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  1. Balazovic, Woods Richardson, and Povich were on the mound on Friday night, Friday the 13th. How did they do? Ft. Myers played two games and got terrific pitching in both games. Before jumping into how the teams did on Friday, here are a couple more minor league articles to check out: Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters, from @Nash Walker. From Lee to Limestone: One Prospect Who  Needs More Attention (Video), from @Matthew Lenz. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS Following their 12-8 win on Friday night against Cleveland, the Twins announced that lefty Devin Smeltzer will be promoted and start on Saturday. That will require a 40-man roster move. More to come tomorrow. The Twins sent OF Kyle Garlick to the Saints for a rehab assignment. RHP Cole Sands placed on the 7-Day IL (groin strain). RHP Tyler Viza promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. Don’t be surprised if you see Blayne Enlow activated by the Wind Surge on Saturday. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Columbus 11 Box Score Jordan Balazovic was back for his second Saints start. It didn’t go well for him, unfortunately. He gave up three runs in the first inning. That was followed by allowing four unearned runs in the second inning. It was his error that allowed the runs to score. In his two innings, he gave up seven runs (3 earned) on eight hits (2 HR) and two walks. He struck out one batter. In the top of the third inning, the Saints put up seven runs to tie the game. It started with a bases-clearing triple by Jake Cave. That was followed by a two-run homer by Kyle Garlick. Finally, Cole Sturgeon hit a double to score two more runs. Big hits create a big inning. Mario Sanchez came on and put up four straight zeroes. He then gave up two runs in the seventh inning. Juan Minaya got the final four outs but gave up two runs thanks to a hit and two hit batters. Jake Cave went 2-for-4 with a walk. Curtis Terry went 2-for-5. David Banuelos walked three times in the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 0, NW Arkansas 7 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson was back on the mound, and he was cruising through four scoreless innings. However, in the fifth inning, a single to left, a bunt single and a walk loaded the bases. Tucker Bradley followed with a grand slam to break the scoreless game. That was really it. Woods Richardson went 5 2/3 innings. He gave up those four runs on five hits and a walk. He also struck out eight batters. Argenis Angulo came on and got out of the sixth, but he was charged with three runs in the seventh inning. Steven Klimek finished the game for the Surge. He gave up one hit but no more runs over the final 1 1/3 innings. Wichita managed just five hits in the game. Edouard Julien led the way. He went 2-for-4 in the game. Andrew Bechtold had the lone extra base hit, his fifth double. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 5 Box Score There’s offense, and then there is pitching-and-defense. The two have to be tied together because you can’t have one without the other. I mean, you could, but it would be weird. Anyway, that was illustrated in the third inning on Friday night. Cade Povich started the night with two scoreless innings. After a strikeout started the third inning, he hit a batter and that was followed by a double. The next batter also doubled and went to third on an error. The next batter reached on an error. After a ground ball to Wander Javier for the second out, there was another error allowing a fourth run to score. Three errors, a passed ball and four runs were on the board. Overall, Povich gave up five runs (3 earned) on four hits and a walk. Andrew Cabezas came on and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Bradley Hanner continues his resurgence with two perfect innings, dropping his season ERA to 0.60. Orlando Rodriguez struck out three batters in the ninth inning. Outfielder Kyler Fedko made his first appearance since being promoted to the Kernels. He hit a single in his first at-bat. In the seventh inning, he hit a solo homer. Jeferson Morales went 2-for-4. Willie Joe Garry hit two doubles, his sixth and seventh of the season. Hope was high for a couple of Twins minor leaguers. Would Wander Javier repeating with the Kernels help his offense start to shine? And, with a solid performance in the final weeks with the Kernels, could Aaron Sabato take off in 2022? Well, Javier is now hitting .186 with a .585 OPS. Sabato is now hitting .165 with a .627 OPS. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Fort Myers 3, Palm Beach 0 Box Score Game 2: Fort Myers 3, Palm Beach 2 Box Score It was a good day for the Mighty Mussels, especially their pitching staff. Pierson Ohl started the first game. He gave up just a single in one scoreless inning. He was replaced by Hunter McMahon who gave up three hits over three scoreless innings. He struck out two batters. Juan Mendez struck out three batters over two scoreless innings. Matthew Swain pitched a perfect seventh inning, striking out all three batters. He recorded his sixth save and is yet to give up a run this season. Mike Paredes was on the mound to start the second game. The 2021 18th-round draft pick from San Diego State has been terrific out of the Ft. Myers bullpen. He was really good in this spot start. He tossed three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one and struck out three batters. Jackson Hicks came on and struck out four batters over two perfect innings. Lefty John Wilson came on and gave up the first hit of the game in the sixth inning. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits over the final two innings to earn his first save. He struck out three batters and issued no walks. The Mussels scored three runs in each game. In the first inning of the first game, Keoni Cavaco singled to score both Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez. In the fifth frame, Rodriguez singled to score Jake Rucker. Rodriguez went 2-for-2 with a walk in the first game. Kyle Schmidt had the lone extra-base hit, his second double. The team scored early in the second game as well. In the first inning, Noah Cardenas singled to score Rucker. Then in the second inning, a Dillon Tatum sacrifice fly scored Mikey Perez, and then Rucker singled to score Daniel Ozoria. Perez went 2-for-2 in Game 2. Both of his hits were doubles. He was also hit by a pitch and stole three bases in the game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Ft. Myers) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Kyler Fedko (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, HR in High-A debut PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B (2), HR (1), 2 R, 4 RBI. #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 (played RF) #5 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (58 pitches, 37 strikes) #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (95 pitches, 64 strikes) #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, (10 pitches, 8 strikes) #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - Game 1: 2-for-2, BB, R, RBI #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - Game 2: 0-for-3, 2 K #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - Game 1: 1-for-3, R #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - Game 2: 0-2, BB, 2 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, HBP, K #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (75 pitches, 48 strikes) #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, HBP, K, 2 E #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-4, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05PM CST) - TBD Wichita @ NW Arkansas (6:05PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-2, 9.87 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-1, 2.01 ERA) Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (3:00 PM CST) - LHP Steve Hajjar (0-1, 3.77 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
  2. TRANSACTIONS RHP Jordan Balazovic activated from the IL for the St. Paul Saints RHP Cole Sands optioned to the St. Paul Saints from the Minnesota Twins RHP Blayne Enlow assigned to Low-A Fort Myers on minor league rehab RHP Dylan Thomas was reinstated from the 7-day IL and released Saints Sentinel St. Paul 9, Iowa 2 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: Kevin Merrell (1), Derek Fisher (3) Multi-hit games: Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, RBI) A top prospect made his AAA debut on Saturday. Jordan Balazovic, one of the team’s top pitching young arms, returned from the injured list on Saturday, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the Saints. Other exciting pitching prospects have overshadowed Balazovic with their major-league performances, but no one should forget just how dominant Balazovic can be when healthy. Of course, one should never lose themselves in a pitcher when St. Paul’s offense scored nine runs. It was a group effort on Saturday; every player got on base at least once, and the only player without a hit (Curtis Terry) walked four times. In fact, the team ended up walking more often than they struck out (11 to 10). The Cubs suffered death by a thousand paper cuts. Outside of the Kevin Merrell homer above, Derek Fisher and Cole Sturgeon provided the only other extra-base hits of the game. One final offensive note: every RBI came from the 5-9 hitters. Mario Sanchez allowed two runs over 3 1/3 innings in relief of Balazovic; Wladimir Pinto shut out Iowa over the final two innings with an impressive five strikeouts. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 5, Tulsa 4 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson: 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: Spencer Steer 2 (3, 4) Multi-hit games: Spencer Steer (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR) Wichita walked off their opponent on Saturday. Simeon Woods Richardson proved he was human, allowing his first earned runs of the year in a decidedly middling start. The Drillers, full of classically tough Dodgers prospects, ambushed Woods Richardson in the third inning with three hits and an HBP, ultimately netting three runs in the frame. Wichita would not stand around quietly, though. Or, Spencer Steer specifically, would not stand around quietly. Steer was a train engine, doubling home a run in the first before homering in the third and fourth innings. One must assume that Tulsa pitchers were on the verge of an outright revolt if their coaches forced them to pitch to Steer. Of course, one man an offense does not make. Alex Isola reached base three times, Michael Helman singled home a run, and Matt Wallner brought home the walk-off run in the 9th inning. Don’t look now, but Wallner now owns an .897 OPS at AA despite his dreadful start to the season. We all sometimes Need A Little Help From Our Friends, and the wind smiled favorably onto Wichita. Oh, and Wallner also threw a missile to nail a runner at home. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Quad Cities 2 Box Score Cade Povich: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Anthony Prato (4), Will Holland (1), Aaron Sabato (4) Multi-hit games: Jeferson Morales (3-for-4, 2 R) The Kernels won on Saturday. Water is wet. Cade Povich continued his utterly brilliant introduction to the full minor-league season by punching out eight batters without allowing an earned run. Don’t look now, but the Twins may already have the second wave of arms in the wings waiting for the first group to graduate. Cedar Rapids’ offense started with a bang. Anthony Prato hit a lead-off homer and Charles Mack doubled home another run in the first to give Povich a 2-0 lead before his second inning of work. Will Holland extended the lead in the second with a solo shot before Aaron Sabato blasted away, giving the Kernels a six-run lead before anyone knew what hit them. Bobby Milacki and Denny Bentley combined for four innings with just one run allowed to end the game. Kernels pitchers struck out 15 batters in total. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 7, Lakeland 12 Box Score Blayne Enlow: 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, R, RBI, 2B, BB), Noah Miller (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB), Noah Cardenas (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Daniel Ozoria (2-for-4, 2 R) The Mighty Mussels lost a high scorer on Saturday. Blayne Enlow made his much-anticipated return from Tommy John surgery. The young righty was tagged as the Lance McCullers of the Twins’ 2017 draft when they went over-slot to pick him in the third round after drafting Royce Lewis with the first overall pick. His career hasn’t been straightforward since, but the Twins saw enough potential to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and this year will go a long way to proving whether that decision was wise. Baseball is far too cruel to carry a storybook tale, though. Even after Fort Myers jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Lakeland harassed Enlow in the second inning, taking advantage of poor defense to take a 7-6 lead after the dust had settled. Mike Parades tried in vain to put the effort to a stop, but Lakeland’s bats were in an evil mood, and all he gained was a higher ERA. The game wasn’t all bad; Fort Myers reached base 16 times as Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez continued to flash their on-base potential with three and two times reaching base respectively. Keoni Cavaco was not so fortunate, striking out three times in the loss. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cade Povich Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-5, R #2 – Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, K #3 – Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-2, BB #4 – Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K #7 – Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #10 – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, K #11 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, 2B, BB, 2 K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R, 2 BB, K #17 – Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K #18 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR, 2B SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Tulsa @ Wichita (12:05 PM) - RHP Chris Vallimont Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Fort Myers @ Lakeland (12:00 PM) - LHP Steve Hajjar
  3. Some might look at the Twins farm system and think this was an easy selection, but it turned out to be a two-person race. One starter didn’t allow a run the entire month, and it still wasn’t good enough to walk away with the top honors. Louie Varland, the reigning TD Minor League Pitcher of the Year, had a tremendous month but did crack the top three. Matt Canterino struck out 18 batters in 12 2/3 innings and didn’t receive a vote. Below you will find the top three finishers voted on by the Twins Daily writers. Honorable Mention #2: Brent Headrick Minnesota selected Headrick in the 9th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Illinois State University. Last season, he made 15 appearances at Low-A and posted a 4.70 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP in 61 1/3 innings. He posted a 12.6 K/9, but he gave up more than a hit per inning. Things have started significantly better for Headrick in 2022. In four starts (17 2/3 innings), he has posted a 2.55 ERA with a 28-to-4 strikeout to walk ratio. He has cut his H/9 rate from 9.3 last season to 4.6. His 14.3 K/9 is a total usually only seen by dominant relief pitchers, but he posted a 10.8 K/9 in his final collegiate season. All but 13 of his at-bats have come against younger pitchers as he is nearly a year older than the average age of the competition at High-A. Headrick is more than dominating the competition to start the year. Honorable Mention #1: Simeon Woods-Richardson The Twins acquired Woods-Richardson along with Austin Martin as part of the José Berríos trade. Last season, the Twins and the Blue Jays were aggressive with Woods-Richardson as he pitched the entire year at Double-A as a 20-year-old. He struggled with an ERA close to 6.00 and a 1.54 WHIP. It made sense for him to repeat that level in 2022, where he is still over 3.5 years younger than the average age of the competition. There was also a potential for him to be a breakout player, which looks to be coming true. Woods-Richardson made four starts in April and didn’t allow an earned run. In 21 2/3 innings, he posted an 18-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio with a 0.65 WHIP. He has faced a younger batter in only one game for two of his plate appearances on the year. In any other month, Woods-Richardson is the likely winner of this award, but one pitcher was able to outshine him. Starting Pitcher of the Month: John Stankiewicz Stankiewicz pitched three collegiate seasons at Fordham University, but he went undrafted even though he posted a sub-1.75 ERA over his final two seasons. Minnesota signed him last July, and he made seven appearances at Low-A with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Those were outstanding numbers for a non-drafted player, but Stankiewicz wasn’t flying up any top prospect lists this winter. He may be getting a little more attention after his first month of the season. Stankiewicz made four April starts and finished with a 0.83 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP. He accumulated 31 strikeouts out of the 80 batters he faced. Before the month ended, Minnesota promoted him to Cedar Rapids. At the time of his promotion, he led the Florida State League in ERA, ranked second in strikeouts, and was third in IP and WHIP. It was a genuinely dominating month of April, and now he gets the opportunity to be one step closer to the big leagues. If you were to rank your top 3 for the month of April, are these the three you would have ranked? In the same order? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. SAINTS SENTINEL Nashville 6, St. Paul 2 Box Score Minnesota acquired Ronny Henriquez in the Mitch Garver trade with the Texas Rangers and tonight he worked as the St. Paul Saints starter. Lasting just 2 2/3 innings, Henriquez gave up four earned runs on three hits and four walks. Two big flies were sent out of the park against him. Brewers star prospect Brice Turang opened the scoring with a first-inning bomb before Nashville extended things to a 3-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Jake Cave put the Saints on the board with an RBI single scoring Royce Lewis in the bottom half but the three-run deficit is as close as they’d cut it. After giving up another Sounds run on a Jon Singleton homer in the 5th inning, St. Paul drew within three again on a Derek Fisher 6th inning double. Jose Miranda scored but Curtis Terry was thrown out at third base on the play. The deficit was pushed back to four after the second Weston Wilson home run of the game in the 8th inning and that’s where things wound up. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Arkansas 0 Box Score Stud pitching prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson was on the bump tonight for the Wind Surge. Working five scoreless innings, he’s now recorded 21 2/3 scoreless innings to start the season. He punched out four while walking three and owns an 18/7 K/BB thus far. After a weird season with an Olympics break thrown in, he looks like an incredible addition from the Toronto Blue Jays. Arkansas stifled the Wind Surge offense for the most part as well. Only four Wichita hits were recorded and single runs came in the 4th and 8th innings. Cole Sturgeon scored the first run on an Andrew Bechtold ground out while Spencer Steer was plated on a Michael Helman single. In a game that was largely devoid of offense, Wichita produced when needed. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 0 Box Score Looking for continued dominance the Cedar Rapids Kernels gave the ball to Brent Headrick tonight and he handled business. Working five scoreless innings, Headrick allowed just three hits while punching out seven and giving up no free passes. The bullpen came on to shut it down and preserve a shutout as the Kernels improved to a staggering 15-3 on the year. On the offensive side of things, the Kernels were largely held in check. Only two batters recorded base hits prior to the final frame. In the 9th inning Jeferson Morales started things off with a single before advancing to 2nd base on a wild pitch. Wander Javier then drew a walk before a Charles Mack double drove in two. The Kernels closed things out in the bottom half and it’s been nothing short of an amazing start to the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Clearwater 2 Box Score John Stankiewicz has been nothing short of dominant to start 2022 for the Mighty Mussels and he continued that streak tonight. Working 5 2/3 innings, the Fort Myers hurler gave up just a single unearned run on five hits. Stankiewicz also added three strikeouts with just one walk while lowering his season ERA to 0.83. After getting behind in the first inning, Fort Myers remained resilient and broke through in the 5th inning. A Jesus Feliz double drove in Noah Cardenas before Kala’i Rosario left the building for his second big fly of the season. Although Clearwater came within on during the bottom of the 7th inning, that’s as close as they’d get in this one. Cardenas was the lone Mighty Mussels batter to record a two-hit night, and he’s pushed his season OPS to .843. Mike Paredes worked 2 1/3 innings of relief for Stankiewicz allowing just a single run on four hits while recording five strikeouts and allowing no free passes. Matthew Swain then came on to close it out in the 9th inning. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day – Charles Mack (Cedar Rapids) 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, R #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, BB, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-2, 2 BB, K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, 2 K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2B #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-5, 3 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Nashville @ St. Paul (6:37PM CST) - RHP Chi-Chi Gonzalez Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:35PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney Clearwater @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - RHP David Festa 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.
  5. Most of the Twins affiliates have played 15 games now while the St. Paul Saints have played 18 games. Top prospects are reaching 50-60 plate appearances. That's not enough to make any grand stances on players, but we'll get there. Starting pitchers will be making their third and fourth starts. Pitch counts may increase, and we might soon be able to find tendencies for players. and we will be here to cover it all. Let's take a look back at Week 3 in the Twins minor leagues. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. Please note that the hyperlinks on player names will show you past articles in which that player has been tagged. Click around a bit and see how much some of these players have been written about over the years. RESULTS Tuesday: The Arrival of Raya Wednesday: Wind Surge Win a Wild One Thursday: Double Walk Offs and Shoving Smeltzer Friday: St. Paul Completes Twin Cities Sweep Saturday: Emmanuel Rodriguez Does It Again Sunday: Kernels and Surge Strike Large in Series Finales on Sunday MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT Twins Minor League Week in Review (4/12-18) Twins Have Important Reinforcements Close Unheralded Twins Prospects to Watch Twins Complete Padres Trade with Pitching Prospect Brayan Medina Emmanuel Rodriguez: A Star in the Making? Three Questions With… Emmanuel Rodriguez (Video) WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week: 2-4 at Toledo Season: 10-7 overall, 3rd place in the International League West. They are 2 1/2 games behind Nashville. The Saints scored nine runs in one game last week. In their other five games, they scored a combined ten runs. In the first game of the week, they lost 11-0. That’s not to say that there weren’t some highlights. Ten Saints pitchers worked and did not give up an earned run. Sure, that includes catcher David Banuelos who retired the only batter he faced. The highlight was Ronny Henriquez. He made his first appearance of the season, his first appearance in the Twins organization, and his first Triple-A appearance. It went quite well. He worked three scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one and struck out four batters. Yennier Cano worked three scoreless innings over two appearances. He gave up two hits and hit a batter, and he struck out three batters. Dereck Rodriguez returned to the Saints after one appearance with the Twins. He gave up two unearned runs on two hits over three innings. He struck out five batters without issuing a walk. As you’d expect, it wasn’t all good. As terrific as Cole Sands was in his first two Triple-A starts, this wasn’t a good week. Combined, he gave up ten runs on ten hits in just 2 2/3 innings. He walked three and didn’t have a strikeout. He had a short start early in the week and came out of the bullpen on Sunday. No surprise that the Saints didn’t have any hitting standouts in such a frustrating week. Jose Miranda led the offense, hitting .250/.321/.458 (.779) with five doubles and three walks. Royce Lewis hit just .190 over six games. He had five walks, a double, and an absolutely mammoth home run. Daniel Robertson went 2-for-17 (.118) last week. Jake Cave was 3-for-23 (.130) with ten strikeouts. It was also a rough week for the catchers. Chance Sisco went 1-for-9 (.111). Jose Godoy went 1-for-8 (.125), though he got called up, and on Sunday had two incredibly huge walks. Caleb Hamilton went 0-for-5, and David Banuelos went 0-for-3. What’s Next? The Saints come home to host the Nashville Sound, the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. (Go to SaintsBaseball.com for tickets!) Pitching Probables: (RHP Dereck Rodriguez, LHP Devin Smeltzer, RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Jake Faria, TBD, TBD) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge Week: 4-2 at home vs. Midland Season: 8-7 overall, tied for 2nd place in the Texas League South Division. They are 2.0 games behind Tulsa. The Surge had a fantastic week offensively. In six games, they scored 52 runs. That includes a 15-1 win on Thursday, but they also had games with 10, nine, and eight runs. However, it was a rough week for their pitching staff. They gave up 45 runs. They had games in which they gave up 15, 10, eight, and seven runs. With that as the background, let’s start with the hitters. Six Wichita hitters posted an OPS over 1.000 for the week. Andrew Bechtold had a really nice week. In four games, he hit .364/.556/.727 (1.283). He had a double and a home run. He also walked six times with just two strikeouts. Kevin Merrell also played in four games. He hit .313/.333/.938 (1.271) with a double and three home runs. Michael Helman played all six games and hit .348/.429/.783 (1.212) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and eight RBI. He also walked four times. Spencer Steer also played all six games. He hit .409/.567/.591 (1.158) with four doubles. He had eight walks to go with just three strikeouts. Steer was the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. Was he also Twins Daily's hitter of the week? Edouard Julien returned the second half of the week from the Injured List. He went 4-for-11 with a double and a triple. He also stole two bases in three games. Dennis Ortega signed with the Twins late in spring training. He played last year with the Triple-A affiliate of the Cardinals, the organization he began with in 2014. In five games last week, he hit .478/.500/.696 (1.196) with three doubles, a triple, and seven RBI. Despite his years of professional experience, he is still just 24 years old. On the other side of the spectrum, Leobaldo Cabrera went 0-for-15 during the week. Matt Wallner had two hits on Sunday, but he was 2-for-14 (.143) for the week. For the Wind Surge pitching staff, there were certainly extremes. Matt Canterino started on both Monday and Sunday. Combined, he threw six scoreless, hitless innings. He walked two batters and struck out nine. After missing most of the 2021 season with elbow issues, the Twins will be immensely cautious with Canterino this year, likely putting him on a plan similar to what the team did with Bailey Ober a year ago. Simeon Woods Richardson was incredible again in his start this week. The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up two singles, walked no one, and struck out six batters. Austin Schulfer tossed four scoreless innings over his two appearances. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out five batters. He recorded one save. While it wasn’t a great outing, Chris Vallimont had a nice, bounce-back start. He gave up one run in four innings. He gave up three hits, hit a batter, and walked three batters. He had six strikeouts. On the other side, Brandon Lawson gave up six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. Steven Cruz pitched twice. In 1 2/3 innings, he gave up six runs on four hits, a hit batter, and four walks. All of that came in the ninth inning when he came in with a 7-0 lead. Zach Featherstone also pitched twice. He gave up seven runs on four hits (2 homers), and three walks in two innings. Bryan Sammons gave up four runs on four hits and three walks in two innings. What’s Next? The Wind Surge will be traveling to Arkansas for the week. Pitching Probables: (RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Matt Canterino, TBD, TBD) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week: 5-1 at home vs Peoria) Season: 12-3 overall, 1st place in the Midwest League, 1.0 game ahead of Wisconsin. The Kernels won five of six games despite leading the run differential just 25-23. The first three games of the week were one-run games. They were postponed on Wednesday and then won both games of a doubleheader in walk-off fashion. The Kernels week (and season so far) has been largely successful due to some great work out of the bullpen. Eight relievers combined for 20 innings of zero unearned runs. Melvi Acosta, Denny Bentley, Osiris German, Bradley Hanner, and Bobby Milacki each pitched twice during the week and worked between 2 2/3 and 3 2/3 innings. Hanner was given the Win in both of his games. He walked and batter and hit a batter, but he did not give up a run or a hit during the week. Sean Mooney went five innings in his start. He gave up one run on four hits. Lefty Cade Povich gave up two runs (1 earned) on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out nine batters. Casey Legumina also worked 4 2/3 innings and gave up two runs. The Kernels got several solid performances from their hitters last week against Peoria. After a middling first full week of the season (after an amazing first weekend), Christian Encarnacion-Strand had another strong week against Peoria. Over six games, he hit .400/.400/.560 (.960) with two doubles and a triple. The only blemish was nine strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. Will Holland played in five games. He hit .375/.474/.438 (.912) with a double. In five games, Jeferson Morales hit .313/.429/.438 (.867) with two doubles. Outfielder Willie Joe Garry hit .294/.333/.529 (.862) with two doubles and a triple. What’s Next? The Kernels will be traveling to southeast Wisconsin to take on the Beloit Sky Carp. Pitching Probables: (RHP Cody Laweryson, RHP Casey Legumina, LHP Brent Headrick, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long/LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Week: 3-3 at Dunedin Season: 10-5 overall, 1st place in the Florida State League West, 2.0 games ahead of Bradenton. The Mighty Mussels scored 20 runs over their six-game week. Fortunately, their pitching staff only allowed just 18 runs on the week. No surprise, it was a tightly-contested week. Three of the six games were settled by one run. There was also a two-run game, a three-run game, and a four-run game. No laughers in Florida this week, at least not in Dunedin. The Mighty Mussels starters continued to pitch really well. The six starters worked a combined 28 1/3 innings and gave up just four runs (2 earned) on 11 hits and eight walks. They struck out 39 batters. John Stankiewicz had another great start last week. He struck out nine batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and walked two batters. Marco Raya’s second professional start was pretty incredible. He struck out 10 batters over six innings. He gave up one hit and struck out none. Steve Hajjar was good in his second pro start. He struck out 10 batters over 4 1/3 innings. He gave up an unearned run on two walks and a hit batter. No hits. David Festa also went four scoreless frames in his start. He gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out four batters. The big news to come out of this start was that he hit 98.6 mph with a fastball. On Sunday, Travis Adams gave up one run on one hit over five one-run innings. Two relievers worked twice and got at least 12 outs. Hunter McMahon walked one and struck out one over four hitless innings. Mike Paredes gave up just one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out five batters. It was a good week for a few 2022 draft picks. Eighth round pick from UCLA, catcher Noah Cardenas played in four games. He hit .273/.471/.545 (1.016) with a homer and three walks. Dylan Neuse was the Twins 17th round pick from Texas Tech. He also played in four games and hit .273/.385/.545 (.930) with his first professional home run. 12th round pick Kyler Fedko, an outfielder from U Conn had another solid week. Over six games, he hit .286/.407/.476 (.883) with a double and a home run. What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels are back at Hammond Stadium this coming week to face Clearwater. Pitching Probables: (LHP Steve Hajjar, RHP Pierson Ohl, RHP John Stankiewicz, TBD, RHP Travis Adams, TBD) PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week (April 19-24). #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-24 (.292), 2-2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K (Season: 15 G, .262/.392/.344 (.736), 5-2B, 15 R, 4 RBI, 10 BB, 12 K) #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 6 G, 4-for-21 (.190), 3-2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K (Season: 16 G, .288/.394/.542 (.937), 7-2B, 1-3B, 2-HR, 15 R, 9 RBI, 9 BB, 15 K) #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 5-for-19 (.263), 3-2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K (Season: 16 G, .235/.280/.397 (.677), 8-2B, 1-HR, 8 R, 10 RBI, 4 BB, 13 K) #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL (knee) #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K (Season: 3 GS, 16 IP, 3 R, 9 H, 5 BB, 16 K, 2-1, 1.69 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 GS, 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 9 K (Season: 4 GS, 9.2 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 8 BB, 14 K, 0-1, 2.79 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.4 BB/9, 13.0 K/9) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K (Season: 6 G, 9.0 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 15 K, 0-0, 4.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 15.0 K/9) #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K (Season: 3 GS, 16.2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9) #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 1 G, 4.0 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K (Season: 3 G, 10.1 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 0-0, 3.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 4.4 K/9) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 6 G, 5-for-21 (.238), 1-2B, 5 BB, 6 K (Season: 14 G, .200/.353/.218 (.571), 1-2B, 8 R, 1 RBI, 12 BB, 20 K) #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 5 G, 0-for-3 (.000), 0 BB, 0 K (Season: 9 G, .100/.250/.100 (.350), 2 R, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K) #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4 G, 2-for-14 (.143), 5 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K.(Season: 12 G, .111/.222/.178 (.400), 1-HR, 4 R, 7 RBI, 7 BB, 24 K) #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2 G, 1 GS, 2.2 IP, 10 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 0 K (Season: 4 G, 3 GS, 12.2 IP, 11 R, 14 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 0-3, 7.82 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9) #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K (Season: 3 G, 2 GS, 15.1 IP, 10 R, 7 ER, 11 H, 8 BB, 18 K, 1-1, 4.11 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 10.6 K/9) #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 6 G, 3-for-20 (.150) , 2-2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 11 K (Season: 14 G, .267/.469/.667 (1.136), 3-2B, 5-HR, 12 R, 8 RBI, 16 BB, 17 K) #16 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - (Week/Season: 1 G, 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 12.0 K/9) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL (elbow) #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 6 G, 9-for-22 (.409), 4-2B, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 3 K (Season: 15 G, .322/.429/.542 (.971), 8-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 12 R, 12 RBI, 9 BB, 12 K) #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3 G, 4-for-11 (.364), 1 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (Season: 7 G, .318/.385/.455 (.839), 1-2B, 1-3B, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K) #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 4.1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 10 K. (Season: 2 GS, 7.1 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 16 K, 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.9 BB/9, 19.6 K/9) PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Hitter of the Week: Super Utility, Michael Helman, Wichita Wind Surge Last week, Michael Helman played in all six games for Wichita. He hit .348/.429/.783 (1.212) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and eight RBI. He also walked four times. In 15 games on the season, he has hit .286/.379/.554 (.933) with two doubles, two triples, and three home runs. As important in his development, he has nine walks to just six strikeouts on the season. He is also 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. The Twins drafted Helman in the 11th round of the 2018 draft as a second baseman out of Texas A&M. That is the position he played most of the time pre-pandemic. When he returned to the field in 2021, versatility became a huge part of Helman’s game. In fact, I think it is a trait that will help him get a shot in the big leagues at some point. Last year, he played 42 games in left field, 27 games in right field, 26 games in center field, 16 games at second base and four games at shortstop. He went to the Arizona Fall League where he played eight games in center but also played games in left, second and third base. This season, Helman has started ten games in center, four games at third base, and one game at second base. After struggling offensively in Ft. Myers in 2019, hitting just .197 before an injury ended his season. It was in Cedar Rapids in 2021 where his bat, and specifically his power arrived. In 111 games, he hit 21 doubles, four triples and 19 home runs (50% more than previously as a pro). He always took quality at-bats and knows the strike zone well, but after being a top of the order or bottom of the order hitter, he has become a middle of the order hitter in a very strong Wichita Wind Surge lineup in 2021. Pitcher of the Week: Marco Raya, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels In just his second professional start, Raya shut down the Dunedin Blue Jays for six innings. He faced the minimum of 18 batters. He gave up one hit, walked none, and struck out ten batters. The one batter who got a hit was soon thrown out attempting to steal a base. It was a nice jump forward after his first start in which he gave up three runs (2 earned) on seven hits, a walk, and a hit batter. Raya was the Twins' fourth-round draft pick in 2020 out of United South High School in Laredo, Texas. Of course, there wasn’t a season for him to begin his career then. He made a strong showing in the instructional league that fall. He was excited to begin in 2021 but a minor injury cost him the season. However, reports from last year’s instructional league had him hitting 96-97 mph with a fastball. That’s especially impressive when he was selected as a prep pitcher with four quality pitches and good control. Add in the big fastball and Raya has a chance to be really good. What were your favorite storylines from the past week, and what will you be following in the coming week.
  6. Weather was a factor in just one of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Cedar Rapids Kernels game was postponed. They hope to play a doubleheader tomorrow. The Wind Surge hosted a whole bunch of students in an afternoon game. They got to see a couple of big innings, an extra inning and plenty of excitement. Ft. Myers saw one of its players knock their first professional home run, and it proved large in a one-run game. In addition, along with being named the Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Week, Mighty Mussels righty John Stankiewicz was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced that RHP Jharel Cotton has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to St. Paul. The Saints placed RHP Ian Hamilton on the 7-Day IL with a right groin strain. Ft. Myers placed RHPs Marco Raya and Niklas Rimmel on the 7-Day IL. Rimmel is out with a right shoulder impingement. Raya is getting his wisdom teeth removed. RHP Logan Campbell joins the Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Toledo 3 Box Score The Saints used one big inning and it was just enough for the pitching staff to hold on for the win. Mario Sanchez started and gave up one run on one hit (a solo homer). He walked two and struck out six batters. Dereck Rodriguez came on and completed three innings. He was charged with two unearned runs on two hits. He struck out five batters without any walks. Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Juan Minaya came on and struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning to record his third save. In the top of the third inning, Elliot Soto walked and advanced to third base on a Jose Miranda double. With Royce Lewis batting, Chase Anderson threw a wild pitch to score Soto. Lewis followed with a single to center to score Miranda. Later in the half-inning, Daniel Robertson singled in Jake Cave and Curtis Terry to give the Saints a 4-1 lead. Royce Lewis went 2-for-3 with a walk and his seventh double. Jose Miranda hit his fifth and sixth doubles. They combined for four of the Saints’ six hits, but they added six walks as well. The Saints are now 9-4. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 9, Midland 8 (10 innings) Box Score Things got a little wild in Wichita on Wednesday. First and foremost, we have to talk about Simeon Woods Richardson. The young right-hander tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six batters. Overall, he is up to 16 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run. Ben Gross came on and tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. The Wind Surge offense came in the third inning. Michael Helman singled in Alex Isola to get the Surge on the board. DaShawn Keirsey then scored on a wild pitch. First baseman Dennis Ortega drilled a triple to right-center which scored Spencer Steer and Helman. Matt Wallner followed by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field. New pitcher came in, and he was greeted by Kevin Merrell who hit his first Wichita homer and gave the team a 7-0 lead. That lead carried to the top of the ninth inning. Steven Cruz came on and was consistently sitting 98-100 mph with his fastball. However, the one issue he has had over his career has been control. He walked the leadoff batter, then hit the next guy. Austin Martin made another diving play at second base to get the first out at first base. But then Cruz walked another guy to load the bases. Then the 21-year-old made a mental error. Logan Davidson (former Twins outfielder Mark Davidson’s son) hit a bounding ball to first base. Dennis Ortego made the play, turned toward the bag, and no one was there. Cruz had forgotten to cover the base. Shutout over. And then a bases-loaded walk made it 7-2. Cruz then got a fly out to left field, which scored the third run, but also gave them two outs. However, another single to left scored a run and now it was 7-4. That was the end for Cruz. He was replaced by Argenis Angulo. He gave up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced. Tie game. He walked another, but then he got a strikeout to end the top of the ninth. The Wind Surge went scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and we had extra innings. Angulo started the 10th. With a runner on second base, a single moved him to third. A walk loaded the bases, and Davidson singled in the go-ahead run. Bases still loaded, just one out, but someone Angulo got out of the inning with a strikeout, a force out and another strikeout to end the threat. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Michael Helman started on second base. Ortega singled him to third. Wallner hit another sacrifice fly, scoring Helman and tying the game. However, the throw to the plate was cut off and a throw was made to first base. It got by and went down the line Ortega hustled to third base. Two batters were intentionally walked to load the bases. Alex Isola came up and on a 1-2 pitch, he drilled a line drive to the left-center field gap. Normally it would have been a double, but as soon as Ortega touched home plate, and Isola touched first base, the Wind Surge won in a walk-off. This was definitely a unique way to pick up the team’s sixth straight win. After starting 0-5, they are now 6-5. Isola and Keirsey each had two hits in the game. Spencer Steer had a double and two walks. Dennis Ortega had four hits. The minor-league veteran catcher (who has also played some at first base) went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs. He had a triple, a double, and a couple of singles in a game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids, Peoria (Postponed) Box Score Wednesday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Thursday, starting at 5:30. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 3 Box Score Down 2-0 heading into the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels got on the board with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Emmanuel Rodriguez. Then in the top of the seventh inning, Mikey Perez doubled in Kyle Schmidt. Later, Dylan Neuse hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot that gave the Mussels a 4-2 lead. They gave up one run in the bottom of the eighth inning but held on to the lead for the win. Kyler Fedko continued to rake. He went 2-for-4 and is hitting .432. Our choice for Minor League Hitter of the Week last week was Emmanuel Rodriguez. Along with three homers, he also had 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. A night after Marco Raya struck out ten batters in his second pro start, Steven Hajjar made his second pro start. He also struck out ten batters. In 4 1/3 innings, he gave up an unearned run. He gave up no hits and walked two batters. Regi Grace came on and got the next five outs, but not before giving up an unearned run on three hits and two walks. Sam Perez was also charged with an unearned run. Matthew Swain recorded his second save with one strikeout in a perfect ninth inning. The Mighty Mussels are now an impressive 9-2 on the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Dennis Ortega (Wichita) - 4-5, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2B (4), K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-3, BB, 2B (7), RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-5, R, 2-2B (6), K #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (65 pitched, 45 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-1, HBP #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 RBI (2-SF), 1 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, SF RBI, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, 2 BB, 2B (5), R. #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K (73 pitches, 47 strikes) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-1, 21.00 ERA) Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (DH @ 5:30 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (1-0, 2.00 ERA), RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 6.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, 15.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!
  7. TRANSACTIONS OF Kyle Garlick selected by the Minnesota Twins RHP Dereck Rodriguez designated for assignment SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Indianapolis 4 Box Score The Saints bounced back nicely after getting no-hit Wednesday and snowed out Thursday to pick up their sixth win of the young season. Devin Smeltzer started on the bump, going five scoreless innings, striking out three, and allowing only three Indianapolis batters to reach base. The lefty has yet to allow an earned run across his first nine innings, successfully piggybacking off of a strong Spring Training in which many thought he would be the final addition to the Twins bullpen. Mario Sanchez struggled in his two innings of relief, surrendering three runs. However, Yennier Cano and Juan Minaya shut the door on Indianapolis to secure the win. Mark Contreras and Royce Lewis powered the Saints offensively as the two combined to go 4-for-7 with two doubles, a home run, and four RBI. At 27 years old and over four years of minor league experience, you won’t find Contreras’s name on most Twins top prospect lists. However, he has a sweet swing and good pop from the left side of the plate. He can also play a capable right field. Should the Twins deal with multiple long-term injuries in the outfield this summer, it would not surprise to see Contreras get a call up. Curtis Terry (1-for-4, 2 RBI) also belted a home run, while Chance Sisco (1-for-3, BB), Jermaine Palacios (1-for-4, R), and Elliot Soto (1-for-3, R) contributed hits. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Northwest Arkansas 2 Box Score The Wind Surge picked up their second win of the season Friday night thanks to a solid outing from Simeon Woods Richardson as well as a combination of aggressive base running and timely hitting. Woods Richardson looked like a top 100 prospect during his first three innings of work as he effectively mixed his fastball with his loopy curve and running changeup. While he only picked up three strikeouts on the night, Natural batters from either side of the plate were largely unable to make solid contact against Wood Richardson. However, his last two frames were more laborious as he surrendered two hits, an unearned run, and lost some of his command. Cody Funderburk came on in relief for Woods Richardson and pitched three solid innings. He struck out one and allowed one earned run. Austin Schulfer picked up the save with a scoreless ninth. Alex Isola led the Wind Surge at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run and RBI. Spencer Steer added an RBI of his own on a double after Austin Martin (0-for-2, 3 BB, 4 SB) stole second. Michael Helman (1-for-3) also drove in Martin on a triple. Dennis Ortega (2-for-5), Andrew Bechtold (1-for-4, RBI) and DaShawn Keirsey (1-for-3, BB, R) also contributed hits. KERNELS NUGGETS Quad Cities 8, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score A strong start from Brent Headrick and another two home run game from Christian Encarnacion-Strand was not enough to propel the Kernels past the River Bandits on Friday. Headrick tossed the first four innings of the game, surrendering only one hit and striking out eight. The lefty’s performance was largely derived from the success of his slider, which had Quad Cities batters off guard all evening. Unfortunately, Cody Lawyerson and Andrew Cabezas were unable to build off of Headrick’s dominance and combined to surrender eight runs, all earned, over their 3 ⅓ innings. Matt Mullenbach pitched the final ⅔ innings, striking out and walking one. Encarnacion-Strand was the lone Kernel to register a multi-hit game, slugging two home runs and driving in all three of Cedar Rapids’ runs. He now has five dingers and 20 RBI across his first 30 at-bats of the season. Anthony Prato (1-for-4, BB, R), Aaron Sabato (1-for-4), and Charles Mack (1-for-4, 2B) logged the Kernels other hits. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 12, Jupiter 0 Box Score Fort Myers dominated the Hammerheads Friday behind the thrust of overwhelming play from starting pitcher John Stankiewicz and burgeoning power hitter Emmanuel Rodriguez. Stankiewicz tossed six scoreless innings, striking out 10 Jupiter batters and limiting the Hammerheads to three singles. Through two starts, the former undrafted free agent owns a 1.64 ERA to go along with 19 strikeouts and only two walks. Hunter McMahon and Mike Paredes combined to strike out four batters across three scoreless innings of relief. Rodriguez belted two home runs in four plate appearances, raising his batting average and OPS to .409 and 1.618, respectively. Kyler Fedko (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 3 R) and Kyle Schmidt (2-for-4, 4 RBI, R) also launched home runs. Dylan Neuse added the Mighty Mussels only other extra base hit, a double. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP John Stankiewicz (Fort Myers): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 65 pitches Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids): 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-1, 3 BB, 4 SB, R #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, R #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, 2 K #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4, BB, K, R #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - Did Not Play #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, 2 HR, BB, 3 R #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - Did Not Pitch #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Indianapolis (2:07 PM CST) - LHP Lewis Thorpe Wichita @ Northwest Arkansas (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-1, 67.50 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Fort Myers vs. Jupiter (6:00 PM CST) - RHP David Festa (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
  8. Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (@ Louisville) 5-1 (5-1 overall) It was an awesome opening week for the Saints. The team scored 47 runs and won five of their six games. Royce Lewis is off to a great start, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer. Lewis stole three bases and reached base in 48% of his plate appearances. He also made numerous strong plays at shortstop. Mark Contreras picked up right where he left off in 2021, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two homers. The player of the week, though, was Jake Cave, who went 9-for-19 with three doubles and a triple. Cave posted a 1.320 OPS and is undoubtedly itching to join the Twins in Minneapolis. On the pitching front, Cole Sands dazzled with five scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss. Sands struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one hit. He’s a key part of what the Twins hope will be adequate starting pitching depth this season. Several Saints relievers had strong weeks, including Wladimir Pinto (4 IP, 0 ER), Juan Minaya (3 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), and Yennier Cano (3 IP, 0 ER, 4 K). Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (vs. Tulsa) 0-3 (0-3 overall) The Surge had a rough first go at the plate, hitting .167/.264/.250 with one homer in 110 plate appearances. Austin Martin went 2-for-13 with multiple errors and Matt Wallner went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. Spencer Steer had a nice weekend with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI. Matt Canterino started the opener and battled through a tenuous first inning. The second was much better, but with the Twins monitoring his workload closely, Canterino lasted two innings and 45 pitches. Twins’ 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland made his debut in relief, walking five in a rough 4 2/3 innings. Simeon Woods Richardson pitched very well in his season debut, striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. SWR threw 46 of 66 pitches for strikes, an awesome sign after command issues last year. Austin Schulfer, Steven Cruz, and the Surge bullpen was fairly solid all weekend. The bats were the issue. High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (vs. Beloit) 3-0 (3-0 overall) What an insane week for Twins’ 2021 fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He went 10-for-14 with two doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. Sawyer Gipson-Long quietly had a solid season in 2021, striking out 32% of hitters across both A-levels. He is off to a nice start this year, pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his season debut. Brent Headrick and Aaron Rozek also turned in solid starts. Outscoring Beloit 23-8, the Kernels could have a potent offense with Encarnacion-Strand, Alerick Soularie, and Aaron Sabato in the heart of the order. The bullpen was also fantastic, headlined by Osiris German, Cody Laweryson, and Bradley Hanner. Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (@ Clearwater) 3-0 (3-0 overall) Emmanuel Rodríguez will be a must-follow prospect all summer long. The 19-year-old showed elite plate discipline and power in his 2021 debut. Rodríguez walked six times over his first three games this weekend, adding a homer and a double. He also stole a base in Sunday’s win. Rodríguez could move quickly. Outfielder Kyler Fedko, the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2021, is off and running with a double, triple, and four RBI. Kala’i Rosario went 2-for-8 with a triple and Keoni Cavaco had a monster Opening Day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Cavaco walked twice Saturday and once more Sunday, but he struck out six times in 15 plate appearances. Starters David Festa, Travis Adams, and John Stankiewicz combined to allow three runs in 15 innings. They struck out 16 and walked only two. The Mighty Mussels lead the league with a 3.00 ERA after the first weekend. They led the Florida State League with a 3.96 ERA and tied for first with 1,288 strikeouts in 2021. Complex League FCL Twins: 2021 Regular Season (21-38) The FCL Twins start their season in Mid-June. Players not currently on a full-season affiliate's roster are in Ft. Myers at the complex for what amounts to Extended Spring Training. Several of those players will move back and forth between the Complex roster and the Mighty Mussels roster, or even the other rosters depending on need. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-13, 2 2B #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 7-for-21, 3 2B, 4 BB, 3 SB #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5-for-25, HR #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes) #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-14, SB #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play. #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-9, 3 BB #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-9, 2B, HR, SB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-11, 2 2B #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-11, BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch Feel free to discuss the teams or players, and ask questions in the COMMENTS below.
  9. Christian Encarnacion-Strand The Twins selected Encarnacion-Strand in the fourth round of last year’s draft, investing in the right-handed corner infielder from Oklahoma State. Encarnacion-Strand dominated the Big 12 with a .361/.442/.661 slash and 35 extra-base hits in 56 games. He followed that up with an incredible debut at Low-A Fort Myers, hitting .391/.424/.598 in 22 games, prompting many to choose him as their breakout candidate for 2022. The Twins sent him to High-A Cedar Rapids, and he’s been nothing short of incredible. Encarnacion-Strand went 10-for-14 with three homers, two doubles, and 15 RBI through his first three games. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. Already 22, Encarnacion-Strand could move quickly through the system, with evaluators impressed by his agility and hands at third base. Royce Lewis After missing nearly three years of minor league action, Lewis hasn’t missed a beat. He is 7-for-21 with a homer and three doubles. Lewis has stolen three bases and made a handful of great plays at shortstop. He’s walked four times and been hit by two pitches while striking out seven times. Lewis’ talent speaks for itself, and he’s capable of dominating Triple-A and forcing the Twins’ hand this summer. He’ll likely go through a tough stretch or two due to the time off, but this start is precisely what the doctor ordered. The Twins have to be pleased with his first week of game action. Simeon Woods Richardson Speaking of ultra-talented breakout candidates, Woods Richardson had a rough go at Double-A last year. He’s now a year older at 21 and has settled into his third organization. After walking 34 batters in 53 1/3 innings last year, refining command is undoubtedly a focus in 2022. Woods Richardson was excellent in his first start Saturday, striking out five over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and walked two. 46 of his 66 pitches were strikes, a great sign. Woods Richardson has the stuff and the size to become a mid-rotation force, and his first start was a step in the right direction.
  10. TRANSACTIONS None Saints Sentinel St. Paul 11, Louisville 1 Box Score SP: Devin Smeltzer: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: Royce Lewis (1), Chance Cisco (1) Multi-hit games: Royce Lewis (2-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB, 2B, HR), Daniel Robertson (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, BB), Jake Cave (2-for-5, R, BB), Caleb Hamilton (3-for-5, R, 3 RBI) It’s Royce Lewis’ world, and we’re just living in it. The top prospect reached base five times on the back of three walks, a double, and a homer. He also flashed some leather with an excellent play rolling to his right. It’s been a small sample, but Lewis has quickly re-established why evaluators were originally high on the high school shortstop out of California. The rest of the offense wasn’t bad. Saints bats took nine walks and dropped 14 hits on the helpless Bats pitching staff. They aren’t called the Louisville Arms. Somehow, the Saints scored 11 runs while leaving 13 players stranded on base. Not to be outdone, Devin Smeltzer and the Saints’ pitching staff did their job as well. Smeltzer tossed four scoreless innings while Griffin Jax, Jovani Moran, and Yennier Cano combined to finish the job. Those three relievers struck out eight hitters and allowed just one run. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Tulsa 3 Box Score SP: Simeon Woods Richardson: 5 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Simeon Woods Richardson pitched a masterpiece on Saturday. The right-handed pitching prospect was looking to improve his 2021 performance with Wichita, and Saturday was a good start. His start was the longest of the day for any Twins prospect, and it took him just 66 pitches to net 17 outs. Woods Richardson’s prospect stock may be deflated, but his talent is undeniable. The Wind Surge offense was mainly held in check. The game took 10 innings to complete, but the bats were held to three hits and three walks on the night. Hopefully, Sunday can be a more productive day for Wichita hitters. The game was going smoothly before two runs were scored in the 7th off of wild pitches from Austin Schulfer. In fact, if one doesn’t count the 10th inning zombie runner as legitimate, then Tulsa did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 9, Beloit 3 Box Score SP: Brent Headrick: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (3) Multi-hit games: Anthony Prato (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (5-for-5, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2B, HR) Christian Encarnacion-Strand may not be of this planet. The 2021 4th round draft pick went an amazing five-for-five on Saturday, one notch better than the previous day when he went four-for-five. He somehow has more RBIs on the year than plate appearances, and it should be fully expected that he somehow goes six-for-five on Sunday. He also stole a base. The rest of the Kernels offense acted like prime Michael Jackson by dropping singles after singles in what ended up being a 13 hit effort. Like the Saints, the Kernels still left 23 men on base despite scoring nine runs. Brent Headrick, the Twins’ 9th round pick in 2019, shoved. He punched out eight batters over five innings of work and allowed just two runs to score off two hits. Cody Laweryson and Matt Mullenbach tossed four innings with no earned runs to end the game. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 4, Clearwater 2 Box Score SP: David Festa: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: Emmanuel Rodriguez (1) Multi-hit games: Emmanuel Rodriguez (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2B, HR) The Mighty Mussels won a close one on Saturday. Emmanuel Rodriguez led the offensive movement, reaching base four times and supplying two of the three RBIs from Mighty Mussels hitters. He also owned the two extra-base hits of the game for Fort Myers. The big 2019 international signee is looking to make a significant splash in his first taste of full-season minor league ball, and Saturday’s performance was just the kind of day to make his name known. David Festa was the shining star on the mound. The tall right-hander punched out five batters while allowing just three hits over five innings of work. Festa was a 2021 draft pick, and while pitchers like Steve Hajjar and Cade Povich have received more attention, he should not be forgotten. A rule change also aided Fort Myers. Kala’i Rosario appeared to strike out on a full count with the bases loaded to end the 8th, but he challenged the call, and the ABS system reversed the strike to a ball, leading to an insurance run to score. (Also, that would have been Rosario's fifth strikeout of the game. Instead, he settled for the Golden Sombrero and an RBI walk!) Regi Grace and Mike Paredes combined for four innings of relief with just one earned run to win the game for Fort Myers. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson, Wichita Wind Surge Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB, 2B, HR #3 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, R, RBI, 2 K #8 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K #10 – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-5, 3 K #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2 K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K, 2B, HR #18 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, K, 2B #19 – Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (12:05 PM) - RHP Jake Faria Tulsa @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Chris Vallimont Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Fort Myers @ Clearwater (11:00 AM) - RHP Travis Adams
  11. Minor league rosters are fluid, and many of the players below will play at multiple levels during the 2022 campaign. Jose Miranda was the farm system's breakout prospect last season, but many in the organization predicted that improvements were imminent. So, who are some players to follow at each level to start the year? Triple-A: Royce Lewis, SS Minnesota stacked the Triple-A roster with some of the team's top prospects, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, and Jose Miranda. For good reasons, many prospect rankings have dropped Lewis. Baseball America dropped him 53 spots, MLB Pipeline dropped him 29 spots, and Baseball Prospectus took him out of their top-100. Entering the 2022 season, Lewis hadn't seen game action since the 2019 Arizona Fall League. His speed is one of his best tools, and there were questions about how much his knee surgery would impact this skill. Lewis is looking to prove his doubters wrong this season and put his name back into the conversation as one of baseball's best prospects. Double-A: Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Austin Martin, Matt Canterino, and Matt Wallner are all on the Wichita roster, but Woods Richardson is poised to breakout. Toronto and Minnesota were aggressive with Woods Richardson last season as he made 15 appearances at the Double-A level last season as a 20-year-old. He was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he only had four at-bats where he faced a younger batter. He will still be young for Double-A in his first full season in the Twins organization, but now he has had the opportunity to get out some of the kinks. Also, he is in his third organization since the start of the 2018 season. Staying at a level and getting used to a coaching staff can help him thrive in 2022. High-A: Yunior Severino, IF Cedar Rapids has a loaded roster with plenty of players with breakout potential. Aaron Sabato, Cade Povich, and Alerick Soularie will all look to make their mark this season. Severino is looking to have his first professional season with 100+ games, which has the potential to result in some strong numbers. Last season, he raised his OPS from .740 at Low-A to .907 at High-A. In 35 games with Cedar Rapids, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 16 extra-base hits. He struck out 125 times in 98 games, so that will be a number to watch. He ended the year with 29 doubles, and if a few more of those balls make it over the fence, he suddenly looks like a very intriguing prospect. Low-A: Steve Hajjar, SP In Fort Myers, there is a collection of young players with plenty of upside, including Noah Miller, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Keoni Cavaco. Hajjar's college experience means he has the chance to dominate in the lower levels of the minors. He has the potential to move quickly from Low-A to High-A and a chance of reaching Double-A by the season's end. There's no reason to rush him, but the Twins have already helped him make some promising mechanical adjustments. During the 2021 college season, his fastball averaged 90 mph, but the Twins have helped him add a little more velocity. He's also focused on his slider to try and help him improve against left-handed batters. Minnesota has a lot of young pitchers ready to debut this season, but Hajjar is a solid piece to have waiting in the wings for the years ahead. Which of these players is poised to breakout? Do you have other picks? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  12. In 2021, the Wind Surge joined the Twins family of affiliates and had a really strong roster. The team had the league’s best record during the regular season and finished second in the postseason tournament. Several return to Ramon Borrego’s roster from last year, and this should again be a very strong roster. His coaching staff is different, but starting a roster with seven top prospects and some other very intriguing prospects is a great place to start. Here we will introduce you to the 2022 Wichita Wind Surge Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospect on this roster, and there are some great stories as well. COACHING STAFF Manager: Ramon Borrego Hitting Coach: Derek Shomon Pitching Coaches: Pete Larson, Dan Urbina Catcher Coach: Joe Mangiameli PITCHERS RHP Argenis Angulo (28) - signed as free agent this offseason after posting a 7.33 ERA in 43 innings at AAA Las Vegas (A’s). Spent 2014-2020 with the Cleveland organization. RHP Matt Canterino (24) - Twins Daily’s #6 prospect may have the best pure stuff. Healthy after throwing in just five games at Cedar Rapids in 2022. Could move quickly. RHP Steven Cruz (22) - Young. Hits 100 at times. Control questionable at times. Probably a bullpen arm, pitched at Ft. Myers last year and just two games at High-A Cedar Rapids. LHP Zach Featherstone (26) - drafted as a hitter, and then had Tommy John. Came back last year and was strong as Kernels closer. Pitcher in Arizona Fall League in 2021. LHP Kody Funderburk (25) - another college two-way player, Funderburk has spent time as a starter and reliever. RHP Ben Gross (24) - 10th round pick in 2019 from Duke. Graduated from Princeton in three years. Also has a nice three-pitch mix and throws strikes. RHP Steven Klimek (28) - Pitched in Orioles’ system since drafted in 2015. Spent 2021 at AA Bowie. Bullpen depth. RHP Brandon Lawson (27) - Has pitched in Rays, Giants and Astros organizations. Last season at Astros’ AA affiliate in Corpus Christi. Can eat innings. LHP Bryan Sammons (26) - 8th round pick in 2017, Sammons split the 2021 season between Wichita (3-4, 6.44 ERA) and St. Paul (1-3, 6.61 ERA). Very starter with four pitches. RHP Alex Scherff (24) - Came to Twins from Red Sox organization in deadline deal of Hansel Robles. Rehabbed the rest of 2021. Former prospect slowed by injuries. Has a chance. RHP Austin Schulfer (26) - 19th round pick in 2018, he led Twins minor leaguers with 110 innings pitched in 2021, all for Wichita. He went 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA. 105 strikeouts. LHP Evan Sisk (24) - Came to Twins at 2021 deadline in the J.A. Happ / John Gant trade. Lefty reliever pitched in the AFL after the 2021 season. RHP Chris Vallimont (25) - Hard-thrower came to Twins in the Lewin Diaz / Sergio Romo trade in 2019. Struggled to 6.03 ERA in 21 Wichita starts last season, but struck out 130 batters in 91 innings (also 61 walks). Added to Twins 40-man roster after season. RHP Louie Varland (24)- Twins Daily’s #14 prospect was the Twins and Twins Daily’s Minor League Pitcher of the year in 2021 after dominant numbers in Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. St. Paul native struck out 142 batters in 103 innings. RHP Tyler Viza (27) - Signed with Twins just last week. He spent 2013-2019 in Phillies organization, reaching AAA. Last year, started for Independent Kane County before ending season with five starts for AA San Antonio (Padres). RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (21) - Twins Daily’s #8 prospect came to the team in the 2021 deadline deal from Toronto with Austin Martin for Jose Berrios. Hard thrower has a strong repertoire of pitches. Last year was strange, started at AA, went to the Olympics but didn’t pitch, traded, and came to the Twins. Will get a chance to start fresh in 2022. CATCHERS Alex Isola (23) - 29th round pick in 2019, he spent 2021 with the Kernels where he showed a good approach at the plate and some power. Good defensive catcher. Dennis Ortega (24) - Venezuelan backstop joined the Twins this spring after spending 2014-2021 with the Cardinals organization. Reached AAA in 2021 and hit .231 over 57 games. Chris Williams (25) - 8th round pick in 2018 from Clemson, Williams struggled at the season’s start in Cedar Rapids. Moved up to Wichita and produced nine extra base hits in 28 games. INFIELDERS Andrew Bechtold (25) - 5th round pick in 2017, Bechtold broke out with the Wind Surge in 2021. He hit .239/.328/.459 (.786) with 23 doubles and 18 homers. Corner infielder also did work behind the plate and hopes to add that versatility to his game. Michael Helman (25) - 11th round pick in 2018 from Texas A&M. In Cedar Rapids last year, he hit .246/.336/462 (.798) with 21 doubles, four triples and 19 home runs. Went to Arizona Fall League. The infielder also played all three outfield spots (and well) in 2021. Edouard Julien (22) - Twins Daily’s #19 prospect, Julien led minor league baseball in walks in 2021. In Ft. Myers, he showed a great eye and plate discipline while rediscovering base stealing. In Cedar Rapids, he added the power that made him an intriguing draft prospect. Austin Martin (23) - Martin was the #5 overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt. He came to the Twins in the Jose Berrios deal. He played 37 games for the Wind Surge in 2021 and returns in 2022, likely to play some shortstop and see if his offseason work will help him add power to his game. He ranked as the Twins #1 prospect heading into this season. Spencer Steer (24) - The Twins 18th-ranked prospect, Steer busted out with 24 home runs between Cedar Rapids (10) and Wichita (14) in 2021. Able to play three infield positions, Steer is an intriguing prospect heading into 2022. OUTFIELDERS Leobaldo Cabrera (24) - The Twins signed Cabrera last spring out of the Empire League. He was known for a strong arm and some power potential. After getting part-time play in Ft. yers and Cedar Rapids, he moved up to Wichita and hit 11 home runs in 52 games. Still young enough to be intriguing. DaShawn Keirsey (24) - 4th round pick in 2018 from Utah, Keirsey played 45 games in Cedar Rapids in 2021. He had several stints on the Injured List and was unable to get into a flow. However, he had four doubles, four triples and seven home runs. He is a terrific defensive center fielder and incredibly fast and athletic. Here’s to his health in 2022! Cole Sturgeon (30) - former 10th round pick of the Red Sox in 2014, he remained in their organization through 2019. He has played for three independent teams over the past two seasons. The Twins signed him in the offseason and he provides quality depth. Matt Wallner (24) - Another Minnesotan, Wallner in the #12 prospect at Twins Daily heading into the season. He got off to a fast start in Cedar Rapids, but he lost two months with a broken hamate bone. Finished the season with 15 homers in 66 Kernels games. Went to AFL and hit six homers in 18 games. What are your thoughts on this roster? Who will move up quick? Who will jump up the prospect rankings?
  13. When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 5. Steven Hajjar, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55 Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55 Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 3. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup. 1. Jovani Moran, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70 Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Slider Prospects — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects
  14. Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though. Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati. Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs. Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with. At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value. What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  15. While prospects like Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson have long been household names, Brody Rodning may only be known by die-hard Blue Jays prospect followers and the people from Gaylord, MN, Sibley East High School, and Minnesota State, Mankato. However, more people should be talking about the hard-throwing left-handed relief pitching prospect who had 16 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League in 2021. Brody Rodning grew up on a farm, just outside of Gaylord, MN, a town of about 2,300 people southwest of the Twin Cities. A drive to Target Field will take just over an hour (depending on what time you are driving there!). He became a star athlete at Sibley East High School. He was a three-time letter winner in three sports. He was the quarterback on the football team. He was the leading scorer on the basketball team. But it was baseball where he really shined. As a senior, he went 4-2 with a 0.74 ERA. In 38 innings, he struck out 81 batters. Upon graduation, he took the short drive south to pitch at Minnesota State, Mankato, one of the strongest Division II teams in the country. As a freshman in 2015, he went 9-0 with a 2.85 ERA. In 66 1/3 innings, he walked 18 and struck out 65 batters. In his sophomore season, he went 6-2 with a 4.34 ERA. In 74 2/3 innings, he walked 36 and struck out 84 batters. In his junior year, he went 6-4 with a 3.47 ERA. In 70 innings, he had 34 walks and 77 strikeouts. Following his junior season, he was the 13th round draft choice of the Toronto Blue Jays. After one appearance in the Gulf Coast League, he was pushed to the Advanced Rookie League in Vancouver where he went 4-1 with a 4.64 ERA in 33 innings. Rodning spent the 2018 season in the Midwest League. In 35 games, all out of the bullpen, he went 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA. He pitched well for Lansing in 2019, but he only got into seven games due to time on the Injured List. As we all know, 2020 was the Covid pandemic year. There was no minor league season. Rodning was at home, helping on the family farm and playing catch at the local ball field. He reached out to his employer, the Blue Jays, and asked if he could play town ball for the Gaylord Islanders. The Minnesota Baseball Association had to approve it too. They did. He got to work some innings. He got to play in the outfield and even hit for the first time in years. As you would imagine, he was dominant on the mound. And just as nice, he got to play ball for the summer with his brother McKoy. You may recall that the 2021 minor-league season started about a month late due to Covid protocols. However, at the start of the MLB season, Rodning was pitching at the team's alternate site. When their regular season began, he was assigned to Double-A New Hampshire where he went 3-4 with a 5.58 ERA in 32 games. In 40 1/3 innings, he walked 18 and struck out 43 batters. The numbers may not jump out, but when you consider that he had a five-game stretch where he gave up 11 of his 25 earned runs in five games (6 2/3 innings). He was pretty dominant the rest of the season. With the Fisher Cats, Rodning was a teammate of Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson, at least until they were traded to the Twins in the Jose Berrios deal. Both new Twins prospects discussed what a great friend and teammate Rodning is, but they also noted the quality of his stuff on the mound. On Twins Spotlight in November, Wood Richardson said of Rodning, “(He’s a) hard-throwing lefty. Nasty slider. Nasty cutter. Great guy. One of those guys that throws across his body, it’s just so funky that no one can pick it up. His delivery is one of a kind, very unique. Hard-throwing lefty. One of those guys that just will come after you. Don’t care. He’ll just shut the door.” Last week, Martin said of Rodning, “Great teammate. Awesome guy. I talked to him sometime last week. Great teammate. Hard worker. And then facing him is an uncomfortable AB. He’s got a three-quarter slot. His fastball gets on you. He’s got good stuff. He’s a good baseball player.” Rodning told Twins Daily this weekend, “Both of them are great teammates, for sure, both on and off the field. The Twins definitely got two guys that are hungry and ready to grind.” Regarding Martin, Rodning said, “(He) is an incredible athlete and will succeed at any position he plays. He’s a winner, and that’s huge.” On Woods Richardson, Rodney said, “Sim, that man competes at any level he plays and always thinks he’s the best, which is a great characteristic to have. We’ll save the last words for Rodning’s agent, Matt Gaeta of Gaeta Sports Management. “His drive and relentless pursuit to better himself each and every day are contagious and inspiring. He’s been through a lot, on and off the field, but his vision and hunger for success are traits that will make him successful not only on the field but also off of it as well.” Rodning is in Dunedin, Florida, for spring training right now, excited to get the season going, hoping that he’ll be able to pitch at Target Field sometime. Martin and Woods Richardson are both in Ft. Myers, hoping to make Target Field their home field. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. Last week, Simeon Woods Richardson spoke to Twins media about coming to the Twins and the circuitous baseball journey that he hopes and believes will take him to Target Field. The New York Mets drafted Simeon Woods Richardson in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of high school in Sugar Land, Texas. He split the remainder of that season between two Mets rookie-level teams. In 2019, he made 20 starts for their Low-A affiliate and went 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA. However, he had 97 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 78 1/3 innings. He had been promoted to High-A St. Lucie and spent three days in their uniform when he found out that he was traded from the Mets to the Blue Jays organization in a trade for Marcus Stroman. He headed to High-A Dunedin, where he made six more starts in 2019. Still just 18, he held his own. He went 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA. In 28 1/3 innings, he had 29 strikeouts and just seven walks. Then came 2020. The minor league season was lost to the Covid pandemic. While he wasn’t on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays had him spend the summer at the team’s alternate site. While he never was considered for a call-up to the big leagues, he was getting valuable work with older, more veteran players. As strange as the 2020 season was, 2021 might have been even more strange Woods Richardson. Just 20, and with just six High-A starts on his belt, he was pushed up to Double-A New Hampshire for the start of the season. He made 11 starts for the Fisher Cats. He went 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA. However, in his 45 1/3 innings, he struck out 67 batters (13.3 K/9). Unfortunately, after averaging about two walks per nine innings previously, he walked 5.2 per nine in those 11 starts (26 batters). However, at that point, he joined Team USA and headed to Tokyo, Japan, for the Olympics. While he didn’t pitch in a game, he enjoyed the experience and took advantage of the opportunity to be a teammate of several major-league veterans on the roster. Edwin Jackson, David Robertson, Homer Bailey, and John Jay were some MLB veterans on the Team USA roster. “We had a bunch of guys that were at your disposal for knowledge. So I took that time just to be a sponge. I was the youngest player there. Take that time. Be a sponge. Ask questions. Pick their brains. Be on the field with them. See how they operate. See how they move. See how they get ready for their day. Just take from them and learn from them.” Just days after fellow Olympic teammate and part-time roommate Joe Ryan was traded to the Twins while he was in Japan, Simeon Woods Richardson got a late-night (or early morning) phone call too. He recalled last week, “I get a call at like 3:30 in the morning. Something told me to answer it. I'd normally just roll back over and go to sleep and answer it in the morning. Turned out to be the GM for the Blue Jays talking about the trade. So, I had to call the family, make some moves back in the States while in Japan, get my life situated over there, and when we got back, hit the ground running.” He came back to the States, silver medal around his neck, and took some time to pack up in New Hampshire and get to the Wichita Wind Surge, the Twins Double-A affiliate. After reporting, the Twins put him on the Wichita ‘development roster.” Essentially, after not pitching for so long, the Twins could have their coaches work bullpens with him while he was rebuilding arm strength. He came back and made four starts for the Wind Surge before the season’s end. It’s no surprise, but when he was asked last week for his goals for 2022, he responded. “Honestly, the goal this year is fewer walks, more strikeouts definitely. Making it to the big leagues this year is definitely a big goal of mine. Wherever I start out, it’s where you finish, and that’s been my goal ever since I started playing this game. That will never stop being a goal. Mechanically, I know myself better than I did last year, know my game better than I did last year, know everything that I can do to help the team win. That’s kind of the goals for this year.” While he is engaging, personable, and fun-loving off the mound, he finds a different tone when pitching. “Competitive. Aggressive. Four-plus pitches and can throw them at any time in the count. Just aggressive. Competitor. Fast tempo.” And, that last point is exciting. His average time between pitches has been about 15 seconds. In recent years, the fastest workers in the big leagues have come in at 20 seconds. It’s great for the pace of play, but it’s also great to keep his fielders on their toes. Away from the baseball field, Woods Richardson has an excellent perspective. As with most good advice we get in our lives, it comes from our moms. He said, “My mom told me this at a young age. ‘Baseball is a big part of your life, but it’s not you.’ It clicked for me.” For Simeon, those non-baseball interests include, “I love cooking. I love drawing. I love driving around seeing countryside hills. I love traveling.” What does he cook? "Depends what you want, man. If you want some really good Asian food, some barbecue, Italian, Mexican, street food, it just depends, man. Just depends." As for travel, he and his girlfriend made trips to Mexico, Las Vegas, and then to Disney World. As much as he enjoyed that time in the offseason, he’s excited to be back to work. He reported to Ft. Myers for the team’s pitching camps in mid-January and went right to work. “It was mainly mechanics, cleaning up some stuff from last year, seeing if I could get everything in the zone, cleaning up swing-and-miss stuff, just cleaning up little stuff for the season. It helped tremendously. I’m glad I went to that camp because I do see progress. I do see me going in the right direction, and we’re only going up from here, so I’m glad to go in there and get some early work, get some feedback from those guys, some good one-on-one time.”: What kind of feedback has he heard from teammates after bullpens or Live BP sessions? “Pretty much everybody’s telling me it’s hard to pick up some certain things, which is great on my end because I’ve really been working on that. Mechanically I’ve been working on a bunch of stuff, watching video, watching film, watching everything. It’s starting to all click again, so I’m pretty happy.” As for joining a second new team, Woods Richardson has the personality to thrive. “You go to the new team, and you’re pretty much telling your whole life story over again to a different set of guys. You’re describing yourself pretty much all over again.” And, after what can only be described as an interesting baseball journey, Simeon Woods Richardson looks forward to a sense of normalcy, as all baseball fans do. After the trades, the pandemic, the Olympics, and other obstacles, he remains focused on that ultimate goal of pitching - and pitching well - in the big leagues. What are your hopes for Simeon Woods Richardson in 2022 and going forward with the Twins? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — More Twins Daily content on Simeon Woods Richardson.
  17. As Nick referenced, prospects like Royce Lewis are getting the raw deal to start 2022. Players on the 40-man roster have been locked out by the MLB, including Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, Josh Winder, and Jose Miranda. These players will have to continue training on their own until MLB lifts the lockout, which can be a challenge since many had to work on their own during the 2020 campaign. By all accounts, the lockout won't impact the start of the minor league season. In fact, Triple-A teams recently announced an increase in games from 120 to 150. Minnesota's Double- and Triple-A affiliates are both scheduled to start their season in the first full week of April. Each of the players below will figure significantly into the Saints or Wind Surge roster, and they have something to prove at the start of 2022. Austin Martin, SS/OF Martin is widely considered Minnesota's top prospect as he is the organization's highest-ranking prospect on national top-100 lists. One of Martin's most significant concerns during his professional career has been his lack of power. In college, he destroyed the ball with a 1.007 OPS, but that total has dropped by over 200 points since turning pro. Last season, he changed his swing and dealt with a hand/wrist injury, decreasing power for up to 12 months. Minnesota's coaching staff can continue to work with Martin on his swing adjustments to bring back some of his missing power. With Lewis and Miranda not available, he will be the star attraction at Triple-A. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Woods Richardson was pushed to Double-A last season as a 20-year-old, and he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 15 appearances, so there is room for improvement. His appearances were limited because he also was a member of Team USA in the Olympics, but he never made an appearance in Tokyo. A delayed start to the season allows Minnesota's coaching staff more time to work with Woods Richardson since he is a newer addition to the organization. Now entering his age-22 campaign, he will get a second shot at Double-A to prove that his 2021 numbers were just a blip on the radar. Matt Canterino, RHP Like many of Minnesota's top pitching prospects, questions surround Canterino and his health after some positive signs in 2021. Draft picks from Rice, where Canterino attended college, have a history of arm injuries due to overuse in college. His stock rose significantly last season after spending the 2020 campaign improving his changeup to go along with his dominant fastball. Last season, he was limited to 23 innings, and he has yet to pitch more than 100 innings in one collegiate or professional season. Canterino needs to prove his injury concerns are behind him, so he can start building up his innings total. Minnesota needs starting pitchers, and the delay may allow Canterino to solidify his place in the team's long-term plans. Which prospect do you feel benefits the most if MLB's season is delayed? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. Matt Canterino was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2019 draft, out of Rice University. In a similar fashion to other drafted in 2019, his organizational visibility was limited early, due to the shortened 2020. None of that slowed Canterino, however, as he showed significant advancements in his repertoire, velocity, and approach after joining the Twins alternate site at the end of the 2020 season. Age: 24 (DOB: 12/14/1997) 2021 Stats (A and A+): 23 IP, 0.78 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 45 K, 4 BB ETA: 2023 2021 Ranking: 9 National Top 100 Rankings: BA: NR MLB: NR ATH: NR BP: NR What’s to Like? Off the mound, Matt Canterino is a friendly, likable player who is always generous with his time, thoughts, and perspective. On the mound, he’s an apex predator, pacing and stalking around the mound with the level of intent he brings to his pitches. Canterino has a true four-pitch mix, beginning with a blazing fastball. At Rice, this sat in the low 90s, but he sits comfortably in the upper 90s with it now (reaching 99 mph). The other pitch which has developed into a significant weapon since he turned professional is his changeup, which has developed excellent tumble and is a plus pitch against hitters on both sides of the plate. Canterino also offers a deep curveball which sits in the high 70s/low 80s and a hard slider, which is his best breaking pitch. Canterino also has excellent control, (despite unusual, herky-jerky looking mechanics), walking just four hitters in 23 innings pitched in 2021 and dominating two levels of minor league baseball in the process. What’s Left to Work On? Not much, in terms of his pitch mix or approach. Canterino now carries a 60-grade fastball to go with a 55-grade changeup and 55-grade slider, with 55-grade control. There’s really only one orange flag in his young career. Health. Canterino missed the majority of 2021 with elbow injuries. Additionally, his collegiate career was spent at Rice, a program notorious for being reckless with young arms. Canterino could not have had a more dominant start to his professional career, but the combination of a shortened season in 2020 and injuries in 2021 mean he has not pitched more than 25 innings in a season in his career to date. If he can remain healthy, he has middle to top of the rotation upside as a starting pitcher. Make no mistake, a healthy Matt Canterino in 2022 should be a dominant force in the minor leagues if his short track record is any indicator. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP #7: Jhoan Duran
  19. But while Simeon Woods Richardson was billed as one of the building blocks for the future of Twins baseball, the luster of his prospect-dom dulled a little after struggling during his four appearances with the Double-A Wichita Wind Surge. Despite this, the 21-year-old still ranks among the team’s most promising pitching prospects and comes in at No. 8 in Twins Daily’s preseason rankings. Age: 21 (DOB: 9/27/00) 2021 Stats (Double-A): 53 1/3 IP, 5.91 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 77 K, 34 BB ETA: 2023 2021 Ranking: NR National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: NR | ATH: NR | BP: NR What's to Like In many respects, Woods Richardson’s scouting report is fairly straightforward. He owns a traditional three-pitch mix, consisting of a fastball, curve, and changeup, with all three offerings having plus potential. His fastball sits in the low-90s but can reach 94-95 mph every now and then; the curveball, his most inconsistent pitch in terms of quality, can make hitters look foolish when on; and his changeup features significant tailing action and is probably his best pitch overall at the moment. Woods Richardson has never struggled to rack up strikeout numbers — he has 229 in 177 1/3 minor league innings — and it’s difficult to see that changing as he makes his way to the Majors. His raw stuff is among the best in the system and alone warrants his top 10 prospect ranking. Add in his age and athletic build, and there are few pitchers in the Twins’ farm system that possess a grander upside. What's Left to Work On However, his weaknesses are just as glaring as his strengths. Woods Richardson has never had great command despite owning respectable walk rates prior to the 2021 season. However, his BB/9 jumped from around two per nine innings during his first two minor league seasons to 5.16 while a member of the Blue Jays and a putrid 9.00 after being shipped to the Twins. (He posted a 77:34 KK/BB ratio in 53 ⅓ innings overall last season, though it should be mentioned 16 of his walks came across three particularly bad starts.) His struggles just prior and following his acquisition were likely the result of multiple factors. For starters, Woods Richardson missed approximately six weeks of action during the middle of the season as he was competing as a member of Team USA during the 2020 Olympics (he did not make a single appearance during the Games). Additionally, Woods Richardson, as was the case with most minor leaguers, did not pitch during games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which likely impacted his endurance in a negative fashion. But perhaps the most important factor of them all is his mechanics. Woods Richardson’s windup and arm motion mirror that of fellow Twins prospect Jordan Balazovic — who, perhaps coincidentally, also struggles with command at times — in that they extend their arm fully and drop the ball well below their respective belt lines during the stride phase of their delivery. They get a good push off from the legs and produce a great amount of force by tucking their glove hand powerfully under the armpit, rotating the torso powerfully. In and of itself, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the foundation of Woods Richardson’s mechanics, however, it isn’t very compact being composed of many moving parts and long levers. The larger the pitching motion, the more unlikely it is to repeat consistently and the more likely it is for minor blemishes to cause large effects. Tightening up his motion ever so slightly may result in improved command and, thus, decreased walks for the Twins prospect. What's Next The Twins pitching staff will doubtless work with Woods Richardson to improve his command and overall performance, picking and prodding until the results manifest. After all, he is still years away from arriving in Minneapolis despite reaching Double-A before being allowed to drink legally. In all likelihood he will spend the majority of the 2022 in Wichita with the Wind Surge. Woods Richardson has all of the talent to land as a Number 2 or 3 starter at the MLB level, it all just depends on his command. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP #7: Coming Soon MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
  20. Finding solid relief pitching can be a challenging task for an organization. Relievers can burn bright for short periods and then burn out quickly. Many of the best relievers in Twins history were pitching prospects that were unsuccessful as starters, including Glen Perkins, Joe Nathan, and Taylor Rogers. The pitchers listed below are still considered starting pitchers, but their eventual development path may shift them to a bullpen role. Jhoan Duran Seth's Top-30 Pitcher Ranking: 8 Minnesota originally acquired Duran as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade. Since then, he has become one of the most exciting pitching prospects to come through the Twins farm system in quite some time. His electric fastball has been clocked at over 100 mph, even if the gun was a little hot. His off-speed offerings include a slider and a famous "splinker." With at least three big-league pitches, it's easy to imagine him sticking as a starter, but injuries impacted his 2021 season. Last season, he started the year on the IL with forearm/elbow issues, which can cause lingering problems. Duran was limited to 16 innings pitched with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP. He flashed some electric stuff and struck out more than a batter per inning. After five appearances, he was placed back in the IL and shut down for the year. Luckily, he avoided surgery, but the bullpen may offer him a way to stay healthy and provide value with his dominant pitch mix. Even Baseball America thinks Duran will be in the bullpen by 2025. Simeon Woods Richardson Seth's Top-30 Pitcher Ranking: 4 Woods Richardson has been part of two different blockbuster trades before his 21st birthday. At last year's trade deadline, the Twins acquired him along with Austin Martin for José Berríos. Both the Blue Jays and the Twins were aggressive with Woods Richardson last season as he pitched the entire season at Double-A, where he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition. Across 15 starts (53 1/3 innings), he posted a 5.91 ERA with a 1.54 WHIP and a 77 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio. Currently, he utilizes a four-pitch mix, and he can add more velocity as he adds to his frame. He will likely repeat Double-A next season, where he will still be young for the level. Minnesota will give him every opportunity to make it as a starting pitcher, and a move to the bullpen would be multiple years into the future. However, his fastball and changeup are above average pitches that could translate to him becoming a dominant late-inning reliever. Cole Sands Seth's Top-30 Pitcher Ranking: 13 Sands was an intriguing pick when the Twins took him with a fifth-round pick back in 2018. He had posted a 4.73 ERA in three seasons in college, but he had projectability. Now, he has turned both of his offspeed offerings into plus pitches, and his fastball velocity has increased. Last season at Double-A, he posted a 2.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 80 innings. These improvements point to his potential to stick as a starter, but a shift to the bullpen may also be on the table. He has yet to pitch more than 98 innings in a season throughout his professional career. If he is going to stick as a starter, he will have to increase his workload in the years ahead. Another issue was his walk rate more than doubled from 1.8 BB/9 in 2019 to 3.9 BB/9 in 2021. He's dealt with some arm problems in the past, so a shift to the bullpen may give him a better opportunity to impact the big-league roster. Which pitching prospect is destined for a bullpen role? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. What is very exciting is that these five pitchers, along with the pitchers in the 6-10 ranking range, and even a couple in the 11-15 range, have a real chance to be impact big league starters. The other thing to note is that the organization's top prospect lists have shifted quite significantly even from last year. While hitters such as Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon and Ben Rortvedt lost their prospect status, the Twins have developed many intriguing, exciting pitching prospects. Obviously what matters most is what they are able to do in the big leagues, but there is a stable of pitchers that Twins fans should be very excited about. Let's get started on my Top 5 Twins Pitching Prospects. #5 - RHP Josh Winder 2021 STATS: 4-0, 2.63 ERA, 14/14 G/GS, 0.94 WHIP, 80/13 K/BB, 72.0 IP The Twins drafted Josh Winder out of Virginia Military Institute in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. He went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts at Elizabethton that summer. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts. Like so many others, he missed the 2020 season, but when he came to Instructional League, he made a prospect name for himself. Instead of sitting 91-92 with the fastball, he was now hitting 95-97 consistently. In addition, he has a good slider and a changeup. In 2021, he received a call to be a part of the Twins depth camp for spring training. He skipped High-A and began the season as Wichita’s opening day starter. He dominated Double-A. In 10 starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, he struck out 65 batters while striking out just ten. He moved up to St. Paul and in his first Triple-A start, he started with five no-hit innings. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in the Futures Game in Denver. He made just four starts for the Saints due to a shoulder impingement and missed the remainder of the season. Winder is intriguing because of his fastball, his control of all of his pitches, and his work ethic is second to none. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster and when spring training starts, he should be given a real shot to make the opening day roster. That said, he is most likely to spend some more time in St. Paul. He will be 25 years old throughout the 2022 season. #4 - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 2021 STATS: 1-1, 6.75 ERA, 4/3 G/GS, 1.75 WHIP, 10/8 K/BB, 8.0 IP Simeon Woods Richardson joined the Twins organization in July when the Twins acquired him from the Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios deal. It was the second time the 21-year-old prospect was traded. After being drafted out of his Sugar Land, Texas, high school in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft, he was traded in 2019 to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal. He has always been very young for the level in which he plays, but at Double-A in 2021, he was nearly five years younger than average. The numbers showed it as he posted a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts in New Hampshire before the trade. Now, he did have 67 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings. He also walked 26 batters. Control was something that eluded him in 2021, though it really hadn’t previously. When the Twins acquired him, he was a teammate of Joe Ryan on Team USA in the Olympics. Woods Richardson has a big fastball in the mid-90s as part of a solid four-pitch mix. Again, control will be the key. He will pitch the 2022 season at age 21. With his struggles in 2021, and his youth, he should spend much of the season in Wichita. #3 - RHP Jordan Balazovic 2021 STATS: 5-4, 3.62 ERA, 20/20 G/GS, 1.40 WHIP, 102/38 K/BB, 97.0 IP The Twins 2016 draft has proven pretty impressive to this point. The Twins started with five straight high school hitters. In the fifth round, they took Jordan Balazovic out of secondary school in Ontario. He has had ups and downs since signing with the Twins, but when healthy, he has generally been very good. He has also really developed as a starting pitcher. He now has a fastball that sits 93-95 and touches 97 at times. He has four pitches that all can be average or better big-league pitches. He has typically shown good control. He didn’t pitch in 2020, although he spent the last several weeks in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. Following the season, he was added to the 40-man roster. He came to big-league camp for spring training in 2021, but he began the season on the Injured List with an oblique injury. However, he still made 20 starts and reached a career-high 97 innings, all in Double-A Wichita. He was much more inconsistent throughout the season than normal. He had a good start, then struggled a bit. Then he dominated, pitching 25 consecutive scoreless innings. He followed that with struggles again, but he ended the season strong, and most important healthy. Balazovic should spend most of the 2022 season in Triple-A St. Paul, but I would expect him to make his MLB debut in 2022. He won’t turn 24 until mid-September. #2 - RHP Joe Ryan 2021 MiLB STATS: 0-0, 2.00 ERA, 2/2 G/GS, 0.78 WHIP, 17/2 K/BB, 9.0 IP 2021 MLB STATS: 2-1, 4.05 ERA, 5/5 G/GS, 0.79 WHIP, 30/5 K/BB, 26.2 IP Fair to say that Joe Ryan made a strong first impression with the Twins. Then again, he has been impressing since he was young. The Twins wanted to sign him after he went undrafted following an injury-filled junior season. He bet on himself, went to Cal State-Stanislaus, pitched great and the Rays took him as a senior sign in the 7th round of the 2018 draft. He has been really good since joining the Rays, and in 2020, he was pitching at the alternate site. He was pitching well for Triple-A Durham to start this season and then headed to the Olympics with Team USA (the team won both games he started). While across the ocean, he learned that he had been traded to the Twins with Drew Strotman in the Nelson Cruz deal. Upon his return to the States, Ryan made two unbelievable starts with the Saints (Strotman’s story about that in Monday’s Twins Spotlight is hilarious!) before joining the Twins. Then he came up to the Twins and was again impressive. A few more home runs than you might want, but he showed great poise and an ability to miss bats. As Strotman said of Ryan, you may not know why you can’t hit him, but they don’t hit him. Ryan sits with a fastball that averages right around 90 mph. He can occasionally touch 94 with the fastball, but since he releases the ball low and can spot the pitch and be successful up in the strike zone, it is hard to hit. He will throw a high percentage of fastballs, but we also saw some really good change ups and sliders, and he really tunnels the ball with all three pitches very well. Ryan should spend the full 2022 season with the Twins. He won’t turn 26 until May. I think Twins fans can look forward to The Joe Ryan Experience for years to come. #1 - RHP Matt Canterino 2021 STATS: 1-0, 0.78 ERA, 6/6 G/GS, 0.61 WHIP, 45/4 K/BB, 23.0 IP I am guessing that this ranking of Matt Canterino as my choice for the Twins top pitching prospect will come as a surprise to some. However, if not for the elbow concerns that caused him to only throw 23 game innings in 2021, I don’t think people would be surprised. They’re certainly legitimate concerns, for sure. However, when it comes to pure ‘stuff,’ Canterino’s is electric. He’s got a big fastball, sitting 94-96 with his fastball as a starter, touching 97. He’s got the slider that can make hitters look silly. He’s got a slower curveball. And he’s got a good changeup. He’s also got really good makeup, work ethic and energy, some of the intangibles you are looking for in a top-of-rotation option. Canterino was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2019 out of Rice where he was a three-year starter and averaged about 97 innings each season. He did spend some time at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul late in 2020. If healthy, Canterino could move quickly. After his absolute domination in Cedar Rapids for the first month of the season (43 strikeouts in 21 innings!), I would expect he will start his season at Double-A Wichita and have a chance to move up to St. Paul fairly quickly. Now, innings will be a concern at some point, and if that happens, he could certainly work out of the bullpen as the season ends. The goal should continue to be to have him start, but obviously this kind of arm is very valuable and needs to be taken care of. He will be 24 throughout the 2022 season. Discuss... I’m sure that not everyone will agree with my rankings 100% I certainly wouldn’t expect that. I hope that I was able to make my case. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there are a lot of pitchers in this system that have upside to become a playoff-caliber starting pitcher, and that’s exciting. It’s important to have some, but the fact that they have several should give hope that one to three of them will become just that while others will become mid-or-back end starters or even relievers. That’s just how pitching prospects work. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. . Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
  22. When he blew up, Miranda was outside the top 15 on virtually all Twins prospect lists and barely within the top 30 on others. It’s a bit rare that a meteoric rise occurs, but there are prospects all over the Minnesota system capable of notable 2022 seasons. While their situations may differ, the talent taking over once the games get going seems like a pretty good bet. Royce Lewis Now 22-years-old and playing for the first time in two years, the time has certainly gotten the better part of the former number one overall pick. We last saw Lewis in the Arizona Fall League at the end of 2019, and he tore up the competition. After a disappointing season that resulted in just a .661 OPS between High-A and Double-A, that was nice to see. The leg kick and swing path have been highly discussed, as has his case to stick at shortstop or move into the outfield. Regardless of the talking points, it will be nice to see the Twins top prospect back on the field, and I’d bet on his maturity and talent taking over. Give me a focused Lewis producing in a big way this season to remind pundits why he was raved about for so long. Simeon Woods-Richardson The second piece brought to the Twins in their swap of Jose Berrios, Woods-Richardson was well regarded and a popular trade target. He posted just a 5.91 ERA in 2021 and gave up six earned runs in eight innings within Minnesota’s system. It certainly wasn’t a great debut, but plenty was going against him following the trade. He played for Team USA in the Olympics, but played should be used loosely as he never made an appearance. Shutting down his workload in the middle of a season for that long created a significant road back and ultimately created a less-than-ideal situation. He’s talented and has been ranked highly because of it. The strikeout stuff should be expected to return in 2022, and seeing Woods-Richardson dominate en route to a Major League Debut would be far from unexpected. Misael Urbina Playing in his age-20 season for 2022, Urbina was stateside for the first time in 2021. He posted just a .585 OPS in the Complex League, but the 82/54 K/BB rate is where things get exciting. It’s clear he has a strong sense of plate discipline, and with another year of training as he grows into his body, Urbina’s ceiling continues to be worthy of dreaming on. There’s a substantial speed and power combination here, and playing centerfield is something he looks natural doing. I’d be far from shocked in the upcoming year, isn’t his coming out party. Spencer Steer If you haven’t been keeping tabs on Steer, it’s been time for a while. A third-round pick in 2019, Steer has posted OPS numbers north of .800 each of the past two seasons. Last year he blew up for 24 homers and posted a .409 OBP at High-A Cedar Rapids. Steer is now 24 and likely not going to be a Major League All-Star, but he has shown the makings of a solid regular. Utilizing the 2021 season, Steer could make his start at Double-A in 2022 a short one and be knocking on the door from St. Paul. Kala’i Rosario A fifth-round pick in 2020, Rosario didn’t get his opportunity to make a pro debut until last season due to Covid. However, he didn’t disappoint and posted a .793 OPS as an 18-year-old in the Complex League. His five homers in just 188 at-bats were nice to see, and there’s plenty of room for the plate discipline to take a step forward. Rosario is a corner outfielder, and his calling card will never be defense, so the bat needs to play, but the exciting part is that it looks the part so early. Getting into full-season ball this year, I’d be far-from-shocked if Rosario doesn’t immediately turn heads and see two promotions over the course of the year. What other prospects do you see worthy of keeping a particularly close eye on this season? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  23. Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  25. Current Starting Pitchers: Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober, Joe Ryan, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe Two young pitchers and three pitchers that struggled last season isn't the recipe needed for a last-place team trying to rebound. Bundy certainly has some intrigue, especially when looking back to his 2020 season. If the Twins can work with his pitch mix, he may improve enough to be a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. He's the most veteran pitcher on the staff, so there is a possibility the team adds other arms before Opening Day. Ober and Ryan were terrific during their first taste of the big leagues. Many were surprised by Ober's ability to pound the strike zone and work quickly. Ryan's unique fastball made it challenging for hitters to adjust, and he looks to be part of the team's long-term plans. Expectations need to be tempered with both pitchers because there will likely be some growing pains during their sophomore seasons. Last winter, Minnesota signed Dobnak to a unique extension, and then he proceeded to have his worst professional season. The Twins tried to use him in the bullpen to start the year, which was just the start of his season-long issues. Thorpe was limited to less than 40 innings last year, and he struggled at multiple levels. He's out of minor-league options, so he will have to earn a rotation spot this spring, or the team can try him in a bullpen role. 40-Man Roster Options Many of Minnesota's top pitching prospects are scheduled to spend time at Triple-A, and that might be one reason the club didn't spend big money on free agent pitching this winter. Top prospects Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Josh Winder, and Cole Sands are all on the 40-man roster and project to spend time in St. Paul. All four of these arms ranked in the team's top-20 prospects in the second half of the season. Griffin Jax has big-league experience, making him a depth option if some of the top prospects aren't ready. Minnesota acquired Drew Strotman and Ryan as part of the Nelson Cruz trade. One of the reasons the Twins acquired him was because he is close to big-league ready. Other players on the 40-man roster include Chris Vallimont and Blayne Enlow. Vallimont posted a 6.03 ERA in 21 Double-A starts last season, so it seems likely for him to get a repeat trip with Wichita. In June, Blayne Enlow underwent Tommy John surgery, so he won't be back into game action until later this summer. This winter, Minnesota had a tough decision regarding adding Enlow to the 40-man roster, but he can eventually be moved to the 60-day IL to open an additional roster spot. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's starting pitching depth. Minnesota has multiple starting pitching options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. At Triple-A, there are multiple players with big-league experience. Jake Faria received a non-roster invite when Minnesota signed him at the beginning of December. Devin Smeltzer was removed from the 40-man roster after injuries limited him to one appearance in 2021. Charlie Barnes posted a 3.79 ERA with a 1.28 in 16 Triple-A starts. Bryan Sammons and Austin Schulfer are both Rule 5 eligible but can slot into roles with St. Paul if they stay in the organization. Some of the team's other top-pitching prospects are penciled in for Double-A. Minnesota acquired Simeon Woods Richardson as part of the Jose Berrios trade. As a 20-year-old, he spent all of 2021 at Double-A and played in the Olympics. The Twins selected Matt Canterino in the second round back in 2019, but he was limited to six starts last season because of an elbow strain. Louie Varland finished the year at High-A, and he will be looking to build off his breakout 2021 season. There are some other names to watch in the minor's lower levels. Much of the organization's 2019 draft class projects to be at High-A, including Cody Laweryson, Sean Mooney, and Sawyer Gipson-Long. Laweryson was young for Cedar Rapids last season, and he posted a 3.86 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. In 13 starts, Mooney posted a 2.79 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP. Gipson-Long struck out over 12 batters per nine innings at Low- and High-A in 2021. Steve Hajjar and Cade Povich were top-100 draft picks in 2021. Hajjar was one of the Big Ten's best pitchers in 2021, and that's why the Twins took him with the 61st pick. He has yet to make his professional debut. Povich dominated in his four starts after being drafted as he allowed one earned run and struck out more than 17 batters per nine innings. Their college experience can help to make them fast risers next season. Marco Raya and Chase Petty are two young pitchers to watch with the FCL Twins. Minnesota drafted Raya in the 4th round back in 2020 out of high school in Texas. Petty was the Twins 2021 first-round pick out of high school in New Jersey. Raya has yet to make a professional appearance, and Petty made two appearances after signing last year. Besides the names mentioned here, many other pitchers at each level can impact the upcoming season. Overall, Minnesota's current starting rotation doesn't look built for a playoff run, but 2022 may be set up for the young pitching core to debut. What do you think about the organization's starting pitching depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop — Center Field — Corner Outfield
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