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  1. “I don’t know about other organizations, but it’s unprecedented in our history of the way we’ve drafted over the course of years. To take four high school position players with consecutive picks, I don’t think a lot of teams have done that.” Deron Johnson, Twins Senior Advisor to Scouting, continued, “I’m proud. It’s a bold move, I think.I don’t know many teams that have done that in the past. So far so good with the results.” Johnson, as you recall, became the Twins scouting director in 2008 and held the position through the 2016 season when he received his promotion to the Senior Scouting Advisor role. Alex Kirilloff has been one of the most impressive hitters in all of minor league baseball in 2018. Ben Rortvedt’s development both at the plate and behind the plate has been noticed by the organization. Jose Miranda’s 2018 season started slow in Cedar Rapids, but he’s been raking since and recently earned his promotion to Ft. Myers. Akil Baddoo remains in Cedar Rapids at this point, but he’s been very impressive at the plate and in center field and continues to improve. Deron Johnson insists that the plan coming into the draft wasn’t necessarily to take four high school kids right away. “You have a plan, but being able to watch our system over the years, I knew that we were in need of some position players. It just so happened.” Here is a quick look back at the top four Twins draft picks in 2016 through the eyes of Deron Johnson. ALEX KIRILLOFF “He hasn’t missed a beat since he had that layoff.” That layoff, of course, was missing the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. As you know, Kirilloff has not only been arguably the top hitter in the Twins minor leagues this year, but maybe one of the best in all of minor league baseball. He spent the first 65 games of his 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. He hit .333/.391/.607 (.999) with 20 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 56 RBI. He played in the Midwest League All-Star Game and then immediately was promoted to Ft. Myers. He represented the Twins on Team USA at the Futures Game, and went 2-for-2. In his 47 games with the Miracle, he has hit .365/.385/.547 (.932) with 19 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 37 RBI. The Twins used the 15th overall pick to take Kirilloff who played high school ball for Plum High School near Pittsburgh. While they drafted him in 2016, they had known about him for a couple of years already. He made a major impression on Johnson at Petco Park in San Diego a year before the draft. Johnson, recalled, “He hit a ball during the Perfect Game All-American Game in Petco. I mean, it was an absolute bomb. Left-handers don’t hit balls out a lot at that park. Mostly right-handers because the ball kind of travels there. That showed me that this guy’s got power.” Johnson saw him again early in the 2016 season. “I saw him a couple of times. I saw him two or three games in Florida early in spring and we identified him as a guy going into the draft.” Shortly before the draft, Johnson traveled to Pittsburgh to see Kirilloff play. Unfortunately, the game was rained out. It ended up creating a great opportunity for the scout. “ I got a chance to see him practice. A lot of times, it’s better than seeing the games. I got a chance to speak with the kid, see how he goes about his business, see how he interacts with his teammates, and that was great. Plus we had a lot of looks on him too.” BEN RORTVEDT There is this perception that players from northern states can’t get seen by scouts as easily as players from southern states. There is some truth to that, but the top prep players now are playing in the summer baseball circuit across the country, and they are the showcases necessary if players want to get drafted. That is where Rortvedt was first seen. Johnson pointed out, “We got a lot of looks in the summer. He played against the best guys. He was on that Perfect Game tour, played in the All-America Game. We definitely relied on Mike Ruth, Mike Radcliff, and Mark Wilson, the scout that had the area at the time. We had a lot of coverage on him. We had a lot of looks.” Rortvedt was the Twins second-round draft pick, the 56th overall pick in the draft, out of Verona High School in Verona, Wisconsin. He split that season between the GCL and Elizabethton. He made the jump to Cedar Rapids in 2017, and admittedly he struggled with the bat. But he was gaining experience and making improvements. He returned to Cedar Rapids to start the 2018 season. In 39 games, he hit .276/.325/.386 (.711) with 12 extra base hits. He has now played 39 games since being promoted to Ft. Myers. He has hit .244/.342/.351 (.693) with eight extra base hits (including a two home run game). Behind the plate, he is blessed with a very strong arm and has gained a reputation for working well with his pitchers. But there is a thought, a hope that he will be able to continue making strides offensively as well. Johnson believes in Rortvedt’s offensive potential. “I think he can. I think he’s strong. For him, I think it’s all about approach .He’s got a nice swing. He’s a very strong young man. A lot of that’s been addressed. Drive the ball. If he can consistently learn to and want to drive the ball, the sky's the limit for him. He’s one of the younger guys again in the Florida State League. He doesn’t strike out much, makes contact. He’s got raw power. There’s no question about that. Is he going to be a 25-home run guy? Well, I’m not going to say he can’t.” But again, his defense is where he can really affect a game. “His defense has improved immensely. He can really throw. He can stop a running game. He’s athletic behind the plate. Someone quoted me after the draft where I said that he looks like he was born to catch. I truly believe that He looks like a catcher. He looks like one of those old school catchers from the ‘50s. The big forearms, the squared jaw. The real strong face. He’s young. He’s still got some immaturity. He’s not grown up yet. It’s going to take some time, but he works at it. He really gives a good effort. His game-calling has really improved. I think all aspects of his game have gotten better.” JOSE MIRANDA The Twins added the 73rd overall pick in the 2017 as part of the compensation round. Miranda was another guy that the Twins had seen quite a bit of, including at a Perfect Game event. Miranda actually grew up in Florida. According to Johnson, “He had played in the States. His mom is a flight attendant located in Florida. He went to high school in Florida his freshman and sophomore years, and then he moved back to Puerto Rico.” He started out this season at Cedar Rapids and like the weather conditions, he was cold. As the temperatures, Miranda’s bat heated up. In 104 total games with the Kernels, he hit .277/.326/.434 (.760) with 22 doubles, 13 home runs and 72 RBI. He has now played in eight games since being promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle. He had his coming out party, of sorts, at Perfect Game. “We didn’t know who he was. (Delvin) Perez was the main guy. (Long-time Twins scout) Freddie Thon said, let’s take a look at this guy. I kind of like this guy.” “We saw him, and we like everything about him. We’ve always liked his bat. His defense is getting better. He’s found a home at 3B. He’s going to be a big man.” Miranda was drafted as a shortstop, but it was known that he wouldn’t stay there, though he did make one start there since joining the Miracle. He split much of his time in Cedar Rapids between second base and third base. AKIL BADDOO In the 2015 draft, the Twins used their second round pick (73rd pick) on right-handed pitcher Kyle Cody, a Wisconsin native who had spent three years at the University of Kentucky. For a few reasons, Cody did not sign with the Twins. Because they did not sign him, the Twins received the 74th overall pick of the 2016 draft. The Twins went to a familiar place for this selection. They signed a tremendous athlete out of high school in Georgia. In 2010, they drafted Niko Goodrum out of Fayette County High School in Georgia. In 2012, the Twins used the second overall pick in the draft on Byron Buxton who went to Appling County High School in Baxley, Georgia. Akil Baddoo continues that line of Twins great athletes selected by the Twins out of Georgia. Johnson noted, “Akil is coming into his own. He always kind of knew the strike zone as a high school kid. He’s from Georgia and he plays some really good competition. Georgia is one of the few areas in the country, along with Southern California and Florida and Texas, they play a lot of good baseball. It’s been a hotbed, not just for us, but for the industry.” Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State are a couple of powerhouse colleges, but the prep ranks are loaded with great talent. In fact, when the Twins used the 74th overall pick in Akil Baddoo, he became the seventh Georgia high school kid drafted in 2016. Josh Lowe was the 13th overall pick by the Rays. With the 14th pick, Cleveland’s selection was Will Benson. Carter Kierboom was the 28th overall pick by the Nationals. Taylor Trammell went to the Reds with the 35th pick. The Angels selected Brandon Marsh with the 60th overall pick. Alex Speas went #63 to the Texas Rangers. Johnson saw all of them, but he wondered why Baddoo wasn’t always mentioned in the same breath as some of those top picks. “He’s from out in the country, a little town called Conyers. Akil, everyone knew him, but he was the second tier of that group. Taylor Trammell came out that year. Three or four first-round picks come out of Atlanta that year. I was always curious why people weren’t talking about Akil more. We got a lot of looks at him.” He was seen a lot the summer before he was drafted. But it was very late in the summer when Baddoo took another step forward in the eyes of the Twins scouts. “We saw him at a Puerto Rico event the winter before the draft. The Mets put together a showcase where they bring a team from the States, and they play against Puerto Rican kids. It’s a great event. It’s after other events so you don’t get a lot of kids to show up. They’re tired. But Akil was there. He showed his passion for baseball. We liked him during the summer and were excited to see him show up. He went off there. He hit the ball hard, drove some balls, ran hard.” Baddoo was the Twins Daily choice for short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2017 when he split the season between the GCL and Elizabethton. He has now played in 101 games this season for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He has hit .241/.354/.413 (.767) with 19 doubles, nine triples and ten home runs. He also has 21 stolen bases in 26 attempts. Baddoo is a great athlete and has the built of a football player. “He’s strong. He’s like a running back. For me, he’s running better than when we drafted him. He’s a 70 runner. He’s playing way better defense. Mike Quade’s done a really good job with him defensively. He was a little raw defensively, but he’s got a different throwing action, but he can throw the ball. That’s maybe the one negative, the throwing. He’s getting much better. He’s got a chance to be a plus base runner.” ----------------------------------------------------------------- It is certainly not normal for a team to use four draft picks in the top two rounds and use each of them on high school hitters. To this point, the Twins front office has to be thrilled with all four picks. Each has experienced success and advanced up the organizational ladder appropriately, maybe even aggressive in some cases. 2016 was Deron Johnson’s final draft as scouting director, replaced by Sean Johnson. He says he is enjoying his new role where he gets to scout in many places. He was involved in the amateur scouting, the pro scouting and has had a chance to do some work internationally as well. But he has the right to be proud and excited about what the future might hold for his final draft. “I got a chance to see all those guys this summer, and it was fun to see. I got to see Alex. He’s done tremendously. Ben has been doing really well. He’s really improved defensively and his bat is coming on, so that is encouraging. Baddoo, despite his batting average, his peripheral numbers are really good. He’s hitting for some power, a bunch of doubles and stolen bases. And Miranda, I was there when he started heating up too.” Johnson continued. “It’s encouraging seeing those kids play well. I think Alex Is the oldest at 20-years-old. Akil won’t be 20 until the end of the year. It’s awesome seeing those guys have that kind of success this early in their career. ” But what is just as exciting as the top four picks, there are several other players that the Twins drafted in 2016 who remain in the organization and also have a chance to reach the big leagues. Will they? There’s no way to know that yet, of course, but several are on the right path. Soon, we will continue the conversation with Deron Johnson and discuss the rest of the Twins 2016 draft. It is a draft class that the Twins and their front office should be excited about.
  2. Baddoo was a second-round pick back in the 2016 MLB Draft out of high school in Georgia. He was actually Minnesota’s fourth pick in that draft behind Alex Kirilloff, Ben Rortvedt, and Jose Miranda. All of those players are still in the Twins organization, but Baddoo was left unprotected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Baddoo and the Tigers are showing exactly why the Rule 5 Draft was put in place. When a player is close to big-league ready, an organization can’t stash that player in the minor leagues without putting them on the 40-man roster. Baddoo’s hot start is great, but he will need to prove that he is part of the solution in Detroit, who isn’t expected to win too many games this season. During his time in the Twins organization, Baddoo played four professional seasons and reached as high as High-A. In the minors, he combined to hit .249/.357/.422 with 86 extra-base hits in 233 games. There were some clear offensive skills including a tremendous ability to draw walks along with some good power potential. This might all sound good, but there are reasons why the Twins left him unprotected this past winter. He’s been limited to under 115 games in every professional season including only 29 games back in 2019. Also, Baddoo struck out in nearly 24% of his plate appearance in 2018 and that number rose to 29.8% in 2019. So far in his brief big-league career, he has two strikeouts and no walks yet to his credit. He can play defensively in all three outfield positions, so it will be interesting to see what his long-term position will be at the big-league level. At one point, Baddoo was a borderline top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. In the last published Twins Prospect Handbook following the 2019 season, Tom had Baddoo ranked the highest as the 16th best Twins prospect. Seth had him ranked at 17 and I had him ranked as the 23rd best future Twin. Baddoo was certainly viewed as having potential, but the Twins and the Tigers are in very different places. Detroit is in rebuild mold and they can afford to take a flyer on a player like Baddoo. They aren’t expected to win for multiple seasons, so the Tigers can take the ups and downs that come with a younger player that has no experience at Double- or Triple-A. Moving forward, Baddoo’s outlook hasn’t changed significantly. The Twins have a ton of top-tier outfield prospects that were ahead of Baddoo on the team’s organizational depth chart. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino, Brent Rooker, and Matt Wallner are just a few of the outfield prospects that would rank ahead of Baddoo for the Twins. That takes nothing away from what Baddoo might be able to do in his career, but he wasn’t in Minnesota’s long-term plans. What are your thoughts on Baddoo and the storybook start to his big-league career? 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
  3. The highlight of the Winter Meeting’s final day is the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft works very closely with the 40-man roster rules. Teams must add players to their 40-man roster to avoid exposure in the Rule 5 draft where players could be lost to another organization. Will the Twins select any players? What players could the Twins lose?Check back to this article through the morning for updates as the Rule 5 draft occurs. Minnesota’s current 40-man roster sits with 35 active players which includes 18 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and seven outfielders. At the end of last month, the Twins added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. These players were catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-handed pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Bailey Ober. Another player to consider is Fernando Romero who spent the entire season on the restricted list due to visa issues and he is not currently on the 40-man roster. With payrolls expected to decrease next year because of the pandemic, inexpensive talent will be at a premium, so we could see more Rule 5 Draft activity than usual this offseason. As you may know, it costs $100,000 to make a Rule 5 selection. Then that player must remain on the draft team's active roster all year or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. Trades can be worked out as well. Who are some members of the Twins organization that have a chance to be selected? Here’s a quick list: OF Akil Baddoo: Baddoo was the Twins second-round pick back in 2016 out of high school. He played all of 2019 as a 20-year old at Fort Myers, but he was limited to 29 games after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His power and speed could be a valuable asset, especially since he can play centerfield. Would a team be willing to use him as a back-up outfielder for the season? SS Wander Javier: Javier has been one of the team’s top prospects since he was signed, but he missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. The Twins left him unprotected last year and he went unclaimed. He has all the tools and that’s one of the reasons the Twins were high on him when he signed with the club. After another missed season, it seems unlikely for a team to claim him, but the talent is there. RHP Luis Rijo: Like Javier, Rijo was left unprotected last winter and he went unclaimed. Back in 2019, he pitched the entire season at Low-A where he posted a 2.86 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 107 innings as a starter. He has three pitches and can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, which could definitely be intriguing to a rebuilding club. Would a team be able to stash him in their bullpen for the year and help him develop? 3B Jose Miranda: Minnesota selected Miranda in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Since that time, he was worked his way through the system as he played nearly all of 2019 at High-A. He’s hit double-digit home runs in two of the last three seasons and he has topped 25 doubles for two consecutive years. His ability to play multiple defensive positions could allow a team to keep him on their bench in a utility role. Other Twins players that could potential be selected include: RHP Griffin Jax, 2B Yunior Severino, OF Gabriel Maciel, LHP Charlie Barnes, LHP Jovani Moran, RHP Tyler Wells, LHP Bryan Sammons, 1B/OF Trey Cabbage, 1B Zander Wiel. ----- Outfielder Akil Baddoo was selected with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft. He will join the Tigers organization after missing nearly two full seasons of competitive play. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he is expected to be healthy for 2021. Right-handed pitcher Tyler Wells was selected in the second round of the Rule 5 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Like Baddoo, Wells underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. Before the injury, he had a 2.49 ERA and a 121 to 31 strikeout to walk ratio in 119 1/3 innings between High- and Double-A. Right-handed pitcher Ricky Ramirez was lost to the Orioles in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He was the team’s 15th round pick back in 2017. During the 2019 season, posted a 3.80 ERA with a 50 to 18 strikeout to walk ratio in 42 2/3 innings. He has never pitched higher than the Florida State League. Right-handed pitcher Joe Record was selected by the Astros in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. He only made 35 appearances in the Twins organization after being selected in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Record, a hard thrower, had a 5.07 ERA and a 68 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio over 55 innings back in 2019. In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Jhonleider Salinas from the Tampa Bay organization. At 6-foot-7, the 25-year old Venezuelan can be an opposing presence on the mound. He split 2019 between High- and Double-A where he had a 3.27 ERA and a 68 to 33 strikeout to walk ratio in 66 innings. Minnesota also picked left-handed pitcher Josh Mitchell from the Royals organization in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. He was a 22nd round pick back in 2017 from the University of Pittsburgh. He pitched all of 2019 at High-A where he had a 3.30 ERA and a 47 to 13 strikeout to walk ratio in 43 2/3 innings. Outfielder Jacob Pearson was picked up by the Atlanta Braves from the Twins organization. Originally, Pearson came to the Twins from the Angles organization for international bonus pool money that was used for signing Shohei Ohtani. During the 2019 season, Pearson hit .233/.303/.338 with 30 extra-base hits in 117 games. Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft here as it happens or rumors before and after. The article will be updated after the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and after the Minor League portion of the Rule 5. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  4. Check back to this article through the morning for updates as the Rule 5 draft occurs. Minnesota’s current 40-man roster sits with 35 active players which includes 18 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and seven outfielders. At the end of last month, the Twins added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. These players were catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-handed pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Bailey Ober. Another player to consider is Fernando Romero who spent the entire season on the restricted list due to visa issues and he is not currently on the 40-man roster. With payrolls expected to decrease next year because of the pandemic, inexpensive talent will be at a premium, so we could see more Rule 5 Draft activity than usual this offseason. As you may know, it costs $100,000 to make a Rule 5 selection. Then that player must remain on the draft team's active roster all year or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. Trades can be worked out as well. Who are some members of the Twins organization that have a chance to be selected? Here’s a quick list: OF Akil Baddoo: Baddoo was the Twins second-round pick back in 2016 out of high school. He played all of 2019 as a 20-year old at Fort Myers, but he was limited to 29 games after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His power and speed could be a valuable asset, especially since he can play centerfield. Would a team be willing to use him as a back-up outfielder for the season? SS Wander Javier: Javier has been one of the team’s top prospects since he was signed, but he missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. The Twins left him unprotected last year and he went unclaimed. He has all the tools and that’s one of the reasons the Twins were high on him when he signed with the club. After another missed season, it seems unlikely for a team to claim him, but the talent is there. RHP Luis Rijo: Like Javier, Rijo was left unprotected last winter and he went unclaimed. Back in 2019, he pitched the entire season at Low-A where he posted a 2.86 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 107 innings as a starter. He has three pitches and can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, which could definitely be intriguing to a rebuilding club. Would a team be able to stash him in their bullpen for the year and help him develop? 3B Jose Miranda: Minnesota selected Miranda in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Since that time, he was worked his way through the system as he played nearly all of 2019 at High-A. He’s hit double-digit home runs in two of the last three seasons and he has topped 25 doubles for two consecutive years. His ability to play multiple defensive positions could allow a team to keep him on their bench in a utility role. Other Twins players that could potential be selected include: RHP Griffin Jax, 2B Yunior Severino, OF Gabriel Maciel, LHP Charlie Barnes, LHP Jovani Moran, RHP Tyler Wells, LHP Bryan Sammons, 1B/OF Trey Cabbage, 1B Zander Wiel. ----- Outfielder Akil Baddoo was selected with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft. He will join the Tigers organization after missing nearly two full seasons of competitive play. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he is expected to be healthy for 2021. Right-handed pitcher Tyler Wells was selected in the second round of the Rule 5 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Like Baddoo, Wells underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. Before the injury, he had a 2.49 ERA and a 121 to 31 strikeout to walk ratio in 119 1/3 innings between High- and Double-A. Right-handed pitcher Ricky Ramirez was lost to the Orioles in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He was the team’s 15th round pick back in 2017. During the 2019 season, posted a 3.80 ERA with a 50 to 18 strikeout to walk ratio in 42 2/3 innings. He has never pitched higher than the Florida State League. Right-handed pitcher Joe Record was selected by the Astros in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. He only made 35 appearances in the Twins organization after being selected in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Record, a hard thrower, had a 5.07 ERA and a 68 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio over 55 innings back in 2019. In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Jhonleider Salinas from the Tampa Bay organization. At 6-foot-7, the 25-year old Venezuelan can be an opposing presence on the mound. He split 2019 between High- and Double-A where he had a 3.27 ERA and a 68 to 33 strikeout to walk ratio in 66 innings. Minnesota also picked left-handed pitcher Josh Mitchell from the Royals organization in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. He was a 22nd round pick back in 2017 from the University of Pittsburgh. He pitched all of 2019 at High-A where he had a 3.30 ERA and a 47 to 13 strikeout to walk ratio in 43 2/3 innings. Outfielder Jacob Pearson was picked up by the Atlanta Braves from the Twins organization. Originally, Pearson came to the Twins from the Angles organization for international bonus pool money that was used for signing Shohei Ohtani. During the 2019 season, Pearson hit .233/.303/.338 with 30 extra-base hits in 117 games. Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft here as it happens or rumors before and after. The article will be updated after the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and after the Minor League portion of the Rule 5. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker and Edwar Colina would have been obvious additions to the 40-man roster on Friday, but the Twins added them during the season. That left Jordan Balazovic as the one easy choice for them to add to their 40-man roster, and on Friday they did. In addition, they added catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-hander Bailey Ober as well. That said, there are a lot of good prospects that were left off of the roster still. The Rule 5 draft will take place December 10th, and players such as Akil Baddoo, Jose Miranda, Yunior Severino, Wander Javier, Luis Rijo, Gabriel Maciel, Griffin Jax, Tyler Wells, and Charlie Barnes were left unprotected. For a more complete list, click here. BACK TO BALAZOVIC The 22-year-old right-hander was the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2016 out of St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). His area scout that signed him was Walt Burrows. After an impressive debut in the GCL that summer, he really struggled at the same level in 2017. However, he was a new pitcher in 2018. In late May, he moved up to Ceadr Rapids and was quite impressive. He went 7-3 with a 3.94 ERA. In 61 2/3 innings, he had 78 strikeouts with just 18 walks. The season pushed his prospect status very high, reaching into the top ten among Twins prospects and even into some national Top 100 lists. In 2019, he spent the first month with the Kernels. He went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in four starts before moving up to the Miracle. In his first Miracle start, he tossed seven no-hit innings and struck out ten batters. He went 6-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 more games. Combined, he had 129 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 93 2/3 innings. His season ended with a playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1170147185297678336 When Deron Johnson drafted Balazovic, he saw a lanky pitcher with raw ability and a strong understanding of pitching. Johnson later told me that when he saw him again in 2018, he was now touching 95 and his breaking pitches were much sharper. Balazovic was added to the Twins alternate site roster for the final month of the season. Also, it's pronounced (buh-law-zuh-vic)... More on Jordan Balazovic: Seth's Preliminary Top 50 Prospects: Part 2 (31-40) (Sept 2020) Get to Know: Jordan Balazovic (Dec 2016) Why Jordan Balazovic has the Makings of an Ace (Nov 2019) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #5 Jordan Balazovic (Feb 2020) Three Twins Players Hurt Most Without a Minor League Season (June 2020) Who Should the Twins Protect from the Rule 5 Draft? (Nov 2020) BACKING BAILEY When it comes to putting up numbers, Bailey Ober has done just that. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston where he was the country's Freshman of the Year. Unfortunately, the 6-9 righty had Tommy John surgery which cost him a season and his recovery pushed him down in the draft. He has missed time since joining the Twins organization too. However, when he has pitched, he has been really good. In 2018, he went 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA in Ft. Myers before moving up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. Combined, he struck out 100 and walked just nine batters in 78 2/3 innings. More On Ober Get to Know: RHP Bailey Ober (Jan 2018) Bailey Ober on his 2019 Success (Sept 2019) BACKSTOP BEN Ben Rortvedt has also been added to the Twins 40-man roster. The Verona, Wisconsin, native was the first of two straight second round picks in 2016, one pick ahead of Jose Miranda. He has been invited to big-league spring training the past two seasons. In 2019, he started in Ft. Myers. After 24 games, he moved up to Double-A Pensacola where he played in 55 games. Combined, he hit .239/.332/.355 (.687) with 16 doubles and seven homers before an late-season knee injury ended his regular season. He attempted to play in the Arizona Fall League but was unable to and had knee surgery. Rortvedt is strong and athletic behind the plate. He's got good agility and a strong arm. He's really improved on his pitch framing in recent seasons as well. He's smart, works well with pitchers and is able to call a strong game. More On Rortvedt Twins Select Ben Rortvedt with the 56th Overall Pick (June 2016) Kernels Catcher Ben Rortvedt is Catching On (May 2017) Looking Back: Twins Take Four Prep Bats Atop 2016 Draft (Aug 2018) What are your thoughts on the Twins additions to the 40-man roster? The roster currently has 37 players on it: 19 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and eight outfielders.
  6. On Friday, the Minnesota Twins announced that they have added catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-handed pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Bailey Ober to their 40-man roster.Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker and Edwar Colina would have been obvious additions to the 40-man roster on Friday, but the Twins added them during the season. That left Jordan Balazovic as the one easy choice for them to add to their 40-man roster, and on Friday they did. In addition, they added catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-hander Bailey Ober as well. That said, there are a lot of good prospects that were left off of the roster still. The Rule 5 draft will take place December 10th, and players such as Akil Baddoo, Jose Miranda, Yunior Severino, Wander Javier, Luis Rijo, Gabriel Maciel, Griffin Jax, Tyler Wells, and Charlie Barnes were left unprotected. For a more complete list, click here. BACK TO BALAZOVIC The 22-year-old right-hander was the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2016 out of St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). His area scout that signed him was Walt Burrows. After an impressive debut in the GCL that summer, he really struggled at the same level in 2017. However, he was a new pitcher in 2018. In late May, he moved up to Ceadr Rapids and was quite impressive. He went 7-3 with a 3.94 ERA. In 61 2/3 innings, he had 78 strikeouts with just 18 walks. The season pushed his prospect status very high, reaching into the top ten among Twins prospects and even into some national Top 100 lists. In 2019, he spent the first month with the Kernels. He went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in four starts before moving up to the Miracle. In his first Miracle start, he tossed seven no-hit innings and struck out ten batters. He went 6-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 more games. Combined, he had 129 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 93 2/3 innings. His season ended with a playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. When Deron Johnson drafted Balazovic, he saw a lanky pitcher with raw ability and a strong understanding of pitching. Johnson later told me that when he saw him again in 2018, he was now touching 95 and his breaking pitches were much sharper. Balazovic was added to the Twins alternate site roster for the final month of the season. Also, it's pronounced (buh-law-zuh-vic)... More on Jordan Balazovic: Seth's Preliminary Top 50 Prospects: Part 2 (31-40) (Sept 2020)Get to Know: Jordan Balazovic (Dec 2016)Why Jordan Balazovic has the Makings of an Ace (Nov 2019)Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #5 Jordan Balazovic (Feb 2020)Three Twins Players Hurt Most Without a Minor League Season (June 2020)Who Should the Twins Protect from the Rule 5 Draft? (Nov 2020)BACKING BAILEY When it comes to putting up numbers, Bailey Ober has done just that. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston where he was the country's Freshman of the Year. Unfortunately, the 6-9 righty had Tommy John surgery which cost him a season and his recovery pushed him down in the draft. He has missed time since joining the Twins organization too. However, when he has pitched, he has been really good. In 2018, he went 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA in Ft. Myers before moving up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. Combined, he struck out 100 and walked just nine batters in 78 2/3 innings. More On Ober Get to Know: RHP Bailey Ober (Jan 2018)Bailey Ober on his 2019 Success (Sept 2019) BACKSTOP BEN Ben Rortvedt has also been added to the Twins 40-man roster. The Verona, Wisconsin, native was the first of two straight second round picks in 2016, one pick ahead of Jose Miranda. He has been invited to big-league spring training the past two seasons. In 2019, he started in Ft. Myers. After 24 games, he moved up to Double-A Pensacola where he played in 55 games. Combined, he hit .239/.332/.355 (.687) with 16 doubles and seven homers before an late-season knee injury ended his regular season. He attempted to play in the Arizona Fall League but was unable to and had knee surgery. Rortvedt is strong and athletic behind the plate. He's got good agility and a strong arm. He's really improved on his pitch framing in recent seasons as well. He's smart, works well with pitchers and is able to call a strong game. More On Rortvedt Twins Select Ben Rortvedt with the 56th Overall Pick(June 2016)Kernels Catcher Ben Rortvedt is Catching On (May 2017)Looking Back: Twins Take Four Prep Bats Atop 2016 Draft (Aug 2018) What are your thoughts on the Twins additions to the 40-man roster? The roster currently has 37 players on it: 19 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and eight outfielders. Click here to view the article
  7. If you missed the first round rounds, you can view them here. A brief primer: We're taking 16 players with "prospect" or "rookie" status. Positions on each team included: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, three outfielders, a bench player/hitter, three starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and an extra pitcher. (Please note that comments under the picks were made by the person making the selection.) Round 5 Seth Stohs - Luis Rijo RH SP When the Twins acquired Rijo in July 2018, he had put up solid numbers and was known for his pitch ability. Then last summer in Cedar Rapids, he was pumping 96! I like that upside. Steve Lein - Akil Baddoo OF Though an injury cut short his 2019 season, Baddoo is an outfielder who can play center, gets on base, and was starting to show some pop. Ted Schwerzler - Griffin Jax RHP Jax isn’t going to be an ace, but he’s more than capable of being a safe and trustworthy arm. He’s performed at every level, and despite some hurdles in getting his baseball career to remain consistent, he’s been as reliable as it gets. Cody Christie - Wander Javier, SS Might as well complete my up-the-middle trifecta. Javier is coming off a rough transition to a full-season league, but he has too many tools not to be able to find success. Injuries have limited his time on the field, but more time and experience will showcase his full potential. Jeremy Nygaard - Will Holland, SS Holland struck out way too much in his pro debut, which came on the heels of a not-so-great junior season at Auburn. But his first two years there, plus a really good Cape performance in 2018, has me believing in both the power and the speed (16 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 2019 between Auburn and Elizabethton). If he can stick at shortstop, that’s just icing on the cake if he realizes his potential with the bat. Matt Braun - Gabriel Maciel, OF Outfielders kind of flew off the board quicker than I anticipated so I’m glad that I was able to snap Maciel. He could be the stereotypical leadoff hitter in the mold of Denard Span who sets the table for guys in the middle of the lineup. Round 6 Matt Braun - Yunior Severino, 2B Severino is a very interesting prospect in his own right. He was snatched up by the Twins after the Braves were busted for shady international practices and he has held his own in the lower level of the minors so far. He brings good upside in raw power that isn’t seen often in middle infielders and is one of the only switch-hitters in the entire system. Jeremy Nygaard - Zander Wiel, 1B/OF I’m not positive that Holland bats higher than sixth… but I know Wiel will bat third or fourth. I finally have my run-producing masher, who I assume will be my primary first baseman, though he does have some experience in the outfield. Cody Christie - Spencer Steer, 3B College experience, check. Power bat, check. Steer can help solidify the left side of the infield with Wander Javier playing up the middle. He will be a leader in the clubhouse and on the field. (Get to Know Spencer Steer here.) Ted Schwerzler - Trey Cabbage 1B The FSL wasn’t all that kind in Cabbage’s debut season there, but the 2015 4th round pick game into his power. He’s now 23 and will need to step up quickly, but he’s got the chops to play an athletic first base and drive the ball out of the yard. Steve Lein - Seth Gray 3B After being drafted in the 4th round last year Gray had a tale of two halves in his first season as a professional. In the months of June and July he hit a combined .201/.314/.373 in 134 at-bats with Elizabethton. Then he turned it on in August and September with a .270/.368/.520 line in his last 100 at-bats, including a promotion to Cedar Rapids for his final four games. Gray possesses a good amount of raw power, so I’m looking for that out of him in my lineup. Seth Stohs - Bailey Ober, RH SP I mean, just look at the numbers. The lanky right-hander pitched in 14 games last year and went 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA. In 78 2/3 innings, he struck out 100 batters and walked nine. He may not throw hard, but he’s doing something right. He knows himself as a pitcher and continued to learn throughout the 2019 season. Round 7 Seth Stohs - Sean Poppen, RH RP He’s mostly been a starter since the Twins drafted him out of Harvard. He’s had a little bit of big league time now out of the bullpen. As noted this offseason, I am a big believer in his upside as a reliever. He throws 97 and gets a ton of movement on his fastball and slider. Steve Lein - Josh Winder SP I’ll finish my rotation with Winder. He threw a ton of innings with the Kernels in 2019 and led the Midwest League with a 2.65 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He can hit mid-90’s with his fastball and has a full repertoire of secondary offerings, with a few breaking balls showing promise. Ted Schwerzler - Cody Stashak RH RP The MLB debut in 2019 was about as good as it gets. In 25 innings Stashak mowed down opposing hitters and did so while limiting walks in an extremely impressive way. Relievers only have so much value, but I’m stoked to get him here. Cody Christie - Jorge Alcala RH SP I’m going with my best available player here and he happens to fill a need on my roster. Alcala struggled through parts of 2019, but his high ERA might not tell the full story. He has a fastball that can hit in the high 90s and a slider that helps him strikeout batters. If he doesn’t work in the rotation, he could be a tremendous bullpen option with his top two pitch options. Jeremy Nygaard - Chris Vallimont RHSP I thought hard about taking a pitcher instead of Wiel, but there were quite a few I liked and thought I’d get two of them (here and my next picks). I didn’t anticipate Seth kicking off a five-straight-pitchers run. All the pitchers that I considered here are gone, but I’m going to take the next pitcher on my list. Vallimont throws gas, is a little under the radar, and completes my rotation nicely. Matt Braun - Bryan Sammons, LHSP Jeremy taking Vallimont threw me into a fit of words that will not be repeated but I eventually got my bearings back and took Sammons. The walks were a bit high for him at AA this year but he brings great strikeout potential from the left side and rounds out my rotation quite nicely. Round 8 Matt Braun - Willie Joe Garry Jr., OF Garry Jr. and Maciel might make one of the most athletic outfields you can field using Twins minor leaguers. Garry Jr. is very young with a lot of development left but has as much upside as anyone else in the system. Hopefully people stop taking my guys as this continues. Jeremy Nygaard - Emmanuel Rodriguez OF The top “prospect” left on my list and also, having just turned 17, the youngest. Rodriguez will fit into a defensively-strong outfield, playing right field. He’ll also fit into the bottom third of the lineup where he can put his strong hitting skills on display, without pressure. Cody Christie - Tyler Wells, RH SP Wells was due back from Tommy John surgery in 2020 but his last action in 2018 saw him put up some strong numbers at High- and Double-A. He rounds out my rotation nicely and could wind up being one of my best pitchers if he can get back to where he was before surgery. Ted Schwerzler - Edouard Julien 3B Minnesota went with a pair of Auburn Tigers infielders in the 2019 draft. Julien initially decided to go back to school until the Twins convinced him otherwise. He had a bit of a down Sophomore year, but there’s plenty of pop in his bat and he’s got a chance to be a solid contributor on the diamond. Steve Lein - Mark Contreras OF Contreras had a rough season at the plate in 2019 overall, but I'm adding him for a different reason here: his elite defense. He won an MiLB gold glove award for his work in the outfield at all three spots. Seth Stohs - Derek Molina, RH RP Molina is a great athlete, and now that he is a full-time pitcher, he’s taking off. The right-hander split 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers and had 61 strikeouts and just 11 walks over 41 innings of work. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. Last month, Twins Daily ranked infielder Jose Miranda as the Twins #20 prospect. Last week, he arrived in Ft. Myers for his fourth spring training. Twins Daily caught up with the slugger to discuss several topics including being drafted, his strengths, what he’s working on, and his world-famous cousin.Along with his work in preparation for his 2020 baseball seasons, Jose Miranda also got to spend a little time with his cousin, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Yes, the same Lin-Manuel Miranda who won awards for his Broadway play In the Heights and later gained international renown for writing and starring in the immensely popular play Hamilton. According to Jose Miranda, “My dad is his dad’s cousin.” While they have only met and conversed a handful of times (the 40-year-old Lin-Manuel grew up in New York but frequently visited Puerto Rico), they had a nice chat this past offseason. “He’s friendly, humble. If you see him, you would never guess he was famous like that.” Photo by Hannah Gaber-USA TODAY “I like music. Not into singing or doing some instrumental, but I like reggaeton, music in Spanish.” Jose Miranda then added, “Sports was my primary thing since growing.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jose Miranda grew up in Puerto Rico. He was born in the village of Manati in the north central part of the island. He said he spent one semester of his ninth grade year with his mom in Miami. He returned to Puerto Rico and attended Leadership Christian Academy in Guaynabo, a city just south and west of San Juan and just east of Bayamon. Miranda became well-known as a baseball prospect nationally. He had a pretty good sense of where he might be drafted, and thought he knew which teams were most likely to select him. “I was expecting to go in the second round or the third round. I had communications with three or four teams. I think the Twins weren’t the favorites. I thought I was going to go to the Phillies or the Blue Jays. They were talking to me more.” A lot of times, teams will know who they want and then try to act as if they are uninterested, hoping that the player will get to them. The Twins were thrilled that Miranda was still available when they made their first of two straight Competitive Balance picks after the second round of the 2016 draft. As Twins Hall of Famer Brad Radke said that night, “With the 73rd selection of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins select Jose Miranda, a shortstop from Leadership Christian Academy, Puerto Rico.” Of that night, Miranda noted, “That was my first goal. I worked so hard for that. I wanted to be in the first few rounds. My senior year, I was just working out, working out, working out, working out, playing, playing, and then I got called, and my dream came true, and now my dream is to get to the bigs.” Because of uncertainty in where he might be drafted, the Miranda family did not have a big party. The first two rounds and the Competitive Balance picks are made on the first night of the draft. The third round through the tenth round picks are made on Day 2. So Miranda was at home with his dad and his grandma. However, news of his selection traveled quickly. “My phone blew up. Texts from everyone. Twitter. Instagram.” One pick later, the Twins selected outfielder Akil Baddoo with the 74th pick, the fourth straight high school hitter that the Twins drafted that year. The Twins had drafted outfielder Alex Kirilloff with the 15th overall pick. Their second-round pick was catcher Ben Rortvedt. The group remains close. “We communicate, and we talk a lot. We’re friends.. I talk more with Akil Baddoo, but I talk to every one of those guys. They’re super cool, and they like to work.” ------------------------------------------------------------------ There is a pride that you hear in the voice of players who grew up in Puerto Rico. And the Twins have drafted and signed many players from Puerto Rico. In talking to Jose Miranda, it is quite clear he is proud to be from Puerto Rico. “For me, if I was born again, I’d want to be born in Puerto Rico. It’s my island. It’s where I grew up. I love it. My family is there. It's such a small island. Everyone is rooting for you when you’re here. I love it. ” The Puerto Rican players will often get together for dinners or just hang out and talk about baseball. Having that support from the players who have made it to the big leagues and from the island is motivating. “It’s a motivating thing because we know they were here before. They went from the minors, from rookie ball to the bigs. They tell us, you’ve got to trust the process, and if you do things right, you will get promoted to the bigs. One day, you’re going to play up here with us. That’s the main goal. Jose Miranda has been moving up the Twins organizational ladder one level at a time. Following the draft, he played 55 games for the GCL Twins. In 2017, he played in 54 games for the Elizabethton Twins and hit .283 with eight doubles and 11 home runs. He moved up to full-season ball in 2018. He played in 104 games with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He hit .277/.326/.434 (.760) with 22 doubles and 13 home runs. He ended the season with 27 games in Ft. Myers where he helped the Miracle to the Florida State League championship. He began 2019 with the MIracle. In 118 games, he hit .248/.299/.364 (.663) with 25 doubles and eight home runs. Statistics in the Florida State League always have to be taken with a grain of salt, especially with a 21-year-old. “It’s pretty hard. Sometimes you hit some balls that you think are going to go or they’re going to fall, but they get there and they catch them. Sometimes you get frustrated, but it just is what it is. It’s a tough league, but you have to live with it.” That’s where a player needs more than just tools and physical strength. It’s where players can get challenged with the mental aspects of the game. “Just got to stay hard in your mind, strong. Just stay positive. Keep working. You’ve just got to keep working, and you can’t stop working.” Starting pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Dakota Chalmers were promoted from Ft. Myers to Pensacola for their playoff run. Jose Miranda was the lone hitter that was promoted for the Southern League playoffs. He went 3-for-5 with a double in his one regular season game. Then in five playoff games for the Blue Wahoos, Miranda hit .368/.429/.526 (.955). “I think I had a little more confidence going into the offseason. In my mind, I was like, at least I finished in Double-A. It was a little jump. It was at the end, but I finished at Double-A.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------- In his career, Miranda has split time between third base and second base, with an occasional game played at shortstop. However, he has begun to play more third base. While his third base-second base mix was about 50/50 in 2018, he played third base nearly two-thirds of the time in 2019. Most scouts believe that is the position he is most likely to play. For his part, Miranda doesn’t mind playing either position. “I feel comfortable at both. If you can tell me now which one I want to play, I don’t have an answer right now. I like to play both, or all three. I like to play shortstop too. But right now it’s more third and second. Whatever they want me to play, I’ll play it.” ----------------------------------------------------------------- 2020 will be a big year for Jose Miranda. Following the season, he will be Rule 5 draft-eligible if he is not added to the Twins 40-man roster. To prepare for the season, he really worked hard. “First of all, I was working on my body because I wanted to lose some weight. Last year I felt a little sloppy, a little slow. So I told my trainer we had to work on my weight to get a little faster, to gain a little agility. And then my swing, and my swing mechanics.” When asked for his goals, he didn’t mention numbers and statistics. “One of my main goals is just to stay healthy for the whole year. Stay healthy, and then control what I can control.” Off the field, Miranda has some very exciting news as well. He will soon become a father. “We’re having a baby. Super exciting.” Miranda’s girlfriend is due in April. She is in Puerto Rico but hopefully about a month after the baby is born, mother and child will come to the States to be with Jose. A big year indeed! Click here to view the article
  9. Along with his work in preparation for his 2020 baseball seasons, Jose Miranda also got to spend a little time with his cousin, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Yes, the same Lin-Manuel Miranda who won awards for his Broadway play In the Heights and later gained international renown for writing and starring in the immensely popular play Hamilton. According to Jose Miranda, “My dad is his dad’s cousin.” While they have only met and conversed a handful of times (the 40-year-old Lin-Manuel grew up in New York but frequently visited Puerto Rico), they had a nice chat this past offseason. “He’s friendly, humble. If you see him, you would never guess he was famous like that.” Photo by Hannah Gaber-USA TODAY “I like music. Not into singing or doing some instrumental, but I like reggaeton, music in Spanish.” Jose Miranda then added, “Sports was my primary thing since growing.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jose Miranda grew up in Puerto Rico. He was born in the village of Manati in the north central part of the island. He said he spent one semester of his ninth grade year with his mom in Miami. He returned to Puerto Rico and attended Leadership Christian Academy in Guaynabo, a city just south and west of San Juan and just east of Bayamon. Miranda became well-known as a baseball prospect nationally. He had a pretty good sense of where he might be drafted, and thought he knew which teams were most likely to select him. “I was expecting to go in the second round or the third round. I had communications with three or four teams. I think the Twins weren’t the favorites. I thought I was going to go to the Phillies or the Blue Jays. They were talking to me more.” A lot of times, teams will know who they want and then try to act as if they are uninterested, hoping that the player will get to them. The Twins were thrilled that Miranda was still available when they made their first of two straight Competitive Balance picks after the second round of the 2016 draft. As Twins Hall of Famer Brad Radke said that night, “With the 73rd selection of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins select Jose Miranda, a shortstop from Leadership Christian Academy, Puerto Rico.” Of that night, Miranda noted, “That was my first goal. I worked so hard for that. I wanted to be in the first few rounds. My senior year, I was just working out, working out, working out, working out, playing, playing, and then I got called, and my dream came true, and now my dream is to get to the bigs.” Because of uncertainty in where he might be drafted, the Miranda family did not have a big party. The first two rounds and the Competitive Balance picks are made on the first night of the draft. The third round through the tenth round picks are made on Day 2. So Miranda was at home with his dad and his grandma. However, news of his selection traveled quickly. “My phone blew up. Texts from everyone. Twitter. Instagram.” One pick later, the Twins selected outfielder Akil Baddoo with the 74th pick, the fourth straight high school hitter that the Twins drafted that year. The Twins had drafted outfielder Alex Kirilloff with the 15th overall pick. Their second-round pick was catcher Ben Rortvedt. The group remains close. “We communicate, and we talk a lot. We’re friends.. I talk more with Akil Baddoo, but I talk to every one of those guys. They’re super cool, and they like to work.” ------------------------------------------------------------------ There is a pride that you hear in the voice of players who grew up in Puerto Rico. And the Twins have drafted and signed many players from Puerto Rico. In talking to Jose Miranda, it is quite clear he is proud to be from Puerto Rico. “For me, if I was born again, I’d want to be born in Puerto Rico. It’s my island. It’s where I grew up. I love it. My family is there. It's such a small island. Everyone is rooting for you when you’re here. I love it. ” The Puerto Rican players will often get together for dinners or just hang out and talk about baseball. Having that support from the players who have made it to the big leagues and from the island is motivating. “It’s a motivating thing because we know they were here before. They went from the minors, from rookie ball to the bigs. They tell us, you’ve got to trust the process, and if you do things right, you will get promoted to the bigs. One day, you’re going to play up here with us. That’s the main goal. Jose Miranda has been moving up the Twins organizational ladder one level at a time. Following the draft, he played 55 games for the GCL Twins. In 2017, he played in 54 games for the Elizabethton Twins and hit .283 with eight doubles and 11 home runs. He moved up to full-season ball in 2018. He played in 104 games with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He hit .277/.326/.434 (.760) with 22 doubles and 13 home runs. He ended the season with 27 games in Ft. Myers where he helped the Miracle to the Florida State League championship. He began 2019 with the MIracle. In 118 games, he hit .248/.299/.364 (.663) with 25 doubles and eight home runs. Statistics in the Florida State League always have to be taken with a grain of salt, especially with a 21-year-old. “It’s pretty hard. Sometimes you hit some balls that you think are going to go or they’re going to fall, but they get there and they catch them. Sometimes you get frustrated, but it just is what it is. It’s a tough league, but you have to live with it.” That’s where a player needs more than just tools and physical strength. It’s where players can get challenged with the mental aspects of the game. “Just got to stay hard in your mind, strong. Just stay positive. Keep working. You’ve just got to keep working, and you can’t stop working.” Starting pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Dakota Chalmers were promoted from Ft. Myers to Pensacola for their playoff run. Jose Miranda was the lone hitter that was promoted for the Southern League playoffs. He went 3-for-5 with a double in his one regular season game. Then in five playoff games for the Blue Wahoos, Miranda hit .368/.429/.526 (.955). “I think I had a little more confidence going into the offseason. In my mind, I was like, at least I finished in Double-A. It was a little jump. It was at the end, but I finished at Double-A.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------- In his career, Miranda has split time between third base and second base, with an occasional game played at shortstop. However, he has begun to play more third base. While his third base-second base mix was about 50/50 in 2018, he played third base nearly two-thirds of the time in 2019. Most scouts believe that is the position he is most likely to play. For his part, Miranda doesn’t mind playing either position. “I feel comfortable at both. If you can tell me now which one I want to play, I don’t have an answer right now. I like to play both, or all three. I like to play shortstop too. But right now it’s more third and second. Whatever they want me to play, I’ll play it.” ----------------------------------------------------------------- 2020 will be a big year for Jose Miranda. Following the season, he will be Rule 5 draft-eligible if he is not added to the Twins 40-man roster. To prepare for the season, he really worked hard. “First of all, I was working on my body because I wanted to lose some weight. Last year I felt a little sloppy, a little slow. So I told my trainer we had to work on my weight to get a little faster, to gain a little agility. And then my swing, and my swing mechanics.” When asked for his goals, he didn’t mention numbers and statistics. “One of my main goals is just to stay healthy for the whole year. Stay healthy, and then control what I can control.” Off the field, Miranda has some very exciting news as well. He will soon become a father. “We’re having a baby. Super exciting.” Miranda’s girlfriend is due in April. She is in Puerto Rico but hopefully about a month after the baby is born, mother and child will come to the States to be with Jose. A big year indeed!
  10. Before we look at the 2020 Honorable Mentions, a quick look at last year’s Honorable Mentions shows that 2019 Twins Top Rookie Luis Arraez was mentioned, referred to as a “Hit Machine.” Also, Jordan Balazovic went from Honorable Mention to, well, you’ll see him profiled soon. So which players who received votes this year will climb the prospect ladder in 2020? ALREADY DEBUTED Four players who made their MLB debuts in 2019. These players may not have super-stardom in their futures, but as we saw last year, they absolutely can be contributors to winning teams. Randy Dobnak went from non-drafted free agent who spent all of 2018 in Cedar Rapids to a guy who pitched well at four levels in the Twins system in 2019, including at the big league level, on his way to the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Likewise, Devin Smeltzer pitched in some big games and performed well at various times throughout the year. LaMonte Wade debuted mid-summer, and after an injury, he played most every day in September. Hard-throwing Jorge Alcala moved from a starting role to the bullpen late in the season and received a mid-September promotion to the big leagues. OTHERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER Along with those four players, a few other Honorable Mention players are on the Twins 40-man roster. Nick Gordon was added after the 2018 season. This past November, the Twins added Luke Raley and Dakota Chalmers to their 40-man roster, putting them one call away from the big leagues. In addition, Luis Rijo and Griffin Jax were two guys that Twins fans (and probably the Twins too) were worried about potentially losing in the Rule 5 draft. They were not selected, but as we know, both have the potential to move up this list. RETURNING FROM INJURIES Injuries are a part of the game, any game, and several Twins prospects fought injuries in 2019. Injuries can mean missed time and fewer development opportunities. They can sometimes be played through and affect performance. Ben Rortvedt suffered a knee injury late in the season, but he had surgery and should return at 100% in 2020. Akil Baddoo’s season ended in mid-May. He had Tommy John surgery and is excited to return to the field. Nick Gordon’s season started late due to a stomach ailment. His season ended early because of a knee injury. In between, he played well in Rochester. Luke Raley got off to a fast start for the Red Wings in April but at the end of the month he hurt his ankle and had surgery. He returned for the Arizona Fall League. Bailey Ober fought elbow injuries at times during the season, but when he took the mound, he was great. Yunior Severino fractured his thumb early in the season for Cedar Rapids. He was able to return in August. And Dakota Chalmers returned in the second half from his Tommy John surgery. You see the names, and you know several of them were previously Top 20 prospects, some even Top 10 guys. If healthy, their talent could push them quickly back up the rankings. WE HARDLY KNOW YE Spencer Steer had a strong first impression in pro ball. The Twins third-round pick from Oregon played for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in his debut. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins organization along with Sergio Romo (and cash) from the Miami Marlins for Lewin Diaz at the trade deadline. He’s got a big fastball and a solid pitch mix. Willie Joe Garry was a Twins draft pick in 2018 out of high school from Mississippi. He is a tremendous athlete with great speed and improving power. He’s got all the tools and is one to watch in 2020. DEADLINE TRADES 2018 The Twins were not good in 2018, and at the deadline, the front office traded several expiring contracts (and 1 1/4 seasons of Ryan Pressly) for a plethora of prospects. A couple of those prospects will be profiled later in this series, but a lot of them received votes and would appear in the 21 through 35 range of Twins prospect. Clearly that flurry of trade activity has much helped the Twins' prospect depth. From the Dodgers for Brian Dozier, the Twins received both Devin Smeltzer and Luke Raley. From the Diamondbacks for Eduardo Escobar, the Twins received Gabriel Maciel. From the Yankees for Lance Lynn, the Twins received Luis Rijo. From the Astros for Ryan Pressly, the Twins acquired Jorge Alcala. From the A’s for Fernando Rodney, the Twins acquired Dakota Chalmers. Tomorrow, we will begin our look into the Top 20 Twins prospects with prospects 16-20. Be sure to check every day to see where your favorite Twins prospects rank. And feel free to ask questions and leave your comments below. 2020 MINNESOTA TWINS PROSPECT HANDBOOK For more information on these Honorable Mentions, pick up a copy of the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is available in paperback or PDF (for immediate download). Order your copies today! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. 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 players illustrates the depth that is developing in the organization.Before we look at the 2020 Honorable Mentions, a quick look at last year’s Honorable Mentions shows that 2019 Twins Top Rookie Luis Arraez was mentioned, referred to as a “Hit Machine.” Also, Jordan Balazovic went from Honorable Mention to, well, you’ll see him profiled soon. So which players who received votes this year will climb the prospect ladder in 2020? ALREADY DEBUTED Four players who made their MLB debuts in 2019. These players may not have super-stardom in their futures, but as we saw last year, they absolutely can be contributors to winning teams. Randy Dobnak went from non-drafted free agent who spent all of 2018 in Cedar Rapids to a guy who pitched well at four levels in the Twins system in 2019, including at the big league level, on his way to the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Likewise, Devin Smeltzer pitched in some big games and performed wellat various times throughout the year. LaMonte Wade debutedmid-summer, and after an injury, he played most every day in September. Hard-throwing Jorge Alcala moved from a starting role to the bullpen late in the season and received a mid-September promotion to the big leagues. OTHERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER Along with those four players, a few other Honorable Mention players are on the Twins 40-man roster. Nick Gordon was added after the 2018 season. This past November, the Twins added Luke Raley and Dakota Chalmers to their 40-man roster, putting them one call away from the big leagues. In addition, Luis Rijo and Griffin Jax were two guys that Twins fans (and probably the Twins too) were worried about potentially losing in the Rule 5 draft. They were not selected, but as we know, both have the potential to move up this list. RETURNING FROM INJURIES Injuries are a part of the game, any game, and several Twins prospects fought injuries in 2019. Injuries can mean missed time and fewer development opportunities. They can sometimes be played through and affect performance. Ben Rortvedt suffered a knee injury late in the season, but he had surgery and should return at 100% in 2020. Akil Baddoo’s season ended in mid-May. He had Tommy John surgery and is excited to return to the field. Nick Gordon’s season started late due to a stomach ailment. His season ended early because of a knee injury. In between, he played well in Rochester. Luke Raley got off to a fast start for the Red Wings in April but at the end of the month he hurt his ankle and had surgery. He returned for the Arizona Fall League. Bailey Ober fought elbow injuries at times during the season, but when he took the mound, he was great. Yunior Severino fractured his thumb early in the season for Cedar Rapids. He was able to return in August. And Dakota Chalmers returned in the second half from his Tommy John surgery. You see the names, and you know several of them were previously Top 20 prospects, some even Top 10 guys. If healthy, their talent could push them quickly back up the rankings. WE HARDLY KNOW YE Spencer Steer had a strong first impression in pro ball. The Twins third-round pick from Oregon played for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in his debut. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins organization along with Sergio Romo (and cash) from the Miami Marlins for Lewin Diaz at the trade deadline. He’s got a big fastball and a solid pitch mix. Willie Joe Garry was a Twins draft pick in 2018 out of high school from Mississippi. He is a tremendous athlete with great speed and improving power. He’s got all the tools and is one to watch in 2020. DEADLINE TRADES 2018 The Twins were not good in 2018, and at the deadline, the front office traded several expiring contracts (and 1 1/4 seasons of Ryan Pressly) for a plethora of prospects. A couple of those prospects will be profiled later in this series, but a lot of them received votes and would appear in the 21 through 35 range of Twins prospect. Clearly that flurry of trade activity has much helped the Twins' prospect depth. From the Dodgers for Brian Dozier, the Twins received both Devin Smeltzer and Luke Raley. From the Diamondbacks for Eduardo Escobar, the Twins received Gabriel Maciel. From the Yankees for Lance Lynn, the Twins received Luis Rijo. From the Astros for Ryan Pressly, the Twins acquired Jorge Alcala. From the A’s for Fernando Rodney, the Twins acquired Dakota Chalmers. Tomorrow, we will begin our look into the Top 20 Twins prospects with prospects 16-20. Be sure to check every day to see where your favorite Twins prospects rank. And feel free to ask questions and leave your comments below. 2020 MINNESOTA TWINS PROSPECT HANDBOOK For more information on these Honorable Mentions, pick up a copy of the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is available in paperback or PDF(for immediate download). Order your copies today! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  12. Here are our choices for the Nos. 16-20 spots in the system. Make sure to let us know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below. We put a lot of work into compiling these lists, but it is an inexact science. 20. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF Age: 22 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (AA/A+): .295/.349/.502 (.851 OPS), 15 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 71 K, 22 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention Seth: 17 | Tom: 19 | Cody: 33 | Ted: 29 | Steve: 17 We should probably come up with a name for the post-FSL breakout. How about the Pensacola push? Whatever you want to call it, that’s what Blankenhorn is doing this season. After posting a .686 OPS over a full season with the Miracle last year, Blankenhorn boasted a .781 OPS in his second time around the circuit and was promoted up to Double-A after just 15 games. He has terrorized Southern League pitching, boasting a .300/.342/.525 line (.866 OPS) in 54 games. He’s among the league leaders in virtually every major offensive category. Blankenhorn has struggled against same-sided pitching over his career, but is making positive steps in that regard. He has a career-high .702 OPS vs. lefties this year. In the field, Blankenhorn has spent 43 games at second base, 25 in left field and just two games at third base this season. Here’s a look at some of his highlights since joining the Blue Wahoos: 19. Misael Urbina, CF Age: 17 ETA: 2024 2019 Stats (Rk-DSL): .269/.371/.442 (.813 OPS), 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 K, 5 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention Seth: 20 | Tom: 27 | Cody: 16 | Ted: 21 | Steve: 23 This kid is 17. It’s entirely possible we have him way too low on this list. Then again, might be way too high on this list. The Twins signed Urbina out of Venezuela for $2.75 million last July. He has great speed, which should serve him well in the outfield, but he also came highly regarded for his baseball acumen and makeup. There’s such a wide range of talent in the Dominican Summer League. It can be difficult to try to put much stock into statistical performance down there, but it is encouraging to see Urbina hit the ground running in his first 14 games of pro ball. 18. Jorge Alcala, RHP Age: 23 ETA: 2020 2019 Stats (AA): 71.2 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.85 K:BB Ratio 2019 Preseason Ranking: 19 Seth: 12 | Tom: 22 | Cody: 35 | Ted: 14 | Steve: 15 It’s starting to appear more likely that Alcala’s future will be in the bullpen, but it’s pretty exciting to think about what he could be in that role. He’s been used as a “primary” pitcher following an opener in four of his outings this year. He has not responded well to that adjustment. As a traditional starter, Alcala has a 4.73 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 3.86 K:BB ratio. As the primary, he’s at 8.35 ERA, 1.96 WHIP and 1.77 K:BB ratio. Alcala has also had a difficult time limiting damage with runners on. He’s limited opponents to just a .666 OPS with the bases empty but they’ve roughed him up to the tune of a .920 OPS with runners on. Opponents also have a sky high .360 BABIP against Alcala in 2019. Taking a look at the breakdown of how our writers ranked Alcala individually, you get a good idea for the range of opinions on Alcala. 17. Akil Baddoo, CF Age: 20 ETA: 2022 2019 Stats (A+): .214/.290/.393 (.683 OPS), 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 39 K, 12 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: 10 Seth: 23 | Tom: 16 } Cody: 14 | Ted: 19 | Steve: 20 Baddoo gets leapfrogged by several prospects in large part because he’s going to lose a year recovering from Tommy John surgery. The dip from 10th to 17th may seem a bit harsh, but all the guys who passed him by are all either brand new to the system or having incredible seasons. It’s still fairly rare for a position player to have to undergo that procedure, but in recent years we’ve seen Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff come back and show no ill effects from Tommy John. This injury will cost Baddoo time, but he still has as much potential as always. In the little time he spent with Fort Myers prior to the injury, 29 games, Baddoo was hitting for power (.393 slugging in a league where the average is .356), but his plate discipline slipped a bit. 16. Ben Rortvedt, C Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (AA/ A+): .247/.352/.409 (.760 OPS), 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 42 K, 28 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: 14 Seth: 21 | Tom: 13 | Cody: 17 | Ted: 17 |Steve: 16 Rortvedt’s bat keeps showing more and more as he climbs up the ladder. His OPS has progressed from .559 to .599 to .710 to .760 so far this season. He already has a career-high six home runs this season, and his plate discipline hasn’t suffered. He has a 19.2 K% and 12.8 BB% so far this season. At 21, he’s among the youngest players in Double-A. The Southern League weighted average age for batters is 23.7. Rortvedt’s always had a good arm, but he’s committed to trying to improve on getting the low strike called this season. Moving up the ladder has also meant more competition for reps behind the plate. After appearing at catcher in 97% of his games in 2017, that number dipped to 82% last season and is all the way down to 67%. The drop in time behind the dish has allowed Rortvedt to get more plate appearances to date than any of his prior seasons. Here’s some recent video from Rortvedt’s time with the Blue Wahoos: Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings Prospects 36-40 Prospects 31-35 Prospects 26-30 Prospects 21-25 Prospects 11-15 Coming Soon
  13. How deep is the Minnesota Twins’ system right now? So deep that we have one of the best hitters in all of the Double-A level this season slotted in as our 20th overall prospect in the org. There’s also a 17-year-old phenom in this group, a pitcher the team acquired in a high profile trade last year and a couple of the team’s top picks from its 2016 draft class. Come see who we have in our spots 16-20.Here are our choices for the Nos. 16-20 spots in the system. Make sure to let us know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below. We put a lot of work into compiling these lists, but it is an inexact science. 20. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF Age: 22 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (AA/A+): .295/.349/.502 (.851 OPS), 15 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 71 K, 22 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention Seth: 17 | Tom: 19 | Cody: 33 | Ted: 29 | Steve: 17 We should probably come up with a name for the post-FSL breakout. How about the Pensacola push? Whatever you want to call it, that’s what Blankenhorn is doing this season. After posting a .686 OPS over a full season with the Miracle last year, Blankenhorn boasted a .781 OPS in his second time around the circuit and was promoted up to Double-A after just 15 games. He has terrorized Southern League pitching, boasting a .300/.342/.525 line (.866 OPS) in 54 games. He’s among the league leaders in virtually every major offensive category. Blankenhorn has struggled against same-sided pitching over his career, but is making positive steps in that regard. He has a career-high .702 OPS vs. lefties this year. In the field, Blankenhorn has spent 43 games at second base, 25 in left field and just two games at third base this season. Here’s a look at some of his highlights since joining the Blue Wahoos: 19. Misael Urbina, CF Age: 17 ETA: 2024 2019 Stats (Rk-DSL): .269/.371/.442 (.813 OPS), 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 K, 5 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention Seth: 20 | Tom: 27 | Cody: 16 | Ted: 21 | Steve: 23 This kid is 17. It’s entirely possible we have him way too low on this list. Then again, might be way too high on this list. The Twins signed Urbina out of Venezuela for $2.75 million last July. He has great speed, which should serve him well in the outfield, but he also came highly regarded for his baseball acumen and makeup. There’s such a wide range of talent in the Dominican Summer League. It can be difficult to try to put much stock into statistical performance down there, but it is encouraging to see Urbina hit the ground running in his first 14 games of pro ball. 18. Jorge Alcala, RHP Age: 23 ETA: 2020 2019 Stats (AA): 71.2 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.85 K:BB Ratio 2019 Preseason Ranking: 19 Seth: 12 | Tom: 22 | Cody: 35 | Ted: 14 | Steve: 15 It’s starting to appear more likely that Alcala’s future will be in the bullpen, but it’s pretty exciting to think about what he could be in that role. He’s been used as a “primary” pitcher following an opener in four of his outings this year. He has not responded well to that adjustment. As a traditional starter, Alcala has a 4.73 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 3.86 K:BB ratio. As the primary, he’s at 8.35 ERA, 1.96 WHIP and 1.77 K:BB ratio. Alcala has also had a difficult time limiting damage with runners on. He’s limited opponents to just a .666 OPS with the bases empty but they’ve roughed him up to the tune of a .920 OPS with runners on. Opponents also have a sky high .360 BABIP against Alcala in 2019. Taking a look at the breakdown of how our writers ranked Alcala individually, you get a good idea for the range of opinions on Alcala. 17. Akil Baddoo, CF Age: 20 ETA: 2022 2019 Stats (A+): .214/.290/.393 (.683 OPS), 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 39 K, 12 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: 10 Seth: 23 | Tom: 16 } Cody: 14 | Ted: 19 | Steve: 20 Baddoo gets leapfrogged by several prospects in large part because he’s going to lose a year recovering from Tommy John surgery. The dip from 10th to 17th may seem a bit harsh, but all the guys who passed him by are all either brand new to the system or having incredible seasons. It’s still fairly rare for a position player to have to undergo that procedure, but in recent years we’ve seen Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff come back and show no ill effects from Tommy John. This injury will cost Baddoo time, but he still has as much potential as always. In the little time he spent with Fort Myers prior to the injury, 29 games, Baddoo was hitting for power (.393 slugging in a league where the average is .356), but his plate discipline slipped a bit. 16. Ben Rortvedt, C Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (AA/ A+): .247/.352/.409 (.760 OPS), 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 42 K, 28 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: 14 Seth: 21 | Tom: 13 | Cody: 17 | Ted: 17 |Steve: 16 Rortvedt’s bat keeps showing more and more as he climbs up the ladder. His OPS has progressed from .559 to .599 to .710 to .760 so far this season. He already has a career-high six home runs this season, and his plate discipline hasn’t suffered. He has a 19.2 K% and 12.8 BB% so far this season. At 21, he’s among the youngest players in Double-A. The Southern League weighted average age for batters is 23.7. Rortvedt’s always had a good arm, but he’s committed to trying to improve on getting the low strike called this season. Moving up the ladder has also meant more competition for reps behind the plate. After appearing at catcher in 97% of his games in 2017, that number dipped to 82% last season and is all the way down to 67%. The drop in time behind the dish has allowed Rortvedt to get more plate appearances to date than any of his prior seasons. Here’s some recent video from Rortvedt’s time with the Blue Wahoos: Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings Prospects 36-40 Prospects 31-35 Prospects 26-30 Prospects 21-25 Prospects 11-15 Coming Soon Click here to view the article
  14. On Saturday morning, the Kernels made official what we started hearing rumblings of on Friday night. Wander Javier was set to join the Kernels. The immensely talented shortstop will make his 2019 debut on Saturday night, and play in his first official game since 2017. He missed 2018 with a non-throwing shoulder injury, and he hurt his quad in a big league spring training game. However, on Saturday, the Twins announced some major injuries in the Twins minor leagues, and frankly, that has been an unfortunately large story so far this season.Let's get right to the bad news. The Twins announced the following: Brusdar Graterol is going on the IL for Pensacola with a shoulder impingement. While the Twins said that they are bringing many minor leaguers in to Target Field for evaluation - which is 100% true - Graterol was brought in this week to have his shoulder evaluated. A shoulder impingement is not a serious injury in and of itself, but if not diagnosed and treated, it could become worse. Stephen Gonsalves is going back on the IL for Rochester with a left elbow stress reaction. Gonsalves felt a little elbow soreness in spring training and the team decided to be cautious with it. He slowly worked his way up to being able to return to the Red Wings rotation. Last week, he made his first start of the season, but he struggled and left after two innings. A stress reaction in and of itself isn't terrible news, but it will require rest. Obviously the hope is to avoid Tommy John surgery. Akil Baddoo, the talented Miracle outfielder, will miss the remainder of the season with Tommy John surgery. Baddoo went on the IL about ten days ago with the elbow pain. It was further evaluated and the UCL was torn, so Tommy John it is. As a position player, the hope is that he will be ready for spring training in 2020. He will be having the surgery about two months later than Alex Kirilloff had it in 2017. Kirilloff was full go around Thanksgiving. Another outfielder, Rochester's Luke Raley, is going to have ankle surgery. Raley went on the IL a week ago. It is unfortunate because he was playing well and playing hard and really making an impression on those around the Red Wings. It has been a tough season for top prospects and injuries. Royce Lewis went to big league spring training, but he was unable to play for most of camp because of an oblique injury. He was ready by Opening Day and hasn't missed time in the season. Alex Kirilloff, coming off of an incredible 2018 season, hurt his wrist late in spring training and missed about a month at the beginning of the season. Nick Gordon began the season on the IL with a stomach issue. He returned a month later, but after playing really well for a week, he went back on the Injured List for seven more days with a strained adductor. He has returned again and continues to hit. Brent Rooker missed about a week early in the season with a hamstring injury. He is currently on the IL with a wrist injury. Just a handful of games into the Kernels season, Yunior Severino fractured his thumb and tore some tendons as well. Righty Bailey Ober was runner-up for our Starting Pitcher of the Month for April and then went on the IL with another elbow issue. The Twins Daily choice for Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018, Tyler Wells, has been out all season with an elbow injury. He will be having Tommy John surgery on May 29. DaShawn Keirsey, the Twins 4th-round pick last June, has had a couple of IL appearances already this season. This article isn't to place blame. It's just another reminder that player development isn't linear. Injuries are a factor and they don't have prejudice. They will find highly-ranked prospects or lesser-known prospects. They can bite a pitcher or a hitter at any time. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, though I don't pretend to know a lot of the details behind many of these. Click here to view the article
  15. Let's get right to the bad news. The Twins announced the following: Brusdar Graterol is going on the IL for Pensacola with a shoulder impingement. While the Twins said that they are bringing many minor leaguers in to Target Field for evaluation - which is 100% true - Graterol was brought in this week to have his shoulder evaluated. A shoulder impingement is not a serious injury in and of itself, but if not diagnosed and treated, it could become worse. Stephen Gonsalves is going back on the IL for Rochester with a left elbow stress reaction. Gonsalves felt a little elbow soreness in spring training and the team decided to be cautious with it. He slowly worked his way up to being able to return to the Red Wings rotation. Last week, he made his first start of the season, but he struggled and left after two innings. A stress reaction in and of itself isn't terrible news, but it will require rest. Obviously the hope is to avoid Tommy John surgery. Akil Baddoo, the talented Miracle outfielder, will miss the remainder of the season with Tommy John surgery. Baddoo went on the IL about ten days ago with the elbow pain. It was further evaluated and the UCL was torn, so Tommy John it is. As a position player, the hope is that he will be ready for spring training in 2020. He will be having the surgery about two months later than Alex Kirilloff had it in 2017. Kirilloff was full go around Thanksgiving. Another outfielder, Rochester's Luke Raley, is going to have ankle surgery. Raley went on the IL a week ago. It is unfortunate because he was playing well and playing hard and really making an impression on those around the Red Wings. It has been a tough season for top prospects and injuries. Royce Lewis went to big league spring training, but he was unable to play for most of camp because of an oblique injury. He was ready by Opening Day and hasn't missed time in the season. Alex Kirilloff, coming off of an incredible 2018 season, hurt his wrist late in spring training and missed about a month at the beginning of the season. Nick Gordon began the season on the IL with a stomach issue. He returned a month later, but after playing really well for a week, he went back on the Injured List for seven more days with a strained adductor. He has returned again and continues to hit. Brent Rooker missed about a week early in the season with a hamstring injury. He is currently on the IL with a wrist injury. Just a handful of games into the Kernels season, Yunior Severino fractured his thumb and tore some tendons as well. Righty Bailey Ober was runner-up for our Starting Pitcher of the Month for April and then went on the IL with another elbow issue. The Twins Daily choice for Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018, Tyler Wells, has been out all season with an elbow injury. He will be having Tommy John surgery on May 29. DaShawn Keirsey, the Twins 4th-round pick last June, has had a couple of IL appearances already this season. This article isn't to place blame. It's just another reminder that player development isn't linear. Injuries are a factor and they don't have prejudice. They will find highly-ranked prospects or lesser-known prospects. They can bite a pitcher or a hitter at any time. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, though I don't pretend to know a lot of the details behind many of these.
  16. In case you missed any of them, Twins Daily named its Award winners for April. Hitter of the Month - Trey Cabbage Starting Pitcher of the Month - Devin Smeltzer Relief Pitcher of the Month - Ryan Mason All rankings below are from the Twins Daily Top-20 Prospects. 1. Royce Lewis- Fort Myers Last week, the discussion arose about the possibility of Royce Lewis being baseball’s best prospect. Lewis has struggled to start the season. Through his first 28 games, he is hitting .227/.323/.273 with four extra-base hits. He has yet to hit a home run after clubbing 14 a season ago. He has done well against lefties by going 8-for-20 with two extra-base hits and more walks (3) than strikeouts (2). 2. Alex Kirilloff- Pensacola Kirilloff’s wrist injury obviously impacts his start to the season. In his first four games, he has gone 4-for-13 with a double. His three walks in 18 plate appearances have helped him to get on base 50% of the time. In Pensacola, Kirilloff is nearly three years younger than the competition. It seems likely for him to spend the majority of the year at Double-A. However, he could still make his big league debut this season. 4. Trevor Larnach- Fort Myers Larnach is part of a key group of 2018 draft picks populating the Miracle roster. In his first 28 games, he is hitting .279/.325/.369 with 10 doubles. Only one player has more doubles in the Florida State League. During his professional debut, Larnach posted a 28 to 21 strikeout to walk ratio. This season, he already has 25 strikeouts, but he has coaxed only eight walks. 5. Wander Javier- Extended Spring Training Javier hasn’t played since 2017. He missed all of 2018 after having surgery in his non-throwing shoulder. His start to the 2019 season has been delayed because of a right quad strain. He needs to show he can stay healthy. Minnesota will have to add him to the 40-man roster this off-season and he hasn’t played a game above the Appalachian League. 6. Brent Rooker- Rochester During his age-24 season, Rooker is getting on base 27% of the time and he has a .753 OPS. During the 2017 campaign, he posted a .930 OPS across two levels. He clubbed 18 home runs that year and his prospect stock couldn’t have been higher. Last year in Double-A his OPS dipped to .798 and he struck out a whopping 150 times in 130 games. He already has 30 strikeouts this season in 17 games. 10. Akil Baddoo- Fort Myers Baddoo has struggled to make consistent contact during his first taste of the Florida State League. He’s averaged more than a strikeout per game but there has only been one game this season where he faced a pitcher younger than himself. When he has made contact, there has been some power in his swing. He has 10 extra-base hits. Speed has also been part of his game as he has three triples and he has been successful in four of his five steal attempts. Can Kirilloff help to boost this struggling group? Who has the most to prove in the months ahead? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. Have you ever wanted your own airplane? Well, the Twins’ Double-A affiliate was sort of able to accomplish this on Thursday. There’s more to the story below. Also, there was plenty of action throughout the Twins’ system. Two teams tried to mount comebacks, while another took advantage of the opportunities provided by the other team.TRANSACTIONS ACTIVATED: C David Banuelos from the 7-day injured list for Cedar Rapids RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Lehigh Valley 6 Box Score Rochester outhit the IronPigs (10 to 7) and scored a late run to make things interesting, but it wasn’t enough. The club didn’t take advantage of some opportunities as they left eight runners on base and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Kohl Stewart took his bumps and bruises in this one as he couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He allowed six runs on six hits including two home runs. He struggled to find the zone for most of the night as he threw 100 pitches and only 52 of them were for strikes. After a promising first start of the season, Stewart has thrown clunkers his last two times out. Rochester continued to rely on the long ball in this game. With three solo shots on Thursday, Rochester has hit 22 home runs to produce 33 of the 62 total runs scored this season. LaMonte Wade, Tomas Telis, and Jordany Valdespin joined the home run parade. Also, Telis and Valdespin each added a double. DJ Baxendale pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings by only allowing one hit. He struck out six and walked one. Matt Magill took the final frame and didn’t allow a runner. He had one strikeout and he has yet to allow a run this season. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola --, Biloxi – (Postponed-Rain) The Blue Wahoos and the Schuckers were postponed on Thursday due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a double-header on Friday, April 19 with first pitch scheduled for 5:35 CST. Pensacola currently has a 9-4 record and they are in first place by two games in the Southern League South. In other news, the Blue Wahoos have teamed up with Silver Airways for a Kazoo- themed airplane. Kazoo is the name of the Blue Wahoos mascot. Silver Airways has flights from Pensacola to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Charlotte 6 Box Score Fort Myers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but a six-run deficit was too much to overcome. Tyler Watson started and pitched into the sixth inning for the second consecutive game. He allowed two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one. Anthony Vizcaya took over for Watson and struggled in parts of two innings. He allowed four runs on four hits as Charlotte pushed their lead to 6-0. Calvin Faucher had a very nice bounce back game. In his last appearance, he allowed three runs while only recording one out. Tonight, he pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts and two walks. In the bottom of the ninth, Akil Baddoo lead off with a triple and was driven home on a Lewin Diaz groundout. Jose Miranda followed with a double before Trevor Larnach singled to put runners on the corners. A double from Ryan Jeffers scored a run and there were still runners on the corners. Ben Rortvedt would ground out to score another run and Michael Helman recorded the game’s final out. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 8, Beloit 2 Box Score Cedar Rapids jumped out to an early 4-0 thanks to some miscues by the Snappers. With one out, Gabe Snyder was hit by a pitch. Trey Cabbage followed and reached base on an error by the shortstop. Jacob Pearson struck out for the second out of the inning and it looked like Beloit might get out without allowing a run. However, Gilberto Celestino and Andrew Bechtold knocked back-to-back singles to push across a pair of runs. Celestino then stole third but it wouldn’t matter because David Banuelos tripled to score two more runs and put Cedar Rapids up 4-0. Cedar Rapids allowed a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning, but the club got those runs back in the bottom of the frame. The Kernels were able to do this without recording a hit. Celestino and Bechtold walked to start the inning. With Banuelos batting, an error by the third baseman loaded up the bases. Michael Davis drew a walk to score one run and a wild pitch put the score at 6-2. Jordan Balazovic pitched five strong innings. He struck out eight, walked one, and limited the Snappers to two runs (one earned). He has allowed two runs or fewer in every start this season. His eight strikeouts tonight were the fewest he’s had all year (nine strikeouts in both previous starts). Jose Martinez pitched two shutout innings and struck out one. Joe Record collected the final six outs with four strikeouts. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Jordan Balazovic, Cedar Rapids (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 8 K, 1 BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Tomas Telis, Rochester (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) – Did not play #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - No Game #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, R #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No Game #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Did not play #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) – Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) – 1-3, 3B, R, K #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, RBI #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) – 1-3, RBI, 2 K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) – Did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) – 2-4, HR, R, RBI, BB #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – No Game #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, 2B, R, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) – RHP Zack Littell (0-2, 7.71 ERA) Pensacola @ Biloxi (5:35 CST) – RHP Griffin Jax (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Pensacola @ Biloxi (Game 2) – TBD Fort Myers vs. Charlotte (5:30 CST) – RHP Bailey Ober (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit (6:35 CST) – RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games. Click here to view the article
  18. TRANSACTIONS ACTIVATED: C David Banuelos from the 7-day injured list for Cedar Rapids RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Lehigh Valley 6 Box Score Rochester outhit the IronPigs (10 to 7) and scored a late run to make things interesting, but it wasn’t enough. The club didn’t take advantage of some opportunities as they left eight runners on base and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Kohl Stewart took his bumps and bruises in this one as he couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He allowed six runs on six hits including two home runs. He struggled to find the zone for most of the night as he threw 100 pitches and only 52 of them were for strikes. After a promising first start of the season, Stewart has thrown clunkers his last two times out. Rochester continued to rely on the long ball in this game. With three solo shots on Thursday, Rochester has hit 22 home runs to produce 33 of the 62 total runs scored this season. LaMonte Wade, Tomas Telis, and Jordany Valdespin joined the home run parade. Also, Telis and Valdespin each added a double. DJ Baxendale pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings by only allowing one hit. He struck out six and walked one. Matt Magill took the final frame and didn’t allow a runner. He had one strikeout and he has yet to allow a run this season. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola --, Biloxi – (Postponed-Rain) The Blue Wahoos and the Schuckers were postponed on Thursday due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a double-header on Friday, April 19 with first pitch scheduled for 5:35 CST. Pensacola currently has a 9-4 record and they are in first place by two games in the Southern League South. In other news, the Blue Wahoos have teamed up with Silver Airways for a Kazoo- themed airplane. Kazoo is the name of the Blue Wahoos mascot. Silver Airways has flights from Pensacola to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando. https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1118889858456530944 MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 3, Charlotte 6 Box Score Fort Myers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but a six-run deficit was too much to overcome. Tyler Watson started and pitched into the sixth inning for the second consecutive game. He allowed two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one. Anthony Vizcaya took over for Watson and struggled in parts of two innings. He allowed four runs on four hits as Charlotte pushed their lead to 6-0. Calvin Faucher had a very nice bounce back game. In his last appearance, he allowed three runs while only recording one out. Tonight, he pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts and two walks. In the bottom of the ninth, Akil Baddoo lead off with a triple and was driven home on a Lewin Diaz groundout. Jose Miranda followed with a double before Trevor Larnach singled to put runners on the corners. A double from Ryan Jeffers scored a run and there were still runners on the corners. Ben Rortvedt would ground out to score another run and Michael Helman recorded the game’s final out. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 8, Beloit 2 Box Score Cedar Rapids jumped out to an early 4-0 thanks to some miscues by the Snappers. With one out, Gabe Snyder was hit by a pitch. Trey Cabbage followed and reached base on an error by the shortstop. Jacob Pearson struck out for the second out of the inning and it looked like Beloit might get out without allowing a run. However, Gilberto Celestino and Andrew Bechtold knocked back-to-back singles to push across a pair of runs. Celestino then stole third but it wouldn’t matter because David Banuelos tripled to score two more runs and put Cedar Rapids up 4-0. Cedar Rapids allowed a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning, but the club got those runs back in the bottom of the frame. The Kernels were able to do this without recording a hit. Celestino and Bechtold walked to start the inning. With Banuelos batting, an error by the third baseman loaded up the bases. Michael Davis drew a walk to score one run and a wild pitch put the score at 6-2. Jordan Balazovic pitched five strong innings. He struck out eight, walked one, and limited the Snappers to two runs (one earned). He has allowed two runs or fewer in every start this season. His eight strikeouts tonight were the fewest he’s had all year (nine strikeouts in both previous starts). Jose Martinez pitched two shutout innings and struck out one. Joe Record collected the final six outs with four strikeouts. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Jordan Balazovic, Cedar Rapids (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 8 K, 1 BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Tomas Telis, Rochester (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) – Did not play #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - No Game #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, R #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No Game #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Did not play #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) – Did not pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) – 1-3, 3B, R, K #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - 0-4, RBI #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) – 1-3, RBI, 2 K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) – Did not pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) – 2-4, HR, R, RBI, BB #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – No Game #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) – 1-4, 2B, R, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Lehigh Valley (6:05 CST) – RHP Zack Littell (0-2, 7.71 ERA) Pensacola @ Biloxi (5:35 CST) – RHP Griffin Jax (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Pensacola @ Biloxi (Game 2) – TBD Fort Myers vs. Charlotte (5:30 CST) – RHP Bailey Ober (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit (6:35 CST) – RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  19. The Miracle didn’t quite reach their 12-run total from Sunday, but on Monday they did score seven runs. They also got another strong starter who is beginning this season with a great streak. Pensacola’s Opening Day starter was terrific again, and the Blue Wahoos game ended with a back flip, so that’s always good.Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with the transactions of the day TRANSACTIONS Rochester announced on Monday that Wynston Sawyer was going on the injured list.Cedar Rapids announced that OF Gabriel Maciel was activated from the IL while OF Jean Carlos Arias was sent back to extended spring training.AWARDS Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games. Click here to view the article
  20. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with the transactions of the day TRANSACTIONS Rochester announced on Monday that Wynston Sawyer was going on the injured list. Cedar Rapids announced that OF Gabriel Maciel was activated from the IL while OF Jean Carlos Arias was sent back to extended spring training. AWARDS RED WINGS REPORT Rochester, Lehigh Valley Box Score Rains postponed this game. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader in July. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 4, Biloxi 3 Box Score The Blue Wahoos started a new five-game series and won 4-3 to improve to 8-3 on their season. Jorge Alcala started and improved to 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out seven batters. Jovani Moran came on and was charged with an earned run on two hits, a walk and a hit batter. He struck out four. Dusten Knight came on with two runners on base in the eighth and recorded the final out. He worked a scoreless ninth inning and earned his third save of the year. Brian Schales provided the early offense. He hit a two-run homer, his second of the season. Tanner English went 2-for-4. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 7, St. Lucie 3 Box Score The Miracle got some early runs and more strong pitching to gain a win and improve to 8-4. Randy Dobnak started and threw another six scoreless innings, giving him 11 shutout frames to start his season. He gave up just three hits, walked one and struck out four. Calvin Faucher came on to start the seventh. He gave up three runs on four hits and two walks and recorded just one out. Tom Hackimer came on and got five outs without allowing another run. Johan Quezada walked one in a scoreless ninth. Akil Baddoo went 3-for-4, was hit by a pitch and launched his second home run. Royce Lewis went 3-for-4 with a walk and his second double. Ryan Jeffers also had three hits in four at-bats and walked once. Trevor Larnach hit his fourth double and drove in two runs. Jose Miranda drove in two late runs with his first triple of the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 7 Box Score Trey Cabbage provided some late-inning power, but it wasn’t enough as the Kernels fell to 4-8 on the season. Cabbage hit a two-run homer, his third long ball of the season, in the ninth inning. Gabe Snyder went 1-for-3 with a walk, and Andrew Bechtold added a double. Luis Rijo started for the Kernels. He gave up five runs (three earned) on ten hits. He walked one and struck out two. Derek Molina got the final eight outs. He gave up two runs on two hits while striking out three batters. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Randy Dobnak, Ft. Myers Miracle Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Akil Baddoo, Ft. Myers Miracle PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, BB, 2B(2), 2 R, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2B(4), 2 RBI, K #5 - Wander Javier (EST) - No Game #6 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Rained Out #7 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #8 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #9 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, HR(2), HBP, 3 R, 2 RBI #11 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List #12 - Stephen Gonsalves (Rochester) - Injured List #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, BB #14 - Ben Rortvedt (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, BB #15 - Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List #16 - Gilberto Celestino (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 4 K #17 - Zack Littell (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #18 - LaMonte Wade (Rochester) - Rained Out #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (89 pitches, 55 strikes) #20 - Jose Miranda (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, BB, 3B(1), R, 2 RBI, 2 K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Syracuse @ Rochester (DH @ 4:05 CST) - LHP Justin Nicolino (0-0, 9.00 ERA), TBD Pensacola @ Biloxi (6:35 CST) - RHP Brusdar Graterol (1-0, 0.87 ERA) Ft. Myers @ St. Lucie (5:30 CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids* (6:35 CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (1-1, 9.00 ERA) Reminder: This series of games is at Cedar Rapids, but Quad Cities will be the home team on the scoreboard. Quad Cities ballpark (Modern Woodmen Park) remains surrounded by floodwaters from the Mississippi River. https://twitter.com/Morgart11/status/1115817252505509888 Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games.
  21. 10. Akil Baddoo, CF Age: 20 (DOB (8/16/98) 2018 Stats (-A): 517 PA, .243/.351/.419, 11 HR, 40 RBI ETA: 2021 2018 Ranking: 10 What’s to like? This guy’s not just an athlete. Baddoo has a career .367 on-base percentage and an even more impressive walk rate of 14.4 percent. Only 10 qualified MLB hitters walked more often in 2018. Baddoo’s also not just a strict pull hitter, another common issue among lower-level prospects. That should keep opposing teams from employing any extreme shifts against him. Here’s a look at his spray chart: Most of his home run power is right down the line, but you can see plenty of extra-base hits going to the left of center field. Through the first two months of last season, Baddoo posted a .396 OBP, but that came with a very weak .336 slugging percentage. From that point forward, we started to see him punish pitches on a more regular basis. His OBP was only .329 through the rest of the season, but that came with an impressive .454 slugging percentage. So I think it’s fair to say he’s both shown excellent on-base skills and some nice pop. Is there a way he can balance out those two approaches, or even better yet, manage to maintain the best of both worlds? That’s the part that’s really exciting about Baddoo. He’s shown flashes of so many different skills. But let’s get back to that athleticism. Baddoo led the Midwest League with 11 triples last season and has a stolen base success rate over 80 percent for his career (41-for-51). The speed is real. There’s a lot to like. What’s left to work on? Surprise, surprise, he needs to get better against left-handed pitching. Real original, Akil. After handling southpaws to the tune of an .840 OPS in 2017, Baddoo hit just .220/.304/.339 (.643 OPS) against same-sided pitching this past season. Of his 17 career home runs, all but one of them have come against right-handed pitchers. What else? Baddoo would also benefit from cutting down on his strikeouts. Being comfortable working deep counts is great, but his strikeout rate of 24 percent last season is just a little too high. If anything, that rate figures to rise as he climbs the ladder, so Baddoo may benefit from being a bit more aggressive early in the count from time-to-time. He could also use some refinement in the field. What’s next? After spending the entire 2018 season with Cedar Rapids, Baddoo figures to spend plenty of his time in Fort Myers this year. Not only does the competition become more advanced, but the Florida State League is also a notorious pitcher’s environment. It should serve for a great measuring stick for Baddoo. This is the second straight year Baddoo has slotted 10th in our rankings. With this upcoming season serving as somewhat of a make or break year in terms of his prospect stock, he could shoot up the list or he could drop down, but I’d bet against a three-peat in the 10 spot. Twins Daily 2019 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Jose Miranda 19. Jorge Alcala 18. LaMonte Wade 17. Zack Littell 16. Gilberto Celestino 15. Yunior Severino 14. Ben Rortvedt 13. Ryan Jeffers 12. Nick Gordon 11. Stephen Gonsalves 10. Akil Baddoo 9. Coming Soon Get to know more about these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback or as an eBook.
  22. The lower levels of the minor leagues are littered with speedy center fielders who have no idea how to play baseball. Elite athletes who have absolutely no clue what they’re doing in the batter’s box. And then you have Akil Baddoo. Guys like this aren’t supposed to know the strike zone like he does.10. Akil Baddoo, CF Age: 20 (DOB (8/16/98) 2018 Stats (-A): 517 PA, .243/.351/.419, 11 HR, 40 RBI ETA: 2021 2018 Ranking: 10 What’s to like? This guy’s not just an athlete. Baddoo has a career .367 on-base percentage and an even more impressive walk rate of 14.4 percent. Only 10 qualified MLB hitters walked more often in 2018. Baddoo’s also not just a strict pull hitter, another common issue among lower-level prospects. That should keep opposing teams from employing any extreme shifts against him. Here’s a look at his spray chart: Download attachment: BaddooSpray.png Most of his home run power is right down the line, but you can see plenty of extra-base hits going to the left of center field. Through the first two months of last season, Baddoo posted a .396 OBP, but that came with a very weak .336 slugging percentage. From that point forward, we started to see him punish pitches on a more regular basis. His OBP was only .329 through the rest of the season, but that came with an impressive .454 slugging percentage. So I think it’s fair to say he’s both shown excellent on-base skills and some nice pop. Is there a way he can balance out those two approaches, or even better yet, manage to maintain the best of both worlds? That’s the part that’s really exciting about Baddoo. He’s shown flashes of so many different skills. But let’s get back to that athleticism. Baddoo led the Midwest League with 11 triples last season and has a stolen base success rate over 80 percent for his career (41-for-51). The speed is real. There’s a lot to like. What’s left to work on? Surprise, surprise, he needs to get better against left-handed pitching. Real original, Akil. After handling southpaws to the tune of an .840 OPS in 2017, Baddoo hit just .220/.304/.339 (.643 OPS) against same-sided pitching this past season. Of his 17 career home runs, all but one of them have come against right-handed pitchers. What else? Baddoo would also benefit from cutting down on his strikeouts. Being comfortable working deep counts is great, but his strikeout rate of 24 percent last season is just a little too high. If anything, that rate figures to rise as he climbs the ladder, so Baddoo may benefit from being a bit more aggressive early in the count from time-to-time. He could also use some refinement in the field. What’s next? After spending the entire 2018 season with Cedar Rapids, Baddoo figures to spend plenty of his time in Fort Myers this year. Not only does the competition become more advanced, but the Florida State League is also a notorious pitcher’s environment. It should serve for a great measuring stick for Baddoo. This is the second straight year Baddoo has slotted 10th in our rankings. With this upcoming season serving as somewhat of a make or break year in terms of his prospect stock, he could shoot up the list or he could drop down, but I’d bet against a three-peat in the 10 spot. Twins Daily 2019 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Jose Miranda 19. Jorge Alcala 18. LaMonte Wade 17. Zack Littell 16. Gilberto Celestino 15. Yunior Severino 14. Ben Rortvedt 13. Ryan Jeffers 12. Nick Gordon 11. Stephen Gonsalves 10. Akil Baddoo 9. Coming Soon Get to know more about these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback or as an eBook. Click here to view the article
  23. Randy Dobnak and the Cedar Rapids Kernels bounced Beloit from the postseason after Dobnak delivered seven shutout innings. The Fort Myers Miracle won Game 1 of the FSL Championship Series thanks to some impressive pitching of their own and a powerful performance from Jose Miranda. Check out what else happened in the minor league playoffs Friday night.MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Daytona 1 Box Score W: Charlie Barnes (6.2 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) SV: Jovani Moran (2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) HR: Jose Miranda Multi-hit games: Travis Blankenhorn (3-for-3), Jose Miranda (2-for-4, 2B, HR) Game 1 of the Florida State League Championship Series opened up as a pitcher’s duel. Charlie Barnes of Fort Myers and Packy Naughton of Daytona each wiggled out of early jams, Barnes being the beneficiary of some great defense. Daytona opened the third inning with consecutive singles and loaded the bases with one out. A potential sacrifice fly was hit out to Aaron Whitefield in center, but he turned it into an inning-ending double play instead, throwing out the runner trying to score. This game was tied at 0-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Naughton retired the first two hitters he faced, but Alex Kirilloff hit a single to extend the inning and Jose Miranda delivered a huge two-run homer. The Miracle added an insurance run in the seventh, as Caleb Hamilton hit a leadoff single, stole second base with two outs and came around to score on a Travis Blankenhorn single. Things got way too interesting in the top half of the eighth inning. With Jovani Moran pitching, the Tortugas’ leadoff batter reached safely on a strike three passed ball. Moran hit the next batter, then gave up an RBI single. The Miracle finally got the first out of the inning on a pop out, but then Moran walked the bases loaded. Luckily, he got things straightened out and struck out the next two batters swinging. Heading into the ninth up 3-1, Ryan Costello committed an error to put the leadoff man on, but Moran buckled down again and struck out the next three batters, all swinging. Game 2 of this series takes place tomorrow evening. Griffin Jax will start for the Miracle. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Beloit 0 (7 innings) Box Score W: Randy Dobnak (7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) Multi-hit games: Akil Baddoo (3-for-4, 2B) There’s nothing better than a dominant outing by a starting pitcher in postseason play. Randy Dobnak surely had the Snappers feeling helpless, as he shut them out for the full seven innings of this game. Dobnak gave up just six hits and a walk and struck out eight. He was effectively aggressive, throwing 72 of his 92 pitches for strikes (78.3 percent). Akil Baddoo was rock solid for Cedar Rapids at the plate. He hit a leadoff double in the first, but was eventually stranded there. In the second, he got the Kernels on the board with a two-out RBI single. He added another single in the middle of what was a two-run fourth inning for Cedar Rapids. This game was only scheduled for seven innings because if the Kernels would have lost, a third and deciding game would have been played later in the evening on Friday. With a victory in Game 2 of their series against Beloit, the Kernels advance to the Midwest League Western Division Championship, and will host Peoria tomorrow night. Bryan Sammons will be on the mound for Cedar Rapids. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Randy Dobnak, Cedar Rapids Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Jose Miranda, Fort Myers TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 1-for-4 2. Alex Kirilloff (FM): 1-for-4, R 6. Trevor Larnach (CR): 1-for-2, BB, RBI, K 8. Akil Baddoo (CR): 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, R, K 13. Travis Blankenhorn (FM): 3-for-3, RBI 18. Ryan Jeffers (CR): 0-for-3 SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Fort Myers vs. Daytona, 6:00 pm CT: Griffin Jax (Game 2 of series, Miracle up 1-0) Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria, 6:35 pm CT: Bryan Sammons (Game 1 of series) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games. Click here to view the article
  24. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Daytona 1 Box Score W: Charlie Barnes (6.2 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) SV: Jovani Moran (2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) HR: Jose Miranda Multi-hit games: Travis Blankenhorn (3-for-3), Jose Miranda (2-for-4, 2B, HR) Game 1 of the Florida State League Championship Series opened up as a pitcher’s duel. Charlie Barnes of Fort Myers and Packy Naughton of Daytona each wiggled out of early jams, Barnes being the beneficiary of some great defense. Daytona opened the third inning with consecutive singles and loaded the bases with one out. A potential sacrifice fly was hit out to Aaron Whitefield in center, but he turned it into an inning-ending double play instead, throwing out the runner trying to score. This game was tied at 0-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Naughton retired the first two hitters he faced, but Alex Kirilloff hit a single to extend the inning and Jose Miranda delivered a huge two-run homer. The Miracle added an insurance run in the seventh, as Caleb Hamilton hit a leadoff single, stole second base with two outs and came around to score on a Travis Blankenhorn single. Things got way too interesting in the top half of the eighth inning. With Jovani Moran pitching, the Tortugas’ leadoff batter reached safely on a strike three passed ball. Moran hit the next batter, then gave up an RBI single. The Miracle finally got the first out of the inning on a pop out, but then Moran walked the bases loaded. Luckily, he got things straightened out and struck out the next two batters swinging. Heading into the ninth up 3-1, Ryan Costello committed an error to put the leadoff man on, but Moran buckled down again and struck out the next three batters, all swinging. Game 2 of this series takes place tomorrow evening. Griffin Jax will start for the Miracle. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Beloit 0 (7 innings) Box Score W: Randy Dobnak (7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) Multi-hit games: Akil Baddoo (3-for-4, 2B) There’s nothing better than a dominant outing by a starting pitcher in postseason play. Randy Dobnak surely had the Snappers feeling helpless, as he shut them out for the full seven innings of this game. Dobnak gave up just six hits and a walk and struck out eight. He was effectively aggressive, throwing 72 of his 92 pitches for strikes (78.3 percent). Akil Baddoo was rock solid for Cedar Rapids at the plate. He hit a leadoff double in the first, but was eventually stranded there. In the second, he got the Kernels on the board with a two-out RBI single. He added another single in the middle of what was a two-run fourth inning for Cedar Rapids. This game was only scheduled for seven innings because if the Kernels would have lost, a third and deciding game would have been played later in the evening on Friday. With a victory in Game 2 of their series against Beloit, the Kernels advance to the Midwest League Western Division Championship, and will host Peoria tomorrow night. Bryan Sammons will be on the mound for Cedar Rapids. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Randy Dobnak, Cedar Rapids Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Jose Miranda, Fort Myers TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 1-for-4 2. Alex Kirilloff (FM): 1-for-4, R 6. Trevor Larnach (CR): 1-for-2, BB, RBI, K 8. Akil Baddoo (CR): 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, R, K 13. Travis Blankenhorn (FM): 3-for-3, RBI 18. Ryan Jeffers (CR): 0-for-3 SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Fort Myers vs. Daytona, 6:00 pm CT: Griffin Jax (Game 2 of series, Miracle up 1-0) Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria, 6:35 pm CT: Bryan Sammons (Game 1 of series) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  25. TRANSACTIONS To Fort Myers: RHP Edwar Colina To Cedar Rapids: LHP Zach Neff, RHP Carlos Suniaga Also, Jordan Balazovic was placed on the Kernels’ DL and it was reported that Michael Pineda’s rehab assignment has been put on hold due to concerns over some soreness in his knees. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Syracuse 1 Box Score W: Luke Bard (3.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) SV: John Curtiss (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K) SP: Ryan Eades (3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) HR: None Multi-hit games: None Rochester scored all three of their runs on a two-out rally in the fifth inning. It all started with catcher Juan Graterol drawing a walk. Alex Perez followed with a single, which chased Syracuse’s starter from the game. Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then Nick Gordon drew an RBI walk. Gregorio Petit capped it off with a two-run single. D.J. Baxendale had an impressive night, striking out four of the six batters he faced over 1 2/3 scoreless innings. John Curtiss struggled some with his control, throwing just 17 of his 33 pitches for strikes, but still picked up his ninth save. Buxton was 1-for-3 with a single, a hit-by-pitch and two strikeouts. He also threw out a runner at home to end the sixth inning. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Jacksonville 5, Chattanooga 4 Box Score SP: Tyler Wells (6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) HR: Andy Wilkins (8) Multi-hit games: Tanner English (2-for-2, 3B) This game started out as a pitchers duel, with Tyler Wells absolutely dealing for the Lookouts. The first run of the game didn’t come until the top of the eighth inning when Jacksonville took a 1-0 lead. Things got real interesting from there. Chattanooga responded with four runs in the bottom of the eighth, but their bullpen could not make that lead hold up, as they surrendered four runs right back to Jacksonville in the top of the ninth. Andy Wilkins delivered the big hit for Chattanooga, hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer with two outs in the eighth. Circling back to Wells, after six innings of shutout ball, his ERA is down to 1.67 since joining the Lookouts. He threw 63 of his 92 pitches for strikes and punched out seven batters. He’s given up just five earned runs in 27 innings for Chattanooga and has struck out 31 batters in the process. MIRACLE MATTERS St. Lucie 5, Fort Myers 2 Box Score SP: Griffin Jax (5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K) HR: Alex Kirilloff (5) Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-for-4, HR), Robbie Rinn (2-for-4) Griffin Jax had his worst start of the season and the Miracle could not recover. Jax tied a season high with four earned runs and issued four walks in a start for the first time in 24 professional appearances. Alex Kirilloff hit a home run, his fifth with the Miracle and 18th overall this season. Adam Bray pitched the final three innings, giving up one run on two hits to go along with three strikeouts. The Minneapolis native and South Dakota State product has a 1.27 ERA in 17 games with Fort Myers. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Kane County 2 Box Score W: Carlos Suniaga (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) HR: Michael Davis (7) Multi-hit games: Akil Baddoo (3-for-4, BB), Michael Helman (2-for-5, 2B), Trevor Larnach (2-for-4), Michael Davis 2-for-4, HR) The Kernels had two runs on the board before they even made an out in the bottom of the first inning and cruised to victory. Leadoff man Akil Baddoo filled up the stat sheet, reaching base four times. He also stole his 22nd base of the season. A quartet of 2018 draftees had big games as well. First-round pick Trevor Larnach was 2-for-4, pushing his batting average since joining the Kernels to .310, and drove in two runs. Michael Helman, an 11th-round pick, was 2-for-5 with a double and is hitting .368 in 19 games with Cedar Rapids. Michael Davis, selected in the 24th round, hit a two-run homer, his seventh with the Kernels. Finally, 31st-round pick Zach Neff logged 2 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball to go with three strikeouts in his Midwest League debut. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 7, Bristol 5 Box Score W: Josh Winder (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) SV: Erik Cha (2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) HR: Yunior Severino (7), Gilberto Celestino (1) Multi-hit games: Gilberto Celestino (3-for-4, HR), Yelstin Encarnacion (2-for-4) E-Town jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and fended off multiple comeback attempts by the Pirates to improve their record to 36-26 this season. Josh Winder put together a solid start and Yunior Severino socked a two-run homer in the second inning. Gilberto Celestino, acquired in the Ryan Pressly deal, hit his first homer since joining the Twins and finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Erik Cha, making his Appy League debut, inherited a one-run lead with one out and a runner on in the seventh inning. He gave up one hit and one walk over 2 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the save, striking out five of the 11 batters he faced in the process. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 7, GCL Red Sox 6 (13 innings) Box Score W: Michael Montero (3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) SP: Kai-Wei Teng (4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) HR: Shane Carrier (1) Multi-hit games: Estamy Urena (3-for-5), Shane Carrier (2-for-5, HR) Michael Montero entered this game with one out in the top of the 10th inning, after the Red Sox had scored the go-ahead run. He got out of a jam, recording the last two outs with runners on first and second base. Charles Mack tied it back up with a sac fly in the bottom of the 10th, and Montero just kept cruising. Despite having a runner start on second base each inning, Montero posted zeros in the 11th, 12th and 13th innings. Finally, in the bottom of the 13th Hunter Lee hit a walk-off single. Shane Carrier hit a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Tyler Wells, Chattanooga Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Gilberto Celestino, Elizabethton TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 1-for-5, R, K 2. Alex Kirilloff (FM): 2-for-4, HR, RBi, R 3. Brusdar Graterol (FM): Did not pitch. 4. Nick Gordon (ROC): 1-for-2, 2 BB, RBI 5. Stephen Gonsalves (MIN): Promoted to the Twins. 6. Trevor Larnach (CR): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, K 7. Brent Rooker (CHAT): 1-for-4, R, K 8. Akil Baddoo (CR): 3-for-4, BB, 2 R, K, SB 9. Wander Javier: Out of for the season 10. Zack Littell (ROC): Did not pitch. 11. Blayne Enlow (CR): Did not pitch. 12. LaMonte Wade (ROC): Did not play. 13. Travis Blankenhorn (FM): 0-for-4, K 14. Lewis Thorpe (CHAT): Did not pitch. 15. Ben Rortvedt (FM): 1-for-4 16. Yunior Severino (ET): 1-for-3, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 2 R, K) 17. Lewin Diaz (FM): Out for the season. 18. Ryan Jeffers (CR): Did not play. 19. Jacob Pearson (CR): 1-for-4, R, K 20. Luis Arraez (CHAT): 0-for-1, K (as a pinch hitter) SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Syracuse, 12:05 pm CT: Lewis Thorpe Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville, 1:15 pm CT: TBD Fort Myers at St. Lucie, 11:00 am CT: TBD Cedar Rapids vs. Kane County, 2:05 pm CT: Tyler Watson Elizabethton at Bristol, 5:00 pm CT: TBD GCL Twins: Off Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
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