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  1. After his recent promotion following a good showing with Fort Myers, John Stankiewicz continued to deal for the Cedar Rapids Kernels and put up a strong debut. Noah Miller recorded a four-hit night for Fort Myers, and the farm system saw a three victory sweep. Transactions: OF Cole Sturgeon promoted from Double-A Wichita to Triple-A St. Paul INF Ernie Yake promoted from Single-A Fort Myers to Triple-A St. Paul OF Jake Cave placed on temporary inactive list (paternity leave) SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Iowa 3 Box Score It was Chi Chi Gonzalez making the start tonight for St. Paul and he turned in five innings of three-run ball. Avoiding extra damage while giving up nine hits, Gonzalez walked just one and fanned two. Iowa took an early lead with a run in the third inning, and then they added single tallies in the 4th and 5th innings as well. As the game got late, the Saints came alive. Jermaine Palacios opened the scoring for the good guys in the 7th inning. A ground out to third base scored Mark Contreras and the Saints made their way into the run column. Jose Godoy then singled to drive in Elliot Soto and drew the home team within one. Still trailing by one in the 8th inning, Curtis Terry ripped his 8th double of the season to score Royce Lewis and knot the game at three. With the bases loaded, Soto brought everyone home on his first triple of the season and the 6-3 lead would hold through the final frame. Contreras and Godoy were the lone hitters with multi-hit evenings. Alex Kirilloff may have been playing in his final rehab game, and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Daniel Gossett was amazing in relief working three innings of no-hit baseball while punching out four and walking just one. WIND SURGE WISDOM Postponed For the third straight night Wichita saw the matchup with the Varland brothers be postponed. Now set to face off for a doubleheader on Friday, the hope would be that Mother Nature finally cooperates. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Quad Cities 3 Box Score Sean Mooney took the ball to start this one and worked three innings while giving up three unearned runs. He walked and struck out four batters apiece. Recently promoted John Stankiewicz came on in relief and was dominant. Pitching five scoreless, Stankiewicz gave up just a single hit and no walks while striking out seven. Quad Cities plated a first inning run to take the lead, but Cedar Rapids had a quick answer. Seth Gray drove in Christian Encarnacion-Strand with a single and the score was even after one. The Kernels then jumped ahead in the second with Wander Javier scoring on a fielding error. Battling back from a two-run third inning that put the River Bandits back on top, Cedar Rapids plated a pair of their own on an Aaron Sabato ground out and another error. With just a one-run lead after the third inning, Sabato gave the Kernels more breathing room when he blasted a solo shot to left field for his third dinger of the season. Anthony Prato contributed two hits out of the leadoff spot tonight, and he was joined by both Sabato and Gray. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 7, Lakeland 6 Box Score Fort Myers gave the ball to Travis Adams tonight and he turned in a solid performance allowing just two runs on three hits over five innings. Adams recorded four strikeouts and walked none. The Mighty Mussels scored the first run of the evening on a Noah Cardenas ground out. A throwing error by Lakeland allowed Noah Miller to scamper home. After getting behind in the 2nd inning, Emmanuel Rodriguez ripped a single in the third inning allowing Jake Rucker to score. Stretching the lead further, Keoni Cavaco roped a 4th inning double driving in Kyle Schmidt before Mikey Perez homered in the 6th inning plating Kala’i Rosario on the two-run shot. Lakeland drew back within two on a homer of their own, but Schmidt erased it scoring Rodriguez on a 7th inning sacrifice fly. The game got way too dicey when the Flying Tigers tied things in the 8th inning, and neither team could push across a run in the 9th. Utilizing the runner on second in the 10th inning, Rosario ripped his second double of the season to score Cavaco and give Fort Myers the lead they’d need to hold onto. Fort Myers tallied 11 hits on the evening and Noah Miller accounted for four of them going 4-for-4. Rosario was the only other batter to join him with a multi-hit effort. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – John Stankiewicz (Cedar Rapids) - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 4-4, R, BB, 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) - 1-3, R, BB, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesotal) - 1-3, K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-4, R, BB, 2B #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-2, R, RBI, 3 BB FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (6:37PM CST) - RHP Jacob Faria Tulsa @ Wichita (5:05PM CST) Game 2 TBD - RHP Louie Varland/RHP Matt Canterino Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl 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. View full article
  2. Transactions: OF Cole Sturgeon promoted from Double-A Wichita to Triple-A St. Paul INF Ernie Yake promoted from Single-A Fort Myers to Triple-A St. Paul OF Jake Cave placed on temporary inactive list (paternity leave) SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Iowa 3 Box Score It was Chi Chi Gonzalez making the start tonight for St. Paul and he turned in five innings of three-run ball. Avoiding extra damage while giving up nine hits, Gonzalez walked just one and fanned two. Iowa took an early lead with a run in the third inning, and then they added single tallies in the 4th and 5th innings as well. As the game got late, the Saints came alive. Jermaine Palacios opened the scoring for the good guys in the 7th inning. A ground out to third base scored Mark Contreras and the Saints made their way into the run column. Jose Godoy then singled to drive in Elliot Soto and drew the home team within one. Still trailing by one in the 8th inning, Curtis Terry ripped his 8th double of the season to score Royce Lewis and knot the game at three. With the bases loaded, Soto brought everyone home on his first triple of the season and the 6-3 lead would hold through the final frame. Contreras and Godoy were the lone hitters with multi-hit evenings. Alex Kirilloff may have been playing in his final rehab game, and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Daniel Gossett was amazing in relief working three innings of no-hit baseball while punching out four and walking just one. WIND SURGE WISDOM Postponed For the third straight night Wichita saw the matchup with the Varland brothers be postponed. Now set to face off for a doubleheader on Friday, the hope would be that Mother Nature finally cooperates. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Quad Cities 3 Box Score Sean Mooney took the ball to start this one and worked three innings while giving up three unearned runs. He walked and struck out four batters apiece. Recently promoted John Stankiewicz came on in relief and was dominant. Pitching five scoreless, Stankiewicz gave up just a single hit and no walks while striking out seven. Quad Cities plated a first inning run to take the lead, but Cedar Rapids had a quick answer. Seth Gray drove in Christian Encarnacion-Strand with a single and the score was even after one. The Kernels then jumped ahead in the second with Wander Javier scoring on a fielding error. Battling back from a two-run third inning that put the River Bandits back on top, Cedar Rapids plated a pair of their own on an Aaron Sabato ground out and another error. With just a one-run lead after the third inning, Sabato gave the Kernels more breathing room when he blasted a solo shot to left field for his third dinger of the season. Anthony Prato contributed two hits out of the leadoff spot tonight, and he was joined by both Sabato and Gray. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 7, Lakeland 6 Box Score Fort Myers gave the ball to Travis Adams tonight and he turned in a solid performance allowing just two runs on three hits over five innings. Adams recorded four strikeouts and walked none. The Mighty Mussels scored the first run of the evening on a Noah Cardenas ground out. A throwing error by Lakeland allowed Noah Miller to scamper home. After getting behind in the 2nd inning, Emmanuel Rodriguez ripped a single in the third inning allowing Jake Rucker to score. Stretching the lead further, Keoni Cavaco roped a 4th inning double driving in Kyle Schmidt before Mikey Perez homered in the 6th inning plating Kala’i Rosario on the two-run shot. Lakeland drew back within two on a homer of their own, but Schmidt erased it scoring Rodriguez on a 7th inning sacrifice fly. The game got way too dicey when the Flying Tigers tied things in the 8th inning, and neither team could push across a run in the 9th. Utilizing the runner on second in the 10th inning, Rosario ripped his second double of the season to score Cavaco and give Fort Myers the lead they’d need to hold onto. Fort Myers tallied 11 hits on the evening and Noah Miller accounted for four of them going 4-for-4. Rosario was the only other batter to join him with a multi-hit effort. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – John Stankiewicz (Cedar Rapids) - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 4-4, R, BB, 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) - 1-3, R, BB, K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesotal) - 1-3, K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-4, R, BB, 2B #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-2, R, RBI, 3 BB FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (6:37PM CST) - RHP Jacob Faria Tulsa @ Wichita (5:05PM CST) Game 2 TBD - RHP Louie Varland/RHP Matt Canterino Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl 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.
  3. The Twins were able to avoid a rainout being in Tampa (in large part due to Tropicana Field being a dome), but the same could not be said for the Saints and Mighty Mussels as one game was postponed and the other suspended due to rain. The Wind Surge and Kernels did not have weather stop their games today and the teams had opposite results for their games on Sunday. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced Sunday morning that pitchers Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic were assigned to Low-A affiliate Fort Myers for rehab assignments and are available to pitch Sunday. In addition, Marco Raya was activated by Ft. Myers. he is scheduled to start on Tuesday. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul and Nashville were postponed due to Weather. The Saints were unable to play their series finale against the Nashville Sounds on Sunday due to wet grounds at CHS Field. The makeup game has yet to be rescheduled for a later date. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Arkansas 3 Box Score SP: Chris Vallimont - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K HR: Cole Sturgeon (3), Alex Isola (3) Multi-hit games: Isola (3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) The Wind Surge completed their series victory over the Travelers Sunday afternoon in a 4-3 victory that gave the Wind Surge a 5-1 series win. Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his fifth start of the season for the Wind Surge. Vallimont had a strong first inning but struggled in the second and third giving up two runs in the second on a bases-clearing double by Travelers catcher Jake Anchia. Vallimont allowed the Travelers third and final run to score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third. Vallimont cooled off in the fourth inning but was taken out for the day afterward. Alex Isola carried the Wind Surge lineup to victory with his 3-for-4 performance at the plate coming a triple short of the cycle. Isola also hit the game-winning home run in the top of the sixth that gave the Wind Surge their 4-3 lead. Cole Sturgeon hit his third home run of the season in the fifth inning against Travelers starter George Kirby. The Wind Surge will be returning home for their next series starting Tuesday against the Tulsa Drillers. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Beloit 13 Box Score SP: Cade Povich 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: Aaron Sabato (2), Jeferson Morales (1) Multi-hit games: Anthony Prato (2-3, R, 2B, RBI (14) 2 BB), Jair Camargo (2-4, R, BB, K) The Kernels completed their final game against the Beloit Sky Carp with a loss that split the six-game series between the two teams. The 13-6 loss is the largest for the Kernels on the season so far. Kernels starter Cade Povich made his third start of the season but was roughed up over 4 1/3 innings pitched. The Sky Carp scored three runs against him in the second and three more to knock him out in the fifth inning. Povich still did have three strong innings. throwing scoreless first, third, and fourth innings. The Kernels offense did their best to keep up but fell short in the later innings as the Sky Carp tagged on three insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh and four more in the bottom of the eighth. Kernels left fielder Anthony Prato and catcher Jair Camargo both had strong games at the plate, but it was first baseman Aaron Sabato’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth that brought the Kernels back into the game. Even though they fell short and lost 13-6 The Kernels will be returning home for their next series against the Quad City River Bandits which will be their second series against them for the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Clearwater 4: Suspended in the top of the 11th Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi hit games: Noah Miller (2-3, R, BB), Kyler Fedko (2-4, R, RBI (14), BB, K) The Mighty Mussels game against the Clearwater Threshers was suspended in the top of the 11th due to rain. The suspended game will resume during the Mighty Mussels next match up against the Threshers the week of May 16. Both Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic pitched for the Mighty Mussels during Sunday’s game. Gray made his rehab start and nearly three perfect innings for Fort Myers save for a fielding error in the top of the first and a single in the top of the second. Gray did not allow any walks and struck out five in his appearance. Balazovic came into the game right after Gray for two innings. Balazovic did not have as strong a performance as Gray as he gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in his first appearance for the 2022 season. He has been rehabbing a knee injury. The Mussels will begin their next series on Tuesday night at home against the Cardinals Single-A affiliate, the Palm Beach Cardinals. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sonny Gray (Fort Myers) - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Isola (Wichita) - 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 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. #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-2, R, 2B, K #5 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers, Rehab) - 2 IP 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (1st career MLB Win) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, R, BB #13 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-3, R, BB #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, RBI (24), BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-4, 2B, 2 K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 3. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). Iowa @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CST) - TBD Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - TBD Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Marco Raya Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games as the second weekend of the Minor and Major League seasons has concluded. View full article
  4. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced Sunday morning that pitchers Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic were assigned to Low-A affiliate Fort Myers for rehab assignments and are available to pitch Sunday. In addition, Marco Raya was activated by Ft. Myers. he is scheduled to start on Tuesday. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul and Nashville were postponed due to Weather. The Saints were unable to play their series finale against the Nashville Sounds on Sunday due to wet grounds at CHS Field. The makeup game has yet to be rescheduled for a later date. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Arkansas 3 Box Score SP: Chris Vallimont - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K HR: Cole Sturgeon (3), Alex Isola (3) Multi-hit games: Isola (3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) The Wind Surge completed their series victory over the Travelers Sunday afternoon in a 4-3 victory that gave the Wind Surge a 5-1 series win. Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his fifth start of the season for the Wind Surge. Vallimont had a strong first inning but struggled in the second and third giving up two runs in the second on a bases-clearing double by Travelers catcher Jake Anchia. Vallimont allowed the Travelers third and final run to score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third. Vallimont cooled off in the fourth inning but was taken out for the day afterward. Alex Isola carried the Wind Surge lineup to victory with his 3-for-4 performance at the plate coming a triple short of the cycle. Isola also hit the game-winning home run in the top of the sixth that gave the Wind Surge their 4-3 lead. Cole Sturgeon hit his third home run of the season in the fifth inning against Travelers starter George Kirby. The Wind Surge will be returning home for their next series starting Tuesday against the Tulsa Drillers. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Beloit 13 Box Score SP: Cade Povich 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: Aaron Sabato (2), Jeferson Morales (1) Multi-hit games: Anthony Prato (2-3, R, 2B, RBI (14) 2 BB), Jair Camargo (2-4, R, BB, K) The Kernels completed their final game against the Beloit Sky Carp with a loss that split the six-game series between the two teams. The 13-6 loss is the largest for the Kernels on the season so far. Kernels starter Cade Povich made his third start of the season but was roughed up over 4 1/3 innings pitched. The Sky Carp scored three runs against him in the second and three more to knock him out in the fifth inning. Povich still did have three strong innings. throwing scoreless first, third, and fourth innings. The Kernels offense did their best to keep up but fell short in the later innings as the Sky Carp tagged on three insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh and four more in the bottom of the eighth. Kernels left fielder Anthony Prato and catcher Jair Camargo both had strong games at the plate, but it was first baseman Aaron Sabato’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth that brought the Kernels back into the game. Even though they fell short and lost 13-6 The Kernels will be returning home for their next series against the Quad City River Bandits which will be their second series against them for the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Clearwater 4: Suspended in the top of the 11th Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi hit games: Noah Miller (2-3, R, BB), Kyler Fedko (2-4, R, RBI (14), BB, K) The Mighty Mussels game against the Clearwater Threshers was suspended in the top of the 11th due to rain. The suspended game will resume during the Mighty Mussels next match up against the Threshers the week of May 16. Both Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic pitched for the Mighty Mussels during Sunday’s game. Gray made his rehab start and nearly three perfect innings for Fort Myers save for a fielding error in the top of the first and a single in the top of the second. Gray did not allow any walks and struck out five in his appearance. Balazovic came into the game right after Gray for two innings. Balazovic did not have as strong a performance as Gray as he gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in his first appearance for the 2022 season. He has been rehabbing a knee injury. The Mussels will begin their next series on Tuesday night at home against the Cardinals Single-A affiliate, the Palm Beach Cardinals. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sonny Gray (Fort Myers) - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Isola (Wichita) - 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 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. #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-2, R, 2B, K #5 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers, Rehab) - 2 IP 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (1st career MLB Win) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, R, BB #13 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-3, R, BB #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, RBI (24), BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-4, 2B, 2 K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 3. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). Iowa @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CST) - TBD Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - TBD Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Marco Raya Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games as the second weekend of the Minor and Major League seasons has concluded.
  5. The Minnesota Twins lost at Boston 4-0 Saturday but there were a couple bright spots form young guys. After Sonny Gray exited with a hamstring injury in the second inning, Josh Winder took over and was solid in emergency relief. Also, Trevor Larnach collected three hits, all of them to the opposite field. Also featured in this video are Royce Lewis, José Miranda, Austin Martin, Aaron Sabato, Jair Camargo, Sawyer Gipson-Long and more.
  6. The Minnesota Twins lost at Boston 4-0 Saturday but there were a couple bright spots form young guys. After Sonny Gray exited with a hamstring injury in the second inning, Josh Winder took over and was solid in emergency relief. Also, Trevor Larnach collected three hits, all of them to the opposite field. Also featured in this video are Royce Lewis, José Miranda, Austin Martin, Aaron Sabato, Jair Camargo, Sawyer Gipson-Long and more. View full video
  7. Happy Opening Week of Twins Baseball! As pro baseball gets into the swing of things, the amateur season continues and now starts to share the spotlight. We've got you covered on all things draft-related. For draft lovers, this week is going to be a focus on just a couple pieces of information that came out since our last update. Last Friday, Baseball America published their second mock draft of the spring. If you recall (or to save you from checking), they mocked the Twins selecting James Madison outfielder Chase DeLauter in their first version. DeLauter really struggled in the season’s first series against good competition, though he has seemed to right the ship (against lesser competition). He has dropped in the newest projection. Version 2.0 now has the Twins selecting Jacob Berry, a corner infielder from LSU. That would be an excellent value pick, considering he’s viewed as one of the top two college hitters in the draft (along with Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee). The current regime has placed an emphasis on college bats, so a potential Berry pick - which may frustrate some - would fall in line with what we’ve seen with picks like Aaron Sabato and Trevor Larnach. Speaking of Brooks Lee… Keith Law posted some scouting notes earlier this week at The Athletic. He really likes the aforementioned Lee, calling him “one of the safest bets at the top of the draft this year” though he offers the caveat that Lee doesn’t “offer the upside of the high school players in that same echelon.” Law also writes about Kevin Parada of Georgia Tech. Parada has gotten plenty of pub at Twins Daily in the last month and Law sees him as a “top 10 (pick) if the draft were held today, with a chance to get into the top five.” Jumping into my Top 10 this week are two new names: Jackson Holliday, a prep SS from Oklahoma who’s committed to Oklahoma State. He’s the son of Matt Holliday, the hitting coach at Oklahoma State, under head coach Robin Ventura. Daniel Susac, a catcher from Arizona. Jamie Cameron did a great job introducing him in his college baseball notebook earlier this week. Jeremy's Top 10 MLB Draft Prospects 1.) Druw Jones, OF, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit) 2.) Termarr Johnson, 2B, Georgia prep 3.) Elijah Green, OF, Florida prep (Miami commit) (Baseball America breaks down his game.) 4.) Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly 5.) Dylan Lesko, SP, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit) (Baseball America breaks down his game.) (previously: 7) 6.) Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU (previously: 5) 7.) Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (previously: 8.) Jace Jung, 3B, Texas Tech (previously: 6) 9.) Andrew Susac, C, Arizona (previously unranked) 10.) Jackson Holliday, SS, Oklahoma prep (Oklahoma State commit) OUT: Chase DeLauter, cOF, James Madison (previously: 9); Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas (previously: 10) MOCK DRAFTS / PROSPECT BOARDS Baseball America - v2.0 (4/1/22) / v1.0 (2/10/22) / Top 200 (3/14/22) MLB.com - Callis - Top 10 (12/15/21), Mayo - Top 20 (7/20/21) / Top 100 The Athletic - Law Top 30 (3/10/22) ESPN - Early Draft Rankings (7/26/21) ($$$ - ESPN+) / McDaniel’s Draft Rankings (2/24/22) Fangraphs - The Board / 2022 MLB Draft Rankings and Offseason List Primer (11/30/21) Just Baseball v1.0 (2/10/22) My MLB Draft (1/18/22) Prospects Live v1.0 (1/4/22) View full article
  8. For draft lovers, this week is going to be a focus on just a couple pieces of information that came out since our last update. Last Friday, Baseball America published their second mock draft of the spring. If you recall (or to save you from checking), they mocked the Twins selecting James Madison outfielder Chase DeLauter in their first version. DeLauter really struggled in the season’s first series against good competition, though he has seemed to right the ship (against lesser competition). He has dropped in the newest projection. Version 2.0 now has the Twins selecting Jacob Berry, a corner infielder from LSU. That would be an excellent value pick, considering he’s viewed as one of the top two college hitters in the draft (along with Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee). The current regime has placed an emphasis on college bats, so a potential Berry pick - which may frustrate some - would fall in line with what we’ve seen with picks like Aaron Sabato and Trevor Larnach. Speaking of Brooks Lee… Keith Law posted some scouting notes earlier this week at The Athletic. He really likes the aforementioned Lee, calling him “one of the safest bets at the top of the draft this year” though he offers the caveat that Lee doesn’t “offer the upside of the high school players in that same echelon.” Law also writes about Kevin Parada of Georgia Tech. Parada has gotten plenty of pub at Twins Daily in the last month and Law sees him as a “top 10 (pick) if the draft were held today, with a chance to get into the top five.” Jumping into my Top 10 this week are two new names: Jackson Holliday, a prep SS from Oklahoma who’s committed to Oklahoma State. He’s the son of Matt Holliday, the hitting coach at Oklahoma State, under head coach Robin Ventura. Daniel Susac, a catcher from Arizona. Jamie Cameron did a great job introducing him in his college baseball notebook earlier this week. Jeremy's Top 10 MLB Draft Prospects 1.) Druw Jones, OF, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit) 2.) Termarr Johnson, 2B, Georgia prep 3.) Elijah Green, OF, Florida prep (Miami commit) (Baseball America breaks down his game.) 4.) Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly 5.) Dylan Lesko, SP, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit) (Baseball America breaks down his game.) (previously: 7) 6.) Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU (previously: 5) 7.) Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (previously: 8.) Jace Jung, 3B, Texas Tech (previously: 6) 9.) Andrew Susac, C, Arizona (previously unranked) 10.) Jackson Holliday, SS, Oklahoma prep (Oklahoma State commit) OUT: Chase DeLauter, cOF, James Madison (previously: 9); Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas (previously: 10) MOCK DRAFTS / PROSPECT BOARDS Baseball America - v2.0 (4/1/22) / v1.0 (2/10/22) / Top 200 (3/14/22) MLB.com - Callis - Top 10 (12/15/21), Mayo - Top 20 (7/20/21) / Top 100 The Athletic - Law Top 30 (3/10/22) ESPN - Early Draft Rankings (7/26/21) ($$$ - ESPN+) / McDaniel’s Draft Rankings (2/24/22) Fangraphs - The Board / 2022 MLB Draft Rankings and Offseason List Primer (11/30/21) Just Baseball v1.0 (2/10/22) My MLB Draft (1/18/22) Prospects Live v1.0 (1/4/22)
  9. On Monday, the Cedar Rapids Kernels announced their 2022 Opening Day Roster. The roster includes several intriguing prospects, big strikeout pitchers and hitters with power and athleticism. In 2021, the Cedar Rapids Kernels found their way back to the playoffs as they have each season since the Twins have been their big-league club in 2013. Brian Dinkelman returns for his fourth season as the Kernels manager, and several of his players return to the roster from last year. That said, there are some exciting prospects in this group at each position. The lineup should be strong, and the pitching staff could be really good. Here we will introduce you to the 2022 Cedar Rapids Kernels 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 prospects on this roster, and there are some great stories as well. COACHING STAFF Manager: Brian Dinkelman Hitting Coach: Jairo Rodriguez, Shawn Schlechter Pitching Coaches: Mark Moriarity, Richard Salazar PITCHERS Melvi Acosta (26) - Veteran right-hander has worked a lot as both a starter and a relief pitcher. Likely fulfills that same role, eating innings. Split 2021 between Kernels and Wind Surge. Denny Bentley (23) - 33rd round pick in 2018, Bentley broke out with a strong showing in Ft. Myers in 2021. Had 68 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. He had nine saves but often worked more than one inning. Andrew Cabezas (25) - Twins 18th round pick in 2018 from Miami, Cabezas spent 2021 with the Kernels working mostly as a long-reliever. Went 4-1 with a 3.57 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. Osiris German (23) - signed back in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic, German impressed with the Mighty Mussels in 2021. He had 49 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He moved up to Cedar Rapids, struggled a bit, but also struck out 41 batters in 27 2/3 innings. Great changeup. Sawyer Gipson-Long (24) - Started 2021 slow, but after 14 starts in Ft. Myers and six starts in Cedar Rapids, the 2019 sixth-round pick had 134 strikeouts in 97 innings. Big, strong righty with a strong pitch mix. Bradley Hanner (23) - Hard-thrower, the 21st round pick from 2019 posted a 7.13 ERA in Ft. Myers last year. Had 49 strikeouts, but 34 walks, in 41 2/3 innings. Brent Headrick (24) - Ninth round pick in 2019, he made 14 starts in Ft. Myers in 2021 and posted a 3.82 ERA. The lefty had 86 strikeouts and 33 walks in 61 1/3 innings. Missed some time with a shoulder issue. Cody Laweryson (23) - Twins 14th round pick in 2019, he joined the Kernels last season and struck out 73 batters, with just 19 walks, in 58 2/3 innings. The Maine native pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the season and participated in the Fall Stars game. Casey Legumina (24) - He was the Twins eighth-round pick in 2019 after having Tommy John surgery early in the 2019 college season. He made his pro debut in 2021. He went 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 games (8 starts) with the Mighty Mussels. 56 strikeouts, and 14 walks) in 44 2/3 innings. Made one start for Kernels at the end of the season. Definitely, he is one to watch. Bobby Milacki (25) - After being drafted by the Nationals, the Twins signed Milacki in 2021 out of independent ball. For Ft. Myers, he posted a 3.86 ERA in 42 innings. He throws mid-90s fastballs and struck out a batter per inning while walking just seven. Derek Molina (24) - 14th round pick in 2017 out of Merced College where he played shortstop and pitched out of the bullpen. A great athlete, he went 7-1 with a 4.65 ERA last year with the Kernels, but he had 81 strikeouts in 62 innings. Sean Mooney - Twins 12th round pick in 2019, he also had Tommy John surgery that year, so he spent 2020 rehabbing. They were cautious with his innings last year, but with Ft. Myers, he posted a 1.24 ERA and in 29 innings, he struck out 52 batters. He then made three starts in Cedar Rapids and struck out 19 batters in 13 innings. Matt Mullenbach (25) - The Twins signed Mullenbach out of the independent Frontier League early last year. He jumped all over, pitching nine games in the FCL, seven games with the Mighty Mussels, and even one game at Triple-A St. Paul. Jon Olsen (24) - The Twins selected him from UCLA in the 12th round in 2018. He also had Tommy John surgery early that year. He’s had some other surgeries since, and in 2021, he finally was able to make his pro debut. In 16 games with the Kernels (13 starts), he posted a 4.03 ERA in 67 innings. Tyler Palm (27) - signed out of the USPBL in 2018, the 6-9 Palm spent the 2021 season in the Kernels bullpen after making 17 starts for them in 2019. Cade Povich (21) - Povich was the Twins' 3rd round pick in 2021 from Nebraska. Not a Twins Daily top 20 prospects, he ranks 12th in my personal rankings. In three games with the Mussels last year, he gave up one earned run in eight innings. He walked two and struck out 16 batters. The southpaw impressed at Instructs, touching 97 at times, and he’s got a good slider and changeup too. Miguel Rodriguez (23) - signed from Venezuela in 2017, he spent a year each in the DSL and GCL before missing the 2020 season. Last year in Ft. Myers, he went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. In 52 innings, he struck out 58 batters but also walked 26. Aaron Rozek (26) - Burnsville native went to Minnesota State, Mankato, and has bounced around independent leagues in recent years. The Twins signed him early in the year, and he pitched in the FCL, for Ft. Myers, for Cedar Rapids, and even made a start in Wichita. He doesn’t throw hard, but he can mix things up and eat a lot of innings. CATCHERS Jair Camargo (22) - Colombia native spent the 2021 season with the Kernels, often hitting in the cleanup spot. In 71 games, he hit .236/.279/.418 (697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Charles Mack (22) - Twins sixth-round pick in 2018 out of high school in western New York, he has moved up one level each year. During the lost 2020 season, he was transitioning to being a catcher. Last year with the Mighty Mussels, he hit .229/.370/.368 (.738) with seven doubles and seven home runs. His defense also came along nicely. Jeferson Morales (22) - Morales signed with the Twins in 2016 out of Venezuela. He began 2021 with 71 games in Ft. Myers where he hit .237/.377/.407 (.784) with 19 doubles and seven homers. In 25 games with the Kernels, he hit .301/.350/.516 (.866) with five doubles and five homers. Will also play in the outfield. INFIELDERS Christian Encarnacion-Strand (22) - Twins 4th round pick last year from Oklahoma State where he learned from Robin Ventura and Matt Holliday. He hit in 21 of 22 games with the Mussels after signing. He hit .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with two doubles, two triples, and four homers. Can play both corner infield spots. Seth Gray (23) - 4th round pick in 2019 from Wright State, Gray hit .212/.321/.333 (.655) with 13 doubles and 11 home runs in 113 games with the Kernels last year. Has played both corner infield positions. Will Holland (23) - Twins 5th round pick in 2019 from Auburn, he is one of the fastest players in the organization. He hit .214/.336/.401 (.736) with 15 doubles and 10 home runs in 76 games with Ft. Myers last year. He also stole 19 bases. Has played both shortstop and second base, as well as center field. Wander Javier (23) - Big year for Javier who will become a free agent at the end of the year if not added to the 40-man roster. He is a plus-defensive shortstop, but in 96 games with the Kernels last year, he hit .225/.280/.413 (.693) with 15 doubles, ten triples, and 12 home runs last year. Anthony Prato (23) - 7th rounder in 2019, he started last season with 28 games in Ft. Myers. After missing over two months with a broken hamate, he moved up to Cedar Rapids and finished the season with 14 games. Posted a .774 OPS with the Kernels. Aaron Sabato (22) - The Twins drafted the burly first baseman with the 27th overall pick in 2020. He began his career by hitting .189/.365/.357 (.722) over 85 games in Ft. Myers. He did have 15 doubles and 11 homers. But after a few good games, he moved up to Cedar Rapids where, in 22 games, he hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with three doubles and eight homers. Yunior Severino (22) - Severino joined the Twins organization after the 2017 season. In 2021, he played 63 games in Ft. Myers and hit .245/.347/.393 (.740) with 17 doubles and five homers. In 35 games with the Kernels, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. OUTFIELDERS Willie Joe Garry, Jr. (21) - Twins ninth-round pick in 2018 out of high school, Garry spent 2021 with the Mighty Mussels. In 95 games, he hit .197/.298/.303 (.601) with seven doubles, six triples, and four homers. He also stole 24 bases. A strong defensive outfielder, Garry is a great athlete with a ton of talent. He just needs to keep playing. Alerick Soularie (22) - Soularie was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2020 out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 (1.034) with 14 doubles and 16 homers in 76 games over two seasons. Last spring, he had all kinds of foot problems. He ended the season with 28 games in Ft. Myers and hit .219/.344/.324 (.668) with three doubles and two homers. He stole nine bags. Can play second base as well. Kennie Taylor (25) - He was the 14th round pick of the Mets in 2019 from Duke. In 2021, he played in the Mariners system last year, mostly at High-A, but 13 games in Triple-A. He signed with the Twins before spring training. Overall last year, he hit .277/.350/.400 (.750) with 10 doubles and four homers. A few themes appear on this roster. First, the Twins aren’t afraid to draft pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. Second, they certainly like strikeouts from their pitchers and this staff can rack them up. As for position players, there are a lot of players who can play multiple positions. Also, you can see that What are your thoughts on this roster? Who will move up quickly? Who will jump up the prospect rankings? View full article
  10. In 2021, the Cedar Rapids Kernels found their way back to the playoffs as they have each season since the Twins have been their big-league club in 2013. Brian Dinkelman returns for his fourth season as the Kernels manager, and several of his players return to the roster from last year. That said, there are some exciting prospects in this group at each position. The lineup should be strong, and the pitching staff could be really good. Here we will introduce you to the 2022 Cedar Rapids Kernels 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 prospects on this roster, and there are some great stories as well. COACHING STAFF Manager: Brian Dinkelman Hitting Coach: Jairo Rodriguez, Shawn Schlechter Pitching Coaches: Mark Moriarity, Richard Salazar PITCHERS Melvi Acosta (26) - Veteran right-hander has worked a lot as both a starter and a relief pitcher. Likely fulfills that same role, eating innings. Split 2021 between Kernels and Wind Surge. Denny Bentley (23) - 33rd round pick in 2018, Bentley broke out with a strong showing in Ft. Myers in 2021. Had 68 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. He had nine saves but often worked more than one inning. Andrew Cabezas (25) - Twins 18th round pick in 2018 from Miami, Cabezas spent 2021 with the Kernels working mostly as a long-reliever. Went 4-1 with a 3.57 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. Osiris German (23) - signed back in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic, German impressed with the Mighty Mussels in 2021. He had 49 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He moved up to Cedar Rapids, struggled a bit, but also struck out 41 batters in 27 2/3 innings. Great changeup. Sawyer Gipson-Long (24) - Started 2021 slow, but after 14 starts in Ft. Myers and six starts in Cedar Rapids, the 2019 sixth-round pick had 134 strikeouts in 97 innings. Big, strong righty with a strong pitch mix. Bradley Hanner (23) - Hard-thrower, the 21st round pick from 2019 posted a 7.13 ERA in Ft. Myers last year. Had 49 strikeouts, but 34 walks, in 41 2/3 innings. Brent Headrick (24) - Ninth round pick in 2019, he made 14 starts in Ft. Myers in 2021 and posted a 3.82 ERA. The lefty had 86 strikeouts and 33 walks in 61 1/3 innings. Missed some time with a shoulder issue. Cody Laweryson (23) - Twins 14th round pick in 2019, he joined the Kernels last season and struck out 73 batters, with just 19 walks, in 58 2/3 innings. The Maine native pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the season and participated in the Fall Stars game. Casey Legumina (24) - He was the Twins eighth-round pick in 2019 after having Tommy John surgery early in the 2019 college season. He made his pro debut in 2021. He went 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 games (8 starts) with the Mighty Mussels. 56 strikeouts, and 14 walks) in 44 2/3 innings. Made one start for Kernels at the end of the season. Definitely, he is one to watch. Bobby Milacki (25) - After being drafted by the Nationals, the Twins signed Milacki in 2021 out of independent ball. For Ft. Myers, he posted a 3.86 ERA in 42 innings. He throws mid-90s fastballs and struck out a batter per inning while walking just seven. Derek Molina (24) - 14th round pick in 2017 out of Merced College where he played shortstop and pitched out of the bullpen. A great athlete, he went 7-1 with a 4.65 ERA last year with the Kernels, but he had 81 strikeouts in 62 innings. Sean Mooney - Twins 12th round pick in 2019, he also had Tommy John surgery that year, so he spent 2020 rehabbing. They were cautious with his innings last year, but with Ft. Myers, he posted a 1.24 ERA and in 29 innings, he struck out 52 batters. He then made three starts in Cedar Rapids and struck out 19 batters in 13 innings. Matt Mullenbach (25) - The Twins signed Mullenbach out of the independent Frontier League early last year. He jumped all over, pitching nine games in the FCL, seven games with the Mighty Mussels, and even one game at Triple-A St. Paul. Jon Olsen (24) - The Twins selected him from UCLA in the 12th round in 2018. He also had Tommy John surgery early that year. He’s had some other surgeries since, and in 2021, he finally was able to make his pro debut. In 16 games with the Kernels (13 starts), he posted a 4.03 ERA in 67 innings. Tyler Palm (27) - signed out of the USPBL in 2018, the 6-9 Palm spent the 2021 season in the Kernels bullpen after making 17 starts for them in 2019. Cade Povich (21) - Povich was the Twins' 3rd round pick in 2021 from Nebraska. Not a Twins Daily top 20 prospects, he ranks 12th in my personal rankings. In three games with the Mussels last year, he gave up one earned run in eight innings. He walked two and struck out 16 batters. The southpaw impressed at Instructs, touching 97 at times, and he’s got a good slider and changeup too. Miguel Rodriguez (23) - signed from Venezuela in 2017, he spent a year each in the DSL and GCL before missing the 2020 season. Last year in Ft. Myers, he went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. In 52 innings, he struck out 58 batters but also walked 26. Aaron Rozek (26) - Burnsville native went to Minnesota State, Mankato, and has bounced around independent leagues in recent years. The Twins signed him early in the year, and he pitched in the FCL, for Ft. Myers, for Cedar Rapids, and even made a start in Wichita. He doesn’t throw hard, but he can mix things up and eat a lot of innings. CATCHERS Jair Camargo (22) - Colombia native spent the 2021 season with the Kernels, often hitting in the cleanup spot. In 71 games, he hit .236/.279/.418 (697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Charles Mack (22) - Twins sixth-round pick in 2018 out of high school in western New York, he has moved up one level each year. During the lost 2020 season, he was transitioning to being a catcher. Last year with the Mighty Mussels, he hit .229/.370/.368 (.738) with seven doubles and seven home runs. His defense also came along nicely. Jeferson Morales (22) - Morales signed with the Twins in 2016 out of Venezuela. He began 2021 with 71 games in Ft. Myers where he hit .237/.377/.407 (.784) with 19 doubles and seven homers. In 25 games with the Kernels, he hit .301/.350/.516 (.866) with five doubles and five homers. Will also play in the outfield. INFIELDERS Christian Encarnacion-Strand (22) - Twins 4th round pick last year from Oklahoma State where he learned from Robin Ventura and Matt Holliday. He hit in 21 of 22 games with the Mussels after signing. He hit .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with two doubles, two triples, and four homers. Can play both corner infield spots. Seth Gray (23) - 4th round pick in 2019 from Wright State, Gray hit .212/.321/.333 (.655) with 13 doubles and 11 home runs in 113 games with the Kernels last year. Has played both corner infield positions. Will Holland (23) - Twins 5th round pick in 2019 from Auburn, he is one of the fastest players in the organization. He hit .214/.336/.401 (.736) with 15 doubles and 10 home runs in 76 games with Ft. Myers last year. He also stole 19 bases. Has played both shortstop and second base, as well as center field. Wander Javier (23) - Big year for Javier who will become a free agent at the end of the year if not added to the 40-man roster. He is a plus-defensive shortstop, but in 96 games with the Kernels last year, he hit .225/.280/.413 (.693) with 15 doubles, ten triples, and 12 home runs last year. Anthony Prato (23) - 7th rounder in 2019, he started last season with 28 games in Ft. Myers. After missing over two months with a broken hamate, he moved up to Cedar Rapids and finished the season with 14 games. Posted a .774 OPS with the Kernels. Aaron Sabato (22) - The Twins drafted the burly first baseman with the 27th overall pick in 2020. He began his career by hitting .189/.365/.357 (.722) over 85 games in Ft. Myers. He did have 15 doubles and 11 homers. But after a few good games, he moved up to Cedar Rapids where, in 22 games, he hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with three doubles and eight homers. Yunior Severino (22) - Severino joined the Twins organization after the 2017 season. In 2021, he played 63 games in Ft. Myers and hit .245/.347/.393 (.740) with 17 doubles and five homers. In 35 games with the Kernels, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. OUTFIELDERS Willie Joe Garry, Jr. (21) - Twins ninth-round pick in 2018 out of high school, Garry spent 2021 with the Mighty Mussels. In 95 games, he hit .197/.298/.303 (.601) with seven doubles, six triples, and four homers. He also stole 24 bases. A strong defensive outfielder, Garry is a great athlete with a ton of talent. He just needs to keep playing. Alerick Soularie (22) - Soularie was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2020 out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 (1.034) with 14 doubles and 16 homers in 76 games over two seasons. Last spring, he had all kinds of foot problems. He ended the season with 28 games in Ft. Myers and hit .219/.344/.324 (.668) with three doubles and two homers. He stole nine bags. Can play second base as well. Kennie Taylor (25) - He was the 14th round pick of the Mets in 2019 from Duke. In 2021, he played in the Mariners system last year, mostly at High-A, but 13 games in Triple-A. He signed with the Twins before spring training. Overall last year, he hit .277/.350/.400 (.750) with 10 doubles and four homers. A few themes appear on this roster. First, the Twins aren’t afraid to draft pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. Second, they certainly like strikeouts from their pitchers and this staff can rack them up. As for position players, there are a lot of players who can play multiple positions. Also, you can see that What are your thoughts on this roster? Who will move up quickly? Who will jump up the prospect rankings?
  11. Twins fans have grown spoiled at the DH position. Over the past three years, Nelson Cruz graced us with his excellence, setting an unreachable standard. The team won't be able to match his production, but if there's a silver lining to his absence, it's that the lack of a dedicated full-time starter at DH creates a lot of flexibility – and opportunity. Projected Starter: Gary Sánchez Likely Backup: Miguel Sanó Depth: Luis Arraez, Brent Rooker Prospects: Aaron Sabato, Christian Encarnacion-Strand THE GOOD A few weeks ago, I figured the team's plan was to have Mitch Garver split time between catcher and designated hitter, with Ryan Jeffers getting primary reps behind the plate and other players rotating through the DH spot when Garver caught or sat. That's the kind of flexibility you gain from losing a fixture in Nelson Cruz. The scenario I envisioned has since been flipped upside down by a flurry of disruptive moves, and as the sum result, Gary Sánchez will essentially be filling the same role I saw for Garver. He'll have the smaller end of a catching timeshare, with plenty of time at DH to maximize the impact of his powerful right-handed bat. Although Sánchez has been worse than Garver of late, his overall track record is much more impressive: Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2016, two-time All-Star, owner of an .804 career OPS and 138 home runs by age 29. We've got Sánchez pegged as the starter at DH because he seems lined up for the most time there early on, but things are fluid at this position by design. Rocco Baldelli can play match-ups and maximize his best bats by taking advantage of the open reins. Plenty of candidates will be vying for opportunities. Miguel Sanó should see a good amount of time at DH, since the Twins seem to (justifiably) much prefer Alex Kirilloff's defense at first base. Luis Arraez lacks a firm starting position, so DH is an easy way to get his bat into the lineup against righties. (I wouldn't be surprised to see him there on Opening Day, even against a lefty.) Those three alone should be able to account for a bulk of the ABs in April. From there, the Twins can keep an open mind. Brent Rooker, the former first-round pick with an .874 OPS in the minors, could be a factor. Aaron Sabato, a more recent first-rounder coming off a roller-coaster pro debut, may not be far behind if his emergence at Cedar Rapids was legit. Christian Encarnacion-Strand is very intriguing to me – the 2021 fourth-rounder mashed to a 1.022 OPS in pitcher-friendly Ft. Myers last summer after starring for Oklahoma State. Like Sabato, he's 22. Plenty of potential bats in the pipeline. But the real dark horse here is José Miranda. I don't have him listed among the prospects or depth at this position because he's got enough glove to not be considered a long-term DH candidate, but Miranda's bat may force the issue. If he's raking in St. Paul while the various timeshare partners aren't inspiring for the Twins, the reigning Minor League Player of the Year is a mere shuttle away. A nice little ace in the hole. THE BAD Most of Minnesota's future DH impact is entirely theoretical, representing a stark change from the very reliable and material impact of Cruz. Sánchez is a nice piece there if he's mashing like he did early in his career. But between 2020 and '21 he slashed .187/.291/.406. Yeesh. Arraez, for as much as we all love him, was not a great offensive player last year. His punchless .294 average and .357 OBP yielded a 105 OPS+, meaning he was 5% better than average. You need more from a designated hitter. With Garver gone, Sanó is probably the most dependable impact bat the Twins can use at DH. For all the grief he gets, he was second on the team in home runs and RBIs last year, and he's only posted a below-average OPS once in seven seasons. I think I lost everyone when I used "Sanó" and "dependable" in the same sentence so I'll just move onto the next paragraph. It would be awesome to see Rooker grab the job and take hold of it. This is his moment. He's 27 and the raw power is special. His defensive shortcomings suggest that any major-league future will be at DH. Unfortunately, the Twins basically gave him everyday playing time after trading Cruz last year and Rooker did little to impress, slashing .219/.317/.425 with a 57-to-14 K/BB rate in 183 plate appearances. He's got an uphill battle for anything resembling regular tread. He might not even make it to Opening Day on the 40-man roster. Miranda, as amazing as he looked in the high minors last year, remains a theoretical big-league asset in his own right. Sabato and Encarnacion-Strand even more so. THE BOTTOM LINE The Twins face an uncertain future at designated hitter after parting ways with one of the best to ever do it. Expect to see plenty of Sánchez, Sanó and Arraez early on, with an open-ended roadmap after that. Catch Up on the Rest of Our 2022 Previews: Position Analysis: Catcher Position Analysis: First Base Position Analysis: Second Base Position Analysis: Third Base Position Analysis: Shortstop Position Analysis: Left Field Position Analysis: Center Field Position Analysis: Right Field View full article
  12. Projected Starter: Gary Sánchez Likely Backup: Miguel Sanó Depth: Luis Arraez, Brent Rooker Prospects: Aaron Sabato, Christian Encarnacion-Strand THE GOOD A few weeks ago, I figured the team's plan was to have Mitch Garver split time between catcher and designated hitter, with Ryan Jeffers getting primary reps behind the plate and other players rotating through the DH spot when Garver caught or sat. That's the kind of flexibility you gain from losing a fixture in Nelson Cruz. The scenario I envisioned has since been flipped upside down by a flurry of disruptive moves, and as the sum result, Gary Sánchez will essentially be filling the same role I saw for Garver. He'll have the smaller end of a catching timeshare, with plenty of time at DH to maximize the impact of his powerful right-handed bat. Although Sánchez has been worse than Garver of late, his overall track record is much more impressive: Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2016, two-time All-Star, owner of an .804 career OPS and 138 home runs by age 29. We've got Sánchez pegged as the starter at DH because he seems lined up for the most time there early on, but things are fluid at this position by design. Rocco Baldelli can play match-ups and maximize his best bats by taking advantage of the open reins. Plenty of candidates will be vying for opportunities. Miguel Sanó should see a good amount of time at DH, since the Twins seem to (justifiably) much prefer Alex Kirilloff's defense at first base. Luis Arraez lacks a firm starting position, so DH is an easy way to get his bat into the lineup against righties. (I wouldn't be surprised to see him there on Opening Day, even against a lefty.) Those three alone should be able to account for a bulk of the ABs in April. From there, the Twins can keep an open mind. Brent Rooker, the former first-round pick with an .874 OPS in the minors, could be a factor. Aaron Sabato, a more recent first-rounder coming off a roller-coaster pro debut, may not be far behind if his emergence at Cedar Rapids was legit. Christian Encarnacion-Strand is very intriguing to me – the 2021 fourth-rounder mashed to a 1.022 OPS in pitcher-friendly Ft. Myers last summer after starring for Oklahoma State. Like Sabato, he's 22. Plenty of potential bats in the pipeline. But the real dark horse here is José Miranda. I don't have him listed among the prospects or depth at this position because he's got enough glove to not be considered a long-term DH candidate, but Miranda's bat may force the issue. If he's raking in St. Paul while the various timeshare partners aren't inspiring for the Twins, the reigning Minor League Player of the Year is a mere shuttle away. A nice little ace in the hole. THE BAD Most of Minnesota's future DH impact is entirely theoretical, representing a stark change from the very reliable and material impact of Cruz. Sánchez is a nice piece there if he's mashing like he did early in his career. But between 2020 and '21 he slashed .187/.291/.406. Yeesh. Arraez, for as much as we all love him, was not a great offensive player last year. His punchless .294 average and .357 OBP yielded a 105 OPS+, meaning he was 5% better than average. You need more from a designated hitter. With Garver gone, Sanó is probably the most dependable impact bat the Twins can use at DH. For all the grief he gets, he was second on the team in home runs and RBIs last year, and he's only posted a below-average OPS once in seven seasons. I think I lost everyone when I used "Sanó" and "dependable" in the same sentence so I'll just move onto the next paragraph. It would be awesome to see Rooker grab the job and take hold of it. This is his moment. He's 27 and the raw power is special. His defensive shortcomings suggest that any major-league future will be at DH. Unfortunately, the Twins basically gave him everyday playing time after trading Cruz last year and Rooker did little to impress, slashing .219/.317/.425 with a 57-to-14 K/BB rate in 183 plate appearances. He's got an uphill battle for anything resembling regular tread. He might not even make it to Opening Day on the 40-man roster. Miranda, as amazing as he looked in the high minors last year, remains a theoretical big-league asset in his own right. Sabato and Encarnacion-Strand even more so. THE BOTTOM LINE The Twins face an uncertain future at designated hitter after parting ways with one of the best to ever do it. Expect to see plenty of Sánchez, Sanó and Arraez early on, with an open-ended roadmap after that. Catch Up on the Rest of Our 2022 Previews: Position Analysis: Catcher Position Analysis: First Base Position Analysis: Second Base Position Analysis: Third Base Position Analysis: Shortstop Position Analysis: Left Field Position Analysis: Center Field Position Analysis: Right Field
  13. The Twins made several roster moves on Saturday morning, sending four hitters to minor league spring training including their two top prospects. They now have 49 players on their spring roster. On Saturday, the Twins sent four of their hitting prospects to minor-league camp. Royce Lewis was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul. In addition, Austin Martin, Aaron Sabato and Spencer Steer were reassigned to minor-league camp. In case you were wondering, the distinction is that Lewis is on the 40-man roster, so this is his first option year. The others are not on the 40-man roster so they don't need to be optioned yet. For Lewis, it's been a good chance to just get back on the field again. As has been greatly documented, he was at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul in the 2020 pandemic-lost season. Last year, he arrived at spring training only to learn that he had a torn ACL and missed the full season. He played in four spring games at went 1-for-8 with a stolen base. He also did a nice job at shortstop. While Lewis was technically optioned to St. Paul, that does not necessarily mean that he will start the season with the Saints. It could still be determined that he begin the season in Double-A Wichita. Either way, it is good to see Lewis back on the field and on the path upward. Martin played in five games for the Twins this spring. He went 3-for-9 with a home run. He walked twice and struck out five times. It will be interesting to see where the Twins assign Martin. He spent his pro debut at the Double-A level. Could he get another month or two there before jumping up to St. Paul? Spencer Steer went 0-for-5 in his limited spring appearances, but it is clear that the organization really likes the versatile slugger. He should begin the 2022 season where he ended 2021, with the Wind Surge in Wichita. Aaron Sabato played in six spring games and went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts. He is likely to begin the 2022 season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels where he finished 2021 with 22 games. The Twins spring roster now consists of 49 players. There are 24 pitchers (7 non-roster), five catchers (2 non-roster), 11 infielders (4 non-roster), and nine outfielders (3 non-roster). With the season less than two weeks away, the team will need to make several more transactions to get down to the 28-man Opening Day roster. View full article
  14. On Saturday, the Twins sent four of their hitting prospects to minor-league camp. Royce Lewis was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul. In addition, Austin Martin, Aaron Sabato and Spencer Steer were reassigned to minor-league camp. In case you were wondering, the distinction is that Lewis is on the 40-man roster, so this is his first option year. The others are not on the 40-man roster so they don't need to be optioned yet. For Lewis, it's been a good chance to just get back on the field again. As has been greatly documented, he was at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul in the 2020 pandemic-lost season. Last year, he arrived at spring training only to learn that he had a torn ACL and missed the full season. He played in four spring games at went 1-for-8 with a stolen base. He also did a nice job at shortstop. While Lewis was technically optioned to St. Paul, that does not necessarily mean that he will start the season with the Saints. It could still be determined that he begin the season in Double-A Wichita. Either way, it is good to see Lewis back on the field and on the path upward. Martin played in five games for the Twins this spring. He went 3-for-9 with a home run. He walked twice and struck out five times. It will be interesting to see where the Twins assign Martin. He spent his pro debut at the Double-A level. Could he get another month or two there before jumping up to St. Paul? Spencer Steer went 0-for-5 in his limited spring appearances, but it is clear that the organization really likes the versatile slugger. He should begin the 2022 season where he ended 2021, with the Wind Surge in Wichita. Aaron Sabato played in six spring games and went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts. He is likely to begin the 2022 season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels where he finished 2021 with 22 games. The Twins spring roster now consists of 49 players. There are 24 pitchers (7 non-roster), five catchers (2 non-roster), 11 infielders (4 non-roster), and nine outfielders (3 non-roster). With the season less than two weeks away, the team will need to make several more transactions to get down to the 28-man Opening Day roster.
  15. On Sunday, the Minnesota Twins announced their non-roster invitations to spring training, and their top prospect is on the list. The number, 18, is less than normal, but spring training, in general, is going to be different this year. Several players had to switch their lockers from the minor league clubhouse to the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium. That is certainly not a 'normal' thing to happen. Normally big league camp starts several weeks before minor league spring training begin, but due to the lockout things are different. Twelve of the 18 non-roster invites have spent time in the big leagues previously. Here is a look at the players invited to camp. Pitchers LHP Danny Coulombe LHP Devin Smeltzer RHP Jake Faria RHP Ian Hamilton RHP Trevor Megill RHP Juan Minaya Catchers David Banuelos Caleb Hamilton Infielders Tim Beckham Austin Martin Jermaine Palacios Daniel Robertson Aaron Sabato Spencer Steer Curtis Terry Outfielder Jake Cave Derek Fisher Kyle Garlick There are a lot of familiar names among these players. With so many free agents remaining still, it is very possible that the Twins add players to this list. This means 58 players are in Twins major-league spring training. The depth will be helpful, especially once games start, but also remember that the Twins will be able to bring more players from minor-league camp to play in spring games too. Maeda Arrives Sunday was mandatory report day for spring training. Among those reporting was Kenta Maeda who told media that things are going fine in his rehab, but he isn't ready to say when he will be able to return. Feel free to discuss the non-roster invites. Which of them do you think have a legitimate opportunity to make the Twins Opening Day roster? Leave your Comments below. View full article
  16. With great power comes great responsibility. Will these Twins prospects be able to transition their power to the big-league level? Scouts and front office personnel use a 20-80 scale to evaluate a player’s tools. This ranking system is also used to project how those tools will improve as the player continues to develop. Below you will see the top five Twins prospects regarding current and future power potential. 5. Keoni Cavaco, SS Current Power/Future Power: 55/60 Cavaco’s power hasn’t fully shown up in-game action, but scouting reports have his raw power having some of the best potential in the system. Last season at Low-A, he posted a .598 OPS, which was 128 points higher than his professional debut. Cavaco added muscle to his frame during the canceled 2020 season, but that hasn’t shown up in-game action. Now he needs to prove he can make consistent contact to showcase his power on a more regular basis. He will be entering his age-21 season this year, and his stock has fallen in relation to prospect rankings. His power might make him a candidate to bounce back in 2022. 4. Jose Miranda, 3B Current Power/Future Power: 55/55 Miranda is coming off one of the best offensive seasons in Twins history, and he is on the verge of breaking into the big leagues. Minnesota’s front office has been touting Miranda’s potential for multiple offseasons, and he was finally able to put it all together in 2021. Between Double- and Triple-A, he hit 32 doubles and 30 home runs on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. He’s proven his power potential in the upper minors, and he needs to prove that he can transition that power to the big-league level. His 2021 campaign clearly puts him in the team’s long-term plans. 3. Royce Lewis, SS/OF Current Power/Future Power: 60/70 Like Cavaco, Lewis has seen his stock drop over the last two years, but that’s directly related to the fact that he hasn’t been on the field. One of the reasons for optimism surrounding his power potential is the amount of time he has been able to add weight to his already athletic frame. When the Twins drafted him, he weighed 185 pounds, but now he has added at least 30 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame. There are many questions about what version of Lewis will be on the field this season, especially with his previous swing concerns. 2. Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Current Power/Future Power: 60/60 Sabato was an intriguing choice by the Twins when they took him in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft. He crushed the ball in college with a 1.158 OPS in 85 games. A player with his skillset needs to see that power transition to his professional career because he adds minimal defensive value. Last season at Low-A, he struggled to make consistent contact as he struck out 117 times in 85 games. However, he improved as the season progressed and played his final 22 games at High-A. Overall, he hit .253/.402/.613 (1.105) with eight home runs after the promotion. In 2022, he needs to prove that his power surge wasn’t a mirage. 1. Matt Wallner, OF Current Power/Future Power: 70/70 Scouts considered Wallner’s power some of the best in the 2019 draft class, and he has proven his power potential throughout his professional career. He posted an .854 OPS at High-A last season, but he missed time with a broken hamate. After the season, Minnesota sent him to the AFL, and he compiled a 1.011 OPS. There are still questions about Wallner’s future defensive position, but his bat has enough power to make him a dangerous option no matter where he is on the field. He struck out 100 times in 66 games last season, so his strikeout rate will be something to watch as he continues to move up the organizational ladder. Who do you think has the best power in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? 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 View full article
  17. Scouts and front office personnel use a 20-80 scale to evaluate a player’s tools. This ranking system is also used to project how those tools will improve as the player continues to develop. Below you will see the top five Twins prospects regarding current and future power potential. 5. Keoni Cavaco, SS Current Power/Future Power: 55/60 Cavaco’s power hasn’t fully shown up in-game action, but scouting reports have his raw power having some of the best potential in the system. Last season at Low-A, he posted a .598 OPS, which was 128 points higher than his professional debut. Cavaco added muscle to his frame during the canceled 2020 season, but that hasn’t shown up in-game action. Now he needs to prove he can make consistent contact to showcase his power on a more regular basis. He will be entering his age-21 season this year, and his stock has fallen in relation to prospect rankings. His power might make him a candidate to bounce back in 2022. 4. Jose Miranda, 3B Current Power/Future Power: 55/55 Miranda is coming off one of the best offensive seasons in Twins history, and he is on the verge of breaking into the big leagues. Minnesota’s front office has been touting Miranda’s potential for multiple offseasons, and he was finally able to put it all together in 2021. Between Double- and Triple-A, he hit 32 doubles and 30 home runs on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. He’s proven his power potential in the upper minors, and he needs to prove that he can transition that power to the big-league level. His 2021 campaign clearly puts him in the team’s long-term plans. 3. Royce Lewis, SS/OF Current Power/Future Power: 60/70 Like Cavaco, Lewis has seen his stock drop over the last two years, but that’s directly related to the fact that he hasn’t been on the field. One of the reasons for optimism surrounding his power potential is the amount of time he has been able to add weight to his already athletic frame. When the Twins drafted him, he weighed 185 pounds, but now he has added at least 30 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame. There are many questions about what version of Lewis will be on the field this season, especially with his previous swing concerns. 2. Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Current Power/Future Power: 60/60 Sabato was an intriguing choice by the Twins when they took him in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft. He crushed the ball in college with a 1.158 OPS in 85 games. A player with his skillset needs to see that power transition to his professional career because he adds minimal defensive value. Last season at Low-A, he struggled to make consistent contact as he struck out 117 times in 85 games. However, he improved as the season progressed and played his final 22 games at High-A. Overall, he hit .253/.402/.613 (1.105) with eight home runs after the promotion. In 2022, he needs to prove that his power surge wasn’t a mirage. 1. Matt Wallner, OF Current Power/Future Power: 70/70 Scouts considered Wallner’s power some of the best in the 2019 draft class, and he has proven his power potential throughout his professional career. He posted an .854 OPS at High-A last season, but he missed time with a broken hamate. After the season, Minnesota sent him to the AFL, and he compiled a 1.011 OPS. There are still questions about Wallner’s future defensive position, but his bat has enough power to make him a dangerous option no matter where he is on the field. He struck out 100 times in 66 games last season, so his strikeout rate will be something to watch as he continues to move up the organizational ladder. Who do you think has the best power in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? 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. Several players had to switch their lockers from the minor league clubhouse to the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium. That is certainly not a 'normal' thing to happen. Normally big league camp starts several weeks before minor league spring training begin, but due to the lockout things are different. Twelve of the 18 non-roster invites have spent time in the big leagues previously. Here is a look at the players invited to camp. Pitchers LHP Danny Coulombe LHP Devin Smeltzer RHP Jake Faria RHP Ian Hamilton RHP Trevor Megill RHP Juan Minaya Catchers David Banuelos Caleb Hamilton Infielders Tim Beckham Austin Martin Jermaine Palacios Daniel Robertson Aaron Sabato Spencer Steer Curtis Terry Outfielder Jake Cave Derek Fisher Kyle Garlick There are a lot of familiar names among these players. With so many free agents remaining still, it is very possible that the Twins add players to this list. This means 58 players are in Twins major-league spring training. The depth will be helpful, especially once games start, but also remember that the Twins will be able to bring more players from minor-league camp to play in spring games too. Maeda Arrives Sunday was mandatory report day for spring training. Among those reporting was Kenta Maeda who told media that things are going fine in his rehab, but he isn't ready to say when he will be able to return. Feel free to discuss the non-roster invites. Which of them do you think have a legitimate opportunity to make the Twins Opening Day roster? Leave your Comments below.
  19. Drafted in the first round less than two years ago, many have moved on from Aaron Sabato as a serious prospect for the Twins. There are still reasons to have hope for the slugging right-hander, though. On June 23, 2020, the Minnesota Twins selected Aaron Sabato, a bat-first first baseman out of the University of North Carolina with the 27th overall pick of the MLB draft, and signed him to an over-slot bonus of $2.75M. In his final full season at North Carolina prior to the draft, Sabato hit .343/.453/.696 with 18 home runs in 64 games. Sabato immediately found himself as a top-8 prospect in the Twins organization with optimism around that huge bat. Then came his debut in the pros, when things went south for the big man. In his first season as a professional in 2021, Sabato hit just .202 while striking out in 32% of his plate appearances across his time with Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. As a result of his poor play, Sabato has crashed hard down prospect boards. On MLB.com, Sabato moved from the 8th ranked Twins prospect prior to the 2021 season down to 18th, where he found himself at the end of the season. While Sabato certainly had a disappointing debut season in pro ball, there are reasons for optimism for the right-handed slugger. First of all, Sabato showed that his plate discipline is legit. In 464 plate appearances in 2021, Sabato walked 19.8% of the time. To put that in perspective, only Juan Soto posted a higher BB% in the MLB last season. The high BB% contributed to Sabato still posting an on-base percentage of .373 despite the low batting average of .202. Additionally, Sabato improved quite a bit following his promotion from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids. The Low-A Southwest League (Formerly the Florida State League) is notorious for being a league that is tough on batters, and Sabato suffered from that during his time there. However, after he was moved up to High-A Cedar Rapids on August 25, Sabato showed improvement. During his 22 games with the Kernels, Sabato posted a batting line of .253/.402/.613 (1.015 OPS) with eight home runs in 97 plate appearances, after hitting 11 home runs in 367 plate appearances in Low-A. While Sabato maintained a high K% of 33% in High-A, his improved home run rate allowed him to improve his overall slash line greatly. Over the last 23 games of his 2021 season, Sabato crushed nine home runs. His home runs weren’t wall scrapers either, Sabato showed time and time again down the stretch that his power is absolutely legitimate, including center field and opposite-field power. Aaron Sabato has a lot to improve on if he wants to carve out a career as a big leaguer. As a bat-first first baseman with little defensive ability, Sabato will need to be exceptional with the bat in order to stick, and his low batting average and sky-high strikeout percentage weren’t that. At just 22-years-old, though, and still possessing all of that pedigree as a first-round pick, Sabato shouldn’t yet be counted out as a legitimate prospect. Especially with the ability that the right-hander showed down the stretch with plus-plus power and an exceptional ability to draw walks. Sabato certainly needs to cut down on the strikeouts, but the talent is absolutely still there. Let’s not give up yet on Aaron Sabato. View full article
  20. Over the next couple of weeks, Twins Daily will be counting down our Top 20 Minnesota Twins Prospects. We start today by discussing several Honorable Mentions, guys who received votes but finished outside the Top 20. Today’s list of players illustrates the depth that is developing in the organization. Looking beyond the top 20 illustrates the depth of the organization. These Twins Daily rankings are comprised of the votes of 11 Twins Daily writers who covered the Twins farm system in 2021. The voters followed the system nearly daily over the past season. Many watched a lot of video. Some attended some games at the Twins affiliates. In 2019, Luis Arraez and Jordan Balazovic appeared in this list. Two years ago, names such as Randy Dobnak, LaMonte Wade, Jorge Alcala, Bailey Ober were outside the Top 20. (maybe I shouldn’t mention that Akil Baddoo was a 2020 Honorable Mention.) Last year’s Honorable Mention group contains several players who have moved up the rankings Many of the prospects you’ll read about today could be, and maybe should be, in the Top 20 in one year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of these players are Top 10 prospects one year from now. Before we start, the following players are no longer “prospects” according to Baseball-Reference: Alex Kirilloff, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach, Ben Rortvedt, Nick Gordon, Bailey Ober, and Ralph Garza, Jr. FIRST-ROUND FEATURES If anyone in the top 20 is unable to fulfill their duties, well, the #21 prospect is 2020 first-round pick Aaron Sabato. The first baseman struggled in his professional debut. We have reviewed and replayed his statistics, the low batting average, lots of strikeouts. But, he also has a very good eye at the plate, and his final couple weeks in Ft. Myers and during his time in Cedar Rapids, Sabato reminded us of the power potential that he possesses. Likewise, 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco falls out of the top 20. While he still has immense tools, speed, power, and arm strength, he continued to struggle at the plate in Ft. Myers, especially as the season went along. He also fought some injuries including a concussion. Cavaco was one of the Twins prospects who was most hurt by the lost 2020 season. He remained young for the Low-A level and certainly had less pro experience than most. But often, talent and athleticism work out and Cavaco remains very intriguing. ALREADY DEBUTED Jovani Moran was drafted in 2015 and in 2021, he finally made his MLB debut in September. The lefty has put up huge strikeout numbers throughout his minor league career. He dominated at Double-A and then Triple-A before spending the final month with the Twins. He could be a big part of the Twins bullpen for years to come. ON THE 40 ALREADY A couple of very hard-throwing right-handers on the 40-man roster fell just outside the Top 20. Drew Strotman came to the Twins from Tampa in the Nelson Cruz trade. He’s got a four-pitch mix that includes a fastball that can touch 98 mph. He struggled in his time with the Saints, but he should help the Twins in 2022. Even after Tommy John surgery, the Rays had added Strotman to the 40-man roster. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins from the Marlins in the Lewin Diaz trade in 2019. Another starter with a big fastball, Vallimont sits 94 to 96 and touched 97. He was very inconsistent in 2021, especially with his control. Too many walks. However, he was a strikeout machine and his stuff is so good the Twins put him on their 40-man roster after the season. ARM STRENGTH The 2019 Twins draft included a lot of college pitchers, and several of them have made an impression already, even with the lost 2020 season. Casey Legumina didn’t pitch after that 2019 draft as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery, so 2021 was his professional debut. Sawyer Gipson-Long began the season with a rough start, but he proved durable and unlike many, he became an innings eater. At the same time, he too recorded a lot of strikeouts. WE HARDLY KNOW YE We already mentioned Aaron Sabato above, but all four of the Twins 2020 draft picks received votes, but not enough to get into the Top 20. Frankly, we just haven’t seen enough of them yet for various reasons. Alerick Soularie put up big offensive numbers at Tennessee before the Twins made him their second round pick. Unfortunately in spring training, he had a foot injury, so he didn’t get into games until the second half of the season. Marco Raya was the team’s 4th round pick in 2020, and with a minor injury, he did not pitch at all in 2021 either, so he is yet to make his professional debut. Yet, reports out of instructional league mentioned that he was hitting 97 mph with his fastball. When he was drafted, it was for things like control, a strong pitch mix. To add velocity to that is really exciting. Kala’i Rosario was their fifth and final pick of the 2020 draft. He was one of the most powerful prep bats in that draft. His pro debut came in the FCL and he was named the Twins Daily Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year. Of course, we also didn’t see a lot of the 2021 draft picks, but a few of them have already made an impression. No 2021 draft pick made a bigger impression than fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He hit in 21 of 22 games played and posted a .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with four homers. Third-round pick Cade Povich also was impressive. The southpaw from Nebraska pitched in just 10 innings in his pro debut, but he had 19 strikeouts in that time. And again, reports from the instructional league noted that he was hitting 97 mph fairly consistently. Yasser Mercedes received a $1.7 million signing bonus from the Twins just a month ago. An athletic outfielder, Mercedes is just 16-years-old but obviously an intriguing talent. In 2018, Misael Urbina received a $2.75 million signing bonus from the Twins as a 16-year-old international free agent. A week into the 2021 season, Urbina moved up to the Mighty Mussels. He was one of the younger players in the league and struggled, hitting under-.200 and yet he held his own and showed a good plate approach. Yunior Severino came on strong after he was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. After hitting .245 in 63 games with Ft. Myers, he hit .321 in 35 games for the Kernels. Combined, he was second in the organization with 29 doubles. As I look at this group of Honorable Mentions, it is incredibly exciting. There are five or six pitchers that are very intriguing in this list with big velocity and the ability to get strikeouts. There are a few hitters that have big power potential. As I said in the beginning, many of these players could move up the rankings in 2022. That is a lot of talent, and those are guys who rank outside of the Twins Daily Top 20 prospects. Check back over the next two weeks to see who our 2021 Top 20 Twins Prospects are. View full article
  21. Looking beyond the top 20 illustrates the depth of the organization. These Twins Daily rankings are comprised of the votes of 11 Twins Daily writers who covered the Twins farm system in 2021. The voters followed the system nearly daily over the past season. Many watched a lot of video. Some attended some games at the Twins affiliates. In 2019, Luis Arraez and Jordan Balazovic appeared in this list. Two years ago, names such as Randy Dobnak, LaMonte Wade, Jorge Alcala, Bailey Ober were outside the Top 20. (maybe I shouldn’t mention that Akil Baddoo was a 2020 Honorable Mention.) Last year’s Honorable Mention group contains several players who have moved up the rankings Many of the prospects you’ll read about today could be, and maybe should be, in the Top 20 in one year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of these players are Top 10 prospects one year from now. Before we start, the following players are no longer “prospects” according to Baseball-Reference: Alex Kirilloff, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach, Ben Rortvedt, Nick Gordon, Bailey Ober, and Ralph Garza, Jr. FIRST-ROUND FEATURES If anyone in the top 20 is unable to fulfill their duties, well, the #21 prospect is 2020 first-round pick Aaron Sabato. The first baseman struggled in his professional debut. We have reviewed and replayed his statistics, the low batting average, lots of strikeouts. But, he also has a very good eye at the plate, and his final couple weeks in Ft. Myers and during his time in Cedar Rapids, Sabato reminded us of the power potential that he possesses. Likewise, 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco falls out of the top 20. While he still has immense tools, speed, power, and arm strength, he continued to struggle at the plate in Ft. Myers, especially as the season went along. He also fought some injuries including a concussion. Cavaco was one of the Twins prospects who was most hurt by the lost 2020 season. He remained young for the Low-A level and certainly had less pro experience than most. But often, talent and athleticism work out and Cavaco remains very intriguing. ALREADY DEBUTED Jovani Moran was drafted in 2015 and in 2021, he finally made his MLB debut in September. The lefty has put up huge strikeout numbers throughout his minor league career. He dominated at Double-A and then Triple-A before spending the final month with the Twins. He could be a big part of the Twins bullpen for years to come. ON THE 40 ALREADY A couple of very hard-throwing right-handers on the 40-man roster fell just outside the Top 20. Drew Strotman came to the Twins from Tampa in the Nelson Cruz trade. He’s got a four-pitch mix that includes a fastball that can touch 98 mph. He struggled in his time with the Saints, but he should help the Twins in 2022. Even after Tommy John surgery, the Rays had added Strotman to the 40-man roster. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins from the Marlins in the Lewin Diaz trade in 2019. Another starter with a big fastball, Vallimont sits 94 to 96 and touched 97. He was very inconsistent in 2021, especially with his control. Too many walks. However, he was a strikeout machine and his stuff is so good the Twins put him on their 40-man roster after the season. ARM STRENGTH The 2019 Twins draft included a lot of college pitchers, and several of them have made an impression already, even with the lost 2020 season. Casey Legumina didn’t pitch after that 2019 draft as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery, so 2021 was his professional debut. Sawyer Gipson-Long began the season with a rough start, but he proved durable and unlike many, he became an innings eater. At the same time, he too recorded a lot of strikeouts. WE HARDLY KNOW YE We already mentioned Aaron Sabato above, but all four of the Twins 2020 draft picks received votes, but not enough to get into the Top 20. Frankly, we just haven’t seen enough of them yet for various reasons. Alerick Soularie put up big offensive numbers at Tennessee before the Twins made him their second round pick. Unfortunately in spring training, he had a foot injury, so he didn’t get into games until the second half of the season. Marco Raya was the team’s 4th round pick in 2020, and with a minor injury, he did not pitch at all in 2021 either, so he is yet to make his professional debut. Yet, reports out of instructional league mentioned that he was hitting 97 mph with his fastball. When he was drafted, it was for things like control, a strong pitch mix. To add velocity to that is really exciting. Kala’i Rosario was their fifth and final pick of the 2020 draft. He was one of the most powerful prep bats in that draft. His pro debut came in the FCL and he was named the Twins Daily Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year. Of course, we also didn’t see a lot of the 2021 draft picks, but a few of them have already made an impression. No 2021 draft pick made a bigger impression than fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He hit in 21 of 22 games played and posted a .391/.424/.598 (1.022) with four homers. Third-round pick Cade Povich also was impressive. The southpaw from Nebraska pitched in just 10 innings in his pro debut, but he had 19 strikeouts in that time. And again, reports from the instructional league noted that he was hitting 97 mph fairly consistently. Yasser Mercedes received a $1.7 million signing bonus from the Twins just a month ago. An athletic outfielder, Mercedes is just 16-years-old but obviously an intriguing talent. In 2018, Misael Urbina received a $2.75 million signing bonus from the Twins as a 16-year-old international free agent. A week into the 2021 season, Urbina moved up to the Mighty Mussels. He was one of the younger players in the league and struggled, hitting under-.200 and yet he held his own and showed a good plate approach. Yunior Severino came on strong after he was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. After hitting .245 in 63 games with Ft. Myers, he hit .321 in 35 games for the Kernels. Combined, he was second in the organization with 29 doubles. As I look at this group of Honorable Mentions, it is incredibly exciting. There are five or six pitchers that are very intriguing in this list with big velocity and the ability to get strikeouts. There are a few hitters that have big power potential. As I said in the beginning, many of these players could move up the rankings in 2022. That is a lot of talent, and those are guys who rank outside of the Twins Daily Top 20 prospects. Check back over the next two weeks to see who our 2021 Top 20 Twins Prospects are.
  22. On June 23, 2020, the Minnesota Twins selected Aaron Sabato, a bat-first first baseman out of the University of North Carolina with the 27th overall pick of the MLB draft, and signed him to an over-slot bonus of $2.75M. In his final full season at North Carolina prior to the draft, Sabato hit .343/.453/.696 with 18 home runs in 64 games. Sabato immediately found himself as a top-8 prospect in the Twins organization with optimism around that huge bat. Then came his debut in the pros, when things went south for the big man. In his first season as a professional in 2021, Sabato hit just .202 while striking out in 32% of his plate appearances across his time with Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. As a result of his poor play, Sabato has crashed hard down prospect boards. On MLB.com, Sabato moved from the 8th ranked Twins prospect prior to the 2021 season down to 18th, where he found himself at the end of the season. While Sabato certainly had a disappointing debut season in pro ball, there are reasons for optimism for the right-handed slugger. First of all, Sabato showed that his plate discipline is legit. In 464 plate appearances in 2021, Sabato walked 19.8% of the time. To put that in perspective, only Juan Soto posted a higher BB% in the MLB last season. The high BB% contributed to Sabato still posting an on-base percentage of .373 despite the low batting average of .202. Additionally, Sabato improved quite a bit following his promotion from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids. The Low-A Southwest League (Formerly the Florida State League) is notorious for being a league that is tough on batters, and Sabato suffered from that during his time there. However, after he was moved up to High-A Cedar Rapids on August 25, Sabato showed improvement. During his 22 games with the Kernels, Sabato posted a batting line of .253/.402/.613 (1.015 OPS) with eight home runs in 97 plate appearances, after hitting 11 home runs in 367 plate appearances in Low-A. While Sabato maintained a high K% of 33% in High-A, his improved home run rate allowed him to improve his overall slash line greatly. Over the last 23 games of his 2021 season, Sabato crushed nine home runs. His home runs weren’t wall scrapers either, Sabato showed time and time again down the stretch that his power is absolutely legitimate, including center field and opposite-field power. Aaron Sabato has a lot to improve on if he wants to carve out a career as a big leaguer. As a bat-first first baseman with little defensive ability, Sabato will need to be exceptional with the bat in order to stick, and his low batting average and sky-high strikeout percentage weren’t that. At just 22-years-old, though, and still possessing all of that pedigree as a first-round pick, Sabato shouldn’t yet be counted out as a legitimate prospect. Especially with the ability that the right-hander showed down the stretch with plus-plus power and an exceptional ability to draw walks. Sabato certainly needs to cut down on the strikeouts, but the talent is absolutely still there. Let’s not give up yet on Aaron Sabato.
  23. Today we jump into the Top 10 Minnesota Twins hitting prospects (according to me). Another interesting group, and when you have read it, you can start speculating on the Top 5! In today’s rankings, there are some interesting names. There are a few college draft picks that had some ups and downs throughout the season, but their tool set remains quality and clear. There is a former highly ranked international free agent who came to the team in a trade and made his unexpected debut in 2021. And there is a young player that hasn’t spent a lot of time in the organization yet but who is really exciting. Here are my choices for the 6-10 hitting prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization. #10 1B Aaron Sabato 2021 STATS: .202/.373/.410, 18 2B, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 32.1 K%, 19.8 BB%, 1/1 SB Aaron Sabato was the Twins first-round draft pick (27th overall) out of the University of North Carolina in 2020. Over 83 college games, he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. He was added to the Twins depth camp at 2021 spring training and then began the season with Low-A Ft. Myers. It was certainly a struggle for him, especially in the first half of the season. Only one player in all of minor league baseball had more walks than Sabato, but he also struck out a lot more than was expected. However, late in the summer he started showing a little more power. In 85 games with the Mussels, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 homers. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids and played in 22 games. He hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with eight homers. He had 92 walks and 149 strikeouts on the season, certainly more than was expected from a strong college bat. But, getting out of the former Florida State League and experiencing the success in Iowa reminds us of the immense power potential that he does have. #9 IF Edouard Julien 2021 STATS: .266/.434/.480, 28 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 28.0 K%, 21.4 BB%, 34/39 SB Edouard Julien grew up in Quebec. Out of high school, the Phillies drafted him in the 37th round in 2017. He declined and went to Auburn where he (and teammate Will Holland) led Auburn to the 2019 College World Series. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft. While he really wanted to go back to Auburn, the Twins gave up fourth-round money and he decided to sign. Unfortunately, he went to Peru for the Can-Am Games but hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He likely would have missed at least half of a 2020 season either way. So, his professional debut came in May in Ft. Myers. He played 47 games and hit .299/490/.456 (.946) with 12 doubles, three homers and 21 steals (in 23 attempts). Yes, a .490 on-base percentage. He moved up to Cedar Rapids for 65 more games. He hit .247/.397/.494 (.891) with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 13 more stolen bases. On the season, he struck out 144 times, but he led minor league baseball with 110 walks. In college, he was a power hitter and upon joining the Kernels, he showed that again. But he added the speed dimension back to his game. He’s got a great eye and with those things combined, he becomes a very intriguing prospect. We just don’t know where he is going to play. #8 IF Spencer Steer 2021 STATS: .254/.348/.484, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 66 RBI, 21.5 K%, 11.3 BB%, 8/12 SB A southern California native, Spencer Steer headed north to the University of Oregon despite being drafted by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 draft. He was a starter all three years in Eugene. He hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 20 extra base hits as a junior, and the Twins selected him with their third round pick. He played 20 games in Elizabethton before ending with 44 games in Cedar Rapids. Following the lost 2020 season, Steer was a late addition to the Twins depth camp during spring training in 2021. He homered in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was a sign of things to come. In an interview with Twins Daily following the 2019 season, Steer said, “I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.” He began the season with High-A Cedar Rapids and hit .274/.409/.506 (.915) with seven doubles and ten home runs in 45 games. He was promoted to Wichita where he hit .241/.304/.470 (.773) with 11 doubles and 14 more homers. As Torii Hunter would have said, his man-muscles arrived. Defensively, he played 46 games at second base, 38 games at third base and 15 games at shortstop. Asked early in the year if Steer was a future utility player, Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said no. He thinks he can be an everyday second baseman, but they will continue playing him around the infield. Steer should start 2022 with the Wind Surge, but he could get a chance to play in St. Paul in the season’s second half. He just turned 24 in December. #7 OF Gilberto Celestino 2021 STATS: .277/.371/.423, 18 2B, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21.8 K%, 11.4 BB%, 4/5 SB 2021 MLB STATS: .136/.177/.288, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 22.2 K%, 4.8 BB%, 0/0 SB First and foremost, Twins fans need to realize that what they saw from Gilberto Celestino isn’t necessarily the player that he is or certainly will become. Frankly, the 22-year-old looked like a guy who had only played eight games of High-A baseball in 2019, missed all of 2020 and had just 21 games in Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. What we saw late in the year in St. Paul. We saw a guy who takes good plate appearances and is willing to walk. He can hit for some average, and he does have a little pop in his bat. Defensively, despite some nervous issues in his first stint with the Twins, he is a plus defensive outfielder, fully capable of play centerfield well. He has good (though not great) speed. He typically takes good routes, and he has a strong and generally accurate arm. Expect that he will spend most of the 2022 season at age 23 and in St. Paul. He should mostly play in centerfield, but with Byron Buxton locked in, he really should play all three outfield spots and be ready when needed. #6 OF Kala’i Rosario 2021 STATS: .277/.341/.452, 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 31.7 K%, 9.1 BB%, 4/4 SB There were just five rounds in the 2020 draft due to the lockout. The Twins drafted Kala’i Rosario from Waiakea High School in Hawaii with their fifth round pick. It was noted that, along with Red Sox early pick Blaze Jordan, Rosario had as much power as any prep player from that draft. He signed, but of course, there was no season for him to report to Ft. Myers. In 2021, he stayed at the complex and then played most everyday for the FCL Twins once their season. With solid all-around offensive numbers, Rosario was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year. He played in 51 games and showed off the extra base power. He also walked at a decent clip. Clearly he will need to keep working and try to reduce that strikeout rate, but the bat is legit and the power is legit. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder. He spent about 75% of his innings in right field and the rest in left field. He also still has work to do with the glove and arm, but he does have the potential to an average corner outfielder. Obviously he has several levels to work through on his way up the organizational ladder. He’s going to be fun to watch. Presumably, he will spend the majority of the 2022 season in Ft. Myers again, this time with the Mighty Mussels. If he is able to show much power in that league (he’ll turn 20 in July) next year, his prospect status should go up even further. And if he doesn’t, but he shows an improved eye and produces more contact, it will be very exciting to see how he does when he moves up to Cedar Rapids. I think this is another interesting group. The first three listed above are college bats. Sabato certainly had his struggles early, but he came on late and his power is legit. Julien showed off all of his skills, his ability to know the strike zone and get on base, use his speed and also hit for a lot of power. Steer’s power certainly arrived and has moved up quickly. Celestino remains really young, and certainly was not at all ready for the big leagues when he was called up, but he has upside both offensively and defensively. Finally, Rosario is very young, and a long way from the big leagues, but he has a lot of potential with his bat that will be fun to watch. So there are hitting prospects 6-10. What do you think of this group? Please feel free to discuss and ask questions. And also try to guess how the Top 5 will be ranked when that is posted later this week. 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 View full article
  24. In today’s rankings, there are some interesting names. There are a few college draft picks that had some ups and downs throughout the season, but their tool set remains quality and clear. There is a former highly ranked international free agent who came to the team in a trade and made his unexpected debut in 2021. And there is a young player that hasn’t spent a lot of time in the organization yet but who is really exciting. Here are my choices for the 6-10 hitting prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization. #10 1B Aaron Sabato 2021 STATS: .202/.373/.410, 18 2B, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 32.1 K%, 19.8 BB%, 1/1 SB Aaron Sabato was the Twins first-round draft pick (27th overall) out of the University of North Carolina in 2020. Over 83 college games, he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. He was added to the Twins depth camp at 2021 spring training and then began the season with Low-A Ft. Myers. It was certainly a struggle for him, especially in the first half of the season. Only one player in all of minor league baseball had more walks than Sabato, but he also struck out a lot more than was expected. However, late in the summer he started showing a little more power. In 85 games with the Mussels, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 homers. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids and played in 22 games. He hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with eight homers. He had 92 walks and 149 strikeouts on the season, certainly more than was expected from a strong college bat. But, getting out of the former Florida State League and experiencing the success in Iowa reminds us of the immense power potential that he does have. #9 IF Edouard Julien 2021 STATS: .266/.434/.480, 28 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 28.0 K%, 21.4 BB%, 34/39 SB Edouard Julien grew up in Quebec. Out of high school, the Phillies drafted him in the 37th round in 2017. He declined and went to Auburn where he (and teammate Will Holland) led Auburn to the 2019 College World Series. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft. While he really wanted to go back to Auburn, the Twins gave up fourth-round money and he decided to sign. Unfortunately, he went to Peru for the Can-Am Games but hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He likely would have missed at least half of a 2020 season either way. So, his professional debut came in May in Ft. Myers. He played 47 games and hit .299/490/.456 (.946) with 12 doubles, three homers and 21 steals (in 23 attempts). Yes, a .490 on-base percentage. He moved up to Cedar Rapids for 65 more games. He hit .247/.397/.494 (.891) with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 13 more stolen bases. On the season, he struck out 144 times, but he led minor league baseball with 110 walks. In college, he was a power hitter and upon joining the Kernels, he showed that again. But he added the speed dimension back to his game. He’s got a great eye and with those things combined, he becomes a very intriguing prospect. We just don’t know where he is going to play. #8 IF Spencer Steer 2021 STATS: .254/.348/.484, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 66 RBI, 21.5 K%, 11.3 BB%, 8/12 SB A southern California native, Spencer Steer headed north to the University of Oregon despite being drafted by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 draft. He was a starter all three years in Eugene. He hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 20 extra base hits as a junior, and the Twins selected him with their third round pick. He played 20 games in Elizabethton before ending with 44 games in Cedar Rapids. Following the lost 2020 season, Steer was a late addition to the Twins depth camp during spring training in 2021. He homered in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was a sign of things to come. In an interview with Twins Daily following the 2019 season, Steer said, “I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.” He began the season with High-A Cedar Rapids and hit .274/.409/.506 (.915) with seven doubles and ten home runs in 45 games. He was promoted to Wichita where he hit .241/.304/.470 (.773) with 11 doubles and 14 more homers. As Torii Hunter would have said, his man-muscles arrived. Defensively, he played 46 games at second base, 38 games at third base and 15 games at shortstop. Asked early in the year if Steer was a future utility player, Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said no. He thinks he can be an everyday second baseman, but they will continue playing him around the infield. Steer should start 2022 with the Wind Surge, but he could get a chance to play in St. Paul in the season’s second half. He just turned 24 in December. #7 OF Gilberto Celestino 2021 STATS: .277/.371/.423, 18 2B, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21.8 K%, 11.4 BB%, 4/5 SB 2021 MLB STATS: .136/.177/.288, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 22.2 K%, 4.8 BB%, 0/0 SB First and foremost, Twins fans need to realize that what they saw from Gilberto Celestino isn’t necessarily the player that he is or certainly will become. Frankly, the 22-year-old looked like a guy who had only played eight games of High-A baseball in 2019, missed all of 2020 and had just 21 games in Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. What we saw late in the year in St. Paul. We saw a guy who takes good plate appearances and is willing to walk. He can hit for some average, and he does have a little pop in his bat. Defensively, despite some nervous issues in his first stint with the Twins, he is a plus defensive outfielder, fully capable of play centerfield well. He has good (though not great) speed. He typically takes good routes, and he has a strong and generally accurate arm. Expect that he will spend most of the 2022 season at age 23 and in St. Paul. He should mostly play in centerfield, but with Byron Buxton locked in, he really should play all three outfield spots and be ready when needed. #6 OF Kala’i Rosario 2021 STATS: .277/.341/.452, 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 31.7 K%, 9.1 BB%, 4/4 SB There were just five rounds in the 2020 draft due to the lockout. The Twins drafted Kala’i Rosario from Waiakea High School in Hawaii with their fifth round pick. It was noted that, along with Red Sox early pick Blaze Jordan, Rosario had as much power as any prep player from that draft. He signed, but of course, there was no season for him to report to Ft. Myers. In 2021, he stayed at the complex and then played most everyday for the FCL Twins once their season. With solid all-around offensive numbers, Rosario was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year. He played in 51 games and showed off the extra base power. He also walked at a decent clip. Clearly he will need to keep working and try to reduce that strikeout rate, but the bat is legit and the power is legit. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder. He spent about 75% of his innings in right field and the rest in left field. He also still has work to do with the glove and arm, but he does have the potential to an average corner outfielder. Obviously he has several levels to work through on his way up the organizational ladder. He’s going to be fun to watch. Presumably, he will spend the majority of the 2022 season in Ft. Myers again, this time with the Mighty Mussels. If he is able to show much power in that league (he’ll turn 20 in July) next year, his prospect status should go up even further. And if he doesn’t, but he shows an improved eye and produces more contact, it will be very exciting to see how he does when he moves up to Cedar Rapids. I think this is another interesting group. The first three listed above are college bats. Sabato certainly had his struggles early, but he came on late and his power is legit. Julien showed off all of his skills, his ability to know the strike zone and get on base, use his speed and also hit for a lot of power. Steer’s power certainly arrived and has moved up quickly. Celestino remains really young, and certainly was not at all ready for the big leagues when he was called up, but he has upside both offensively and defensively. Finally, Rosario is very young, and a long way from the big leagues, but he has a lot of potential with his bat that will be fun to watch. So there are hitting prospects 6-10. What do you think of this group? Please feel free to discuss and ask questions. And also try to guess how the Top 5 will be ranked when that is posted later this week. 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
  25. José Miranda is coming off a tremendous 2021 season where he cemented himself into Minnesota's long-term plans. Which other prospects will be looking to follow in his footsteps next season? Entering the 2021 season, it's not as if Miranda was a completely unknown commodity. Minnesota selected him in the second-round pack in 2016, and his first two professional seasons were spent in the rookie leagues, where he posted a .722 OPS. In 2018, most of his season was at Low-A as Miranda combined for a .760 OPS. Before the pandemic, he played at High-A and was limited to a .663 OPS. Minnesota eventually left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, but he luckily stayed in the organization. Miranda's 2021 production is what an organization hopes can happen as a player develops through their system. He was a surprise player that produced big power numbers in the minor's upper levels. Here are three prospects that can follow Miranda's footsteps this year for various reasons. Power Production: Austin Martin One of the knocks against Martin throughout his professional career has been his lack of power. When the Blue Jays drafted him, he was coming off a collegiate career where he posted a 1.007 OPS. Last season, he made his professional debut and played the entire season at Double-A. In 93 games, he combined for a .796 OPS with 25 extra-base hits. Before his 30 home run explosion, there were questions about Miranda's power development. After 2021, Miranda's power concerns have been put to rest, and Minnesota hopes for the same kind of transformation from Martin in 2022. Surprise Production: Yunior Severino Initially, the Braves signed him, but MLB granted his free agency after Atlanta was punished for illegal infractions on the international market. Atlanta's loss was Minnesota's gain. Like Miranda, Minnesota left Severino unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft. Last season, he hit .273/.372/.430 (.802) between Low- and High-A. He was younger than the average age of the competition at both levels. Next season, he will be 22-years-old, and he should reach Double-A. There is a chance a team selects him in the Rule 5 Draft, but it's tough to imagine him sticking as a big-league utility player for the entire 2022 season. Upper-Level Production: Aaron Sabato Things didn't go perfectly for Sabato in his first professional season. Minnesota selected him with their first-round pick in 2020, so expectations for him entering the year were high. At Low-A, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with a 117 to 73 strikeout to walk ratio in 85 games. After being promoted to High-A, he posted a 1.015 OPS with 11 extra-base hits in 22 games. Based on his college experience, Sabato should be penciled in to spend the bulk of 2022 in the upper-levels of the minors. Can Sabato duplicate his production from Cedar Rapids as he moves up the organizational ladder? Which player do you think will be this year's Miranda? Are there other players that should be on the list? 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 View full article
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