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  1. The outliers of the top 10 Twins prospects feature names that became more commonly known to avid Twins fans this last season. Two pitchers and three hitters are a part of this section of the rankings, and all have great potential to be big names for the Twins in the coming seasons. Here are the 11-15 ranked prospects going into the 2023 season. 15. RHP Matt Canterino Age: 25 2022 (Rk, AA): 12 starts, 37 IP, 1.95 ERA, 34.7% K, 15.3% BB Canterino showed great flashes of success at Double-A Wichita last season posting a 1.95 ERA in 37 innings pitched. His pitches are still ranked at an average level in scouting grads with his slider and change-up as the outliers graded at 60 per FanGraphs, putting those pitches slightly above average. The greatest struggle that Canterino has had in his professional career so far is his command of the strike zone. Canterino can top out at 97 and 98 mph with his fastball and if he can get his command under control as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, that can make him a greater threat to hitters on the mound. The downside for Canterino is he is going to miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season due to undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. If things progress well, there is a slight chance he could see some time on the mound come September. 14. SS Noah Miller Age: 20 2022 (A): 108 games, .212/.348/.279, 12 2B, 2 HR, 23/30 SB, 23.5% K, 16.2% BB Noah Miller, the Twins second, first-round pick in 2021 out of high school in Wisconsin, played his first full season of professional ball in Ft. Myers. While his offense didn't develop, he did work counts, take his walks and put the ball in play. His power was limited to just two home runs and a .279 slugging percentage. Miller is still very young, having just turned 20 in November. There is still room and plenty of time for his power to develop. He is seen more as a contact hitter, that being his best attribute with a scouting grade of 60 according to FanGraphs. He is already arguably the best defensive shortstop in the Twins minor leagues right now. He provided consistency and the occasional web gem for the Mighty Mussels. No surprise as those who watched some spring training games saw what he could do late in big-league spring games. The hope for Miller is to develop his all-around game in 2023 to reach High-A Cedar Rapids before the season's end. 13. RHP David Festa Age: 23 2022 (A/A+): 18 starts, 103.2 IP, 2.43 ERA, 23.1% K, 8.6% BB David Festa pitched in only four games after being drafted in the 13th round by the Twins in 2021. In 2022, he became a starter and worked 103 2/3 innings. His story is very similar to Louie Varland's a year earlier. Day 3 draft pick dominated in the two A-ball levels. Now, Festa will have to show what he can do against hitters in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Festa’s performance across the 2022 season showed great development in his pitch command. His 34 walks to 108 strikeouts between Low-A and High-A brought about a 3.18 K/BB ratio, which shows great potential for better command development in his second full season. The scouting grade rankings for Festa still place him at an overall average ranking, but the 6’6 righty will do what he can to show he has a place in a future Twins rotation. Those numbers should change as his fastball was sitting 96-97 most of the year and touch 98 and 99 later in the season too. He will need to continue working on his secondary pitches as well. 12. Yasser Mercedes Age: 18 2022 (Rk): 41 games, .355/.421/.555, 13 2B, 4 HR, 30/35 SB, 19.9% K, 10.2% BB Yasser Mercedes has only been in the Twins organization for a little over a year when he signed for $1.7 million, but he already made himself a standout in the DSL in 2022. Mercedes posted a fantastic triple slash and showed mature plate discipline for a 17-year-old across 176 plate appearances. Mercedes's skill set based on scouting grades is also a good place for him to be at his age with nothing ranking below an average grade of 50. Speed seems to be his greatest attribute as the youngster stole 30 bases in 35 attempts last season, being one of only six players in the Dominican Summer League to reach the 30 stolen base threshold. He also has power potential, plays solid defense and has a strong arm. It will still be a long while before Mercedes ends up in a Twins uniform, but the potential this 18-year-old has shown indicates that he could be the Twins' best prospect a couple of years from now. 11. Matt Wallner Age: 25 2022 (AA/AAA): 128 games, .277/.412/.542, 32 2B, 27 HR, 9/14 SB, 31.3% K, 18.1% BB The Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2022 and Forest Lake native made a name for himself throughout the 2022 season. Matt Wallner may have the best throwing arm in the outfield in all of the Twins organization right now, and he will have a chance to show it off at CHS Field and Target Field in 2023. Wallner’s power as a left-handed hitter also makes him a standout in the Twins system. Granted, the current Twins outfield depth with Joey Gallo, Max Kepler, Nick Gordon, Michael A Taylor, Trevor Larnach, and Byron Buxton will likely leave Wallner starting his season with the St. Paul Saints. However, he will do his best like his teammate and fellow Minnesota native, Louie Varland, to make managerial choices for the 26-man roster as hard as possible. Feel free to discuss these prospects and ask as many questions as you like in the COMMENTS below. For more Twins Daily content on these five Twins prospects, click on the link with their name here: Matt Canterino, Noah Miller, David Festa, Yasser Mercedes, Matt Wallner. Previous Installments Honorable Mention Prospects 21-30 Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 Prospect #10: Coming Monday!
  2. Last season, Rocco Baldelli saw a significant number of players make their major-league debuts. We finally saw Royce Lewis play shortstop at Target Field, and Jose Miranda earned his way onto the roster after an incredible 2021. Simeon Woods Richardson closed out the season for the Twins, and hometown star Louie Varland took his turn as well. Although the Twins are somewhat veteran-laden at several key spots, we’ll still see plenty of prospects pop up along the way this season. Trying to pick one player per month, here are a few names we could see for the first time in 2023: April - To Be Determined Prior to being traded for Michael A. Taylor, there was reason to believe that Evan Sisk could find himself in this spot. Acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for J.A. Happ, he's a high strikeout guy at Triple-A that hasn't been able to calm the walks. Maybe the Twins didn't see it happening and flipped him. If another prospect is going to debut this soon in 2023, it will likely be to replace an arm in the bullpen. May - Austin Schulfer Working as the Double-A Wichita closer for the first half of the year, Schulfer dominated. He then struggled across 32 2/3 innings at Triple-A St. Paul. Having moved fully to a bullpen role following the 2021 season, Schulfer looks the part of a quality major-league reliever. He should be called upon at some point this season when the bullpen could use a fresh arm. Starting strong for the Saints is a must in 2023. June - Jordan Balazovic Previously the best starting pitching prospect in the Twins system, things couldn’t have gone worse for Balazovic in 2022. He got off to a late start due to a knee injury, and despite suggesting he was healthy, never got back on track. The walk and home run rates skyrocketed last year, but turning it back to his 2021 and earlier numbers, Balazovic could rekindle some of the same prospect allure that made him a consensus top 100 type coming into the year. July - Brent Headrick A 9th-round pick in 2019, Headrick was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. His 4.81 ERA at Double-A was a byproduct of the longball, but he has shown the ability to generate strikeouts as a starter. Another lefty, Minnesota could opt to push him into a bullpen role, but either way, he’ll have ample opportunity to work his way toward Triple-A and beyond this season. August - Brooks Lee Taken with their most recent 1st round pick, Minnesota fans may see Lee as soon as this year. While it may look like he’s blocked on the dirt, there is no reason that he couldn’t play second base if Jorge Polanco is hurt or struggles. Lee looked incredibly advanced during his professional debut, and that justified promotions all the way up to Double-A. September - Austin Martin Once the key piece of a Jose Berrios trade, Martin’s prospect shine has faded some. He didn’t hit for power last season, and it led to a frustrating year at Double-A. His Arizona Fall League season went well, however, and returning to more of a pure hitter could be a good change. He may find a role in the outfield or move off of shortstop, but Martin figuring into Minnesota’s plans behind Byron Buxton may make some sense late. October - Matt Canterino This is truly a wild card as Canterino is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last summer. He has great strikeout stuff, and while his delivery is unconventional, it may work exceptionally well in the bullpen. The former Rice product may be well served to put his starting days behind him, and if the Twins are in a run for the postseason, Canterino could provide a big boost to the bullpen. What prospects are you most excited for in 2023 and who not on this list do you think could debut?
  3. Ronny Henriquez was acquired in the Mitch Garver deal and was seen as a middling starting pitching prospect. The ERA results weren’t there, but at 21 years old, Henriquez posted a 25%+ K rate at every stop in the minors. His generous listing at 5’10 raised questions about his ability to stand up to a starter’s workload, and those concerns escalated when he posted a near 6 ERA in AAA out of St. Paul’s rotation in 14 starts. His strikeouts continued to impress however, and he was finally moved to a relief role toward the end of the season. As the Twins faded out of contention, they finally began cycling in younger talent instead of pitchers such as Joe Smith and Tyler Thornburg. In the case of Henriquez, what we saw was very encouraging. As we’ve seen with Twins pitchers who boast plus sliders, the Twins weren’t shy about having Henriquez go back to the well on his best pitch. He threw his breaking ball nearly 50% of the time as his primary pitch, and in his short stint it proved to be lethal. Despite being by far his most used pitch, the slider induced a whiff rate of over 31%. Not only did it avoid being hit, it allowed a .136 batting average and .227 slugging % when hitters did make contact. His secondary pitch being the changeup only drew a 22.6% whiff rate, but it too allowed a sub .200 average and sub .300 slugging % against as well. Henriquez flashed two plus offerings to get both left and right handed hitters out consistently. The issue with Henriquez was the fastball. His main concern in St. Paul was the long ball, and the culprit was front and center when he joined the Twins. In his admittedly limited action, his four seam allowed a .400 batting average and staggering 1.400 slugging percentage. Hitters teed off on the pitch, and it’s not difficult to see why: The good news on the rocky debut of his fastball is that the adjustment is obvious and likely easily fixed: Keep it out of the heart of the zone. The heat map at the top of the zone is fantastic. Adjusting the trend in the middle of the zone could raise his game to new levels in a bullpen role. Henriquez shouldn’t be an offspeed needy, fastball avoidant pitcher. The 55 scouting grade on his heater is easily justified, as the pitch has been noted to have tremendous ride and can often be pushed into the upper 90s when needed. While the slider was the eye popping weapon he showed in his debut, it’s possible the fastball could become just as big of a pitch moving forward despite how bad it looked through his first 11+ innings. Even pushing the pitch to average would make Henriquez a legitimate bullpen piece. Despite being just 22 years old, it can be argued that Henriquez’s days in the minors should be over. With his three-pitch mix one could argue Henriquez should still be working toward a future rotation spot. The issue is that Henriquez is currently on the 40-man roster and would likely be 7th on the starting pitching depth chart at best. He’d have to have a good bit of success in AAA before being entrusted in such a role with the big league club. Much like what’s been argued with fellow top prospect Matt Canterino, it seems like a waste of time to slow cook prospects who appear to be able to help the club right now in pursuit of the very small chance that they can latch on as a starter. It’s not entirely clear what the Twins offseason plan is regarding the bullpen, but we can assume nothing big is coming. At most they’ll likely sign a Joe Smith caliber pitcher to fill some innings and try to milk some value out of. They may make a waiver claim on a pitcher who does one thing well in pursuit of the next Matt Wisler. Instead we should be hoping for the Twins to turn to one of their young upside arms, a commodity that has been very difficult for this front office to come by. Rather than spending a few million on another veteran reliever to spend the last year of their career in Minnesota, why not turn to the 22 year old with two plus offspeed pitches and a high 90s fastball? Henriquez could take a low leverage, possibly even multi inning role and get a chance to work his way up the depth chart. If he struggles he can be optioned for another arm as opposed to the yearly bounce back candidate signing that sticks on the roster far too long due to their veteran status. Last year the Twins may have leaned too heavily on their internal pitching production. This year they have much more in place, and gambling on Henriquez in a minor role seems like a worthwhile bet. Ronny Henriquez should be in the Twins Opening Day bullpen
  4. There were two Givens for the Twins to add to their 40-man roster. The team simply was not going to leave Edouard Julien and Matt Canterino at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft next month. So they were added. Here is what I wrote about them in my 40-man roster prediction column: 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. For more Twins Daily content on Matt Canterino, click here. Lefty Brent Headrick was my #3 prediction to be added, and here's what I wrote about him. 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. 4th addition.) But I completely missed on Casey Legumina . He was the Twins 8th round draft pick in 2019 out of Gonzaga. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and therefore didn't make his professional debut until 2021. He was given some opportunities to star, but he has had his most success out of the bullpen. In 2022, he made three appearances in Cedar Rapids before jumping up to Wichita for 30 games. He went 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 33 games (16 starts). In 86 1/3 innings, he walked 36 and struck out 92 batters. He's got a closer's potential when healthy. For more Twins Daily content on Casey Legumina, click here. However, there are several players that were left unprotected who now could be selected by other teams. Catchers, or at least guys that can catch and also play first base, that could be lost include Chris Williams and Alex Isola. Williams provided power for Wichita and St. Paul. Isola played well in Wichita but missed a couple of months with an injury. He just finished his stint in the Arizona Fall League. High-upside prospects can be scary to be left unprotected. The Twins left toolsy outfielder Misael Urbina off of their 40-man roster. He probably isn't ready for the big leagues at this point, but his talent will be intriguing. Yunior Severino is a talent, and he did well in 2022 in High-A, but also in Double-A, so for the right team, he could be a bench fit for the 2023 season. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. is a little older than those two, but his athleticism, speed and defense are incredibly intriguing. He was finally healthy in 2022 and started to show what he is capable of. Michael Helman could certainly be selected. His ability to play at least seven positions well would make him intriguing to teams. However, he broke out in the upper levels with 20 homers and he also had 40 stolen bases. In the same vein, Anthony Prato is another utility player, capable of playing at least four positions. He was healthy in 2022 and did well in Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Utility players are one of the areas that do often get selected in the Rule 5 draft. So do relief pitchers who are, or very soon could be, big-league ready. Twins Daily's 2022 Relief Pitcher of the Year Evan Sisk was dominant in Wichita and at St. Paul. He's also left-handed and mixes pitches well with his low-90s fastball. Austin Schulfer keeps producing in whatever role the Twins have had him work in, starting or relieving. He ended the season with the Saints as well. Sisk isn't the only left-hander that could be at risk either. Southpaw Kody Funderburk pitched very well in 2022 for Wichita, posting a sub-3.00 ERA. He mostly started but has worked in various roles out of the bullpen as well. So, what do you think about the fourTwins additions? Which of the Twins minor leaguers left off of the roster are most at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 draft and lost? Share your thoughts in the Comments below. For more Twins Daily content on other players mentioned in this article, click the links below: Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Michael Helman, Anthony Prato, Evan Sisk, Austin Schulfer, Kody Funderburk.
  5. Since the end of the season, the Twins' front office has been cleaning up the 40-man roster that, had way more than 40 men on it. When the World Series finished, several players automatically came off the roster and became free agents. Carlos Correa exercised his option and became a free agent. The Twins Designated five players for Assignment early in the offseason. Three of them (Jermaine Palacios, Jake Cave, Caleb Hamilton) were claimed by other teams. Just last week, players still on the 60-Day Injured List were removed from the Injured List. At the same time, Cody Stashak was outrighted from the roster and elected free agency. All that is to say that a lot of roster work has been done already. Some of that is because, on Tuesday, teams have to submit additions to their 40-man rosters by 5:00 central time. The Twins' 40-man roster is currently at 36 players. There are 21 pitchers, one catcher, five infielders, and nine outfielders. The Twins (and other teams) may make a few small trades to clean up a couple more roster spots before the additions. Friday is another key date in the offseason when teams will need to decide which arbitration-eligible players to tender (or non-tender) a 2023 contract. A couple more players could potentially come off of the roster at that time. Before getting into the predictions for which Twins minor leaguers will be added to the team’s 40-man roster, it is important to note that some of these decisions were already made during the season. Louie Varland, Matt Wallner, and Simeon Woods Richardson all were added to the roster in September. If they had not been, they would have been Givens to be added now. Those three put up tremendous 2022 seasons in both Wichita and St. Paul and earned their late-season promotions. Secondly, who is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft if they are not protected? Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2018 or earlier. Players who were 19 or older when they signed in 2019 or earlier. The age at signing is the key, but a general rule would be: Players drafted out of high school in 2017 or 2018. (unless they signed when they were 19) Players drafted out of junior college or four-year college in 2017, 2018, or 2019. International players signed at 16, 17, or 18 years old in 2016, 2017, or 2018. Finally, players added to the 40-man roster on Tuesday cannot be removed from the 40-man roster until spring training. That is important to remember when the team signs free agents or makes a trade this winter. So, here are my quick thoughts on players that should be, or at least should be considered to be, added to the Twins' 40-man roster. THE GIVENS 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. STRONG CONSIDERATIONS 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. 4.) UT Michael Helman - The Twins were excited to select Helman out of Texas A&M in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. After a strong pro debut that year, he really struggled in 2019 at High-A Ft. Myers and ended the season injured. After a lost 2020 season, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles, four triples, and 19 home runs in Cedar Rapids. He added 21 steals. He finished that season by playing in the Arizona Fall League. He began the 2022 season with 39 games at Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles, two triples, and six home runs. He finished the season in St. Paul where, in 96 games, he hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. Combined, he ended the season with 23 doubles, 20 home runs, and an impressive 40 stolen bases. He has made himself a solid contributor at the bat. He has also worked very hard to get strong all over the field on defense. Drafted as a middle infielder, he started playing all over the place in 2021. In 2022, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at shortstop. In 2021, he played more in the corner outfield spots than in center field. He legitimately can play seven positions on the field, and maybe I should mention that when he went to junior college, he was a catcher. 5.) Misael Urbina - This is the potential upside addition. This is the guy with talent and athleticism and tools. The 20-year-old Urbina signed in July of 2018 out of Venezuela. He spent 2019 in the Dominican Summer League where he posted a solid .825 OPS with 21 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in 50 games. After the lost 2020 season, he came to the States in 2021. He didn’t make the Mighty Mussels Opening Day roster, but he was on the roster about a week later. He played 101 games for the Mighty Mussels and hit .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, four triples, five homes, and 16 steals. Unfortunately, Urbina missed about half of the 2022 season due to some visa issues. In 50 games for the Mighty Mussels, he hit .246/.323/.419 (.741) with 16 doubles, five homers, and nine stolen bases. The Twins have added players after they spend a year in Low-A. They did it in November 2013 when they added Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler after they played in Cedar Rapids that season. Of course, they also added Deibinson Romero and Estarlin de Los Santos to the 40-man roster after their Low-A seasons. (I’m sure @Roger will appreciate that reference.) It’s hard for me to believe that Urbina would be able to stick on a big-league roster all season, so this is very borderline. 6.) IF Yunior Severino - As you know, Atlanta signed Severino as a 16-year-old in 2016. He spent the following season with the Braves organization until they were deemed to have broken the rules of international signing and a bunch of their recently-signed international players became free agents again. This time, it was the Twins that gave him a big, seven-figure signing bonus. Severino has shown glimpses of talent, but he’s also missed time with injury. He broke out with a strong 35 games at the end of the 2021 season in Cedar Rapids when he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. He began 2022 with 46 games with the Kernels and hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 homers. He moved up to Wichita and hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. At Cedar Rapids, he played mostly second base (and DH). With the Wind Surge, he played almost exclusively at third base. He is now 23 and could be a year away from being ready. 7.) C/1B Chris Williams - Chris Williams was the Twins' eighth-round pick in 2018 out of Clemson University. In 75 games for Wichita this summer, Williams hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished his season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit just .192, but he had five doubles and 10 more home runs. This season, he played 83 games at first base and caught 24 games. He will turn 26 this month, but the Twins have a need for right-handed power and currently have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. Now, Williams is not going to do a lot of catching in the big leagues, but he can be a guy who can be a #3 catcher, a backup first base option, and a power bat off the bench might provide some value to the organization. 8.) RHP Cody Laweryson - Laweryson (pronounced Lor-ih-sun) was the Twins 14th round draft pick out of the University of Maine in 2019. In 2021, he missed the first two months of the season and then posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 15 games for Cedar Rapids. He did have 73 strikeouts and just 19 walks over his 58 2/3 innings. He went to the Arizona Fall League and struck out 18 batters in 14 innings and pitched in the Fall Stars game. He began 2022 in the Kernels' bullpen. In 35 innings, he struck out 42 and walked 12 batters. He posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He moved up to Wichita where after 11 bullpen appearances, he made eight starts. He went 5-0 with a minuscule 1.06 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 59 2/3 innings, he struck out 69 and walked just 15 batters. In the entire season, he gave up just two homers over 94 2/3 innings. He’s got decent stuff and a bit of a funky delivery. Was his half-season in Wichita enough for someone to select him in the Rule 5 draft, or for the Twins to add him? 9.) OF DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. - Keirsey was the Twins' fourth-round pick in 2018 out of the University of Utah. He had a brutal injury after crashing into the wall at the end of his sophomore season in college, but inexplicably returned for his junior season and posted an OPS of 1.049. Since the Twins drafted him, his biggest issue has been staying on the field. He was limited to 45 games in Cedar Rapids in 2021 due to leg muscle issues. He never was able to get into a rhythm. In 2022, he was bumped up to Wichita and was on the field for 121 games. He had a solid showing, if not a bit of a breakout season. He hit .271/.329/.395 (.724) with 26 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs. While not a power hitter, at times he can really drive the ball and use the whole field. But his speed is absolutely electric and can be game-changing. He stole 42 bases in 49 attempts this year (86%), but he is an elite defensive center fielder, able to run down almost anything and unafraid to throw his body around to make a catch. His athleticism alone has to get him considered, and in 2022, he stayed on the field and really contributed. 10.) LHP Kody Funderburk - When the Twins drafted the lefty from Dallas Baptist in the 15th round of the 2018 draft, they had him as a pitcher only. In college, he was a very good hitter as well. Over time, he has worked solely as a pitcher and very quietly has made himself into a prospect to watch. He had a solid 2021 season between Cedar Rapids (where he started) and Wichita (where he was a reliever). He then went and made six starts in the Arizona Fall League. In 2022 at Double-A Wichita, he went 10-5 with a 2.94 ERA. In 107 innings, he had 103 strikeouts to 44 walks. He has a bit of a funky delivery that might make him intriguing to a team in the Rule 5 draft. 11.) C/1B Alex Isola - In 2017, Isola and Keirsey were teammates at Utah. Isola transferred a couple of times before the Twins made him their 29th-round pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University. Isola just completed his six-week stint in the Arizona Fall League where he hit five doubles, and in the semi-final game launched a 420+ foot home run to help send his team to the championship game. Like Williams, part of the allure of Isola is his ability to play behind the plate as needed. With Wichita, he made 17 starts at first base and 17 starts behind the plate. He won’t win any Gold Gloves, but he could be a #3 catcher in the big leagues. His calling card is his bat. In 58 games with the Wind Surge in 2022, he hit .286/.377/.471 (.848) with nine doubles and 10 home runs. He puts together solid plate appearances with a good knowledge of the strike zone. He’s willing to take his walks, but he also can drive the ball to the gaps and over the wall. 12.) RHP Austin Schulfer - The 26-year-old was the Twins 19th round pick in 2018 out of UW-Milwaukee. In 2021, he led all Twins minor-league pitchers with 110 innings pitched over 24 starts at Double-A Wichita. In 2022, he returned to the Wind Surge to start the season and worked in 15 games out of the bullpen. He gave up just one earned run over 23 innings (0.39 ERA) and struck out 30 and walked only four batters. He recorded seven saves. He moved up to St. Paul where he went 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA. In 32 2/3 Triple-A innings, he struck out 31 batters and walked 13 batters. Schulfer has always made adjustments and should return to the Saints in 2023. Depending on the injury front in the Twins bullpen, we could see him debut at some point. HAVE TO AT LEAST CONSIDER LHP Evan Sisk - Acquired from the Cardinals at the deadline in 2021, he was the 2022 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. 5-1, 2.08 ERA in a combined 63 innings between Wichita and St. Paul. Had 76 strikeouts to go with 29 walks. SS/OF Will Holland - the fastest runner in the Twins minor leagues, he is a great athlete and could provide a team with solid outfield or shortstop defense and pinch-running abilities. He was the team’s 5th-round pick in 2019 from Auburn. LHRP Denny Bentley - Bentley has been very good in the Twins minor leagues and can record a lot of strikeouts, but he does walk a lot of batters, as he did in the Arizona Fall League. RHRP Osiris German - German remains a very intriguing 24-year-old reliever. His best pitch is his changeup. After six games in Cedar Rapids, he worked in 37 games for Wichita. He posted a 3.02 ERA and had 17 walks and 59 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. RHRP Hunter McMahon - he was the ninth-round pick by the Nationals in the 2019 draft. The Twins acquired him that offseason for Ryne Harper. He has pitched very little since. In 2021, he pitched in just five games. This year, he began in Ft. Myers (2.23 ERA), moved up to Cedar Rapids (1.19 ERA), and finished with four games in Double-A. In 73 2/3 combined innings. He had 76 strikeouts and just 16 walks. RHP Sean Mooney - The Twins 12th round pick in 2019 from St. John’s had Tommy John surgery that spring. So, he didn’t make his pro debut, officially, until 2021. In 42 innings, he had 71 strikeouts. In 2022 with Cedar Rapids, he posted a 3.30 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 60 innings. Needs to stay healthy. UT Anthony Prato - 7th round pick in 2019 from UConn, Prato had a nice breakout season in 2022. He was limited in 2021 due to a broken hamate bone. In 2022, he played 45 games in Cedar Rapids before ending with 87 games in Wichita. Combined, he hit .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, eight triples, 10 homers, and 22 stolen bases. He played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 games at third base. RHP Randy Dobnak - Off the 40-man roster, if a team selected Dobnak, they would take on his contract too, so that’s unlikely. But, when he was healthy in 2019 and 2020, he was a solid back-of-rotation starter, and if he is healthy, could be that for a non-contender. RHRP Steven Cruz - MLB Pipeline ranks Cruz 28th in the organization. Ten (or even five) years ago, he would have ranked higher because he is capable of reaching triple-digits with his fastball. At 23, he posted a 5.14 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in Wichita in 2022. In 56 innings, he had 72 strikeouts, but he also walked 35 batters. Love the arm, but hard to see him sticking in the big leagues. OTHER ELIGIBLE PLAYERS Hitters: David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, Kyle Schmidt, Seth Gray, Charles Mack, Jeferson Morales, Daniel Ozoria, Willie Joe Garry, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Baez, Wilfri Castro, Alexander Pena. Pitchers: Tyler Beck, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, Ryan Shreve, Brock Stewart, Michael Boyle, Jordan Brink, Jordan Gore, Casey Legumina, Alex Phillips, Regi Grace, Bradley Hanner, Derek Molina, Owen Griffith, Tyler Palm, Miguel Rodriguez, Matthew Swain, Zaquiel Puentes, Niklas Rimmel, Elpidio Perez, Wilker Reyes, Rafael Feliz, Danny Moreno, Alex Scherff, Andrew Cabezas, Ben Gross, Zach Neff, Josh Mitchell, Jose Brito. My prediction? This is as tough as I can remember this being. Again, we should be able to assume Canterino and Julien are added. After that, there are at least six to 10 others (and maybe more) where a legitimate case could be made. I am going to officially predict that they will also add Headrick, Helman, and Severino. I think Urbina is just not yet in a spot where he could stick in the big leagues, but I think he is at risk of being taken. He is probably the most interesting case (which is why I found a photo of him for the article). I think Chris Williams and Alex Isola are guys that could be at risk as well. Your turn? How many players will the Twins add to their 40-man roster by Tuesday’s deadline? Make your predictions for which players get added below.
  6. I’d argue that bullpen construction is one of the areas in which Derek Falvey-led Twins front office has consistently failed in executing since taking over in Minnesota. In 2021, the pen was marred by repeated first-half meltdowns from Alexander Colomé. That unit ranked 22nd by fWAR, 21st by FIP, and 16th by K/9 after a second-half recovery. In 2022, Emilio Pagán single-handedly blew a handful of games to eventual AL Central champion Cleveland Guardians. The 2022 unit ranked 20th by fWAR, 14th by FIP, and 12th by K/9. At least a modicum of improvement. Overall, however, this front office has taken the ‘building the plane while flying it approach’ to bullpen construction. While 2022 went as badly as it could for a variety of reasons, most notably player health, here are three trends to look for that might indicate a different approach to bullpen construction in 2023. Shop for Relievers, Earlier than Later This front office has shied away from any spending on relief arms. Prior to 2022, Joe Smith was the lone bullpen addition signed to a major league contract (Pagan was acquired by trade). I’m not advocating for the Twins to put together an Edwin Díaz-type contract for a relief pitcher, but $6-9 million can buy you a lot of arm. This front office typically waits until late in free agency to extract contract value. I’d like to see them add to the bullpen, aggressively, targeting velocity and stuff. The Twins couple easily push toward a top-ten bullpen by raising the floor on what they ran out in 2022, and it shouldn’t cost that much. Stop valuing good contracts over good players. There’s No Such Thing as too Many Options The Twins have several exciting internal options for the bullpen. Matt Canterino, Ronny Henriquez, Blayne Enlow, even Josh Winder. All of these options have something in common, they were either hurt in 2022 or unproven in a bullpen role in 2022. I’d bet that at least one of these names becomes a Griffin Jax type in 2023. That is to say, a solid mid-to-high-end reliever who can work in some mid-to-high leverage situations. If the Twins learned anything in 2023, however, it should be not to count on anyone or anything going to plan. The Twins need to have a semi-established bullpen pecking order by the end of April, not by the All-Star Break. Buy-Low Arms for Depth Only The Twins should never have an arm like Joe Smith in their bullpen if they want to be taken seriously. The best bullpens in MLB are stacked with velocity, movement, and high-caliber arms. The Twins capacity to reach that ceiling is pretty exciting (imagine a back end of Canterino, Alcala, López, and Duran). With that in mind, and learning and building from the best models available (Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, etc.) the Twins should only be bringing in ‘buy-low’ type arms as competition in spring training, and depth throughout the season. If the Twins front office did nothing to the bullpen between now and opening day, the ceiling is high, and the potential is exciting. The observable difference in behavior ahead of 2023 is whether they choose to raise the floor, and account for the unexpected. What changes would you like to see from the front office in how approach building their bullpen ahead of 2023? Join the discussion and leave your thoughts below.
  7. Defining what constitutes an ace is something fans have debated throughout baseball history. Some might view it as baseball's top 10-15 pitchers, while others might characterize it as the top pitcher for each team. As Nick wrote about earlier this week, Sonny Gray currently represents the top of Minnesota's rotational threshold, and some might not call him an ace. He is the team's best starting pitcher, and an off-season acquisition should be better or equal to him. So, does Minnesota currently have a pitcher in the system with ace potential? It could be easy to look at the Twins' prospect rankings and gauge ace potential by those rankings. However, pitching prospect development rarely follows a linear path. At this point last season, Simeon Woods Richardson saw his stock drop as he struggled at Double-A. Now, he is back on the prospect radar and has the potential to be an ace. Below there are five candidates that have varying levels of ace potential. Connor Prielipp, LHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 4th ETA: 2025 Ace Potential: High Prielipp has the best chance to be an ace out of all the pitchers in the Twins organization. Minnesota was lucky to have him fall to them with the 48th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. His fastball and slider are both MLB-ready pitches, and his changeup also projects to be above average. The Twins were confident enough in his pre-draft workouts to go over slot value to sign him. Minnesota will work him back slowly in 2023, but he has all the traits necessary to be an ace pitcher. (Click here for more Connor Prielipp articles at Twins Daily.) Marco Raya, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 9th ETA: 2024 Ace Potential: Medium Raya made his organizational debut in 2022 as a 19-year-old in the Florida State League. He impressed with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 65 innings. Over 82% of his at-bats came against older batters, which he held to a .571 OPS. According to MLB.com, he has four pitches that grade at 50 or higher on the 20-80 scouting scale. The biggest thing holding him back from being an ace is his size, as he is six feet tall and weighs around 165-pounds. Players like Jose Berrios and Marcus Stroman have shown ace potential while being his size, so there is plenty of hope for him to be a top-of-the-rotation arm. (Click here for more Marco Raya articles at Twins Daily.) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 5th ETA: 2022 Ace Potential: Medium Woods Richardson has the best potential to be an ace pitcher out of the prospects in the mix for 2023. He turned 22 in September, and he already made his big-league debut. Woods Richardson struggled mightily during the 2021 season but bounced back nicely in 2022. He posted a 2.77 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with a 115-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 107 1/3 minor league innings. He likely starts next season at Triple-A, where he only made seven starts this season. His age, pitch mix, and prospect status give him a shot at becoming an ace. (Click here for more Simeon Woods Richardson articles at Twins Daily.) Louie Varland, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 7th ETA: 2022 Ace Potential: Low Varland has been named the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back seasons. For most organizations, a pitcher winning that award multiple times would point to ace potential. However, it might also result from other pitchers in the organization not performing well. Varland dominated the upper minors on the way to making an impressive debut at Yankee Stadium. He has three above-average pitches, which can help him fit into the Twins' rotation for multiple years. It still seems unlikely for him to ever be considered the best pitcher in a rotation, even if he reaches his ceiling. (Click here for more Louie Varland articles at Twins Daily.) Matt Canterino, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 14th ETA: 2024 Ace Potential: Low Canterino's potential has been hard to project throughout his professional career because he hasn't stayed healthy. He underwent Tommy John surgery in August, so he will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season. Minnesota hopes this surgery can get Canterino back on track, as he was one of the team's top pitching prospects entering the season. When on the mound, Canterino has dominated with a true four-pitch mix and a fastball in the upper-90s. He arguably has the best stuff in the system, so his ace potential is tied to his ability to stay healthy, and remaining a starter. (Click here for more Matt Canterino articles at Twins Daily.) Who do you think has the best chance to be an ace? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. Last winter, it was clear to anyone looking at the Twins roster that the team needed frontline starting pitching. There were other off-season needs, but they only had Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober penciled into the rotation and many other question marks. Minnesota had the financial flexibility to sign frontline starting pitching, but the club decided to go in a different direction. With the pending lockout, the Twins front office watched most frontline free agent starters ink contracts with other organizations. Minnesota's lone signing before the lockout was Dylan Bundy, who figured to fit into the rotation's back half. It was tough to decipher how the Twins expected to fill the rotation, but the team's plan became clear as spring training inched closer. Following the lockout, Sonny Gray was the Twins' biggest offseason pitching acquisition. He was a clear frontline starter and pitched that way during the 2022 season. The team added Chris Archer to join Bundy at the back of the rotation, and Chris Paddack joined the club in a last-minute deal before Opening Day. All these arms impacted the 2022 Twins, but the club wanted to rely on the young pitching in the system to supplement the veteran arms. Derek Falvey was brought to Minnesota because of his experience with the Cleveland organization. During his Cleveland tenure, one of his calling cards was cultivating young pitching, which has been a staple of the Guardians organization. Minnesota was going to start the 2022 campaign with Ryan and Ober in the rotation, but there were expectations that other young pitchers would join their ranks. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and Minnesota's pitching pipeline may have taken a step back this season. As the season began, it looked like the Twins had plenty of pitching prospects in the upper minors that had the potential to impact the roster. Minnesota had five upper minors starting pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, and others rounded out their top-20 list. Ryan had an up-and-down season as a rookie, but he is on pace to set the team's rookie record for strikeouts. Josh Winder and Cole Sands have combined to pitch just over 80 big league innings, with both missing games due to injury. Louie Varland saw his stock rise the most out of this group as he pitched well in the upper minors before making his big league debut in September. Matt Canterino and Jordan Balazovic were arguably the team's top pitching prospects entering the 2022 campaign, but it was a lost season for both. Canterino dominated on the mound in 13 appearances, but he needed Tommy John surgery before the season's end. Balazovic was on pace to debut in 2022, but he struggled at Triple-A and is now getting back on track. Besides Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson helped his stock the most this season, and he deserves to make some starts for the Twins down the stretch. Many will blame injuries for the Twins' failures during the 2022 season. However, the lack of contributions from the pitching pipeline is also concerning. Not every pitching prospect can be successful throughout their professional careers, and there is hope that some of these arms will get healthy in the offseason. As Minnesota's focus turns to 2023, the front office might not be able to rely as heavily on the pitching pipeline when building next year's roster. Did the pitching pipeline plan fail in 2022? Is there hope for improvement in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Coming into the 2022 season, Twins Daily ranked Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino as the first, fourth, and sixth best prospects in the organization, respectively. Not only were they high-caliber talents with polish and big upside, but they were all more or less on the precipice of major-league readiness. In each case, things hardly could've gone worse. Whether performance, injury, or a combination, each of these critical assets saw his stock nosedive over the past summer, and it adds another layer of complexity for a front office trying to build its way back to contention. With that said, hope isn't lost for any of these three. Let's take a look at each of their campaigns so far, as things come close to wrapping up here in September. Austin Martin and the power that never came. The prize of last year's José Berríos trade at the deadline, Martin was billed as a near-ready prospect right out of the gates. It was warranted, after he led all of Double-A in on-base percentage during his first pro season. Despite his resounding success, Minnesota sent Martin back to the same level this year, no doubt hoping he'd shore up his biggest weakness from 2022 – an absence of power to complement the excellent OBP – and earn a quick call-up to Triple-A or even the majors. That didn't happen. Martin's power trended the wrong direction this year. After slugging .382 with a .127 ISO and five home runs in 418 PAs between New Hampshire and Wichita, this year he's slugging .317 with an .074 ISO and two home runs in 406 PAs at Wichita. Martin has kept his on-base skills steady, with a .367 OBP despite the crummy .241 average, but his lack of ability to drive the ball with any authority almost renders it moot. Posting a .685 OPS as a 23-year-old in your second turn at Double-A, with no apparent underlying injury, is nothing short of disastrous. Given all the injuries the Twins have faced this season, it's likely Martin would've gotten a chance at some point if he'd even modestly improved his production from a year ago. His drop-off eliminated that possibility and will leave him as something of an afterthought heading into 2023. Martin's going to tank on national prospect lists, where he ranked around #50 by consensus coming into the season. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Martin would hardly be the first player to develop significant power rapidly in his mid-20s. In fact, two "shortstop" prospects who came before him in the Twins system serve as optimistic precedents: Brain Dozier totaled 14 home runs in 317 games through his first three minor-league seasons. Five years later he would set an American League record by launching 42 as a second baseman in 2016. Jorge Polanco hit 35 total home runs total in 598 minor-league games, and could barely muster an XBH in his early days. He hit 33 home runs for the Twins last year. Jordan Balazovic's puzzling struggles in St. Paul. We had Balazovic ranked as the #1 pitcher in the system coming into this year, following a strong campaign at Double-A where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 rate as a 22-year-old. Relative to other arms in the system, Balazovic had a more consistent track record and more established workload base, which is why it seemed feasible to envision him playing a significant role in the Twins rotation this year. His abominable performance at Triple-A has done away with that notion entirely. Balazovic started a month late with the Saints due to a knee strain. While he ostensibly put that behind him, staying healthy enough to take the mound each sixth day, he has never seemed right at any point. The right-hander's performance with St. Paul has been beyond awful. In 62 ⅔ innings across 20 appearances, he's 0-6 with a 7.47 ERA. Opponents have slashed .342/.412/.625 against him, as both his walk and home run rates have spiraled out of control. Balazovic has made 19 starts for the Saints and completed five innings ONCE. In late June, Balazovic told Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press his struggles were "like a puzzle; every day it’s something new." "I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.” The big 6-foot-5 righty boiled his issues down to consistency and execution, but expressed hope he was getting closer to solving the puzzle. "I’m still hoping for that day," he said, "and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow." It wasn't. The following day he needed 60 pitches to get through 2 ⅔ innings against the Iowa Cubs, allowing five hits (two homers) and two walks. His next time out he coughed up five earned runs in three innings against Omaha. These have been typical results for Balazovic this year, and as a result he's slid down a pitching pipeline hierarchy that's already been depleted by the Chase Petty trade and the development we'll look at next. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Balazovic didn't quite follow through on his "hoping that day is tomorrow" goal, but he might not have been far off? While he bombed in his next two starts, he's been on a bit of a roll ever since, posting a 2.52 ERA and 29-to-11 K/BB ratio with just three homers allowed over 25 innings in his past six starts. Sometimes guys need to experience their worst to unlock their best. Balazovic has plenty of talent to rebound and get back on track. Matt Canterino and the elbow that finally gave way. Canterino's elbow is the only thing that's stood in his way. Drafted 54th overall in 2019 after blowing people away at Rice University for three years, the hard-throwing righty immediately started doing the same to professional hitters. In a 25-inning debut between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a 1.44 ERA with 31 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed. Then, the pandemic happened and wiped out the 2020 season. In 2021, he was limited to 23 total innings by a forearm strain (he posted a 0.78 ERA when he was able to pitch). This year, his elbow soreness re-emerged and while the Twins continually tried to navigate around it, treating surgery as a last resort, they eventually ran out of options. "It felt like we didn't have anymore stones to turn over," said assistant GM Jeremy Zoll. Unfortunately, the efforts to avoid surgery only delayed it, and now Canterino's prospective impact has also been pushed well down the line. Since he didn't undergo Tommy John until last month, Canterino will likely miss all of next year rehabbing, meaning that by the time he's ready to fully return to the mound, he'll be a 26-year-old with fewer than 100 innings as a pro. It's really difficult to come back from that. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Difficult, but not impossible. The biggest cost of all this lost time would theoretically be missed development for a guy who's barely been able to get in-game reps since being drafted three years ago. For Canterino, I'm not sure it matters as much. He's basically always looked like a guy ready for the majors when he's pitched, with raw stuff that speaks for itself. So long as that stuff remains mostly intact after the surgery, he'll have a chance to get back up to speed quickly and make his long-awaited impact on the bullpen, even if it's not until 2024. Feeling bummed out? I hear you! Make sure to check back tomorrow when I break down the most uplifting developments on the farm for the Twins this year ... Good news: I couldn't manage to limit that list to just three.
  10. Getting to the major leagues can be challenging even for baseball's best prospects. Some players work their entire lives to reach the big leagues, and others make their debut before their 20th birthday. All three names below had the potential to impact the Twins roster during the 2022 season, but poor performance and injuries have cast doubt on their top prospect rankings. Minnesota's farm system continues to drop in national rankings, and these three players take a small portion of the blame for the fall. So which prospects have seen their stock drop the most this season? Austin Martin, SS/OF TD Preseason Ranking: 1 Many national rankings pegged Martin as the Twins' top prospect entering the 2022 season. All three national prospect rankings placed him in their top-60 prospects, but he has fallen off those lists as they have been updated this season. Martin is repeating Double-A this season as a 23-year-old, where he is over a year younger than the average age of the competition. His biggest concern is the lack of power development throughout his professional career. Martin posted a 1.007 OPS in college, and his OPS dropped to .676 in 2022. Martin still has all of the tools to be an above-average hitter, and he needs to continue making adjustments in the minors' upper levels. Jordan Balazovic, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 4 Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus included Balazovic at the backend of the top-100 lists entering the season. Balazovic missed time to start the 2022 season with a knee injury and has never looked right on the mound. In his first 17 appearances, he has allowed 50 earned runs in 49 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate is down (8.3 K/9), and his walk rate is up (4.7 BB/9). He is on the 40-man roster, but he has struggled so much at Triple-A that the Twins haven't been able to call him up. Luckily, he is over four years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A. Hopefully, he can call 2022 a lost season and get back on track this winter for an improved 2023. Matt Canterino, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 6 Canterino may never be ranked as a top-100 prospect, but he may have the best stuff and highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the organization. He has been unhittable with 13.8 K/9 and a 1.48 ERA in his career when on the mound. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to pitch more than 37 innings in any season since turning pro due to various injuries. His 2022 season ended abruptly when the Twins announced Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery. This injury means he will miss the rest of 2022 and the majority of 2023. Plenty of pitchers have come back strong after this surgery, and the Twins have to hope he can stay healthy moving forward. Are you worried about the future of these three players? Can they bounce back from poor 2022 campaigns? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. National rankings of a team's farm systems can be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of hope and high expectations are tied to the team's top prospects, but most fans will focus on whether or not the big-league team is consistently winning. Front offices must find a balance between building homegrown talent and trading for pieces that can help the current roster. Baseball America updated its farm system rankings based on changes from this year's draft and the trade deadline. Minnesota's system ranked 25th, the team's lowest ranking since 2017. Baseball American and MLB Pipeline have three Twins prospects in their top 100, including Brooks Lee, Royce Lewis, and Emmanuel Rodriguez. So, why did the Twins drop so much? Trades Minnesota was active at the 2022 trade deadline by dealing away some of the organization's most improved prospects. Spencer Steer, Cade Povich, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Steven Hajjar were all top-30 prospects in the system. Last winter, the Twins also traded Chase Petty, the team's 2021 first-round pick, to acquire Sonny Gray. Losing that kind of talent will hurt any organization's farm system ranking. Luckily, there are some obvious reasons why Minnesota's ranking dropped. Under 25 Big-League Players When looking at the health of an organization, it's essential to look at young players that are no longer prospects but are impacting the big-league roster. The Twins have gotten plenty of production this season from players that are 25 years old or younger. During his rookie campaign, Jose Miranda emerged as a middle-of-the-order bat. On the pitching side, Jhoan Duran completely altered how the team approaches late-inning pitching situations. However, the list of players that are 25 or younger doesn't stop there. Gilberto Celestino, a 23-year-old, has allowed the Twins to give Byron Buxton more regular days off from center field. Cole Sands, Josh Winder, and Jovani Moran have impacted the team's rotation and bullpen. Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff have shown how good their bats can be when they are healthy. Even regulars like Ryan Jeffers and Luis Arraez are in their age-25 season. Obviously, the Twins will need to continue to see continued development from these players while they help the team win. Injuries and Underperformance Injuries to key prospects are another reason the team's ranking continues to drop. Royce Lewis, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Matt Canterino are all out for the year. Lewis was already impacting the big-league roster before undergoing his second ACL surgery in the last two seasons. Rodriguez had a breakout season before suffering a knee injury on a slide. Canterino's elbow health has been an issue throughout his professional career, and the hope is that Tommy John surgery will get him back on track. All three players should return at some point during the 2023 season. Multiple top prospects have also underperformed during the 2022 campaign. Austin Martin was widely considered one of the organization's top prospects after he was acquired as part of the Jose Berrios trade. In 65 Double-A games, he is hitting .244/.372/.306 (.678) with 11 extra-base hits. Minnesota added Jordan Balazovic to the 40-man roster last winter, but he has struggled throughout the 2022 season. In 15 Triple-A appearances, he has a 9.26 ERA with a 2.17 WHIP across 45 2/3 innings. Both of these players have seen their prospect stock drop significantly. Luckily, the Twins are keeping their winning window open despite the perceived talent drop in the farm system. Minnesota's trades have added controllable talent to the big-league roster, and the team has plenty of young talent up-and-down the roster. Are you concerned about the farm system's drop in national rankings? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  12. Injuries impact every farm system, but the Twins have had three of their top-10 prospects suffer season-ending injuries. All three players should return over the next year with various timelines to impact the big-league level. Matt Canterino, SP Injury: Tommy John surgery Expected Return: Fall 2023 On Wednesday, it was announced that Matt Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery which usually has a 12-month recovery timeline. Canterino has missed significant time throughout his professional career, and there's hope that this surgery will be able to solve those issues. In three minor league seasons, he has posted a 1.48 ERA with 13.8 K/9, but injuries have limited him to 85 innings. Canterino has a chance to get into game action at the end of 2023, and the Twins have to decide whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster before this winter's Rule 5 Draft. Royce Lewis, SS/OF Injury: ACL surgery Expected Return: June 2023 Lewis has already gone through this surgery and has shown a positive mindset throughout the process. Last month, he was already ahead of schedule in his rehab, so that is a positive sign for when he may return in 2023. ACL surgery is typically a 12-month recovery, but Lewis told MLB.com that he hopes to be ready in 10-11 months. During his debut, Lewis was fantastic as he hit .300/.317/.550 (.867) with four doubles and two home runs. What made it even more impressive was the fact Lewis hadn't appeared in a game throughout the 2020 or 2021 seasons. At Twins Daily, Lewis is still considered the organization's top prospect, so his health is critical to the team's future success. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF Injury: Knee surgery Expected Return: Spring 2023 Rodriguez was in the midst of a breakout season at Low-A before suffering a knee injury on a slide. In 47 games, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with five doubles, three triples, and nine home runs. He did all of this while being over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the Florida State League. Throughout the season, he only faced younger pitchers in four plate appearances. His surgery puts him on track to be back on the field early next season, so he will still be young for the FSL if the team sends him back to that level. Injuries have also impacted other young players that have graduated from prospect lists. Alex Kirilloff, one of the team's former top prospects, is out for the year after having wrist surgery. His wrist had been bothering him over the last two seasons, so the hope is this will put him back on track for 2023. Not every prospect pans out at the big-league level, but the Twins are hoping all of these players have healthy careers moving forward. Which recovery worries you the most? Who will be back earlier than expected? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. TRANSACTIONS OF Kennie Taylor placed on 7-day IL INF Tim Beckham contract selected by Minnesota OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Saints Sentinel St. Paul 7, Iowa 1 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Braden Bishop (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) St. Paul smoked Iowa on Saturday. Cole Sands did the darn thing, pitching five quality innings with a single earned run, and seven punched tickets; that’s the kind of effort that could earn him a promotion back to the majors. Until then, Sands can bask in a great start. St. Paul’s bats only scored in one inning, but they made it count; a seven-run 2nd frame drowned Iowa for good. It was a classic gang-up; Braden Bishop, Jake Cave, Jermaine Palacios, and Roy Morales all obtained RBIs for their work in aiding the scoring. Old, uhhh, acquaintance Andrelton Simmons struck out three times in four tries for the Iowa Cubs. Daniel Gossett, Brad Peacock, Evan Sisk, and Drew Strotman combined for four shutout innings with six strikeouts. At least one of those arms will probably be on the Twins soon. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 11, NW Arkansas 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Edouard Julien 2 (11, 12), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (5) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Jair Camargo (2-for-4), Cole Sturgeon (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB) The Wind Surge bludgeoned their opponent on Saturday. It all began where you would expect: at the top of the lineup. Edouard Julien, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jair Camargo all had multiple hits; Julien cleaned up four RBIs and scored three runs, charged largely by two home runs. Wichita did dabble in democracy, as every batter contributed at least one hit towards a 14-hit total. The pitchers established order early; Brent Headrick allowed no hits but does have an earned run on his ledger as the scored run reached base off a walk. You don’t see that every day. Cody Laweryson was even more effective, punching our four batters over two clean innings of relief. Wichita netted seven extra-base hits; NW Arkansas had three hits total. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 7 Box Score Travis Adams: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Yunior Severino (9), Aaron Sabato (14) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) Cedar Rapids lost a close game on Saturday. Travis Adams couldn’t find a break; Wisconsin touched up the righty for seven runs, with four coming via the “earned” variety. A first-inning three-run homer following an error was the culprit. Cedar Rapids struck early as well; their bats plated six runs across the first two frames in support of Adams. Yunior Severino continued a truly blistering July with a two-run homer; Alerick Soularie then doubled home another run in the following inning. Aaron Sabato, always sure to never miss out on the fun, blasted a two-run home run to conclude the Kernels’ onslaught. While Cedar Rapids’ bats receded following their early-game attack, the arms established order; Ryan Shreve, Jon Olsen, and Hunter McMahon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings with seven punch outs. Mussel Matters Game one: Fort Myers 2, Tampa 5 (7 innings) Box Score Steve Hajjar: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels were quiet in game one on Saturday. Steve Hajjar commanded the ball, striking out eight batters against no walks; two home runs proved to be his earned-run downfall. This was Hajjar’s second start since returning from the IL, and it was his longest; rain capped his previous outing to two outs. Fort Myers’ offense struggled to match Tampa’s offense; just three batters gained a hit, and three other ones walked, but the team could only plate a pair of runs. Noah Miller slugged a double—a notable event given his recent power struggle—while Misael Urbina also doubles—a notable event as Urbina has smashed the ball since returning. Game two: Fort Myers 4, Tampa 2 Box Score Mike Paredes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Nelson Roberto (3), Mikey Perez (8) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI) Fort Myers returned the gesture in game two. Mike Paredes established the tone, allowing two measly runs over six efficient innings. Paredes is an easy name to overlook, but he holds a 2.19 ERA on the season; that has to count for something. Mikey Perez lead the offensive in this effort; the speedy infielder blasted his eighth homer while also stealing his 32nd base. Outside of a Nelson Roberto homer, the offense remained quiet, but they could afford to; Perez’s outburst ensured they would not require more runs to win. Juan Mendez struck out the side to end the game. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 3 (11 innings) Box Score Matt Canterino: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost a slim affair. Matt Canterino returned to the mound for the second time since his rehab assignment began earlier in the week. The righty worked five outs with three strikeouts and one run allowed. Offense evaded the FCL Twins all day; the team netted two hits with a lone RBI and four walks in the game. Fredy Michel stole his 11th base on the season. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 5, DSL Rockies 0 Box Score Cesar Lares: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The DSL Twins shut out the DSL Rockies on Saturday. The game was an example of poor defense dominating the lower minors; the DSL Rockies allowed two unearned runs off four misplays in nine innings. Yasser Mercedes stole his 17th base of the season; Yasser Mercedes has played 28 games. Cesar Lares continued his impressive start to professional baseball; the lefty fanned four batters over four innings with no earned runs. Lares now owns a 2.43 ERA. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Edouard Julien, PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Matt Canterino (Rehab) - 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K #8 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:10 PM) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - TBD
  14. Minnesota is going to have some tough decisions to make this winter when it comes to protecting players from the Rule 5 Draft. Multiple top prospects will be added to the 40-man roster before the deadline, but there are only so many prospects a team can protect. One way to avoid some of these decisions is to include these players in trades before the deadline. Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Woods Richardson is no stranger to deadline deals as he has been part of two blockbuster trades in the past. He is also arguably one of the team's top pitching prospects after a breakout season at Double-A. The Twins will undoubtedly add him to the 40-man roster, but his stock has risen since last year's trade deadline. Can the Twins use him as a part of a trade for a veteran starting pitcher? Matt Canterino, SP Canterino has dominated the minor leagues when he has stayed healthy. However, he has been limited to fewer than 90 innings in three professional seasons. Teams looking to deal for prospects at the deadline might not be interested in someone who misses as much time as Canterino. Minnesota might also need to consider moving Canterino to a relief role to keep him healthy for the long term. Spencer Steer, INF Steer has been one of Minnesota's breakout prospects this season as he has an OPS over .900 at Double- and Triple-A. When looking at Minnesota's roster, it's easy to see why Steer might be a more easily tradable asset. He plays a lot of defensive time at second and third base, where the Twins have other players ahead of him on the depth chart. His defensive flexibility (over 100 innings at three infield positions) could be intriguing to other organizations. Matt Wallner, OF Wallner put his name on the national stage when he hit a powerful home run during the Futures Game. He has been destroying baseballs all season at Double-A, where he had 15 doubles and 21 home runs in 78 games. Minnesota promoted Wallner to Triple-A following his Futures Game heroics. He's clearly a right fielder who will also get some DH time, so does that have a lot of value on the trade market? Louie Varland, SP Varland surprised many by being named the TD 2021 Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He posted a 2.10 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 103 innings. Minnesota was aggressive with him and moved him to Double-A this season, where he is younger than the average age of the competition. In 2022, Varland continued to strike out more than ten batters per nine innings. Currently, he doesn't rank as one of the team's top-5 pitching prospects, which might make the team more likely to part with him. Edouard Julien, INF Minnesota selected Julien in the 2019 MLB Draft, so he didn't make his professional debut until last season in Fort Myers. In 112 games between Low- and High-A, Julien hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles and 18 home runs. An eye-popping 110 walks helped his unbelievable OBP. This season at Double-A, he has continued to get on base over 40% of the time while playing exclusively at second base. His college experience and plate discipline might be intriguing to other organizations. Misael Urbina, OF Urbina was one of the top prospects in the 2018-19 international signing class as he got $2.75 million from the Twins. Minnesota was aggressive with him last season and sent him to Fort Myers, where he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted a .585 OPS but showed reasonable control of the strike zone with 54 walks. So far in 2022, Urbina has been limited to fewer than 20 games, so it seems unlikely that a team would take him in the Rule 5 Draft. Do you think any of these players will be included in trades before the deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  15. Prospect lists can be exciting, especially as the trade deadline approaches at the beginning of August. Contending teams must part with some of the top-rated prospects so they can add veteran pieces to their roster. Minnesota expects to be active in the trade market, so who are the organization's top pitching prospects? RHP Jordan Balazovic Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus named Balazovic as one of their top 100 prospects entering the 2022 season. Unfortunately, injuries have impacted him over the last two seasons. He suffered a back injury in spring training last year that delayed the start of his season until June. From there, he was solid with a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 20 appearances. In 2022, he began the season on the IL with a knee strain, and he has struggled since returning. Across 11 appearances, he has a 10.13 ERA with a 2.32 WHIP. He has yet to pitch 100 innings in any professional season. RHP Matt Canterino When healthy, Canterino has sliced through minor league batters. He has struck out 126 batters in 82 1/3 innings in his professional career, but those innings have been spread over three seasons. All 11 of his appearances have come at Double-A this season with a 1.83 ERA and 13.1 K/9 in a career-high 34 1/3 innings. An argument can be made that he is the best pitching prospect in the system. However, the organization may need to shift him to a bullpen role if he can't stay healthy. LHP Connor Priellip Minnesota selected Connor Priellip in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, but he's no ordinary second-round pick. The left-handed pitcher was in the conversation to be the number one overall pick in the current draft class before requiring Tommy John surgery in May 2021. He is healthy and will be able to pitch in the organization after he signs. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, and he continues to improve with his changeup. There is hope that he will be able to add more velocity as he continues to get further away from elbow reconstruction. RHP Marco Raya Raya missed most of last season with a shoulder strain, so the 2022 season marks his professional debut. He's been outstanding in 13 appearances with Fort Myers, where he is three years younger than the average age of the competition. In 47 innings, he has a 2.87 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and a 56-to-16 strikeout to walk ratio. Only 80% of his match-ups have come against older batters who have been held to a .586 OPS. Raya has been the biggest breakout pitcher in the organization this year, but he still has a long way to go before reaching Target Field. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson As a 20-year-old, Woods Richardson faced multiple challenges as he pitched the entire year at Double-A, joined Team USA in Japan, and was traded for the second time in his career. Based on those reasons, it's easy to see his performance struggled (5.91 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP). His second Double-A stint has improved as he has a 3.40 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 9 K/9. Woods Richardson has held batters to a .595 OPS, and over 96% of his plate appearances have come against older batters. He may have solidified his stock more this season than the others mentioned above. Cody's Current Top-5 Twins Pitching Prospects 1. Connor Priellip 2. Simeon Woods Richardson 3. Matt Canterino 4. Marco Raya 5. Jordan Balazovic How would you rank the organization's pitchers? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  16. Previous 2022 Starting Pitcher of the Month April - John Stankiewicz Methodology: This isn’t a scientific ranking by any stretch of the imagination. Other minor league writers gave feedback on their top players before the author weighed their choices with his own opinions. Results were less clear-cut than one would hope (one writer had Matt Canterino 2nd while another had him 6th). This is meant to act as a general spotlight to shine on many players, not just the one we deemed “the best,” so don’t take this any more seriously than it needs to be. Honorable Mention - Travis Adams - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 3.15 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 29.7 K%, 20 IP Travis Adams, the Twins 6th round pick in 2021 out of Sacramento State, threw his hat in the ring of notable college arms making noise in 2022. He allowed a few more runs than the arms that will grace this list, but he was still outstanding—allowing an opponent batting average of .162 in May against a WHIP of 0.85. Honorable Mention - Chi Chi González - St. Paul Saints, 2.53 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 24.4 K%, 21 1/3 IP Chi Chi González joined the Twins organization this past off-season, inking a minor league deal hoping that he could pitch his way into an unsteady major league rotation. That hasn’t happened yet, but González took a significant step towards that future in May. He rebounded from a shaky April to pitch to a respectable 2.53 ERA in May without giving up a long ball in four starts. Number Five - Sawyer Gipson-Long - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.74 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 29.5 K%, 20 2/3 IP Sawyer Gipson-Long, another recent college arm (someone should write about that), popped up on the prospect radar last season and is proving that his success is no fluke. The righty from Mercer crushed his competition in May, allowing a sub-.200 batting average against while striking out batters at nearly a 30% clip. That’s good, folks. His age, combined with his status as an older arm, curses his evaluations to be bland; Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin described him as someone who sits “90-94 with an above-average slider and plenty of strikes.” Keep an eye on him as an under-the-radar pitcher who could be in Wichita very soon. Number Four - Brent Headrick - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 0.93 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 26.0 K%, 19 ⅓ IP Another former-collegiate pitcher, Brent Headrick, has found command in 2022, and hitters have suffered for it. Headrick crushed May, holding a WHIP of just 0.78 with three of his four starts ending without him surrendering an earned run. His FIP held him back from placing higher on this list—the next three pitchers all dominated in ERA and peripherals—but that’s hardly a knock on Headrick’s pitching ability. Allowing two earned runs in an entire month is elite, no matter how you slice it. Number Three - Matt Canterino - Wichita Wind Surge, 2.00 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 37.3 K%, 18 IP Matt Canterino had an unusual month of May; he started four games while piggybacking in another but still ended up with fewer innings than all previously named starters. Nonetheless, he dominated. Canterino allowed runs in just one outing while striking out the world as he returns from an elbow injury that shortened his 2021 season. The Rice product walked more batters than one would prefer (12.0% of them), but his strikeout total in May was so ridiculous that he still ended up at the number three spot. Number Two - David Festa- Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.45 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 36.8 K%, 18 2/3 IP One of the most talked-about Twins prospects this year, David Festa, had a month to remember in May. The 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall embodied efficiency, striking out hitters like an elite MLB reliever while not sacrificing command in favor of his stuff; he walked just 5.9% of hitters in May. His performance earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids, where he made two outings; one great and one forgettable. His ascent through the minors could be rapid, so make sure to stop and appreciate Festa before he switches levels again. Number One - Steve Hajjar - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 0.51 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 42.6 K%, 17 ⅔ IP For a while, Steve Hajjar was like Cthulu—legendary and fearsome, but never seen as he pitched with a Fort Myers team that doesn’t broadcast their games and only occasionally plays against a team that does. Then May 26th happened. Hajjar took the mound against the Bradenton Marauders and shut them down completely, fanning 10 over 5 ⅔ innings with no earned runs. It was the perfect culmination of Hajjar’s ability. The Twins drafted the tall lefty out of Michigan in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft; enamored by his potential, they handed him over $1 million. Hajjar didn’t pitch for the organization that year, but grumblings from team sources indicated that they were pleased with his internal performance. 2022 hasn’t left much for the imagination. The fewest amount of strikeouts Hajjar netted in a single game is 5, and he’s already punched out 50 batters through 29 innings of work. 29; he’s thrown 29 innings and has 50 strikeouts. Walker Buehler has thrown nearly 60 innings and only has 49. The primary issue left for Hajjar is command—he’s walked 17 hitters in those 29 innings to give him a ghastly 14.7 BB% on the year. Although, there may be signs of control as he’s walked just one batter respectively in each of his last two starts. Hajjar is a starter with immense potential, and it will be a great joy to watch him develop in the Twins system.
  17. Transactions: OF Cole Sturgeon activated from Paternity List by St. Paul OF Derek Fisher placed on Injured List (shoulder sprain) by St. Paul RHP Matthew Swain promoted to Cedar Rapids from Fort Myers RHP Andrew Cabezas promoted to Wichita from Cedar Rapids RHP Melvi Acosta promoted to Wichita from Cedar Rapids SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 12, Iowa 5 Box Score The St. Paul Saints turned to Mario Sanchez today in a matinee affair against the Iowa Cubs. He was brilliant working 7 2/3 innings allowing just two runs on five hits. Sanchez only struck out two but issued just a single free pass. Recently beginning his career in the Twins organization, Tim Beckham got on the board with his first home run today. A two-run blast in the top of the 2nd inning, Curtis Terry also came around to score on the big fly. Iowa tied things in the bottom half of the 2nd inning and that’s where things stood until the 9th inning. Recently returning from the Paternity List, Cole Sturgeon used dad power and singled with the bases loaded to drive in both Terry and Jake Cave. Doubling up the score, St. Paul finally had some breathing room. After allowing Iowa to square things up in the bottom of the 9th inning, St. Paul made this one a laugher in the 10th inning. Runner on second base or not, eight runs was going to be enough to get it done. Alex Kirilloff started the inning with a double to score Roy Morales. Then Beckham singled with the bases loaded to score Kirilloff. A Michael Helman walk plated Jake Cave, and Sturgeon pushed across Elliot Soto on a fielder’s choice. Thanks to a throwing error the bases remained loaded, and Morales cleared them with a grand slam for his first homer of the season. Iowa scored their free runner in the bottom half, but down seven still, it was of little consequence. The recently promoted Austin Schulfer earned his first Triple-A win. It is of note that Kirilloff returned to the Saints lineup in this one. Despite having been with Minnesota in Detroit on the taxi squad for most of the week, he rejoined the Triple-A club in Iowa for this contest. He may not have been eligible to travel to Toronto for the next series, or the Twins wanted to get him back in games and generate at-bats. He went 1-for-5 with a double, run scored, run batted in, walk, and a strikeout in this one. Even with the offensive explosion, only Beckham and Cave recorded multi-hit contests for the Saints today. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Frisco 1 Box Score Looking to continue a good run, Matt Canterino took the ball and avoided damage tonight for Wichita. He worked 3 2/3 innings as Minnesota continues to be wary of his pitch counts. Canterino allowed just two hits, gave up no runs, and walked four while striking out the same number. Melvi Acosta came on in relief making his Double-A debut. He did allow one run but gave up just two hits and a walk while working two innings. Matt Wallner has drawn plenty of attention for his power this season, but he made an amazing catch for the Turbo Tubs in the 2nd inning. Wichita scored first as Jair Camargo continued to stay hot. His first double of the season scored Edouard Julien before Chris Williams ripped his 7th double to plate Camargo. In the 5th inning, Frisco halved the lead but that's where things stood. Acosta was given the win and recorded that result in his Double-A debut. KERNELS NUGGETS Lansing 7, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score John Stankiewicz made the start tonight for Cedar Rapids but he was able to work just 2 2/3 innings before being lifted after two runs on five hits. Stankiewicz did strike out three but also walked two on the evening. Wander Javier got the Kernels on the board first with a 2nd inning single that plated Yunior Severino. Unfortunately that’s the last lead Cedar Rapids experienced tonight. After two runs coming across for the Lugnuts in both the 3rd and 4th innings, Cedar Rapids answered with a pair of their own in the 5th inning. Stepping in with Will Holland on base, Christian Encarnacion-Strand clubbed his 9th homer of the season to bring it within one. In the 8th inning Lansing added three for good measure and despite being even in hits, the Kernels couldn’t produce more with theirs. Jefferson Morales was the lone Cedar Rapids batter to produce a multi-hit game. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 7, Tampa 6 Box Score Star pitching prospect Marco Raya was on the bump tonight for the Mighty Mussels. This was not one of his stronger outings as he went just 3 1/3 innings while allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. Raya did punch out four tonight. All of the damage against him came on a 4th inning grand slam. Fort Myers tallied the first runs of the game in the bottom of the 1st inning. With Jake Rucker on, Emmanuel Rodriguez stepped in and laced a triple to drive him in. Rodriguez then scored on a wild pitch. The aforementioned grand slam in the 4th inning put Fort Myers behind, and they would stay there the rest of the night. After giving up two more runs in the top of the 5th inning, the Mighty Mussels got one back on Rodriguez’s second triple of the game, this time scoring Luis Baez in the bottom of the 5th inning. Down three with just three outs left, Keoni Cavaco sent a big fly to left field drawing the Mighty Mussels within two. It was his second dinger of the year. After a Kala’i Rosario single, and an advance to second on a wild pitch, Kyle Schmidt doubled bringing home a run and drawing Fort Myers within 180 feet of a tie ball game. Eventually loading the bases with two outs, Noah Cardenas took a hit by pitch to walk in the tying run and on to the 10th inning it went. Fort Myers started the inning with Mikey Perez at second base. After getting a second runner on, Perez stole third base. Dillon Tatum then stepped in. He hit a pop-up in front of the pitcher's mound. As the infielders converged, the ball dropped in. As Cavaco advanced to second, Tampa threw the ball to second for a force-out, but Perez took off and scored the winning run. The Mussels found themselves walk-off winners in one of the most unique endings you'll read about.. Rodriguez was joined by Baez as batters registering multiple hits on the evening. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 3-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 3B(3) 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) - Injured List #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-4 #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - Did Not Play #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #5 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-5, 2 K #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 3-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 3B(3) #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-5, 3 K #10 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K #11 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #13 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #14 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-4, 2 K #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(9) #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (7:08PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Frisco @ Wichita (6:15PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (6:05PM CST) - RHP David Festa Tampa @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM 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 back and playing.
  18. If you hadn’t been paying attention to the Twins’ minor leagues, you don’t read this site enough, which is a shame. Twins Daily has been covering the system, uhhh, daily, and there has been an apparent development so far in the season: college arms dominating. Cade Povich, Brent Headrick, Steve Hajjar, David Festa, Travis Adams, Matt Canterino, and Sawyer Gipson-Long have all performed well, especially in the context of a minor league system with less sheen after graduations and under-performance amongst the best prospects. Those names stand out. I find K-BB% to be the best quick-and-dirty stat analysis for pitching prospects. It sums up just how dominant a pitcher is against his penchant for walking batters, and it completely removes poor minor league defense from the equation. It’s an incomplete picture for sure, but that’s how minor league stat-scouting goes. How well are those arms performing in context with their peers? With a minimum of 30 innings pitched, here’s how they compare with pitchers in their division. Players ranked by rank relative to division: *Hajjar has 29 innings pitched as of writing this, but he’s an essential piece of the story, so I included him anyway. Festa has pitched with both Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids in 2022, which makes his placement in the table messy—just know his K-BB% would be elite in either league. The Twins have targeted college arms specifically for years now. Since 2017, their drafts have been 43%, 43%, 38%, and 45% college arms, respectively, with 2020 ignored as it should be for every topic. Bailey Ober, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder were college arms, and while they didn’t draft Joe Ryan, he came from the collegiate ranks as well. It took a few years of cleaning out the gutters, but the system is now overflowing with college arms. This focus is nothing new for Derek Falvey; he coveted multiple collegiate arms during his time as a Cleveland executive. Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, and Aaron Civale rose through the college ranks before joining Cleveland’s system and found varying levels of success in the majors. That’s three Cy Young winners for those keeping track. An advantage to drafting college arms is their seasoning; those players have more time performing against high-level talent and require less time in the minors than their high school counterparts. Teams know this; it’s why the Angels, probably foolishly, drafted 19 college pitchers in 2021. The draft is 20 rounds. Another truism about drafting college pitchers is that, because their cement is more dry, taking one is less a game of projections and more a project of finding undervalued characteristics. High schoolers might as well be light-years away from the majors, and their development presents an immense risk. The Moneyball book perfectly represented the idea with Billy Beane’s anger at drafting Jeremy Bonderman, a projectable arm with a “clean delivery, and a body that looked as if it had been created to wear a baseball uniform.” Although, Bonderman had the last laugh when he pitched more than 1,200 innings in MLB over a nine-year career. Is this simply just the game repeating itself; it’s meta-game moving full-circle back towards what was cutting edge thinking 20 years ago? Perhaps, perhaps not. If you looked carefully, you’d see that players like Povich and Hajjar found extra velocity ticks after joining the organization. The team could be identifying players with more data attached to them to target a fix or two and enjoy the benefits of a more realized player. After all, this is the landscape of Big Data in baseball, and the Twins might be using it to their advantage.
  19. A 19th round pick during the 2018 Major League Baseball draft, Austin Schulfer was selected out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As a senior sign, Schulfer dominated rookie ball with Elizabethton but was over a year older than the average age for the league. In 2019 he went to Low-A Cedar Rapids and while the ERA took a step backward, the strikeouts ticked upwards. Like everyone else, Schulfer missed 2020 due to a canceled minor league season. Playing for Wichita all of last year, he turned in 24 starts and a 4.34 ERA with a slightly decreased 8.6 K/9. Returning to Wichita this season, again old for the level at 26, he broke out in a new role. Minnesota had transitioned the righty to a relief role and so far the results are encouraging. Through 23 innings at Double-A, Schulfer owned a minuscule 0.39 ERA. He acted as the closer for the Wind Surge and picked up seven saves while finishing 12 games. As impressive and dominant as the 30/4 K/BB is, allowing zero homers and just 4.3 H/9 was something extraordinary. Promoted to Triple-A St. Paul before the calendar turned to June, he’ll now have the opportunity to prove it. Schulfer is a competitor in every sense of the word. He’s an avid gamer and has grown a solid following among the popular MLB The Show community. He displayed his skills on the popular streaming service, Twitch, during the Covid shutdown and became something of a fan favorite. Now back on the mound and looking to highlight his skills there, it’s clear a new path forward may be the one that gets him to the big leagues. Among the keys to his success this season has been a ground ball rate of over 60%. As a starter Schulfer hovered around 48% when it came to fly balls. He’s never been too susceptible to the long ball, but line drives have hurt him in the past. Blowing pitches by opposing batters while limiting the opportunity for damage is as perfect of a combination as it gets. Minor league velocity is largely untracked, but the expectation for pitchers moving to relief should always be a slight uptick. Whether deception or the ability to focus on two pitches, the change has worked in his favor. Batted ball numbers don’t suggest things are too out of whack either. While his 2.15 FIP and 2.97 xFIP are both above the present ERA, both would represent solid production. There’s really no reason to believe a prospect is going to take Minnesota’s bullpen by storm and wind up being their closer down the stretch. What can happen here, however, is that the Twins find another usable middle relief arm amongst a group that so badly needs help. Although the Twins bullpen has been largely fine in high leverage, finding consistency in getting them there has been a challenge. Rocco Baldelli and the front office have needed to use a revolving door behind starters that routinely are done during the middle innings. While not being able to fire off Joe Smith, Jhoan Duran, or Emilio Pagan early or nightly, they’ll need trusted help to bridge the gap. I’d bet handsomely that Minnesota addresses that area at the trade deadline, but if they build a level of confidence in another player or two at St. Paul, it winds up benefiting them greatly.
  20. The Twins have some exciting young arms in their organization. Jhoan Durán is striking out nearly 40% of the batters he faces; Josh Winder (currently on the IL) showed glimpses of being a special addition. While not developed in the Twins’ system, Joe Ryan is as important to the team’s future as anyone else. The good news: there’s more on the way. Jordan Balazovic, 23, is struggling mightily for the Triple-A Saints, but his track record shows the makings of a potential mid-rotation stalwart. Simeon Woods Richardson, 21, has a 3.02 ERA and 25% strikeout rate in eight starts for Double-A Wichita. David Festa, 22, throws in the upper-90s and could be on his way to a Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. The future looks hopeful for the Twins’ pitching staff. But as John Trusler said in 1562, there’s no better time than the present. The Twins can push a crucial chip into their contention hopes in 2022. Let’s break it down. CASE FOR FAST-TRACKING MATT CANTERINO TO THE TWINS Jordan Balazovic probably has the best chance of remaining a starter long-term among the Twins' top pitching prospects. That’s not to say he’s the likeliest to make the most significant impact in 2022 or that his stuff is the best in the system. That title now belongs to Canterino, thanks to a Durán graduation from prospect status. Canterino works in the mid-to-upper 90s, pairing his buzzing fastball with a hammer-breaking ball and an improved changeup. Canterino is dominating at Wichita, striking out over 35% of the hitters he sees and allowing a minuscule number of hits and homers. He’s been monitored closely, maxing out at 62 pitches in nine outings this year. His stints are already short, so his transition to Minnesota’s bullpen shouldn’t be a catatonic shift. Furthermore, the Twins could get creative with his usage, using him as an opener when needed. He could pair up with Chris Archer or Dylan Bundy, giving hitters a different look with his herky-jerky delivery. Canterino owns a 2.22 ERA in 2022, with opponents mustering a .477 OPS in 28 ⅓ innings. He’s 24 years old with a 1.53 ERA in 76 1/3 Minor League innings. Right-handed hitters have logged 183 plate appearances against Canterino in the minors. 77 have struck out, and only 18 have recorded a hit, with zero home runs. Durán is an excellent example of this type of talent winning the day. The fire-breathing phenom ranks 2nd among qualified American League relievers in strikeout rate (38%), and he'd thrown only 16 innings with a 5.06 ERA above Double-A entering 2022. Canterino’s repertoire isn’t on the level of Durán, but it’s undoubtedly comparable in electricity. It’s swing-and-miss stuff, and as Durán showed, sometimes it works immediately in the majors. Canterino could be the wheel the Twins are looking for. They desperately lack a high-leverage reliever in the role Jorge Alcala was supposed to fill. Alcala is nearing his return from elbow inflammation, which shouldn’t preclude the Twins from promoting Canterino quickly. If Alcala and Canterino pitch to their stuff, the Twins will have three right-handed relievers with 95+ fastballs and disgusting breaking balls. CASE AGAINST FAST-TRACKING MATT CANTERINO TO THE MAJORS It’s fun to dream about the bullpen the Twins could deploy in the second half of the season, especially if they make a move for a reliever at the deadline. But at what cost? It’s unlikely Durán will ever be a full-time starter again, and he can only provide so much value as a high-end reliever. Balazovic’s future is in more question than ever before, given his early struggles for the Saints, as is the script with top pitching prospects. Things can thin in a hurry. Moving Canterino to the bullpen could be a short-term move for a contending team, but there were already questions about his viability as a starter. His delivery is rigid, he had elbow problems a year ago, and he’s thrown less than 100 game innings since the Twins drafted him in 2019. All three of those things were primarily valid for Durán. It’s hard to envision Canterino throwing 150 innings in a season, but should the Twins give up on it now? A bullpen assignment is not a death sentence for a starter, but it’s certainly a step back. Canterino would need to ramp back up, something the Twins are already trying to do in 2022. Bringing him up as a reliever sets that process back even more, especially if he’s deployed in one-inning stints. In that scenario, there’s little chance he could reach 100 innings this year. It may benefit all parties to keep starting him in the minors while planning on a debut in the rotation in 2023. Most importantly, for as electric as Canterino is, it’d be unwise to assume he’d find immediate success in the majors. Durán could be a unicorn, and he's worked through rough patches of his own early on. Canterino’s 12% walk rate this year is cause for hesitation, and this would be a new role for him. The Twins are trying to win every day. It’s possible Canterino could help them do that, but it’s equally possible he’s not ready for that giant leap. What do you think? Should the Twins accelerate Matt Canterino to the majors? Comment below!
  21. TRANSACTIONS OF Cole Sturgeon was placed on the temporary inactive list (parental leave) LHP Danny Coulombe was returned to the Minnesota Twins from Major League rehab SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 9, Indianapolis 8 (F/10) Box Score It did not appear as if a win was in the cards for the Saints for the majority of the night, but they rallied to score five runs across their final three at-bats to upend Indianapolis in extras. Dereck Rodriguez and JC Ramirez struggled to contain Indianpolis’ bats early in the contest as they served up three home runs and eight runs in six innings. But Tyler Viza, Jordan Gore, and Jharel Cotton struck out five and allowed two hits in four innings of relief to keep St. Paul within striking distance. (Cotton struck out super prospect Oniel Cruz with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 10th.) Royce Lewis—who made his first minor-league appearance in centerfield—Alex Kirilloff, and Spencer Steer headlined the top of the Saints’ lineup but combined to go only 2-for-13 at the plate. Lewis looked good in center but admittedly did not encounter any defensive opportunities outside of the routine. Kirilloff continued to take healthy hacks at the plate and laced a single during his second at-bat, adding onto his his recent trend of encouraging play. He’s now hitting .329 with an .875 OPS at Triple-A. Mark Contreras played hero in the bottom of the ninth, crushing his sixth home run of the season to dead center with two outs to tie the game at eight apiece. Caleb Hamilton (1-for-3) put the game within reach with a dinger of his own—a three-run shot—in the eighth. Jermaine Palacios (2-for-4, BB, 2 R) needed to see only one pitch in the bottom of the 10th and laced it into the outfield for a single, which scored Jake Cave (2-for-5, 3B, 2 R) to seal the walk-off win. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 8, Corpus Christi 6 Box Score Despite the relatively close score, the Wind Surge controlled this game from the start and improved their record to 25-16 overall. Wichita score four runs in the first two innings and added four more in the fifth and sixth. Matt Canterino started on the hill and threw only 2 1/3 innings. This was due in part to the Twins’ cautious approach to his innings load this season but mostly because of uncharacteristic control issues. He allowed only one unearned run and struck out six, but walked four and gave up one hit. In 30 ⅔ innings at Double-A, Canterino has issued 18 free passes. He accumulated only 12 across his first 58 Minor League innings in 2019 and 2021. Austin Martin led off and went 3-for-5 with a double—the team’s only extra-base hit—and three runs scored during the win. Matt Wallner (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Dennis Ortega (2-for-5, 2 RBI) also contributed multi-hit games. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 7, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score The Timber Rattlers’ offense exploded for six runs across the fifth and sixth innings to give them the win over the Kernels. John Stankiewicz continued his struggles from his previous start, allowing five earned runs and only striking out three in 4 ⅔ innings to earn the loss. He also served up his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth. Offensively, Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, 2B) contributed multi-hit games. Aaron Sabato (1-for-3, RBI, BB) crushed a solo home run—his fifth of the season—in the fourth inning to drive in the Kernels only other run. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 2 Box Score Marco Raya and the rest of the Mighty Mussels pitching staff performed splendidly on Friday to help lift Fort Myers over the Marauders. Raya started on the bump and threw five innings, striking out seven, walking one, and allowing only a single earned run (it came on a homer). John Wilson, Hunter McMahon, Malik Barrington, and Matthew Swain combined to toss four hitless innings, striking out six. At the plate, Noah Miller (2-for-4, 2B, BB) and Keoni Cavaco (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB) registered the team’s multi-hit games. Noah Cardenas (1-for-4), Daniel Ozoria (1-for-4, 2B), and Luis Baez (1-for-4) all picked up RBI. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP Marco Raya (Fort Myers): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – INF Austin Martin (Wichita): 3-for-5, 2B, 3 R PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 2B, 3 R #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-5 #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, 2B, BB #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2 RBI #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-5, 2 K #18 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-for-4 SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Indianapolis (7:07 PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (0-1, 7.20 ERA) Wichita at Corpus Christi (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-1, 8.59 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Wisconsin (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (4-1, 1.36 ERA) Fort Myers at Bradenton (5:30 PM CST) - TBD
  22. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated Trevor Larnach from the IL and placed Cody Stashak on the IL with shoulder inflammation. Kernels placed catcher Jeferson Morales on the 7-day IL with a left oblique strain. Jeff Johnson of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids notes that catcher Patrick Winkel could be coming off the IL and joining the Kernels this week. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Omaha 8 Box score SP: Ronny Henriquez - 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Curtis Terry (5) Multi-hit games: Royce Lewis (3-5, R, 2B, SB (10)), Elliot Soto (2-4, RBI (15), K) After breaking the game open in the top of the first with a 4-0 nothing lead. The Saints fell up short again in another loss against Omaha. The top of the first was an exciting start for the Saints. Royce Lewis led off with a double and scored in the next at-bat thanks to an RBI single from Alex Kirilloff. Saints left fielder Mark Contreras then drew a walk leading to two runners on for Curtis Terry who drilled a three-run home run to give the Saints their 4-0 lead. Ronny Henriquez was on the mound for the Saints and although his teammates gave him a 4-0 lead for his start. Henriquez gave up three runs to the Storm Chasers on two RBI doubles in the first and gave up another run in the top of the second that had the game tied at 4-4. Henriquez cooled off following a rocky first two innings as he surrendered only one hit in his final three innings of work on Sunday. The Storm Chasers took their first lead in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a solo home run from their designated hitters Vinnie Pasquantino. In the seventh inning the Storm Chasers tagged on three more runs to give them a 8-4 lead over the Saints. The Saints were able to tag on two more runs thanks to RBI singles from Cole Sturgeon and Elliot Soto, but it was not enough for a comeback, dropping another game and the series against Omaha. The Saints return home Tuesday to begin their second homestand against the Indianapolis Indians with an 11:07 a.m. CT start time. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 1 Box Score SP: Danny Coulombe - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K HR: None Multi-hit games: DaShawn Keirsey (2-4, R, 2B) The Wind Surge’s series finale against Springfield was a low-scoring affair as the Wind Surge came out on top with a walk-off win from Michael Helman. The game was started by Danny Coulombe, who was given an inning of rehab work with the Wind Surge. After allowing only one walk, Coulombe completed his afternoon in Wichita and drove to Kansas City to join the Twins for the rest of their ball game. Following Coulombe’s one inning of work was Matt Canterino, who was originally planned to be the starter for Sunday’s Wind Surge game. Canterino pitched brilliantly following Coulombe as he pitched four no-hit innings, only walked one batter and struck out six. The Wind Surge’s bats were led by left fielder DaShawn Keirsey who went two for four with a double Sunday afternoon and scored the game-winning run from Michael Helman’s single in the bottom of the ninth. The Wind Surge begin their next series on the road against the Corpus Christi Hooks Tuesday evening at 6:35 p.m. CT. Louie Varland will be making the start for the Wind Surge on Tuesday. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Lake County 1 Box Score SP: Brent Headrick 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K HR: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (7) Multi hit games: Jair Camargo (2-4, R, K) The Kernels completed their series against the Lake County Captains Sunday and had a strong two pitcher performance from starter Brent Headrick and David Festa. Headrick allowed only one of his three hits given up in the first two innings, and although he did not have any strikeouts, his command of the strike zone was in place with a 70% strike percentage. Festa dominated as well, taking on the rest of the game for the Kernels. Festa went for 4.2 innings, three hits, one earned run, no walks, and six strikeouts. The only run that Festa surrendered to the Captains came in the ninth on an RBI single to Captains shortstop Gabriel Rodriguez. The big hits for the Kernels came in the first three innings scoring one in the first on a Seth Gray bases-loaded walk. Then in the bottom of the second, Christian Encarnacion-Strand slugged his seventh home run of the year for the Kernels to extend the lead to four, nothing. The Kernels then added on their final two runs in the third from a Will Holland single that scored Jair Camargo and Willie Joe Gray Jr. The Kernels begin the second series of their homestand on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. CT against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for their first matchup of the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 7, Clearwater 6 (13 innings) Box Score SP: Jaylen Nowlin 2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K HR: Noah Cardenas (3) Multi hit games: Cardenas (3-5, R, HR, 2 RBI (12), BB, K), Keoni Cavaco (2-6, 2 K), Daniel Ozoria (3-5, 2 R, 2B, BB, 2 K) The Mighty Mussels gave fans extra baseball today as they fought an extra-inning battle with the Clearwater Threshers which ended with a 7-6 score through 13 innings. Jaylen Nowlin was the opener for the Mighty Mussels today as they opted to go with a bullpen game for Sunday. Nowlin only went two innings and gave up four of the Threshers five runs in the fourth inning. Nowlin had not pitched for the Mussels since last Sunday, making this his eighth appearance of the season. From there, the only Mussels reliever to give up a run was Niklas Rimmel in the bottom of the ninth which tied the game at five apiece and sent it into extra innings. The Mussels bats did not catch on as early as the Threshers did. The Mussels were the first to get a run on the board thanks to a bases-loaded two-run walk from Luis Baez that scored Kala’i Rosario, but the Mussels fell short of capitalizing on the bases-loaded opportunity. Baez drove in two more runs for the Mussels in the top half of the fourth scoring Dillon Tatum and Daniel Ozoria but was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double. The Mussels were able to take the lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a two run home run from Noah Cardenas, giving Cardenas his third hit of the game. It wasn’t until the 13th inning when either the Mussels or Threshers scored again. The Mussels tagged on two runs in the top half of the 13th inning thanks to a double from Ozoria that scored Jake Rucker. Ozoria then scored the second run of the inning for the Mussels to give them a 7-5 lead. Malik Barrington was on the mound to close the game out for the Mussels in the bottom of the 13th inning. Although a Threshers runner reached on an error and scored on an RBI single, Barrington was still able to shut down the Threshers offense and record his second save of the season. The Mussels will begin their next six-game series on the road Tuesday against the Pirates Low-A Affiliate the Bradenton Marauders at 5:30 p.m. central time. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) 3-5, R, 2B, SB (10) 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 (St. Paul) - 3-5, R, 2B, SB (10) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, BB #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-3, K #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - IP, 2 K, SV #9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-0, R, 2 BB #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-7, 4 K #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-4, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI (34) 2 K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 24. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). Indianapolis @ St. Paul (11:07 AM CST) - Cole Sands Wichita @ Corpus Christi (6:35 PM CST) - Louie Varland Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 CST) - Pierson Ohl Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  23. So be sure to use these weekly reports for what they are. A look at the week. We want to highlight deserving prospects. They have earned it. Celebrate the successes throughout the whole season. But this week at Twins Daily, we have had a lot of minor-league coverage. As players are starting to step up and put together strong seasons, we want to dig into them a little further, so you'll find a lot this week. 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. Following Sunday's Twins game, OF Mark Contreras was optioned to St. Paul. OF Kyle Garlick was activated from the Injured List. RHP Ryan Shreve has been activated from the IL by Cedar Rapids. RHP David Festa was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. RHP Matt Mullenbach was sent back to the Florida Complex. RESULTS Previous Week in Review (5/3-5/9): Wallner, Miller, Steer, Headrick, Stankiewicz Star Tuesday: Mighty Mussels No-Hitter! Wednesday: Gonzalez Dominates, Kernels Shuck the Opposition Thursday: Kernels Krush, Wichita Rakes Friday: Mighty Mussels Sweep, Fedko Homers in Kernels Debut Saturday: A Denied Rehab Start and a Clean Franchise Sweep Sunday: Mussels Sweep! Kernels Keep Winning! MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT Prospect Retrospective: OF Mark Contreras Prospect Retrospective: RHP Yennier Cano “It felt great.” Balazovic Reflects on First Start of 2022 and What’s Ahead Matt Canterino Continues to Dominate Minor League Hitters It’s Time to Start Noticing Brent Headrick From Lee to Limestone: One Prospect Who Needs More Attention (Video) From Lee to Limestone: Three Questions with Brent Headrick (Video) WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week: 0-6, at Columbus Season: 15-19 overall, 9th place out of ten teams in the International League West. They are 8.0 games behind Nashville. A week ago, they were in third place. The Saints were swept in a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon, and that finished out a six-game sweep at the hands of the Columbus Clippers. It was also the Saints' seventh straight loss. It was also their eighth straight loss on the road. In his series, the Saints lost three times by one run, and once by two, three, and four runs. Three of the games went to extra innings. The Saints scored 30 runs last week, but they gave up 41 runs. Caleb Hamilton played in all six games. The utility man went 9-for-18 and hit .500/.609/.667 (1.276) with a home run. He also walked five times. Alex Kirilloff returned to the Saints on Sunday and had two hits in both games of the doubleheader. Chi Chi Gonzalez made one start and tossed six scoreless, hitless innings. He did walk four batters, but he struck out seven batters. He was named the International League's pitcher of the week. What’s Next? The Saints travel to Omaha to take on the Storm Chasers. Pitching Probables (RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Jordan Balazovic, RHP Mario Sanchez, RHP Dereck Rodriguez, RHP Ronny Henriquez) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge Week: 3-2, @ NW Arkansas Season: 19-12 overall, 1st place in the Texas League North Division with Tulsa. They are just 1/2 game ahead of Tulsa (19-13). The Wind Surge were outscored 25-27 on the week but managed to take a 3-2 series win. Sunday’s game was rained out and officially canceled. Why canceled instead of postponed? The two teams are not scheduled to play each other again in the season’s first half so there is no opportunity to make it up. Here are some of the top performances for the Wind Surge this past week: Matt Canterino continues to dominate hitters in the Texas League. In his outing this week, he tossed four scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and struck out six batters without issuing a walk. Austin Schulfer pitched twice and recorded a save each time. In four innings, he gave up one earned run on three hits. He struck out six batters. Maybe not a great performance, but Blayne Enlow made his return to the mound (not in a rehab outing) 11 months after Tommy John surgery. That is a highlight! He went 3 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He struck out six batters and issued no walks. It took him a while to get his first hit, but in four games this past week, Leobaldo Cabrera went 3-for-9 with two home runs. Andrew Bechtold played four games. He went 6-for-15 (.400) with four doubles and a home run. Alex Isola went 5-for-15 (.333) with three walks and a home run. Spencer Steer went 4-for-20 (.200), but two of the hits were home runs. Edouard Julien went 3-for-14 (.214), but he walked ten times for a .542 on-base percentage. What’s Next? The Wind Surge will be hosting the Springfield Cardinals. Pitching Probables (RHP Matt Canterino, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Matt Canterino) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week: 5-1, at Peoria Season: 24-9 overall, 1st place in the Midwest League West Division, 2.0 games ahead of Wisconsin (22-11), who also went 5-1 last week as well. In April, the Kernels hosted Peoria and won five of six games. This past week, they did it again, this time on the road in Peoria. The Kernels outscored the Chiefs 47-12. In four of the six games, Cedar Rapids gave up just one run. Of 17 pitchers who pitched in at least one game last week, 13 of them didn’t allow an earned run. What a week of pitching for the Kernels. Over the first five games of the week, the team allowed just nine total runs, and only five of them were earned. Brent Headrick continues to impress. The lefty struck out seven batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and walked none. Fellow lefty Aaron Rozek also tossed five scoreless innings in his start. He gave up three hits, walked none, and struck out nine batters. Sawyer Gipson-Long went five scoreless innings in his start. He gave up two hits, walked none, and struck out seven batters. Sean Mooney gave up an unearned run over five innings in his start. He gave up five hits and struck out four batters without allowing a walk. John Stankiewicz started on Sunday and gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out five batters. Cody Laweryson came out of the bullpen twice. In five innings, he gave up only an unearned run on one hit and no walks. He struck out five batters. As pointed out above, the Kernels bats showed up too. Alerick Soularie led the way. In five games, he went 6-for-19 and hit .316/.409/.842 (1.251) with two triples, two homers, and seven RBI. He also walked three times and stole two bases. Will Holland played in four games. He went 5-for-14 and hit .357/.438/.714 (1.152) with a triple and a home run. Jair Camargo played in three games and went 5-for-14 (.357) with two home runs and five RBI. Wander Javier played in five games and went 4-for-19. He hit .211/.318/.526 (.844) with two home runs and five RBI. What’s Next? The Kernels will be starting a 12-game homestand starting on Tuesday with six games against Lake County. Pitching Probables (RHP Sean Mooney, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP John Stankiewicz, LHP Brent Headrick) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Week: 6-0, hosting Palm Beach Season: 20-10 overall, 1st place in the Florida State League West, 2.0 games ahead of Clearwater (18-12). For the first time, the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels swept a six-game series. Why? As usual, it all comes down to pitching. 16 pitchers threw for Ft. Myers during the week. 12 of them didn’t allow a run (earned or unearned). In six games, the pitchers allowed a total of six runs. The team threw shutouts in the first three games of the series and again on Sunday. Of course, the highlight of the week was the combined no-hitter. The Mussels offense was solid too. They scored 28 runs. David Festa struck out 11 batters over six innings in his start this week. He walked two batters, but he gave up no hits. Jaylen Nowlin and Hunter McMahon completed the final three innings of the no-hitter. Travis Adams had another very good start. In five shutout innings, he gave up two hits, walked two, and struck out six batters. Marco Raya made the start on Sunday. He tossed four no-hit innings. He walked one and struck out two batters. Matthew Swain pitched two and recorded two saves. In two innings, he gave up one hit, no walks, and struck out five batters. Malik Barrington struck out ten batters over four innings over his two relief appearances. He recorded his first save on Sunday. He gave up just three hits and one walk on the week. Hunter McMahon threw four scoreless innings over two games. He recorded one save. He gave up three hits, walked one, and recorded two strikeouts. Jaylen Nowlin worked five total innings during the week. He did not allow a run. He gave up one hit, walked one, hit one, and struck out seven batters. Mike Paredes made a spot start and tossed three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one and struck out three batters. The offense was good too, and this week they were led by infielder Mikey Perez. In five games, he went 8-for-18 and hit .444/.524/.944 (1.468) with three doubles and two home runs. He also went 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Emmanuel Rodriguez had a strong week. He played all six games and went 8-for-19. He hit .421/.542/.579 (1.121) with a double, and a triple. He also walked four times. Catcher Dillon Tatum played in four games and went 3-for-3. He had a home run and walked four times. Oh, and he caught a no-hitter. Jake Rucker played in six games. He went 8-for-23 and hit .348/.400/.478 (.878) with three doubles. Noah Miller hit .308 (4-for-13) with seven walks for a .550 on-base percentage. What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head to Clearwater for a big, eight-game series against the Threshers. They will play two games on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The beauty of rainouts in Florida, eh? Pitching Probables Tuesday: Bullpen to complete suspended game. RHP Travis Adams in the regular game. Wednesday: RHP Pierson Ohl, RHP Mike Paredes Thursday: No Game Friday: LHP Steve Hajjar, Bullpen Game Saturday: Marco Raya Sunday: TBD PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week. You may have noticed, the Prospect Tracker has been updated, and will be updated on the first of each month throughout the season. #1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 3 G, 3-for-12 (.250), 2-2B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K (Season: 24 G, .310/.430/.563 (.993), 11-2B, 1-3B, 3-HR, 21 R, 11 RBI, 17 BB, 20 K) #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 6 G, 6-for-22 (.273), 1-2B, 1-HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K (Season: 9 G, .281/.281/.438 (.719), 2-2B, 0-3B, 1-HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 5 G, 6-for-23 (.261), 0-2B, 1-3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K (Season: 30 G, .246/.366/.339 (.705), 6-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 23 R, 10 RBI, 17 BB, 20 K, 17 SB, 0 CS) #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 2 GS, 10.0 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 5 BB, 8 K (Season: 7 GS, 37.2 IP, 10 R, 24 H, 12 BB, 36 K, 4-2, 2.39 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 8.6 K/9) #4 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 6-for-18 (.333), 2-2B, 1-HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1K (Season: 21 G, .256/.295/.442 (.737), 10-2B, 2-HR, 10 R, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 14 K) #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - Week: 4 G, 1-for-18 (.056), 0-2B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K (Season: 11 G, .114/.152/.227 (.379), 2-2B, 1-HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K) #5 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 2.0 IP, 7 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 1 K (Season: 2 GS, 5.2 IP, 7 R, 3 ER, 13 H, 4 BB, 5 K. #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K (Season: 6 GS, 32.2 IP, 9 R, 8 ER, 17 H, 9 BB, 32 K, 2-1, 2.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 8.8 K/9) #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 K (Season: 6 G, 3 GS, 25.2 IP, 9 R, 7 ER, 18 H, 7 BB, 22 K, 2-1, 2.45 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.7 K/9) #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 G, 2.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (Season: 12 G, 16.2 IP, 6 R, 10 H, 3 BB, 25 K, 0-1, 2 Saves, 3.24 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 13.5 K/9) #9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1 GS, 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K (Season: 7 GS, 20.2 IP, 3 R, 9 H, 11 BB, 28 K, 0-1, 1.31 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 4.8 BB/9, 12.2 K/9) #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 6 G, 8-for-19 (.421) , 1-2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K (Season: 28 G, .270/.468/.506 (.974), 4-2B, 1-3B, 5-HR, 22 R, 14 RBI, 31 BB, 34 K) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 4-for-13 (.308), 0-2B, 0-HR, 7 BB, 4 K (Season: 27 G, .278/.431/.361 (.792), 3-2B, 1-3B, 1 HR, 19 R, 6 RBI, 24 BB, 32 K) #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 7 K (Season: 6 G, 5 GS, 31.2 IP, 16 R, 13 ER, 25 H, 11 BB, 35 K, 4-1, 3.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 9.9 K/9) #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 6 K (Season: 5 G, 4 GS, 15.2 IP, 15 R, 22 H, 5 BB, 18 K, 0-4, 8.62 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 10.3 K/9) #13 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 1 G, 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K (Season: 2 G, 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 0.0 BB/9, 13.5 K/9) #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 4.2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K (Season: 4 G, 3 GS, 13.2 IP, 7 R, 12 H, 7 BB, 13 K, 0-1, 4.61 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 8.6 K/9) #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 4.0 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, (Season: 5 G, 4 GS, 19.0 IP, 6 R, 4 ER, 11 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2-1, 1.89 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 9.9 K/9) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 5 G, 4-for-20 (.200), 0-2B, 2-HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K (Season: 30 G, .300/.384/.558 (.942), 11-2B, 1-3B, 6-HR, 22 R, 25 RBI, 13 BB, 22 K) #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K (Season: 5 GS, 22.1 IP, 14 R, 10 ER, 22 H, 6 BB, 32 K, 2-2, 4.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 12.9 K/9) #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 6 G, 6-for-26 (.231), 1-2B, 1-3B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K (Season: 31 G, .336/.396/.536 (.932), 6-2B, 2-3B, 5-HR, 19 R, 29 RBI, 12 BB, 34 K) #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 5 G, 3-for-14 (.214), 0-2B, 0-HR, 10 BB, 5 K (Season: 22 G, .268/.432/.394 (.826), 4-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 14 R, 10 RBI, 22 BB, 20 K) #20 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - Week/Season: 1 GS, 3.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 0.00 BB/9, 14.7 K/9) PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Hitter of the Week: Infielder Mikey Perez, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Finally finding his name in the lineup nearly every day sure did wonders for Mikey Perez. Last week, he played in five games. He went 8-for-18 and hit .444/.524/.944 (1.468) with three doubles, two homers, and six RBI. He walked twice, and he went 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. On the season, he has played in 23 games. He is 18-for-73 and hitting .247/.382/.452 (.834) with six doubles, three homers, and 13 RBI. He is also 8-for-9 on stolen base attempts. Perez was the Twins 15th round pick in 2021 out of UCLA where his mom is one of the top college softball coaches in the country. Perez can play all over the field, but he has played mostly at second base in college and so far as a pro. He’s played some third base as well. He also is a solid shortstop, though with Noah Miller getting most of the playing time there. Pitcher of the Week: RHP David Festa, Ft. Myers Might Mussels David Festa worked the first six innings of the Mighty Mussels combined no-hitter this week. In those six innings, he walked two batters and struck out 11 batters. Festa was the Twins 13th round pick in 2021 out of Seton Hall University. As a junior, he went 6-4 with a 2.00 ERA. After signing, he pitched in two FCL games and two games with the Mighty Mussels. He impressed at Instructs by posting some impressive velocities on his fastball and slider. Through his first five starts of 2022, he is now 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. In 24 innings, he has struck out 33 batters and walked just six batters. In his most recent start, he hit 99.1 mph. He not only should rocket up prospect rankings, but it’s very possible he moves up to Cedar Rapids in the near future. On Monday, Festa was promoted to Cedar Rapids. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments on the teams and players.
  24. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 1, Omaha 5 Box Score The Saints were unable to mount much offense on Tuesday, finishing the game with just three hits and four walks, while striking out 14 times as a team against the Storm Chasers in Omaha to open their series. They were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position, leaving only five men on base for the game. They scored their lone run in the fifth inning when Curtis Terry led off with a double, and came around to score later on a single from Kevin Merrell. Merrell finished 2-for-3, leaving the rest of the lineup not named Terry 0-for-22 on the night. St. Paul did get a decent pitching performance from starter Chi Chi Gonzalez, who went the first five innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks, along with picking up six strikeouts. Ronny Henriquez came on in relief to start the sixth and delivered a quick one-two-three frame on just eight pitches. The seventh was a different story, however. He walked the first three hitters, hit another batter, then surrendered a grand slam before his outing was ended. He was charged with five runs on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings. Ian Hamilton was able to prevent any more damage in the frame, but allowed a run of his own in the eighth for Omaha’s final tally. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 9, Wichita 11 Box Score Top pitching prospect Matt Canterino took the mound for the Wind Surge, looking to continue his streak of five starts without allowing a run to the opposition. He wasn’t able to come out unscathed in this one however, as there were fireworks from both lineups on a windy night in Wichita. The Cardinals and Wind Surge combined for 20 runs on 29 hits (14 for extra bases), and 14 walks between them. The right-hander did showcase his devastating stuff in his outing, sitting mid-90’s with his fastball and missing bats with all his pitches (11 swinging strikes total). But a few more than usual also connected with barrels, as he got tagged for some loud outs and hits, including his first home run allowed of the season. In 3 2/3 total innings, Canterino was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks, while punching out six. All that considered, he looked very good again to these amateur eyes, and I thought he might get a fifth inning with his pitch count where it was when he started the fourth inning. Down 4-0 after Canterino left the game, the Wind Surge lineup got to work, tying the game at five thanks in large part to an Alex Isola Grand Slam in the fifth. In relief of Canterino, Casey Legumina allowed four runs of his own pitching into the sixth. In 1 2/3 total innings gave the lead back to the Cardinals on two hits and four walks, while striking out one. With one out in the sixth inning, Kody Funderburk came on and got them through the seventh, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out two. Down 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Wind Surge lineup batted around en route to take their first lead of the game. Isola led off the frame with another double, and five hits and a walk later they were up 11-1. Dennis Ortega (in the game to replace an injured Edouard Julien) and Wallner each had a two-RBI single in the inning to account for most of the runs. Wichita had bases-loaded situations in several innings and were able to cash them in with some big hits to secure the win. Six of the nine hitters in their lineup collected multiple knocks, with Isola leading the way with a big 3-for-5 night including two runs scored, two doubles, the grand slam, and five RBI. Steven Cruz closed out the win with two innings, allowing three hits and a run in the ninth, but striking out five to pick up his first save of the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Lake County 5, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Fresh off of a 5-1 series win against the Peoria Chiefs last week where they outscored their opponent 47-12, the Kernels were unable to continue popping in this one, and instead were left with a bunch of Old Maids. They had just four hits as a team, and their one run came on a Willie Joe Garry Jr. home run in the third inning that gave them an early 1-0 lead. It remained that way until the sixth inning, as until that point starting pitcher Sean Mooney had stifled the Captains in a similar fashion. He allowed no runs in five total innings, allowing just one hit, walking three, and striking out six. He was a bit effectively wild, with just 46 of his 82 pitches going for strikes (56 percent), but got the job done. Bobby Milacki was brought on to start the sixth, and a pair of singles and a double led to the tying run. In the seventh Milacki got one out before a walk and a single ended his outing. He went 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, walking one, and striking out one. Orlando Rodriguez came on to escape that jam and also delivered a scoreless eighth inning. He struck out two and walked one in 1 2/3 innings pitched. In the ninth the Kernels brought on Andrew Cabezas, looking to keep the score tied and give his lineup a chance. Unfortunately, a one-out error seemed to derail his outing, and three batters later a three-run home run made the score 5-1 and put it out of reach. Cedar Rapids finished this one just 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, left only four men-on-base, and struck out 18 times as a team, including the last 11 outs of the game. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday with Aaron Rozek on the mound. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Clearwater 5, Fort Myers 4 (11 innings, completion of game suspended on 5/1) Box Score This game was suspended before the top of the 11th inning got started over two weeks ago, with the score tied at four. Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic had both made rehab appearances on that day. When it resumed, something you’ll likely only ever see in the minor leagues happened. With the runner starting on second base, Fort Myers pitcher Matthew Swain was hit with consecutive balks to give the Threshers a 5-4 lead. He retired all three hitters he faced, including a pair of strikeouts, but whatever was the cause of those balks (likely rule changes being forgotten in the moment) the Mighty Mussels found themselves down. The lineup was unable to score one of their own, with Mikey Perez, Noah Miller, and Emmanuel Rodriguez going down in order to end the game. Miller (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, SB) and Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, K) had multiple hits able to become official to lead the team. There were no extra base hits for the Mighty Mussels, and they were unable to take advantage of 10 walks as they finished 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and left 13 men-on-base for the game. Game 2: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 4 Box Score In their regularly scheduled contest, the Mighty Mussels got a quality effort out of their starting pitcher, right-hander Travis Adams. He went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six to pick up his third win of the season. Adams has gone at least five innings in all six of his starts so far this season, and the three runs allowed in this one are a season-high. He’s been the model of consistency for the Mighty Mussels, sporting a 2.03 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and a 28:5 K-to-BB ratio in 31 innings thus far. Fort Myers got single runs in each of the first, third, and fourth innings to keep the game tied at three while Adams was on the mound. Emmanuel Rodriguez scored in the first on an error after reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. The Noah’s, Miller and Cardenas, each had doubles in the third for their second run. Kala’i Rosario tripled and scored on a Luis Baez singled in the fourth to account for those tallies. They took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a double-steal after three batters had drawn walks in the frame, allowing Adams to be in line for the win. They added a needed insurance run in the top of the ninth, as an errant throw from the Threshers catcher on a steal attempt allowed pinch-runner Dylan Neuse to scamper home for a 5-3 lead. In relief of Adams, right-hander Juan Mendez went two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out two. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the save opportunity in the ninth, and although he made it a bit interesting allowing a single and run-scoring double to start the inning, was able to finish it off with a pair of K’s and groundout for his third save. The lineup didn’t get multiple hits from any batter, but drew five walks and only struck out five times. They also stole five bases as a team and two others were thrown out, so they were running all game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Sean Mooney, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, H, 3 BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day - Alex Isola, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, GS (5), 5 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR (2), RBI #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4, 2 K #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - L, 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K #9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, K #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 1/3 IP, 2 H 5 ER, 3 BB #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-6, 2 R, 2B, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, BB, K (left game with injury) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jake Faria (0-2, 7.17 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (4-1, 3.69 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - LHP Aaron Rozek (4-1, 4.73 ERA) Fort Myers @ Clearwater, Game 1 (11:00 AM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (1-1, 5.50 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers, Game 2 (makeup of 4/30 PPD) - RHP Mike Paredes (0-1, 3.31 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  25. Matt Canterino has been dominant since the Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Canterino starred at Rice University, where they’re known to push their young arms. He pitched very well there, but his numbers pale compared to his production in the minors. Canterino has pitched 68 2/3 innings in the Twins system. He’s given up nine runs, which equates to a 1.18 ERA. He’s struck out 104 of the 259 hitters he’s faced, a 40% clip. He pairs a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with a hammer breaking ball and a sneaky firm changeup, a pitch Canterino has worked on to better attack lefties. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 straight innings, striking out 23. Opponents have gone 4-for-55 with one extra-base hit. Canterino, 24, is charging up prospect lists. It was a rough start to 2022 for Canterino, who walked six in his first 3 2/3 innings of the season. Since then, he’s been absolute nails. Canterino has given up just one homer in his Minor League career, and now he’s shoving at the upper levels. Right-handed hitters have gone 15-for-151 (.099) with 70 strikeouts against him since his Minor League debut in 2019. He struck out 45 of the 81 hitters he faced in 2021. He's posted video-game numbers since day one. Canterino has thrown 20 2/3 innings for Wichita, posting a 1.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate. He’s walked more than he would prefer, but it’s a sterling start considering he spent much of 2022 on the injured list with an elbow problem. Canterino may possess the second-best repertoire in the system, behind only Jhoan Duran. Like Duran, there are real questions about Canterino’s ability to remain as a starter. He has a herky-jerky delivery and has already dealt with arm troubles. The Twins are watching his workload closely, and he’s averaging around 50 pitches per start. Canterino may end up in the Twins’ bullpen, and it’s fair to wonder if he could help them as soon as mid-summer. He has the stuff and the makeup to accelerate quickly. Canterino is a key part of a wave of upper-minors starting pitchers the Twins have been developing. While Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder impress for the big league club, the depth in the minors is exciting. Jordan Balazovic is back, Cole Sands is on the cusp of the majors, and Canterino is mowing down hitters at Double-A. Not to mention 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland, who is off to a strong start at Double-A as well. This was the plan and remains the largest storyline for the 2022 Twins. Beyond the obvious stars in the system, 2020 fourth-round pick Marco Raya has a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings for Low-A Fort Myers. David Festa, the Twins' 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall in last year's draft, is pumping 97-99 with his fastball, carving out his path for a breakout season. Simeon Woods Richardson, acquired at the 2021 deadline, has a 1.67 ERA in five starts for the Wind Surge. Even Blayne Enlow is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery 11 months ago. Improved health (so far) has been the difference between 2021 and 2022 for the Twins' top pitching prospects. Canterino could follow a similar path to Duran, who started in St. Paul's rotation last year before going down with elbow soreness of his own. The Twins moved Duran to the bullpen, recognizing that his outstanding stuff could help the team immediately. They seem determined to let Canterino start for as long as possible. An ideal season for Canterino would be reaching the 80-inning mark while finding success in a promotion to Triple-A. It's viable that Canterino joins the Twins for the stretch run, especially if the team is lacking high-powered arms late this season. For now, he's whooping almost every hitter who stands in the box.
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