of him to accumulate value for the Twins, but there were other strong players in the first round that Minnesota passed over. Overall, the Twins found talent that is emerging at the big-league level, and the total value won’t be known for multiple more years. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Kirilloff? Should the team have left Baddoo and Wells unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2012 MLB Draft Retrospective
  21. Bill Smith Contributions (2007-2011) Smith faced a challenging time in Twins history as he took over the GM role. Torii Hunter was on his way out the door, and the team needed to trade Johan Santana. The Twins lost a Game 163 (2008) and won the division twice (2009-10) during his tenure. Despite these positive results, Smith couldn’t survive the 2011 campaign as the Twins lost 99 games. It was one of the most disappointing seasons in Twins history, but he helped sign three core pieces to the current roster. Smith’s lasting legacy with the Twins connects to the 2009 international signing class, which was tremendous in retrospect. Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler signed as part of this class. These players have combined for 37.3 total WAR and two All-Star appearances in their big-league careers. Sano’s Twins tenure may conclude in 2022, but Kepler and Polanco are under team control for multiple more seasons. Terry Ryan Contributions (2012-2016) Ryan served as GM for two different stints, so it makes sense for his fingerprints to be all over the Twins organization over the last decade. When taking over from Smith, Ryan got the opportunity to pick the second overall pick, and the organization decided on Byron Buxton. Multiple pitchers were in the conversation for Minnesota, but Buxton has accumulated the fourth-most WAR among players from the 2012 first round. He is now the face of the franchise, and he will be in a Twins uniform for over a decade after Ryan was fired. Minnesota signed Luis Arraez as an international free agent during the 2013 signing class. He has been worth 5.9 WAR in his career while hitting .312/.374/.400 (.748) with a 130 OPS+. Nick Gordon was a top-5 draft pick under the Ryan regime. His professional career hasn’t progressed perfectly, but he has shown the club the value he can provide over the last two seasons. These players look like they will be part of the team’s roster for multiple seasons moving forward. Minnesota’s bullpen picture is also covered with players acquired by Ryan. Tyler Duffey was a fifth-round pick in 2012, and he has been one of the team’s best relievers since 2019. Cody Stashak, a 13th-round pick in 2015, has been terrific to start the 2022 season, and he has yet to become arbitration-eligible. The Twins took Griffin Jax in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Ryan’s last with the organization. This season, he is transitioning to the bullpen, and signs point to him fitting well into his new role. Other prospects on the 40-man roster were also acquired under the Ryan regime. Jovani Moran was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, and he has the potential to be a dominant late-inning reliever. His change-up is a dominant pitch, and it has helped him post a 13.4 K/9 in his minor league career. Jordan Balazovic was a fifth-round pick in 2016, and he currently ranks as Twins Daily’s fifth overall prospect. Entering the season, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus each had him in the back-half of their top-100 prospects. He recently made his Triple-A debut, so there is a good chance his big-league debut will be in 2022. Smith and Ryan might not be regarded highly because of how each left the organization. However, their impact will be felt years after their departure. Besides Buxton, which of these players will provide the most long-term value to the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  22. The Twins' top pitching prospect in the minors, Jordan Balazovic, made his 2022 debut last Saturday against the Iowa Cubs in St. Paul. Balazovic's stat line for the game was 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched, five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts with 79 pitches thrown. Balazovic’s start on Saturday was an improvement from his rehab appearance on May 1 with Fort Myers where he went two innings and gave up four earned runs on four hits, two walks, and only one strikeout. After Saturday’s game, Balazovic spoke about the improvement he had felt in his knee and in his performance compared to the rehab start. “Sunday was a tough one, but otherwise I feel great. It felt good to be back out here and back to natural adrenaline and body-wise I feel great,” said Balazovic. As of now, Balazovic is set up to make regular starts with the Saints every five to six days. Saints manager Toby Gardenhire shared the current plans that he, Balazovic, and pitching coach Virgil Vasquez have for Balazovic’s pitching limits. “Today he threw the ball really well, and we’ll work on him being more efficient. He's got great stuff, and he will learn to be more efficient with it. That's going to keep his pitch count down and that's the big thing. He threw some really good sliders and some not-so-good sliders. He threw some really good changeups and not as good changeups. Those are the little things that the longer he goes, hopefully, they'll be able to iron out because once he gets up there, all those things get magnified a lot,” said Gardenhire. A common theme in Balazovic’s start on Saturday was having the Cubs hitters foul a lot of balls off him which had raised his pitch count to 79 by the fourth inning. Currently, Balazovic is on a pitch count limit of 80 pitches. “They battled, when I was up in the count I couldn’t finish them off. It was one of those starts, but for the first one of the season, it’s definitely one I want to build off of for the most part. There's stuff we're gonna work on,” said Balazovic. Last season, Balazovic made 20 starts, all with the Wichita Wind Surge. He averaged 5 2/3 innings pitched throughout those 20 starts and averaged 84 pitches per start. Balazovic also posted a 3.62 ERA in 97 innings pitched. He had 102 strikeouts (9.5 K/9) and a 3.5 BB/9. Balazovic is scheduled to make his next start for the Saints on Friday, May 13, in Columbus against the Clippers. What would you like to see from Balazovic over the course of his next few starts, and then over the remainder of the season? Leave your COMMENTS below.
  23. TRANSACTIONS RHP Jordan Balazovic activated from the IL for the St. Paul Saints RHP Cole Sands optioned to the St. Paul Saints from the Minnesota Twins RHP Blayne Enlow assigned to Low-A Fort Myers on minor league rehab RHP Dylan Thomas was reinstated from the 7-day IL and released Saints Sentinel St. Paul 9, Iowa 2 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: Kevin Merrell (1), Derek Fisher (3) Multi-hit games: Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, RBI) A top prospect made his AAA debut on Saturday. Jordan Balazovic, one of the team’s top pitching young arms, returned from the injured list on Saturday, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the Saints. Other exciting pitching prospects have overshadowed Balazovic with their major-league performances, but no one should forget just how dominant Balazovic can be when healthy. Of course, one should never lose themselves in a pitcher when St. Paul’s offense scored nine runs. It was a group effort on Saturday; every player got on base at least once, and the only player without a hit (Curtis Terry) walked four times. In fact, the team ended up walking more often than they struck out (11 to 10). The Cubs suffered death by a thousand paper cuts. Outside of the Kevin Merrell homer above, Derek Fisher and Cole Sturgeon provided the only other extra-base hits of the game. One final offensive note: every RBI came from the 5-9 hitters. Mario Sanchez allowed two runs over 3 1/3 innings in relief of Balazovic; Wladimir Pinto shut out Iowa over the final two innings with an impressive five strikeouts. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 5, Tulsa 4 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson: 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: Spencer Steer 2 (3, 4) Multi-hit games: Spencer Steer (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR) Wichita walked off their opponent on Saturday. Simeon Woods Richardson proved he was human, allowing his first earned runs of the year in a decidedly middling start. The Drillers, full of classically tough Dodgers prospects, ambushed Woods Richardson in the third inning with three hits and an HBP, ultimately netting three runs in the frame. Wichita would not stand around quietly, though. Or, Spencer Steer specifically, would not stand around quietly. Steer was a train engine, doubling home a run in the first before homering in the third and fourth innings. One must assume that Tulsa pitchers were on the verge of an outright revolt if their coaches forced them to pitch to Steer. Of course, one man an offense does not make. Alex Isola reached base three times, Michael Helman singled home a run, and Matt Wallner brought home the walk-off run in the 9th inning. Don’t look now, but Wallner now owns an .897 OPS at AA despite his dreadful start to the season. We all sometimes Need A Little Help From Our Friends, and the wind smiled favorably onto Wichita. Oh, and Wallner also threw a missile to nail a runner at home. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 2 Box Score Cade Povich: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Anthony Prato (4), Will Holland (1), Aaron Sabato (4) Multi-hit games: Jeferson Morales (3-for-4, 2 R) The Kernels won on Saturday. Water is wet. Cade Povich continued his utterly brilliant introduction to the full minor-league season by punching out eight batters without allowing an earned run. Don’t look now, but the Twins may already have the second wave of arms in the wings waiting for the first group to graduate. Cedar Rapids’ offense started with a bang. Anthony Prato hit a lead-off homer and Charles Mack doubled home another run in the first to give Povich a 2-0 lead before his second inning of work. Will Holland extended the lead in the second with a solo shot before Aaron Sabato blasted away, giving the Kernels a six-run lead before anyone knew what hit them. Bobby Milacki and Denny Bentley combined for four innings with just one run allowed to end the game. Kernels pitchers struck out 15 batters in total. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 7, Lakeland 12 Box Score Blayne Enlow: 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, R, RBI, 2B, BB), Noah Miller (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB), Noah Cardenas (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Daniel Ozoria (2-for-4, 2 R) The Mighty Mussels lost a high scorer on Saturday. Blayne Enlow made his much-anticipated return from Tommy John surgery. The young righty was tagged as the Lance McCullers of the Twins’ 2017 draft when they went over-slot to pick him in the third round after drafting Royce Lewis with the first overall pick. His career hasn’t been straightforward since, but the Twins saw enough potential to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and this year will go a long way to proving whether that decision was wise. Baseball is far too cruel to carry a storybook tale, though. Even after Fort Myers jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Lakeland harassed Enlow in the second inning, taking advantage of poor defense to take a 7-6 lead after the dust had settled. Mike Parades tried in vain to put the effort to a stop, but Lakeland’s bats were in an evil mood, and all he gained was a higher ERA. The game wasn’t all bad; Fort Myers reached base 16 times as Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez continued to flash their on-base potential with three and two times reaching base respectively. Keoni Cavaco was not so fortunate, striking out three times in the loss. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cade Povich Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-5, R #2 – Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, K #3 – Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-2, BB #4 – Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K #7 – Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #10 – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, K #11 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, 2B, BB, 2 K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R, 2 BB, K #17 – Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K #18 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR, 2B SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Tulsa @ Wichita (12:05 PM) - RHP Chris Vallimont Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Fort Myers @ Lakeland (12:00 PM) - LHP Steve Hajjar
  24. The Twins have optioned pitchers Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, Cole Sands, and Drew Strotman to Triple-A St. Paul. Chris Vallimont and Blayne Enlow were also optioned, but he was optioned to Double-A Wichita. It is the second options for Balazovic and Strotman. It is the first options for the others. The spring training roster currently has 53 players on it, including 19 non-roster players. There are still 24 pitchers (7 non-roster), five catchers (2 non-roster), 15 infielders (7 non-roster), and nine outfielders (3 non-roster). The regular-season big-league roster will include 26 players, although it is likely that there will be expanded rosters for a little while when the season begins due to the shortened spring training. It is normal for players on the 40-man roster who will not start the season in the big leagues to be optioned with the first cuts. There are several reasons for that. One might be that if a player gets hurt in big-league spring training, they would go on the big-league Injured List. In this case, these pitchers are likely to be starters in the minor leagues, and they need to be stretched out. They simply won't get the innings in big-league camp to do that. Enlow will start the season on the Wind Surge Injured List, but don't be surprised if he's back to pitching in games by May. He had Tommy John surgery last May. Josh Winder is on the mound today for the Twins in their spring game against the Red Sox. It is possible he is optioned either after the game or in the coming days. If he is not, that tells us he is being considered for an Opening Day job. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY Latest Twins coverage from our writers Recent Twins discussion in our forums Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  25. The last list from 2021 featured just three Twins after multiple players reached their rookie limits and “graduated” from the list during the 2021 season. The three players from the last installment of their rankings were shortstop Royce Lewis (#35), shortstop/center fielder Austin Martin (#36), and right-handed pitcher Jordan Balazovic (#81). Despite the various “graduates”, they were able to rebuild their farm systems a bit with the José Berríos and Nelson Cruz trades for an overall farm system ranking 15th out of the 30 MLB teams. It remains to be seen where they rank the farm system ahead of the 2022 season, so here’s what we know they think of the Twins top prospects. #46 Royce Lewis, Shortstop The former first overall pick has had a long, windy road since being drafted in 2017. Despite all of those challenges, the one thing that has remained consistent is his placement as a consensus top 100 prospect. The talent and the ceiling are there and now we hope that the various challenges he has overcome are behind him. He’ll likely spend all of the 2022 season between AA-Wichita and AAA-St. Paul, especially with the recent additions of Gio Urshela and Carlos Correa. Big picture I think this is a good thing as it allows him to focus on getting back into the game without the pressures of performing to get back to the big league club ASAP. #52 Austin Martin, Super Utility Martin has been another staple in the top 100 since being drafted 5th overall in 2020. Of course, that was always with the Toronto Blue Jays before being the headliner of the Berríos trade and immediately becoming the Twins second-best prospect. Even before Correa and a healthy Royce Lewis, he was already getting run as a center fielder instead of a shortstop. He’s good enough to be passable at any position aside from catcher, so he’ll eventually find his way to the Twins because of his bat…whether that’s in the infield, outfield, or all over is anyone's best guess. #95 Jose Miranda, Utility IF The only surprise here is that he barely cracked the top 100 after his spectacular 2021 season where he won Twins Minor Leaguer of the Year. Of course, there’s nothing from prior years that indicated this was coming or that it’s even repeatable so it’s probably fair he was ranked in the 90’s. Like the two before him, the offseason additions give him the time to prove 2021 was no fluke without the added pressure of needing to contribute to the big leagues right away in 2022. That said, if he starts to show that 2021 was not a flash in the pan, then I don’t know how they don’t give him an opportunity in Minneapolis. #97 Joe Ryan, Starting Pitcher Despite ending the season giving up six earned runs to the Detroit Tigers, Joe Ryan quickly established himself as the headliner of the Nelson Cruz trade and was penned in for the 2022 rotation. In his four other starts in 2021 he gave up six earned runs TOTAL while posting a 29:3 K:BB in 22 innings pitched despite throwing a fastball that averaged just 91 miles-per-hour. Despite the lack of velocity, Ryan is projected to be a mid-rotation starter due to the movement of that fastball up in the zone. If he can improve his offspeed pitches to counteract that high fastball, he’ll be a more than passable starter for years to come. #103 Jordan Balazovic, Right-Handed Pitcher Shortly after the top 100 was released, Sam Dykstra of MLB Pipeline released the prospect who “just missed the top 100.” I’m guessing it was in order and Balazovic was third on the list which would make him prospect number 103 as he continues his dance as a top-100 / almost top-100 prospect since 2019. The last rendition of the rankings had him at #81, but part of the reason for the drop was hinted at in the article…his K rate dropped about 10 points in AA-Wichita compared to his previous four seasons in A-ball and below. I wouldn’t be surprised if Balazovic starts the year in AA-Wichita again, but eventually works up the chain to Minneapolis before the season is over. What’s ironic about all of this is that it very well could take two of these prospects (and more) to net Frankie Montas who the Twins are reportedly looking to acquire from the A’s. The good news in the short-term is that aside from Joe Ryan, the Twins aren’t counting on any of these guys to be contributors in 2022. Would you be okay trading two of these guys for Frankie Montas or should we hold and see how they develop this year? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
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