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  1. Edouard Julien and Austin Martin again had strong weeks to close out their AFL seasons. They even hit their team into the Championship Game. Were they able to win it? Keep reading to find out, and how all the Minnesota Twins prospects performed to finish up their AFL campaigns. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey (Wichita Wind Surge), Steve Buhr (Cedar Rapids Kernels) Game Results: Tuesday, 11/8 | Glendale 9, Peoria 3 Wednesday, 11/9 | Glendale 10, Mesa 4 Thursday, 11/10 | Salt River 2, Glendale 5 The Glendale Desert Dogs finished their season strong, going 3-0 in their final three games to secure the #2 spot in the standings. In the past, this meant they’d be playing in the AFL Championship game, but the league implemented a four-team playoff this season so they would have to win another game to make it that far. IF Austin Martin Week: 4-for-12, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB (3 games) Overall: .373/.454/.482 (.936 OPS) Martin finished his AFL season with another solid week, batting .333 in three games and continuing to be a menace from the top of the order, scoring at least one run in each. He played center field in his first game of the week, then was back at shortstop for the last two. In Tuesday’s win over Peoria, he helped key a six-run fifth inning with a single that loaded the bases. He’d later score on a bases-loaded single and finished 1-for-5. He was 2-for-4 and scored two runs in Wednesday’s 10-4 win over Mesa, leading off the game with a single, advancing to second base on a wild pitch, and scampering home on Edouard Julien’s single that followed for the game's first run. He’d cross the plate for the second time in the eighth to cap the Desert Dogs scoring on the game. He did it a little differently in Thursday’s win over Salt River, finishing 1-for-3 but that lone hit, a single in the sixth inning, drove in two runners to tie the game at two, and Glendale went on to add three more runs in the frame to take the game and secure their playoff position. Martin was the epitome of your “prototypical leadoff hitter” in his time in the desert, getting on base at a .454 clip (ranking 6th in AFL play), stealing 10 bases (3rd), and scoring 23 runs in 21 games (2nd, to only Julien’s 24). His .936 OPS also ranked 11th in the circuit, while his 31 total hits were second to League MVP Heston Kjerstad’s 35, and his .373 batting average came in at third overall. I’ve followed this league for a long time, and just like Royce Lewis’ MVP campaign of 2019 (where he had a .975 OPS after a .661 in the regular season), this performance absolutely should restore some prospect luster for Austin Martin. Now the Twins just need to find him a position, but I can see him functioning as a very athletic super-utility type when it comes to defense in the majors, much like how Luis Arraez got his start. IF Edouard Julien Week: 5-for-7, 3 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K (2 games) Overall: .400/.563/.686 (1.249 OPS) Julien saw action in two of their three wins on the week, batting second in each and serving as the second baseman in one and designated hitter in the other. He got on base in four of his five trips to the plate against the Javelinas on Tuesday, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored, RBI, and two walks. In Wednesday’s big win over Mesa, it was Julien driving the ship, as his three singles in four at-bats led to three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Two of his hits came in a seven-run eighth inning that the Desert Dogs used to blow the game open. He led off the inning with a single and trotted home on a home run to the next batter that gave Glendale the lead 5-4. After they had batted around, his two-RBI single made the score 9-4. He also drew a walk to reach base in four of five trips for the second time during the week. While he didn’t take home the AFL MVP award (Heston Kjerstad is a top 100 prospect, which has always factored into this award’s voting), instead having to settle for the Breakout Player of the Year Award, Julien was the best hitter in the entire AFL this year by a decent margin. He ranked first in runs scored (24), walks (23), batting average (.400), on-base percentage (.563), and OPS (1.249). He was also third in total hits (28), second in slugging percentage (.686), tied for second in home runs (5), tied for third in RBI (17), and also stole six bases which ranked top ten in his 21 games played. If Julien wasn’t a top-ten Minnesota Twins prospect before this, he should be there firmly now. Just imagine the pitch counts a lineup starting with Martin, Julien, and Luis Arraez could run up on starters in the majors someday soon. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 2-for-6, 1 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB (2 games) Overall: .228/.343/.316 (.659 OPS) Like Julien, Isola made the start in two of the Desert Dogs' three games on the week, playing first base in the games on Tuesday and Thursday. He scored a run and drew two walks in his first game of the week, finishing 1-for-3 out of the sixth spot in the lineup. He moved up to the cleanup position in the batting order for Thursday’s win over Salt River, and his two-RBI double in the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie and put the Desert Dogs out front for good. While Isola didn’t see as much action at the catcher position as he may have liked, he did improve as a hitter as the season wore on, moving into the middle of Glendale’s batting order for the final few weeks of the season after beginning as their number nine hitter. He also displayed a strong eye at the plate, drawing 10 walks compared to just 11 strikeouts on the season in his 16 games. His five doubles also matched Julien’s total and were second on the Desert Dogs to just Austin Martin on the season. RHP Jon Olsen Week: Did not pitch Overall: 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .288 BAA, 10 BB, 17 K (13 2/3 IP) Olsen did not pitch in any of Glendale’s final regular season games, but that was because they had him slotted for something better, which we will recap further below. Overall on the season, Olsen’s stats may not look that great in the above, but what was important for him was getting some innings against increased competition after missing multiple seasons of development time. He recovered from a poor first outing in the AFL to be solid down the stretch, getting the win and allowing just one earned run in his last two starts. Over those final seven innings, he gave up just four hits, walked two, and struck out eight. LHP Denny Bentley Week: Did not pitch Overall: 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, .189 BAA, 14 BB, 9 K (11 1/3 IP) The left-handed Bentley did not make any appearances in the final three games of the AFL regular season, but he did pitch in the playoffs. He ends his regular season campaign with a solid ERA and batting average against numbers, but the walks remain worrisome as he issued them at a far higher rate than he piled up strikeouts. He has excelled particularly against same-sided hitters, but the command of his pitches will continue to be an area to work on for him. He ended his 2022 season in the bullpen of the Wichita Wind Surge, and I’d expect him to remain there to start the 2023 season. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 1.84 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .152 BAA, 8 BB, 12 K (14 2/3 IP) Shreve was the only pitcher to make an appearance in any of the regular season games this week, and it came Wednesday’s win over Mesa. He was the first reliever summoned in the game, with one out in the bottom of the fourth after Glendale’s starter had given up the lead. He came in with a runner on third base and walked the first batter, but recovered to strike out the next two and keep the Solar Sox from expanding their lead. Back out for the fifth, he delivered a one-two-three inning, needing just five pitches to do so. Shreve was one of the Desert Dogs' top performers out of their bullpen, ranking second on their team in ERA (1.84) and WHIP (1.02) while holding hitters to a team-best .152 batting average against. He gave up a few walks early in the campaign, but over his final three weeks struck out seven compared to just two walks allowed in his final 6 2/3 innings. RHP Francis Peguero Week: Did not pitch Overall: 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .227 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Like three of the other four pitchers on this list, Peguero did not make an appearance in any of Glendale’s final three regular-season games but did see action in the playoffs. New to the Minnesota Twins organization for 2022 after being part of the Sonny Gray trade package from the Cincinnati Reds, there wasn’t a lot known about this pitcher. While he walked basically nobody during the season with Wichita, that number spiked significantly in AFL play. Despite that, he was still good at keeping runs off the scoreboard, finishing several of the games for the Desert Dogs. AFL Playoffs Friday, 11/11 - Semifinal | Peoria 3, Glendale 6 In the semifinal game against the Peoria Javelinas on Friday, the Twins' own Jon Olsen made the start for the home team. He went the first two innings, pitching a scoreless first before running into trouble in the second. He got two quick outs, but the next five hitters would reach base via walks or singles before they were able to escape by catching a runner trying to advance an extra base on the last of those hits. Before it was over he had allowed three runs, and the Javelinas had an early 3-0 lead. After clawing back with a pair of runs of their own in the second, it was Alex Isola who tied the game for Glendale with his home run to left-center leading off the fourth. Francis Peguero came out of the bullpen for the fifth and delivered a scoreless inning in his only appearance of the week. He allowed a single to the leadoff man but got outs from the next three hitters, including one strikeout to keep the game tied at the time. In the bottom of the seventh, it was Austin Martin who gave the Desert Dogs their first lead with an RBI single, and they would hold on to win and advance to the championship game against the Surprise Saguaros. Martin was 1-for-3 with a run scored, RBI, and walk in this one, playing centerfield while Edouard Julien finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. Isola finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk in addition to the big home run. Saturday, 11/12 - Championship Game | Glendale 6, Surprise 7 (11 innings) The title game against Surprise was a back-and-forth affair throughout, with either team never leading by more than two runs, and the game being tied on five separate occasions. Martin was again the leadoff man playing center field to start, followed by Julien at his usual second base spot. Isola was also at first base, hitting sixth. Julien drew a walk in the first but was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the inning. This would be a familiar theme on the night for him, as he drew a walk in four of his six plate appearances, finishing 0-for-2 with a run scored in the game. In the top of the sixth, his walk to lead off resulted in him scoring a run to give Glendale a 3-2 lead. He also made a play in the extra innings to keep it going: Pitchers Denny Bentley and Ryan Shreve both made appearances in this one, being the first two relievers out of the bullpen after their starter was done. Bentley came on with one out in the third after a home run tied the game at one, and allowed a walk but otherwise got out of the inning. He also got two quick outs in the fourth before another walk brought on Shreve for the final out. Shreve then picked up a pair of strikeouts in the fifth, but an error led to a 2-2 tie after five. Tied at four after nine innings, the game went to extras, where the teams again traded blows, each scoring one run in the tenth, but Martin did his best to win the game for Glendale in both the ninth and eleventh innings. He was at the plate with the score 4-4 in the ninth, when his groundball to short ended with the runner coming home being thrown out. Then in the eleventh with two outs and runners on first and second, Martin delivered a single into right field to give the Desert Dogs a 6-5 lead. It took only two batters with the runner starting on second base for Surprise to dash their hopes in the bottom half, as two consecutive RBI singles won the game for the team that ended the regular season with the best record. Martin finished 1-for-6 with an RBI, and Isola was 0-for-4 with a walk in the championship game. While they weren’t able to take it home, it was an exciting game and season for Twins prospects. Austin Martin and Edouard Julien were fantastic throughout, leading Glendale to the final game and coming as close as they possibly could to winning it for them. Congrats on all the players for a fun season, and I look forward to 2023! Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! View full article
  2. Game Results: Tuesday, 11/8 | Glendale 9, Peoria 3 Wednesday, 11/9 | Glendale 10, Mesa 4 Thursday, 11/10 | Salt River 2, Glendale 5 The Glendale Desert Dogs finished their season strong, going 3-0 in their final three games to secure the #2 spot in the standings. In the past, this meant they’d be playing in the AFL Championship game, but the league implemented a four-team playoff this season so they would have to win another game to make it that far. IF Austin Martin Week: 4-for-12, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB (3 games) Overall: .373/.454/.482 (.936 OPS) Martin finished his AFL season with another solid week, batting .333 in three games and continuing to be a menace from the top of the order, scoring at least one run in each. He played center field in his first game of the week, then was back at shortstop for the last two. In Tuesday’s win over Peoria, he helped key a six-run fifth inning with a single that loaded the bases. He’d later score on a bases-loaded single and finished 1-for-5. He was 2-for-4 and scored two runs in Wednesday’s 10-4 win over Mesa, leading off the game with a single, advancing to second base on a wild pitch, and scampering home on Edouard Julien’s single that followed for the game's first run. He’d cross the plate for the second time in the eighth to cap the Desert Dogs scoring on the game. He did it a little differently in Thursday’s win over Salt River, finishing 1-for-3 but that lone hit, a single in the sixth inning, drove in two runners to tie the game at two, and Glendale went on to add three more runs in the frame to take the game and secure their playoff position. Martin was the epitome of your “prototypical leadoff hitter” in his time in the desert, getting on base at a .454 clip (ranking 6th in AFL play), stealing 10 bases (3rd), and scoring 23 runs in 21 games (2nd, to only Julien’s 24). His .936 OPS also ranked 11th in the circuit, while his 31 total hits were second to League MVP Heston Kjerstad’s 35, and his .373 batting average came in at third overall. I’ve followed this league for a long time, and just like Royce Lewis’ MVP campaign of 2019 (where he had a .975 OPS after a .661 in the regular season), this performance absolutely should restore some prospect luster for Austin Martin. Now the Twins just need to find him a position, but I can see him functioning as a very athletic super-utility type when it comes to defense in the majors, much like how Luis Arraez got his start. IF Edouard Julien Week: 5-for-7, 3 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K (2 games) Overall: .400/.563/.686 (1.249 OPS) Julien saw action in two of their three wins on the week, batting second in each and serving as the second baseman in one and designated hitter in the other. He got on base in four of his five trips to the plate against the Javelinas on Tuesday, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored, RBI, and two walks. In Wednesday’s big win over Mesa, it was Julien driving the ship, as his three singles in four at-bats led to three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Two of his hits came in a seven-run eighth inning that the Desert Dogs used to blow the game open. He led off the inning with a single and trotted home on a home run to the next batter that gave Glendale the lead 5-4. After they had batted around, his two-RBI single made the score 9-4. He also drew a walk to reach base in four of five trips for the second time during the week. While he didn’t take home the AFL MVP award (Heston Kjerstad is a top 100 prospect, which has always factored into this award’s voting), instead having to settle for the Breakout Player of the Year Award, Julien was the best hitter in the entire AFL this year by a decent margin. He ranked first in runs scored (24), walks (23), batting average (.400), on-base percentage (.563), and OPS (1.249). He was also third in total hits (28), second in slugging percentage (.686), tied for second in home runs (5), tied for third in RBI (17), and also stole six bases which ranked top ten in his 21 games played. If Julien wasn’t a top-ten Minnesota Twins prospect before this, he should be there firmly now. Just imagine the pitch counts a lineup starting with Martin, Julien, and Luis Arraez could run up on starters in the majors someday soon. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 2-for-6, 1 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB (2 games) Overall: .228/.343/.316 (.659 OPS) Like Julien, Isola made the start in two of the Desert Dogs' three games on the week, playing first base in the games on Tuesday and Thursday. He scored a run and drew two walks in his first game of the week, finishing 1-for-3 out of the sixth spot in the lineup. He moved up to the cleanup position in the batting order for Thursday’s win over Salt River, and his two-RBI double in the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie and put the Desert Dogs out front for good. While Isola didn’t see as much action at the catcher position as he may have liked, he did improve as a hitter as the season wore on, moving into the middle of Glendale’s batting order for the final few weeks of the season after beginning as their number nine hitter. He also displayed a strong eye at the plate, drawing 10 walks compared to just 11 strikeouts on the season in his 16 games. His five doubles also matched Julien’s total and were second on the Desert Dogs to just Austin Martin on the season. RHP Jon Olsen Week: Did not pitch Overall: 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .288 BAA, 10 BB, 17 K (13 2/3 IP) Olsen did not pitch in any of Glendale’s final regular season games, but that was because they had him slotted for something better, which we will recap further below. Overall on the season, Olsen’s stats may not look that great in the above, but what was important for him was getting some innings against increased competition after missing multiple seasons of development time. He recovered from a poor first outing in the AFL to be solid down the stretch, getting the win and allowing just one earned run in his last two starts. Over those final seven innings, he gave up just four hits, walked two, and struck out eight. LHP Denny Bentley Week: Did not pitch Overall: 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, .189 BAA, 14 BB, 9 K (11 1/3 IP) The left-handed Bentley did not make any appearances in the final three games of the AFL regular season, but he did pitch in the playoffs. He ends his regular season campaign with a solid ERA and batting average against numbers, but the walks remain worrisome as he issued them at a far higher rate than he piled up strikeouts. He has excelled particularly against same-sided hitters, but the command of his pitches will continue to be an area to work on for him. He ended his 2022 season in the bullpen of the Wichita Wind Surge, and I’d expect him to remain there to start the 2023 season. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 1.84 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .152 BAA, 8 BB, 12 K (14 2/3 IP) Shreve was the only pitcher to make an appearance in any of the regular season games this week, and it came Wednesday’s win over Mesa. He was the first reliever summoned in the game, with one out in the bottom of the fourth after Glendale’s starter had given up the lead. He came in with a runner on third base and walked the first batter, but recovered to strike out the next two and keep the Solar Sox from expanding their lead. Back out for the fifth, he delivered a one-two-three inning, needing just five pitches to do so. Shreve was one of the Desert Dogs' top performers out of their bullpen, ranking second on their team in ERA (1.84) and WHIP (1.02) while holding hitters to a team-best .152 batting average against. He gave up a few walks early in the campaign, but over his final three weeks struck out seven compared to just two walks allowed in his final 6 2/3 innings. RHP Francis Peguero Week: Did not pitch Overall: 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .227 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Like three of the other four pitchers on this list, Peguero did not make an appearance in any of Glendale’s final three regular-season games but did see action in the playoffs. New to the Minnesota Twins organization for 2022 after being part of the Sonny Gray trade package from the Cincinnati Reds, there wasn’t a lot known about this pitcher. While he walked basically nobody during the season with Wichita, that number spiked significantly in AFL play. Despite that, he was still good at keeping runs off the scoreboard, finishing several of the games for the Desert Dogs. AFL Playoffs Friday, 11/11 - Semifinal | Peoria 3, Glendale 6 In the semifinal game against the Peoria Javelinas on Friday, the Twins' own Jon Olsen made the start for the home team. He went the first two innings, pitching a scoreless first before running into trouble in the second. He got two quick outs, but the next five hitters would reach base via walks or singles before they were able to escape by catching a runner trying to advance an extra base on the last of those hits. Before it was over he had allowed three runs, and the Javelinas had an early 3-0 lead. After clawing back with a pair of runs of their own in the second, it was Alex Isola who tied the game for Glendale with his home run to left-center leading off the fourth. Francis Peguero came out of the bullpen for the fifth and delivered a scoreless inning in his only appearance of the week. He allowed a single to the leadoff man but got outs from the next three hitters, including one strikeout to keep the game tied at the time. In the bottom of the seventh, it was Austin Martin who gave the Desert Dogs their first lead with an RBI single, and they would hold on to win and advance to the championship game against the Surprise Saguaros. Martin was 1-for-3 with a run scored, RBI, and walk in this one, playing centerfield while Edouard Julien finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. Isola finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk in addition to the big home run. Saturday, 11/12 - Championship Game | Glendale 6, Surprise 7 (11 innings) The title game against Surprise was a back-and-forth affair throughout, with either team never leading by more than two runs, and the game being tied on five separate occasions. Martin was again the leadoff man playing center field to start, followed by Julien at his usual second base spot. Isola was also at first base, hitting sixth. Julien drew a walk in the first but was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the inning. This would be a familiar theme on the night for him, as he drew a walk in four of his six plate appearances, finishing 0-for-2 with a run scored in the game. In the top of the sixth, his walk to lead off resulted in him scoring a run to give Glendale a 3-2 lead. He also made a play in the extra innings to keep it going: Pitchers Denny Bentley and Ryan Shreve both made appearances in this one, being the first two relievers out of the bullpen after their starter was done. Bentley came on with one out in the third after a home run tied the game at one, and allowed a walk but otherwise got out of the inning. He also got two quick outs in the fourth before another walk brought on Shreve for the final out. Shreve then picked up a pair of strikeouts in the fifth, but an error led to a 2-2 tie after five. Tied at four after nine innings, the game went to extras, where the teams again traded blows, each scoring one run in the tenth, but Martin did his best to win the game for Glendale in both the ninth and eleventh innings. He was at the plate with the score 4-4 in the ninth, when his groundball to short ended with the runner coming home being thrown out. Then in the eleventh with two outs and runners on first and second, Martin delivered a single into right field to give the Desert Dogs a 6-5 lead. It took only two batters with the runner starting on second base for Surprise to dash their hopes in the bottom half, as two consecutive RBI singles won the game for the team that ended the regular season with the best record. Martin finished 1-for-6 with an RBI, and Isola was 0-for-4 with a walk in the championship game. While they weren’t able to take it home, it was an exciting game and season for Twins prospects. Austin Martin and Edouard Julien were fantastic throughout, leading Glendale to the final game and coming as close as they possibly could to winning it for them. Congrats on all the players for a fun season, and I look forward to 2023! Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  3. On Monday, the Minnesota Twins announced the recipients of the Harmon Killebrew Awards for Community Service. The award is handed out by each of the Twins four full-season affiliates to a player who represents the affiliate, the Twins and the work of legendary Harmon Killebrew and his kindness in the community. Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily (L to R: David Banuelos, Frank Nigro, Alex Isola, Bradley Hanner, Noah Cardenas) When Harmon Killebrew passed away in 2011, the Twins developed the Killebrew Award for Outstanding Community Service. The players are nominated by each affiliate's general manager based on how much the players do in the community, whether it is reading for kids at school or participating in special camps or visiting hospitals. St. Paul Saints (Catchers David Banuelos and Frank Nigro) Banuelos was the Killebrew Award winner in 2018 when he played with the Kernels as well. In 2022, the Saints recognized him for his work at each of the team's kid baseball camps. He took a strong leadership role in those camps, making sure that the kids were having fun and getting to interact with all the kids. He also participated in the team's annual ACES bowling event. Banuelos has been in big-league spring training the past few years because he is fantastic behind the plate. While he hit just .204, he added seven doubles and eight home runs in 55 games. The Saints referred to Frank Nigro as an "unsung hero" involved in community service initiatives. When he was in St. Paul, he was always willing to volunteer his time. He encouraged kids as they headed back to school this fall with a video message. He also spent time visiting kids in the hospital. Nigro, 25, spent time in the FCL, at Ft. Myers, in Cedar Rapids, and with the Saints, and he had just 34 at-bats in 18 games played. Wichita Wind Surge (Catcher/First Baseman Alex Isola) Alex Isola is also now a two-time Killebrew Award recipient. He won the award in 2021 with the Kernels. The Wind Surge recognized Isola for being a "strong advocate for the team, its fans and the entire Wichita community." Isola went to the team's McConnell Air Force Base Nose Art Ceremony. He also helped the team announce their alternate identities, the Turbo Tubs and the Tumba Vacas. He was always signing autographs for Twins before and after home games. Isola is currently playing in the final week of the Arizona Fall League. The 24-year-old played in 58 games for the Surge this year and hit .286 with nine doubles, 10 homers and 40 RBI. He missed nearly two months with an injury. Cedar Rapids Kernels (RHP Bradley Hanner) Brad Hanner was the Kernels choice for the Killebrew Award as he kept busy volunteering throughout the 2022 season. He was a "standout" during the Twins' organization-wide Week of Service. He assembled boxes at the local Meals on Wheels location to help pre-package meals. He brought breakfast to the elderly several mornings with his host family. The 23-year-old went above and beyond, always spending talking to the fans and signing autographs. Hanner was one of the Kernels top bullpen arms, especially in the first half. In 39 games, he went 7-4 with a 4.60 ERA. In 58 2/3 innings, he had 65 strikeouts. Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels (Catcher Noah Cardenas) Noah Cardenas spent his first full professional season with the Mighty Mussels. The team's front office recognized Cardenas for "his fantastic participation and engagement in community events during the season." He was "always courteous to fans, employees, and community members." The 23-year-old backstop hit .261 with 18 doubles and nine home runs. He also walked 73 times and walked 70 times. Past Killebrew Award Winners 2011: Rochester: Kyle Gibson, New Britain: Bobby Lanigan, Ft. Myers: Reggie Williams, Beloit: Ryan O'Rourke. 2012: Rochester: JR Towles, New Britain: Shawn Roof, Ft. Myers: Andy Leer, Beloit: Corey Williams. 2013: Rochester: Brian Dinkelman, New Britain: Dan Rohlfing, Ft. Myers: Stephen Wickens, Beloit: Niko Goodrum. 2014: Rochester: Logan Darnell, New Britain: Tony Thomas, Ft. Myers: Tim Shibuya, Cedar Rapids: Tanner Vavra. 2015: Rochester: Logan Darnell, Chattanooga: Tim Shibuya, Ft. Myers: Tanner Vavra, Cedar Rapids: Jared Wilson. 2016: Rochester: Logan Darnell, Chattanooga: David Hurlbut, Ft. Myers: Trey Vavra, Cedar Rapids: Nelson Molina. 2017: Rochester: DJ Baxendale, Chattanooga: Travis Harrison, Ft. Myers: Kevin Garcia, Cedar Rapids: Hector Lujan. 2018: Rochester: Jake Reed, Chattanooga: Chris Paul, Ft. Myers: Tyler Wells, Cedar Rapids: David Banuelos. 2019: Rochester: Jake Reed, Pensacola: Hector Lujan, Ft. Myers: Calvin Faucher, Cedar Rapids: Brian Rapp. 2021: St. Paul: Sherman Johnson, Wichita: Hector Lujan, Cedar Rapids: Alex Isola, Ft. Myers: Jeferson Morales. View full article
  4. When Harmon Killebrew passed away in 2011, the Twins developed the Killebrew Award for Outstanding Community Service. The players are nominated by each affiliate's general manager based on how much the players do in the community, whether it is reading for kids at school or participating in special camps or visiting hospitals. St. Paul Saints (Catchers David Banuelos and Frank Nigro) Banuelos was the Killebrew Award winner in 2018 when he played with the Kernels as well. In 2022, the Saints recognized him for his work at each of the team's kid baseball camps. He took a strong leadership role in those camps, making sure that the kids were having fun and getting to interact with all the kids. He also participated in the team's annual ACES bowling event. Banuelos has been in big-league spring training the past few years because he is fantastic behind the plate. While he hit just .204, he added seven doubles and eight home runs in 55 games. The Saints referred to Frank Nigro as an "unsung hero" involved in community service initiatives. When he was in St. Paul, he was always willing to volunteer his time. He encouraged kids as they headed back to school this fall with a video message. He also spent time visiting kids in the hospital. Nigro, 25, spent time in the FCL, at Ft. Myers, in Cedar Rapids, and with the Saints, and he had just 34 at-bats in 18 games played. Wichita Wind Surge (Catcher/First Baseman Alex Isola) Alex Isola is also now a two-time Killebrew Award recipient. He won the award in 2021 with the Kernels. The Wind Surge recognized Isola for being a "strong advocate for the team, its fans and the entire Wichita community." Isola went to the team's McConnell Air Force Base Nose Art Ceremony. He also helped the team announce their alternate identities, the Turbo Tubs and the Tumba Vacas. He was always signing autographs for Twins before and after home games. Isola is currently playing in the final week of the Arizona Fall League. The 24-year-old played in 58 games for the Surge this year and hit .286 with nine doubles, 10 homers and 40 RBI. He missed nearly two months with an injury. Cedar Rapids Kernels (RHP Bradley Hanner) Brad Hanner was the Kernels choice for the Killebrew Award as he kept busy volunteering throughout the 2022 season. He was a "standout" during the Twins' organization-wide Week of Service. He assembled boxes at the local Meals on Wheels location to help pre-package meals. He brought breakfast to the elderly several mornings with his host family. The 23-year-old went above and beyond, always spending talking to the fans and signing autographs. Hanner was one of the Kernels top bullpen arms, especially in the first half. In 39 games, he went 7-4 with a 4.60 ERA. In 58 2/3 innings, he had 65 strikeouts. Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels (Catcher Noah Cardenas) Noah Cardenas spent his first full professional season with the Mighty Mussels. The team's front office recognized Cardenas for "his fantastic participation and engagement in community events during the season." He was "always courteous to fans, employees, and community members." The 23-year-old backstop hit .261 with 18 doubles and nine home runs. He also walked 73 times and walked 70 times. Past Killebrew Award Winners 2011: Rochester: Kyle Gibson, New Britain: Bobby Lanigan, Ft. Myers: Reggie Williams, Beloit: Ryan O'Rourke. 2012: Rochester: JR Towles, New Britain: Shawn Roof, Ft. Myers: Andy Leer, Beloit: Corey Williams. 2013: Rochester: Brian Dinkelman, New Britain: Dan Rohlfing, Ft. Myers: Stephen Wickens, Beloit: Niko Goodrum. 2014: Rochester: Logan Darnell, New Britain: Tony Thomas, Ft. Myers: Tim Shibuya, Cedar Rapids: Tanner Vavra. 2015: Rochester: Logan Darnell, Chattanooga: Tim Shibuya, Ft. Myers: Tanner Vavra, Cedar Rapids: Jared Wilson. 2016: Rochester: Logan Darnell, Chattanooga: David Hurlbut, Ft. Myers: Trey Vavra, Cedar Rapids: Nelson Molina. 2017: Rochester: DJ Baxendale, Chattanooga: Travis Harrison, Ft. Myers: Kevin Garcia, Cedar Rapids: Hector Lujan. 2018: Rochester: Jake Reed, Chattanooga: Chris Paul, Ft. Myers: Tyler Wells, Cedar Rapids: David Banuelos. 2019: Rochester: Jake Reed, Pensacola: Hector Lujan, Ft. Myers: Calvin Faucher, Cedar Rapids: Brian Rapp. 2021: St. Paul: Sherman Johnson, Wichita: Hector Lujan, Cedar Rapids: Alex Isola, Ft. Myers: Jeferson Morales.
  5. Minnesota went all-in on Ryan Jeffers being the team’s top catcher for the 2022 season. Will any of these prospects join him at the big-league level in 2023? Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Last winter, the Twins traded from a position of strength (catcher) for a position of need (shortstop). Ryan Jeffers was handed the keys as the team’s top catcher while the team traded Mitch Garver to the Rangers. Jeffers posted an 86 OPS+, but he was limited to 67 games due to a broken thumb. Following the World Series, Gary Sanchez and Sandy Leon will become free agents, so the Twins need someone else to join Jeffers at the big-league level. Could there be an internal option? Triple-A: Andrew Bechtold (ETA: 2023), David Banuelos (ETA: 2023) Bechtold is an intriguing prospect because of his defensive flexibility. During the 2022 season, he played over 390 innings at catcher and third base. Offensively, he hit .233/.329/.400 (.728) with 16 doubles and 19 home runs in 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He is Rule 5 eligible, so the Twins will need to add him to the 40-man roster to avoid the risk of losing him. Banuelos is in his fifth professional season and has played 85 games at Triple-A over the last two seasons. Minnesota acquired him in 2017 for $1 million in international bonus pool money. Defense is his calling card, as he has a .653 OPS in 85 Triple-A games. Like Bechtold, he is Rule 5 eligible, so the Twins need to add him to the 40-man roster before December’s draft. Double-A: Alex Isola (ETA: 2024), Kyle Schmidt (ETA: 2024) Minnesota took Isola in the 29th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and he has consistently risen through the Twins system since then. In 2022, he was limited to 61 games as he split time between first base and catcher. With Wichita, he hit .286/.377/.471 (.848) with nine doubles and ten home runs. Minnesota sent him to the AFL to recoup some of his missing time this season, but he has seen limited catching innings. Schmidt was a 33rd-round pick in 2019, but his college experience helped him move through three levels for the second consecutive season. He caught over 260 innings in 2022 and made 15 starts at first base. In 56 games, he hit .207/.270/.306 (.576) with four doubles and five home runs. He never played more than 30 games at any level, so it will be interesting to see if the Twins let him get comfortable at one level in 2023. High-A: Pat Winkel (ETA: 2025), Andrew Cossetti (ETA: 2025) Even with college experience, Winkel was younger than the average age of the competition at his level for the second consecutive season. In his second professional season, he got on base over 33% of the time and combined for 15 extra-base hits in 54 games. All his defensive appearances came behind the plate, where he caught nearly 390 innings. He posted an .858 OPS in college, so the Twins hope to see more of that hitter in the future. Cossetti is an intriguing name from the 2022 draft class. Minnesota took Cossetti in the 11th round of the 2022 MLB Draft from St. Joseph's University. After signing, he was limited to one appearance with the FCL Twins. It seems likely for him to get plenty of catching time in Cedar Rapids next season because of his college experience. Low-A: Noah Cardenas (ETA: 2025), Dillon Tatum (ETA: 2025), Nate Baez (ETA: 2026), Ricardo Olivar (ETA: 2026) Cardenas made his full-season debut in 2022 after being drafted in 2021. He played in 99 games for Fort Myers, where he hit .261/.421/.413 (.834) with 18 doubles and nine home runs. He walked (73 BB) more than he struck out (70 K), and caught over 460 innings. Throughout his college and professional career, he has shown a keen eye at the plate, which helps him get into favorable counts where his power can be utilized. Tatum spent most of 2022 in Fort Myers but got a brief taste of Double-A due to a catching need late in the season. He hit .177/.321/.300 (.621) with 15 extra-base hits in 74 games. As he moves up, he needs to make regular contact and cut back on his strikeout totals (93 K in 74 games). He is strong defensively behind the plate and caught two no-hitters this season, but there is always room for players of his ilk in an organization. Baez was a 12th-round pick in 2022 and only appeared in 19 games after signing with the Twins. In his final collegiate season, he posted a .965 OPS, so it will be interesting to see if his bat develops in the Twins’ system. Olivar played most of last season with FCL Twins, where he hit .349/.442/.605 (1.046) with 12 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. He can play catcher, second base, and all three outfield positions. His bat is good enough that the team tries to fit him in the line-up as much as possible. Catching depth is something to watch in any organization. The Twins have drafted multiple college catchers in recent years to add to that depth, but only some of those catchers offer a lot of upside. There are some very intriguing bats in the names mentioned above, and many catchers have some defensive flexibility which could prove valuable. However, none of the catching options look ready to fill a full-time role at the big-league level. Will the Twins turn to any of these options in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. Last winter, the Twins traded from a position of strength (catcher) for a position of need (shortstop). Ryan Jeffers was handed the keys as the team’s top catcher while the team traded Mitch Garver to the Rangers. Jeffers posted an 86 OPS+, but he was limited to 67 games due to a broken thumb. Following the World Series, Gary Sanchez and Sandy Leon will become free agents, so the Twins need someone else to join Jeffers at the big-league level. Could there be an internal option? Triple-A: Andrew Bechtold (ETA: 2023), David Banuelos (ETA: 2023) Bechtold is an intriguing prospect because of his defensive flexibility. During the 2022 season, he played over 390 innings at catcher and third base. Offensively, he hit .233/.329/.400 (.728) with 16 doubles and 19 home runs in 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He is Rule 5 eligible, so the Twins will need to add him to the 40-man roster to avoid the risk of losing him. Banuelos is in his fifth professional season and has played 85 games at Triple-A over the last two seasons. Minnesota acquired him in 2017 for $1 million in international bonus pool money. Defense is his calling card, as he has a .653 OPS in 85 Triple-A games. Like Bechtold, he is Rule 5 eligible, so the Twins need to add him to the 40-man roster before December’s draft. Double-A: Alex Isola (ETA: 2024), Kyle Schmidt (ETA: 2024) Minnesota took Isola in the 29th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and he has consistently risen through the Twins system since then. In 2022, he was limited to 61 games as he split time between first base and catcher. With Wichita, he hit .286/.377/.471 (.848) with nine doubles and ten home runs. Minnesota sent him to the AFL to recoup some of his missing time this season, but he has seen limited catching innings. Schmidt was a 33rd-round pick in 2019, but his college experience helped him move through three levels for the second consecutive season. He caught over 260 innings in 2022 and made 15 starts at first base. In 56 games, he hit .207/.270/.306 (.576) with four doubles and five home runs. He never played more than 30 games at any level, so it will be interesting to see if the Twins let him get comfortable at one level in 2023. High-A: Pat Winkel (ETA: 2025), Andrew Cossetti (ETA: 2025) Even with college experience, Winkel was younger than the average age of the competition at his level for the second consecutive season. In his second professional season, he got on base over 33% of the time and combined for 15 extra-base hits in 54 games. All his defensive appearances came behind the plate, where he caught nearly 390 innings. He posted an .858 OPS in college, so the Twins hope to see more of that hitter in the future. Cossetti is an intriguing name from the 2022 draft class. Minnesota took Cossetti in the 11th round of the 2022 MLB Draft from St. Joseph's University. After signing, he was limited to one appearance with the FCL Twins. It seems likely for him to get plenty of catching time in Cedar Rapids next season because of his college experience. Low-A: Noah Cardenas (ETA: 2025), Dillon Tatum (ETA: 2025), Nate Baez (ETA: 2026), Ricardo Olivar (ETA: 2026) Cardenas made his full-season debut in 2022 after being drafted in 2021. He played in 99 games for Fort Myers, where he hit .261/.421/.413 (.834) with 18 doubles and nine home runs. He walked (73 BB) more than he struck out (70 K), and caught over 460 innings. Throughout his college and professional career, he has shown a keen eye at the plate, which helps him get into favorable counts where his power can be utilized. Tatum spent most of 2022 in Fort Myers but got a brief taste of Double-A due to a catching need late in the season. He hit .177/.321/.300 (.621) with 15 extra-base hits in 74 games. As he moves up, he needs to make regular contact and cut back on his strikeout totals (93 K in 74 games). He is strong defensively behind the plate and caught two no-hitters this season, but there is always room for players of his ilk in an organization. Baez was a 12th-round pick in 2022 and only appeared in 19 games after signing with the Twins. In his final collegiate season, he posted a .965 OPS, so it will be interesting to see if his bat develops in the Twins’ system. Olivar played most of last season with FCL Twins, where he hit .349/.442/.605 (1.046) with 12 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. He can play catcher, second base, and all three outfield positions. His bat is good enough that the team tries to fit him in the line-up as much as possible. Catching depth is something to watch in any organization. The Twins have drafted multiple college catchers in recent years to add to that depth, but only some of those catchers offer a lot of upside. There are some very intriguing bats in the names mentioned above, and many catchers have some defensive flexibility which could prove valuable. However, none of the catching options look ready to fill a full-time role at the big-league level. Will the Twins turn to any of these options in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. After a scorching hot start to the AFL season for Austin Martin, Edouard Julien has taken over the stud mantle, and then some, when it comes to Minnesota Twins prospects playing in the desert. He followed up a big Week 3 with an even better Week 4 and finds himself as the class of AFL hitters heading into Week 5. Another hitter also had a breakout week, and a pitcher had perhaps the best start of his professional career after dealing with tons of adversity to this point. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (photo of Edouard Julien) Game Results: Monday, 10/24 | Scottsdale 12, Glendale 14 Tuesday, 10/125 | Glendale 3, Surprise 9 Wednesday, 10/26 | Peoria 5, Glendale 5 Thursday, 10/27 | Salt River 9, Glendale 6 Friday, 10/28 | Surprise 1, Glendale 11 Saturday, 10/29 | Mesa 10, Glendale 3 The Glendale Desert Dogs continued to play around .500 baseball in Week 4, winning two games and losing three, along with ending their sixth game in another tie. Despite that, the good competition in the AFL has them just two games back of first place in the standings, well within striking distance of an appearance in the title game heading into the season’s penultimate week. Edouard Julien came on strong in Week 3 of the AFL season, how did he and the rest of the Minnesota Twins prospects perform for the Desert Dogs in Week 4? IF Austin Martin Week: 4-for-22, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, SB (5 games) Overall: .349/.447/.460 (.907 OPS) Martin cooled off a bit in Week 3 after having a blazing start to his Arizona Fall League campaign. Despite that, he played in five of six games, all from atop the lineup for the Desert Dogs, and still managed to score five runs on the week. He made three starts at shortstop, one in center field, and was also the designated hitter for one game. His best game of the week came in Monday’s 14-12 win over Scottsdale, in which he was 3-for-5 with a double and scored three runs. In Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Mesa, he chipped in another double, drew a walk, scored two runs, and stole his eighth base of the season. IF Edouard Julien Week: 7-for-18, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 SB (5 games) Overall: .373/.536/.706 (1.242 OPS) Julien ended his Week 3 with a monster performance, that he incredibly matched with his first game of Week 4. For the second consecutive game, he launched two home runs, finishing 4-for-5 with four RBI in Monday’s win over the Scorpions. He also added a double and scored three runs. He reached base at least once in each of his five games on the week, playing second base in four games and serving as the designated hitter in the other. He added another double in Wednesday’s tie with Peoria, and also stole three bases on the week. Heading into Week 5, Julien leads the AFL in runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. He also ranks Top 3 in home runs, batting average, and walks. This is an MVP-level performance from another Twins prospect in the league if he keeps this up after Royce Lewis took home that honor in 2019, and Matt Wallner was worthy of consideration in 2021. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 5-for-11, R, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K (3 games) Overall: .229/.357/.314 (.671 OPS) Isola had a breakout Week 4 performance, improving his numbers across the board with hits in each of his three games. He played first base in two of those games, and another at catcher to close out his week on Friday. He especially made his mark in Wednesday’s tie against Peoria, collecting three hits in four at-bats, including two doubles and two RBI. He also drew a walk in each of his appearances on the week to raise his on-base percentage during the AFL season to .357. RHP Jon Olsen Week: W, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 K (1 start) Overall: 1-1, 5.91 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, .300 BAA, 8 BB, 13 K (10 2/3 IP) Olson got the start in Friday’s 11-1 win over Surprise and was dominant in his four innings to pick up the win. He faced the minimum number of hitters, allowing just one single that was erased on a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play in the second inning with teammate Alex Isola. Of his 52 pitches in the game, 35 went for strikes (67%) and the outing was a tremendous boost of confidence for a pitcher who has had the kitchen sink thrown at him since being drafted in 2018. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 4 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 3.48 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, .182 BAA, 14 BB, 8 K (10 2/3 IP) While Bentley continued to struggle with his command, walking seven hitters in two appearances on the week, he has been able to limit the damage by not allowing any big hits. In Thursday’s 9-6 loss to Salt River, he pitched the fourth and fifth innings, walking four but also punching out four as he proves to be an enigma for opposing AFL hitters. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .194 BAA, 6 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Shreve made two perfect appearances on the week, picking up the win with two hitless innings against Scottsdale on Monday, and a one-two-three ninth inning in the tie with Peoria on Wednesday. He struck out two hitters in each outing and has been one of the top performers for the Desert Dogs out of their bullpen thus far. In the game on Monday, Shreve was summoned after six straight hitters had reached base, culminating with a grand slam that gave Scottsdale a 7-5 lead, but his offense answered with nine runs of their own over the next three innings to put him in line for the win. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 3 K (3 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .225 BAA, 7 BB, 8 K (10 IP) Peguero finally ran into some trouble in Week 4, giving up a run in each of his three outings after not allowing any prior. Of his five runs allowed on the week, just two were earned as his defense let him down in Thursday’s loss to Salt River as a two-out, three-run homer came after a throwing error to start off the inning. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! In things I find interesting for Major League Baseball’s future, the AFL was experimenting with a “challenge” system for balls and strikes in some games during the season, and the results sound promising and fun for both fans and players! It is similar to the system that was used at times in the Florida State League this season. View full article
  8. Game Results: Monday, 10/24 | Scottsdale 12, Glendale 14 Tuesday, 10/125 | Glendale 3, Surprise 9 Wednesday, 10/26 | Peoria 5, Glendale 5 Thursday, 10/27 | Salt River 9, Glendale 6 Friday, 10/28 | Surprise 1, Glendale 11 Saturday, 10/29 | Mesa 10, Glendale 3 The Glendale Desert Dogs continued to play around .500 baseball in Week 4, winning two games and losing three, along with ending their sixth game in another tie. Despite that, the good competition in the AFL has them just two games back of first place in the standings, well within striking distance of an appearance in the title game heading into the season’s penultimate week. Edouard Julien came on strong in Week 3 of the AFL season, how did he and the rest of the Minnesota Twins prospects perform for the Desert Dogs in Week 4? IF Austin Martin Week: 4-for-22, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, SB (5 games) Overall: .349/.447/.460 (.907 OPS) Martin cooled off a bit in Week 3 after having a blazing start to his Arizona Fall League campaign. Despite that, he played in five of six games, all from atop the lineup for the Desert Dogs, and still managed to score five runs on the week. He made three starts at shortstop, one in center field, and was also the designated hitter for one game. His best game of the week came in Monday’s 14-12 win over Scottsdale, in which he was 3-for-5 with a double and scored three runs. In Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Mesa, he chipped in another double, drew a walk, scored two runs, and stole his eighth base of the season. IF Edouard Julien Week: 7-for-18, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 SB (5 games) Overall: .373/.536/.706 (1.242 OPS) Julien ended his Week 3 with a monster performance, that he incredibly matched with his first game of Week 4. For the second consecutive game, he launched two home runs, finishing 4-for-5 with four RBI in Monday’s win over the Scorpions. He also added a double and scored three runs. He reached base at least once in each of his five games on the week, playing second base in four games and serving as the designated hitter in the other. He added another double in Wednesday’s tie with Peoria, and also stole three bases on the week. Heading into Week 5, Julien leads the AFL in runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. He also ranks Top 3 in home runs, batting average, and walks. This is an MVP-level performance from another Twins prospect in the league if he keeps this up after Royce Lewis took home that honor in 2019, and Matt Wallner was worthy of consideration in 2021. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 5-for-11, R, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K (3 games) Overall: .229/.357/.314 (.671 OPS) Isola had a breakout Week 4 performance, improving his numbers across the board with hits in each of his three games. He played first base in two of those games, and another at catcher to close out his week on Friday. He especially made his mark in Wednesday’s tie against Peoria, collecting three hits in four at-bats, including two doubles and two RBI. He also drew a walk in each of his appearances on the week to raise his on-base percentage during the AFL season to .357. RHP Jon Olsen Week: W, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 K (1 start) Overall: 1-1, 5.91 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, .300 BAA, 8 BB, 13 K (10 2/3 IP) Olson got the start in Friday’s 11-1 win over Surprise and was dominant in his four innings to pick up the win. He faced the minimum number of hitters, allowing just one single that was erased on a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play in the second inning with teammate Alex Isola. Of his 52 pitches in the game, 35 went for strikes (67%) and the outing was a tremendous boost of confidence for a pitcher who has had the kitchen sink thrown at him since being drafted in 2018. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 4 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 3.48 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, .182 BAA, 14 BB, 8 K (10 2/3 IP) While Bentley continued to struggle with his command, walking seven hitters in two appearances on the week, he has been able to limit the damage by not allowing any big hits. In Thursday’s 9-6 loss to Salt River, he pitched the fourth and fifth innings, walking four but also punching out four as he proves to be an enigma for opposing AFL hitters. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .194 BAA, 6 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Shreve made two perfect appearances on the week, picking up the win with two hitless innings against Scottsdale on Monday, and a one-two-three ninth inning in the tie with Peoria on Wednesday. He struck out two hitters in each outing and has been one of the top performers for the Desert Dogs out of their bullpen thus far. In the game on Monday, Shreve was summoned after six straight hitters had reached base, culminating with a grand slam that gave Scottsdale a 7-5 lead, but his offense answered with nine runs of their own over the next three innings to put him in line for the win. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 earned), 1 BB, 3 K (3 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .225 BAA, 7 BB, 8 K (10 IP) Peguero finally ran into some trouble in Week 4, giving up a run in each of his three outings after not allowing any prior. Of his five runs allowed on the week, just two were earned as his defense let him down in Thursday’s loss to Salt River as a two-out, three-run homer came after a throwing error to start off the inning. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! In things I find interesting for Major League Baseball’s future, the AFL was experimenting with a “challenge” system for balls and strikes in some games during the season, and the results sound promising and fun for both fans and players! It is similar to the system that was used at times in the Florida State League this season.
  9. While the pair of on-base specialists the Minnesota Twins sent to the Arizona Fall continued that trend in the season's first week, their pitchers left a little bit to be desired. Austin Martin had a big game at the end of the week and was one of the top performers across the board for the Glendale Desert Dogs in Week 1. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (photo of Austin Martin) Game Results: Monday, 10/3 | Peoria 5, Glendale 3 Tuesday, 10/4 | Glendale 11, Salt River 9 Wednesday, 10/5 | Glendale 5, Surprise 6 Thursday, 10/6 | Glendale 8, Peoria 9 Friday, 10/7 | Scottsdale 6, Glendale 10 Saturday, 10/8 | Glendale 13, Scottsdale 11 As a team, the Glendale Desert Dogs racked up a ton of runs on the week, averaging more than eight per game. They also gave up runs in bunches, however, and because of that finished an even 3-3 on the week. Twins Daily's Seth Stohs also caught up with a few of the prospects before their seasons began, and you'll find some quotes below. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in Week 1 of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin: 4 games - 5-for-14, 6 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 3 SB; .357/.526/.357 (.883 OPS) overall. Martin played four games on the week, playing shortstop in three of them, and DH-ing in the other. He batted in the sixth spot in the lineup in each game and scored at least one run in all of them. While he didn’t pick up any extra-base hits on the week, he was on base over half the time and active while there, stealing three bases and leading the team with six runs scored. As their primary shortstop on the week, he committed one throwing error, but otherwise made all the plays that came his way. He ended the week with a big game on Saturday, finishing 3-for-5, with two runs scored, two RBI, and two stolen bases in Glendale’s 13-11 win over Scottsdale. IF Edouard Julien: 4 games - 3-for-14, 3 R, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 SB; .214/.421/.214 (.635 OPS) overall. Julien also saw action in four games, splitting his time with two games at second base, and two as the designated hitter. In the first game of the week, he was in the cleanup spot but batted seventh in his three other contests. Despite only three singles on the week, Julien did reach base in each game, and at least twice in three of his four games, as he continued to control the strike zone, drawing five walks total. His best game of the week came in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Peoria, in which he finished 1-for-2, scored a run, stole a base, and drew two walks. C Alex Isola: 3 games - 1-for-10, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K; .100/.250/.100 (.350 OPS) overall. Isola played in three games during the week, getting the start at first base in all of them and hitting at the bottom of the Desert Dogs' batting order. He was responsible for the second RBI of the season in Monday’s opener, as he reached base via an error but his ball in play would have scored the run either way. He also picked up his only hit of the week in this one, a single in the ninth inning, and also reached base a third time thanks to another error. His second RBI of his season came in the same fashion as the first, as a ground ball to third allowed Austin Martin to score in Friday’s 10-6 win. While he didn’t catch any games on the week, I do expect we’ll see a few of those as the season goes on, and it's one of the things he is looking forward to working on in the AFL. When asked what he wanted to work on, he told Seth, "I'm really trying to focus on my defense and show that I can catch and play first at a high level." He added, "Looking forward to the experience and competition of playing against some of the best players in the minor leagues." He was also excited to be playing in the league, saying "I actually went (while in) high school and watched Francisco Lindor play here. It was for a tournament and we happened to go. I remember being very impressed. It's amazing to think I'm actually here now!" RHP Jon Olsen: 1 start - 1 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K; 21.60 ERA, 6.00 WHIP (1 2/3 IP) overall. Olsen made the start in Friday’s 10-6 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions, but he needed some help from his offense as he wasn’t as sharp as he would like to be in his first game. The first batter he faced doubled, then a pair of walks and singles led to a 3-0 lead for the Scorpions. Back out for the second inning, he allowed one run before loading the bases with two outs, putting an end to his outing after 1 2/3 innings. He threw 49 pitches, with 25 of them going for strikes (51%). Thankfully, his offense let him off the hook, scoring ten runs over the next three innings and the bullpen held up for the win. LHP Denny Bentley: 2 appearances - 3 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 K; 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP (3 IP) overall. Bentley made two appearances on the week, picking up the win in Tuesday’s game against Salt River. In that one, Bentley was the first reliever out of the bullpen after Glendale fell behind 6-1 after the first inning. He delivered two scoreless frames as his team stormed back, scoring eight runs in the fourth inning that put them in front before he was replaced. He allowed no hits, walked two, and struck out one. In Friday’s 10-6 win over Scottsdale, Bentley came on for the fifth inning and despite making it through the frame and not allowing a hit, gave up two runs thanks to three walks and a couple of wild pitches. He’ll look to keep it in the zone better in week two of the AFL season, as just 21 of his 52 pitches (40%) thus far have gone for strikes. When asked what he looking forward to while playing in the AFL, Bentley answered "To play at Chase Field. Having never played in a major league stadium before, I can't wait to see what it's like being on the field at night and want to try to hit the pool out in right-center, LOL!" He also has plenty he wants to work on, saying "I'm going to be working on commanding my off-speed in the zone at the higher levels. It's good to have [those pitches] that you can land in the zone early. Always working on control in the zone. Out of the bullpen is huge because you usually come into the game with runners on. I'm honored to represent the Twins and I'm really thankful to be here." RHP Ryan Shreve: 2 appearances - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (3 IP) overall. Shreve’s first appearance of the week came in the season opener, where he was the first reliever summoned for the fourth inning. He pitched two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one as he kept the game scoreless to that point. He needed just 17 pitches to finish those two innings, with 12 of them going for strikes (71%). He came on for the sixth inning in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Peoria, with the score 2-1 Javelinas at the time. He picked up a strikeout to start the frame, but a walk was followed by a double and a sac fly that made the score 3-1 before it was over. He threw 25 pitches in this one, with 13 of them going for strikes (52%). Asked what he was looking forward to most in the AFL, Shreve responded "Competing on a big stage against high-level competition and continuing to learn from it." He also has a plan for his time there, saying "I'd like to continue developing my pitches and stay comfortable in my mechanics." RHP Francis Peguero: 2 appearances - 2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 4 BB, 1 K; 0.00 ERA, 1.71 WHIP (2 1/3 IP) overall. Like his other two reliever teammates, Peguero also made two appearances on the week, finishing the game in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Surprise, and pitching the sixth inning in Friday’s 10-6 win over Scottsdale. He entered the game on Wednesday in the seventh inning after Surprise had extended their lead to 6-2, and got a lineout to end the threat. In the eighth, he walked the leadoff man and was called for a balk, but recovered to get a pair of groundouts and a flyout to give his team a chance. They almost accomplished that task with three runs in the top of the ninth but fell one short of tying the game. In Friday’s contest, Peguero had to work to finish his lone inning, as he walked the bases loaded, but mixed in a strikeout and was able to escape without allowing a run. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! View full article
  10. Game Results: Monday, 10/3 | Peoria 5, Glendale 3 Tuesday, 10/4 | Glendale 11, Salt River 9 Wednesday, 10/5 | Glendale 5, Surprise 6 Thursday, 10/6 | Glendale 8, Peoria 9 Friday, 10/7 | Scottsdale 6, Glendale 10 Saturday, 10/8 | Glendale 13, Scottsdale 11 As a team, the Glendale Desert Dogs racked up a ton of runs on the week, averaging more than eight per game. They also gave up runs in bunches, however, and because of that finished an even 3-3 on the week. Twins Daily's Seth Stohs also caught up with a few of the prospects before their seasons began, and you'll find some quotes below. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in Week 1 of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin: 4 games - 5-for-14, 6 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 3 SB; .357/.526/.357 (.883 OPS) overall. Martin played four games on the week, playing shortstop in three of them, and DH-ing in the other. He batted in the sixth spot in the lineup in each game and scored at least one run in all of them. While he didn’t pick up any extra-base hits on the week, he was on base over half the time and active while there, stealing three bases and leading the team with six runs scored. As their primary shortstop on the week, he committed one throwing error, but otherwise made all the plays that came his way. He ended the week with a big game on Saturday, finishing 3-for-5, with two runs scored, two RBI, and two stolen bases in Glendale’s 13-11 win over Scottsdale. IF Edouard Julien: 4 games - 3-for-14, 3 R, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 SB; .214/.421/.214 (.635 OPS) overall. Julien also saw action in four games, splitting his time with two games at second base, and two as the designated hitter. In the first game of the week, he was in the cleanup spot but batted seventh in his three other contests. Despite only three singles on the week, Julien did reach base in each game, and at least twice in three of his four games, as he continued to control the strike zone, drawing five walks total. His best game of the week came in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Peoria, in which he finished 1-for-2, scored a run, stole a base, and drew two walks. C Alex Isola: 3 games - 1-for-10, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K; .100/.250/.100 (.350 OPS) overall. Isola played in three games during the week, getting the start at first base in all of them and hitting at the bottom of the Desert Dogs' batting order. He was responsible for the second RBI of the season in Monday’s opener, as he reached base via an error but his ball in play would have scored the run either way. He also picked up his only hit of the week in this one, a single in the ninth inning, and also reached base a third time thanks to another error. His second RBI of his season came in the same fashion as the first, as a ground ball to third allowed Austin Martin to score in Friday’s 10-6 win. While he didn’t catch any games on the week, I do expect we’ll see a few of those as the season goes on, and it's one of the things he is looking forward to working on in the AFL. When asked what he wanted to work on, he told Seth, "I'm really trying to focus on my defense and show that I can catch and play first at a high level." He added, "Looking forward to the experience and competition of playing against some of the best players in the minor leagues." He was also excited to be playing in the league, saying "I actually went (while in) high school and watched Francisco Lindor play here. It was for a tournament and we happened to go. I remember being very impressed. It's amazing to think I'm actually here now!" RHP Jon Olsen: 1 start - 1 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K; 21.60 ERA, 6.00 WHIP (1 2/3 IP) overall. Olsen made the start in Friday’s 10-6 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions, but he needed some help from his offense as he wasn’t as sharp as he would like to be in his first game. The first batter he faced doubled, then a pair of walks and singles led to a 3-0 lead for the Scorpions. Back out for the second inning, he allowed one run before loading the bases with two outs, putting an end to his outing after 1 2/3 innings. He threw 49 pitches, with 25 of them going for strikes (51%). Thankfully, his offense let him off the hook, scoring ten runs over the next three innings and the bullpen held up for the win. LHP Denny Bentley: 2 appearances - 3 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 K; 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP (3 IP) overall. Bentley made two appearances on the week, picking up the win in Tuesday’s game against Salt River. In that one, Bentley was the first reliever out of the bullpen after Glendale fell behind 6-1 after the first inning. He delivered two scoreless frames as his team stormed back, scoring eight runs in the fourth inning that put them in front before he was replaced. He allowed no hits, walked two, and struck out one. In Friday’s 10-6 win over Scottsdale, Bentley came on for the fifth inning and despite making it through the frame and not allowing a hit, gave up two runs thanks to three walks and a couple of wild pitches. He’ll look to keep it in the zone better in week two of the AFL season, as just 21 of his 52 pitches (40%) thus far have gone for strikes. When asked what he looking forward to while playing in the AFL, Bentley answered "To play at Chase Field. Having never played in a major league stadium before, I can't wait to see what it's like being on the field at night and want to try to hit the pool out in right-center, LOL!" He also has plenty he wants to work on, saying "I'm going to be working on commanding my off-speed in the zone at the higher levels. It's good to have [those pitches] that you can land in the zone early. Always working on control in the zone. Out of the bullpen is huge because you usually come into the game with runners on. I'm honored to represent the Twins and I'm really thankful to be here." RHP Ryan Shreve: 2 appearances - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (3 IP) overall. Shreve’s first appearance of the week came in the season opener, where he was the first reliever summoned for the fourth inning. He pitched two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one as he kept the game scoreless to that point. He needed just 17 pitches to finish those two innings, with 12 of them going for strikes (71%). He came on for the sixth inning in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Peoria, with the score 2-1 Javelinas at the time. He picked up a strikeout to start the frame, but a walk was followed by a double and a sac fly that made the score 3-1 before it was over. He threw 25 pitches in this one, with 13 of them going for strikes (52%). Asked what he was looking forward to most in the AFL, Shreve responded "Competing on a big stage against high-level competition and continuing to learn from it." He also has a plan for his time there, saying "I'd like to continue developing my pitches and stay comfortable in my mechanics." RHP Francis Peguero: 2 appearances - 2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 4 BB, 1 K; 0.00 ERA, 1.71 WHIP (2 1/3 IP) overall. Like his other two reliever teammates, Peguero also made two appearances on the week, finishing the game in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Surprise, and pitching the sixth inning in Friday’s 10-6 win over Scottsdale. He entered the game on Wednesday in the seventh inning after Surprise had extended their lead to 6-2, and got a lineout to end the threat. In the eighth, he walked the leadoff man and was called for a balk, but recovered to get a pair of groundouts and a flyout to give his team a chance. They almost accomplished that task with three runs in the top of the ninth but fell one short of tying the game. In Friday’s contest, Peguero had to work to finish his lone inning, as he walked the bases loaded, but mixed in a strikeout and was able to escape without allowing a run. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  11. Major League Baseball has released the initial full rosters of prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League, which starts this year on October 3rd. Headlining the Minnesota Twins prospects are Austin Martin and Edouard Julien. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey (Wichita Wind Surge), Steve Buhr (Cedar Rapids Kernels) Joining infielders Austin Martin and Edouard Julien on the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs will be catcher Alex Isola, and pitchers Denny Bentley (LHP), Jon Olsen, Francis Peguero, and Ryan Shreve. Countless numbers of top prospects have gone through the Arizona Fall League, which is often used as a proving ground for those near the top of their team’s system looking to make their jump to the majors. It’s also a mechanism utilized to help make 40-man roster decisions heading into the next season and to make up for lost development time among players. Last season, for example, the Twins were represented by pitchers Kody Funderburk, Cody Laweryson, Evan Sisk, and Zach Featherstone as well as hitters Matt Wallner, Andrew Bechtold, and Michael Helman. Almost all of these players took that experience and ran with it in 2022, pushing themselves up the organizational ladder and having great seasons in many different ways. So who are the players for the 2022 season? IF/OF Austin Martin (Twins Daily’s #4 prospect) Austin Martin came to the Twins from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade, after being drafted fifth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. His elite contact ability and athleticism had him in the running for the first overall pick and was widely considered as perhaps the best overall hitter in the class after hitting .368/.474/.532 in his career at Vanderbilt. It hasn’t necessarily played out that way so far for Martin as a professional, but the potential still remains. Martin missed over a month this season with a wrist injury, so he’s in the AFL both looking to make up for lost time, and attempting to recapture some of that “top prospect” status. His inclusion reminds me a lot of Royce Lewis’ during the 2019 season, where he had struggled in High-A and Double-A, but went on to win the AFL’s Most Valuable Player award while playing all over the diamond. For more Twins Daily content on Austin Martin, click here. IF/OF Edouard Julien (TD’s #14 prospect) Julien continues to fly a bit under the radar as a prospect despite owning a career OPS over .900 in two minor league seasons, spending all of this season at Double-A Wichita. Known primarily for his ability to draw a walk, Julien has also demonstrated some pop and speed since turning pro, slugging 35 home runs, and stealing 51 bases in his career thus far. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn, and they have to be ecstatic about the return they’ve received thus far. He may not have a defined defensive position at this point, but he has played second base exclusively during the 2022 season, after splitting time in the infield and outfield in 2021. His time in the AFL will likely be spent proving his hitting prowess is no fluke, and perhaps seeing if he can handle multiple positions. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. C Alex Isola Isola joined the Twins organization in the 2019 draft, being selected in the 29th round out of Texas Christian University. He’s spent his career in the minors splitting time between catcher, first base, and designated hitter. His bat has continued to develop since turning pro, improving a .243/.342/.425 line with Cedar Rapids in 2021, to .286/.384/.473 line with Wichita this season. He will likely continue to work on his receiving skills once a week in the desert, while also getting plugged in at first base or designated hitter. He also missed two months of the 2022 season with an injury, so he’s getting the opportunity to make up for missed at-bats as well. We've written several articles on Alex Isola at Twins Daily. Check them out here. RHP Jon Olsen Projected to go much higher in the 2018 draft initially, Olsen fell to the Twins in the 12th round due to undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then later had a Thoracic Outlet procedure. Because of that and the COVID pandemic, Olsen has pitched less than 100 innings in four seasons since being drafted. Olsen is the most likely of the four pitchers the Twins are sending to the league to start games for the Desert Dogs, but it’s all about simply getting on the mound and throwing innings for the right-hander. He’s pitched just over 20 innings for the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season, and it will be interesting to follow if he can keep his strikeout rate up against the improved competition. For more Twins Daily content on Jon Olsen, click here. LHP Denny Bentley Bentley was drafted by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard Community College, a well-known JUCO program in Texas. He’s been purely a reliever since then, posting excellent strikeout rates as well as high walk rates, while pitching at five different levels thus far, including a brief jump to Rochester in 2019. He’s spent the 2022 season split between Cedar Rapids and Wichita, accumulating a 3.52 ERA, three saves, and 71 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings (11.9K/9IP) thanks in large part to an improving slider. He was Twins Daily’s choice for MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month in June after being promoted to Wichita. Like several relievers before him (think Jovani Moran), Bentley will look to keep his strikeouts up and bring his walks down against the better competition in the AFL, and perhaps improve his stock in the system. Bentley has frequently been mentioned and a strong candidate for Relief Pitcher of the Month. For more, click here. RHP Ryan Shreve Shreve made his mark on the Twins system during the 2021 season, after being taken in the 16th round of the 2019 draft from Pacific University. He accumulated 73 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings, a drastic increase from his college days, that was good for a 3.62 ERA at three levels, holding hitters to a .167 average in the Midwest League. He suffered a shoulder impingement early in the 2022 season, and upon his return, the strikeouts didn’t come back right away. He got stronger as the season wore on, however, and since the start of July owns a 1.26 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just 8. For those efforts, he took home Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Month award for August. In the AFL he will look to keep up that momentum heading into the 2023 season, adding innings to his ledger after the missed time. For more Twins Daily content on Ryan Shreve, click here. RHP Francis Peguero Peguero came to the organization just before the 2022 season started, as part of the trade package that netted the Twins Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds. He was signed by the Reds in the 2017 international signing period and has since made it to Double-A, appearing in 15 games for the Wind Surge this year. He did not appear in games until July as he dealt with an injury, so his time in the AFL is also about making up innings and allowing the Twins to get a better idea of what they have with the 25-year-old right-hander. He boasts a mid-90s fastball, doesn’t walk anybody, and can pick up strikeouts in bunches at times, but has had trouble limiting contact, allowing well over a hit per inning in his career. He will likely use the AFL to work on his secondary offerings with a plethora of new coaching voices, to see if he can unlock any new tricks. He hasn't been in the organization long, but Peguero has been mentioned in a few Twins Daily articles. Click here for more. What do you think of the contingent the Minnesota Twins are sending to the Arizona Fall League? What are you looking for out of the prospects above? View full article
  12. Joining infielders Austin Martin and Edouard Julien on the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs will be catcher Alex Isola, and pitchers Denny Bentley (LHP), Jon Olsen, Francis Peguero, and Ryan Shreve. Countless numbers of top prospects have gone through the Arizona Fall League, which is often used as a proving ground for those near the top of their team’s system looking to make their jump to the majors. It’s also a mechanism utilized to help make 40-man roster decisions heading into the next season and to make up for lost development time among players. Last season, for example, the Twins were represented by pitchers Kody Funderburk, Cody Laweryson, Evan Sisk, and Zach Featherstone as well as hitters Matt Wallner, Andrew Bechtold, and Michael Helman. Almost all of these players took that experience and ran with it in 2022, pushing themselves up the organizational ladder and having great seasons in many different ways. So who are the players for the 2022 season? IF/OF Austin Martin (Twins Daily’s #4 prospect) Austin Martin came to the Twins from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade, after being drafted fifth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. His elite contact ability and athleticism had him in the running for the first overall pick and was widely considered as perhaps the best overall hitter in the class after hitting .368/.474/.532 in his career at Vanderbilt. It hasn’t necessarily played out that way so far for Martin as a professional, but the potential still remains. Martin missed over a month this season with a wrist injury, so he’s in the AFL both looking to make up for lost time, and attempting to recapture some of that “top prospect” status. His inclusion reminds me a lot of Royce Lewis’ during the 2019 season, where he had struggled in High-A and Double-A, but went on to win the AFL’s Most Valuable Player award while playing all over the diamond. For more Twins Daily content on Austin Martin, click here. IF/OF Edouard Julien (TD’s #14 prospect) Julien continues to fly a bit under the radar as a prospect despite owning a career OPS over .900 in two minor league seasons, spending all of this season at Double-A Wichita. Known primarily for his ability to draw a walk, Julien has also demonstrated some pop and speed since turning pro, slugging 35 home runs, and stealing 51 bases in his career thus far. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn, and they have to be ecstatic about the return they’ve received thus far. He may not have a defined defensive position at this point, but he has played second base exclusively during the 2022 season, after splitting time in the infield and outfield in 2021. His time in the AFL will likely be spent proving his hitting prowess is no fluke, and perhaps seeing if he can handle multiple positions. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. C Alex Isola Isola joined the Twins organization in the 2019 draft, being selected in the 29th round out of Texas Christian University. He’s spent his career in the minors splitting time between catcher, first base, and designated hitter. His bat has continued to develop since turning pro, improving a .243/.342/.425 line with Cedar Rapids in 2021, to .286/.384/.473 line with Wichita this season. He will likely continue to work on his receiving skills once a week in the desert, while also getting plugged in at first base or designated hitter. He also missed two months of the 2022 season with an injury, so he’s getting the opportunity to make up for missed at-bats as well. We've written several articles on Alex Isola at Twins Daily. Check them out here. RHP Jon Olsen Projected to go much higher in the 2018 draft initially, Olsen fell to the Twins in the 12th round due to undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then later had a Thoracic Outlet procedure. Because of that and the COVID pandemic, Olsen has pitched less than 100 innings in four seasons since being drafted. Olsen is the most likely of the four pitchers the Twins are sending to the league to start games for the Desert Dogs, but it’s all about simply getting on the mound and throwing innings for the right-hander. He’s pitched just over 20 innings for the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season, and it will be interesting to follow if he can keep his strikeout rate up against the improved competition. For more Twins Daily content on Jon Olsen, click here. LHP Denny Bentley Bentley was drafted by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard Community College, a well-known JUCO program in Texas. He’s been purely a reliever since then, posting excellent strikeout rates as well as high walk rates, while pitching at five different levels thus far, including a brief jump to Rochester in 2019. He’s spent the 2022 season split between Cedar Rapids and Wichita, accumulating a 3.52 ERA, three saves, and 71 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings (11.9K/9IP) thanks in large part to an improving slider. He was Twins Daily’s choice for MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month in June after being promoted to Wichita. Like several relievers before him (think Jovani Moran), Bentley will look to keep his strikeouts up and bring his walks down against the better competition in the AFL, and perhaps improve his stock in the system. Bentley has frequently been mentioned and a strong candidate for Relief Pitcher of the Month. For more, click here. RHP Ryan Shreve Shreve made his mark on the Twins system during the 2021 season, after being taken in the 16th round of the 2019 draft from Pacific University. He accumulated 73 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings, a drastic increase from his college days, that was good for a 3.62 ERA at three levels, holding hitters to a .167 average in the Midwest League. He suffered a shoulder impingement early in the 2022 season, and upon his return, the strikeouts didn’t come back right away. He got stronger as the season wore on, however, and since the start of July owns a 1.26 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just 8. For those efforts, he took home Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Month award for August. In the AFL he will look to keep up that momentum heading into the 2023 season, adding innings to his ledger after the missed time. For more Twins Daily content on Ryan Shreve, click here. RHP Francis Peguero Peguero came to the organization just before the 2022 season started, as part of the trade package that netted the Twins Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds. He was signed by the Reds in the 2017 international signing period and has since made it to Double-A, appearing in 15 games for the Wind Surge this year. He did not appear in games until July as he dealt with an injury, so his time in the AFL is also about making up innings and allowing the Twins to get a better idea of what they have with the 25-year-old right-hander. He boasts a mid-90s fastball, doesn’t walk anybody, and can pick up strikeouts in bunches at times, but has had trouble limiting contact, allowing well over a hit per inning in his career. He will likely use the AFL to work on his secondary offerings with a plethora of new coaching voices, to see if he can unlock any new tricks. He hasn't been in the organization long, but Peguero has been mentioned in a few Twins Daily articles. Click here for more. What do you think of the contingent the Minnesota Twins are sending to the Arizona Fall League? What are you looking for out of the prospects above?
  13. In a recent interview with Twins Daily, Alex Isola discusses hitting, participating in a no-hitter, and keeping focus during a grinding season. This interview was edited for clarity. It may have taken until the 29th round for the Twins to draft Alex Isola, but don’t let that pedigree fool you; the right-handed hitter is in the midst of a breakout season with the Wichita Wind Surge, potentially forcing his name into discussions for a major league future. Following Saturday's game, Isola's slash line stood at .294/.385/.487 over 221 plate appearances at AA. Isola’s path to the present is unique; a Utah-to-Yavapai (JuCo)-to-TCU pipeline making him something of a journeyman at 24 years old. He didn’t plan for such an odyssey; other events, such as the recruiter who brought him to Utah leaving, forced him to follow his baseball instincts, blazing a trail that will likely remain untouched by another player. While unusual, his backstory led him to meet his current girlfriend at Utah, and his stint at TCU allowed him to catch Nick Lodolo and Brandon Williamson, pitchers currently in the upper levels of the Reds organization. (Williamson is a Minnesota native, a graduate of Martin County West HS in Sherburn.) As for his strategy at the plate, Isola has always understood the strike zone well, but recent changes have unlocked extra-base authority in his game. “I think I started to tap into that power last year,” said Isola; “I kind of learned how to use my legs a little bit more…this year was just kind of being a little bit more aggressive and just knowing what I’m trying to look for.” If strikes aren’t on the menu, Isola is okay with taking a walk; he’s done so at a 13.1% clip with Wichita. Working on his swing has been critical: “I think, for me personally, I haven’t always been the most talented [hitter]. I had to really work and learn about the mechanics of the swing because to me hitting is two things: mechanics and then your approach; like, are you swinging at the right pitches? If you don’t have a good swing, but you swing at the right pitches, you can give yourself a chance.” With both, however, you can find great success. Advanced training has also aided Isola’s growth; the Twins are a forward-thinking club, and their tools include a particular device that can mimic that day’s starting pitcher, giving Wichita hitters a chance to understand their opponent before stepping into the box. “A lot of teams have this,” explained Isola; “we have one of these machines where you put an iPad in, and you can basically simulate the starter or whoever you’re facing, that pitcher’s pitches, and it’ll shoot out the way his pitches move.” As a catcher, Isola’s baseball perspective is different than your typical position player; he plays part athlete and part psychologist when handling pitchers. “The fun part of catching is that everybody is different, so what I’d say to one guy I’m not going to say to another guy.” “I think it’s my job to kind of get them right, know how to get the most out of them, when to push them, when to not say anything, when to keep it light.” The most important thing? “They need to feel that you’re working your butt off. It’s not about me; it’s about them. When they have success, I’m successful.” Naturally, the topic of Wichita’s recent no-hitter came up in the conversation. While Isola handled 1st base, not catcher, that day, he illuminated the game and breathed life into an exceptional performance. Daniel Gossett, the pitcher on the mound for that game, had lost his mechanics recently; “Goose (Gossett) for like two weeks has just been trying to search for his mechanics…that day he was just frustrated before the game.” Of course, Gossett pitched a gem of a no-hitter, striking out 10 batters while allowing just three walks. “As the game went on, he just kept getting better,” described Isola; “We had some amazing defensive plays in there; Austin Martin made a sick play early in the game, and then [Anthony] Prato made a really good catch at the wall.” Most did their best to follow no-hitter protocol, but “a couple [of] people” broke the rules. “[A no-hitter] is one of the coolest things in baseball…I don’t know if I’ll ever be a part of another one.” Isola understands that consistency drives performance; his brush with Twins players during spring training 2020 (pre-COVID) taught him that focused work separates the minor league players from the major league regulars. “They’re no different than me or any other person; they have the same wants, desires, [and] fears.” Their ability to be consistent stands out. “We all have a stretch where we could be in the big leagues, but can you do it day in and day out? The number one thing I took away was watching their process of how they go about it; there’s no wasted practice.” Finally, Isola likes the group of guys they have at Wichita. Despite graduations and trades upsetting the team’s infrastructure, the Wind Surge keep a calm and relaxed clubhouse. “We’re a really loose group; we have fun.” The hitters specifically have an identity: “We’re just tough at-bats; [Derek Shomon] calls us “the wOBA dogs.” While some may ignore minor league standings, Wichita remains adamant about winning the division and advancing throughout the playoffs. “The minor leagues are about development, but we’re already here; we might as well win it.” Wichita finished Saturday's play with a six-game lead in the Texas League. View full article
  14. It may have taken until the 29th round for the Twins to draft Alex Isola, but don’t let that pedigree fool you; the right-handed hitter is in the midst of a breakout season with the Wichita Wind Surge, potentially forcing his name into discussions for a major league future. Following Saturday's game, Isola's slash line stood at .294/.385/.487 over 221 plate appearances at AA. Isola’s path to the present is unique; a Utah-to-Yavapai (JuCo)-to-TCU pipeline making him something of a journeyman at 24 years old. He didn’t plan for such an odyssey; other events, such as the recruiter who brought him to Utah leaving, forced him to follow his baseball instincts, blazing a trail that will likely remain untouched by another player. While unusual, his backstory led him to meet his current girlfriend at Utah, and his stint at TCU allowed him to catch Nick Lodolo and Brandon Williamson, pitchers currently in the upper levels of the Reds organization. (Williamson is a Minnesota native, a graduate of Martin County West HS in Sherburn.) As for his strategy at the plate, Isola has always understood the strike zone well, but recent changes have unlocked extra-base authority in his game. “I think I started to tap into that power last year,” said Isola; “I kind of learned how to use my legs a little bit more…this year was just kind of being a little bit more aggressive and just knowing what I’m trying to look for.” If strikes aren’t on the menu, Isola is okay with taking a walk; he’s done so at a 13.1% clip with Wichita. Working on his swing has been critical: “I think, for me personally, I haven’t always been the most talented [hitter]. I had to really work and learn about the mechanics of the swing because to me hitting is two things: mechanics and then your approach; like, are you swinging at the right pitches? If you don’t have a good swing, but you swing at the right pitches, you can give yourself a chance.” With both, however, you can find great success. Advanced training has also aided Isola’s growth; the Twins are a forward-thinking club, and their tools include a particular device that can mimic that day’s starting pitcher, giving Wichita hitters a chance to understand their opponent before stepping into the box. “A lot of teams have this,” explained Isola; “we have one of these machines where you put an iPad in, and you can basically simulate the starter or whoever you’re facing, that pitcher’s pitches, and it’ll shoot out the way his pitches move.” As a catcher, Isola’s baseball perspective is different than your typical position player; he plays part athlete and part psychologist when handling pitchers. “The fun part of catching is that everybody is different, so what I’d say to one guy I’m not going to say to another guy.” “I think it’s my job to kind of get them right, know how to get the most out of them, when to push them, when to not say anything, when to keep it light.” The most important thing? “They need to feel that you’re working your butt off. It’s not about me; it’s about them. When they have success, I’m successful.” Naturally, the topic of Wichita’s recent no-hitter came up in the conversation. While Isola handled 1st base, not catcher, that day, he illuminated the game and breathed life into an exceptional performance. Daniel Gossett, the pitcher on the mound for that game, had lost his mechanics recently; “Goose (Gossett) for like two weeks has just been trying to search for his mechanics…that day he was just frustrated before the game.” Of course, Gossett pitched a gem of a no-hitter, striking out 10 batters while allowing just three walks. “As the game went on, he just kept getting better,” described Isola; “We had some amazing defensive plays in there; Austin Martin made a sick play early in the game, and then [Anthony] Prato made a really good catch at the wall.” Most did their best to follow no-hitter protocol, but “a couple [of] people” broke the rules. “[A no-hitter] is one of the coolest things in baseball…I don’t know if I’ll ever be a part of another one.” Isola understands that consistency drives performance; his brush with Twins players during spring training 2020 (pre-COVID) taught him that focused work separates the minor league players from the major league regulars. “They’re no different than me or any other person; they have the same wants, desires, [and] fears.” Their ability to be consistent stands out. “We all have a stretch where we could be in the big leagues, but can you do it day in and day out? The number one thing I took away was watching their process of how they go about it; there’s no wasted practice.” Finally, Isola likes the group of guys they have at Wichita. Despite graduations and trades upsetting the team’s infrastructure, the Wind Surge keep a calm and relaxed clubhouse. “We’re a really loose group; we have fun.” The hitters specifically have an identity: “We’re just tough at-bats; [Derek Shomon] calls us “the wOBA dogs.” While some may ignore minor league standings, Wichita remains adamant about winning the division and advancing throughout the playoffs. “The minor leagues are about development, but we’re already here; we might as well win it.” Wichita finished Saturday's play with a six-game lead in the Texas League.
  15. The Minnesota Twins scored 10 runs against the Red Sox en route to their fifth straight victory. Nick Gordon had a special night, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs. Also featured in tonight's recap are Josh Winder, Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Jair Camargo, Aaron Sabato, Jake Rucker and more.
  16. The Minnesota Twins scored 10 runs against the Red Sox en route to their fifth straight victory. Nick Gordon had a special night, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs. Also featured in tonight's recap are Josh Winder, Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Jair Camargo, Aaron Sabato, Jake Rucker and more. View full video
  17. Previous 2022 Hitters of the Month - April: Christian Encarnacion-Strand We’ll take a look at the top five hitters of the month, but before diving into it, let’s start with an honorable mention. Honorable Mention - Will Holland - Cedar Rapids Kernels 19-71, .268/.350/.507 (.857), two doubles, three triples, and three home runs Holland was a 5th round pick from Auburn by the Twins during the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. This has been one of his better months as a professional, and he now has an .800 OPS for Cedar Rapids.. It would be good for Holland to parlay a hot start into an eventual promotion to Double-A Wichita. Top Five Hitters Number 5 - Wichita Wind Surge - C Alex Isola - 22-68, .324/.425/.500 (.925), three doubles, three home runs Isola was a late-round selection in 2019, grabbed by Minnesota in the 29th round. Making his Double-A debut after a solid 2021 playing at High-A Cedar Rapids, Isola got hot in May. He’s never been a high batting average guy, but the .297 batting average this season is more than nice to see. Isola has a good amount of power and strong plate discipline. With Minnesota needing catching depth at the highest levels, his emergence early this season could afford more opportunity as the season rolls on. Number 4 - Fort Myers Miracle - SS Noah Miller - 30-87, .345/.457/.517 (1.006), five doubles, two triples, two home runs A first-round pick for the Twins last season, Miller looks the part of a true shortstop. He’s held down the position well thus far during his professional career, and his bat broke out in a big way during May. Speed is part of Miller’s game and that was evidenced by the pair of triples. He’s probably not going to hit a ton of homers, but he draws a lot of walks and already has 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts this season. Number 3 - Fort Myers Miracle - INF Mikey Perez - 21-82, .256/.361/.524 (.885), seven doubles, five home runs Minnesota grabbed Perez in the 15th round of last year’s draft out of UCLA. His pro debut was a good one, but it consisted of just 10 games last season. After a slow start in April, Perez turned it on in a big way last month. The 12 extra-base hits in just 23 games are impressive, and for a guy that never really hit for power in college, a month with five home runs is a development the Twins have to be excited about. Number 2 - Wichita Wind Surge - OF Matt Wallner - 25-84, .298/.422/.595 (1.017) seven doubles, six home runs Wallner was a first-round pick for the Twins in 2019 after he had been a 32nd-round selection out of high school (as a pitcher) three years prior. Spending three years at Southern Mississippi was the smart route for him. He improved his stock immensely, and Wallner has flashed big tools. He’s got one of the best arms in the system and hits for some of the most power. There’s always been a considerable amount of swing-and-miss in his game, but Wallner is now showing a stronger sense of plate discipline as well. He’ll have plenty of months where he hits lots of dingers. If he has a June that looks like his May, he could push a ticket to St. Paul. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - INF Spencer Steer - 28-90, .311/.388/.678 (1.066), six doubles, nine home runs At one point it, could’ve been argued that Steer was among the most underrated prospects in the Twins system, but I think we’ve blitzed by that point. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A St. Paul recently and has continued to crush the ball there. Steer was a third-round pick in 2019 and has hit at every stop of the farm. The 24 dingers last season showed the work he put in while minor league baseball was canceled in 2020. He’s already got ten homers this season and two of them have come in his week with the Saints. Steer has an exceptional approach at the plate and is a well-balanced hitter. He has quickly become someone that the Twins can look at as a future fixture in their lineup. The Twins current middle infield is a bit crowded with superstars and top prospects, but at some of the most impactful positions on the diamond, that’s a great problem to have. Steer will be tested plenty at Triple-A, but being 24-years-old, he could factor in as part of the next wave. Minnesota has to be impressed with the career trajectory thus far, and a strong May has made 2022 an exciting start. We’d like to congratulate Spencer Steer, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2022. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions below.
  18. As May comes to a close we’ve seen some Minor League hitters really make their mark on the 2022 season, and promotions have begun to take place. Minnesota has already utilized their depth at the highest level this season, and more strong performances could bring new names to the top. Previous 2022 Hitters of the Month - April: Christian Encarnacion-Strand We’ll take a look at the top five hitters of the month, but before diving into it, let’s start with an honorable mention. Honorable Mention - Will Holland - Cedar Rapids Kernels 19-69, .275/.359/.522 (.881), two doubles, three triples, and three home runs Holland was a 5th round pick from Auburn by the Twins during the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. This has been one of his better months as a professional, and he now has an .800 OPS for Cedar Rapids.. It would be good for Holland to parlay a hot start into an eventual promotion to Double-A Wichita. Top Five Hitters Number 5 - Wichita Wind Surge - C Alex Isola - 22-68, .324/.425/.500 (.925), three doubles, three home runs Isola was a late-round selection in 2019, grabbed by Minnesota in the 29th round. Making his Double-A debut after a solid 2021 playing at High-A Cedar Rapids, Isola got hot in May. He’s never been a high batting average guy, but the .297 batting average this season is more than nice to see. Isola has a good amount of power and strong plate discipline. With Minnesota needing catching depth at the highest levels, his emergence early this season could afford more opportunity as the season rolls on. Number 4 - Fort Myers Miracle - SS Noah Miller - 30-84, .357/.471/.536 (1.006), five doubles, two triples, two home runs A first-round pick for the Twins last season, Miller looks the part of a true shortstop. He’s held down the position well thus far during his professional career, and his bat broke out in a big way during May. Speed is part of Miller’s game and that was evidenced by the pair of triples. He’s probably not going to hit a ton of homers, but he draws a lot of walks and already has 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts this season. Number 3 - Fort Myers Miracle - INF Mikey Perez - 21-79, .266/.372/.544 (.917), seven doubles, five home runs Minnesota grabbed Perez in the 15th round of last year’s draft out of UCLA. His pro debut was a good one, but it consisted of just 10 games last season. After a slow start in April, Perez turned it on in a big way last month. The 12 extra-base hits in just 23 games are impressive, and for a guy that never really hit for power in college, a month with five home runs is a development the Twins have to be excited about. Number 2 - Wichita Wind Surge - OF Matt Wallner - 25-83, .301/.426/.602 (1.028) seven doubles, six home runs Wallner was a first-round pick for the Twins in 2019 after he had been a 32nd-round selection out of high school (as a pitcher) three years prior. Spending three years at Southern Mississippi was the smart route for him. He improved his stock immensely, and Wallner has flashed big tools. He’s got one of the best arms in the system and hits for some of the most power. There’s always been a considerable amount of swing-and-miss in his game, but Wallner is now showing a stronger sense of plate discipline as well. He’ll have plenty of months where he hits lots of dingers. If he has a June that looks like his May, he could push a ticket to St. Paul. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - INF Spencer Steer - 25-85, .294/.371/.659 (1.030), four doubles, nine home runs At one point it, could’ve been argued that Steer was among the most underrated prospects in the Twins system, but I think we’ve blitzed by that point. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A St. Paul recently and has continued to crush the ball there. Steer was a third-round pick in 2019 and has hit at every stop of the farm. The 24 dingers last season showed the work he put in while minor league baseball was canceled in 2020. He’s already got ten homers this season and two of them have come in his week with the Saints. Steer has an exceptional approach at the plate and is a well-balanced hitter. He has quickly become someone that the Twins can look at as a future fixture in their lineup. The Twins current middle infield is a bit crowded with superstars and top prospects, but at some of the most impactful positions on the diamond, that’s a great problem to have. Steer will be tested plenty at Triple-A, but being 24-years-old, he could factor in as part of the next wave. Minnesota has to be impressed with the career trajectory thus far, and a strong May has made 2022 an exciting start. We’d like to congratulate Spencer Steer, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2022. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions below. View full article
  19. Royce Lewis hit his second home run for the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night against the A’s. He also had a double earlier in the game. Tonight was also Dylan Bundy’s return to the Twins rotation. He had a strong, albeit short, start. Also highlighted in tonight’s video are Chi Chi Gonzalez, Matt Canterino, Alex Isola, Sean Mooney, Willie Joe Garry Jr. and more.
  20. Royce Lewis hit his second home run for the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night against the A’s. He also had a double earlier in the game. Tonight was also Dylan Bundy’s return to the Twins rotation. He had a strong, albeit short, start. Also highlighted in tonight’s video are Chi Chi Gonzalez, Matt Canterino, Alex Isola, Sean Mooney, Willie Joe Garry Jr. and more. View full video
  21. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 1, Omaha 5 Box Score The Saints were unable to mount much offense on Tuesday, finishing the game with just three hits and four walks, while striking out 14 times as a team against the Storm Chasers in Omaha to open their series. They were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position, leaving only five men on base for the game. They scored their lone run in the fifth inning when Curtis Terry led off with a double, and came around to score later on a single from Kevin Merrell. Merrell finished 2-for-3, leaving the rest of the lineup not named Terry 0-for-22 on the night. St. Paul did get a decent pitching performance from starter Chi Chi Gonzalez, who went the first five innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks, along with picking up six strikeouts. Ronny Henriquez came on in relief to start the sixth and delivered a quick one-two-three frame on just eight pitches. The seventh was a different story, however. He walked the first three hitters, hit another batter, then surrendered a grand slam before his outing was ended. He was charged with five runs on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings. Ian Hamilton was able to prevent any more damage in the frame, but allowed a run of his own in the eighth for Omaha’s final tally. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 9, Wichita 11 Box Score Top pitching prospect Matt Canterino took the mound for the Wind Surge, looking to continue his streak of five starts without allowing a run to the opposition. He wasn’t able to come out unscathed in this one however, as there were fireworks from both lineups on a windy night in Wichita. The Cardinals and Wind Surge combined for 20 runs on 29 hits (14 for extra bases), and 14 walks between them. The right-hander did showcase his devastating stuff in his outing, sitting mid-90’s with his fastball and missing bats with all his pitches (11 swinging strikes total). But a few more than usual also connected with barrels, as he got tagged for some loud outs and hits, including his first home run allowed of the season. In 3 2/3 total innings, Canterino was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks, while punching out six. All that considered, he looked very good again to these amateur eyes, and I thought he might get a fifth inning with his pitch count where it was when he started the fourth inning. Down 4-0 after Canterino left the game, the Wind Surge lineup got to work, tying the game at five thanks in large part to an Alex Isola Grand Slam in the fifth. In relief of Canterino, Casey Legumina allowed four runs of his own pitching into the sixth. In 1 2/3 total innings gave the lead back to the Cardinals on two hits and four walks, while striking out one. With one out in the sixth inning, Kody Funderburk came on and got them through the seventh, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out two. Down 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Wind Surge lineup batted around en route to take their first lead of the game. Isola led off the frame with another double, and five hits and a walk later they were up 11-1. Dennis Ortega (in the game to replace an injured Edouard Julien) and Wallner each had a two-RBI single in the inning to account for most of the runs. Wichita had bases-loaded situations in several innings and were able to cash them in with some big hits to secure the win. Six of the nine hitters in their lineup collected multiple knocks, with Isola leading the way with a big 3-for-5 night including two runs scored, two doubles, the grand slam, and five RBI. Steven Cruz closed out the win with two innings, allowing three hits and a run in the ninth, but striking out five to pick up his first save of the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Lake County 5, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Fresh off of a 5-1 series win against the Peoria Chiefs last week where they outscored their opponent 47-12, the Kernels were unable to continue popping in this one, and instead were left with a bunch of Old Maids. They had just four hits as a team, and their one run came on a Willie Joe Garry Jr. home run in the third inning that gave them an early 1-0 lead. It remained that way until the sixth inning, as until that point starting pitcher Sean Mooney had stifled the Captains in a similar fashion. He allowed no runs in five total innings, allowing just one hit, walking three, and striking out six. He was a bit effectively wild, with just 46 of his 82 pitches going for strikes (56 percent), but got the job done. Bobby Milacki was brought on to start the sixth, and a pair of singles and a double led to the tying run. In the seventh Milacki got one out before a walk and a single ended his outing. He went 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, walking one, and striking out one. Orlando Rodriguez came on to escape that jam and also delivered a scoreless eighth inning. He struck out two and walked one in 1 2/3 innings pitched. In the ninth the Kernels brought on Andrew Cabezas, looking to keep the score tied and give his lineup a chance. Unfortunately, a one-out error seemed to derail his outing, and three batters later a three-run home run made the score 5-1 and put it out of reach. Cedar Rapids finished this one just 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, left only four men-on-base, and struck out 18 times as a team, including the last 11 outs of the game. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday with Aaron Rozek on the mound. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Clearwater 5, Fort Myers 4 (11 innings, completion of game suspended on 5/1) Box Score This game was suspended before the top of the 11th inning got started over two weeks ago, with the score tied at four. Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic had both made rehab appearances on that day. When it resumed, something you’ll likely only ever see in the minor leagues happened. With the runner starting on second base, Fort Myers pitcher Matthew Swain was hit with consecutive balks to give the Threshers a 5-4 lead. He retired all three hitters he faced, including a pair of strikeouts, but whatever was the cause of those balks (likely rule changes being forgotten in the moment) the Mighty Mussels found themselves down. The lineup was unable to score one of their own, with Mikey Perez, Noah Miller, and Emmanuel Rodriguez going down in order to end the game. Miller (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, SB) and Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, K) had multiple hits able to become official to lead the team. There were no extra base hits for the Mighty Mussels, and they were unable to take advantage of 10 walks as they finished 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and left 13 men-on-base for the game. Game 2: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 4 Box Score In their regularly scheduled contest, the Mighty Mussels got a quality effort out of their starting pitcher, right-hander Travis Adams. He went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six to pick up his third win of the season. Adams has gone at least five innings in all six of his starts so far this season, and the three runs allowed in this one are a season-high. He’s been the model of consistency for the Mighty Mussels, sporting a 2.03 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and a 28:5 K-to-BB ratio in 31 innings thus far. Fort Myers got single runs in each of the first, third, and fourth innings to keep the game tied at three while Adams was on the mound. Emmanuel Rodriguez scored in the first on an error after reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. The Noah’s, Miller and Cardenas, each had doubles in the third for their second run. Kala’i Rosario tripled and scored on a Luis Baez singled in the fourth to account for those tallies. They took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a double-steal after three batters had drawn walks in the frame, allowing Adams to be in line for the win. They added a needed insurance run in the top of the ninth, as an errant throw from the Threshers catcher on a steal attempt allowed pinch-runner Dylan Neuse to scamper home for a 5-3 lead. In relief of Adams, right-hander Juan Mendez went two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out two. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the save opportunity in the ninth, and although he made it a bit interesting allowing a single and run-scoring double to start the inning, was able to finish it off with a pair of K’s and groundout for his third save. The lineup didn’t get multiple hits from any batter, but drew five walks and only struck out five times. They also stole five bases as a team and two others were thrown out, so they were running all game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Sean Mooney, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, H, 3 BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day - Alex Isola, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, GS (5), 5 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR (2), RBI #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4, 2 K #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - L, 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K #9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, K #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 1/3 IP, 2 H 5 ER, 3 BB #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-6, 2 R, 2B, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, BB, K (left game with injury) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jake Faria (0-2, 7.17 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (4-1, 3.69 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - LHP Aaron Rozek (4-1, 4.73 ERA) Fort Myers @ Clearwater, Game 1 (11:00 AM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (1-1, 5.50 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers, Game 2 (makeup of 4/30 PPD) - RHP Mike Paredes (0-1, 3.31 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  22. In minor-league action on Tuesday night, a top pitching prospect was on the mound for Wichita looking to continue an impressive streak, but it was a monster effort from a hitter who led the team to a win in a shootout. In other action, a pair of affiliates struggled on offense, and in Florida the Mighty Mussels played a little more than usual, completing a suspended game from earlier in the month. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 1, Omaha 5 Box Score The Saints were unable to mount much offense on Tuesday, finishing the game with just three hits and four walks, while striking out 14 times as a team against the Storm Chasers in Omaha to open their series. They were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position, leaving only five men on base for the game. They scored their lone run in the fifth inning when Curtis Terry led off with a double, and came around to score later on a single from Kevin Merrell. Merrell finished 2-for-3, leaving the rest of the lineup not named Terry 0-for-22 on the night. St. Paul did get a decent pitching performance from starter Chi Chi Gonzalez, who went the first five innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks, along with picking up six strikeouts. Ronny Henriquez came on in relief to start the sixth and delivered a quick one-two-three frame on just eight pitches. The seventh was a different story, however. He walked the first three hitters, hit another batter, then surrendered a grand slam before his outing was ended. He was charged with five runs on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings. Ian Hamilton was able to prevent any more damage in the frame, but allowed a run of his own in the eighth for Omaha’s final tally. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 9, Wichita 11 Box Score Top pitching prospect Matt Canterino took the mound for the Wind Surge, looking to continue his streak of five starts without allowing a run to the opposition. He wasn’t able to come out unscathed in this one however, as there were fireworks from both lineups on a windy night in Wichita. The Cardinals and Wind Surge combined for 20 runs on 29 hits (14 for extra bases), and 14 walks between them. The right-hander did showcase his devastating stuff in his outing, sitting mid-90’s with his fastball and missing bats with all his pitches (11 swinging strikes total). But a few more than usual also connected with barrels, as he got tagged for some loud outs and hits, including his first home run allowed of the season. In 3 2/3 total innings, Canterino was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks, while punching out six. All that considered, he looked very good again to these amateur eyes, and I thought he might get a fifth inning with his pitch count where it was when he started the fourth inning. Down 4-0 after Canterino left the game, the Wind Surge lineup got to work, tying the game at five thanks in large part to an Alex Isola Grand Slam in the fifth. In relief of Canterino, Casey Legumina allowed four runs of his own pitching into the sixth. In 1 2/3 total innings gave the lead back to the Cardinals on two hits and four walks, while striking out one. With one out in the sixth inning, Kody Funderburk came on and got them through the seventh, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out two. Down 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Wind Surge lineup batted around en route to take their first lead of the game. Isola led off the frame with another double, and five hits and a walk later they were up 11-1. Dennis Ortega (in the game to replace an injured Edouard Julien) and Wallner each had a two-RBI single in the inning to account for most of the runs. Wichita had bases-loaded situations in several innings and were able to cash them in with some big hits to secure the win. Six of the nine hitters in their lineup collected multiple knocks, with Isola leading the way with a big 3-for-5 night including two runs scored, two doubles, the grand slam, and five RBI. Steven Cruz closed out the win with two innings, allowing three hits and a run in the ninth, but striking out five to pick up his first save of the season. KERNELS NUGGETS Lake County 5, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Fresh off of a 5-1 series win against the Peoria Chiefs last week where they outscored their opponent 47-12, the Kernels were unable to continue popping in this one, and instead were left with a bunch of Old Maids. They had just four hits as a team, and their one run came on a Willie Joe Garry Jr. home run in the third inning that gave them an early 1-0 lead. It remained that way until the sixth inning, as until that point starting pitcher Sean Mooney had stifled the Captains in a similar fashion. He allowed no runs in five total innings, allowing just one hit, walking three, and striking out six. He was a bit effectively wild, with just 46 of his 82 pitches going for strikes (56 percent), but got the job done. Bobby Milacki was brought on to start the sixth, and a pair of singles and a double led to the tying run. In the seventh Milacki got one out before a walk and a single ended his outing. He went 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, walking one, and striking out one. Orlando Rodriguez came on to escape that jam and also delivered a scoreless eighth inning. He struck out two and walked one in 1 2/3 innings pitched. In the ninth the Kernels brought on Andrew Cabezas, looking to keep the score tied and give his lineup a chance. Unfortunately, a one-out error seemed to derail his outing, and three batters later a three-run home run made the score 5-1 and put it out of reach. Cedar Rapids finished this one just 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, left only four men-on-base, and struck out 18 times as a team, including the last 11 outs of the game. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday with Aaron Rozek on the mound. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Clearwater 5, Fort Myers 4 (11 innings, completion of game suspended on 5/1) Box Score This game was suspended before the top of the 11th inning got started over two weeks ago, with the score tied at four. Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic had both made rehab appearances on that day. When it resumed, something you’ll likely only ever see in the minor leagues happened. With the runner starting on second base, Fort Myers pitcher Matthew Swain was hit with consecutive balks to give the Threshers a 5-4 lead. He retired all three hitters he faced, including a pair of strikeouts, but whatever was the cause of those balks (likely rule changes being forgotten in the moment) the Mighty Mussels found themselves down. The lineup was unable to score one of their own, with Mikey Perez, Noah Miller, and Emmanuel Rodriguez going down in order to end the game. Miller (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, SB) and Kyler Fedko (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, K) had multiple hits able to become official to lead the team. There were no extra base hits for the Mighty Mussels, and they were unable to take advantage of 10 walks as they finished 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and left 13 men-on-base for the game. Game 2: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 4 Box Score In their regularly scheduled contest, the Mighty Mussels got a quality effort out of their starting pitcher, right-hander Travis Adams. He went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six to pick up his third win of the season. Adams has gone at least five innings in all six of his starts so far this season, and the three runs allowed in this one are a season-high. He’s been the model of consistency for the Mighty Mussels, sporting a 2.03 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and a 28:5 K-to-BB ratio in 31 innings thus far. Fort Myers got single runs in each of the first, third, and fourth innings to keep the game tied at three while Adams was on the mound. Emmanuel Rodriguez scored in the first on an error after reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. The Noah’s, Miller and Cardenas, each had doubles in the third for their second run. Kala’i Rosario tripled and scored on a Luis Baez singled in the fourth to account for those tallies. They took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a double-steal after three batters had drawn walks in the frame, allowing Adams to be in line for the win. They added a needed insurance run in the top of the ninth, as an errant throw from the Threshers catcher on a steal attempt allowed pinch-runner Dylan Neuse to scamper home for a 5-3 lead. In relief of Adams, right-hander Juan Mendez went two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out two. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the save opportunity in the ninth, and although he made it a bit interesting allowing a single and run-scoring double to start the inning, was able to finish it off with a pair of K’s and groundout for his third save. The lineup didn’t get multiple hits from any batter, but drew five walks and only struck out five times. They also stole five bases as a team and two others were thrown out, so they were running all game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Sean Mooney, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, H, 3 BB, 6 K) Hitter of the Day - Alex Isola, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, GS (5), 5 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, 2B, HR (2), RBI #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4, 2 K #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - L, 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K #9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, K #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 1/3 IP, 2 H 5 ER, 3 BB #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-6, 2 R, 2B, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, BB, K (left game with injury) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jake Faria (0-2, 7.17 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (4-1, 3.69 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - LHP Aaron Rozek (4-1, 4.73 ERA) Fort Myers @ Clearwater, Game 1 (11:00 AM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (1-1, 5.50 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers, Game 2 (makeup of 4/30 PPD) - RHP Mike Paredes (0-1, 3.31 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  23. TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins selected the contracts of RHP Jharel Cotton and OF Mark Contreras in advance of their series opener with the Houston Astros. In Fort Myers, the Mighty Mussels placed RHP Logan Campbell on the 7-day injured list, and in a corresponding move activated RHP Niklas Rimmel. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Columbus 7 (12 innings) Box Score The way these teams traded runs and leads throughout the game, it was no surprise they needed extra-innings to reach a conclusion. The Saints tied or took the lead four different times, and the Clippers did the same. St. Paul got the first run on the scoreboard in the third, when Ernie Yake drove in Caleb Hamilton with a single. They tied the game at three in the top of the seventh, thanks to a 2-run home run from Hamilton, his second of the year. Down 5-3 in the ninth, RBI singles from Derek Fisher and Hamilton sent the game to extra innings. In the tenth, the Saints were able to get their free runner across the plate to take a 6-5 lead courtesy of a Jake Cave single, but Columbus was able to match it in the bottom half to extend it further. That’s where the luck ran out for the good guys. In the twelfth, the Clippers were finally able to walk it off with a two-out double that was just out of the reach of left-fielder Cole Sturgeon. On the pitching front, the Saints got a decent effort from diminutive starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez, who completed 4 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits (one home run) and a walk, while striking out four. JC Ramirez got the next four outs, allowing a home run of his own. Jovani Moran allowed two runs on three hits while striking out one in the seventh. Juan Minaya pitched two scoreless innings to get the game into extra innings, where Trevor Megill took over. He pitched two innings, allowing one of the inherited runners to score, walked one, and struck out two. Wladimir Pinto was charged with the loss after allowing the walk-off double. Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, K), Hamilton (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI), Roy Morales (2-for-5), and Yake (2-for-5, R, RBI) each collected multiple hits in the loss. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, NW Arkansas 7 Box Score The Wind Surge opened their series with the Travelers by sending right-hander Ben Gross to the bump. He went the first two innings, working around a double in the first and a walk in the second for a scoreless outing. He struck out three. Steven Klimek was brought on to start the third inning and ran into a bunch of trouble. Before it was over NW Arkansas had a 4-0 lead, but Klimek was able to come back and deliver a scoreless fourth inning. The Wichita lineup was able to get three of those runs back right away in the top of the fourth, when Matt Wallner led off the inning with a walk. He was followed by back-to-back blasts from Alex Isola and Andrew Bechtold to make it 4-3. From there, the Wind Surge got two scoreless innings of relief from Tyler Viza, who continued his early season dominance with three strikeouts against one walk and one hit allowed. In 18 1/3 innings pitched so far on the season, Viza owns a 0.49 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, while racking up 29 K’s (14.2/9IP). Osiris German came on for the start of the seventh inning, and was greeted by four consecutive hits that led to two more runs and a 6-3 lead for the home team. In the eighth, Alex Scherff gave up a solo home run to account for the final Travelers run on the scoreboard. Wichita was able to add a single run in the eighth, but they had a bigger opportunity for a comeback as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Spencer Steer all got at-bats with the bases loaded. Martin struck out, the lone run scored on a passed ball during Julien’s at-bat (BB), and then Steer flew out to left, so it was not to be. Bechtold (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K) was the only Wind Surge player to pick up multiple hits, but Julien (1-for-2, 3 BB), Martin (1-for-4, BB, 2 K), Isola (1-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), and Leobaldo Cabrera (0-for-2, 2 BB, K) all reached base multiple times. Despite all those opportunities, they were unable to cash them in by going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and leaving 11 men on base for the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Peoria 1 Box Score The Kernels lineup popped often in this one, and along with poor defense from the Chiefs (4 errors), led to a blowout victory on the road in their series opener. Jair Camargo, Will Holland, and Alerick Soularie all hit home runs for Cedar Rapids, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand added a double, and Willie Joe Garry Jr. a triple. Those five extra-base hits were the majority of the Kernels eight hits in the game, and drove in six of their ten runs. Jeferson Morales led the way with three RBI, and Anthony Prato, Soularie, and Holland each scored two runs. Cedar Rapids got another strong start from left-hander Brent Headrick, who went the first five innings to pick up his fourth win. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out six. Headrick has now gone 16 innings without allowing a run over his last three starts. In that time, he’s allowed just six hits, walked two, and struck out 23. Matt Mullenbach allowed the Chiefs lone run in his two innings of relief. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Derek Molina walked one and struck out two in a scoreless inning, and Tyler Palm finished off the win with a scoreless ninth. The Kernels improve to as stellar 20-8 on the season, and lead the Midwest League West division by two games. MUSSEL MATTERS Palm Beach 0, Fort Myers 3 Box Score This game was all about pitching for the Mighty Mussels, as you can’t do much better than a no-hitter! It is the 4th no-hitter in franchise history, with the last coming on September 18th, 2021 when the Mighty Mussels defeated the Tampa Tarpons 3-0. This one was a lot like that one, as it was a combined effort from multiple pitchers. Last year’s 13th-round draft pick, Right-hander David Festa, got the start and was spectacular for the first six innings. He walked the second batter of the game but retired the next 10 in a row before issuing his second walk in the fourth. He picked up two strikeouts in five of his six innings, and finished with 11 on the game, also notably topping out at over 99 MPH with his fastball. With Festa at 84 pitches (52 for strikes, 22 (!) swinging) after the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels went to reliever Jaylen Nowlin, their 19th round draft pick in 2021, to start the seventh. He delivered two more hitless frames, retiring all six men he faced, including three strikeouts of his own. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the ninth to finish it off, and he did just that thanks in part to a nice play of his own. After a leadoff walk, he was able to work around it by getting a groundball out and then snagging a liner right back at him, where he was able to double-off the runner at second base to end the game. In all, Mighty Mussels pitchers combined to allow just three baserunners on walks, and struck out 14 Cardinals. Fort Myers got all the runs they would end up needing in the bottom of the first inning when Noah Miller was able to come around to score on an outfield error after reaching base with a walk. The lineup went on to add single runs in the fifth and eighth innings thanks to a wild pitch and solo home run from Mikey Perez, his second of the season. While as a team they also managed just two hits in the game, the Mighty Mussels were able to take advantage of eight walks, including three from Miller, and two from catcher Dillon Tatum. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 6 IP, 3 BB, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - Caleb Hamilton, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, 2 K #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - L, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4 #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, BB, K #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, R, 3 BB #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-5, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, 3 BB WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.87 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Matt Canterino (0-1, 1.62 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 1.69 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.80 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  24. The story on the Minnesota Twins farm system Tuesday night was the pitching performance from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. In a combined effort, including a standout start, they blanked their opponent for the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins selected the contracts of RHP Jharel Cotton and OF Mark Contreras in advance of their series opener with the Houston Astros. In Fort Myers, the Mighty Mussels placed RHP Logan Campbell on the 7-day injured list, and in a corresponding move activated RHP Niklas Rimmel. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 6, Columbus 7 (12 innings) Box Score The way these teams traded runs and leads throughout the game, it was no surprise they needed extra-innings to reach a conclusion. The Saints tied or took the lead four different times, and the Clippers did the same. St. Paul got the first run on the scoreboard in the third, when Ernie Yake drove in Caleb Hamilton with a single. They tied the game at three in the top of the seventh, thanks to a 2-run home run from Hamilton, his second of the year. Down 5-3 in the ninth, RBI singles from Derek Fisher and Hamilton sent the game to extra innings. In the tenth, the Saints were able to get their free runner across the plate to take a 6-5 lead courtesy of a Jake Cave single, but Columbus was able to match it in the bottom half to extend it further. That’s where the luck ran out for the good guys. In the twelfth, the Clippers were finally able to walk it off with a two-out double that was just out of the reach of left-fielder Cole Sturgeon. On the pitching front, the Saints got a decent effort from diminutive starting pitcher Ronny Henriquez, who completed 4 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits (one home run) and a walk, while striking out four. JC Ramirez got the next four outs, allowing a home run of his own. Jovani Moran allowed two runs on three hits while striking out one in the seventh. Juan Minaya pitched two scoreless innings to get the game into extra innings, where Trevor Megill took over. He pitched two innings, allowing one of the inherited runners to score, walked one, and struck out two. Wladimir Pinto was charged with the loss after allowing the walk-off double. Jermaine Palacios (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, K), Hamilton (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI), Roy Morales (2-for-5), and Yake (2-for-5, R, RBI) each collected multiple hits in the loss. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, NW Arkansas 7 Box Score The Wind Surge opened their series with the Travelers by sending right-hander Ben Gross to the bump. He went the first two innings, working around a double in the first and a walk in the second for a scoreless outing. He struck out three. Steven Klimek was brought on to start the third inning and ran into a bunch of trouble. Before it was over NW Arkansas had a 4-0 lead, but Klimek was able to come back and deliver a scoreless fourth inning. The Wichita lineup was able to get three of those runs back right away in the top of the fourth, when Matt Wallner led off the inning with a walk. He was followed by back-to-back blasts from Alex Isola and Andrew Bechtold to make it 4-3. From there, the Wind Surge got two scoreless innings of relief from Tyler Viza, who continued his early season dominance with three strikeouts against one walk and one hit allowed. In 18 1/3 innings pitched so far on the season, Viza owns a 0.49 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, while racking up 29 K’s (14.2/9IP). Osiris German came on for the start of the seventh inning, and was greeted by four consecutive hits that led to two more runs and a 6-3 lead for the home team. In the eighth, Alex Scherff gave up a solo home run to account for the final Travelers run on the scoreboard. Wichita was able to add a single run in the eighth, but they had a bigger opportunity for a comeback as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Spencer Steer all got at-bats with the bases loaded. Martin struck out, the lone run scored on a passed ball during Julien’s at-bat (BB), and then Steer flew out to left, so it was not to be. Bechtold (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K) was the only Wind Surge player to pick up multiple hits, but Julien (1-for-2, 3 BB), Martin (1-for-4, BB, 2 K), Isola (1-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), and Leobaldo Cabrera (0-for-2, 2 BB, K) all reached base multiple times. Despite all those opportunities, they were unable to cash them in by going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and leaving 11 men on base for the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 10, Peoria 1 Box Score The Kernels lineup popped often in this one, and along with poor defense from the Chiefs (4 errors), led to a blowout victory on the road in their series opener. Jair Camargo, Will Holland, and Alerick Soularie all hit home runs for Cedar Rapids, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand added a double, and Willie Joe Garry Jr. a triple. Those five extra-base hits were the majority of the Kernels eight hits in the game, and drove in six of their ten runs. Jeferson Morales led the way with three RBI, and Anthony Prato, Soularie, and Holland each scored two runs. Cedar Rapids got another strong start from left-hander Brent Headrick, who went the first five innings to pick up his fourth win. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out six. Headrick has now gone 16 innings without allowing a run over his last three starts. In that time, he’s allowed just six hits, walked two, and struck out 23. Matt Mullenbach allowed the Chiefs lone run in his two innings of relief. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Derek Molina walked one and struck out two in a scoreless inning, and Tyler Palm finished off the win with a scoreless ninth. The Kernels improve to as stellar 20-8 on the season, and lead the Midwest League West division by two games. MUSSEL MATTERS Palm Beach 0, Fort Myers 3 Box Score This game was all about pitching for the Mighty Mussels, as you can’t do much better than a no-hitter! It is the 4th no-hitter in franchise history, with the last coming on September 18th, 2021 when the Mighty Mussels defeated the Tampa Tarpons 3-0. This one was a lot like that one, as it was a combined effort from multiple pitchers. Last year’s 13th-round draft pick, Right-hander David Festa, got the start and was spectacular for the first six innings. He walked the second batter of the game but retired the next 10 in a row before issuing his second walk in the fourth. He picked up two strikeouts in five of his six innings, and finished with 11 on the game, also notably topping out at over 99 MPH with his fastball. With Festa at 84 pitches (52 for strikes, 22 (!) swinging) after the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels went to reliever Jaylen Nowlin, their 19th round draft pick in 2021, to start the seventh. He delivered two more hitless frames, retiring all six men he faced, including three strikeouts of his own. Hunter McMahon was brought on for the ninth to finish it off, and he did just that thanks in part to a nice play of his own. After a leadoff walk, he was able to work around it by getting a groundball out and then snagging a liner right back at him, where he was able to double-off the runner at second base to end the game. In all, Mighty Mussels pitchers combined to allow just three baserunners on walks, and struck out 14 Cardinals. Fort Myers got all the runs they would end up needing in the bottom of the first inning when Noah Miller was able to come around to score on an outfield error after reaching base with a walk. The lineup went on to add single runs in the fifth and eighth innings thanks to a wild pitch and solo home run from Mikey Perez, his second of the season. While as a team they also managed just two hits in the game, the Mighty Mussels were able to take advantage of eight walks, including three from Miller, and two from catcher Dillon Tatum. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 6 IP, 3 BB, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - Caleb Hamilton, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, 2 K #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - L, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-4 #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, BB, K #11 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, R, 3 BB #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-5, K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-2, 3 BB WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-1, 4.87 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Matt Canterino (0-1, 1.62 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (11:05 AM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 1.69 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.80 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  25. The Twins were able to avoid a rainout being in Tampa (in large part due to Tropicana Field being a dome), but the same could not be said for the Saints and Mighty Mussels as one game was postponed and the other suspended due to rain. The Wind Surge and Kernels did not have weather stop their games today and the teams had opposite results for their games on Sunday. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced Sunday morning that pitchers Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic were assigned to Low-A affiliate Fort Myers for rehab assignments and are available to pitch Sunday. In addition, Marco Raya was activated by Ft. Myers. he is scheduled to start on Tuesday. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul and Nashville were postponed due to Weather. The Saints were unable to play their series finale against the Nashville Sounds on Sunday due to wet grounds at CHS Field. The makeup game has yet to be rescheduled for a later date. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 4, Arkansas 3 Box Score SP: Chris Vallimont - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K HR: Cole Sturgeon (3), Alex Isola (3) Multi-hit games: Isola (3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) The Wind Surge completed their series victory over the Travelers Sunday afternoon in a 4-3 victory that gave the Wind Surge a 5-1 series win. Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his fifth start of the season for the Wind Surge. Vallimont had a strong first inning but struggled in the second and third giving up two runs in the second on a bases-clearing double by Travelers catcher Jake Anchia. Vallimont allowed the Travelers third and final run to score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third. Vallimont cooled off in the fourth inning but was taken out for the day afterward. Alex Isola carried the Wind Surge lineup to victory with his 3-for-4 performance at the plate coming a triple short of the cycle. Isola also hit the game-winning home run in the top of the sixth that gave the Wind Surge their 4-3 lead. Cole Sturgeon hit his third home run of the season in the fifth inning against Travelers starter George Kirby. The Wind Surge will be returning home for their next series starting Tuesday against the Tulsa Drillers. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Beloit 13 Box Score SP: Cade Povich 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: Aaron Sabato (2), Jeferson Morales (1) Multi-hit games: Anthony Prato (2-3, R, 2B, RBI (14) 2 BB), Jair Camargo (2-4, R, BB, K) The Kernels completed their final game against the Beloit Sky Carp with a loss that split the six-game series between the two teams. The 13-6 loss is the largest for the Kernels on the season so far. Kernels starter Cade Povich made his third start of the season but was roughed up over 4 1/3 innings pitched. The Sky Carp scored three runs against him in the second and three more to knock him out in the fifth inning. Povich still did have three strong innings. throwing scoreless first, third, and fourth innings. The Kernels offense did their best to keep up but fell short in the later innings as the Sky Carp tagged on three insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh and four more in the bottom of the eighth. Kernels left fielder Anthony Prato and catcher Jair Camargo both had strong games at the plate, but it was first baseman Aaron Sabato’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth that brought the Kernels back into the game. Even though they fell short and lost 13-6 The Kernels will be returning home for their next series against the Quad City River Bandits which will be their second series against them for the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Clearwater 4: Suspended in the top of the 11th Box Score SP: Sonny Gray 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: None Multi hit games: Noah Miller (2-3, R, BB), Kyler Fedko (2-4, R, RBI (14), BB, K) The Mighty Mussels game against the Clearwater Threshers was suspended in the top of the 11th due to rain. The suspended game will resume during the Mighty Mussels next match up against the Threshers the week of May 16. Both Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic pitched for the Mighty Mussels during Sunday’s game. Gray made his rehab start and nearly three perfect innings for Fort Myers save for a fielding error in the top of the first and a single in the top of the second. Gray did not allow any walks and struck out five in his appearance. Balazovic came into the game right after Gray for two innings. Balazovic did not have as strong a performance as Gray as he gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in his first appearance for the 2022 season. He has been rehabbing a knee injury. The Mussels will begin their next series on Tuesday night at home against the Cardinals Single-A affiliate, the Palm Beach Cardinals. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sonny Gray (Fort Myers) - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Isola (Wichita) - 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-2, R, 2B, K #5 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers, Rehab) - 2 IP 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (1st career MLB Win) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, R, BB #13 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-3, R, BB #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, RBI (24), BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-4, 2B, 2 K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 3. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). Iowa @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CST) - TBD Tulsa @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - TBD Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Marco Raya Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games as the second weekend of the Minor and Major League seasons has concluded. View full article
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