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  1. TRANSACTIONS RHP Louie Varland is being promoted to Triple-A St. Paul per myself and Darren Wolfson INF Brooks Lee is being promoted to Single-A Cedar Rapids per Darren Wolfson COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Pirates 11, FCL Twins 6 Box Score Develson Aria drew the start today for the Twins and unfortunately it was a muted one. He went just 2 2/3 innings allowing nine runs (three earned) on six hits. Aria did strike out five and only walked two. An eight-run second inning for the Pirates ultimately did the Twins in, even though the Twins posted eight hits to the Pirates' nine. First-round pick Brooks Lee was the star of the show again today for Minnesota’s FCL team. He went 3-for-5 including a double. Batting .353 with an .824 OPS, it won’t be a shock if this is a quick stop, or he’s promoted directly to Cedar Rapids for their stretch run (Update: That's exactly what's happening). Ricardo Olivar also had a two-hit game, including a double, and the 20-year-old owns a 1.091 OPS this season in 116 at-bats. Other top picks from this year’s draft class playing today were Tanner Schobel (0-for-4, BB) and Jorel Ortega (0-1, 2 BB) DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Giants Orange 9, DSL Twins 2 Box Score Roger Duran made the start but acted as an opener going just one inning. He worked around two hits and a walk to escape damage. The Twins generated just four hits on the day, and Jose Rodriguez’s triple was the only of the extra-base variety. As he has done all season, Yasser Mercedes continues to pile up numbers and recorded another hit today. He’s got a .985 OPS and just missed out on being included in the recent Twins Daily Top 20 prospect update. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Wilker Reyes (FCL Twins) - 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (FCL Twins) - 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI DRAFT PICK UPDATE 1 - Brooks Lee - FCL Twins - 17 AB, .353 AVG, .824 OPS, 2 R, 6 H, 3 RBI Q&A Link 2 - Tanner Schobel - FCL Twins - 15 AB, .200 AVG, .517 OPS, 3 R, 3 H, RBI Q&A Link 6 - Jorel Ortega - FCL Twins - 4 AB, .000 AVG, .000 OPS, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI Q&A Link TRADED PROSPECT UPDATE Cade Povich - 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K in Aberdeen debut (Orioles High-A). Named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week Spencer Steer - 4 G 6-16, 2 R, 4 RBI, SB for Louisville (Reds Triple-A) Christian Encarnacion-Strand - 3 G 4-11, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI for Chattanooga (Reds Double-A) Sawyer Gipson-Long - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K in Erie debut (Tigers Double-A) Steven Hajjar - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K in Dayton debut (Reds High-A) Brent Rooker - 4 G 7-15, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI for Omaha (Royals Triple-A) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Columbus @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Aaron Sanchez Corpus Christi @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Kody Funderburk Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30PM CST) - RHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Jupiter (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Monday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing.
  2. 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
  3. TRANSACTIONS RHP Brad Peacock signed by Minnesota Twins and assigned to Triple-A St. Paul RHP Jake Petricka released by Minnesota Twins RHP Wladimir Pinto released by Minnesota Twins OF Gilberto Celestino recalled by Minnesota Twins SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 5, St. Paul 4 (F/10) Box Score The Saints went with former top prospect Jordan Balazovic tonight. As has been the case much of the season, he struggled. Allowing three runs across just 2 2/3 innings, Balazovic was tagged for five hits and two walks. He struck out four but gave up two dingers. St. Paul was down 2-0 after the first half, but Curtis Terry singled to halve the lead in the bottom of the first when Spencer Steer crossed the plate. Dereck Rodriguez was great in relief working 5 1/3 innings with just three hits and one run. Rodriguez gave up a single free pass but grabbed three strikeouts, Down 3-1 in the 7th inning, Jermaine Palacios tied things when he hit his 8th homer of the season. He then answered again in the 9th inning when it was 4-3, by blasting his 9th of the year and tying things at 4. With Juan Minaya taking over in the 10th inning, he uncorked a wild pitch allowing a go-ahead run. St. Paul couldn't answer despite Jake Dave up with the bases loaded and they fell a run short. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 3, Wichita 2 Box Score Louie Varland has been great this year for the Wind Surge, and despite runs against him tonight, he repeated that performance. Working five innings, Varland allowed seven hits but just one of three runs scored were earned. He generated eight strikeouts and walked none. Getting down 3-0 in the 2nd inning, Wichita needed to do work. The Wind Surge answered back in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Leobaldo Cabrera blasted his 7th homer of the season. Still trailing by two, at least Wichita was on the board. Trying to mount a comeback, Edouard Julien drove in Cabrera with a 9th inning ground out. Unfortunately, that’s where the adding ended. Wichita tallied eight hits on the night, but only Anthony Prato and Cabrera had two. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 4, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score The Kernels turned to Cade Povich tonight and he kept them in it through five innings. Allowing five hits and three runs, Povich also posted eight strikeouts while giving up just a single free pass. Matt Mullenbach followed him with two scoreless innings striking out two. Unfortunately for Cedar Rapids, only two hits were generated on the night, coming from Jake Rucker and Wander Javier. Both were singles and neither plated a run. The Kernels walked four times and had just a total of six runners tonight. MUSSEL MATTERS Postponed The Mighty Mussels and Tampa Tarpons game was postponed due to inclement weather. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. Both games will be seven innings. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 1 Box Score Ben Heller started this one and worked two innings of hitless ball while striking out two. Regi Grace also tallied a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Ricardo Olivar had the lone two-hit game for the Twins and recorded both his third triple and dinger of the season. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Rockies 10, DSL Twins 5 Box Score Cristian Jimenez drew the start for the Twins and while he gave up three runs, none were earned. He did allow just three hits and punched out four with zero walks. Bryan Acuna kept hitting and had another two-hit game today, this time including a double. Anderson Nova crushed his first professional homer and has a .966 OPS. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 7 H,, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios (St. Paul) - 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR(9) 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: #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-2, R, 3 BB, K #7 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR #10 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB #11 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R,1 ER, 0 BB 8 K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, RBI, BB #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 0-5, 3 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands NW Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05PM CST) - RHP Brent Headrick Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:40PM CST) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing.
  4. TRANSACTIONS INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand Re-Instated from IL RHP Ryan Shreve was activated from IL at Cedar Rapids. LHP Aaron Rozek was activated from IL at Cedar Rapids. INF Austin Martin was placed on Wichita IL (left elbow) C Frank Nigro added to AA Wichita from AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 6 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K HR: Jake Cave (11) Multi-hit games: Tim Beckham (2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) The Saints lost a messy game on Wednesday. The match started quietly; after 4 innings, the Saints held a 2-1 lead after Tim Beckham doubled home two runs to inflate rehabbing-big leaguer Justin Dunn’s ERA. Cole Sands was surgical in the early innings, cutting up and down the Bats’ lineup at will before his reign crumbled in the 5th inning. A barrage of doubles mixed with a single from technically old friend Taylor Motter shot Louisville’s run total up to four; Sands suddenly had a loss on his hands. The Saints stormed back. After the Bats tacked on another run in the 6th inning, Jake Cave Did the Darn Thing, swinging at a 3-0 pitch and blasting a Grand Slam to left field to give St. Paul a slight 6-5 edge. His on-base streak is now 48 games. Louisville did not acquiesce to the sudden deficit; a Stuart Fairchild homer knotted the game at 6. The game moved into extra innings, where the Bats won off of what appears to be a double fielding error from Michael Helman. St. Paul’s bats must have been smaller than usual; they struck out 17 times total, with five players facing the K multiple times. Let’s hope that Thursday is a more blessed day. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Amarillo 4 Box Score Louie Varland: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5), Andrew Bechtold (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) Louie Varland gritted out six effective innings in his start. The antiquated “quality start” deems an outing like his worthy of its title, so Varland will take that and run. The damage could have been less severe; two of his runs came from a 6th inning homer, indicating a “careful, Icarus” moment, to steal a term from another baseball site. Wichita’s bats were up to the task on Wednesday, but poor coordination resulted in just two runs off of 12 hits. In all but three innings, the Wind Surge had a man on base, and they often had multiple players ready to score on a moment’s notice, but they could only plate runs in the 1st and 3rd innings. Perhaps better luck would have altered this game in their favor; Wichita left 18 men stranded. Cody Laweryson continued his AA shutout streak, allowing one hit over two innings while striking out a pair. Jordan Gore struck out two in his single inning of work. Matt Wallner threw another baserunner out on Wednesday. Since minor league fielding stats are basically impossible to find, let’s say it was his 50th gunned down runner of the year; that’s how history works. (Editor/Seth Note: I don't want to mess with history, or a fun narrative, but it is Wallner's 8th assist of the season.) Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Quad Cities 5 Box Score Cade Povich: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Pat Winkel (3-for-4) The Kernels lost an atypical game on Wednesday. Cade Povich submitted his attempt at one of the weirder pitching lines you’ll see. His 11 strikeouts reflect domination, a complete ability to miss bats at an elite level; his seven hits and three earned runs represent mistakes the River Bandits jumped on. For helping win the game, the start was not the best; for showing promise as an overpowering arm, this is an incredible start. Cedar Rapids’ bats were locked out of hits, only securing five of them despite walking more times than they struck out (7 to 5); either their BABIP luck failed to materialize, or their batted balls were not ideal. Maybe they should have mimicked Pat Winkel, as he netted 60% of their total hits. Hunter McMahon and Bobby Milacki cleaned up an impressive 16 strikeout showing from the Kernels’ pitching staff on Wednesday. While Povich shouldered much of that effort, Milacki’s four strikeouts over two innings are also impressive. Despite only knocking in five hits, every batter in the Kernels lineup reached base; this was a deeply weird ballgame. The number 9 hitter (Jake Rucker) picked up three RBIs. Mussel Matters Rain washed away Fort Myers’ match against the Tampa Tarpons; the teams will play double-headers on the 7th. (Also in Ft. Myers, there were no games in the FCL on Wednesday) Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 6, DSL Cardinals 5 Box Score Ledwin Taveras: 5 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: Jose Rodriguez (5), Rafael Cruz (2) Multi-hit games: Rafael Cruz (2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Jesus Peraza (2-for-2, 2 RBI, BB) The DSL Twins won a game in which they committed six errors; you don’t see that every day. DSL games are notorious for being sloppy, but that error total is one of the higher totals you’ll ever see outside of tee-ball or drop-dead-drunk beer league softball. Ledwin Taveras led the way with solid innings of work, and his relievers—Oscar Paredes and Anthony Narvaez—combined for four frames without an earned run. The DSL Twins’ offensive output was even, with every batter in their starting lineup reaching base. Rafael Cruz stood out from the group, hitting both a homer and a double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cade Povich, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Rafael Cruz, DSL Twins PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, BB, K #10 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K #11 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-4, R, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-5, 3 K #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:05 PM) - RHP Jordan Balazovic Amarillo @ Wichita (7:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - RHP David Festa Fort Myers @ Tampa (3:00 PM) - LHP Jaylen Nowlin Fort Myers @ Tampa (Game 2) - RHP Malik Barrington
  5. Previous Minor League Starting Pitchers of the Month May Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month: Steve Hajjar April Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month: John Stankiewicz For an organization fished with trophy pitching prospects, there were surprisingly very few outstanding starting pitching performances through the month of June. The diagnosis doesn't solely lie on the shoulders of poor outings; top prospects Matt Canterino and Simeon Woods-Richardson have struggled with injuries while names like Jordan Balazovic and Blayne Enlow are easing their way back from significant injuries. Still, June presented an opportunity for some likely and unlikely names to steal the show on the mound. Here are our top five starting pitchers in the month of June. Number Five: RHP Mario Sanchez (St. Paul Saints) - 4 G, 2 GS, 21 2/3 IP, 1.66 ERA. 0.55 WHIP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Signed to a minor league contract at the beginning of the year after time in the Nationals organization, June was a breakout month for the 27-year-old righty. Coming off a lackluster May where opposing hitters cooked off of him (.258 AVG), Sanchez found his stride as both a starter and long reliever, with opposing hitters averaging a meager .144 AVG off of him. Sanchez's best start came actually came in a loss on May 26 against Buffalo when he allowed just two runs on three hits while striking out six through six innings. The journeyman's 0.22 BB/9 of .022 in June was a career-best and the veteran certainly knows how to eat up innings in an effective way. Number Four: RHP Cole Sands (St. Paul Saints) - 3 GS, 14 IP, 1.29 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 12 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 16 K After a less than perfect stint with the Twins, Sands returned to Triple-A St. Paul and returned to the consistency that makes him a great pitcher. Sands earned his first win of the season in a seven-strikeout masterpiece on June 29 against Omaha, allowing just one run on four hits and three walks through five innings. 2022 hasn't been a dreamy year from Sands. A talented pitcher who has seen the game's highest level, July could provide an opportunity for Sands to return both physically and mentally to the things that garner him an impressively high ceiling. Given bullpen struggles with the parent club, that is needed now more than ever. Number Three: RHP Louie Varland (Wichita Wind Surge) 5 GS, 26 1/3 IP, 3.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 24 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 8 BB, 35 K There's no doubt that Louie Varland has been the most exciting story in the Twins farm system over the past two years. A Minnesota kid with slight chances of 'making it,' Varland was absolutely brilliant in Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids last year and has been rock-solid for the Wind Surge in 2022. Now a top-tier prospect, the 24-year-old has come back down to earth after a few 'not bad, but not great' starts. Still, Varland wasn't shelled in any of his five starts and reached at least five innings in each one en route to a 2-1 record on the month. The pinnacle of that came on June 10 when Varland blew by Arkansas through six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out nine. Varland has always been a strikeout pitcher and it appears that trend won't be going anywhere. Still on an excellent trajectory, expect Varland to dominate in Double-A the rest of the season and maybe even see a glimpse of St. Paul come August or September. Number Two: RHP David Festa (Cedar Rapids Kernels) 5 G, 4 GS, 27 2/3 IP, 2.28 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 22 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 9 BB, 28 K Our May pitcher of the month continued to dominate in June. Festa's 28 strikeouts led the Kernels and was second in the organization to Louie Varland's 35. Rozek went 2-0 on the month wins over Lansing on June 3 and Wisconsin on June 28. Yet Festa's best start came in a no-decision on June 9 against South Bend when he tossed six shutout innings with eight strikeouts while allowing just four hits and one walk. Festa keeps his walk numbers down for the most part, but even when he doesn't, the righty from Verona, NJ limits damage control. Despite giving up a season-high four walks on June 21 against West Michigan, Festa still allowed just one run and two hits through six innings. The versatility is beautiful and Festa is just getting started. Drafted by the Twins in the 13th round of the 2021 Draft, Festa's first full season in pro ball has been electric and the train shows no signs of stopping. It would be foolish to say that Festa won't be in Wichita by this time next season. Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month LHP Aaron Rozek (Cedar Rapids Kernels) - 4 GS, 18 2/3 IP, 1.45 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 16 K Velocity and flare win clicks, consistency wins baseball games. A son of Burnsville, MN, Rozek had as solid and steady of a month as anyone in the organization...and in minor league baseball. Despite only garnering one win on the month, Rozek put the Kernels in a position to win each time he took the mound. Even in his worst start of the month, Rozek limited damage, and the Kernels ended up beating Lansing 9-3 in dominating fashion. In that start, Rozek allowed three runs on three hits (two of which were homers) and one walk while striking out five. Rozek pounded the zone and only missed on three pitches that resulted in a single and two homers. Need more proof that it wasn't that bad? Rozek threw 41 of his 60 pitches for strikes. That's pretty damn good. Speaking of consistency, Rozek's strike percentages in each outing were 64%, 68%, 64.5%, and 69 %. The Burnsville Blaze alum's 0.80 WHIP not only led the Kernels but was only second to Mario Sanchez's 0.75 WHIP from Twins' minor league pitchers with over ten innings pitched. Rozek's best outing came against the Daytona Tortugas on June 17 when he pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings while allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out four. Rozek shut out his opponents in three of his four starts and averaged less than two walks in those three starts while giving up no homers. A graduate of Minnesota State, the undrafted Rozek signed a minor league contract with the Twins midway through the 2021 season. After bouncing between the FCL Twins, Wichita, and Fort Myers in 2021, Rozek seems to have found his stride with the Kernels in 2022. The 26-year-old is a prime example of an organization taking a chance on a player with quite a bit of uncertainty. After a lukewarm start to the season, it appears that Rozek has found his stride and his future looks bright. Think there are any other players deserving of Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month accolades? Converse and comment below!
  6. Transactions: Kernels place INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand on IL with concussion SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 10, St. Paul 0 Box Score Saints starter and top Twins pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic was on the mound to start this one, and he recorded just two outs before being lifted. Balazovic allowed seven runs, all earned, on seven hits. He walked none, struck out one, but gave up a whopping three homers. Knocking on the door of the big leagues, his Triple-A ERA is now 9.24 this season. After the wheels fell off for the starter, things continued to unravel the rest of the way. Omaha scored another run in the 3rd inning and then added yet another in the 5th inning. The Saints were looking at a 9-0 deficit just halfway through this contest. Giving up another run in the 8th inning, St. Paul had gotten to the point of a traditional run rule. With just five hits on the evening, two each coming from Spencer Steer and Curtis Terry, the production just wasn't going to be enough to get it done. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 7, Springfield 6 Box Score Louie Varland took the pill tonight for the Wind Surge and worked 5 1/3 strong innings. He gave up three runs, only two of which were earned, but punched out nine while walking two and allowing five hits. Varland was again great and continues to look the part of a future piece for Minnesota. Edouard Julien continued to do damage at the plate and showed up early in this one. His seventh homer of the season was a solo shot to left field in the first inning putting Wichita up early. After Springfield tied things in the 2nd inning, Matt Wallner blasted his 17th home run of the year, a two-run shot, scoring Anthony Prato, to make it a 3-1 game in the 3rd inning. The Cardinals ultimately retook the lead by the bottom of the 6th inning, but the Wind Surge answered in the 7th inning. Andrew Bechtold roped his eighth double of the season to score Chris Williams and things were knotted at four. Wallner was not interested in extras tonight and provided separation when he launched his 18th homer, a second this evening, during the 8th inning, to provide another one-run lead. In the top of the 9th inning Kevin Merrell drove in Williams on a sacrifice fly before Bechtold crushed his eighth home run to make it 7-4. The Cardinals tried to make things interesting with a two-run homer in the 9th inning, but that's where their rally ended. Wichita made the most of their hits scoring seven runs on nine hits. Williams, Bechtold, and Wallner each recorded multi-hit games. Leobaldo Cabrera also showed up defensively making a home run saving catch. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Cade Povich was tabbed as tonight’s starter for Cedar Rapids and he continued to provide good outings as he has much of the season. Working six scoreless innings, Povich allowed just two runs on five hits while walking one and fanning three. The two runs both came on a 2nd inning homer. Wander Javier picked his pitcher up, getting one of the runs back in the 5th inning. The Kernels' shortstop crushed a ball way out to left field for his seventh ding-dong of the season. Unfortunately, that’s all the lineup could muster, despite out-hitting the Timber Rattlers six to five. Javier was the lone Kernel to record multiple hits on the night, adding a single to his longball. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 2, Fort Myers 1 Box Score Stud pitching prospect Marco Raya was on the bump tonight for Fort Myers and he’s been great all year. Continuing to build back up after time missed, he worked three scoreless innings without allowing a hit or walk. Raya punched out four and dropped his season ERA to 2.77. Regi Grace followed with three scoreless innings. He struck out six batters and didn't issue a walk. The game remained scoreless into the middle innings until Keoni Cavaco crushed a homer, his fourth of the season, to center field. Fort Myers took the first lead of the game at 1-0. The Mighty Mussels did allow Dunedin to plate two in the top of the 8th inning, ceding the lead. Keeping it there into the 9th inning, they had their last opportunity. The Mussels managed just two hits in the game. With nothing to their credit in the 9th inning and just two hits total on the evening, Fort Myers went down without a fight. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 2, FCL Rays 1 Box Score Juan Nunez was great as today’s starter working five innings allowing just an unearned run on three hits. He punched out five and walked just two. Danny De Andrade was the lone Twins hitter to record multiple hits, both being singles. With two outs and runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 10th inning, Misael Urbina singled to left field scoring Ismael Perez and walking it off for the Twins. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 1, DSL Nationals 0 (Susp/4) Box Score This game was suspended in the 4th inning with the DSL Twins leading 1-0. The Twins had recorded two hits, getting a home run from Rafael Cruz, his first of the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K Hitter of the Day – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-4 #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-4, 3 RBI, 2B, K #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 0.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 1 K #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 2-4, K, 2 2B #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-4 #10 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K #11 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, RBI, HR, BB, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Springfield (7:05PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:40PM CST) - TBD Dunedin @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - RHP Jaylen Nowlin Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates playing.
  7. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated RHP Sonny Gray from the 15-day IL The Twins optioned LHP Jovani Moran to AAA St. Paul The Twins sent OF Kyle Garlick on a rehab assignment to AAA St. Paul SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 3, Columbus 4 Box Score The Saints took a tough loss to the Columbus Clippers on Wednesday by a score of 4-3. Ronny Henriquez made the start for the Saints and he kept the Saints in the game, going 4 and ⅔ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. Henriquez’s record drops to 0-3 on the year while his ERA is an unimpressive 7.45. The Saints got a run right away in the top of the first when Tim Beckham drove in Alex Kirilloff with a single. Beckham continues to be on a tear as he carries a 1.343 OPS through 13 games with the Saints. Henriquez was tagged for three runs in the second inning when the Clippers collected two singles and two doubles against him. The game remained 3-1 for quite a while thanks to Henriquez settling in and 1 and ⅓ innings of scoreless relief from Evan Sisk. Unfortunately, the Saints couldn’t figure out starter Aaron Civale who was making a rehab start. Civale went 4 and ⅔ innings, striking out seven and not allowing a run. The Clippers picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh to push their lead to three. This run would prove to be huge as the Saints scored two runs in the top of the eighth off of sticky-stuff merchant James Karinchak thanks to RBI singles from Mark Contreras and Michael Helman. The Saints loaded the bases in the eighth but couldn’t score as Jose Godoy lined out to end the threat. Kyle Garlick grounded into a double play to end the game as he finished 0-for-5 on the day in the first game of his rehab assignment. The Saints fell to 31-30 on the year with the loss. Helman led the offense, going 2-for-4 with a double. WIND SURGE (AA) GAME 1: Wichita 7, Tulsa 4 Box Score In game one of a double-header with Tulsa, the Wichita Wind Surge won by a score of 7-4. TwinsDaily’s #12 prospect Louie Varland got the start for Wichita and was very solid once again. Varland threw five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four. Varland picked up his sixth win of the year and his ERA is down to 3.27. He has consistently been one of the Twins organization’s best pitchers and he would be deserving of a promotion to give him a new challenge at AAA. Game one of this double-header was the DaShawn Keirsey show. He started the scoring for the Wind Surge in the top of the second when he hit a sacrifice fly to score Matt Wallner. After Edouard Julien tied the game at two in the fifth with his fourth homer of the year and Andrew Bechtold scored on a wild pitch, Keirsey hit a solo-shot for his third homer of the year to give the Wind Surge a two-run lead. In the top of the seventh, Keirsey drove in Wallner with an RBI groundout to give Wichita a five-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Osiris German picked up the two-inning save for Wichita, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out three. The save was his second of the year. Keirsey finished 1-for-2 with three RBI and a walk. Leobaldo Cabrera reached base three times via a hit and two walks, and Wallner scored two runs to lead the offense. With the win, the Wind Surge improved to 33-24 on the year. GAME 2: Wichita 3, Tulsa 4 Box Score In game two of the double-header, the Wind Surge were not so lucky as Tulsa beat them to get the double-header split. Kody Funderburk took the mound for Wichita but could not improve on his 6-1 record as he took the loss in this one. Funderburk went 3 and ⅔ innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out three. Funderburk was tagged for two runs in the first inning when MLB’s #61 prospect Andy Pages took him deep for his tenth of the year. In the fourth inning, Tulsa got another run on an error to push the lead to three. The Wind Surge responded with one in the bottom of the fourth when Wallner scored on a Dennis Ortega groundout. After Tulsa scored another run in the sixth, Keirsey continued to swing a hot bat when he drove in two runs with a single. Wichita cut the deficit to one run and had runners on second and third but couldn’t capitalize. Steven Cruz and Jordan Gore each threw 1 and ⅓ innings of scoreless relief for Wichita, but it wasn’t enough as Wichita fell 4-3 to Tulsa. Wichita’s record fell to 33-25 with the loss. One interesting anecdote from this double-header was that Varland’s older brother Gus picked up the win in game two for Tulsa. Each Varland brother picked up a win in the double-header so the Varland family couldn’t have much to complain about. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 7, Dayton 2 Box Score Two of the best high-A teams faced off on Wednesday, as Cedar Rapids came into the matchup at 37-21 while Dayton came in at 37-20. Cedar Rapids came away victorious in a 7-2 victory. The Kernels sent TwinsDaily’s #20 prospect David Festa to the mound. Festa continued his excellence in his first full professional season, throwing five strong innings, allowing two runs, and not walking any batters while striking out five. Festa has not allowed more than three runs in any of his 11 outings this year, and his ERA is down to 2.19 while striking out 65 batters in 53 innings. Dayton took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, but the Kernels answered in the bottom half when Wander Javier doubled in Dylan Neuse to cut the deficit in half. Yunior Severino came up huge for the Kernels on multiple occasions on Wednesday. In the bottom of the fourth, he smashed a solo home run to tie the game at two. Two innings later, he hit a two-run homer to give the Kernels the lead for good. A Patrick Winkel solo bomb immediately followed his blast to give the Kernels back-to-back home runs. In the bottom of the seventh, Severino singled in Kyler Fedko, who tripled, to increase the lead to five. The Kernels bullpen was fantastic Wednesday, throwing four scoreless innings and only giving up three hits. Bobby Milacki threw one and ⅔ innings, Miguel Rodriguez threw one and ⅔, and Tyler Palm got the final two outs of the game to secure the victory for the Kernels. Severino carried the offense as he went 4-for-4 with two runs, four RBI, and his first two home runs of the 2022 season. The Kernels improved their record to 38-21 with the win. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) GAME 1: Fort Myers 5, Bradenton 4 Box Score Fort Myers and Bradenton finished a game that was started Tuesday and postponed, and the Mighty Mussels came out on top by a score of 5-4. Before the game was postponed Tuesday, Jaylen Nowlin started on the mound for Fort Myers. He threw three innings of one-run baseball, striking out seven. Nowlin has now struck out 48 batters in 27 innings this year. Nowlin let up a homer in the top of the third to start the scoring, but Fort Myers responded with two runs in the bottom of the third despite not getting a hit. Noah Cardenas and Keoni Cavaco each drew bases-loaded walks to score runs. After the bottom of the third, the game was delayed due to lightning, and it would be picked up Wednesday. John Wilson started on Wednesday for the Mighty Mussels (started the fourth inning) and threw one and ⅔ innings, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks. Bradenton took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, and the Mighty Mussels had some fighting to do. The game remained 4-2 until the bottom of the seventh, thanks to three innings of scoreless relief from Matt Mullenbach who allowed one hit and struck out four. In the bottom of the seventh, the Mighty Mussels loaded the bases on walks and Cavaco grounded into a force-out, scoring Luis Baez. Fort Myers stranded two runners on, though, as the score was now 4-3 going into the final two innings. Juan Mendez followed Mullenbach, throwing one and ⅓ innings of scoreless relief into the bottom of the ninth. Baez led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and Jake Rucker followed with a walk-off two-run homer to give the Mighty Mussels the win. With the win, the Mighty Mussels improve to 36-21 on the season as the Twins system continues to dominate both levels of A-ball. GAME 2: Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 1 Box Score In game two of the double-header, Fort Myers pulled off a victory in less dramatic fashion than game one. Left-hander Jordan Carr took the mound to start for the Mighty Mussels eight days after being assigned to Fort Myers from the FCL Twins. After being hit around in his first start, Carr pitched way better in his second go-around as a starter on Wednesday, throwing five innings of one-run ball, only allowing four baserunners and striking out five. The game was locked in a 0-0 tie until the bottom of the fourth inning when Fort Myers rallied for four runs. After back-to-back singles from Noah Miller and Cardenas to open the inning, Mikey Perez singled in a run. Cardenas came around to score on a wild pitch, and singles from Kala’i Rosario and Baez scored runs for Fort Myers to give them a four run lead with three innings to play. In the bottom of the sixth, Rosario swung at the first pitch he saw and connected for a two-run homer, his sixth homer of the year to give the Mighty Mussels a 6-1 advantage. Regi Grace and Hunter McMahon each threw an inning of scoreless relief to shut the door on Bradenton, and the Mighty Mussels finished the day with a double-header sweep. Rubel Cespedes finished the game 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a walk, and Rosario went 2-for-3 with three RBI and the homer. With the win, the Mighty Mussels improved to 37-21 and clinched a first half division title and a spot in the Florida State League Playoffs. COMPLEX CHRONICLES There was no game for the FCL Twins on Wednesday. They will be back in action Thursday against the FCL Braves. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 13, DSL Yankees 4 Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ledwin Taveras (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K) Multi-Hit Games: Junior Marino (3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Ricardo Pena (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI) 2B: Marino (1) 3B: Rafael Cruz (2), Jose Rodriguez (1) HR: Pena (1) TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Carr (Fort Myers) - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day – Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - 4-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR (2) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, BB #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, 2 K #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-6, R, 2 BB #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K #13 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-3, 2 R, 4 BB, 2B (11) #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-6, R, RBI, HR (4), BB, SB (8) #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 3 K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (11:05 AM CST) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 18.00 ERA) Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (2-3, 3.40 ERA) Dayton @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (6-1, 1.86 ERA) Bradenton @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  8. These Minor League Week in Reviews are getting long. They are filled with how Twins minor leaguers, from the Triple-A St. Paul Saints, down to the 17 and 18-year-old kids playing in the Dominican Summer League. Who played really well? How did the teams perform. While wins and losses are secondary to player development, it is a part of the game that matters to the players. There were several transactions on Monday. Both Rookie League affiliates played on Monday morning. There has been a lot of Twins minor league coverage all week, so be sure to keep checking back. Of course, we also look at the current Top 20 Twins prospects, and we enjoy seeing them do well. But, we (or at least I am) are just as excited to hear that a player like Elliot Soto is being called up by the Twins. Fun stories! If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. TRANSACTIONS With no Monday Minor League Report, here are the transactions from later on Sunday and on Monday: RHP Cole Sands was optioned to St. Paul. Infielder Elliot Soto’s contract was purchased and he joins the team in Seattle. To make room, RHP Cody Stashak was placed on the 60-Day IL. LHP Evan Sisk was promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. RHP Jordan Gore was sent from St. Paul to Wichita, as was OF Cole Sturgeon. RHP Argenis Angulo placed on the Development List for Wichita. RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. C Jair Camargo activated from the Injured List. OF Kennie Taylor and C Kyle Schmidt sent from Wichita to Cedar Rapids. RESULTS Previous Week in Review (5/31-6/6):Another No-No, and Huge Offensive Performances Tuesday: Gipson-Long Shucks Cubs, Steer Stays Hot Wednesday: Encarnacion-Strand Continues to Mash, Emmanuel Rodriguez Injured Thursday: Festa Fancy in Start, Steer Walks it Off Friday: A Near Sweep Saturday: Kirilloff, Saints Power Their Way to Sixth Straight Win Sunday: Offensive Clinic from Cedar Rapids, Kirilloff Homers Again MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT (More Than) Three Questions With… Saints Infielder Spencer Steer (includes video) Is Austin Martin Minnesota’s Best Trade Chip? Partial ACL Tear Ends Lewis’s Season… Again! Passing on What He Has Learned Is Elliot Soto’s Drive With the 2022 Saints MONDAY’S SHORT-SEASON RESULTS We don’t have a Minor League Report on Mondays since the full-season affiliates don’t play on Mondays. But, often the FCL Twins and DSL Twins do play. Here are their box scores and highlights. FCL Twins 6, FCL Rays 11 Box Score Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) Multi-Hit Games: Gregory Duran (2-for-3, BB, 2B, R, RBI, K 2B: Gregory Duran (2) Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K) Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (0-for-3, HBP, K), Fredy Michel (1-for-3, 2 BB, K, 2 R, 1 RBI, SB). Summary: The GCL Twins fell behind 6-1 but clawed their way back to 6-5 going to the bottom of the eighth inning. That’s when the Rays scored five runs to put the game away. Just one of those five runs was earned as the Twins youngsters committed six errors in the game. DSL Twins 7, DSL Brewers (2) 6 Box Score Starting Pitcher: Julio Bonilla (4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) Multi-Hit Games: Denyerbe Gervis (2-for-2, 2B, R, RBI, SB), Isaac Pena (2-for-2, RBI), Junior Del Valle (2-for-3, R) 2B: Denyerbe Gervis (3) 3B: Yilber Herrera (1) Top Prospects: Bryan Acuna (0-3, HBP, R, 2 K) WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week: 6-0, hosting Rochester Season: 30-29 overall, 6th place out of ten teams in the International League West. They are 6.0 games behind Nashville. Despite the rough week, Rochester remains in first place, a half-game ahead of Lehigh Valley. The Saints were struggling, but it’s fair to say that they are playing much better now. They began the week at 24-29. The former Twins Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, came to St. Paul leading the East division of the International League. The Saints swept the series and are now back over .500 at 30-29. In reality, the Saints completely dominated #OldFriend Matthew Lecroy’s squad. They outscored the Wings 48-23. They reached double-digits in runs scored three times. Aside from a walk-off win on Thursday, none of the other games were particularly close. The Red Wings still lead their division by 1/2 game. Mario Sanchez had a four-inning save this week. He gave up no runs and no hits. He walked one and struck out six batters. Joe Ryan made a rehab start on Thursday night. He struck out four batters over three scoreless, one-hit innings. He appears ready to make his next start with the Twins. Jake Petricka worked three scoreless, one-hit innings over two appearances. He walked one and struck out three batters. Tyler Thornburg threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up one hit and struck out three batters. He also threw 2 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings in his Twins debut on Sunday afternoon. Jake Faria gave up one run on five hits in five innings in his start. He walked one and struck out two. Alex Kirilloff played in all six games. He went 9-for-24 and hit .375/.423/.792 (1.215) with a double, three homers and seven RBI. Tim Beckham played in four games. He went 9-for-17 and hit .529/.600/.765 (1.365) with a double, a homer, and nine RBI. He also had two stolen bases. Spencer Steer played in the Saints first three games this week. In that time, he went 5-for-13 and hit .385/.500/.923 (1.423) with a double and two home runs. On Thursday, he capped a four-run ninth inning with a two-run, walk-off homer. Jermaine Palacios returned to the Saints. In four games, he went 6-for-17, hitting .353/.389/.647 (1.036) with two doubles, a homer and four RBI. Michael Helman went 6-for-19 (.316) with two doubles. Mark Contreras went 6-for-20 (.300) with three doubles. Caleb Hamilton played in four games and went 4-for-12. He hit .333/.556/.583 (1.139) with a homer and two RBI. He also walked six times. In six games, Jake Cave went 8-for-23 and hit .348/.444/.609 (1.053) with a double, triple, homer, and five RBI. What’s Next? The Saints will be on the road the next two weeks. They will travel to Ohio and take on the Columbus Clippers this week. Pitching Probables (RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Jordan Balazovic, RHP Derek Rodriguez, RHP Jake Faria, TBD) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge Week: 2-4, @ Arkansas Season: 32-23 overall, 1st place in the Texas League North Division. They remain 1 1/2 game ahead of Tulsa (30-24) and 2.0 games ahead of Arkansas (31-26). The series began with 6-1 losses at the hands of Arkansas. After a rainout on Wednesday, they split a doubleheader Thursday. The Wind Surge were outscored 23-20 for the week. Only one game throughout the full week was decided by less than three runs. Here are some of the top performances for the Wind Surge this past week: Louie Varland had a terrific start this week. The Minnesota native tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up three hits, walked none, and struck out nine batters. Melvi Acosta gave up just one hit over 4 2/3 innings in two appearances. He walked two and struck out four batters. Lefty Evan Sisk struck out six batters over three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked two batters. New Surge relievers, Denny Bentley and Andrew Cabezas each worked two scoreless innings and struck out two batters over two games. Anthony Prato had a good start to his Wichita days. He went 5-for-18 and hit .278/.417/.389 (.806) with two doubles and three walks. Chris Williams went 5-for-22 (.227), but he had three doubles, a homer, and five RBI. Edouard Julien was 5-for-18 (.278), but he walked six times, giving him a .458 on-base percentage for the week. What’s Next? The Wind Surge will remain on the road. They will head to Tulsa to play a seven-game series. They will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, making up for a rainout from early May. Pitching Probables (RHP Casey Legumina, Wednesday DH (TBD, TBD), TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week: 4-2, @ South Bend Season: 37-20 overall, 1st place in the Midwest League West Division, 3.5 games ahead of Wisconsin (33-23). The Kernels dominated the series to the tune of a 37-16 run differential. They lost two close games and they won the other four games by an average of six runs. The Kernels were able to increase their lead in the division and put more space between themselves and third-place South Bend. David Festa continues his impressive, breakout season. In his start last week, the flamethrower struck out six batters over six scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and walked one batter. Lefty Aaron Rozek tossed four innings. He gave up no runs on two hits, one walk, one hit batter and struck out three batters. Sawyer Gipson-Long gave up one run on three hits (a solo homer). He walked one and struck out six batters. Cade Povich gave up one run on four hits over six innings on Sunday. He walked two and struck out five batters. Brent Headrick had another strong start. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out seven batters. Christian Encarnacion-Strand played all six games. He went 6-for-24 and hit .250/.333/.708 (1.041) with two doubles, three homers, and eight RBI. Dylan Neuse played four games and went 3-for-10 at the plate. He hit .300/.533/.600 (1.133) with a homer. He walked four times. Wander Javier went 6-for-17 in five games last week. He hit .353/.450/.529 (979) with a double, a triple, and four RBI. In six games, Seth Gray went 7-for-22 and hit .318/.400/.636 (1.036) with a double, two homers, and seven RBI. What’s Next? The Kernels will be home for the next two weeks. This week, they will be hosting Dayton. Dayton leads the Midwest League East Division with a 36-19 record and a 4 1/2 game lead over Great Lakes. Order Tickets here. Pitching Probables (RHP John Stankiewicz, RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Week: 1-5, @ Daytona Season: 35-21 overall, 1st place in the Florida State League West, 6.0 games ahead of Clearwater (29-27). It was a tough week for the Mussels. Marco Raya Steve Hajjar was terrific but only went two innings in his start. Emmanuel Rodriguez injured his leg on Wednesday. He is going to be out for three-to-four months after having surgery. Keoni Cavaco played in just one game but is expected to return to action this week. They were outscored by the Tortugas 17-37. Carlos Aguiar began the week by playing one game with the FCL Twins. He had a double in a 1-for-3 game. He also walked once. In four games with the Mussels, he had a double, a triple, a homer, and two walks. Noah Cardenas played in six games. He went 3-for-12 (.250). He also walked six times and was on base 59% of the time and had a double too. Jaylen Nowlin made one start. He went three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, walked two and struck out six batters. Sam Perez pitched twice, In three innings, he gave up one hit. He struck out two batters and didn’t walk anyone. Travis Adams struck out eight batters in five innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and a walk. Malik Barrington struck out four batters over three scoreless innings over two outings. He finished both games he pitched and recorded a save. What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels head back to Hammond Stadium this week to take on the Bradenton Marauders (25-31). Pitching Probables (TBD, TBD,TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD) Rookie: Florida Complex League (FCL Twins) Week: 3-2 Season: 4-2 Alexander Pena is off to a fast start. In four games, he went 7-for-12. He hit .583/.600/.917 (1.517) with two doubles, a triple, and three home runs. Fredy Michel also played four games. He went 5-for-13 and hit .385/.500/.538 (1.038) with two doubles and an RBI. Gregory Duran played four games and went 3-for-10. He hit .300/.563/.500 (1.063) with two doubles. He also walked five times. Rehabbing Daniel Robertson went 4-for-12 over three games and hit .333/.429/667 (1.096) with a double, a homer and five RBI. He also walked twice. Jose Olivares worked four relief innings. He gave up an unearned run on three hits. He walked two and struck out four batters. Tomas Cleto recorded a Save in his outing. He tossed three scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out four batters. Jon Olsen and Luis Rijo made their first rehab appearances since they had Tommy John surgery late last year. Rookie: Dominican Summer league (DSL Twins): Week: 4-1. Season: 4-2 Cesar Lares struck out eight batters over four scoreless, hitless innings in his professional debut. He walked three and hit a batter. Miguel Olivares struck out five and walked one batter over four scoreless innings. He gave up one hit. Roger Duran worked twice out of the bullpen. In five innings, he gave up one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out nine batters. Rafael Cruz played in four games and went 5-for-11. He hit .455/.538/.727 (1.265) with a double, a triple, and two RBI. Denyerbe Gervis went 6-for-12 in his four games and hit .500/.538/1.000 (1.538) with three doubles, a home run, and five RBI. Isaac Pena played in five games. He went 7-for-11 and is hitting .636/.583/.818 (1.401) with a triple and three RBI. Junior Del Valle went 5-for-8 in his four games played. He hit .625/.667/.875 (1.542) with two doubles. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week and this season. The Prospect Tracker will be updated on the first of each month throughout the season. Notice that these pages now include stats and splits, as well as past article links, video and more. #1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - Did Not Play (Season: 34 G, .313/.405/.534 (.940), 12-2B, 1-3B, 5-HR, 30 R, 14 RBI, 18 BB, 32 K) #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - Did Not Play (.000), 0-2B, 0-HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (Season: 12 G, .300/.317/.550 (.867), 4-2B, 0-3B, 2-HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 5 G, 1-for-14 (.071), 1-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K (Season: 51 G, .235/.360/.311 (.671), 8-2B, 2-3B, 1-HR, 37 R, 14 RBI, 25 BB, 34 K, 21 SB, 2 CS) #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - In MLB (Season: 21 G, .256/.295/.442 (.737), 10-2B, 2-HR, 10 R, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 14 K) #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 5 G, 6-for-17 (.353), 2-2B, 0-HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K (Season: 30 G, .226/.255/.415 (.670), 8-2B, 4-HR, 10 R, 15 RBI, 3 BB, 26 K) #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 2.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K (Season: 6 GS, 19.0 IP, 22 R, 17 ER, 31 H, 12 BB, 18 K, 0-2, 8.05 ERA, 2.26 WHIP, 5.7 BB/9, 8.5 K/9) #5 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K (Season: 11 GS, 53.0 IP, 21 R, 20 ER, 41 H, 19 BB, 53 K, 2-3, 3.40 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Injured List (Season: 11 G, 10 GS, 34.1 IP, 8 R, 7 ER, 17 H, 22 BB, 50 K, 0-1, 1.83 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 5.8 BB/9, 13.1 K/9) #7 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - (Season: 35 G, .307/.385/.591 (.976), 13-2B, 1-3B, 8-HR, 27 R, 30 RBI, 14 BB, 23 K) #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 3 G, 5-for-13 (.385), 1-2B, 2-HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K (Season: 16 G, .279/.380/.691 (1.071), 4-2B, 0-3B, 8-HR, 18 R, 19 RBI, 8 BB, 13 K) #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 2 G, 0-for-4 (.000), 0-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K (Season: 47 G, .272/.493/.552 (1.044), 5-2B, 3-3B, 9-HR, 35 R, 25 RBI, 57 BB, 52 K) #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 2-for-17 (.118), 0-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K (Season: 50 G, .243/.375/.335 (.710), 7-2B, 2-3B, 2 HR, 33 R, 13 RBI, 37 BB, 58 K) #10 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch (Season: 8 G, 7 GS, 32.2 IP, 15 R, 12 ER, 26 H, 12 BB, 35 K, 3-1, 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 9.6 K/9) #11 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K (Season: 9 GS, 43.0 IP, 20 R, 16 ER, 34 H, 15 BB, 57 K, 4-4, 3.35 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 11.9 K/9) #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 9 K (Season: 11 G, 10 GS, 58.1 IP, 24 R, 21 ER, 46 H, 24 BB, 71 K, 5-1, 3.24 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 11.0 K/9) #13 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 K (Season: 9 G, 6 GS, 34.0 IP, 29 R, 42 H, 14 BB, 36 K, 0-2, 7.68 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 9.5 K/9) #14 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 G, 3.1 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K (Season: 5 G, 4 GS, 16.2 IP, 13 R, 10 ER, 19 H, 9 BB, 21 K, 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 4.9 BB/9, 11.3 K/9) #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 6 G, 4-for-19 (.211), 1-2B, 1-3B, 0--HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K (Season: 52 G, .266/.380/.511 (.891), 10-2B, 1-3B, 11-HR, 35 R, 41 RBI, 33 BB, 77 K) #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 6 G, 5-for-18 (.278), 1-2B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 6 BB, 9 K (Season: 35 G, .270/.424/.387 (.811), 5-2B, 1-3B, 2-HR, 19 R, 11 RBI, 31 BB, 37 K) #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch (Season: 6 G, 5 GS, 18.2 IP, 15 R, 23 H, 6 BB, 21 K, 0-4, 7.23 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 10.1 K/9) #17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 2 GS, 8.1 IP, 9 R, 13 H, 3 BB, 8 K (Season: 5 G, 3 GS, 16.1 IP, 12 ER, 14 H, 7 BB, 18 K, 0-3, 8.82 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 9.1 K/9) #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 6 G, 6-for-24 (.250), 2-2B, 0-3B, 3-HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K (Season: 55 G, .207/.364/.568 (.932), 15-2B, 3-3B, 13-HR, 37 R, 51 RBI, 21 BB, 62 K) #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (Season: 9 GS, 35.1 IP, 10 R, 8 ER, 17 H, 19 BB, 59 K, 2-1, 2.04 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 4.8 BB/9, 15.0 K/9) #20 - David Festa (Ft. Myers) - (Season: 2 G, 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K, (Season: 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 0.0 BB/9, 13.5 K/9) #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K (Season: 4 G, 2 GS, 19.2 IP, 4 ER, 14 H, 4 BB, 22 K, 3-0, 1.83 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 10.1 K/9) PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Hitter of the Week: OF/1B Alex Kirilloff, St. Paul Saints Why is Alex Kirilloff such a great hitter? Let me count the ways. Last week, Kirilloff played in all six Saints wins. He went 9-for-24 and hit .475/.423/.792 (1.215) with a double, three homers, and seven RBI. He was the Twins choice for hitter of the week the previous, but we went with Spencer Steer. This week, the Twins went with Steer, and we are taking Kirilloff. Granted, he shouldn’t be in the minors. That wasn’t the plan. The plan was that his surgically-repaired wrist would be completely healed, and he would be hitting well in the middle of the Twins lineup. Instead, he went on the IL with some wrist pain, found out it wasn’t anything structural and was sent to St. Paul to basically get at-bats and regain confidence. In 25 games since he was optioned, he has hit .384/.465/.717 (1.182) with six doubles, nine homers, and 26 RBI. He also has 14 walks to go with 18 strikeouts. Seven of the home runs have come in the past nine games. And as soon as a position opens up and he can get very regular playing time, the former top pitch will turn to the big leagues. Pitcher of the Week: RHP Louie Varland, Wichita Wind Surge At 24, Varland is exactly one month younger than Alex Kirilloff. Their paths have been different, but they are both on the path to Target Field. Varland was a terrific pitcher at South St. Paul before joining his brother Gus at Concordia University in St. Paul. The Twins made him their15th round pick in 2019. He was the organization's minor league pitcher of the year last year, per the Twins and Twins Daily. This year, he has had outings on both sides of the spectrum. Generally speaking, it tends to be pretty directly tied to his control. Overall, he is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has given up 46 hits (9 homers), walked 24, and struck out 71 batters. His fastball is sitting 94-96 mph and has touched 97 on occasions. His slider is generally a plus-pitch for him, and his changeup has had mixed results, but there have been several very good days. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the players and the teams in the COMMENTS below.
  9. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Rochester 4 Box Score The Saints picked up a well-earned win against the Red Wings on Friday. Alex Kirilloff led off for St. Paul and remained hot, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Jermaine Palacios—who performed quite well during his cup of coffee with the Twins—also went 2-for-5 with his four home run of the season. Jose Godoy rounded out the team’s multi-hit games, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Josh Winder made his first rehab start on his path back to the parent club, and unlike teammate Joe Ryan the previous night, his outing did not go so well. Winder surrendered a home run and gave up two runs in his one inning of work. (Though, it should be mentioned that he did strike out three batters.) After Ariel Jurado was touched for two runs of his own in four innings, Tyler Viza, Jake Petricka, and Austin Schulfer shut down the Rochester bats over the game’s final four frames to help St. Paul pick up the win. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 8, Arkansas 0 Box Score While the six-run eighth inning didn’t technically win the game for the Wind Surge, it sure didn’t hurt. Chris Williams (2-for-3, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB) led the charge as his grand slam in the penultimate frame pushed Wichita from a likely victory to one that was guaranteed. Anthony Prato (2-for-4, 2B) and Edouard Julien (2-for-4, BB) joined Williams in the multi-hit club, wrangling the remainder of the Wind Surge’s hits. Louie Varland put together perhaps his nicest start of the season, striking out nine across six innings of work. Melvi Acosta and Argenis Angulo tossed the final three innings and allowed only four Travelers to reach base. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, South Bend 1 Box Score The Kernels bounced back from their shoutout loss on Thursday by claiming a definitive win against the Cubs. Aaron Sabato’s solo home run—his eighth of the season—gave Cedar Rapids a 2-1 lead in the third inning, one they would not surrender. Wander Javier (2-for-4, 3B, RBI) and Christian Encarnacion-Strand (1-for-4, 2B, RBI) picked up the Kernels other extra-base hits. (A quick not-so-positive note on Encarnacion-Strand: While the Twins third base prospect has been solid at the plate, he has a long way to go in the field. He committed his 18th error of the season Friday night and owns a putrid .838 fielding percentage in 43 career games at the hot corner.) Brent Headrick continued his hot start to the season, pitching 5 ⅔ innings, allowing only one earned run and striking out seven. Miguel Rodriguez and Bobby Milacki threw 3 ⅓ innings of scoreless ball out of the pen. MUSSEL MATTERS Daytona 6, Fort Myers 1 Box Score The Mighty Mussels bats were silenced by Tortugas on Friday as Carlos Aguiar (1-for-2, 2B, BB) was the only obstacle standing between Daytona and a no-hitter. Travis Adams started on the bump for Fort Myers and pitched well enough to give his team a fighting chance. He struck out eight and surrendered two runs in five innings. Unfortunately, the Tortugas touched Matt Mullenbach for four runs—three earned—over the next 1 2/3 innings, effectively closing the door on any potential Mighty Mussels victory. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 5, FCL Red Sox 1 Box Score There was a doubles party and everyone in the FCL Twins’ lineup was seemingly invited on Friday as the Twins blew past the Red Sox. Alexander Pena (3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (2-for-4, BB), a rehabbing Daniel Robertson (2-for-4), Gregory Duran (1-for-3, 2 BB), and Ricardo Olivar (1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) all hit for extra bases to fuel the Twins offense. Jose Olivares threw four innings and struck out four to pick up the win. Tomas Cleto also struck out four and earned the save. DOMINICAN DAILIES No Game TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Wichita): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K Hitter of the Day – Chris Williams (Wichita): 2-for-3, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, 2R, BB, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - Did Not Play #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - Did Not Play #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Play #13 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Play #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-4, RBI, BB, R #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-4, BB, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2B, RBI #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Play FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-2, 8.82 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (5:35PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-2, 3.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (6:05PM CST) - LHP Aaron Rozek (5-2, 4.62 ERA) Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl (2-2, 4.80 ERA)
  10. TRANSACTIONS INF Anthony Prato promoted to AA Wichita OF Dylan Neuse promoted to A+ Cedar Rapids OF Nelson Roberto promoted to A Fort Myers C Jair Camargo placed on IL (AA Wichita) RHP Chi Chi González optioned to AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 5, Iowa 8 Box Score Dereck Rodriguez: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K HR: Spencer Steer (3), Alex Kirilloff (4) Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-for-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Tim Beckham (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) Iowa kicked St. Paul into a hole early on Saturday, and they never recovered. The Cubs jumped all over Dereck Rodriguez in the first inning, plating six runs before the mayhem came to a merciful end. Rodriguez stayed in for another inning, but his night was far shorter than he probably anticipated. St. Paul didn’t take it laying down, though. Spencer Steer popped his third AAA homer, because of course he did, while Tim Beckham drove in runs in the 3rd and 5th innings to slash the lead to two. Alex Kirilloff brought the game within a run with a solo homer in the 7th. Then the momentum ended for St. Paul. Iowa added three runs thanks in part to a homer from Technically Old Friend John Hicks. Jake Faria gritted out six clutch, effective innings, but the task was too tall in the end. Of note: Steer played SS in this game. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 8, Frisco 7 Box Score Louie Varland: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K HR: Chris Williams (4), Edouard Julien (2), Matt Wallner (11) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, HR, R, RBI), Matt Wallner (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday. Louie Varland made his bid for pitcher of the day, striking out nine batters over five innings with just two earned runs to his name. On any other day, that start would win him the title, but some other arms were just a bit better. The bats followed a homer-heavy itinerary. Chris Williams, Edouard Julien, and Matt Wallner all crushed bombs; Williams was the only one who did so with runners on base, though. The Wind Surge carried the lead into the 9th, but the usually reliable Evan Sisk was fallible and allowed the tying run to score. The teams exchanged blows in the 10th before Dennis Ortega sent fans home happy with a zombie runner-scoring single. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 7, Lansing Lugnuts 5 Box Score Brent Headrick: 5 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K HR: Alerick Soularie (5) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (4-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI), Pat Winkel (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R) The Kernels won again on Saturday. It was the “thousand paper-cuts” method of execution, but that counts all the same. Cedar Rapids was like David Bowie in his Berlin sessions—a consistent force pumping out more hits than you can believe. All but two batters reached base. Brent Headrick continued his excellent start to the season. He netted 17 outs—perhaps the most this author has observed from a Twins minor league starter this year—and never found himself in consistent trouble. The lefty struck out nine hitters. Alerick Soularie was the star of the game, going a perfect 4-for-4 and hitting the Kernels’ first cycle in 13 years. He also walked once. Things got tight in the final innings as Lansing plated a few runs, but the Kernels pulled through in the end. Old Friend Gabriel Maciel was the final out. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 8, Tampa 2 Box Score Travis Adams: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: Keoni Cavaco (3) Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R) Fort Myers smacked Tampa on Saturday. Travis Adams set the tone, making sure that his hitters didn’t have to worry about hitting their way out of a deficit. The young righty dominated, allowing just a single earned run over five innings of work with eight strikeouts and no walks. Yeah, that’ll play. The bats picked him up almost immediately. The Mighty Mussels took a slim 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning before Keoni Cavaco blew the doors down and smacked a three-run homer. Cavaco then added an RBI single in the 7th. It’s been a good last 10 days for the former first-round pick, as he came into the day slashing .286/.333/.524 over that stretch. Jaylen Nowlin and Hunter McMahon worked four combined stellar innings in relief, allowing 0 earned runs while punching out nine batters. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 17 Tampa batters overall on Saturday. The Mighty Mussels must have had intel on Tarpons catcher Antonio Gomez, as four different players nabbed a steal off him; Jake Rucker nabbed his 12th of the season, Emmanuel Rodriguez swiped his 11th. Uber prospect Jasson Dominguez went hitless, netting an RBI and striking out once. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adamsm, Ft. Myers Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alerick Soularie, Cedar Rapids PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, R, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, RBI, BB, SB #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4, R, BB, K #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (1:08 PM) - RHP Cole Sands Frisco @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (12:05 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek Tampa @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM) - RHP Pierson Ohl Tampa @ Fort Myers (Game Two) - TBD
  11. TRANSACTIONS The Twins called up Royce Lewis from St. Paul and demoted Jose Miranda as a corresponding move. Lewis will be placed on the Injured List on Monday, but the news was fairly positive. The MRI showed "only" a bone bruise. RHP Austin Schulfer was promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. IF Edouard Julien was activated from the Wichita Injured List. C/OF Jeferson Morales was activated from the Kernels Injured List. More moves coming on Monday throughout the organization. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 7 Box score SP: Jake Faria - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K HR: Jake Cave (4) Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI (20)), Cave (2-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI (27)) The Saints went down to the wire to finish out their second home series against Indianapolis early Sunday evening as the teams battled into the bottom of the ninth to close out the series. The game started with a bang from Indianapolis shortstop Oneil Cruz as he hit a leadoff home run against Jake Faria. Faria’s evening continued to see many base runners. Through his 3 2/3 innings pitched, Faria allowed ten base runners on five hits and five walks allowing Indianapolis to score four runs against him. After Faria surrendered three runs to Indianapolis through two innings, the Saints' offense was able to pick up their bats and bring the team back into the game. The first two runs for the Saints in the bottom of the second came with the price of outs as Caleb Hamilton hit a fielder's choice that scored Jake Cave and Elliot Soto grounded out to score Roy Morales. The bottom of the third brought the Saints' first lead of the game thanks to a Jake Cave three-run home run to make the score 5-3. Then after Indianapolis brought themselves back within a run in the top of the fourth, the Saints added two more insurance runs of their own from an Alex Kirilloff RBI single scoring Caleb Hamilton and a Mark Contreras bases-loaded ground out scoring David Banuelos. Indianapolis would only get one run back in the top of the fifth as the game remained at a 7-5 score going into the top of the ninth. Jharel Cotton was on the mound for the Saints to get the save in the top of the ninth, but a leadoff home run from Indianapolis first baseman Mason Martin and RBI double from third baseman Cole Tucker prevented Cotton from earning the save and forced the game into the bottom of the ninth. Thankfully for the Saints faithful, the game was over quickly as the home-run hero of the day Cave walked it off for the Saints. Cave hit an RBI single that scored Contreras to win the game for the Saints. The walk-off win was the Saints second in a row, and they won their first series since mid-April when they last played Indianapolis and took three-out-of-five games. The Saints will embark on another road trip to Iowa to take on the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:38 p.m. CT. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 1 Box Score SP: Louie Varland - 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K HR: Chris Williams (3), Andrew Bechtold (6), Michael Helman (6), DaShawn Keirsey (1) Multi-hit games: Helman (2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI (20), SB (10), BB), Williams (2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI (13), BB) The Wind Surge recovered Sunday night from a high-scoring affair Saturday when they lost 14-13. Wichita got the scoring going right away. They scored four runs in the top of the first inning against the Hooks thanks to an RBI double from Dennis Ortega and a three-run home run from catcher Chris Williams. Williams extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Wind Surge starter Louie Varland was thankful for the early run support as he made his eighth start of the season. Varland threw two scoreless innings to start his evening but gave up a run in the third on an RBI double to Hooks second baseman Emmanuel Valdez. Valdez was the only batter to get the better of Varland in the game as his second run surrendered was on a home run from Valdez. Aside from the troubles with Valdez, Varland threw five strong innings striking out four batters. However, he allowed nine base runners on four hits and five walks. Evan Sisk worked two scoreless innings to earn the win. Going into the bottom of the seventh the Wind Surge held the lead to 5-2. It would soon be taken over by the Hooks when their center fielder Justin Dirden drilled a grand slam off of Bryan Sammons to give the Hooks a 6-5 lead. The Hooks lead was short-lived as Michael Helman hit a home run in the top of the eighth to tie the game for the Surge. The Wind Surge would secure the win in the ninth inning as center fielder DaShawn Keirsey hit his first home run of the season to give the Wind Surge a 7-6 lead. The Wind Surge begin their next series at home on Tuesday against the Frisco RoughRiders, first pitch is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Timber Rattlers 6 Box Score SP: Sean Mooney 2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K HR: Anthony Prato (6) Multi hit games: Prato (3-4, 3 R, 3B, HR, RBI (29), BB) The Kernels completed the series against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Sunday afternoon. The series was in the Kernels' favor at 3-2 through five games, but the Timber Rattlers got the better of the Kernels early. They scored all six of their runs in the first four innings. Sean Mooney was given the starting nod for his seventh start of the season. It was his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander made it into the third inning, but having allowed eight base runners, Brian Dinkelman pulled his starter. The bright spot for Mooney was that four of the seven outs he recorded came on strikeouts. Ryan Shreve, Miguel Rodriguez, Cody Laweryson, and Andrew Cabezas combined for five scoreless innings in relief on just one hit and one walk. Offensively, the Kernels had opportunities to score. In the bottom of the second inning, the Kernels scored their first run by luck as the Rattlers starter Ryne Moore overthrew the ball on a pickoff attempt which allowed for Pat Winkel to score. Cedar Rapids scored again in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a double-steal. Seth Gray stole second base. The throw allowed for Anthony Prado to steal home and cut the deficit to 3-2. After that, Wisconsin rallied for three more runs, and even though the Kernels scored two more runs in the game, it was not enough. The Kernels begin their next series on the road in Michigan against the Lansing Lugnuts on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 10:05 a.m. CT. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 2, Bradenton 4 Box Score SP: Travis Adams 4 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Noah Cardenas (2-3, RBI (14), BB) The Mighty Mussels lost a low-scoring affair on Sunday morning. Travis Adams was on the mound for his seventh start of the season. He allowed two runs on a hit and three walks across four innings. The four-inning outing was Adams' shortest of the season but he still kept Marauder bats guessing as he recorded six strikeouts in the game. The Mussels scored the first run of the game when catcher Noah Cardenas hit a single to score Noah Miller and give the Mussels a 1-0 lead. That was the only run they scored until the top of the eighth inning when they found themselves down 4-1. Ft. Myers scored their second and final run came courtesy of their designated hitter and former first overall draft pick of the 2008 MLB amateur draft, Tim Beckham. The rehabbing veteran ripped an opposite-field line drive off of the wall in right field that scored Dylan Neuse. Beckham was held to a single. Unfortunately, he immediately exited the game, limping off the field. He has missed the first two months of the season with a quad injury. Hopefully, this is just a little setback on his road to recovery. Mikey Perez came on to pinch run for Beckham. The Mussels will be returning to Hammond Stadium on Tuesday to start a six-game series against the Yankees' Low-A affiliate the Tampa Tarpons. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adams (Fort Myers) 4 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Chris Williams (Wichita) - 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI (13), 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: #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-1 (played CF, left game in 3rd inning after remarkable catch caused him to bang into the wall.) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, SB (13)0-7, 4 K #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5 #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-1 (PH) #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-1 (PH) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 31. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). St. Paul @ Iowa (6:38 PM CST) - TBD Frisco @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (10:05 AM CST) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - RHP Mike Paredes Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games or the first two months of the season.
  12. A couple of Twins affiliates played extra-inning games. Alex Kirilloff had his best game of the year. Louie Varland was outstanding once again. Noah Miller had a multi extra-base-hit day. And Spencer Steer has ice in his veins. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to transition to his role as a starter masterfully. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization without further ado. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated Carlos Correa from the 10-day IL and optioned Royce Lewis to St. Paul. SS Ernie Yake was assigned to Wichita from St. Paul. Wichita placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day IL SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 7, Omaha 8 Box Score On Wednesday, the St. Paul Saints fell to the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 7, but Alex Kirilloff showed some very encouraging signs. After an extra-base-hit hiatus of 73 plate appearances to begin his 2022 season, Kirilloff recorded two extra-base hits on Wednesday to show some signs of power that many thought he lost due to a lingering wrist injury. Jake Faria made his seventh start of the 2022 season for the Saints and struggled again, only going three innings of work. Faria allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in those three innings while striking out two batters. His season ERA increased to 7.77 in the lackluster performance. The Saints stranded Kirilloff at second base in the first inning after his double, and Faria struggled. Faria gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in the first, but he stranded two runners thanks to a clutch 5-4-3 double play. In the third inning, the Storm Chasers scored another run thanks to a two-out homer from Brewer Hicklen. The Saints responded in the top half of the fourth with the Kirilloff homer and got another run when Jake Cave scored on a Jermaine Palacios single, but the Saints left runs on the table and stranded the bases loaded. Daniel Gossett came on to relieve Faria in the fourth and immediately gave up a homer to JaCoby Jones. Gossett settled in and worked three innings of relief while allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Cave scored again in the top of the sixth, this time on a single from David Banuelos to pull the game within two runs. The Storm Chasers responded with one in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead back to three. In the seventh, the Cave show continued when he clubbed his first homer of the year to pull the game back within two runs. Drew Strotman came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and threw one and ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out two batters. In the top of the eighth, the Saints put together an incredible rally when Elliot Soto and Mark Contreras led off with back-to-back singles, and Curtis Terry drew a walk to give Kirilloff bases loaded with no outs. Kirilloff responded by hitting a two-run single to knot the game up at six, followed by Terry scoring on a balk to give the Saints a 7 to 6 lead. Strotman gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Hicklen before being replaced by Jordan Gore. The first batter Gore faced hit an RBI single, and the Cardinals tied the game again. After an uneventful ninth, the Saints couldn’t get anything going offensively in the tenth inning. Jake Petricka came on in relief in the bottom half, and the first batter he faced singled, ending the game due to a runner starting on second base. The Saints fell to 15-20 with the loss. Kirilloff was 4-for-6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Cave went 2-for-6 with a homer and three runs scored. Roy Morales went 2-for-5, and Soto reached base four times due to two hits and two walks. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 7, Springfield 6 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge were victorious over the Springfield Cardinals on Wednesday by a score of 7-6. Twins Daily #12 prospect Louie Varland made a start for the Wind Surge, and he pitched well, throwing six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. He decreased his season ERA to 3.58 and continued to be an excellent minor league pitcher. The Wind Surge took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning behind four straight singles from Austin Martin, Alex Isola, Andrew Bechtold, and Matt Wallner. Martin scored on Bechtold’s single, while Isola came in to score on a double play later in the inning. Varland gave up a homer to MLB.com’s #27 overall prospect Jordan Walker to tie the game at two in the third inning. The game remained a stalemate for a couple more innings until the bottom of the fifth when Wallner came up clutch with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to give the Wind Surge a 4-2 lead. In the top of the seventh, reliever Osiris German wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the score at 4-2. The Wind Surge couldn’t muster anything offensively in the seventh or eighth innings, so the Wind Surge turned to Alex Scherff to close the game down. Thanks to three walks, an error, and a hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals tied the game in the ninth. Austin Schulfer came in the ninth to clean up the mess and continued working into the tenth, as he recorded a 1-2-3 frame in the tenth. Wallner was intentionally walked to set up the double play in the bottom half of the inning, and it worked, as Michael Helman bunted into a fielder's choice. DaShawn Keirsey struck out with runners on the corners and two outs to send the game into the eleventh. Ben Gross came in to work the eleventh inning, and the first batter he faced singled, setting up runners on the corners and nobody out. The next batter hit into a double play, but the go-ahead run came in to score. The Cardinals hit a homer with two outs to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eleventh, Chris Williams worked a leadoff walk. The Wind Surge then called on their best hitter, Spencer Steer, who had the night off. Steer got the count to 2-2, then unloaded on a fastball to left field for a three-run, walk-off homer, his seventh homer. The Wind Surge improved their record to 21-12 on the season thanks to heroics from their star player. Isola went 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Wallner was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, and a stolen base. Williams was 2-for-3 with two walks. And the hero, Steer, was 1-for-1 with a homer and three RBI. Gross picked up his third win as his record improved to 3-0. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Lake County 4 Box Score On Wednesday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels fell to the Lake County Captains 4 to 2. Aaron Rozek toed the rubber for the Kernels as he went three and ⅓ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters. He took his first loss as his record went to 4 and 1. He now has a 5.1 ERA. The Captains started the game quickly, getting a home run from the game's second batter. Twins Daily #18 prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand roped a double in the bottom half of the first but was stranded at third base. Rozek allowed two runs after a walk, single, RBI double, and sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Kernels faced a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the third, but they responded. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a walk, and Will Holland tripled on the first pitch of his at-bat; driving in Garry Jr., Anthony Prato hit a sacrifice fly to score Holland, and the Kernels deficit was down to one run after the third inning. Bradley Hanner came on in relief of Rozek and threw one and ⅔ innings of scoreless relief while striking out three batters. Hanner’s ERA is down to a minuscule 0.54 on the year. In the bottom of the fifth, Holland hit a double for his second extra-base hit of the game but was stranded at second base. Ryan Shreve came in to relieve Hanner and let up a home run in the top of the sixth to increase the Kernel deficit to two runs. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Kernels threatened after a leadoff double from Prato and a single from Aaron Sabato. Still, they failed to capitalize, leaving these runners stranded at first and third. In the ninth inning, the Kernels got the tying run to the plate, but Holland struck out to end the game, and the Kernels lost 4 to 2. With the loss, the Kernels fall to 24-11. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, which ultimately decided the game. Holland was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, and Encarnacion-Strand was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Cody Laweryson threw two innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts, and Miguel Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) GAME 1: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 10 Box Score The Mighty Mussels dropped game one of the double-header with Clearwater. Right-hander Pierson Ohl made his sixth start of the year for Fort Myers. Ohl went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three batters. Clearwater started the scoring at the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits to take a 1-0 lead. The Mighty Mussels responded with a run in the top of the second when a pitch hit Dylan Neuse, Neuse stole second base, and Luis Baez had a clutch two-out single to drive in Neuse. However, Clearwater retook the lead in the bottom half of the second when Ohl allowed a two-out solo home run. In the top of the third, the Mighty Mussels got a one-out walk from Twins Daily #10 prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez walked, stole second, and scored on a Mikey Perez double. When the Mighty Mussels needed a shutdown inning in response, Ohl could not deliver as he allowed three hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch which led to three runs, and the Mighty Mussels trailed 5-2 after three innings. After an uneventful fourth inning, Jake Rucker led off the top of the fifth with a single and stole second base. After Rucker moved up to third on a groundout, Rodriguez drew another walk and promptly stole second base for the second time of the game. Former first-round pick Keoni Cavaco singled with two outs to score Rucker and put the Mighty Mussels within two runs of the lead. Jackson Hicks replaced Ohl on the mound in the bottom of the fifth. After an error, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a single, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch, Hicks had given up five runs and was pulled from the game after only collecting two outs. The score was 10-3 when Hicks came out, and the game was all but over. John Wilson replaced Hicks and pitched one and ⅓ innings of perfect baseball to finish off the game for the Mighty Mussels. In the top of the seventh, Rucker walked, followed by a two-run home run by 2021 first-round pick Noah Miller, his second of the year. The game ended after seven innings, and the Mighty Mussels lost game one of the double-header, 10-5. Miller went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI, and Rucker went 2-for-3 with a walk. GAME 2: Fort Myers 2, Clearwater 0 Box Score Game two was a much different story for the boys in Fort Myers. The Mighty Mussels turned to right-hander Mike Paredes to try to salvage a split in the double-header. Paredes turned in an excellent outing for the Mighty Mussels, going four shutout innings while striking out three batters. The only baserunner Paredes allowed was a single in the first inning, and he only threw 45 pitches. Paredes was primarily used in a relief role to start the season, but his last two appearances have been starts, and that is a role Paredes seems to thrive in, as he has only allowed one hit through seven innings as a starter. The game was deadlocked at zero until the fourth inning. Fresh off a multi-hit performance, Miller was in an 0-2 count with one out in the fourth when he hit his second triple of the year to get the first runner in scoring position of the game. After a strikeout of Noah Cardenas, Perez came up in another RBI spot, and he delivered, cranking his fourth home run of the season to give the Mighty Mussels a 2-0 lead. After the Perez homer, the Mussels couldn’t manage any more hits and relied on their defense and pitching to win them the game. In the top of the fifth, Niklas Rimmel replaced Paredes and threw two great innings of relief, holding the opposition scoreless and striking out three. Fort Myers turned to Regi Grace in the top of the seventh to close the game out, and he pitched phenomenally, striking out all three batters he faced on only 12 pitches to earn his second save of the season. After the double-header split, the Mighty Mussels record is 22-12. Mikey Perez finished the game 2-for-3 with the game-winning homer, and Noah Miller went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. These were the only three hits of the game for Fort Myers, but they proved to be enough. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Fort Myers) - 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, HBP #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-1, HBP #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (9) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-7, HR (2), 3B (2), 2 R, 2 RBI #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-1, HR (7), 3 RBI, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2B (7), BB THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1, 2.20 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (2-2, 4.03 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  13. TRANSACTIONS SS Royce Lewis promoted to Minnesota Twins 1B/OF Alex Kirilloff activated from IL, promoted to Minnesota Twins RHP Cole Sands promoted to Minnesota Twins LHP Jovani Moran optioned to Triple-A St. Paul INF Kevin Merrell promoted to Triple-A St. Paul from Double-A Wichita SS Daniel Robertson placed on IL (concussion) SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 6, St. Paul 2 Box Score The Saints suddenly found themselves without multiple key members of their offense on Friday as Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff were sent across town to join José Miranda, Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino with the parent squad. As such, St. Paul struggled to drive home runs despite registering eight hits against the Cubs. Caleb Hamilton hit his first home run of the spring—on the same night Miranda hit his first MLB dinger; I guess you could say that neither athlete was going to miss their shot—and drove in the team’s only runs. Cole Sturgeon and Curtis Terry each contributed two hits, with all four being singles. Jake Faria tossed the first four innings for the Saints but struggled to keep the ball in the park. He surrendered two home runs and four earned runs in the loss. Juan Minaya, Jordan Gore, Trevor Megill, and Jharel Cotton struckout six and allowed only one earned run in five innings of relief. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 1: Wichita 7, Tulsa 2 Game 2: Wichita 10, Tulsa 0 Game 1 Box Score Game 2 Box Score It finally stopped raining long enough in Kansas on Friday for the Wind Surge and Drillers to fit in two contests, with the Twins’ Double-A affiliate coming out on top in both. Game one featured brothers and Minnesota natives Louie and Gus Varland facing off against one another on the mound. Louie pitched five innings and struck out six, though he did give up two runs. Gus didn’t fare quite as well, allowing six earned runs in only three innings. Still, it was a night that neither brother nor the entire family will forget. Matt Wallner (1-for-2, 3 RBI) and Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 RBI) each went deep in the first contest while Edouard Julien (2-for-3, BB) drove in the Wind Surge’s other two runs. Alex Scherff and Evan Sisk each threw a scoreless inning in relief. Wallner topped his performance in the first game with an even more dominant showing in the second. He finished the game 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, and four RBI, raising his batting average to a respectable .243 and OPS to .896. He has now hit 14-for-29 with three doubles and five home runs since beginning the season 3-for-41. Andrew Bechtold clobbered his third home run of the season while Julien contributed another 2-for-3 game with two RBI and a walk. Matt Canterino pitched four scoreless innings with four strikeouts for Wichita. Ben Gross was credited with the win following 1 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief. Austin Schulfer pitched the final 1 ⅓ and picked up three strikeouts. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 6, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score The Kernels mustered only three hits against the River Bandits, though two of them went for extra bases. Anthony Prato hit a solo home run—his third of the spring—and Jeferson Morales’ double drove in the team’s only other score. Aaron Rozek’s string of rough outings continued on Friday as the lefty served up two more home runs and surrendered five earned runs in four innings. Bradley Hanner and Melvi Acosta each pitched two innings in relief, striking out four and allowing one more run. Tyler Palm pitched a scoreless ninth. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Lakeland 1 Box Score The Might Mussel’s bats exploded for nine runs on 15 hits on Friday to pick up the win. Noah Miller had himself a particularly good game, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, home run, and three RBI. Kyler Fedko (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R), Keoni Cavaco (2-for-5, RBI), Jake Rucker (2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI), and Daniel Ozoria (3-for-5) also put forth multi-hit efforts. The Fort Myers pitching staff—led by starter Pierson Ohl, who earned the win—pitched a gem, striking out five and allowing only six Flying Tigers to reach base. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP Matt Canterino (Wichita): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day – RF Matt Wallner (Wichita): 5-for-6, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-6, SB #2 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesotal) - 1-for-3, HR, RBI, BB #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-for-4 #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 5-for-6, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) -1-for-4, BB, R #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-8, HR, 2 RBI #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 4-for-6, 4 RBI, 2 BB SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Iowa( 2:07 PM CST) - RHP Mario Sanchez (1-0, 2.92 ERA) Wichita vs. Tulsa (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Quad Cities (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (1-1, 4.50 ERA) Fort Myers vs. Clearwater (5:00 PM CST) - TBD
  14. SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 7, St. Paul 3 Box Score Left-hander Devin Smeltzer was on the mound for the Saints, looking to continue his early season run of success against Iowa. Unfortunately, the Cubs ambushed him early and the Saints weren’t able to recover. The first three hitters of the game singled, before a sac fly got the scoring started for the visiting team. That was followed by a two-RBI double and RBI single to make it 4-0 before St. Paul had an at-bat. The Cubs tacked on two more in the second inning to end Smeltzer’s night. The home team did also score runs in each of the first two innings, but they weren’t crooked numbers like their opponent’s. Jake Cave drew a walk and came around to score on a Curtis Terry double in the first, and Elliot Soto drove in a runner with a single in the second that made it 6-2. Jake Petricka was summoned to begin the third and went two innings, allowing one run of his own on one hit and one walk, while striking out four. Ian Hamilton (2 IP, BB, 2 K) and Tyler Bashlor (2 IP, BB) then combined for four scoreless innings, before Yennier Cano (1 IP, H, BB, K) finished it off for the Saints with a scoreless ninth. The Saints closed the gap to 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth, when Alex Kirilloff delivered an RBI single to score Royce Lewis, who had drawn a walk and stolen his sixth base of the season in front of him. Mark Contreras (2-for-3, BB) and Jose Godoy (2-for-4, R, K) had multiple hits in the effort for the Saints. As a team they were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but Terry’s double was their only extra-base hit, resulting in nine men being left on base for the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Tulsa @ Wichita - Postponed, Rain The Wind Surge versus Drillers series opener was postponed on Tuesday due to rain. Right-hander Louie Varland was scheduled to start this one against his brother Gus, a matchup that will likely will just be moved back a day. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 3, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score The Kernels got a solid start out of Cody Laweryson, who went the first four scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out four, needing only 49 pitches (34 for strikes) to do so. Bobby Milacki (2 IP, 3 K) and Melvi Acosta (2 IP, H, BB, K) then followed him with four more scoreless innings to keep their team in line for a win against their in-state rivals. The home team took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Jair Camargo led off the inning with a single. Wander Javier followed with a double for their first run, and would later score the second on another double courtesy of Willie Joe Garry, Jr. It stayed that way until the top of the ninth when Cedar Rapids sent out reliever Derek Molina, who has been excellent thus far on the season with a 1.29 ERA and sub 1.00 WHIP, looking for his second save of the year. It didn’t go as planned, and he was replaced after walking the first two hitters to put the tying runner on base. Denny Bentley was then summoned and promptly allowed an RBI double, and then a two-RBI single, that put the Kernels behind 3-2. They were unable to mount a rally in the bottom half and fell to a still excellent 15-7 on the season. Each team had just five hits in the game, but the River Bandits got them when they counted late and were able to steal one. Christian Encarnacion-Strand finished this one 1-for-3 with a base on balls, and Seth Gray reached base twice via a walk to lead the lineup. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 1, Lakeland 2 (5 innings, Rain) Box Score In his last time on the mound before getting his wisdom teeth pulled, right-hander Marco Raya introduced himself as a prospect with a one-hit effort over six innings. He struck out 10 while facing the minimum against the Dunedin Blue Jays. This game started out just as good, with a quick one-two-three first inning on just eight pitches in his return to action. But in the second, an error on a groundball from the first hitter sent things off the rails. Before it was over Raya had thrown 35 pitches in the frame, collecting only two outs around a single and three walks that brought in two runs, before being removed from the game. Hunter McMahon came on for the final out of the second and also completed the next two innings. He allowed one hit, one walk, and struck out one to stabilize the game after Raya's early exit. The Mighty Mussels were able to put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth thanks to the third home run of the season from Kala’i Rosario to make it 2-1, but the weather put an end to any further comeback attempt. John Wilson came on to start the bottom of the fifth inning and got two outs before thunderstorms ended the game early with the home team at-bat and leading. Fort Myers’ only other hit of the game, was a Mikey Perez single after the Rosario homer, and he proceeded to steal his fourth base of the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Bobby Milacki, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2 IP, 3 K) Hitter of the Day - Kala’i Rosario, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (1-for-2, R, HR, RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, R, BB #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-for-5, 2B, RBI (first MLB hit) #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, K #15 - Marco Raya (Fort Myers) - L, 1.2 IP, H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, BB WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CDT) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (0-1, 6.35 ERA) Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (2-1, 3.05 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - LHP Brent Headrick (2-1, 2.55 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP David Festa (1-1, 1.93 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  15. TRANSACTIONS None SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Nashville 2, (10 innings) Box Score The Saints escaped victorious during a matinee affair Wednesday afternoon, toppling the Sounds on a walk-off frozen rope off the bat of Royce Lewis. Lewis hit his ninth double of the season during an earlier at-bat and finished the day 2-for-4. The Twins' top prospect is slashing .309/.407/.559 with two home runs and three stolen bases in 18 games this spring, though perhaps most notably his is 17:10 K:BB ratio. Not only has Lewis’s power and speed returned following his ACL injury last spring, but he has adopted a more discerning eye at the plate; prior to the 2022 campaign, he had a career 120:53 K:BB ratio in 302 minor-league contests. But Lewis wasn’t the only top Twins prospect who had himself a game. José Miranda also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and home run. Miranda’s solo shot gave the Saints a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Miranda started off the season sluggish with the bat, but since April 16th, the Twins future third baseman has gone 12-for-40 (.300) with seven doubles and a home run. He has looked more comfortable at the plate as of late and has begun to drive balls that he had been previously pounding into the ground. Devin Smeltzer was once again nails on the mound, striking out three and allowing only one earned run in five innings; the lefty has now surrendered only three earned runs in 19 innings for the Saints. Drew Strotman, Tyler Bashlor, and Jake Petricka combined to strikeout five and held Nashville to a single run in three innings. Yennier Cano pitched the Saints’ final two frames, striking out two and picking up the win. Following the game, @Ted Schwerzler chatted with Devin Smeltzer about his health issues last year and how happy he is to be healthy and performing this year. Alex Kirilloff also talked about his wrist and potential return to the Twins lineup. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 7, Arkansas 4 Box Score Louie Varland looked much better during his outing against the Travelers than he did in his previous start. The former Concordia Golden Bear tossed 5 1/3 innings and struck out four while allowing only four Arkansas batters to reach base. Varland worked in his changeup more tonight than he did his last outing and while the command wasn't anything to write home about, it was effective enough to throw opposing batters off the scent of his fastball and slider. On a couple of occasions, Varland's third pitch moved like a potential plus offering. Edouard Julien, who recently returned from a brief IL stint, remained hot, going 2-for-5 with his second hit being his first Double-A home run. He's 6-for-18 since returning to line up with a home run, triple, and double. Julien rose up prospect ranking boards last summer due to his unique combination of on-base skills, power, and speed. While he wasn't considered a significant prospect out of Auburn—he was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019—Julien has kept virtually the same production in the minors as he did in the SEC. In 127 college games, Julien slashed .266/.393/.501 with 27 home runs and 10 stolen bases. In 120 MiLB games entering Wednesday, he has slashed .268/.433/.476 with 18 home runs and 37 stolen bases. At his current pace, Julien may reach St. Paul by the middle or end of the summer. Cole Sturgeon also had a big game for the Wind Surge as he went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. Spencer Steer also contributed two hits and elevated his batting average to .319. Alex Scherff converted the save. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Beloit 1 Box Score The Kernels also squeaked out a win on Wednesday, taking down the Sky Carp in a low-offense affair. Casey Legumina, Miguel Rodriguez, and Denny Bentley pitched a gem for Cedar Rapids as they combined to strikeout 14 Beloit batters while surrendering only five hits and a single walk. Wander Javier’s third double of the season was the lone extra base hit for the Kernels. Alerick Soularie (1-for-3) and Will Holland (1-for-4) each knocked in RBIs. Seth Gray and Javier each picked up two hits a piece. MUSSEL MATTERS Clearwater 6, Fort Myers 1 Box Score Well, let's just say that it wasn't Fort Myers' night. The Mighty Mussels struggled...mightily...both against the Threshers as well as themselves. Clearwater stung the Fort Myers pitchers for six runs on 13 hits, four of which went for extra bases, while the defense registered three errors and a passed ball. The lone Mighty Mussel pitcher to find success on the bump was Juan Mendez who threw two innings of hitless ball, striking out three. Mikey Perez's second double of the season was the only hit Fort Myers was able to muster. Keoni Cavaco drove in the team's only run. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP Casey Legumina (Cedar Rapids): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – INF José Miranda (St. Paul): 2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, BB, SB #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL (likely a rehab start this weekend) #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-2, 2 BB #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, BB, K #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL (expecting to pitch in May) #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-5 #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Nashville (6:37 PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (1-1, 3.35 ERA) Fort Myers vs. Clearwater (6:00 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (2-0, 1.13 ERA) Feel free to ask questions and discuss.
  16. TRANSACTIONS INF Keoni Cavaco activated from IL. INF Edouard Julien activated from IL C Chris Williams moved to the Developmental Roster SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 9, Toledo 4 Box Score The Saints were the lone Twins’ affiliate to pick up a win Friday night thanks to a six-run eighth inning. On the night, St. Paul registered 11 hits and drew seven walks against the Mud Hens. Jake Cave led the Saints with three hits in six at-bats, including a double, raising his batting average on the young season to .302. Utility man Jermaine Palacios also tallied a multi-hit game (2-for-5) with his double being St. Paul's only other extra-base hit save for Mark Contreras’ (1-for-4) two-run home run in the third inning. Royce Lewis remained on a tear, reaching base three times in six plate appearances and driving in a run. Fellow top prospect Jose Miranda went 1-for-4 with his single plating two runners. Derek Fisher (1-for-4), Daniel Robertson (1-for-4), and Jose Godoy (1-for-5) also picked up hits. JC Ramirez started on the bump for St. Paul and was touched for four runs in 3 2/3 innings. However, the bullpen did not cave for the remainder of the game as Jake Petricka, Trevor Megill, Tyler Bashlor, and Yennier Cano tossed the final 5 1/3 innings, surrendering four hits and walks, but striking out seven and not allowing a run. Cano, a 28-year-old fireballer who slots somewhere in between former Twin Edwar Colina and Jhoan Duran in terms of talent and potential, has now struck out eight batters and only walked one in seven innings. WIND SURGE WISDOM Midland 10, Wichita 8 Box Score Louie Varland did not have his best stuff as the 2021 Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year fell victim to the Rockhounds' offense. Varland was sitting 95-97 mph with his fastball for the majority of his outing, but he lacked command of his curveball and Midland took advantage. Varland served up three home runs and six runs overall (three earned) in five innings, striking out four and walking two batters. Friday’s start was emblematic of why it is difficult for two-pitch pitchers to find success as starters at the MLB level. Today's hitters, even those at Double-A, are able to mash upper-90s heat if they know it is coming and doubly so when they know that the opposing pitcher isn’t going/able to drop in a breaking ball or other off-speed pitch into the zone. Varland has shown enough during his brief time in the minors to suggest that he is an MLB talent, but unless he greatly improves the command of his breaking pitch or further develops his nascent changeup, it will be unlikely that he reaches the precipice as a starter. There is no shame in that. Varland could be another Duran-type for the Twins in short stints, but he needs more refinement if he wishes to do so. Bryan Sammons and Austin Schulfer each threw two innings in relief with the former allowing four runs while the latter punched out two and kept his ERA at 0.00. Offensively, the Wind Surge faired much better. Austin Martin’s bat continues to wake up following his slow start to the season as his 2-for-4 night leaves his batting average a .296. (Quick aside: Martin continued to display why many questions his ability to stick at shortstop long-term as he registered his fifth error of the season on a routine ground ball. Martin has all the physical tools to play shortstop. However, he looks much more comfortable in centerfield as well as during his appearances at second base. He’s a smooth athlete with quick feet but lacks the arm strength or sure-handedness that are needed for success at arguably MLB’s most important defensive position. His strengths play much better in either the outfield or a less demanding infield position like second or even third.) Spencer Steer had the best night at the plate across all levels, going 4-for-5 and driving in two runs. Michael Helman (1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) launched his third home run of the season in the fifth inning and Dennis Ortega (2-for-5) contributed Wichita’s only other extra base hit, a double. Cole Sturgeon (1-for-5, 2 RBI), Andrew Bechtold (1-for-4, RBI), and Edouard Julien (0-for-3, RBI) were the other Wind Surge players to register RBIs. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 8, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score Very little went right for the Kernels on Friday. Offensively, Cedar Rapids only managed five hits, all of them singles, and struck out 10 times. A silver lining: Christian Encarnacion-Strand remained hot, going 2-for-5 to raise his batting average to .434 and OPS to 1.229 across his first 55 plate appearances of the season. One might argue that Encarnacion-Strand has already earned a promotion to Double-A, but with Steer and Miranda still in the minors and playing the same position, it would seem as though a call-up is still a month or two away. The other three Kernels to reach base via hit were Wander Javier (1-for-4, RBI), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (1-for-3), and Jeferson Morales (1-for-3, BB). Brent Headrick’s strong start to the season hit a pothole against the Chiefs as he was unable to make it out of the fourth inning after walking four batters, serving up a home run, and surrendering three earned runs. Miguel Rodriguez provided a nice respite for 2 1/3 innings, striking out two and keeping the Peoria bats at bay. However, they woke up after he exited, torching Cody Laweryson and Andrew Cabezas for five runs. Tyler Palm pitched the final frame, striking out the side, despite loading the bases. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 2, Fort Myers 1 Box Score The Blue Jays and Mighty Mussels combined for three runs and all of them came in the ninth inning. Noah Cardenas’ (1-for-2, BB) second home run of the season put Fort Myers on the board during the top of the final frame, but the Mighty Mussels walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning before Gabriel Martinez hit a walk-off two-run single. John Stankiewicz once again dazzled as he struck out nine batters and allowed only a single hit in five innings. The 23-year-old now boasts a 1.13 ERA with a 7:1 K:BB ratio over the first 16 innings of the season. Hunter McMahon tossed three innings in relief, walking and striking out one batter. Emmanuel Rodriguez broke out of his 0-for-12 slump by going 1-for-3 with a double. However, he exited the game earlier for a currently unknown reason. Kyler Fedko (1-for-3), Dillon Tatum (1-for-3), and Jake Rucker (1-for-4, 2B) also registered hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP John Stankiewicz (Fort Myers): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 78 pitches Hitter of the Day – INF Spencer Steer (Wichita): 4-for-5, 2 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB, R #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Defensive Replacement #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, 2B, BB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 4-for-5, 2 RBI #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-3, RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo ( 4:05 PM CST) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-0, 2.35 ERA) Wichita vs Midland (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Brandon Lawson (0-1, 17.18 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Peoria (2:05 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 1.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 0.90 ERA)
  17. Over the past week, the Twins went 2-4, but all four of their minor-league affiliates had a winning record. There were postponements and a no-hitter. Games were played in snow. There were some great comebacks, and some absolutely dynamic pitching performances by some top prospects, but also by several that you may not have heard of… yet. And there were some really big offensive performances by prospects and others that are less known. Our purpose here, in large part, is to update you and introduce you to Twins prospects by giving them the credit they deserve. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. Also note, hyperlinks on player names will show you past articles in which that player has been tagged. Click around a bit and see how much some of these players have been written about over the years. WEEK IN REVIEW In case you missed a daily report: Tuesday: Povich Nearly Perfect (Video) Wednesday: Streak Continues, No-No in St. Paul (Video) Thursday: Varland Victorious and Mussels Mighty (Video) Friday: Bats Bring the Boom, Pitchers the Brooms (Video) Saturday: The Bats are Sizzling (Video) Sunday: Saints, Wind Surge, Kernels Conclude Week with Wins (Video) Jhoan Duran is What the Twins Have Always Needed Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (vs. Indianapolis) 3-2 (8-3 overall) The Saints played their home-opening series and got a brutal look at what baseball in Minnesota in April can look like. After dropping the first two games of the week, including being no-hit on Wednesday, the team was snowed-out on Thursday. They came back to play the coldest game in team history on Friday, got the win, then had a crazy come-from-behind win on Saturday, and finished off a series win on Sunday. The Saints scored 28 runs over their five games, and 16 of them came on Saturday. Here are the top offensive performers from the past week: Curtis Terry played four games. He went 4-for-14, hitting .286/.333/.786 (1.119) with a double and two home runs. Royce Lewis played in all five games. He hit .412/.389/.706 (1.095) with three doubles and a triple. (Yes, he had a sacrifice fly.) Jermaine Palacios has played around the infield, and in four games last week, he hit .385/.467/.615 (1.082) with a home run. On the pitching front, there was a lot of solid pitching. Nine pitchers threw in one game and did not allow a run. In that group includes: Devin Smeltzer who gave up three hits over five scoreless in his start of the week. Chi Chi Gonzalez tossed three scoreless, hitless innings in his outing. Cole Sands had a second strong start. He gave up one run on three hits over five innings. Finally, Jake Faria stretched out to four innings and gave up just one run. What’s Next? The Saints travel to Toledo to take on the Mudhens. Here are their pitching probables: Pitching Probables (RHP Cole Sands, RHP Mario Sanchez, TBD, TBD, TBD, RHP Cole Sands) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (@NW Arkansas) 4-2 (4-5 overall) The Surge began their 2022 season with three home losses to Tulsa. This past week, they traveled to NW Arkansas and lost the first two games against the Royals’ affiliate. On Thursday, they grabbed their first win of the season and finished the weekend with four straight wins. Things started a bit ominously for the team. In their first game of the week, Edouard Julien walked in the first inning. He stole second, but he hurt his ankle on the play and went on the Injured List the next day. Here are a couple of offensive highlights for the week: Spencer Steer played in all six games. He hit .269/.321/.538 (.859) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. Alex Isola hit .286/.353/.500 (.853) with a homer over four games played. Veteran Kevin Merrell joined the roster this week. He hit .385 in three games (5-for-13). Austin Martin got off to a rough start, but over the past few games, he has returned to on-base machine status. This week, he hit .292 with a .433 OBP. He had seven hits and five walks, and when he got on base, he was running. He went 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Wallner went 2-for-22 (.091) with 12 strikeouts. He did hit his first Double-A homer. Like the Saints, the Wind Surge got some really strong bullpen performances and a couple of standout starter performances. Eight relievers pitched twice and did not give up an earned run. Among them: Steven Cruz tossed four hitless innings. Tyler Viza struck out nine batters in 4 1/3 scoreless innings without issuing a walk. Austin Schulfer struck out four batters over three, one-hit innings. He recorded one save. Argenis Angulo struck out six batters over three scoreless innings. Lefties Bryan Sammons and Evan Sisk each threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Louie Varland got a Win in his start last week. He struck out ten batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and walked one. Simeon Woods Richardson backed up his strong first start with another very good start. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits over five innings. On the other side, in Brandon Lawson’s second start of the week, he gave up eight runs without recording an out. What’s Next? The Wind Surge will be hosting Midland. Pitching Probables (RHP Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Brandon Lawson, RHP Matt Canterino) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (@ Quad Cities) 4-2 (7-2 overall) Christian Encarnacion-Strand had a solid week at the plate, a couple of home runs, and still leads all of minor-league baseball in RBI. This week, his OPS ranked sixth among Kernels hitters. The team scored 38 runs in their six games despite playing two, seven-inning doubleheaders. The team hit nine home runs in those six games. Charles Mack has adapted well to playing behind the plate. The team may need to find ways to get his bat in the lineup more. In three games last week, he went 7-for-12 (.583) with two doubles, a homer, and five RBI. He posted a 1.583 OPS. Another catcher, Jair Camargo, played in four games and hit .375/.412/1.000 (1.412) with a double, three homers, and five RBI. Seth Gray played five games. He hit .429/.600/.786 (1.386) with two doubles and a triple. He also reached five times on walks. Anthony Prato did a great job setting the table from the leadoff spot. In six games, he hit .348/.448/.565 (1.013) with a triple, a homer, five walks, and seven RBI. Aaron Sabato had a nice week. He played in four games, but he hit .313/.421/.563 (.984) with a double and a home run. He drove in six runs. Maybe more important, he had just three strikeouts in 19 plate appearances. Alerick Soularie was the only other player with six games played. He went just 2-for-21 (.095) The Kernels got some terrific performances from their starting pitchers last week in Quad Cities. Sawyer Gipson-Long had a strong first start. He was even better in start number two. The right-hander tossed five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none, and struck out nine batters. Lefty Cade Povich went five shutout innings in his start. He gave up just one hit, walked one, and struck out eight. Brent Headrick is healthy and put together a second strong start. In four innings, he gave up just one hit. He struck out eight batters and walked none. A third left-hander, Aaron Rozek, gave up only an unearned run over five innings in his start. He gave up three hits and struck out seven batters without issuing a walk. Derek Molina worked three scoreless innings over two outings in relief. He struck out five batters. What’s Next? The Kernels will be hosting Peoria for six games this week. Pitching Probables (LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Casey Legumina, LHP Brent Headrick, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Aaron Rozek) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (vs. Jupiter) 4-2 (7-2 overall) After winning their first four games of the week, the Mussels were 7-0. However, they lost their final two games of the week. The Mighty Mussels had a couple of big comeback wins, along with a nice 12-0 blowout. They scored 37 runs in their six games last week. A top prospect is making the large Florida State League ballparks look small. And a 2021 All-American showed again that he can flat-out hit. Emmanuel Rodriguez played in five games last week. He went 7-for-16, hitting .438/.591/1.000 (1.591) with three homers. He also walked six times. He heads into this week with just one minor leaguer having more walks than him. Kyler Fedko had another really good week. He played in all six games. He hit .500/.577/.727 (1.304) with two doubles, a homer, and four RBI. He went 11-for-22. Dillon Tatum was drafted last year as a catcher, but he’s been spending time at first base too. In four games this week, he went 3-for-12 (.250), but he walked five times in 17 plate appearances. Another catcher, Kyle Schmidt, played in all six games. He hit .278/.316/.611 (.927) with two homers and nine RBI. On the flip side, top pick Noah Miller played in five games and went 2-for-20 (.100). He did walk six times. Fellow 2021 draft picks Mikey Perez (2-for-14, .143) and Noah Cardenas (1-for-12, .083) also struggled in the small sample size of one week. Like the other affiliates, the Mighty Mussels got strong pitching from starters and relievers this week. John Stankiewicz had a very impressive start. The right-hander struck out 11 batters over six shutout innings. He gave up three hits and didn’t issue a walk. Travis Adams also had a really good start last week. In his start, he struck out seven batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and walked one batter. Lefty Sam Perez struck out five batters in three relief innings. Malik Barrington, Jackson Hicks, Mike Paredes, Matthew Swain, and John Wilson all tossed two scoreless innings in their relief outings. What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head up north to play six games against Dunedin. Pitching Probables (RHP Marco Raya, LHP Steve Hajjar, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, RHP Travis Adams, TBD) PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week (April 12-18). #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-24 (.292), 2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 5 G, 7-for-17 (.412), 3-2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 5-for-19 (.263), 3-2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 7 K #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1 GS, 1 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 2 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 3 G, 4 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 2 G, 6.1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 2-for-20 (.100), 1 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K. #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 4 G, 1-for-7 (.143), 2 BB, 4 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 5 G, 2-for-22 (.091), HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 12 K. #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 7-for-16 (.438) , 3 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 4 K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-26 (.269), 2-2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1 G, 0-for-0 (.000), 1 BB, 1 SB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K. (pro debut) PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Hitter of the Week: Outfielder Emmanuel Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Rodriguez is a 19-year-old outfielder that the Twins signed on July 2, 2019, out of the Dominican Republic. It sure took some time for his career to begin. The 2020 season was canceled in the Dominican Summer League too. He made his professional debut in 2021 in the FCL. In 37 games, he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with five doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs. He also stole nine bases and is a solid defensive outfielder. He has spent all of his time in centerfield early this season, with a couple of games as DH too. Overall in his eight games this season, he has hit .360/.568/.880 (1.448) with a double and four home runs. More impressive, to this point, he has 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. In 153 plate appearances a year ago, he walked 15% of the time and struck out nearly 37% of the time. Through just 37 plate appearances this season, Rodriguez has walked an unsustainable 32% of the time and struck out just 16% of the time. That number will certainly go up, but to this point, it is a nice sign of an improved process at the plate. The Florida State League is notoriously tough on hitters, so it will be very interesting to see if he is able to maintain his early-season power too. Pitcher of the Week: John Stankiewicz, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels The Twins signed Stankiewicz following the 2020 draft. As you recall, there were just five rounds in the 2020 MLB draft. After it was complete, teams could sign other draft-eligible players for up to $20,000. Stankiewicz signed with the Twins following three solid seasons at Fordham University. Between the 2019 and the four-game 2020 season, he went 10-5 with a 1.56 ERA. In 2021, he spent time at the Florida Complex in the first half of the season. He made one start in the FCL when that season started and struck out six batters in two innings. He then finished with seven games (4 starts) with the Mighty Mussels. He was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He had 24 strikeouts and just eight walks over 23 1/3 innings. In his first start of the season, he went five innings. He was charged with two runs on two hits and two walks. He also struck out eight Clearwater batters. Coupled with his six shutout innings in his second start, he has now struck out 19 batters, and walked just two, over 11 innings. He has been a strike machine so far this season. Over those two starts, he has thrown 145 pitches (11 innings) and thrown 72% strikes. Congratulations to our Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, and to all those who have started the 2022 season strong. Check back at Twins Daily at least daily to see our minor league reports, game recaps, and usually some video highlights from the minor league games.
  18. TRANSACTIONS St. Paul added both RHP Tyler Bashlor and RHP Jake Petricka to their active roster. Fort Myers added RHP Cody Stashak on an MLB rehab assignment SAINTS SENTINEL The Saints were scheduled to play Indianapolis after being no-hit last night, and it would’ve been a perfect opportunity to get the bad taste out of their mouths. Unfortunately the Minnesota weather in April continues to be a disappointment, and a snowy day with temperatures in the low 30s also brought significant wind. The game will now be made up as a doubleheader on May 25. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 7, NW Arkansas 1 Box Score Wichita gave the ball to Louie Varland tonight and he certainly made it difficult to take back. Working 5 and 2/3 innings, Varland gave up just two hits while punching out ten and walking one. After a tough 2022 debut, he was back to dominance. It wasn’t just Varland that did the dominating tonight for the Wind Surge either. The offense came through in a big way and it started from the jump. In the 1st inning Spencer Steer ripped a triple to score Austin Martin, who made his first start in the Twins organization at second base tonight. In the 3rd inning it was Steer again, this time launching a homer to drive in Cole Sturgeon. Wichita piled on in the 6th inning after forcing NW Arkansas into a bad spot. Chris Williams drew a bases loaded walk before a Martin fielder’s choice plated another. Then Sturgeon came through with a two-run double and the 7-0 rout was on. Despite giving up a run in the 7th inning, this one was never in doubt for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Cedar Rapids 8, Quad Cities 5 (F/7) Box Score Playing a doubleheader after a postponement yesterday, Cedar Rapids turned to Sean Mooney in game one. He went three innings while allowing two runs on three hits and striking out seven. Although it was a shorter appearance, the damage was done only after the Kernels had six runs of their own. Charles Mack started the scoring by driving in Seth Gray on a 2nd inning single. Will Holland then followed his lead and plated both Alerick Soularie and Mack. Up 3-0, Mack continued built on his strong night with a three-run blast to left center. Quad Cities clawed back in the bottom half adding two, and then tacked on another in the 5th. Cedar Rapids looked for distance again quickly however, and they found in the form of an Anthony Prato sac fly, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand single. Now up 8-3 heading into the bottom of the 6th inning, a five-run lead provided enough buffer as the River Bandits did add two before this one was over. Both Gray and Mack put up three-hit efforts in game one. Mack pushed his season OPS to a ridiculous 1.768, which surpasses even the hot start from Encarnacion-Strand. Game 2: Quad Cities 4, Cedar Rapids 3 (F/7) Box Score Wanting to keep the perfect record going, the Kernels gave Casey Legumina the ball in game two. He worked 3 and 2/3 innings while allowing four earned runs on four hits. He did strike out five while walking two. Prato started the scoring in the nightcap with a two-run blast that brought Wille Joe Garry Jr. home as well, but the lead was erased in the 4th inning. Quad Cities scored four runs to double up Cedar Rapids. Not giving up, Gray continued his hot night with a solo shot in the 6th inning that halved the lead. Cedar Rapids made things interesting after Garry Jr. moved to second base in the 7th inning following a walk, but that was as far as the rally came. It took six games, but Cedar Rapids took their first loss of the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Jupiter 7 Box Score Pierson Ohl took the ball tonight for the Mighty Mussels and was lifted after 57 pitches. In his three innings of work he allowed six runs (five earned), on seven hits while punching out two. The longball was the story as he gave up two that left the yard. After trading runs in the first inning, Fort Myers seeing Noah Miller scamper home on a wild pitch, the game was broken open in the 3rd inning. Ohl surrendered a pair of homers allowing Jupiter a five-run lead. Fort Myers continued to battle though, and their next run would come on another error. Avoiding a pickoff and seeing the ball squirt away, Emmanuel Rodriguez raced across the plate in the 6th inning. After giving that tally back in the 7th inning, Dillon Tatum crushed his first professional homer, a three-run shot scoring Noah Cardenas and Kyler Fedko. Down by two headed to their final at bats, the Mighty Mussels muscled up. Noah Miller led off the inning with a walk, and then was followed by Rodriguez. Cardenas was plunked and the bases were loaded. After a Fedko strikeout, Kala’i Rosario grounded into what should’ve been a game-ending double play. Instead Jupiter threw it away allowing two runs to cross the plate. After shutting down the Hammerheads in the top half of the 10th inning Fort Myers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half. Jupiter attempted a 1-2-3 double-play on a ball back to the pitcher but the catcher threw it away and allowed Dylan Neuse to score the winning run anyways. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K Hitter of the Day – Charles Mack (Cedar Rapids) - 3-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, HR(1) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2 R, RBI, 2B, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - No Game #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - No Game #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - No Game #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - No Game #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - No Game #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - No Game #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-5, 3 K #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - No Game #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-2, 2 R, 3 BB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - N/A #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-4, R, 3 RBI, 3B #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  19. In 2021, the Wind Surge joined the Twins family of affiliates and had a really strong roster. The team had the league’s best record during the regular season and finished second in the postseason tournament. Several return to Ramon Borrego’s roster from last year, and this should again be a very strong roster. His coaching staff is different, but starting a roster with seven top prospects and some other very intriguing prospects is a great place to start. Here we will introduce you to the 2022 Wichita Wind Surge Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospect on this roster, and there are some great stories as well. COACHING STAFF Manager: Ramon Borrego Hitting Coach: Derek Shomon Pitching Coaches: Pete Larson, Dan Urbina Catcher Coach: Joe Mangiameli PITCHERS RHP Argenis Angulo (28) - signed as free agent this offseason after posting a 7.33 ERA in 43 innings at AAA Las Vegas (A’s). Spent 2014-2020 with the Cleveland organization. RHP Matt Canterino (24) - Twins Daily’s #6 prospect may have the best pure stuff. Healthy after throwing in just five games at Cedar Rapids in 2022. Could move quickly. RHP Steven Cruz (22) - Young. Hits 100 at times. Control questionable at times. Probably a bullpen arm, pitched at Ft. Myers last year and just two games at High-A Cedar Rapids. LHP Zach Featherstone (26) - drafted as a hitter, and then had Tommy John. Came back last year and was strong as Kernels closer. Pitcher in Arizona Fall League in 2021. LHP Kody Funderburk (25) - another college two-way player, Funderburk has spent time as a starter and reliever. RHP Ben Gross (24) - 10th round pick in 2019 from Duke. Graduated from Princeton in three years. Also has a nice three-pitch mix and throws strikes. RHP Steven Klimek (28) - Pitched in Orioles’ system since drafted in 2015. Spent 2021 at AA Bowie. Bullpen depth. RHP Brandon Lawson (27) - Has pitched in Rays, Giants and Astros organizations. Last season at Astros’ AA affiliate in Corpus Christi. Can eat innings. LHP Bryan Sammons (26) - 8th round pick in 2017, Sammons split the 2021 season between Wichita (3-4, 6.44 ERA) and St. Paul (1-3, 6.61 ERA). Very starter with four pitches. RHP Alex Scherff (24) - Came to Twins from Red Sox organization in deadline deal of Hansel Robles. Rehabbed the rest of 2021. Former prospect slowed by injuries. Has a chance. RHP Austin Schulfer (26) - 19th round pick in 2018, he led Twins minor leaguers with 110 innings pitched in 2021, all for Wichita. He went 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA. 105 strikeouts. LHP Evan Sisk (24) - Came to Twins at 2021 deadline in the J.A. Happ / John Gant trade. Lefty reliever pitched in the AFL after the 2021 season. RHP Chris Vallimont (25) - Hard-thrower came to Twins in the Lewin Diaz / Sergio Romo trade in 2019. Struggled to 6.03 ERA in 21 Wichita starts last season, but struck out 130 batters in 91 innings (also 61 walks). Added to Twins 40-man roster after season. RHP Louie Varland (24)- Twins Daily’s #14 prospect was the Twins and Twins Daily’s Minor League Pitcher of the year in 2021 after dominant numbers in Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. St. Paul native struck out 142 batters in 103 innings. RHP Tyler Viza (27) - Signed with Twins just last week. He spent 2013-2019 in Phillies organization, reaching AAA. Last year, started for Independent Kane County before ending season with five starts for AA San Antonio (Padres). RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (21) - Twins Daily’s #8 prospect came to the team in the 2021 deadline deal from Toronto with Austin Martin for Jose Berrios. Hard thrower has a strong repertoire of pitches. Last year was strange, started at AA, went to the Olympics but didn’t pitch, traded, and came to the Twins. Will get a chance to start fresh in 2022. CATCHERS Alex Isola (23) - 29th round pick in 2019, he spent 2021 with the Kernels where he showed a good approach at the plate and some power. Good defensive catcher. Dennis Ortega (24) - Venezuelan backstop joined the Twins this spring after spending 2014-2021 with the Cardinals organization. Reached AAA in 2021 and hit .231 over 57 games. Chris Williams (25) - 8th round pick in 2018 from Clemson, Williams struggled at the season’s start in Cedar Rapids. Moved up to Wichita and produced nine extra base hits in 28 games. INFIELDERS Andrew Bechtold (25) - 5th round pick in 2017, Bechtold broke out with the Wind Surge in 2021. He hit .239/.328/.459 (.786) with 23 doubles and 18 homers. Corner infielder also did work behind the plate and hopes to add that versatility to his game. Michael Helman (25) - 11th round pick in 2018 from Texas A&M. In Cedar Rapids last year, he hit .246/.336/462 (.798) with 21 doubles, four triples and 19 home runs. Went to Arizona Fall League. The infielder also played all three outfield spots (and well) in 2021. Edouard Julien (22) - Twins Daily’s #19 prospect, Julien led minor league baseball in walks in 2021. In Ft. Myers, he showed a great eye and plate discipline while rediscovering base stealing. In Cedar Rapids, he added the power that made him an intriguing draft prospect. Austin Martin (23) - Martin was the #5 overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt. He came to the Twins in the Jose Berrios deal. He played 37 games for the Wind Surge in 2021 and returns in 2022, likely to play some shortstop and see if his offseason work will help him add power to his game. He ranked as the Twins #1 prospect heading into this season. Spencer Steer (24) - The Twins 18th-ranked prospect, Steer busted out with 24 home runs between Cedar Rapids (10) and Wichita (14) in 2021. Able to play three infield positions, Steer is an intriguing prospect heading into 2022. OUTFIELDERS Leobaldo Cabrera (24) - The Twins signed Cabrera last spring out of the Empire League. He was known for a strong arm and some power potential. After getting part-time play in Ft. yers and Cedar Rapids, he moved up to Wichita and hit 11 home runs in 52 games. Still young enough to be intriguing. DaShawn Keirsey (24) - 4th round pick in 2018 from Utah, Keirsey played 45 games in Cedar Rapids in 2021. He had several stints on the Injured List and was unable to get into a flow. However, he had four doubles, four triples and seven home runs. He is a terrific defensive center fielder and incredibly fast and athletic. Here’s to his health in 2022! Cole Sturgeon (30) - former 10th round pick of the Red Sox in 2014, he remained in their organization through 2019. He has played for three independent teams over the past two seasons. The Twins signed him in the offseason and he provides quality depth. Matt Wallner (24) - Another Minnesotan, Wallner in the #12 prospect at Twins Daily heading into the season. He got off to a fast start in Cedar Rapids, but he lost two months with a broken hamate bone. Finished the season with 15 homers in 66 Kernels games. Went to AFL and hit six homers in 18 games. What are your thoughts on this roster? Who will move up quick? Who will jump up the prospect rankings?
  20. MLB Pipeline featured four Twins in their top-100 and an additional player who "just missed" the cut. You can review last week's article to get some additional insight on those prospects. This article will note observations of the remaining Twins in their top-30, including the risers, fallers, and especially those who are new to the list compared to the final rankings from the end of the 2021 season. Those rankings were updated at the end of August, and between then and now no Twins reached their rookie minimums meaning that there are no “graduates” to note. The Twins have seen a lot of positive movement from their prospects over the offseason, so let’s dive into the rankings! Risers Spencer Steer (2B/3B) rose from 23rd to 11th over the offseason, which is tied for the biggest jump for any Twins prospect with the player you’ll read about next. What’s interesting is that after the rankings were published, Steer had one of the worst months of his season at AA-Wichita although it would be short-sighted to think that recent performance is all that goes into the rankings. As noted in his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Steer was able to add power in 2021 without sacrificing much of his OBP as shown by his season-long .348/.484 OBP/SLG and had a pretty successful run after being promoted in late June. We won’t be seeing him in 2022 (probably) and there are a lot of guys ahead of him who play (or can play) similar positions, so his route to Minneapolis is going to be a challenging one. That said, if he proves that his combination of power and OBP are here to stay, he’ll put himself in a position to get to the Major Leagues sooner rather than later. As noted before, Louie Varland (RHP) also jumped 12 spots over the offseason and finds himself as the Twins 15th-ranked prospect headed into the 2022 season. Varland had an impressive four starts following the release of the rankings last August in which he posted a 2.86 ERA and 31:4 K:BB over 22 innings which punctuated an impressive 2021 campaign between Low A Fort Myers and High A Cedar Rapids. Over 20 starts (10 at each level) and 103 innings pitched, Varland boasted a 4.73 K/BB, 2.10 ERA, and 1.09 WHIP which earned him Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors. Not yet reaching AA Wichita means that a 2022 debut is unlikely for Varland but if he has another year like 2021 then he’ll absolutely compete for a rotation spot in 2023 Spring Training. Fallers Former 13th overall pick, Keoni Cavaco, dropped 13 spots over the offseason after spending a majority of the season at Low A Fort Myers. In just his first full season as a pro, it’s way too early to call Cavaco a bust considering he was drafted out of high school and missed the 2020 season, but he didn’t help his cause with a sub .600 OPS and a 34.2% strikeout rate. Can’t emphasize enough that, especially with all factors considered, it’s way too early to judge Cavaco (although he was picked ahead of bigger name shortstop prospects like Bryson Stott and Anthony Volpe). Signed as an International Free Agent in 2018, Yunior Severino, who was ranked 30th last August, has fallen off the most recent version of the list. He actually posted his best season as a pro with an .802 OPS, but the addition of five players you’ll read about below made him the odd-man-out of MLB Pipelines top 30 Twins prospects. Even the most recent Fangraphs rankings put the switch-hitting second baseman outside of their top 40 prospects for the organization. Newcomers Ronny Henriquez, acquired in the Mitch Garver trade, comes in as the Twins' 14th-best prospect. MLB Pipeline retroactively added him to the 2021 list where he was ranked the 19th-best prospect in the system, and I’ll direct you to Lucas Seehafer’s article for more information on the right-handed pitching prospect. Cade Povich, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jermaine Palacios are all guys who have been with the organization but are new to MLB Pipelines top 30 sitting at 27, 29, and 30, respectively. Povich is a left-handed pitcher drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 draft out of the University of Nebraska. In 10 innings in 2021, he had a 19:2 K:BB ratio, allowed nine baserunners, and four earned runs. The Twins added corner infielder Encarnacion-Strand in the 34th round of the 2021 draft out of Oklahoma State. In 87 at-bats, he posted a 1.022 OPS with four home runs and a strikeout rate of 29.9% Palacios is a veteran of the Twins minor-league system at this point. He originally signed back in 2013 at just 16-years-old. He was traded to the Rays in the Jake Odorizzi acquisition, and he came back to the Twins on a minor-league deal ahead of the 2021 season. The Venezuelan is a glove-first utility infielder who posts passable numbers at the plate with a career OPS of .715 over 2,456 minor league at-bats. It remains to be seen where the Twins farm system will rank as a whole, but even after the graduation of so many top prospects last season, they ended as MLB Pipelines 15th-ranked system. Since then they’ve added a prospect to the top 100 and have had a lot of positive movement in their system. How do you feel about the Twins system as we enter a competitive window? Are you in the boat of trading some of these prospects for Major League talent or letting the prospects develop their way to Minneapolis? Let us know in the comments! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. With all big-leaguers and many top prospects absent from camp, players who are not subject to MLB's lockout are able to take center stage as they work toward the starts of their seasons with Twins affiliates. Not only could this result in extra coaching and opportunities to make an impression, but the altered timeline of an MLB season starting well after these players get rolling in the minors could also play to their advantage. Last week Nash Walker called out five players who stand to be most negatively impacted by a shortened season. Today I'll try to flip the script by highlighting some prospects and players who stand to be benefit from this very unfortunate situation. 5 Positive Prospect Scenarios Made Possible by the Delayed Season Austin Martin shows he's ready. In some respects, Martin looks like an MLB-ready player. He was a top-five draft pick two years ago, based almost entirely on his polish and advanced skills. He led all of Double-A in on-base percentage last year, brandishing a plate approach that almost everyone agrees will play in the majors. Yet, as I wrote when profiling him as our #1 prospect, there are still a few elements of Martin's game that need to be ironed out before he can make the jump. He hasn't gotten any in-game experience outside of shortstop and center field, and his swing likely needs refinement. Were spring training and Opening Day playing out as normal, Martin probably wouldn't be in the mix for a big-league job right out of the gates, even if an opportunity opened up at – say – second base or center field. But if the season doesn't start until mid-May, and Martin has already had a successful spring and strong start in St. Paul? Different ballgame, so to speak. Matt Canterino earns an immediate nod. Like Martin, Canterino is a clear-cut MLB-caliber talent who has questions to answer before receiving a look in the majors. In his case, it's not so much the condensed timeline creating ambiguity – he was drafted out of college in 2019, and turned 24 in December – but a lack of reps. Due to the pandemic and injuries, Canterino has thrown only 48 total innings since joining the Twins system, including just 23 last year. He has yet to pitch above Single-A. It's unlikely that even a brilliant showing in a typical 2022 big-league camp would have put him in line to win an Opening Day job on the pitching staff, because there is just no baseline for stamina or durability. A strong showing in spring and a healthy, dominant run at Double-A through the early weeks of the minor-league season could convince Twins brass he's ready for a look right away when the delayed MLB season starts. Like with Martin, Canterino would potentially be able to impact a much larger portion of the Twins' season than he would otherwise. And unlike Martin, the path for Canterino is pretty much wide open. Minnesota has a desperate and immediate need for electric arms like his. Louie Varland accelerates his timeline. Varland was one of the best stories of the Twins system last year, going from a relatively unknown 15th-round draft pick in 2019 to the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2021. With a powered-up fastball, he made mincemeat of hitters between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids, posting a 2.10 ERA and 142-to-30 K/BB ratio and just six homers allowed in 103 innings. Tremendous work. But all of it done in Single-A. Varland is 24 so he's at an age where pitchers often break into the majors, but his development is lagging behind due to the pandemic. A delayed start for the big-leaguers, and other top prospects who are more advanced, could give him a chance to play catch-up. Aaron Sabato and Keoni Cavaco change their storylines. Sabato and Cavaco are both first-round draft picks from the past three years (2020 and 2019, respectively) but neither appeared in our recent top 20 prospect rankings, which is obviously a bad sign. Both had uphill climbs to justify their draft positions – Cavaco a raw prep player widely regarded as a stretch pick, Sabato a bat-only player who needed to mash immediately – and so far neither has come close, instead hurtling in the dreaded "bust" category. But in both cases, it's still early enough to remain hopeful. Eye-opening springs followed strong starts in the minors could help these downtrodden talents reverse their descending trajectories. Maybe by the time the Twins season starts, the view of one or both could be considerably different. Sabato is theoretically someone who could help this year with a big step forward. Devin Smeltzer puts himself back in the picture. Not every player in camp is a young prospect vying for their first chance at the big leagues. Smeltzer is an example of someone who's been there and is fighting to get back. The lefty spent more than two years on the Twins' 40-man roster before being outrighted last November, in the wake of a lost season. With more than two full seasons of service time, he was creeping up on arbitration eligibility. Now, he finds himself on the outside looking in. Except, in a more literal sense, he doesn't. Smeltzer's 40-man setback provides him with an opportunity to show he's gotten past the elbow issues of 2021, and is ready to help a needy Twins pitching staff again. As a 26-year-old with 70 innings of big-league experience and a 106 ERA+, he could put himself on the fast track by taking advantage of his head-start on other pitchers in similar positions, such as Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. A pair of stellar arms, a couple of hometown boys, and a couple of flashy gloves. The following group of Twins prospects, Twins Daily's 11-15 prospects, is pretty exciting. Take a look at some of the top names that will be playing at Target Field in just a few years. Big velocity. Big spin. Big strikeouts. Big Power. Big speed, and range. There is some Big potential in this group, Twins Daily's Twins prospects 11-15. 15. RHP Louie Varland Age: 24 2021 (-A, +A): 18 starts, 103 IP, 2.10 ERA, 34% K, 7% BB Arguably the most exciting pitching in the Twins farm system, Louie Varland's electric 2021 season earned him accolades as Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. A product of the Twin Cities, Varland was promoted from Low-A Fort Myers to High-A Cedar Rapids after just eight starts and emerged as the Kernels' ace. Varland relies heavily on a high fastball and shared that he is honing in on his off-speed pitches on Twins Spotlight with Seth Stohs. A truly dominant arm, Varland averaged 12.4 strikeouts and only 2.6 walks per nine innings in 2021. Expected to get his feet wet in Cedar Rapids, don't be surprised to see the Concordia-St. Paul alum scales the ranks of the Twins organization in 2022. 14. RHP Cole Sands Age: 23 2021 (AA): 18 starts, 81 IP, 2.46 ERA, 29% K, 10% BB The 2018 fifth-round draft pick for the Twins did not disappoint in his second full season with the Twins organization. After bouncing between three levels in 2019, Cole Sands was a rock for the Wind Surge last season, posting a 4-2 record and averaging only 3.6 walks per nine innings. Sands isn't necessarily the high-velocity, deep-inning pitcher that fills seats; that doesn't matter, the Florida State alum gets outs. Sands keeps the ball on the ground and only gave up six homers last year and averaged 0.7 HR/9 on his sophomore campaign. Efficiency produces results; like Varland, 2022 could be a huge breakout year for Sands. 13. OF Matt Wallner Age: 24 2021 (A+): .265/.350/.504, 14 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 9% BB, 33% K A mid-season injury didn't stop Minnesota native Matt Wallner from having an excellent season last year. In his second full season with the Twins organization, the Southern Miss alum proved to be a sparkplug for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. A true cleanup hitter, Wallner's power at the plate is inevitable. Wallner's biggest area of growth will come in plate discipline, given his 100 strikeouts in 2021. The reason that isn't talked about frequently is because of the game-changing power in his powerful right-handed swing that helped lead the Kernels to the High-A Central Championship Series. Changing those mountains and valleys to high-level plateaus will be key for the Forest Lake native to take his offense to the next level. 12, OF Gilberto Celestino Age: 22 2021 (AA, AAA, MLB): .206/.274/.355, 21 2B, 9 HR, 4/5 SB, 10% BB, 22% K It almost feels like Gilberto Celestino has been a Minnesota Twin for an eternity. Yet the talented outfielder is only 22 years old and saw MLB playing time for the first time last season after four previous seasons in the minors between the Twins and Astros organizations. The Dominican Republic native was signed by Houston at the ripe age of 17 and acquired by the Twins in 2019. The Astros clearly saw something in him to sign him so young and it appears the Twins do too. Celestino's stat line is bogged down by his MLB numbers. He was quite impressive with the Saints and Wind Surge in 2021, slashing .277/.371/.423 with 18 doubles and seven homers in 70 games. Time is a friend of Celestino and 2022 should provide him more of an opportunity to get his feet wet at the game's highest level. 11. SS Noah Miller Age: 18 2021 (Rk): .238/.316/.369, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 9% BB, 27% K Chosen with the 38th pick of the 2021 Draft, Noah Miller is one of the top young prospects to graze Twins Territory. A stand-out hitter on both sides of the plate, Miller is as solid as it gets with his glove at shortstop. Tabbing Brandon Crawford as his favorite shortstop growing up, Miller's sleek defense was a marquee factor in the Twins using their second draft pick (Competitive Balance) on him. Miller had a brief chance to get his feet wet at the pro level in 2022 with 96 plate appearances in the Florida Complex League. Expect him to start at Low-A in 2022 and get ready to watch what could be one of the organization's best draft picks in recent history. Read more on Miller's high ceiling courtesy of Twins Daily's JD Cameron. Previous Rankings Honorable Mention Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 Prospect #10: Coming Monday
  23. Jose Miranda, 3B Seth's 2022 Prospect Rank: 2 Miranda had always been considered a good prospect, but his 2021 season placed him on the baseball's prospect map. As a 23-year-old, he hit .344/.401/.572 (.973) with 32 doubles and 30 home runs at Double- and Triple-A. Miranda led all minor league baseball with 306 total bases with only 74 strikeouts in 127 games. He was the easy pick for the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year as he had arguably one of the best seasons ever for a Twins prospect. If Miranda can replicate his 2021 numbers, an argument can be made for him being the best prospect in the Twins organization. Austin Martin and Royce Lewis will rank higher than him on many lists, but Miranda's breakout season is hard to ignore. Baseball America and the Athletic moved him into their top-100 prospect lists, but some of that is based on his previous track record. Miranda should debut in 2022, and fans can get excited about how much his stock has risen. Louie Varland, RHP Seth's 2022 Prospect Rank: 19 Minnesota selected Varland with their 15th round pick in 2019. After signing, his professional debut was cut short because of some soreness in his pitching elbow. Minnesota saw some mechanical issues with Varland's delivery, and they worked with him during the COVID downtime to make adjustments. With an improved fastball in the high-90s, Varland transformed himself from a late-round pick to a pitching prospect to watch. In 2021, he dominated at Low- and High-A with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 20 appearances. He posted a 142-to-30 strikeout to walk ratio, including 14.5 strikeouts per nine at Low-A. His college experience meant he was old for Low-A, but he was younger than the average age of the competition when he got to Cedar Rapids. He was named the Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Year at season's end. Varland won't appear on any national top-100 lists, but his 2021 season puts him into the team's long-term pitching plans. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF Seth's 2022 Prospect Rank: 14 Any prospect that signs for $2.5 million on the international market will get noticed, but players signed as teenagers take time to develop. Last season, Rodriguez made his professional debut and hit ten home runs with a .870 OPS. He finished runner-up to Kala'i Rosario for Twins Daily's Short-Season Hitter of the Year, which has previously gone to players like Matt Wallner and Akil Baddoo. Rodriguez has a long way to go before he makes his big-league debut, but he has all the tools to be one of the team's top prospects in the years ahead. His advanced approach at the plate allows him to get into favorable counts where he can unleash his power. His above-average speed will enable him to steal bases and play above-average defense in centerfield. Entering his age-19 season, Rodriguez will get his first taste of full-season action with a chance to be one of the team's top-10 prospects next winter. Which player's stock has risen the most? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or emai
  24. "He may have been a 15th rounder but he's a first rounder in my book." In a world of challenges and turmoil, nothing draws a smile like the sight of brotherly love. Poking back and forth with grins and banter, it's safe to say the connection is tightly-wound between the Varland brothers. Sons of North St. Paul and alumni of Concordia-St. Paul, Louie and Gus have emerged as rising stars in their respective organizations. WATCH TWINS SPOTLIGHT WITH GUS AND LOUIE VARLAND Louie Varland started the 2021 season in Low-A Fort Myers and finished a bulk of the season with High-A Cedar Rapids, throttling the competition at both levels. The younger brother finished the season with a 10-4 record and 2.10 ERA in addition to being named Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in his first professional season. Not a bad first rodeo. Older brother Gus has cemented himself as a staple in the Dodgers organization just a year after receiving Tommy John surgery. Despite what some would call a setback, the Dodgers had so much faith in Varland that they placed him at the Double-A level in 2021 despite his injury-riddled season at High-A in 2020. Just 24 and 25 years old, the road ahead looks bright for two of the most exciting prospects to come out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes in recent history. Twins Daily's Seth Stohs had a chance to chat with the two on Wednesday night, here's what you need to know. 1. College, Man As mentioned, both Gus and Louie pitched at Concordia University in St. Paul, etching themselves as two of the most dominant players in Golden Bear history. Yet playing with his older brother for the DII school wasn't initially the plan for Louie. Like many younger siblings, Louie wanted to go anywhere besides the school that his brother was pitching for. "I just wanted to go to a place where I could pitch against him and beat him," Louie chuckled. That didn't stop Gus from putting on his recruiting shoes and doing everything possible to get another member of the family in a navy blue and gold jersey. "I was encouraging him through the entire process to come and sign at Concordia," Gus said. "I was talking to the coaches, we had him throw a bullpen in front of us, and I was trying my hardest to get him there. He fought it off for the longest time but ended up signing in the end, and it was the best thing ever." "It worked out the absolute best way that it could have, and I really enjoyed those two seasons that I had with him," Louie responded. Both brothers experienced immense individual success on the mound but cited underdog team performances as their favorite memories from CSP. Gus recalls his freshman season when the Golden Bears went into the season unranked and ended up mounting an incredible run that landed the team in the NSIC conference championship game. Louie's favorite moment came two years later when the Golden Bears rallied another incredible run before falling to eventual national champion Augustana (SD) in the conference championship. On paper you'd assume that the two spent three seasons together given that they're only one year and school grade apart. They only spent two. The reason? Gus was drafted after his junior year by the Oakland Athletics in the 14th round of the 2018 Draft; not a bad reason to leave! 2. Scouting Reports Gus spent 2021 with the Tulsa Drillers, a team that frequently plays the Twins' Double-A affiliate Wichita Wind Surge. Throughout the course of the season he would hear scouting reports on how his younger brother was pitching in Low and High-A. "I was in Tulsa running foul poles right around when Louie was called up to High-A and I remember chatting with (Wichita pitcher) Cole Sands and him saying 'He's tearing it up, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets called up (to Double-A).'" Louie stayed in High-A Cedar Rapids for the rest of the year, cementing himself as the team's ace. He credits his success to the talented crop of arms pitching alongside him and fellow 2019 Twins draft picks, including names like Tyler Beck, Casey Legumina, and Sawyer-Gipson Long. "It's a really supportive relationship with those guys, we're always bouncing ideas off of each other," Louie said "Yes, we're competing against each other but at the end of the day it's very friendly and great to work with them." Could the two face off at the Double-A level in 2022? There's a fairly high probability; you betcha, wouldn't that be awesome! 3. Life After Baseball Perspective is huge in life and in baseball. And while the Varland's both have an excellent shot at making the show, they haven't forgotten about the over-arching 'life after baseball question.' Both brothers completed their degrees from Concordia-St. Paul in 2020. Gus finished his mathematics degree and would love to one day teach math or work in the baseball industry in data analytics. Louie earned a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. Will Louie serve as his own agent? Probably not. Still, the fact that both men have taken the extra step to prioritize their education is impressive. On the topic of analytics, both men spoke volumes on the technology and data analysis used in their respective organizations. This has been echoed by many if not most Twins prospects that have appeared on Twins Spotlight, yet it was awesome to hear Gus' perspective on the Dodger's organization. Traded from Oakland, he appreciates the investment that Los Angeles has made in being as 'cutting edge' as possible. Organizations like the Dodgers are nationally-recognized for their emphasis in staying 'on top of the modern edge,' it seems like the Twins are working their way into that silo as well. 4. Respective Arsenals The 2022 season presents opportunities to hone in on successes and foster new pitches for both Louie and Gus. Louie's arsenal consists of a strong fastball, changeup, and slider. "I have to keep my fastball at the top of the zone because that's where it works best, my changeup is a work in progress but has come a long way, and I need to get my slider to move more horizontally while keeping the same velocity," he said. That slider is something the the Twins have worked on with him and that he hones in on when throwing bullpens with his brother in the offseason. Similar to his brother, Gus relies on a high-riding fastball, changeup, and slider. He has also begun to add a cutter to his skillset and plans to make that an emphasis in his '22 campaign. Extra Innings Gus received a non-roster invite to Dodgers spring training in 2021 and struck out Fernando Tatis Jr! In addition to playing baseball at North St. Paul, Louie wrestled and played football. Gus played basketball through his junior year. Similar to Drew Strotman (who was featured on Twins Spotlight earlier this week), Gus describes being traded as a mixed bundle of emotions. Luckily for him, the Dodgers and A's both call Arizona their home for spring training so he gets to catch up with his old friends and teammates from Oakland each year. In addition to being named Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Louie was the unanimous winner of our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year Award. Past winners of the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year award include Jose Berrios, Johan Santana, and Brad Radke. Feel free to discuss this impressive brother tandem below.
  25. In today’s list of five Twins pitching prospects, you’ve got five pitchers that have big potential, high ceilings, but also may have a question mark or two. That may be the need to add a third (or fourth) pitch, gain better control or command, or return from injury and continue to improve. #15 - RHP Drew Strotman 2021 STATS: 3-3, 7.33 ERA, 12/12 G/GS, 1.76 WHIP, 42/30 K/BB, 54.0 IP Drew Strotman was the Rays fourth-round pick in 2017 out of St. Mary’s College (California). He had Tommy John surgery in June 2018. He returned to the mound with nine games and 24 innings. He got some extra time playing with Twins prospects in the Arizona Fall League after the season. The Rays added him to the 40-man roster after the season, but he didn’t pitch in a game in 2020. In 2021, he had been 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA for Triple-A Durham. Then in late July, he came to the Twins with Joe Ryan in the trade for Nelson Cruz. He struggled with the Saints. Overall on the season, he threw 112 1/3 innings> He struck out 104 but walked 63 batters. Obviously after Tommy John, he will need to regain control and command, but the velocity is certainly back. He was sitting in the mid-90s with the Saints and touched 99 mph with the fastball. He has secondary pitches that can be really good at times. He will be 25 throughout the 2022 season. If he can find control, he has a chance to be a big-league starter. But with his fastball and a good slider, he could be a big bullpen arm for a long time. #14 - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long 2021 STATS: 8-8, 4.55 ERA, 20/19 G/GS, 1.30 WHIP, 134/27 K/BB, 97.0 IP The Twins drafted Sawyer Gipson-Long in the 6th round of the 2019 draft out of Mercer University in his home state of Georgia.He made six starts that summer in Elizabethton. After the missed 2020 season, the Twins had him start with the Mighty Mussels. He made 13 starts and went 5-5 with a 4.54 ERA in 67 1/3 innings. He ended the season with six starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. And went 3-3 with a 4.55 ERA. Overall, he worked 97 innings. He walked just 27 and struck out 134 batters (12.4 K/9). Gipson-Long looks the part of a big-league pitcher, standing tall and strong. He’s got a really good fastball and as you can see, he has the ability to miss a lot of bats. Like all pitchers, there are areas he can keep improving upon and the big thing may be consistency with his secondary pitches. But if you’re looking for a breakout pitcher in the Twins system for 2022, just-turned-24-year-old Gipson-Long just might be it. #13 - RHP Cole Sands 2021 STATS: 4-2, 2.46 ERA, 19/18 G/GS, 1.17 WHIP, 96/35 K/BB, 80.1 IP In November, Cole Sands was added to the Twins 40-man roster, and it was likely an easy decision. In 19 games (18 starts) for Double-A Wichita, Sands was really good when he was on the mound. He has arguably the best curveball in the organization and his fastball is in the low-90s, touching 94-95 mph. Unfortunately, he missed time a couple of times on the Injured List for short stints. The 24-year-old spent three seasons playing in his hometown, for Florida State, before the Twins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. He made his professional debut in 2019 and pitched at Ft. Myers, Cedar Rapids and Double-A Pensacola. He didn’t pitch in 2020. #12 - RHP Louie Varland 2021 STATS: 10-4, 2.10 ERA, 20/18 G/GS, 1.09 WHIP, 142/30 K/BB, 103.0 IP Louie Varland, a North St. Paul High School grad, chose to join his older brother Gus at Concordia University in St. Paul. The two were on the team for two seasons before Gus was drafted by the A’s in 2018. A year later, Louie was the 15th round pick of the Twins. He made three appearances for Elizabethton that season and then did not pitch in 2020. So while most Twins that don’t follow Twins Daily didn’t know about him before the season, he had a monster breakout season in 2021. He pitched in ten games for the Mighty Mussels and went 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA. He moved up to Cedar Rapids in the second half and was 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA. In 103 innings, he struck out 142 batters (12.4 K/9) and walked just 30. He was the easy choice for Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Varland made a name for himself last offseason when video of him hitting 100 mph on the radar gun surfaced on Twitter. In games, he generally sat between 94 and 96 mph with the fastball. He also has a slider that at times can be really, really sharp. The pitch that will determine his future is the changeup. At times this year, it was really good. I mean, look at his numbers. He was on all year, but that is his third pitch and one he will continue to develop. The next challenge for Varland will be Double-A in 2022. He will be 24-years-old throughout the season. #11 - RHP Blayne Enlow 2021 STATS: 1-1, 1.84 ERA, 3/3 G/GS, 1.30 WHIP, 23/6 K/BB, 14.2 IP Blayne Enlow has been in the Twins organization for a long-time already. He was the Twins third-round draft pick in 2017 out of high school in Louisiana. The Twins were able to meet his signing bonus request, and he gave up his scholarship to LSU. He slowly worked up the system, ending the 2019 season at High-A Ft. Myers. That is where he began the 2021 season, this time in Cedar Rapids. He made three starts for the Kernels and was throwing hard and missing a lot of bats. In those games, he worked 14 2/3 innings and struck out 23 batters. Unfortunately, in a between-starts bullpen session, he didn’t feel right. In June, he had Tommy John surgery. After some time off, he has been rehabbing in Ft. Myers. The Twins had a tough decision, but chose to add him to the 40-man roster because of his upside. Unfortunately, when the lockdown started, he was no longer able to work at the Twins complex or talk with people with the Twins. He has been working in Arizona and hopes to be ready for the start of the season. The Twins will be patient with such a talent. When healthy, Enlow was pitching in the mid-90s, having added velocity in the lost-2020 season. He’s always been known for his spin and throws both a curveball and a slider. He also had a much-improved changeup. Just as important, he is in a good frame of mind and has full confidence. In summary, this is a really exciting group of pitchers. They fit into the mold of this front office. These guys can spin the ball. Four of the five were drafted out of college. Each of them has had a big increase in velocity. And, each of them has a real chance to pitch in the big leagues. Feel free to discuss these pitchers and ask questions below. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15
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