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  1. The Twins completed an emotional three-game sweep of the reigning American League Central champion White Sox, while the Tigers lost two of three to the Rockies at home. Let’s preview this upcoming three-game series at Target Field. Growling Expectations The Tigers, coming off five straight losing seasons, expect to compete in 2022. They won 77 games in manager A.J. Hinch’s first season with the club, finishing in third place in the Central in 2021. While the Tigers surprised with nearly 80 wins, they feasted off a historically bad division. It hasn’t been a clean start, as the Tigers have won only six of their first 15 games. The offense has been poor, and they’ve dealt with many injuries. So far, performance hasn’t met the loftiest expectations Tigers fans have had since they won four straight AL Central titles from 2011 to 2014. How Detroit won 77 games in 2021 is somewhat remarkable. Tigers position players accounted for 9.4 fWAR, the third-lowest in MLB. The pitching staff accumulated 10.2 fWAR, tied for 8th-lowest. It wasn’t a good team, but it was a significant step forward in a new era with Hinch. There is reason for optimism in the Motor City. The Tigers' hopes start with former No. 1 pick Casey Mize, who is currently on the injured list with an elbow sprain. Lefty Tarik Skubal is off to a terrific start and harnesses a fastball in the mid-90s. The Twins have trouble against velocity-oriented lefties, and they’ll see Skubal in Thursday’s finale. Current Twins do have six homers in 73 plate appearances against him. Speaking of lefties, the Tigers signed former Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez for five years and $77 million this offseason. Rodríguez has given up eight runs in 13 innings with an elevated fly-ball rate. He's set to pitch the series opener on Tuesday. Many Twins fans thought the team should bring back veteran Michael Pineda to round out the rotation. Instead, Pineda signed with the Tigers for one year and $5.5 million, and he pitched well in his first start, throwing 60 pitches and holding the Yankees down for five innings. Pineda will return to the Target Field mound Wednesday in a different uniform. The Tigers also added a new shortstop in Javier Báez on a six-year, $140 million deal. Báez is a divisive but highly talented player and can carry an offense for prolonged periods. He’s also an elite defender at shortstop, saving 46 runs since his debut in 2014. Of course, that comes with extreme swing-and-miss and long stretches of slumps Detroit’s offense posted a measly 93 wRC+ in 2021 (100 in league average), even with a Jeimer Candelario breakout and strong seasons from rookie Akil Baddoo and career minor-leaguer Eric Haase. This year, 2020’s first overall pick Spencer Torkelson joins the lineup. Torkelson looked like a complete hitter in the minors, and he enters the series hitting .217/.345/.435 in 15 games. The Tigers have a dynamic and semi-dangerous set of hitters, especially after the late addition of Austin Meadows. Mr. 3000 Miguel Cabrera is always a focus, and the Tigers have a group that could cause problems for the Twins. THREE SERIES X-FACTORS: 1. Carlos Correa Byron Buxton frankly took control of the Twins’ sweeping of the White Sox over the weekend. He leads the American League with 1.3 fWAR and a .946 slugging percentage. He can completely flip any game, and the Tigers certainly know the damage he is capable of. Carlos Correa, meanwhile, is hitting a light .192 with minimal power. If he can get going behind Buxton, the Tigers will have trouble keeping this lineup down for three games. 2. Javier Báez Báez is back after a thumb injury landed him on the 10-day injured list. He has the highest upside of any Tiger and is hitting the middle of the order. Báez, like Buxton, can heat up and dominate in a hurry. The Twins will feed him a steady diet of breaking balls, but if they hang it, he’ll bang it. Báez presents a simple but not easy challenge. 3. The bullpens The Tigers’ bullpen ranks first in the American League with a 2.30 ERA. Gregory Soto is evolving into an elite closer, and Michael Fulmer has found a new (and successful) home as a reliever. The Twins sport the 7th-highest bullpen ERA in MLB (4.16). If current trends hold, the Twins may be in trouble in the late innings. Pitching Probables Tues (6:40 CT): RHP Chris Paddack (0-2, 5.00 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.27 ERA) Wed (6:40 CT): RHP Joe Ryan (2-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Thurs (12:10 CT): RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.81 ERA) vs LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 2.30 ERA) What do you think the keys to this week's series are? View full article
  2. Growling Expectations The Tigers, coming off five straight losing seasons, expect to compete in 2022. They won 77 games in manager A.J. Hinch’s first season with the club, finishing in third place in the Central in 2021. While the Tigers surprised with nearly 80 wins, they feasted off a historically bad division. It hasn’t been a clean start, as the Tigers have won only six of their first 15 games. The offense has been poor, and they’ve dealt with many injuries. So far, performance hasn’t met the loftiest expectations Tigers fans have had since they won four straight AL Central titles from 2011 to 2014. How Detroit won 77 games in 2021 is somewhat remarkable. Tigers position players accounted for 9.4 fWAR, the third-lowest in MLB. The pitching staff accumulated 10.2 fWAR, tied for 8th-lowest. It wasn’t a good team, but it was a significant step forward in a new era with Hinch. There is reason for optimism in the Motor City. The Tigers' hopes start with former No. 1 pick Casey Mize, who is currently on the injured list with an elbow sprain. Lefty Tarik Skubal is off to a terrific start and harnesses a fastball in the mid-90s. The Twins have trouble against velocity-oriented lefties, and they’ll see Skubal in Thursday’s finale. Current Twins do have six homers in 73 plate appearances against him. Speaking of lefties, the Tigers signed former Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez for five years and $77 million this offseason. Rodríguez has given up eight runs in 13 innings with an elevated fly-ball rate. He's set to pitch the series opener on Tuesday. Many Twins fans thought the team should bring back veteran Michael Pineda to round out the rotation. Instead, Pineda signed with the Tigers for one year and $5.5 million, and he pitched well in his first start, throwing 60 pitches and holding the Yankees down for five innings. Pineda will return to the Target Field mound Wednesday in a different uniform. The Tigers also added a new shortstop in Javier Báez on a six-year, $140 million deal. Báez is a divisive but highly talented player and can carry an offense for prolonged periods. He’s also an elite defender at shortstop, saving 46 runs since his debut in 2014. Of course, that comes with extreme swing-and-miss and long stretches of slumps Detroit’s offense posted a measly 93 wRC+ in 2021 (100 in league average), even with a Jeimer Candelario breakout and strong seasons from rookie Akil Baddoo and career minor-leaguer Eric Haase. This year, 2020’s first overall pick Spencer Torkelson joins the lineup. Torkelson looked like a complete hitter in the minors, and he enters the series hitting .217/.345/.435 in 15 games. The Tigers have a dynamic and semi-dangerous set of hitters, especially after the late addition of Austin Meadows. Mr. 3000 Miguel Cabrera is always a focus, and the Tigers have a group that could cause problems for the Twins. THREE SERIES X-FACTORS: 1. Carlos Correa Byron Buxton frankly took control of the Twins’ sweeping of the White Sox over the weekend. He leads the American League with 1.3 fWAR and a .946 slugging percentage. He can completely flip any game, and the Tigers certainly know the damage he is capable of. Carlos Correa, meanwhile, is hitting a light .192 with minimal power. If he can get going behind Buxton, the Tigers will have trouble keeping this lineup down for three games. 2. Javier Báez Báez is back after a thumb injury landed him on the 10-day injured list. He has the highest upside of any Tiger and is hitting the middle of the order. Báez, like Buxton, can heat up and dominate in a hurry. The Twins will feed him a steady diet of breaking balls, but if they hang it, he’ll bang it. Báez presents a simple but not easy challenge. 3. The bullpens The Tigers’ bullpen ranks first in the American League with a 2.30 ERA. Gregory Soto is evolving into an elite closer, and Michael Fulmer has found a new (and successful) home as a reliever. The Twins sport the 7th-highest bullpen ERA in MLB (4.16). If current trends hold, the Twins may be in trouble in the late innings. Pitching Probables Tues (6:40 CT): RHP Chris Paddack (0-2, 5.00 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.27 ERA) Wed (6:40 CT): RHP Joe Ryan (2-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Thurs (12:10 CT): RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.81 ERA) vs LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 2.30 ERA) What do you think the keys to this week's series are?
  3. Just four years ago, the Twins organization had one of the minor league's most talented rosters. Now, those players have started to produce at the MLB level. Here's a look back at that team. Not all of these players are going to play at an All-Star level, but the amount of talent on this roster is hard to ignore. From hitters to pitchers, the 2018 Kernels had it all. 2018 Kernels Hitting Prospects Many top position players on the 2018 Kernels have made their big-league debuts in the last two seasons. Players included on that list are Akil Baddoo, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. Baddoo's big-league success has come in a Tigers uniform after being selected in last winter's Rule 5 Draft. Last season, the outfielder hit .259/.330/.436 (.766) with 40 extra-base hits and a 113 OPS+ in 124 games. Luckily, the other names on the list are still in the organization. Jeffers has proven his defensive value over the last two seasons, even when his bat struggled at times. During the 2020 season, his framing skills ranked in the 90th percentile. Kirilloff exhibited his strong hitting talent in his rookie season, but a wrist injury sapped his power. He had surgery, but he should return to form in 2022. Larnach had an up and down rookie campaign, and many still believe he can develop into an above-average big-league hitter. Like Jeffers, Rortvedt has some solid defensive skills that can make him a surprising help to the team moving forward. Two of the team's top prospects also spent time with the 2018 Kernels. Jose Miranda is coming off a breakout season where his stock is rising more than any other Twins prospect. The former number one overall pick, Royce Lewis, had knee surgery last spring and missed the entire 2021 season. Many national rankings have dropped him from their top-100 lists because of the development time he has missed the previous two seasons. On that 2018 team, Miranda and Kirilloff tied for the team lead with 13 home runs. Lewis had 23 doubles, and Baddoo added an eye-popping 11 triples. As 19-year olds, Baddoo and Lewis both added 22 or more steals. Kirilloff had a team-best .999 OPS, and Baddoo led the team with 183 total bases. Baddoo's final numbers were truly impressive. He hit .243/.352/.419 (.770) with 44 extra-base hits, 83 runs, and 24 stolen bases. 2018 Kernels Pitching Prospects There have been six pitchers from the 2018 Kernels that have already made their big-league debuts on the mound. Bailey Ober and Randy Dobnak are the two that figure to most prominently help the 2022 Twins. Ober is penciled into the starting rotation on the heels of a tremendous rookie season. Ober's expectations are high, but there might be some sophomore struggles to overcome. Dobnak signed an extension last winter and produced his worst professional season as he tried to pitch through an injury. Jovani Moran figures to get an opportunity in Minnesota's bullpen, especially with his dominant change-up. Brusdar Graterol, a teenager at the time, was still a starter in 2018. Minnesota traded Graterol to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda, and he has transitioned to a reliever role at the big-league level. The Rangers claimed Edwar Colina off waivers from the Twins earlier this offseason. He had multiple procedures on his elbow last year, and Minnesota took him off their 40-man roster. Johan Quezada made three appearances with the Marlins in 2020, and he is currently on the Cardinals' 40-man roster. Two of Minnesota's top pitching prospects, Jhoan Duran and Blayne Enlow, also pitched for the 2018 Kernels. Duran was limited to 16 innings last season before being shut down with a strained elbow. Now, he needs to prove he can be healthy and get back on track in 2022. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in June, which has pushed him down Minnesota's prospect rankings. Dobnak led the team in innings pitched, and games started while posting a 3.14 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Colina was still a starter, and he had a 2.48 ERA with team-high 95 strikeouts in 98 innings. Moran led the team with a 14.2 SO/9, but he also struggled with 5.5 BB/9. Dobnak won 10 games, while Balazovic, Ober, and Colina were all credited with seven wins. Cedar Rapids made it to the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs in 2018 before falling to the Cardinals MWL affiliate. However, this roster will have long-lasting impacts at the big-league level. Which former Kernel is going to have the best MLB 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 View full article
  4. Not all of these players are going to play at an All-Star level, but the amount of talent on this roster is hard to ignore. From hitters to pitchers, the 2018 Kernels had it all. 2018 Kernels Hitting Prospects Many top position players on the 2018 Kernels have made their big-league debuts in the last two seasons. Players included on that list are Akil Baddoo, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. Baddoo's big-league success has come in a Tigers uniform after being selected in last winter's Rule 5 Draft. Last season, the outfielder hit .259/.330/.436 (.766) with 40 extra-base hits and a 113 OPS+ in 124 games. Luckily, the other names on the list are still in the organization. Jeffers has proven his defensive value over the last two seasons, even when his bat struggled at times. During the 2020 season, his framing skills ranked in the 90th percentile. Kirilloff exhibited his strong hitting talent in his rookie season, but a wrist injury sapped his power. He had surgery, but he should return to form in 2022. Larnach had an up and down rookie campaign, and many still believe he can develop into an above-average big-league hitter. Like Jeffers, Rortvedt has some solid defensive skills that can make him a surprising help to the team moving forward. Two of the team's top prospects also spent time with the 2018 Kernels. Jose Miranda is coming off a breakout season where his stock is rising more than any other Twins prospect. The former number one overall pick, Royce Lewis, had knee surgery last spring and missed the entire 2021 season. Many national rankings have dropped him from their top-100 lists because of the development time he has missed the previous two seasons. On that 2018 team, Miranda and Kirilloff tied for the team lead with 13 home runs. Lewis had 23 doubles, and Baddoo added an eye-popping 11 triples. As 19-year olds, Baddoo and Lewis both added 22 or more steals. Kirilloff had a team-best .999 OPS, and Baddoo led the team with 183 total bases. Baddoo's final numbers were truly impressive. He hit .243/.352/.419 (.770) with 44 extra-base hits, 83 runs, and 24 stolen bases. 2018 Kernels Pitching Prospects There have been six pitchers from the 2018 Kernels that have already made their big-league debuts on the mound. Bailey Ober and Randy Dobnak are the two that figure to most prominently help the 2022 Twins. Ober is penciled into the starting rotation on the heels of a tremendous rookie season. Ober's expectations are high, but there might be some sophomore struggles to overcome. Dobnak signed an extension last winter and produced his worst professional season as he tried to pitch through an injury. Jovani Moran figures to get an opportunity in Minnesota's bullpen, especially with his dominant change-up. Brusdar Graterol, a teenager at the time, was still a starter in 2018. Minnesota traded Graterol to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda, and he has transitioned to a reliever role at the big-league level. The Rangers claimed Edwar Colina off waivers from the Twins earlier this offseason. He had multiple procedures on his elbow last year, and Minnesota took him off their 40-man roster. Johan Quezada made three appearances with the Marlins in 2020, and he is currently on the Cardinals' 40-man roster. Two of Minnesota's top pitching prospects, Jhoan Duran and Blayne Enlow, also pitched for the 2018 Kernels. Duran was limited to 16 innings last season before being shut down with a strained elbow. Now, he needs to prove he can be healthy and get back on track in 2022. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in June, which has pushed him down Minnesota's prospect rankings. Dobnak led the team in innings pitched, and games started while posting a 3.14 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Colina was still a starter, and he had a 2.48 ERA with team-high 95 strikeouts in 98 innings. Moran led the team with a 14.2 SO/9, but he also struggled with 5.5 BB/9. Dobnak won 10 games, while Balazovic, Ober, and Colina were all credited with seven wins. Cedar Rapids made it to the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs in 2018 before falling to the Cardinals MWL affiliate. However, this roster will have long-lasting impacts at the big-league level. Which former Kernel is going to have the best MLB 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
  5. Much has been made of how badly the Akil Baddoo situation worked out for the Minnesota Twins. He hadn’t played since 2019 and was coming off an injury, but the 40 man roster had other expendable pieces, and the Detroit Tigers made it hurt. This time around, Minnesota sought to avoid a repeat performance. With the deadline to add players onto the 40 man roster affording them protection from being exposed in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins had four locks: Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. From there, the next most logical addition was Blayne Enlow. His case was an uncertain one, however, as he underwent Tommy John surgery this past summer. Enlow didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the minor league shut down, and he got in just 14 2/3 innings in 2021 before the arm surgery. Having topped out at High-A Cedar Rapids, the 22-year-old is plenty far from the majors as well. Don’t let that fool you, though, as this is an arm Minnesota should’ve had a chance at seeing this year. That would’ve been a monumental leap from Iowa to St. Paul and eventually Minneapolis across one season, but it also highlights this organization's belief in the kid. Minnesota’s front office selected Enlow in the third round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, their first with the organization. After taking Royce Lewis first overall, the Twins went with Landon Leach in round two with the hopes of saving slot value and spending more on Enlow. Ultimately agreeing to a $2 million bonus that checked in as the highest mark of the third round and was $600 thousand more than Minnesota gave to the pick before. Steering him away from a commitment to Louisiana State University, the Twins liked the right-handed prep arm. To this point in his professional career, Enlow has proven the Twins front office right. He posted a 3.26 ERA in his first full professional season as a 19-year-old and combined for a 3.82 ERA in 2019 as a 20-year-old. Spending the time working, getting bigger, and fine-tuning his stuff, there was no minor league pitcher I was higher on making a big jump in 2021 than Enlow. The first 14 2/3 innings of work this year came in to the tune of a 1.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Enlow’s command has always been the area that could use work, and seeing strikeouts jump up because of it was the expectation. A strong fastball with a plus-bender, Enlow looked the part of someone that could pitch in the top half of a Major League rotation. After going under the knife, we’ll need to see how he responds. The Twins likely won’t see Enlow in action for much of the 2022 season, but he can continue to rehab and do so while being placed on the 60-day Injured List and not occupying a 40-man roster spot. Being able to stash him like this allows Minnesota to reap the rewards of a fully healthy player in 2023. If Enlow’s trends out of the shutdown were anything to be believed, it’s worth getting excited for a kid that could undoubtedly join the ranks of the top organizational arms. Unlike Baddoo before him, no team selecting Enlow in the Rule 5 Draft would’ve been immediately able to see what they had on a big-league field. They could utilize the same Injured List designation, though, and would have added a big talent to the organization at next to no cost. Thankfully Minnesota didn’t pass on the opportunity to protect him solely to save a roster spot for what amounts to a handful of weeks. This is a long-term play that has a chance to pay big dividends. Here’s to hoping Enlow’s rehab continues to go smoothly, he returns quickly, and the results are every bit as enticing as they once looked. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. With the deadline to add players onto the 40 man roster affording them protection from being exposed in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins had four locks: Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. From there, the next most logical addition was Blayne Enlow. His case was an uncertain one, however, as he underwent Tommy John surgery this past summer. Enlow didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the minor league shut down, and he got in just 14 2/3 innings in 2021 before the arm surgery. Having topped out at High-A Cedar Rapids, the 22-year-old is plenty far from the majors as well. Don’t let that fool you, though, as this is an arm Minnesota should’ve had a chance at seeing this year. That would’ve been a monumental leap from Iowa to St. Paul and eventually Minneapolis across one season, but it also highlights this organization's belief in the kid. Minnesota’s front office selected Enlow in the third round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, their first with the organization. After taking Royce Lewis first overall, the Twins went with Landon Leach in round two with the hopes of saving slot value and spending more on Enlow. Ultimately agreeing to a $2 million bonus that checked in as the highest mark of the third round and was $600 thousand more than Minnesota gave to the pick before. Steering him away from a commitment to Louisiana State University, the Twins liked the right-handed prep arm. To this point in his professional career, Enlow has proven the Twins front office right. He posted a 3.26 ERA in his first full professional season as a 19-year-old and combined for a 3.82 ERA in 2019 as a 20-year-old. Spending the time working, getting bigger, and fine-tuning his stuff, there was no minor league pitcher I was higher on making a big jump in 2021 than Enlow. The first 14 2/3 innings of work this year came in to the tune of a 1.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Enlow’s command has always been the area that could use work, and seeing strikeouts jump up because of it was the expectation. A strong fastball with a plus-bender, Enlow looked the part of someone that could pitch in the top half of a Major League rotation. After going under the knife, we’ll need to see how he responds. The Twins likely won’t see Enlow in action for much of the 2022 season, but he can continue to rehab and do so while being placed on the 60-day Injured List and not occupying a 40-man roster spot. Being able to stash him like this allows Minnesota to reap the rewards of a fully healthy player in 2023. If Enlow’s trends out of the shutdown were anything to be believed, it’s worth getting excited for a kid that could undoubtedly join the ranks of the top organizational arms. Unlike Baddoo before him, no team selecting Enlow in the Rule 5 Draft would’ve been immediately able to see what they had on a big-league field. They could utilize the same Injured List designation, though, and would have added a big talent to the organization at next to no cost. Thankfully Minnesota didn’t pass on the opportunity to protect him solely to save a roster spot for what amounts to a handful of weeks. This is a long-term play that has a chance to pay big dividends. Here’s to hoping Enlow’s rehab continues to go smoothly, he returns quickly, and the results are every bit as enticing as they once looked. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. The Rule 5 Draft has given the Twins several key players including Shane Mack and Johan Santana. Most years, however, the actual impact to teams isn’t huge. Last year’s Rule 5 draft gave the Twins office some tough decisions. Let’s take a quick look at how it went for the Twins. Every November, teams determine which minor leaguers they will add to their 40-man roster and hence, protect from losing in December’s Rule 5 draft. The decisions sometimes are difficult. Who might be selected? Who would be able to stick on the big-league roster throughout the season if they were selected? Twins Daily's Nash Walker breaks it down in the following video: Those decisions were made even more difficult last offseason by the lost minor league season due to the global pandemic. There weren’t as many data points for teams to evaluate, and in some cases, players had been away from team activities for six to eight months. Let’s just jump into it. AKIL BADDOO The Tigers selected outfielder Akil Baddoo with the second pick of the Rule 5 draft. Baddoo was an immensely talented prospect selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft. In 2018 at Cedar Rapids, he hit .243/.351/.419 (.770) with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers and 24 stolen bases. The season showed his skill set. He had a combination of speed and power, and while he didn’t hit for average, he knows the strike zone and took his walks. Unfortunately after just 29 games in Ft. Myers in 2019, in which he hit .214/.290/.393 with three doubles, three triples, four homers and six steals, Baddoo needed Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season. As the 2020 season approached, I talked to Baddoo in spring training. He felt great, but he would have started the season DHing and gradually getting more time in the outfield. With outfielders such as Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino ahead of him on the depth chart, the Twins took a chance by leaving him off the 40-man roster. There’s no doubt the team knew he could be taken, but could he make an opening day roster and stick in the big leagues for a full season after so much missed time, and limited production in A-ball. Baddoo had a big spring training, showing a lot of power, and he made the Tigers Opening Day roster. As important, he got off to a fast start. In his first nine games, he hit .370/.379/.963 (1.342) with two doubles, a triple and four home runs. Of course, Twins fans will recall that he had some huge moments early against his former organization. In his first game against his former teammates, he hit a grand slam. In his second game, he had a walk off single. In his third game, he had a big, RBI triple. The Twins played the Tigers going into the All Star break and then coming out of the break. In the pre-break game, he had a homer and three RBI. In the first game back from the break, he had a triple and three RBI. To say that he has performed well against the Twins might just be an understatement. In 14 games against the Twins, he has hit .327/.340/.673 (1.013) with five doubles, two triples, three homers and 14 RBI. In 97 games against all other teams, he has hit .244/.322/.410 (732) with 29 extra base hits. In 111 total games, Baddoo has hit .255/.324/.448 (.772) with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 49 RBI. He has 14 steals and leads the league with seven triples. At age 23, he has made himself into a key cog in a Tigers team that has a lot of young players and appears ready to start contending in the AL Central in the coming years. TYLER WELLS Baddoo got all of the fanfare early in the season, and understandably so, but the Twins lost a second player in the Rule 5 draft too. With their second pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Tyler Wells. Wells had been the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. At 6-8, Wells stands out on the mound but also has really good stuff. In 2018, he went 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 16 starts at High-A Ft. Myers before making six appearances in Double-A Pensacola where he posted a 1.65 ERA. In 119 1/3 innings, he struck out 121 batters. He was chosen the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018 as well as the Harmon Killebrew Award winner for the Miracle. Unfortunately, in spring training 2019, Wells hurt his elbow. After trying to rehab, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the 2019 season. Based on his rehab from surgery, he may have been able to make a few appearances late in the 2020 season, but obviously was unable to do so. So again, the Twins took a chance, leaving him unprotected, and the Orioles took a shot. While Wells started out slowly, getting irregular innings, he has become a bright spot in the Orioles 2021 roster. In 40 games, he is 2-3 with two saves. He has a 4.17 ERA and a 0.93 ERA. In 54 innings, he has given up just 38 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 64 batters. In the past two weeks, Wells has become the Orioles’ closer. He recorded two saves before having two blown saves in his past two outings. However, in a 25 game stretch before those two games, he has a 1.74 ERA, a 0.52 WHIP and opponents hit just .132 against him. In that time, he gave up just 14 hits, walked two and struck out 36 batters in 31 innings. Wells has a mid-90s fastball to go with a changeup, a slider and a slow curveball. With that pitch mix, could he return to being a starter moving forward, or will he remain a potentially-dominant reliever. BAILEY OBER Adding Jordan Balazovic to the Twins 40-man roster last November was the easy decision, to be sure. Ben Rortvedt, as a top catching prospect, was also an easy addition as well. However, I would assume many (or most) Twins fans were probably surprised when they learned that Bailey Ober had been added to the 40-man roster. Like others, Ober missed the 2020 season completely. He was not at the team’s alternate site. He did not participate in the Instructional League. In 2019, he went 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA between High-A Ft. Myers, Double-A Pensacola. In 78 2/3 innings, he walked nine batters and struck out 100 batters. Ober pitched little during spring training and made just four starts at St. Paul before getting called up to the big leagues in mid-May. Since then, he has been terrific. In 18 starts, he is 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 83 innings, he has walked 17 and struck out 87 batters. As impressive as he has been, the Twins have found a way to keep him healthy following a missed season. He is currently at 99 innings and should make two or three more starts before the end of the season. I’d say that the Twins front office was right in adding Ober to the 40-man roster. JOSE MIRANDA In 2016, the Twins took prep hitters Alex Kirilloff, Ben Rortvedt, Akil Baddoo and Jose Miranda all within the first 74 picks of the draft. Kirilloff and Rortvedt had been added to the 40-man roster. Baddoo was lost in the Rule 5 draft to the Tigers. And, the Twins also left infielder Jose Miranda unprotected. Like others, Miranda was not invited to big league spring training in 2020. He was not a participant at the alternate site last year. He went to Instructional League, and then he put up some big numbers playing winter ball in Puerto Rico last offseason including playing in the Caribbean Series. As the Rule 5 draft was approaching, there were definitely indications that Miranda could be selected. Fortunately, when the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft concluded, Miranda’s name had not been called. Can you imagine if the Twins had lost Jose Miranda in the Rule 5 draft too? Scouting reports always indicated that Miranda had immense power potential. In 2018, he had 27 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he had 26 doubles and eight homers. This season, the power has come together. He began the season with 47 games at Double-A Wichita. He hit .345/.408/.588 (.996) with eight doubles and 13 homers. In 67 games since joining the St. Paul Saints, he has hit .341/.395/.564 (.959) with 19 doubles and 15 home runs. Speaking of putting it all together, Miranda has hit .343/.400/.574 (.974) with 27 doubles, 28 homers and 86 RBI in 114 games. Miranda’s prospect stock has increased as much as any hitter in the Twins system in 2021, and he finds himself on the edge of the big leagues. If it doesn’t happen by the end of the season, he is a given to be protected this November. OTHERS I thought it might be fun to take a look at my rankings from last November when I ranked (guessed) which players the Twins would add. Here is how I ranked them: RHP Jordan Balazovic - Easy decision, he pitched at Double-A this year. OF Akil Baddoo - see above C Ben Rortvedt - has split the season between Triple-A and the Twins. SS Wander Javier - had ups and downs in High-A Cedar Rapids. Free agent at the end of the season. RHP Luis Rijo - Had visa issues, and soon after his return had Tommy John surgery. 3B Jose Miranda - see above. RHP Griffin Jax - has made his MLB debut in 2021. 2B Yunior Severino - Started season in Ft. Myers, but has crushed the ball since moving up to Cedar Rapids. OF Gabriel Maciel - Spent the full season in Cedar Rapids. LHP Charlie Barnes - has made his MLB debut in 2021. RHP Bailey Ober - see above. LHP Jovani Moran - recently made his MLB debut. RHP Tyler Wells - see above. LHP Bryan Sammons - has split the season between AA and AAA. 1B/OF Trey Cabbage - has hit 27 homers between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Free agent at season’s end. I’m sure the Twins would want to bring him back. 1B Zander Wiel - Recently Released SUMMARY Most years, only a handful of Rule 5 picks actually make their team’s Opening Day roster and stick through the season. In an unprecedented 2020, 40-man roster decisions were more difficult than usual. Unfortunately, the Twins lost two players who have been impactful for their new organizations. They were lucky not to lose Jose Miranda or Jovani Moran too. However, they did well in recognizing the need to protect Bailey Ober. As we start the process of thinking about who might be added to the team’s 40-man roster this coming November, it should be a bit easier since there has been a season to evaluate players again! View full article
  8. Every November, teams determine which minor leaguers they will add to their 40-man roster and hence, protect from losing in December’s Rule 5 draft. The decisions sometimes are difficult. Who might be selected? Who would be able to stick on the big-league roster throughout the season if they were selected? Twins Daily's Nash Walker breaks it down in the following video: Those decisions were made even more difficult last offseason by the lost minor league season due to the global pandemic. There weren’t as many data points for teams to evaluate, and in some cases, players had been away from team activities for six to eight months. Let’s just jump into it. AKIL BADDOO The Tigers selected outfielder Akil Baddoo with the second pick of the Rule 5 draft. Baddoo was an immensely talented prospect selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft. In 2018 at Cedar Rapids, he hit .243/.351/.419 (.770) with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers and 24 stolen bases. The season showed his skill set. He had a combination of speed and power, and while he didn’t hit for average, he knows the strike zone and took his walks. Unfortunately after just 29 games in Ft. Myers in 2019, in which he hit .214/.290/.393 with three doubles, three triples, four homers and six steals, Baddoo needed Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season. As the 2020 season approached, I talked to Baddoo in spring training. He felt great, but he would have started the season DHing and gradually getting more time in the outfield. With outfielders such as Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino ahead of him on the depth chart, the Twins took a chance by leaving him off the 40-man roster. There’s no doubt the team knew he could be taken, but could he make an opening day roster and stick in the big leagues for a full season after so much missed time, and limited production in A-ball. Baddoo had a big spring training, showing a lot of power, and he made the Tigers Opening Day roster. As important, he got off to a fast start. In his first nine games, he hit .370/.379/.963 (1.342) with two doubles, a triple and four home runs. Of course, Twins fans will recall that he had some huge moments early against his former organization. In his first game against his former teammates, he hit a grand slam. In his second game, he had a walk off single. In his third game, he had a big, RBI triple. The Twins played the Tigers going into the All Star break and then coming out of the break. In the pre-break game, he had a homer and three RBI. In the first game back from the break, he had a triple and three RBI. To say that he has performed well against the Twins might just be an understatement. In 14 games against the Twins, he has hit .327/.340/.673 (1.013) with five doubles, two triples, three homers and 14 RBI. In 97 games against all other teams, he has hit .244/.322/.410 (732) with 29 extra base hits. In 111 total games, Baddoo has hit .255/.324/.448 (.772) with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 49 RBI. He has 14 steals and leads the league with seven triples. At age 23, he has made himself into a key cog in a Tigers team that has a lot of young players and appears ready to start contending in the AL Central in the coming years. TYLER WELLS Baddoo got all of the fanfare early in the season, and understandably so, but the Twins lost a second player in the Rule 5 draft too. With their second pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Tyler Wells. Wells had been the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. At 6-8, Wells stands out on the mound but also has really good stuff. In 2018, he went 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 16 starts at High-A Ft. Myers before making six appearances in Double-A Pensacola where he posted a 1.65 ERA. In 119 1/3 innings, he struck out 121 batters. He was chosen the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018 as well as the Harmon Killebrew Award winner for the Miracle. Unfortunately, in spring training 2019, Wells hurt his elbow. After trying to rehab, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the 2019 season. Based on his rehab from surgery, he may have been able to make a few appearances late in the 2020 season, but obviously was unable to do so. So again, the Twins took a chance, leaving him unprotected, and the Orioles took a shot. While Wells started out slowly, getting irregular innings, he has become a bright spot in the Orioles 2021 roster. In 40 games, he is 2-3 with two saves. He has a 4.17 ERA and a 0.93 ERA. In 54 innings, he has given up just 38 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 64 batters. In the past two weeks, Wells has become the Orioles’ closer. He recorded two saves before having two blown saves in his past two outings. However, in a 25 game stretch before those two games, he has a 1.74 ERA, a 0.52 WHIP and opponents hit just .132 against him. In that time, he gave up just 14 hits, walked two and struck out 36 batters in 31 innings. Wells has a mid-90s fastball to go with a changeup, a slider and a slow curveball. With that pitch mix, could he return to being a starter moving forward, or will he remain a potentially-dominant reliever. BAILEY OBER Adding Jordan Balazovic to the Twins 40-man roster last November was the easy decision, to be sure. Ben Rortvedt, as a top catching prospect, was also an easy addition as well. However, I would assume many (or most) Twins fans were probably surprised when they learned that Bailey Ober had been added to the 40-man roster. Like others, Ober missed the 2020 season completely. He was not at the team’s alternate site. He did not participate in the Instructional League. In 2019, he went 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA between High-A Ft. Myers, Double-A Pensacola. In 78 2/3 innings, he walked nine batters and struck out 100 batters. Ober pitched little during spring training and made just four starts at St. Paul before getting called up to the big leagues in mid-May. Since then, he has been terrific. In 18 starts, he is 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 83 innings, he has walked 17 and struck out 87 batters. As impressive as he has been, the Twins have found a way to keep him healthy following a missed season. He is currently at 99 innings and should make two or three more starts before the end of the season. I’d say that the Twins front office was right in adding Ober to the 40-man roster. JOSE MIRANDA In 2016, the Twins took prep hitters Alex Kirilloff, Ben Rortvedt, Akil Baddoo and Jose Miranda all within the first 74 picks of the draft. Kirilloff and Rortvedt had been added to the 40-man roster. Baddoo was lost in the Rule 5 draft to the Tigers. And, the Twins also left infielder Jose Miranda unprotected. Like others, Miranda was not invited to big league spring training in 2020. He was not a participant at the alternate site last year. He went to Instructional League, and then he put up some big numbers playing winter ball in Puerto Rico last offseason including playing in the Caribbean Series. As the Rule 5 draft was approaching, there were definitely indications that Miranda could be selected. Fortunately, when the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft concluded, Miranda’s name had not been called. Can you imagine if the Twins had lost Jose Miranda in the Rule 5 draft too? Scouting reports always indicated that Miranda had immense power potential. In 2018, he had 27 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he had 26 doubles and eight homers. This season, the power has come together. He began the season with 47 games at Double-A Wichita. He hit .345/.408/.588 (.996) with eight doubles and 13 homers. In 67 games since joining the St. Paul Saints, he has hit .341/.395/.564 (.959) with 19 doubles and 15 home runs. Speaking of putting it all together, Miranda has hit .343/.400/.574 (.974) with 27 doubles, 28 homers and 86 RBI in 114 games. Miranda’s prospect stock has increased as much as any hitter in the Twins system in 2021, and he finds himself on the edge of the big leagues. If it doesn’t happen by the end of the season, he is a given to be protected this November. OTHERS I thought it might be fun to take a look at my rankings from last November when I ranked (guessed) which players the Twins would add. Here is how I ranked them: RHP Jordan Balazovic - Easy decision, he pitched at Double-A this year. OF Akil Baddoo - see above C Ben Rortvedt - has split the season between Triple-A and the Twins. SS Wander Javier - had ups and downs in High-A Cedar Rapids. Free agent at the end of the season. RHP Luis Rijo - Had visa issues, and soon after his return had Tommy John surgery. 3B Jose Miranda - see above. RHP Griffin Jax - has made his MLB debut in 2021. 2B Yunior Severino - Started season in Ft. Myers, but has crushed the ball since moving up to Cedar Rapids. OF Gabriel Maciel - Spent the full season in Cedar Rapids. LHP Charlie Barnes - has made his MLB debut in 2021. RHP Bailey Ober - see above. LHP Jovani Moran - recently made his MLB debut. RHP Tyler Wells - see above. LHP Bryan Sammons - has split the season between AA and AAA. 1B/OF Trey Cabbage - has hit 27 homers between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Free agent at season’s end. I’m sure the Twins would want to bring him back. 1B Zander Wiel - Recently Released SUMMARY Most years, only a handful of Rule 5 picks actually make their team’s Opening Day roster and stick through the season. In an unprecedented 2020, 40-man roster decisions were more difficult than usual. Unfortunately, the Twins lost two players who have been impactful for their new organizations. They were lucky not to lose Jose Miranda or Jovani Moran too. However, they did well in recognizing the need to protect Bailey Ober. As we start the process of thinking about who might be added to the team’s 40-man roster this coming November, it should be a bit easier since there has been a season to evaluate players again!
  9. The Twins made a wise choice in protecting Bailey Ober last offseason. It looks like they made two key mistakes in the same area by not adding Tyler Wells or Akil Baddoo to the 40-man roster. Let’s check in on these former Twins prospects. View full video
  10. The Twins made a wise choice in protecting Bailey Ober last offseason. It looks like they made two key mistakes in the same area by not adding Tyler Wells or Akil Baddoo to the 40-man roster. Let’s check in on these former Twins prospects.
  11. “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.
  12. Since Opening Day, Twins fans have spent a lot of time agonizing over the loss of Akil Baddoo in the Rule 5 draft. However, the Twins lost two players in December’s Rule 5 draft, and when the Baltimore Orioles come to Target Field today, reliever Tyler Wells will be a part of their bullpen. Following a series against the Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles flew to Minnesota where they will take on the Twins in a three game series starting tonight. The teams enter the series with an identical 17-29 record. For one member of the Orioles bullpen, the experience will be very special. Right-hander Tyler Wells said this afternoon, “I’m looking forward to moving forward. Even right now, playing the Twins, it’s kind of like a homecoming. It’s a bittersweet thing because I have a lot of friends over there. It’s going to be great to see them, but I’m also looking forward to competing against them.” The Twins drafted Tyler Wells in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State-San Bernadino. The Twins scouts saw him and determined they definitely wanted to draft him. Deron Johnson, who was the Twins Scouting Director in 2016, told Twins Daily that he had traveled with Twins area scout and now West Coast Supervisor Elliot Strankman. “Elliot and I were going to see a junior college kid at another college. He said, ‘Hey, I like this reliever at Sonoma State. Let’s go see him on the way there.’ So we go there and they’re playing Cal State-San Bernadino. We see this big giant on the mound throwing up to 94 with a nice breaking ball. John Leavitt, our area scout, had him in (his reports), but he wasn’t a guy for me to see. We just stopped in there on a whim. John had seen him, but he hadn’t seen him throwing that hard. We just kind of had him on our radar after that. We didn’t hide him out, but we didn’t show a lot of interest. We knew there were two other clubs that had interest in him. We targeted him in the draft and thought, let’s not lose this guy.” Wells was the 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Between High-A Ft. Myers and Double-A Chattanooga, he went 10-6 with a 2.56 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He also had 121 strikeouts and just 31 walks over 119 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, the next spring training, he felt a pop in his elbow and ultimately had Tommy John surgery which cost him the 2019 season. He would have likely been rehab to come back sometime during the 2020 season, but as we all know, there was no 2020 season. And most likely, that is why the Twins decided not to add him to their 40 man roster in November. The Orioles took Wells with their second round Rule 5 pick. But even then, it didn’t necessarily mean that the Twins would lose him long term. Wells had to make the Orioles big-league roster out of spring training and still has to stay on the big-league roster throughout the entire 2021 season or be offered back to the Twins. Earlier in the Rule 5 draft, Wells’ good friend and fellow 2016 draft pick Akil Baddoo was selected by the Tigers. “We went through Tommy John surgery together and through that whole rehab process. We got pretty close. I was unbelievably happy for him. I hope he continues to absolutely rake and hope to see him up in Detroit.” Wells reported to Sarasota for his first major-league spring training. Wells pitched nine innings over five appearances. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out 12 batters. He pitched well. Wells said this afternoon, “It was a lot of fun. A lot of the guys were super nice. It took a little time to get my feet wet, to understand how everything is going, how to go about my business. A lot of learning experiences. Got acquainted with a lot of the guys. As I continued to pitch, I learned more about myself and how my arm was feeling. I had an uptick in stuff from before I had Tommy John surgery. Everything went really, really well.” The Orioles decided to keep him on their roster for Opening Day. Getting the news was something that Wells will never forget. “I got called into the manager’s office on the last day of cuts. The GM and the manager are there. The first thing they said to me was ‘You ever been to Boston?’ Wells responded, “Nope.” They said, ‘Would you like to go?” Wells noted, “Obviously right then, I knew I made the team. It was an incredible moment.” On April 4th, the Orioles had an 11-3 lead over the Red Sox heading to the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Wells found himself jogging in from the Fenway Park bullpen to make his big-league debut. He gave up one hit, and he walked one, but he got three outs without allowing a run to end the game. “We were winning by a substantial amount, so they brought me in for the ninth and I got to finish the game. I ran out there and about halfway to the mound, I lost feeling in my feet. I started thinking I’ve got to remember how to do this pitching thing real quick.” In addition, he noted that the Red Sox fans in the right field corner were chanting his name. When he was warming up, fans were razzing him. “Wells… why are you not playing basketball? You should be playing tight end for the Patriots. Why are you even here?” Wells thought those aren’t even insults. “They were compliments. I appreciate that. I was keeping a straight face the whole time, and they liked that I didn’t even blink an eye. So they started chanting ‘Ty-Ler-Wells! Ty-Ler-Wells!’ as I was entering the game.” Since then, he has pitched in four more games against the Red Sox. His second MLB appearance came at Yankees Stadium. Primarily, he has pitched in low-leverage situations. He has completed two innings in seven of his 12 outings. Wells said, “The coaches have been pretty open about my situation. As a rookie, it’s low-leverage situations. I’m starting to get more comfortable in going in and hold games, certainly building more confidence in myself to be able to do that. I think that getting more innings as of late is really helping with that. I’m mostly a two-inning game. They try to bring me in and hold the game. I think they do have a lot of confidence in me doing that. I’m trying to help the team out as much as I can. Trying to help the bullpen as much as I can. Right now, they just want me to get more comfortable.” Overall, he has pitched in 12 games. He has a 5.14 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. In 21 innings, he has given up 16 hits, walked seven and struck out 26 batters (11.1 K/9). One issue he has had is giving up home runs. He has already given up six homers (to Enrique Hernandez, JD Martinez, Jed Lowrie, Clint Frazier, Xander Bogaerts and Mike Zunino). This will not be Wells' first trip to Target Field. He’s been there one other time, but “not for the reasons I wanted to be. With my injury, I had to see the team doctor and got to attend a game.” On Monday night, the Twins will face left-hander John Means. As a rookie in 2019, he was the Orioles representative at the All Star game. In 2021, he has become a legitimate star. To this point, he is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA and a 0.75 ERA. Means is a guy that Wells has talked to and learned from already. “He’s been a guy that I’ve looked up to a lot. Very level headed. That is really what makes him so go. He’s level headed because of the experiences he’s been through. He considered retiring in 2018. He ended up making his major-league debut that year. Baseball is already difficult enough, and when he got the opportunity, he didn’t waste it. He’s a great leader in the clubhouse. For me, personally, I talked to him a lot in spring training. I’ve talked to him throughout the course of the season so far. He provides a lot of insights to the pitching, the lifestyle, how to take care of yourself. He’s been a huge help for, but he takes the stuff that he tells me and he applies it. Everything he tells me, he does. He doesn’t get too up or too down. He’s just cruising.” Another teammate that Wells really admires is Trey Mancini. As you know, the O’s first baseman first baseman missed the 2020 season fighting colon cancer. He has returned this year, and through 46 games, he is hitting .280/.352/.520 (.872) with 12 doubles, ten homers and a league-leading 41 RBI. Wells says, “You aren’t going to find a lot of better people in baseball than him. He’s such a down-to-earth guy. He’s another leader in our clubhouse. The word to describe him is ‘Incredible!’ He’s pushed. He’s fought. And I think you see a lot of that in his game. He’s continued to push himself and I’m so happy for him. He’s a phenomenal human being. He does everything with a purpose. He’s so resilient. It’s very inspiring, not just for me, but for the entire team, the entire league.” Hopefully Tyler Wells will be able to make an appearance this week on the Target Field mound. One of his best friends from the Twins organization is Twins star rookie Alex Kirilloff. “AK and I have the same type of conversation every week or two. We’ll see what’s going on in our lives. I keep up with him on how his daughter is doing, and see how his wife and the rest of his family are doing. We don’t really talk a lot about baseball, just about life and how things are going. It’s cool to take a step back and realize this game has brought a lot of great people into your life. It’s such a cool thing to see him grow into a bigger person, beyond just baseball. I’m looking forward to reconnecting to him.” He pointed out the the Orioles just finished a series with the Washington Nationals. He had forgotten that another former Twins minor leaguer Sam Clay is working out of the Nationals bullpen this season. He said it was nice to reconnect with him as well. Wells has been teammates with Luis Arraez, Cody Stashak and others. Wells is good friends with Travis Blankenhorn and Aaron Whitefield who are close to Trevor Larnach so he has had a chance to get to know him as well. “It’s going to be hard, with Arraez and AK, as soon as I see them walking into the box, it’ll be hard not to smile at them. It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun. It’s going to up the ante. It’s going to make you want to perform better, and I think it’s going to do the same for those guys. It’s a lot of friendly competition.” Wells noted, “It’s awesome to be able to come back and see everybody. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most. Baseball is still baseball. I have a job to do. I still compete. It doesn’t matter what stadium it’s in. It’s game time. You lock it in. You go out there and do your thing. I don’t think it’s so much the place as it is the people.” Wells’ goal for the rest of the 2021 season may seem simple, but it’s important. “Stay healthy! That’s the big one because after not pitching for two years and coming from AA straight to the big leagues, it’s certainly a jump, but at the same time, you’re getting more intense innings. You have 162 games a year. You want to stay healthy, and that’s my #1 goal this year. I’d like to avoid any IL stints. And, on top of that, Win some ball games. I want to compete for the team and help the team win. If they ever need a guy, I want to be that guy.” Akil Baddoo understandably caught our attention early in the season when he got off to a fast start, and hit a grand slam, and a triple, and had a walkoff single against the Twins in the season’s first week. But the Twins lost two players in this past Rule 5 draft and both are finding means of success in their rookie big league seasons. View full article
  13. Following a series against the Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles flew to Minnesota where they will take on the Twins in a three game series starting tonight. The teams enter the series with an identical 17-29 record. For one member of the Orioles bullpen, the experience will be very special. Right-hander Tyler Wells said this afternoon, “I’m looking forward to moving forward. Even right now, playing the Twins, it’s kind of like a homecoming. It’s a bittersweet thing because I have a lot of friends over there. It’s going to be great to see them, but I’m also looking forward to competing against them.” The Twins drafted Tyler Wells in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State-San Bernadino. The Twins scouts saw him and determined they definitely wanted to draft him. Deron Johnson, who was the Twins Scouting Director in 2016, told Twins Daily that he had traveled with Twins area scout and now West Coast Supervisor Elliot Strankman. “Elliot and I were going to see a junior college kid at another college. He said, ‘Hey, I like this reliever at Sonoma State. Let’s go see him on the way there.’ So we go there and they’re playing Cal State-San Bernadino. We see this big giant on the mound throwing up to 94 with a nice breaking ball. John Leavitt, our area scout, had him in (his reports), but he wasn’t a guy for me to see. We just stopped in there on a whim. John had seen him, but he hadn’t seen him throwing that hard. We just kind of had him on our radar after that. We didn’t hide him out, but we didn’t show a lot of interest. We knew there were two other clubs that had interest in him. We targeted him in the draft and thought, let’s not lose this guy.” Wells was the 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Between High-A Ft. Myers and Double-A Chattanooga, he went 10-6 with a 2.56 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He also had 121 strikeouts and just 31 walks over 119 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, the next spring training, he felt a pop in his elbow and ultimately had Tommy John surgery which cost him the 2019 season. He would have likely been rehab to come back sometime during the 2020 season, but as we all know, there was no 2020 season. And most likely, that is why the Twins decided not to add him to their 40 man roster in November. The Orioles took Wells with their second round Rule 5 pick. But even then, it didn’t necessarily mean that the Twins would lose him long term. Wells had to make the Orioles big-league roster out of spring training and still has to stay on the big-league roster throughout the entire 2021 season or be offered back to the Twins. Earlier in the Rule 5 draft, Wells’ good friend and fellow 2016 draft pick Akil Baddoo was selected by the Tigers. “We went through Tommy John surgery together and through that whole rehab process. We got pretty close. I was unbelievably happy for him. I hope he continues to absolutely rake and hope to see him up in Detroit.” Wells reported to Sarasota for his first major-league spring training. Wells pitched nine innings over five appearances. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out 12 batters. He pitched well. Wells said this afternoon, “It was a lot of fun. A lot of the guys were super nice. It took a little time to get my feet wet, to understand how everything is going, how to go about my business. A lot of learning experiences. Got acquainted with a lot of the guys. As I continued to pitch, I learned more about myself and how my arm was feeling. I had an uptick in stuff from before I had Tommy John surgery. Everything went really, really well.” The Orioles decided to keep him on their roster for Opening Day. Getting the news was something that Wells will never forget. “I got called into the manager’s office on the last day of cuts. The GM and the manager are there. The first thing they said to me was ‘You ever been to Boston?’ Wells responded, “Nope.” They said, ‘Would you like to go?” Wells noted, “Obviously right then, I knew I made the team. It was an incredible moment.” On April 4th, the Orioles had an 11-3 lead over the Red Sox heading to the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Wells found himself jogging in from the Fenway Park bullpen to make his big-league debut. He gave up one hit, and he walked one, but he got three outs without allowing a run to end the game. “We were winning by a substantial amount, so they brought me in for the ninth and I got to finish the game. I ran out there and about halfway to the mound, I lost feeling in my feet. I started thinking I’ve got to remember how to do this pitching thing real quick.” In addition, he noted that the Red Sox fans in the right field corner were chanting his name. When he was warming up, fans were razzing him. “Wells… why are you not playing basketball? You should be playing tight end for the Patriots. Why are you even here?” Wells thought those aren’t even insults. “They were compliments. I appreciate that. I was keeping a straight face the whole time, and they liked that I didn’t even blink an eye. So they started chanting ‘Ty-Ler-Wells! Ty-Ler-Wells!’ as I was entering the game.” Since then, he has pitched in four more games against the Red Sox. His second MLB appearance came at Yankees Stadium. Primarily, he has pitched in low-leverage situations. He has completed two innings in seven of his 12 outings. Wells said, “The coaches have been pretty open about my situation. As a rookie, it’s low-leverage situations. I’m starting to get more comfortable in going in and hold games, certainly building more confidence in myself to be able to do that. I think that getting more innings as of late is really helping with that. I’m mostly a two-inning game. They try to bring me in and hold the game. I think they do have a lot of confidence in me doing that. I’m trying to help the team out as much as I can. Trying to help the bullpen as much as I can. Right now, they just want me to get more comfortable.” Overall, he has pitched in 12 games. He has a 5.14 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. In 21 innings, he has given up 16 hits, walked seven and struck out 26 batters (11.1 K/9). One issue he has had is giving up home runs. He has already given up six homers (to Enrique Hernandez, JD Martinez, Jed Lowrie, Clint Frazier, Xander Bogaerts and Mike Zunino). This will not be Wells' first trip to Target Field. He’s been there one other time, but “not for the reasons I wanted to be. With my injury, I had to see the team doctor and got to attend a game.” On Monday night, the Twins will face left-hander John Means. As a rookie in 2019, he was the Orioles representative at the All Star game. In 2021, he has become a legitimate star. To this point, he is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA and a 0.75 ERA. Means is a guy that Wells has talked to and learned from already. “He’s been a guy that I’ve looked up to a lot. Very level headed. That is really what makes him so go. He’s level headed because of the experiences he’s been through. He considered retiring in 2018. He ended up making his major-league debut that year. Baseball is already difficult enough, and when he got the opportunity, he didn’t waste it. He’s a great leader in the clubhouse. For me, personally, I talked to him a lot in spring training. I’ve talked to him throughout the course of the season so far. He provides a lot of insights to the pitching, the lifestyle, how to take care of yourself. He’s been a huge help for, but he takes the stuff that he tells me and he applies it. Everything he tells me, he does. He doesn’t get too up or too down. He’s just cruising.” Another teammate that Wells really admires is Trey Mancini. As you know, the O’s first baseman first baseman missed the 2020 season fighting colon cancer. He has returned this year, and through 46 games, he is hitting .280/.352/.520 (.872) with 12 doubles, ten homers and a league-leading 41 RBI. Wells says, “You aren’t going to find a lot of better people in baseball than him. He’s such a down-to-earth guy. He’s another leader in our clubhouse. The word to describe him is ‘Incredible!’ He’s pushed. He’s fought. And I think you see a lot of that in his game. He’s continued to push himself and I’m so happy for him. He’s a phenomenal human being. He does everything with a purpose. He’s so resilient. It’s very inspiring, not just for me, but for the entire team, the entire league.” Hopefully Tyler Wells will be able to make an appearance this week on the Target Field mound. One of his best friends from the Twins organization is Twins star rookie Alex Kirilloff. “AK and I have the same type of conversation every week or two. We’ll see what’s going on in our lives. I keep up with him on how his daughter is doing, and see how his wife and the rest of his family are doing. We don’t really talk a lot about baseball, just about life and how things are going. It’s cool to take a step back and realize this game has brought a lot of great people into your life. It’s such a cool thing to see him grow into a bigger person, beyond just baseball. I’m looking forward to reconnecting to him.” He pointed out the the Orioles just finished a series with the Washington Nationals. He had forgotten that another former Twins minor leaguer Sam Clay is working out of the Nationals bullpen this season. He said it was nice to reconnect with him as well. Wells has been teammates with Luis Arraez, Cody Stashak and others. Wells is good friends with Travis Blankenhorn and Aaron Whitefield who are close to Trevor Larnach so he has had a chance to get to know him as well. “It’s going to be hard, with Arraez and AK, as soon as I see them walking into the box, it’ll be hard not to smile at them. It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun. It’s going to up the ante. It’s going to make you want to perform better, and I think it’s going to do the same for those guys. It’s a lot of friendly competition.” Wells noted, “It’s awesome to be able to come back and see everybody. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most. Baseball is still baseball. I have a job to do. I still compete. It doesn’t matter what stadium it’s in. It’s game time. You lock it in. You go out there and do your thing. I don’t think it’s so much the place as it is the people.” Wells’ goal for the rest of the 2021 season may seem simple, but it’s important. “Stay healthy! That’s the big one because after not pitching for two years and coming from AA straight to the big leagues, it’s certainly a jump, but at the same time, you’re getting more intense innings. You have 162 games a year. You want to stay healthy, and that’s my #1 goal this year. I’d like to avoid any IL stints. And, on top of that, Win some ball games. I want to compete for the team and help the team win. If they ever need a guy, I want to be that guy.” Akil Baddoo understandably caught our attention early in the season when he got off to a fast start, and hit a grand slam, and a triple, and had a walkoff single against the Twins in the season’s first week. But the Twins lost two players in this past Rule 5 draft and both are finding means of success in their rookie big league seasons.
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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!
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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