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  1. It was a vastly different experience going to that little ballpark compared to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but watching unknown minor leaguers play on those fields always filled my mind with delusions of grandeur to be like them one day—a professional baseball player chasing their dream to become a Major Leaguer. That is the main reason I do a little bit different of a list heading into a new season than all those “Top Prospects” lists you see here at Twins Daily, on MLB.com, or at other outlets like FanGraphs and Baseball America. There are so many of them these days I don’t think this amateur scout can tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Instead, I want to recognize all those guys who have worked hard to get where they are, whether they’re a top prospect or not, and whom you might see make their MLB debut at Target Field during the upcoming season—those ready to make their childhood dreams like mine come true. Across all of Major League Baseball during the 2021 season, 265 players made their Major League debut, with eight members of the Minnesota Twins organization contributing to that number. They included pitchers Charlie Barnes, Griffin Jax, Jovani Moran, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan, as well as position players Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. All four of those hitters and pitchers Jax and Ober were profiled in this same column before the start of the 2021 season, and you’ll see some of the same names in this list below for the 2022 calendar year that didn’t quite make the jump. So, who are the prospects that could make their Major League debut and become the next Minnesota Twins during the 2022 season? ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER: The Twins enter the 2022 season with a 40-man MLB roster that does not have much room for position players yet to make their MLB debut. That list is just two players, but any fan should be excited about the names that are included in this section. There is, however, much more room for pitchers in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and the top end talent is almost all at the top of their system to start the 2022 season. Royce Lewis (22 years old on opening day), IF/OF – Twins Daily’s #2 Prospect (Lewis made his MLB debut on 5/6, playing SS against the Oakland Athletics and batting 7th. He finished 1-for-4, picking up a single in the 8th inning of a 2-1 win) It’s hard to gauge where Royce Lewis is at in his development, given he’s missed two entire years’ worth of time due to Covid and tearing his ACL. But when we last saw him, he was crushing in the Arizona Fall League to the point he took home the league’s MVP award. He has continued to work on his swing while off the field, and I expect big things during the 2022 season when he finds his footing. The biggest question continues to be what position he will play when he reaches the majors. I have been critical of his shortstop play in the past, but there is no doubt he can be an elite defender in the outfield. He excelled at third base in the AFL as well if that does not work out. That is to say, if he’s hitting well and anyone in the outfield or middle infield on the Major League roster goes out for an extended period, it would not surprise me at all if Lewis is the name that gets called to fill in if he is hitting. Plus, he looked good at short for the Saints on Tuesday if you were wondering: Jordan Balazovic (23), RHP – TD’s #4 Prospect Balazovic is ticketed for the starting rotation with the St. Paul Saints in 2022, though he will start the season on the Injured List with a left knee strain. While he does not necessarily get the accolades around his pure “stuff” that some of the other guys on this list do, he has been one to get better results as he’s climbed the ladder. That can be attributed some to having better command, but he has also shown steady improvement with his offerings year over year, showcased by his fastball averaging around 96 MPH with Wichita last season. One thing going against him is innings, as his 97 in 2021 were a career high after missing the first two months with a back injury. There is little doubt when it comes to Balazovic that he will break through as a starting pitcher and stay there when he reaches the majors, compared to others further down this list. Jose Miranda (23), 3B – TD’s #3 Prospect (Miranda made his MLB debut on 5/2, playing third base and batting sixth against the Baltimore Orioles. He was 0-for-4 in a 2-1 Twins win) The thing with Miranda was never about talent, as the Twins had always seen a good bat in the infielder from Puerto Rico. However, before the 2021 season that bat had never quite lived up to expectations, producing just one season with an OPS above .750 and that was all the way back in rookie ball. But coaches continued to encourage him to alter his approach and wait for pitches he could do damage with, instead of swinging first and asking questions later. He took it to heart and ran with it for the 2021 season, enroute to one of the most impressive Minor League seasons you have ever seen from a Twins prospect. He led all of the minors in total bases, clubbing 32 doubles and 30 home runs in 127 games between Wichita and St. Paul. He finished with a .344/.401/.572 slash line and rocketed up prospect lists by the end of the year. He’s basically only a corner infielder and won’t win any Gold Glove awards with his defense, but if he’s even close to repeating those hitting numbers in 2022 at triple-A, his bat will force the issue sooner rather than later. Jhoan Duran (24), RHP – TD’s #7 Prospect (Duran made his MLB debut on opening day, pithing two innings against the Seattle Mariners. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four in a scoreless outing) Whether they’ve been trying or not, since I’ve been a fan of the Twins they have always had a velocity problem. Duran is one of the pitchers who can continue to change that, whether that comes as a starter or a reliever. He has size, is capable of hitting 100+ MPH with his fastball, and throws a weird sinker he can play off that velocity to get swings and misses. Like many young hurlers, consistency is key and despite his stuff he has had trouble maintaining that start-to-start in the past. When he is on Duran is fully capable of dominating an outing, but has thrown only 16 innings in live games since the end of the 2019 season. If you were asking me before the start of Spring Training, I would have fully expected Duran to begin the season in the St. Paul Saints rotation. Instead, he has been absolutely dominant in his outings thus far and will come North with the Twins to start the year! Josh Winder (25), RHP – TD’s #9 Prospect (Winder made his MLB debut on 4/12, pitching one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed one run on two walks and struck out one. He made his first MLB start on 5/1, and picked up the win with 6 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out seven against the Tampa Bay Rays) A casual fan may not recognize Winder’s name as much as others, but I recommend paying a lot more attention to him this season. I have seen evidence from the Twins over the past two years that they may think he is the best of the starting pitching bunch they have approaching the majors. Plus, as of writing this he is still on the bubble to come North to Minneapolis instead of St. Paul to start the 2022 season. While he only threw 72 innings last year, they were so good that he was the Twins representative to play in the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. He was promoted to triple-A immediately after that and made four starts for the Saints before being shut down for the rest of the season with a shoulder impingement. He was solid in his outings this spring, starting three games (meaning he was facing mostly MLB players) and allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine in eight total innings pitched. While there is no reason for the Twins to put him in the bullpen permanently, it would not shock me to see him as part of a 16-man pitching staff to start the season in a piggy-backing role. I can even envision him performing better than whomever he follows to the point he takes over when rosters get cut down from 28 players. Cole Sands (24), RHP – TD’s #13 Prospect (Sands made his MLB debut on 5/1, pitching two innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays. He allowed two earned runs on three hits, and struck out two.) Making his professional debut during the 2019 season, Sands was a standout performer and as a result pitched at three levels, reaching double-A for one start to end the year. He finished the season with a 2.68 ERA and struck out 108 hitters over 97 1/3 innings. He followed that up in 2021 by dominating with Wichita to the tune of a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 80 1/3 innings. He missed some time due to an injury, but will be in the Saints rotation to start the 2022 season. His path reminds me a bit of one Bailey Ober and if the Twins can get more of that, they would be ecstatic. Since he is on the 40-man roster, you never know—if he is lined up to pitch on the right day, an injury on the Twins could spur a cab ride across the river to Target Field at any point. Drew Strotman (25), RHP The second half of the trade package the Twins received from the Tampa Bay Rays for Nelson Cruz, Strotman was thought by some evaluators to be the better prospect in the deal at the time. I do not think that is the case now, considering Joe Ryan is slated to pitch opening day for the Twins while Strotman fell off a bit after coming over, but it should give you an idea of how well the Twins did in that trade to get both of those guys. He throws in the mid-90s with a good cutter that catches the attention of scouts, but command has been a bit of an issue since having Tommy John Surgery back in 2018. He is being fully transitioned to the bullpen in 2022 and could turn into another high-octane option there as the season progresses. Ronny Henriquez (21), RHP – TD’s #16 Prospect With the flurry of trade activity that happened after the lockout ended, the Twins ended up with an intriguing right-hander from the Texas Rangers in sending off Mitch Garver. You will hear a lot about his size or lack thereof, but there is a lightning arm attached to his right shoulder that hits the mid-90s with ease. He has consistently piled up strikeouts and limited baserunners, but the long ball has been a bugaboo as he gave up nearly two per nine innings pitched in double-A last season. He has primarily started games in his pro career thus far and should continue to do so with the Twins, but his profile sounds a lot like a future reliever when it is all said and done. Chris Vallimont (25), RHP The moniker of the “Vallimonster” is apt for the right-hander, as he can perform quite the Jekyll and Hyde routine whenever he is on the mound. He paired a 13.0/9IP strikeout rate with a 5.8/9IP walk rate during the 2021 season and if you go game to game, you will see that up and down nature in his stat lines as well. A switch to the bullpen to maximize his pure stuff in shorter stints is something to watch for during the season if that pattern continues. TOP PROSPECTS: Consider this entry more of a “not-yet-on-the-40-man-roster” section heading into this season since a lot of the top prospects have already appeared above, but what remains below still holds the theme that these guys are close to Major League ready. All three of them are on the double-A roster of the Wichita Wind Surge to start the year, with a few of them sure to move up quickly when the 40-man depth above is called upon by the Twins. Austin Martin (23), IF/OF – TD’s #1 Prospect The top prospect on our board, it is slightly odd that Martin returns to double-A to start the season after spending all of the 2021 season there, but he does have some things to work on. Those being his defense at shortstop (or elsewhere), and tapping into some power that may have been hindered by a wrist injury throughout last year. That said, he posted a .414 on-base percentage in 93 games that led all of double-A and you would be hard-pressed to find a more prototypical leadoff hitter anywhere in the minors. As soon as a spot opens up in St. Paul I expect Martin to be promoted, but the depth the Twins have when it comes to position players pushes a debut timeline out to later in the summer. He is the type of talent who can force that issue sooner rather than later, however. Simeon Woods Richardson (21), RHP – TD’s #8 Prospect Plenty of people seem to be down on SWR going into the 2022 season, but I am not one of them. You cannot blame him for the 2020 season being canceled or for competing in the Olympics (though he didn’t pitch at all) in the middle of the 2021 campaign. There was absolutely some rust to shake off by the time he put on a Wind Surge uniform, but he did flash what makes him highly regarded as well: A key point to consider with him in comparison to every other player on this list is his age. Even after missing a full season, he was only 20 years old and pitching in double-A at the beginning of last year. Especially for the Twins, this is a rare occurrence. Jose Berrios, for example, had turned 21 a couple of months before he reached double-A and was the quickest moving pitcher the Twins had produced in a long time. If he can reign back in his control, Berrios is also a great comp for the type of ceiling we are talking about for Woods Richardson, who has dwarfed any strikeout rates the former Twins pitcher ever produced in the minors. Matt Canterino (23), RHP – TD’s #6 Prospect Canterino finds himself in double-A to start the 2022 season despite pitching only 23 total innings last year with Cedar Rapids. That was due to elbow troubles, which is a legitimate concern moving forward given his history coming out of Rice University and herky-jerky mechanics, but you cannot deny the numbers. He struck out over half the hitters he faced while walking only four in his time on the mound, resulting in a 0.78 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. His stuff is electric, with a fastball that can reach the high 90’s and a slider and changeup that are both legitimate swing-and-miss offerings as well. Due to those health concerns, there are many evaluators who see the bullpen in his future, but if you are looking for a pitcher that can make some serious noise during the 2022 campaign, Canterino is your guy. MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH: While these players may not necessarily be top prospects, they are at or near the top of the system and have performed well to get themselves there. It could be a situation where a pitcher is lined up to pitch on the right day the Twins need a spot-start across the river at Target Field, or an injury leads to needing a specific position covered and there is no other ready replacement available. Maybe something new has clicked and they have improved their stock from internal evaluators. No matter how it happens, players like these are always needed at some point during the MLB season. Ryan Mason (26), RHP Mason has been a standout performer in the bullpens of Twins affiliates since being taken in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. Missing the 2020 season hurt guys like him more than most, but he came back in 2021 to post stellar numbers and finished the final two months of the season in St. Paul. While there, he posted a career-high strikeout rate of 12.1/9IP, and guys like him are always among my favorites to root for. Yennier Cano (27), RHP (Even though he didn't throw a pitch as the game was suspended, Yennier Cano was credited with his MLB debut on 5/11 against the Houston Astros. When he did take the mound the next day, he delivered two perfect innings before running into some trouble in his third. In total, he allowed three runs on three hits, and struck out two.) A sneaky international signing all the way back in 2019, Cano finally got to showcase his talents for a full season during the 2021 campaign, spending the bulk of it in St. Paul. He boasts a mid-90s fastball and deep repertoire, as well as an intimidating mound presence that reminds me a lot of Aroldis Chapman (both are around 6’4” and 230 lbs). He will need to reign in the walks that spiked once he reached triple-A, but certainly looks the part of a bullpen horse. Mark Contreras (27), OF (Contreras made his MLB debut on 5/12, when the suspended game from the day before resumed he took over for Byron Buxton, playing left field. He finished 0-for-2, but scored a run and drove in one with a sac fly in the 11-3 loss to the Houston Astros.) Contreras made his mark in the Twins organization with his defense, taking home a MiLB Gold Glove award after the 2019 season, but something clicked for him in the batter’s box in 2021. Spending the bulk of the year with St. Paul, the lefty nearly matched his career home run total to that point (23) with 20 on the year, 18 of them coming in his 95 games at triple-A. I would not expect Contreras to get the call as a long-term starter in the majors, but you can do a lot worse with a fourth outfielder type as he can play all the outfield positions well, including center in a pinch. Jermaine Palacios (25), IF Palacios is a bit buried on an organizational depth chart with the names Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Austin Martin in the fold, but what he has above the other two prospects is that he is definitely a shortstop. That fact plays against him a little for the 2022 season as those two prospects above him need the work, but he is in triple-A where he will be moved around the infield depending on the day. He also showed some pop with 19 home runs for Wichita last year, and was also spectacular in the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason, posting a .987 OPS in 42 games. DARK HORSES: There always seems to be a player or two who comes out of nowhere to make a surprise debut during the season. They might be a known name but are not that far up the ladder at the season’s outset, returning from an injury so they have been forgotten some, or have a unique skill set or background that is intriguing and could pay big dividends if something else falls into place. These are my shots in the dark at guys that could be in 2022. Jordan Gore (27), RHP The former shortstop begins the season as a high-leverage option out of the St. Paul Saints bullpen. He split time between Cedar Rapids and Wichita during the 2021 season, picking up seven saves and striking out 11.7/9IP with a WHIP below 1.00. Plus, he has great hair. Louie Varland (24), RHP – TD’s #14 Prospect First of all, he is #OneOfUs, growing up in Maplewood and being drafted out of Concordia University in St. Paul in the 15th round of the 2019 draft. Second of all, he is the reigning Twins and Twins Daily’s, Minor League Pitcher of the Year. That is because he struck out 142 hitters in 103 innings pitched last season split between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. He is buried on a starting pitching depth chart at this point, but if he continues that type of dominance in double-A and eventually triple-A this season, there will be a spot for him at some point. Edouard Julien (22), OF – TD’s #19 Prospect I have long been a fan of the type of player Julien was during the 2021 season, where he led all of the minors in walks (110 in 112 games) and had an on-base percentage flirting with .500 for a large chunk of the season. He also tapped into some power upon being promoted to Cedar Rapids, launching 15 homers in 65 games after getting out of the Florida State League. He starts the 2022 season with Wichita, and he and Austin Martin should prove extremely annoying to double-A pitching for much of the summer. So, there you have it, my picks for some of the minor league players I think could be called up to the majors and put on a Minnesota Twins uniform for the first time during the coming season. When do you think any of them will show up at Target Field? Who are you looking forward to the most? And who are some of the prospects you think I have missed that could make that jump? Let’s play ball!
  2. There were questions surrounding Austin Martin when the Twins acquired him. Many of those questions remain, so is it time to start worrying about Austin Martin? When the Blue Jays drafted Austin Martin fifth overall, some evaluators considered him the best player in the 2020 MLB Draft. His collegiate career was nothing short of amazing as he hit .368/.474/.532 (1.007). Martin also played multiple positions in college, so there was hope his athleticism would translate to his professional career and make him a versatile player. Because of the pandemic, Martin couldn’t make his pro debut until the 2021 season, but this didn’t stop the Blue Jays from being aggressive. Martin debuted in Double-A, where he hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with 14 extra-base hits before being traded. When Martin joined the Twins organization, his OPS dropped to .779, but he was still getting on base nearly 40% of the time. He’s back in Wichita to start 2022, and he is hitting .244/.375/.321 (.696) through the season’s first 20 games. Martin’s pro career hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft expectations, but he is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level. Baseball America updated their top-100 prospect list following the season’s first month, and Austin Martin dropped significantly in their eyes. Here at Twins Daily, the writers also updated their top prospect lists, and Royce Lewis took over the top spot from Martin. It’s clear his stock has dropped, but what are the reasons behind his struggles? One of Martin’s most significant concerns has been his lack of power since leaving college. In 93 games last season, he combined for 25 extra-base hits. So far in 2022, he has been limited to six doubles in 78 at-bats. On the positive side, he has shown the ability to make contact and use the entire field, but he has over 500 minor league plate appearances, and his power is still absent. “We do think there’s some untapped power potential in there,” Twins player development director Alex Hassan said. “We tried to get him to catch the ball a little more out front and be comfortable using the big part of the field and use the pull side a little more.” Martin dealt with a hand issue last season, which may have been one of the reasons for his lack of power. He also tended to crouch and stride toward the plate, which gave him more coverage but took away from his power. If Minnesota can fix this, he has the potential to unlock more power. There are also questions about Martin’s eventual defensive home. In college, he played time at shortstop and third base, but there have been some throwing issues in the past. Since turning pro, he has split time between shortstop and center field. Second base might be his eventual defensive home, and he has made starts at that position during the 2022 campaign. It’s interesting to consider that he has yet to play a pro game at third base, which was the position he played most often in college. However, he’d need to showcase more power if he wanted to move to the hot corner. Power is the key to unlocking Martin’s full potential. Luckily, he is only 23-years-old, and there is no reason to rush him through the upper levels of the minors. He’s played fewer than 65 games in the Twins organization, so there is time for him to continue to develop under the tutelage of Minnesota’s coaches. Are you worried about Martin’s falling stock? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  3. TRANSACTIONS Twins placed OF Trevor Larnach on the IL (right adductor strain) Twins recalled C Jose Godoy. OF Jake Cave was activated from the temporarily inactive list. C Roy Morales activated from the Development List and promoted to the Saints. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Iowa 10 Box Score SP: Cole Sands - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: David Banuelos (2) Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-5, 2 2B, RBI (17), 2 K) The Saints played the final game of their 12-game homestead on Sunday with the conclusion of their series against the Iowa Cubs. On Saturday, the Saints crushed the Cubs in a 9-2 victory. On Sunday, they received the other end of the stick. The Cubs got to the Saints early in the top of the second scoring four runs on five hits and a walk off of starter Cole Sands. Sands had a better go in both the first and third innings giving up only one hit in each of those innings. The high number of strikeouts and a tiring second inning had Sands at 71 pitches through three innings, and six Saints relievers came in to finish out the game. At the plate, many of the Saints bats went cold aside from Mark Contreras who had two doubles and an RBI for the Saints on Sunday. The Saints lineup also featured the return of Jake Cave from the temporarily inactive list leading off for St. Paul and going 1-for-4 with a double and RBI. One of the newest additions to the Saints roster, second baseman Kevin Merrell, spoke on adjusting to the new clubhouse after his promotion from Wichita and which players he has gravitated to as mentors with the Saints. “There are so many guys in there with a ton of experience, and I just need to watch closely and see what I can pick up. It’s been an easy transition, there’s a lot of phenomenal dudes on this team,” said Merrell. Merrell is a former first-round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2017 and went 33rd overall in the draft. Merrell has already found a teammate on the Saints he wants to learn as much as possible from, that teammate being Saints infielder Elliot Soto. Merrell explained, “He can talk to anybody. He’s super encouraging, and he’s very confident in what he does. I think that’s contagious for a lot of us. He’s played for a long time. He’s 32 or so, has a lot of experience, and I would say he stands out the most for me.” The Saints will start a two-week road trip on Tuesday with two different stops, the first being in Columbus, Ohio for a week-long match-up with the Clippers. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 1 Wichita 4, Tulsa 7 Box Score Game 1 SP: Chris Vallimont - 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Game 2 Wichita 5, Tulsa 6 Box Score Game 2 SP: Casey Legumina - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 5 K HR: Austin Martin (1), Michael Helman (4) Multi-hit games: Martin (2-4, R, HR, RBI (8)), Edouard Julien (2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10), K) The Wind Surge entered Sunday afternoon riding an eight-game win streak and had a doubleheader scheduled with the Tulsa Drillers to finish out their five-game series. Unfortunately for the WInd Surge, they were swept in the doubleheader. Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his sixth start of the season. Vallimont had a strong first inning recovering from a leadoff triple to Drillers shortstop Jacob Amaya. Amaya scored in the next at-bat on a sacrifice groundout. Vallimont continued to cool off in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, but the Drillers picked up three more runs in the third off of Vallimont which later knocked him out of the game. The Wind Surge bats were cold throughout Game 1 and although they tallied seven hits, no Wind Surge player was able to tally more than one hit. Wind Surge third baseman Spencer Steer managed to drive in two of their four runs in the game. ----------------------------------------------------------- Game 2 brought a better hitting game for the Wind Surge, but they still fell short in another loss against the Drillers. Game 2 was started by Casey Legumina who made his first start for the Wind Surge after three starts with Cedar Rapids to start 2022. Legumina gave up two walks in the top of the first inning but left the runners on base to get out of a jam. He continued that success in the second and retired the minimum in order. The third inning was where Legumina struggled the most, walking four batters and giving up two hits including a home run to Drillers left fielder James Outman. Austin Martin fans were able to rejoice at least in Game 2 as he hit his first home run of the season. Third baseman Michael Helman also had a home run in the sixth inning that brought Wichita within one run. The Wind Surge were unable to score more runs in the bottom of the seventh in order to tie the game and force it into extras. The Wind Surge begin their next series on the road against Northwest Arkansas Tuesday morning for another six-game series with the Naturals. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1 Box Score SP: Sawyer Gipson-Long 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi hit games: Jair Camargo (2-5, K) The Kernels completed their final game against the River Bandits on Sunday taking a win to complete a 4-2 series victory of Quad Cities. The 2-1 victory for the Kernels was the smallest scoring game of the series as Anthony Prato and Wander Javier drove in the only two runs. Javier hit into a force out in the bottom of the 8th inning to score Aaron Sabato with the game-tying run. They went to extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Javier was on third base when Anthony Prato his a fly ball to right field, deep enough to end the game. Sawyer Gipson-Long had his best start of the season on Sunday. He had season highs in the start with innings pitched (5 1/3) and strikeouts (6). He also did not give up any runs or walks in the game. The Kernels will be on the road in Peoria to play another six-game series against the Chiefs. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Lakeland 1 Box Score SP: Steve Hajjar 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6)), Mikey Perez (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI (7), 2 BB), Kyle Schmidt (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI (13), 2 BB, 2 K), Daniel Ozoria (2-4, R) The Mighty Mussels completed their series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers with a lopsided 9-1 victory which brought about a series split. The Mighty Mussels pitching was dominated by Steve Hajjar and Marco Raya. Hajjar started the game and threw three no-hit innings, walking four and striking out eight out of the nine outs. Raya came into the game in the top of the fifth. Although Raya gave up a home run in the top of the sixth, he only allowed one other base runner on a hit and struck out four to earn the win. The Mussels offense lit up all afternoon scoring nine runs on 11 hits without the help of a home run. Mussels third baseman Jake Rucker led the offense with a three-hit game. The Mussels will begin their next series at home on Tuesday night against Palm Beach for another six-game series against the Cardinals Low-A affiliate. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long (Cedar Rapids) - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-3 #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-2, R, 2 BB Game 2, 2-4, R, HR, SB, RBI #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-4, R, 2B, RBI (3) #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, R, 2 BB #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, RBI (6), BB, K #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Game 1, 1-4, SB, 2 RBI (20) #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, SB, BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-3, BB, K Game 2, 2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 10. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CST) - Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Northwest Arkansas (11:05 AM CST) - Ben Gross Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:05 PM CST) - TBD Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (5:30 PM CST) - David Festa Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  4. The Twins completed a sweep of the Oakland A’s at home on Sunday to bring their record to 18-11 on the season. The Minor League affiliates had a busy schedule on Sunday as the Saints and Mighty Mussles saw lopsided scores, the Wind Surge played a double header, the Kernels had a low scoring victory that saw their stater’s best performance of the season. TRANSACTIONS Twins placed OF Trevor Larnach on the IL (right adductor strain) Twins recalled C Jose Godoy. OF Jake Cave was activated from the temporarily inactive list. C Roy Morales activated from the Development List and promoted to the Saints. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Iowa 10 Box Score SP: Cole Sands - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: David Banuelos (2) Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-5, 2 2B, RBI (17), 2 K) The Saints played the final game of their 12-game homestead on Sunday with the conclusion of their series against the Iowa Cubs. On Saturday, the Saints crushed the Cubs in a 9-2 victory. On Sunday, they received the other end of the stick. The Cubs got to the Saints early in the top of the second scoring four runs on five hits and a walk off of starter Cole Sands. Sands had a better go in both the first and third innings giving up only one hit in each of those innings. The high number of strikeouts and a tiring second inning had Sands at 71 pitches through three innings, and six Saints relievers came in to finish out the game. At the plate, many of the Saints bats went cold aside from Mark Contreras who had two doubles and an RBI for the Saints on Sunday. The Saints lineup also featured the return of Jake Cave from the temporarily inactive list leading off for St. Paul and going 1-for-4 with a double and RBI. One of the newest additions to the Saints roster, second baseman Kevin Merrell, spoke on adjusting to the new clubhouse after his promotion from Wichita and which players he has gravitated to as mentors with the Saints. “There are so many guys in there with a ton of experience, and I just need to watch closely and see what I can pick up. It’s been an easy transition, there’s a lot of phenomenal dudes on this team,” said Merrell. Merrell is a former first-round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2017 and went 33rd overall in the draft. Merrell has already found a teammate on the Saints he wants to learn as much as possible from, that teammate being Saints infielder Elliot Soto. Merrell explained, “He can talk to anybody. He’s super encouraging, and he’s very confident in what he does. I think that’s contagious for a lot of us. He’s played for a long time. He’s 32 or so, has a lot of experience, and I would say he stands out the most for me.” The Saints will start a two-week road trip on Tuesday with two different stops, the first being in Columbus, Ohio for a week-long match-up with the Clippers. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 1 Wichita 4, Tulsa 7 Box Score Game 1 SP: Chris Vallimont - 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Game 2 Wichita 5, Tulsa 6 Box Score Game 2 SP: Casey Legumina - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 5 K HR: Austin Martin (1), Michael Helman (4) Multi-hit games: Martin (2-4, R, HR, RBI (8)), Edouard Julien (2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10), K) The Wind Surge entered Sunday afternoon riding an eight-game win streak and had a doubleheader scheduled with the Tulsa Drillers to finish out their five-game series. Unfortunately for the WInd Surge, they were swept in the doubleheader. Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his sixth start of the season. Vallimont had a strong first inning recovering from a leadoff triple to Drillers shortstop Jacob Amaya. Amaya scored in the next at-bat on a sacrifice groundout. Vallimont continued to cool off in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, but the Drillers picked up three more runs in the third off of Vallimont which later knocked him out of the game. The Wind Surge bats were cold throughout Game 1 and although they tallied seven hits, no Wind Surge player was able to tally more than one hit. Wind Surge third baseman Spencer Steer managed to drive in two of their four runs in the game. ----------------------------------------------------------- Game 2 brought a better hitting game for the Wind Surge, but they still fell short in another loss against the Drillers. Game 2 was started by Casey Legumina who made his first start for the Wind Surge after three starts with Cedar Rapids to start 2022. Legumina gave up two walks in the top of the first inning but left the runners on base to get out of a jam. He continued that success in the second and retired the minimum in order. The third inning was where Legumina struggled the most, walking four batters and giving up two hits including a home run to Drillers left fielder James Outman. Austin Martin fans were able to rejoice at least in Game 2 as he hit his first home run of the season. Third baseman Michael Helman also had a home run in the sixth inning that brought Wichita within one run. The Wind Surge were unable to score more runs in the bottom of the seventh in order to tie the game and force it into extras. The Wind Surge begin their next series on the road against Northwest Arkansas Tuesday morning for another six-game series with the Naturals. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1 Box Score SP: Sawyer Gipson-Long 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi hit games: Jair Camargo (2-5, K) The Kernels completed their final game against the River Bandits on Sunday taking a win to complete a 4-2 series victory of Quad Cities. The 2-1 victory for the Kernels was the smallest scoring game of the series as Anthony Prato and Wander Javier drove in the only two runs. Javier hit into a force out in the bottom of the 8th inning to score Aaron Sabato with the game-tying run. They went to extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Javier was on third base when Anthony Prato his a fly ball to right field, deep enough to end the game. Sawyer Gipson-Long had his best start of the season on Sunday. He had season highs in the start with innings pitched (5 1/3) and strikeouts (6). He also did not give up any runs or walks in the game. The Kernels will be on the road in Peoria to play another six-game series against the Chiefs. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Lakeland 1 Box Score SP: Steve Hajjar 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6)), Mikey Perez (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI (7), 2 BB), Kyle Schmidt (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI (13), 2 BB, 2 K), Daniel Ozoria (2-4, R) The Mighty Mussels completed their series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers with a lopsided 9-1 victory which brought about a series split. The Mighty Mussels pitching was dominated by Steve Hajjar and Marco Raya. Hajjar started the game and threw three no-hit innings, walking four and striking out eight out of the nine outs. Raya came into the game in the top of the fifth. Although Raya gave up a home run in the top of the sixth, he only allowed one other base runner on a hit and struck out four to earn the win. The Mussels offense lit up all afternoon scoring nine runs on 11 hits without the help of a home run. Mussels third baseman Jake Rucker led the offense with a three-hit game. The Mussels will begin their next series at home on Tuesday night against Palm Beach for another six-game series against the Cardinals Low-A affiliate. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long (Cedar Rapids) - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-3 #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-2, R, 2 BB Game 2, 2-4, R, HR, SB, RBI #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-4, R, 2B, RBI (3) #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, R, 2 BB #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, RBI (6), BB, K #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Game 1, 1-4, SB, 2 RBI (20) #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, SB, BB, K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-3, BB, K Game 2, 2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 10. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CST) - Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Northwest Arkansas (11:05 AM CST) - Ben Gross Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:05 PM CST) - TBD Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (5:30 PM CST) - David Festa Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games. View full article
  5. The Minnesota Twins beat the A's 4-3 to earn the sweep, as Jorge Polanco delivered what ended up as the go-ahead two-run hit in the third inning. Starter Chris Paddack had to exit early due to injury but the bullpen stepped up and provided 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Other players featured in tonight's recap include Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Gilberto Celestino, Yennier Cano, Austin Martin, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Anthony Prato and more.
  6. The Minnesota Twins beat the A's 4-3 to earn the sweep, as Jorge Polanco delivered what ended up as the go-ahead two-run hit in the third inning. Starter Chris Paddack had to exit early due to injury but the bullpen stepped up and provided 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Other players featured in tonight's recap include Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Gilberto Celestino, Yennier Cano, Austin Martin, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Anthony Prato and more. View full video
  7. When the Blue Jays drafted Austin Martin fifth overall, some evaluators considered him the best player in the 2020 MLB Draft. His collegiate career was nothing short of amazing as he hit .368/.474/.532 (1.007). Martin also played multiple positions in college, so there was hope his athleticism would translate to his professional career and make him a versatile player. Because of the pandemic, Martin couldn’t make his pro debut until the 2021 season, but this didn’t stop the Blue Jays from being aggressive. Martin debuted in Double-A, where he hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with 14 extra-base hits before being traded. When Martin joined the Twins organization, his OPS dropped to .779, but he was still getting on base nearly 40% of the time. He’s back in Wichita to start 2022, and he is hitting .244/.375/.321 (.696) through the season’s first 20 games. Martin’s pro career hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft expectations, but he is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level. Baseball America updated their top-100 prospect list following the season’s first month, and Austin Martin dropped significantly in their eyes. Here at Twins Daily, the writers also updated their top prospect lists, and Royce Lewis took over the top spot from Martin. It’s clear his stock has dropped, but what are the reasons behind his struggles? One of Martin’s most significant concerns has been his lack of power since leaving college. In 93 games last season, he combined for 25 extra-base hits. So far in 2022, he has been limited to six doubles in 78 at-bats. On the positive side, he has shown the ability to make contact and use the entire field, but he has over 500 minor league plate appearances, and his power is still absent. “We do think there’s some untapped power potential in there,” Twins player development director Alex Hassan said. “We tried to get him to catch the ball a little more out front and be comfortable using the big part of the field and use the pull side a little more.” Martin dealt with a hand issue last season, which may have been one of the reasons for his lack of power. He also tended to crouch and stride toward the plate, which gave him more coverage but took away from his power. If Minnesota can fix this, he has the potential to unlock more power. There are also questions about Martin’s eventual defensive home. In college, he played time at shortstop and third base, but there have been some throwing issues in the past. Since turning pro, he has split time between shortstop and center field. Second base might be his eventual defensive home, and he has made starts at that position during the 2022 campaign. It’s interesting to consider that he has yet to play a pro game at third base, which was the position he played most often in college. However, he’d need to showcase more power if he wanted to move to the hot corner. Power is the key to unlocking Martin’s full potential. Luckily, he is only 23-years-old, and there is no reason to rush him through the upper levels of the minors. He’s played fewer than 65 games in the Twins organization, so there is time for him to continue to develop under the tutelage of Minnesota’s coaches. Are you worried about Martin’s falling stock? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. I will never forget my experiences as a little kid taking in baseball at minor league parks in Wisconsin when visiting family for summer vacations. Back then, it was a Seattle Mariners’ Class A affiliate named the Appleton Foxes that we would go see before they later morphed into the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, which are now in the Milwaukee Brewers organizational family. It was a vastly different experience going to that little ballpark compared to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but watching unknown minor leaguers play on those fields always filled my mind with delusions of grandeur to be like them one day—a professional baseball player chasing their dream to become a Major Leaguer. That is the main reason I do a little bit different of a list heading into a new season than all those “Top Prospects” lists you see here at Twins Daily, on MLB.com, or at other outlets like FanGraphs and Baseball America. There are so many of them these days I don’t think this amateur scout can tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Instead, I want to recognize all those guys who have worked hard to get where they are, whether they’re a top prospect or not, and whom you might see make their MLB debut at Target Field during the upcoming season—those ready to make their childhood dreams like mine come true. Across all of Major League Baseball during the 2021 season, 265 players made their Major League debut, with eight members of the Minnesota Twins organization contributing to that number. They included pitchers Charlie Barnes, Griffin Jax, Jovani Moran, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan, as well as position players Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. All four of those hitters and pitchers Jax and Ober were profiled in this same column before the start of the 2021 season, and you’ll see some of the same names in this list below for the 2022 calendar year that didn’t quite make the jump. So, who are the prospects that could make their Major League debut and become the next Minnesota Twins during the 2022 season? ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER: The Twins enter the 2022 season with a 40-man MLB roster that does not have much room for position players yet to make their MLB debut. That list is just two players, but any fan should be excited about the names that are included in this section. There is, however, much more room for pitchers in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and the top end talent is almost all at the top of their system to start the 2022 season. Royce Lewis (22 years old on opening day), IF/OF – Twins Daily’s #2 Prospect (Lewis made his MLB debut on 5/6, playing SS against the Oakland Athletics and batting 7th. He finished 1-for-4, picking up a single in the 8th inning of a 2-1 win) It’s hard to gauge where Royce Lewis is at in his development, given he’s missed two entire years’ worth of time due to Covid and tearing his ACL. But when we last saw him, he was crushing in the Arizona Fall League to the point he took home the league’s MVP award. He has continued to work on his swing while off the field, and I expect big things during the 2022 season when he finds his footing. The biggest question continues to be what position he will play when he reaches the majors. I have been critical of his shortstop play in the past, but there is no doubt he can be an elite defender in the outfield. He excelled at third base in the AFL as well if that does not work out. That is to say, if he’s hitting well and anyone in the outfield or middle infield on the Major League roster goes out for an extended period, it would not surprise me at all if Lewis is the name that gets called to fill in if he is hitting. Plus, he looked good at short for the Saints on Tuesday if you were wondering: Jordan Balazovic (23), RHP – TD’s #4 Prospect Balazovic is ticketed for the starting rotation with the St. Paul Saints in 2022, though he will start the season on the Injured List with a left knee strain. While he does not necessarily get the accolades around his pure “stuff” that some of the other guys on this list do, he has been one to get better results as he’s climbed the ladder. That can be attributed some to having better command, but he has also shown steady improvement with his offerings year over year, showcased by his fastball averaging around 96 MPH with Wichita last season. One thing going against him is innings, as his 97 in 2021 were a career high after missing the first two months with a back injury. There is little doubt when it comes to Balazovic that he will break through as a starting pitcher and stay there when he reaches the majors, compared to others further down this list. Jose Miranda (23), 3B – TD’s #3 Prospect (Miranda made his MLB debut on 5/2, playing third base and batting sixth against the Baltimore Orioles. He was 0-for-4 in a 2-1 Twins win) The thing with Miranda was never about talent, as the Twins had always seen a good bat in the infielder from Puerto Rico. However, before the 2021 season that bat had never quite lived up to expectations, producing just one season with an OPS above .750 and that was all the way back in rookie ball. But coaches continued to encourage him to alter his approach and wait for pitches he could do damage with, instead of swinging first and asking questions later. He took it to heart and ran with it for the 2021 season, enroute to one of the most impressive Minor League seasons you have ever seen from a Twins prospect. He led all of the minors in total bases, clubbing 32 doubles and 30 home runs in 127 games between Wichita and St. Paul. He finished with a .344/.401/.572 slash line and rocketed up prospect lists by the end of the year. He’s basically only a corner infielder and won’t win any Gold Glove awards with his defense, but if he’s even close to repeating those hitting numbers in 2022 at triple-A, his bat will force the issue sooner rather than later. Jhoan Duran (24), RHP – TD’s #7 Prospect (Duran made his MLB debut on opening day, pithing two innings against the Seattle Mariners. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four in a scoreless outing) Whether they’ve been trying or not, since I’ve been a fan of the Twins they have always had a velocity problem. Duran is one of the pitchers who can continue to change that, whether that comes as a starter or a reliever. He has size, is capable of hitting 100+ MPH with his fastball, and throws a weird sinker he can play off that velocity to get swings and misses. Like many young hurlers, consistency is key and despite his stuff he has had trouble maintaining that start-to-start in the past. When he is on Duran is fully capable of dominating an outing, but has thrown only 16 innings in live games since the end of the 2019 season. If you were asking me before the start of Spring Training, I would have fully expected Duran to begin the season in the St. Paul Saints rotation. Instead, he has been absolutely dominant in his outings thus far and will come North with the Twins to start the year! Josh Winder (25), RHP – TD’s #9 Prospect (Winder made his MLB debut on 4/12, pitching one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed one run on two walks and struck out one. He made his first MLB start on 5/1, and picked up the win with 6 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out seven against the Tampa Bay Rays) A casual fan may not recognize Winder’s name as much as others, but I recommend paying a lot more attention to him this season. I have seen evidence from the Twins over the past two years that they may think he is the best of the starting pitching bunch they have approaching the majors. Plus, as of writing this he is still on the bubble to come North to Minneapolis instead of St. Paul to start the 2022 season. While he only threw 72 innings last year, they were so good that he was the Twins representative to play in the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. He was promoted to triple-A immediately after that and made four starts for the Saints before being shut down for the rest of the season with a shoulder impingement. He was solid in his outings this spring, starting three games (meaning he was facing mostly MLB players) and allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine in eight total innings pitched. While there is no reason for the Twins to put him in the bullpen permanently, it would not shock me to see him as part of a 16-man pitching staff to start the season in a piggy-backing role. I can even envision him performing better than whomever he follows to the point he takes over when rosters get cut down from 28 players. Cole Sands (24), RHP – TD’s #13 Prospect (Sands made his MLB debut on 5/1, pitching two innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays. He allowed two earned runs on three hits, and struck out two.) Making his professional debut during the 2019 season, Sands was a standout performer and as a result pitched at three levels, reaching double-A for one start to end the year. He finished the season with a 2.68 ERA and struck out 108 hitters over 97 1/3 innings. He followed that up in 2021 by dominating with Wichita to the tune of a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 80 1/3 innings. He missed some time due to an injury, but will be in the Saints rotation to start the 2022 season. His path reminds me a bit of one Bailey Ober and if the Twins can get more of that, they would be ecstatic. Since he is on the 40-man roster, you never know—if he is lined up to pitch on the right day, an injury on the Twins could spur a cab ride across the river to Target Field at any point. Drew Strotman (25), RHP The second half of the trade package the Twins received from the Tampa Bay Rays for Nelson Cruz, Strotman was thought by some evaluators to be the better prospect in the deal at the time. I do not think that is the case now, considering Joe Ryan is slated to pitch opening day for the Twins while Strotman fell off a bit after coming over, but it should give you an idea of how well the Twins did in that trade to get both of those guys. He throws in the mid-90s with a good cutter that catches the attention of scouts, but command has been a bit of an issue since having Tommy John Surgery back in 2018. He is being fully transitioned to the bullpen in 2022 and could turn into another high-octane option there as the season progresses. Ronny Henriquez (21), RHP – TD’s #16 Prospect With the flurry of trade activity that happened after the lockout ended, the Twins ended up with an intriguing right-hander from the Texas Rangers in sending off Mitch Garver. You will hear a lot about his size or lack thereof, but there is a lightning arm attached to his right shoulder that hits the mid-90s with ease. He has consistently piled up strikeouts and limited baserunners, but the long ball has been a bugaboo as he gave up nearly two per nine innings pitched in double-A last season. He has primarily started games in his pro career thus far and should continue to do so with the Twins, but his profile sounds a lot like a future reliever when it is all said and done. Chris Vallimont (25), RHP The moniker of the “Vallimonster” is apt for the right-hander, as he can perform quite the Jekyll and Hyde routine whenever he is on the mound. He paired a 13.0/9IP strikeout rate with a 5.8/9IP walk rate during the 2021 season and if you go game to game, you will see that up and down nature in his stat lines as well. A switch to the bullpen to maximize his pure stuff in shorter stints is something to watch for during the season if that pattern continues. TOP PROSPECTS: Consider this entry more of a “not-yet-on-the-40-man-roster” section heading into this season since a lot of the top prospects have already appeared above, but what remains below still holds the theme that these guys are close to Major League ready. All three of them are on the double-A roster of the Wichita Wind Surge to start the year, with a few of them sure to move up quickly when the 40-man depth above is called upon by the Twins. Austin Martin (23), IF/OF – TD’s #1 Prospect The top prospect on our board, it is slightly odd that Martin returns to double-A to start the season after spending all of the 2021 season there, but he does have some things to work on. Those being his defense at shortstop (or elsewhere), and tapping into some power that may have been hindered by a wrist injury throughout last year. That said, he posted a .414 on-base percentage in 93 games that led all of double-A and you would be hard-pressed to find a more prototypical leadoff hitter anywhere in the minors. As soon as a spot opens up in St. Paul I expect Martin to be promoted, but the depth the Twins have when it comes to position players pushes a debut timeline out to later in the summer. He is the type of talent who can force that issue sooner rather than later, however. Simeon Woods Richardson (21), RHP – TD’s #8 Prospect Plenty of people seem to be down on SWR going into the 2022 season, but I am not one of them. You cannot blame him for the 2020 season being canceled or for competing in the Olympics (though he didn’t pitch at all) in the middle of the 2021 campaign. There was absolutely some rust to shake off by the time he put on a Wind Surge uniform, but he did flash what makes him highly regarded as well: A key point to consider with him in comparison to every other player on this list is his age. Even after missing a full season, he was only 20 years old and pitching in double-A at the beginning of last year. Especially for the Twins, this is a rare occurrence. Jose Berrios, for example, had turned 21 a couple of months before he reached double-A and was the quickest moving pitcher the Twins had produced in a long time. If he can reign back in his control, Berrios is also a great comp for the type of ceiling we are talking about for Woods Richardson, who has dwarfed any strikeout rates the former Twins pitcher ever produced in the minors. Matt Canterino (23), RHP – TD’s #6 Prospect Canterino finds himself in double-A to start the 2022 season despite pitching only 23 total innings last year with Cedar Rapids. That was due to elbow troubles, which is a legitimate concern moving forward given his history coming out of Rice University and herky-jerky mechanics, but you cannot deny the numbers. He struck out over half the hitters he faced while walking only four in his time on the mound, resulting in a 0.78 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. His stuff is electric, with a fastball that can reach the high 90’s and a slider and changeup that are both legitimate swing-and-miss offerings as well. Due to those health concerns, there are many evaluators who see the bullpen in his future, but if you are looking for a pitcher that can make some serious noise during the 2022 campaign, Canterino is your guy. MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH: While these players may not necessarily be top prospects, they are at or near the top of the system and have performed well to get themselves there. It could be a situation where a pitcher is lined up to pitch on the right day the Twins need a spot-start across the river at Target Field, or an injury leads to needing a specific position covered and there is no other ready replacement available. Maybe something new has clicked and they have improved their stock from internal evaluators. No matter how it happens, players like these are always needed at some point during the MLB season. Ryan Mason (26), RHP Mason has been a standout performer in the bullpens of Twins affiliates since being taken in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. Missing the 2020 season hurt guys like him more than most, but he came back in 2021 to post stellar numbers and finished the final two months of the season in St. Paul. While there, he posted a career-high strikeout rate of 12.1/9IP, and guys like him are always among my favorites to root for. Yennier Cano (27), RHP (Even though he didn't throw a pitch as the game was suspended, Yennier Cano was credited with his MLB debut on 5/11 against the Houston Astros. When he did take the mound the next day, he delivered two perfect innings before running into some trouble in his third. In total, he allowed three runs on three hits, and struck out two.) A sneaky international signing all the way back in 2019, Cano finally got to showcase his talents for a full season during the 2021 campaign, spending the bulk of it in St. Paul. He boasts a mid-90s fastball and deep repertoire, as well as an intimidating mound presence that reminds me a lot of Aroldis Chapman (both are around 6’4” and 230 lbs). He will need to reign in the walks that spiked once he reached triple-A, but certainly looks the part of a bullpen horse. Mark Contreras (27), OF (Contreras made his MLB debut on 5/12, when the suspended game from the day before resumed he took over for Byron Buxton, playing left field. He finished 0-for-2, but scored a run and drove in one with a sac fly in the 11-3 loss to the Houston Astros.) Contreras made his mark in the Twins organization with his defense, taking home a MiLB Gold Glove award after the 2019 season, but something clicked for him in the batter’s box in 2021. Spending the bulk of the year with St. Paul, the lefty nearly matched his career home run total to that point (23) with 20 on the year, 18 of them coming in his 95 games at triple-A. I would not expect Contreras to get the call as a long-term starter in the majors, but you can do a lot worse with a fourth outfielder type as he can play all the outfield positions well, including center in a pinch. Jermaine Palacios (25), IF Palacios is a bit buried on an organizational depth chart with the names Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Austin Martin in the fold, but what he has above the other two prospects is that he is definitely a shortstop. That fact plays against him a little for the 2022 season as those two prospects above him need the work, but he is in triple-A where he will be moved around the infield depending on the day. He also showed some pop with 19 home runs for Wichita last year, and was also spectacular in the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason, posting a .987 OPS in 42 games. DARK HORSES: There always seems to be a player or two who comes out of nowhere to make a surprise debut during the season. They might be a known name but are not that far up the ladder at the season’s outset, returning from an injury so they have been forgotten some, or have a unique skill set or background that is intriguing and could pay big dividends if something else falls into place. These are my shots in the dark at guys that could be in 2022. Jordan Gore (27), RHP The former shortstop begins the season as a high-leverage option out of the St. Paul Saints bullpen. He split time between Cedar Rapids and Wichita during the 2021 season, picking up seven saves and striking out 11.7/9IP with a WHIP below 1.00. Plus, he has great hair. Louie Varland (24), RHP – TD’s #14 Prospect First of all, he is #OneOfUs, growing up in Maplewood and being drafted out of Concordia University in St. Paul in the 15th round of the 2019 draft. Second of all, he is the reigning Twins and Twins Daily’s, Minor League Pitcher of the Year. That is because he struck out 142 hitters in 103 innings pitched last season split between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. He is buried on a starting pitching depth chart at this point, but if he continues that type of dominance in double-A and eventually triple-A this season, there will be a spot for him at some point. Edouard Julien (22), OF – TD’s #19 Prospect I have long been a fan of the type of player Julien was during the 2021 season, where he led all of the minors in walks (110 in 112 games) and had an on-base percentage flirting with .500 for a large chunk of the season. He also tapped into some power upon being promoted to Cedar Rapids, launching 15 homers in 65 games after getting out of the Florida State League. He starts the 2022 season with Wichita, and he and Austin Martin should prove extremely annoying to double-A pitching for much of the summer. So, there you have it, my picks for some of the minor league players I think could be called up to the majors and put on a Minnesota Twins uniform for the first time during the coming season. When do you think any of them will show up at Target Field? Who are you looking forward to the most? And who are some of the prospects you think I have missed that could make that jump? Let’s play ball! View full article
  9. The St. Paul Saints joined the Minnesota Twins as winners Friday night while the rest of the farm system dropped their contests. TRANSACTIONS INF Keoni Cavaco activated from IL. INF Edouard Julien activated from IL C Chris Williams moved to the Developmental Roster SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 9, Toledo 4 Box Score The Saints were the lone Twins’ affiliate to pick up a win Friday night thanks to a six-run eighth inning. On the night, St. Paul registered 11 hits and drew seven walks against the Mud Hens. Jake Cave led the Saints with three hits in six at-bats, including a double, raising his batting average on the young season to .302. Utility man Jermaine Palacios also tallied a multi-hit game (2-for-5) with his double being St. Paul's only other extra-base hit save for Mark Contreras’ (1-for-4) two-run home run in the third inning. Royce Lewis remained on a tear, reaching base three times in six plate appearances and driving in a run. Fellow top prospect Jose Miranda went 1-for-4 with his single plating two runners. Derek Fisher (1-for-4), Daniel Robertson (1-for-4), and Jose Godoy (1-for-5) also picked up hits. JC Ramirez started on the bump for St. Paul and was touched for four runs in 3 2/3 innings. However, the bullpen did not cave for the remainder of the game as Jake Petricka, Trevor Megill, Tyler Bashlor, and Yennier Cano tossed the final 5 1/3 innings, surrendering four hits and walks, but striking out seven and not allowing a run. Cano, a 28-year-old fireballer who slots somewhere in between former Twin Edwar Colina and Jhoan Duran in terms of talent and potential, has now struck out eight batters and only walked one in seven innings. WIND SURGE WISDOM Midland 10, Wichita 8 Box Score Louie Varland did not have his best stuff as the 2021 Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year fell victim to the Rockhounds' offense. Varland was sitting 95-97 mph with his fastball for the majority of his outing, but he lacked command of his curveball and Midland took advantage. Varland served up three home runs and six runs overall (three earned) in five innings, striking out four and walking two batters. Friday’s start was emblematic of why it is difficult for two-pitch pitchers to find success as starters at the MLB level. Today's hitters, even those at Double-A, are able to mash upper-90s heat if they know it is coming and doubly so when they know that the opposing pitcher isn’t going/able to drop in a breaking ball or other off-speed pitch into the zone. Varland has shown enough during his brief time in the minors to suggest that he is an MLB talent, but unless he greatly improves the command of his breaking pitch or further develops his nascent changeup, it will be unlikely that he reaches the precipice as a starter. There is no shame in that. Varland could be another Duran-type for the Twins in short stints, but he needs more refinement if he wishes to do so. Bryan Sammons and Austin Schulfer each threw two innings in relief with the former allowing four runs while the latter punched out two and kept his ERA at 0.00. Offensively, the Wind Surge faired much better. Austin Martin’s bat continues to wake up following his slow start to the season as his 2-for-4 night leaves his batting average a .296. (Quick aside: Martin continued to display why many questions his ability to stick at shortstop long-term as he registered his fifth error of the season on a routine ground ball. Martin has all the physical tools to play shortstop. However, he looks much more comfortable in centerfield as well as during his appearances at second base. He’s a smooth athlete with quick feet but lacks the arm strength or sure-handedness that are needed for success at arguably MLB’s most important defensive position. His strengths play much better in either the outfield or a less demanding infield position like second or even third.) Spencer Steer had the best night at the plate across all levels, going 4-for-5 and driving in two runs. Michael Helman (1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) launched his third home run of the season in the fifth inning and Dennis Ortega (2-for-5) contributed Wichita’s only other extra base hit, a double. Cole Sturgeon (1-for-5, 2 RBI), Andrew Bechtold (1-for-4, RBI), and Edouard Julien (0-for-3, RBI) were the other Wind Surge players to register RBIs. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 8, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score Very little went right for the Kernels on Friday. Offensively, Cedar Rapids only managed five hits, all of them singles, and struck out 10 times. A silver lining: Christian Encarnacion-Strand remained hot, going 2-for-5 to raise his batting average to .434 and OPS to 1.229 across his first 55 plate appearances of the season. One might argue that Encarnacion-Strand has already earned a promotion to Double-A, but with Steer and Miranda still in the minors and playing the same position, it would seem as though a call-up is still a month or two away. The other three Kernels to reach base via hit were Wander Javier (1-for-4, RBI), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (1-for-3), and Jeferson Morales (1-for-3, BB). Brent Headrick’s strong start to the season hit a pothole against the Chiefs as he was unable to make it out of the fourth inning after walking four batters, serving up a home run, and surrendering three earned runs. Miguel Rodriguez provided a nice respite for 2 1/3 innings, striking out two and keeping the Peoria bats at bay. However, they woke up after he exited, torching Cody Laweryson and Andrew Cabezas for five runs. Tyler Palm pitched the final frame, striking out the side, despite loading the bases. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 2, Fort Myers 1 Box Score The Blue Jays and Mighty Mussels combined for three runs and all of them came in the ninth inning. Noah Cardenas’ (1-for-2, BB) second home run of the season put Fort Myers on the board during the top of the final frame, but the Mighty Mussels walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning before Gabriel Martinez hit a walk-off two-run single. John Stankiewicz once again dazzled as he struck out nine batters and allowed only a single hit in five innings. The 23-year-old now boasts a 1.13 ERA with a 7:1 K:BB ratio over the first 16 innings of the season. Hunter McMahon tossed three innings in relief, walking and striking out one batter. Emmanuel Rodriguez broke out of his 0-for-12 slump by going 1-for-3 with a double. However, he exited the game earlier for a currently unknown reason. Kyler Fedko (1-for-3), Dillon Tatum (1-for-3), and Jake Rucker (1-for-4, 2B) also registered hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP John Stankiewicz (Fort Myers): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 78 pitches Hitter of the Day – INF Spencer Steer (Wichita): 4-for-5, 2 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB, R #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Defensive Replacement #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, 2B, BB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 4-for-5, 2 RBI #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-3, RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo ( 4:05 PM CST) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-0, 2.35 ERA) Wichita vs Midland (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Brandon Lawson (0-1, 17.18 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Peoria (2:05 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 1.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 0.90 ERA) View full article
  10. TRANSACTIONS INF Keoni Cavaco activated from IL. INF Edouard Julien activated from IL C Chris Williams moved to the Developmental Roster SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 9, Toledo 4 Box Score The Saints were the lone Twins’ affiliate to pick up a win Friday night thanks to a six-run eighth inning. On the night, St. Paul registered 11 hits and drew seven walks against the Mud Hens. Jake Cave led the Saints with three hits in six at-bats, including a double, raising his batting average on the young season to .302. Utility man Jermaine Palacios also tallied a multi-hit game (2-for-5) with his double being St. Paul's only other extra-base hit save for Mark Contreras’ (1-for-4) two-run home run in the third inning. Royce Lewis remained on a tear, reaching base three times in six plate appearances and driving in a run. Fellow top prospect Jose Miranda went 1-for-4 with his single plating two runners. Derek Fisher (1-for-4), Daniel Robertson (1-for-4), and Jose Godoy (1-for-5) also picked up hits. JC Ramirez started on the bump for St. Paul and was touched for four runs in 3 2/3 innings. However, the bullpen did not cave for the remainder of the game as Jake Petricka, Trevor Megill, Tyler Bashlor, and Yennier Cano tossed the final 5 1/3 innings, surrendering four hits and walks, but striking out seven and not allowing a run. Cano, a 28-year-old fireballer who slots somewhere in between former Twin Edwar Colina and Jhoan Duran in terms of talent and potential, has now struck out eight batters and only walked one in seven innings. WIND SURGE WISDOM Midland 10, Wichita 8 Box Score Louie Varland did not have his best stuff as the 2021 Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year fell victim to the Rockhounds' offense. Varland was sitting 95-97 mph with his fastball for the majority of his outing, but he lacked command of his curveball and Midland took advantage. Varland served up three home runs and six runs overall (three earned) in five innings, striking out four and walking two batters. Friday’s start was emblematic of why it is difficult for two-pitch pitchers to find success as starters at the MLB level. Today's hitters, even those at Double-A, are able to mash upper-90s heat if they know it is coming and doubly so when they know that the opposing pitcher isn’t going/able to drop in a breaking ball or other off-speed pitch into the zone. Varland has shown enough during his brief time in the minors to suggest that he is an MLB talent, but unless he greatly improves the command of his breaking pitch or further develops his nascent changeup, it will be unlikely that he reaches the precipice as a starter. There is no shame in that. Varland could be another Duran-type for the Twins in short stints, but he needs more refinement if he wishes to do so. Bryan Sammons and Austin Schulfer each threw two innings in relief with the former allowing four runs while the latter punched out two and kept his ERA at 0.00. Offensively, the Wind Surge faired much better. Austin Martin’s bat continues to wake up following his slow start to the season as his 2-for-4 night leaves his batting average a .296. (Quick aside: Martin continued to display why many questions his ability to stick at shortstop long-term as he registered his fifth error of the season on a routine ground ball. Martin has all the physical tools to play shortstop. However, he looks much more comfortable in centerfield as well as during his appearances at second base. He’s a smooth athlete with quick feet but lacks the arm strength or sure-handedness that are needed for success at arguably MLB’s most important defensive position. His strengths play much better in either the outfield or a less demanding infield position like second or even third.) Spencer Steer had the best night at the plate across all levels, going 4-for-5 and driving in two runs. Michael Helman (1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) launched his third home run of the season in the fifth inning and Dennis Ortega (2-for-5) contributed Wichita’s only other extra base hit, a double. Cole Sturgeon (1-for-5, 2 RBI), Andrew Bechtold (1-for-4, RBI), and Edouard Julien (0-for-3, RBI) were the other Wind Surge players to register RBIs. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 8, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score Very little went right for the Kernels on Friday. Offensively, Cedar Rapids only managed five hits, all of them singles, and struck out 10 times. A silver lining: Christian Encarnacion-Strand remained hot, going 2-for-5 to raise his batting average to .434 and OPS to 1.229 across his first 55 plate appearances of the season. One might argue that Encarnacion-Strand has already earned a promotion to Double-A, but with Steer and Miranda still in the minors and playing the same position, it would seem as though a call-up is still a month or two away. The other three Kernels to reach base via hit were Wander Javier (1-for-4, RBI), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (1-for-3), and Jeferson Morales (1-for-3, BB). Brent Headrick’s strong start to the season hit a pothole against the Chiefs as he was unable to make it out of the fourth inning after walking four batters, serving up a home run, and surrendering three earned runs. Miguel Rodriguez provided a nice respite for 2 1/3 innings, striking out two and keeping the Peoria bats at bay. However, they woke up after he exited, torching Cody Laweryson and Andrew Cabezas for five runs. Tyler Palm pitched the final frame, striking out the side, despite loading the bases. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 2, Fort Myers 1 Box Score The Blue Jays and Mighty Mussels combined for three runs and all of them came in the ninth inning. Noah Cardenas’ (1-for-2, BB) second home run of the season put Fort Myers on the board during the top of the final frame, but the Mighty Mussels walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning before Gabriel Martinez hit a walk-off two-run single. John Stankiewicz once again dazzled as he struck out nine batters and allowed only a single hit in five innings. The 23-year-old now boasts a 1.13 ERA with a 7:1 K:BB ratio over the first 16 innings of the season. Hunter McMahon tossed three innings in relief, walking and striking out one batter. Emmanuel Rodriguez broke out of his 0-for-12 slump by going 1-for-3 with a double. However, he exited the game earlier for a currently unknown reason. Kyler Fedko (1-for-3), Dillon Tatum (1-for-3), and Jake Rucker (1-for-4, 2B) also registered hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – RHP John Stankiewicz (Fort Myers): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 78 pitches Hitter of the Day – INF Spencer Steer (Wichita): 4-for-5, 2 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB, R #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4 #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Defensive Replacement #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, 2B, BB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 4-for-5, 2 RBI #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-for-3, RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo ( 4:05 PM CST) - RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-0, 2.35 ERA) Wichita vs Midland (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Brandon Lawson (0-1, 17.18 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Peoria (2:05 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 1.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 0.90 ERA)
  11. It’s been an ugly start for the Twins and their bat rack. Aaron Gleeman broke down the awful numbers here if you thought your eyes were deceiving you. The good news is that the Twins have three hopeful offensive contributors on the way. It’s never wise to place the “instant contributor” tag on any prospect. The early struggles of Bobby Witt Jr., baseball’s No. 1 prospect, and Spencer Torkelson, the first-round pick in the 2020 Draft, show that it’s unwise to expect immediate results from even the best rookie hitters. The Twins are struggling to score runs. Naturally, fans start to wonder about reinforcements. Who could give this group a boost? And more importantly, why should you believe it could be better in the future? Gary Sánchez, Carlos Correa, and Miguel Sanó are virtual locks to depart after the season, while Max Kepler enters the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2023. Gio Urshela is a clear non-tender candidate. There was significant turnover this offseason, especially in the rotation. We could see the same type of flip in the lineup next winter. It doesn’t have to start then, though. MLB Pipeline ranks three Twins hitters in their Top-100 Prospect Rankings. Royce Lewis (45) has dropped considerably since the Twins selected him with the first pick in 2017, but his talent is undeniable. Lewis is raking at Triple-A for the Saints. He’s hitting for power, drawing walks, using the opposite field, and stringing outstanding plays at shortstop. It’s still super early, but the early returns on Lewis are nothing short of remarkable. His production shouldn’t be a surprise to those who know how special his tools still are. The assumed plan to replace Correa with Lewis in 2023 looks sound so far. If things continue to go this well for him at Triple-A, it’s not crazy to think Lewis could join the Twins relatively soon. He’s the highest upside player in the entire system, and his previous prospect status would’ve placed him at a 2022 mid-season debut. While Lewis carries the most upside, Austin Martin’s floor feels the safest. Martin, ranked as the No. 51 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, is known for his quality of at-bat and elite ability to make contact. His skillset is a right-handed Luis Arraez, and that specific mastery tends to translate fastest. Martin may never develop real power, but it feels like he’s close to the majors even without it. The Twins’ Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2021 put together one of the best seasons the organization has ever seen. José Miranda, now a Top-100 prospect, led the minors in total bases and hit 30 homers across the two highest levels. He’s off to a slow start in 2022, but Miranda had an outside chance of making the team outright this spring. He’s likely the first call if a corner infielder gets hurt. The Twins are hoping that Lewis, Martin, and Miranda make up the heart of the lineup for the next half-decade, preferably as soon as possible. With Byron Buxton locked in, it’s easy to envision a potential core for the future. If things continue to stay downhill for the Twins’ offense, they have three top prospects who could help when the weather warms up. View full article
  12. Although the St. Paul Saints didn't get a win tonight Devin Smeltzer looked like a star on the mound for the Twins Triple-A club. The Kernels walked it off twice and the Wichita Wind Surge put up runs in droves. It was an exciting night on the farm. TRANSACTIONS RHP Jharel Cotton cleared waivers and was assigned to the St. Paul Saints LHP Lewis Thorpe was released from the organization. SAINTS SENTINEL Toledo 2, St. Paul 1 Box Score Playing the fastest game in St. Paul Saints franchise history, lasting just two hours and seven minutes, the good guys lost by a 2-1 tally. Devin Smeltzer drew the start and was again good in this one. He went five innings allowing just two runs on five hits while punching out eight and walking one. His ERA on the season sits at 1.29. After getting behind 2-0 in the third inning, St. Paul answered with a run in the 4th inning. Derek Fisher hit into a force out but allowed Jake Cave to score, cutting the lead in half. Unfortunately, that’s where the production ended and a four-hit night for the Saints produced nothing else on the scoreboard. Fisher was the lone Saints batter to record two hits on the evening. Both Royce Lewis and Curtis Terry drew two walks to reach base a handful of times. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 15, Midland 1 Box Score Chris Vallimont drew the start tonight for Wichita and worked four innings of one-run ball. He gave up three hits while walking three and striking out six. With Wichita plating six runs in the first two innings, that one run of opposing production didn’t much factor into the equation. Dennis Ortega began the scoring with a line-drive single plating Austin Martin and Cole Sturgeon. A Michael Helman at-bat complete with a throwing error then allowed Spencer Steer to score in the first inning as well. Doubling up the score in the second inning was accomplished on a Martin double that scored Andrew Bechtold, a wild pitch to score Martin, and an Ortega double that drove in Steer. The fifth inning saw another outburst for the Wind Surge in which they were able to double their early-inning tally. Kevin Merrell launched his second homer of the season before Martin drove in Bechtold on a single. Steer then ripped his 7th double, this one clearing loaded bases, and pushing the score to 11-1. Ortega then drove in Steer with a single and the blowout was fully on. Bechtold had contributed plenty on his own this evening and a sixth-inning solo blast for his second dinger of the season made it 13-1. Still supplying pressure, Sturgeon singled in the eighth inning driving in Bechtold and DaShawn Keirsey to extend the lead further making it 15-1. A whole handful of Wind Surge batters had multi-hit nights including Martin (3), Sturgeon (3), Steer (2), Ortega (3), and Bechtold (2, plus three walks). KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 2 (F/8) Box Score Tonight’s twin bill saw Sean Mooney start game one. He went five strong innings and allowed just one run on four hits while walking and striking out two. Cedar Rapids opened up the scoring in the first inning when Seth Gray singled to drive in Jeferson Morales. After giving back the lead, Cedar Rapids jumped ahead in the eighth inning. Hot-hitting Christian Encarnacion-Strand beat out a fielder’s choice to drive in Willie Joe Garry Jr. Morales then lofted a sacrifice fly to center deep enough to score Anthony Prato and the Kernels walked it off in game one. Morales and Gray were the lone hitters to record double-digit efforts in the front half of the evening. Game 2: Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 3 (F/8) Box Score Casey Legumina started game two tonight for the Kernels and he worked 4 2/3 innings allowing just two runs on five hits. Legumina also punched out three batters while walking one. As a whole, it was a strong bounce-back start. After getting down 2-0 in the fifth inning Cedar Rapids rallied. Morales grounded out but drove in Prato to halve the deficit in the 6th inning. The next at-bats saw Garry Jr. drive in Will Holland allowing the home team to knot things at two. Headed to extras, Cedar Rapids watched Peoria push across a run in the top half of the 8th inning but this one was far from over. Encarnacion-Strand was standing on first base after a single, and a Morales ball back up the middle resulted in a force out at second base. Prato started the inning at second base and went to third on the play, but then scored on an errant throw by the second basemen. Camargo then launched one off the base of the right field wall and Morales scored the winning run coming around from first base. For the second time on the night, Cedar Rapids walked off Peoria. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 5, Fort Myers 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels turned to Pierson Ohl this evening and he gave them four innings of work while allowing just two runs, one earned. Despite five hits, Ohl walked just one and punched out four batters on the night. After getting down 1-0, Fort Myers responded with a two-spot in the fourth inning. Mikey Perez drove in Kyler Fedko with a single before a Ernie Yake sacrifice fly scored Jesus Feliz. The lead wouldn’t last however as Dunedin knotted things in the bottom half of the inning. Unfortunately, that’s where the production ended for Fort Myers and two runs were all they could muster in this contest. Seven of nine starters recorded a base hit while everyone reached base, but no one put up a multi-hit effort. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Devin Smeltzer (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-3, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-2, 2 BB, 2K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, 2B, BB #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, 2K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-5, 4 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, BB, K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (47 pitches, 28 strikes) #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-3, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3 BB FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (6:05PM CST) - RHP JC Ramirez Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  13. TRANSACTIONS RHP Jharel Cotton cleared waivers and was assigned to the St. Paul Saints LHP Lewis Thorpe was released from the organization. SAINTS SENTINEL Toledo 2, St. Paul 1 Box Score Playing the fastest game in St. Paul Saints franchise history, lasting just two hours and seven minutes, the good guys lost by a 2-1 tally. Devin Smeltzer drew the start and was again good in this one. He went five innings allowing just two runs on five hits while punching out eight and walking one. His ERA on the season sits at 1.29. After getting behind 2-0 in the third inning, St. Paul answered with a run in the 4th inning. Derek Fisher hit into a force out but allowed Jake Cave to score, cutting the lead in half. Unfortunately, that’s where the production ended and a four-hit night for the Saints produced nothing else on the scoreboard. Fisher was the lone Saints batter to record two hits on the evening. Both Royce Lewis and Curtis Terry drew two walks to reach base a handful of times. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 15, Midland 1 Box Score Chris Vallimont drew the start tonight for Wichita and worked four innings of one-run ball. He gave up three hits while walking three and striking out six. With Wichita plating six runs in the first two innings, that one run of opposing production didn’t much factor into the equation. Dennis Ortega began the scoring with a line-drive single plating Austin Martin and Cole Sturgeon. A Michael Helman at-bat complete with a throwing error then allowed Spencer Steer to score in the first inning as well. Doubling up the score in the second inning was accomplished on a Martin double that scored Andrew Bechtold, a wild pitch to score Martin, and an Ortega double that drove in Steer. The fifth inning saw another outburst for the Wind Surge in which they were able to double their early-inning tally. Kevin Merrell launched his second homer of the season before Martin drove in Bechtold on a single. Steer then ripped his 7th double, this one clearing loaded bases, and pushing the score to 11-1. Ortega then drove in Steer with a single and the blowout was fully on. Bechtold had contributed plenty on his own this evening and a sixth-inning solo blast for his second dinger of the season made it 13-1. Still supplying pressure, Sturgeon singled in the eighth inning driving in Bechtold and DaShawn Keirsey to extend the lead further making it 15-1. A whole handful of Wind Surge batters had multi-hit nights including Martin (3), Sturgeon (3), Steer (2), Ortega (3), and Bechtold (2, plus three walks). KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 2 (F/8) Box Score Tonight’s twin bill saw Sean Mooney start game one. He went five strong innings and allowed just one run on four hits while walking and striking out two. Cedar Rapids opened up the scoring in the first inning when Seth Gray singled to drive in Jeferson Morales. After giving back the lead, Cedar Rapids jumped ahead in the eighth inning. Hot-hitting Christian Encarnacion-Strand beat out a fielder’s choice to drive in Willie Joe Garry Jr. Morales then lofted a sacrifice fly to center deep enough to score Anthony Prato and the Kernels walked it off in game one. Morales and Gray were the lone hitters to record double-digit efforts in the front half of the evening. Game 2: Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 3 (F/8) Box Score Casey Legumina started game two tonight for the Kernels and he worked 4 2/3 innings allowing just two runs on five hits. Legumina also punched out three batters while walking one. As a whole, it was a strong bounce-back start. After getting down 2-0 in the fifth inning Cedar Rapids rallied. Morales grounded out but drove in Prato to halve the deficit in the 6th inning. The next at-bats saw Garry Jr. drive in Will Holland allowing the home team to knot things at two. Headed to extras, Cedar Rapids watched Peoria push across a run in the top half of the 8th inning but this one was far from over. Encarnacion-Strand was standing on first base after a single, and a Morales ball back up the middle resulted in a force out at second base. Prato started the inning at second base and went to third on the play, but then scored on an errant throw by the second basemen. Camargo then launched one off the base of the right field wall and Morales scored the winning run coming around from first base. For the second time on the night, Cedar Rapids walked off Peoria. MUSSEL MATTERS Dunedin 5, Fort Myers 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels turned to Pierson Ohl this evening and he gave them four innings of work while allowing just two runs, one earned. Despite five hits, Ohl walked just one and punched out four batters on the night. After getting down 1-0, Fort Myers responded with a two-spot in the fourth inning. Mikey Perez drove in Kyler Fedko with a single before a Ernie Yake sacrifice fly scored Jesus Feliz. The lead wouldn’t last however as Dunedin knotted things in the bottom half of the inning. Unfortunately, that’s where the production ended for Fort Myers and two runs were all they could muster in this contest. Seven of nine starters recorded a base hit while everyone reached base, but no one put up a multi-hit effort. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Devin Smeltzer (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-3, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-2, 2 BB, 2K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, 2B, BB #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, 2K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-5, 4 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, BB, K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (47 pitches, 28 strikes) #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-3, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3 BB FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (6:05PM CST) - RHP JC Ramirez Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  14. Ronny Henriquez, who came over to the Minnesota Twins in the trade that sent Mitch Garver to the Rangers, made his 2022 debut for the St. Paul Saints. Here are some highlights of that outing, but first are highlights of a Twins 1-0 win at Kansas City. Also included in this video are Joe Ryan, Nick Gordon, Devin Smeltzer, Austin Martin and more.
  15. Ronny Henriquez, who came over to the Minnesota Twins in the trade that sent Mitch Garver to the Rangers, made his 2022 debut for the St. Paul Saints. Here are some highlights of that outing, but first are highlights of a Twins 1-0 win at Kansas City. Also included in this video are Joe Ryan, Nick Gordon, Devin Smeltzer, Austin Martin and more. View full video
  16. It’s never wise to place the “instant contributor” tag on any prospect. The early struggles of Bobby Witt Jr., baseball’s No. 1 prospect, and Spencer Torkelson, the first-round pick in the 2020 Draft, show that it’s unwise to expect immediate results from even the best rookie hitters. The Twins are struggling to score runs. Naturally, fans start to wonder about reinforcements. Who could give this group a boost? And more importantly, why should you believe it could be better in the future? Gary Sánchez, Carlos Correa, and Miguel Sanó are virtual locks to depart after the season, while Max Kepler enters the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2023. Gio Urshela is a clear non-tender candidate. There was significant turnover this offseason, especially in the rotation. We could see the same type of flip in the lineup next winter. It doesn’t have to start then, though. MLB Pipeline ranks three Twins hitters in their Top-100 Prospect Rankings. Royce Lewis (45) has dropped considerably since the Twins selected him with the first pick in 2017, but his talent is undeniable. Lewis is raking at Triple-A for the Saints. He’s hitting for power, drawing walks, using the opposite field, and stringing outstanding plays at shortstop. It’s still super early, but the early returns on Lewis are nothing short of remarkable. His production shouldn’t be a surprise to those who know how special his tools still are. The assumed plan to replace Correa with Lewis in 2023 looks sound so far. If things continue to go this well for him at Triple-A, it’s not crazy to think Lewis could join the Twins relatively soon. He’s the highest upside player in the entire system, and his previous prospect status would’ve placed him at a 2022 mid-season debut. While Lewis carries the most upside, Austin Martin’s floor feels the safest. Martin, ranked as the No. 51 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, is known for his quality of at-bat and elite ability to make contact. His skillset is a right-handed Luis Arraez, and that specific mastery tends to translate fastest. Martin may never develop real power, but it feels like he’s close to the majors even without it. The Twins’ Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2021 put together one of the best seasons the organization has ever seen. José Miranda, now a Top-100 prospect, led the minors in total bases and hit 30 homers across the two highest levels. He’s off to a slow start in 2022, but Miranda had an outside chance of making the team outright this spring. He’s likely the first call if a corner infielder gets hurt. The Twins are hoping that Lewis, Martin, and Miranda make up the heart of the lineup for the next half-decade, preferably as soon as possible. With Byron Buxton locked in, it’s easy to envision a potential core for the future. If things continue to stay downhill for the Twins’ offense, they have three top prospects who could help when the weather warms up.
  17. The hitters across the farm system enjoyed fruitful days at the plate. Read all about that and more in this edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS LHP Lewis Thorpe added to AAA St. Paul from Development List Saints Sentinel St. Paul 16, Indianapolis 13 Box Score Lewis Thorpe: 1 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K HR: Derek Fisher (2), Curtis Terry (3), Jermaine Palacios (1) Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (3-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B), Royce Lewis (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 2B, 3B), Curtis Terry (2-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR), Jermaine Palacios (4-for-4, 4 R, 2 RBI, HR) The Saints won a crazy game on Saturday. Lewis Thorpe took the bump for St. Paul; the recently outrighted left-hander was looking to impress in his first official start of the season. Things did not go well. Thorpe was tagged for a solo shot in the first inning, but the second inning proved to be most damaging as seven runners crossed home plate for Indianapolis. J.C. Ramirez had to be called in to end the madness. Down eight runs early, the Saints' bats remained unphased. Derek Fisher answered back with a two-run homer to cut the lead to six, while a Jose Miranda single knocked down the deficit to within one-hand-counting distance. But the team was not done yet. In the third inning, St. Paul harassed Jerad Eickhoff and southpaw-Frenchman, Cam Vieaux to the tune of five runs—just enough to knot the game at eight. The game remained a slugfest until the bell rung in the ninth inning. Indianapolis would take a three-run lead, Curtis Terry would erase it; Indianapolis jumped ahead later, then Miranda and Royce Lewis negated it. Eventually, Jermaine Palacios yelled enough and blasted a two-run homer that cemented the Saints’ lead for good. Royce Lewis, once again, was the star of the show. He unleashed three crucial extra-base hits from the DH spot that either ignited a rally or stoked the flames of one. It would be difficult to have a better start to the season (although Christian Encarnacion-Strand is making a case). Jermaine Palacios’ 4-for-4 performance should not be ignored either. The 25-year-old started at left field instead of shortstop like usual and showed no discomfort by reaching base all five times he walked up to the plate. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 6, NW Arkansas 5 Box Score Chris Vallimont: 2 ⅓ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Spencer Steer (2-for-5), Dennis Ortega (2-for-5, 2 RBI), Michael Helman (2-for-5), Andrew Bechtold (2-for-5, R), Kevin Merrell (3-for-5, RBI) Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday. Chris Vallimont was handed the ball to start the game and did not have his best stuff. The righty struggles with command, walking five hitters before his day ended partway through the third inning. Hopefully, he can rebound in his next start. The offense kept the game within reach, however. Dennis Ortega brought home the first run of the game with a two-run single in the 5th inning, while Wichita drew the game even closer when Austin Martin scored in the 7th inning when the Naturals' defense threw the ball around the field. Martin later knotted the game with a clutch RBI single in the 8th inning. The game moved into extra innings, where the Wind Surge took advantage of the Manfred runner to plate two runs thanks to an Alex Isola sacrifice fly and a single from Kevin Merrell. Steven Klimek was shaky to close the game. He allowed a runner to score, and ultimately loaded the bases before inducing the final outs to end the game in favor of Wichita. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 10, Quad Cities 2 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K HR: Aaron Sabato (1), Jair Camargo (2, 3) Multi-hit games: Anthony Prato (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-6, 2 R), Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, 2B, HR), Jair Camargo (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR), Will Holland (2-for-5, R, 2B) The Kernels demolished their opponent on Saturday. Sawyer Gipson-Long set the tone on the mound with five masterful innings. The righty scattered three hits across his start while punching out an impressive nine batters in just 60 pitches. Talk about efficiency. Gipson-Long found a groove late last year, and he has continued to melt faces with the Kernels; he’ll certainly be in Wichita sooner than later. But that’s enough about pitching. Cedar Rapids’ bats were explosive early and often on Saturday. Aaron Sabato smacked a three-run homer in the first inning, Jair Camargo sent a solo shot over the wall in the second, Jeferson Morales tripled home a run in the third, Camargo hit another homer in the fourth, and, well, you get the idea. In total, the Kernels bopped seven extra-base hits in the game with a fairly even distribution of damage amongst all hitters. Derek Molina concluded the game with two shutout innings and four strikeouts. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 2, Jupiter 6 Box Score David Festa: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Kyler Fedko (3-for-3, R, RBI, 2B) The Mighty Mussels lost a rain-shortened game on Saturday. David Festa took the mound for the second Saturday in a row, and much like the previous week, he flashed dominant ability with eight strikeouts over five efficient innings. Tom Froemming notes that he topped out at 97.2 MPH with his fastball. Offensively, the game was a struggle for the Fort Myers bats. Thanks to RBI doubles from Kyler Fedko and Kala’i Rosario, the Mighty Mussels took a quick lead, but those would prove to be the only two runs of the day for the team. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had enough of Fort Myers’ winning streak, and the higher powers convened to snap the team’s seven-game run in the 6th inning. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios/Jair Camargo PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, K #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 2B, 3B, #3 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B #9 – Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 5 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-5, 2 K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, 2 K #18 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-5, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Jake Faria Wichita @ NW Arkansas (2:05 PM) - RHP Brandon Lawson Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (1:00 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek Jupiter @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - RHP Travis Adams View full article
  18. TRANSACTIONS LHP Lewis Thorpe added to AAA St. Paul from Development List Saints Sentinel St. Paul 16, Indianapolis 13 Box Score Lewis Thorpe: 1 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K HR: Derek Fisher (2), Curtis Terry (3), Jermaine Palacios (1) Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (3-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B), Royce Lewis (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 2B, 3B), Curtis Terry (2-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR), Jermaine Palacios (4-for-4, 4 R, 2 RBI, HR) The Saints won a crazy game on Saturday. Lewis Thorpe took the bump for St. Paul; the recently outrighted left-hander was looking to impress in his first official start of the season. Things did not go well. Thorpe was tagged for a solo shot in the first inning, but the second inning proved to be most damaging as seven runners crossed home plate for Indianapolis. J.C. Ramirez had to be called in to end the madness. Down eight runs early, the Saints' bats remained unphased. Derek Fisher answered back with a two-run homer to cut the lead to six, while a Jose Miranda single knocked down the deficit to within one-hand-counting distance. But the team was not done yet. In the third inning, St. Paul harassed Jerad Eickhoff and southpaw-Frenchman, Cam Vieaux to the tune of five runs—just enough to knot the game at eight. The game remained a slugfest until the bell rung in the ninth inning. Indianapolis would take a three-run lead, Curtis Terry would erase it; Indianapolis jumped ahead later, then Miranda and Royce Lewis negated it. Eventually, Jermaine Palacios yelled enough and blasted a two-run homer that cemented the Saints’ lead for good. Royce Lewis, once again, was the star of the show. He unleashed three crucial extra-base hits from the DH spot that either ignited a rally or stoked the flames of one. It would be difficult to have a better start to the season (although Christian Encarnacion-Strand is making a case). Jermaine Palacios’ 4-for-4 performance should not be ignored either. The 25-year-old started at left field instead of shortstop like usual and showed no discomfort by reaching base all five times he walked up to the plate. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 6, NW Arkansas 5 Box Score Chris Vallimont: 2 ⅓ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Spencer Steer (2-for-5), Dennis Ortega (2-for-5, 2 RBI), Michael Helman (2-for-5), Andrew Bechtold (2-for-5, R), Kevin Merrell (3-for-5, RBI) Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday. Chris Vallimont was handed the ball to start the game and did not have his best stuff. The righty struggles with command, walking five hitters before his day ended partway through the third inning. Hopefully, he can rebound in his next start. The offense kept the game within reach, however. Dennis Ortega brought home the first run of the game with a two-run single in the 5th inning, while Wichita drew the game even closer when Austin Martin scored in the 7th inning when the Naturals' defense threw the ball around the field. Martin later knotted the game with a clutch RBI single in the 8th inning. The game moved into extra innings, where the Wind Surge took advantage of the Manfred runner to plate two runs thanks to an Alex Isola sacrifice fly and a single from Kevin Merrell. Steven Klimek was shaky to close the game. He allowed a runner to score, and ultimately loaded the bases before inducing the final outs to end the game in favor of Wichita. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 10, Quad Cities 2 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K HR: Aaron Sabato (1), Jair Camargo (2, 3) Multi-hit games: Anthony Prato (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-6, 2 R), Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, 2B, HR), Jair Camargo (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR), Will Holland (2-for-5, R, 2B) The Kernels demolished their opponent on Saturday. Sawyer Gipson-Long set the tone on the mound with five masterful innings. The righty scattered three hits across his start while punching out an impressive nine batters in just 60 pitches. Talk about efficiency. Gipson-Long found a groove late last year, and he has continued to melt faces with the Kernels; he’ll certainly be in Wichita sooner than later. But that’s enough about pitching. Cedar Rapids’ bats were explosive early and often on Saturday. Aaron Sabato smacked a three-run homer in the first inning, Jair Camargo sent a solo shot over the wall in the second, Jeferson Morales tripled home a run in the third, Camargo hit another homer in the fourth, and, well, you get the idea. In total, the Kernels bopped seven extra-base hits in the game with a fairly even distribution of damage amongst all hitters. Derek Molina concluded the game with two shutout innings and four strikeouts. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 2, Jupiter 6 Box Score David Festa: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Kyler Fedko (3-for-3, R, RBI, 2B) The Mighty Mussels lost a rain-shortened game on Saturday. David Festa took the mound for the second Saturday in a row, and much like the previous week, he flashed dominant ability with eight strikeouts over five efficient innings. Tom Froemming notes that he topped out at 97.2 MPH with his fastball. Offensively, the game was a struggle for the Fort Myers bats. Thanks to RBI doubles from Kyler Fedko and Kala’i Rosario, the Mighty Mussels took a quick lead, but those would prove to be the only two runs of the day for the team. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had enough of Fort Myers’ winning streak, and the higher powers convened to snap the team’s seven-game run in the 6th inning. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios/Jair Camargo PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, K #2 – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 2B, 3B, #3 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B #9 – Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 5 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-5, 2 K #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, 2 K #18 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-5, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Jake Faria Wichita @ NW Arkansas (2:05 PM) - RHP Brandon Lawson Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (1:00 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek Jupiter @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - RHP Travis Adams
  19. The Minnesota Twins lost at Boston 4-0 Saturday but there were a couple bright spots form young guys. After Sonny Gray exited with a hamstring injury in the second inning, Josh Winder took over and was solid in emergency relief. Also, Trevor Larnach collected three hits, all of them to the opposite field. Also featured in this video are Royce Lewis, José Miranda, Austin Martin, Aaron Sabato, Jair Camargo, Sawyer Gipson-Long and more.
  20. The Minnesota Twins lost at Boston 4-0 Saturday but there were a couple bright spots form young guys. After Sonny Gray exited with a hamstring injury in the second inning, Josh Winder took over and was solid in emergency relief. Also, Trevor Larnach collected three hits, all of them to the opposite field. Also featured in this video are Royce Lewis, José Miranda, Austin Martin, Aaron Sabato, Jair Camargo, Sawyer Gipson-Long and more. View full video
  21. Minnesota Twins defending Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland was dominant tonight for the Wichita Wind Surge, striking out 10 batters over 5 2/3 shutout innings. Here's highlights of that performance as well as some of Austin Martin, Spencer Steer, Anthony Prato, Seth Gray, Charles Mack, Osiris German and more.
  22. Minnesota Twins defending Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland was dominant tonight for the Wichita Wind Surge, striking out 10 batters over 5 2/3 shutout innings. Here's highlights of that performance as well as some of Austin Martin, Spencer Steer, Anthony Prato, Seth Gray, Charles Mack, Osiris German and more. View full video
  23. Chris Paddack made his Minnesota Twins debut, laboring through four innings but showing a competitive spirit. Cole Sands was the starter for the St. Paul Saints and pitched five innings of one-run ball. Those two lineups -- the Twins and Saints -- combined for one hit tonight. Ouch. Also featured in this video are Matt Canterino, Austin Martin and Andrew Bechtold. Steve Hajjar made his minor league debut for the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels tonight.
  24. Chris Paddack made his Minnesota Twins debut, laboring through four innings but showing a competitive spirit. Cole Sands was the starter for the St. Paul Saints and pitched five innings of one-run ball. Those two lineups -- the Twins and Saints -- combined for one hit tonight. Ouch. Also featured in this video are Matt Canterino, Austin Martin and Andrew Bechtold. Steve Hajjar made his minor league debut for the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels tonight. View full video
  25. Every trade deadline, teams are declared winners or losers. So, how did the Twins fare on a whirlwind day? DH Nelson Cruz to Rays for RHPs Joe Ryan and Drew Stotman Many of the Twins' moves project to have positive results. On an expiring contract, Nelson Cruz was dealt for two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. There are plenty of questions about the team’s rotation for 2022, so adding two more pitchers to the mix can only help the organization’s pitching depth. The Cruz deal was far from the only one that made headlines. RHP Jose Berrios to Blue Jays for SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson José Berríos was dealt for a pair of top-100 prospects, which seems like a high price to pay for just over a year of Berríos. The Dodgers traded for starting pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner and received a similar trade package in return. Even the website, Baseball Trade Values believes the Blue Jays overpaid. LHP J.A. Happ to Cardinals for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk Speaking of teams that overpaid, the Twins found a taker for JA Happ, as the Cardinals were willing to trade for him. He’s been bad for most of the season, and his recent numbers don’t point to him improving. It seemed more likely for the Twins to designated him for assignment instead of finding a trade partner, but it was a crazy trade deadline, to say the least. RHP Hansel Robles to Red Sox for RHP Alex Scherff Robles, like Cruz, was on an expiring contract and plenty of contenders were looking for relief help. Minnesota signed Robles for $2 million this off-season and he's had some up-and-down moments as part of a Twins bullpen that has struggled for the majority of the season. Relief pitching can be fickle and Boston hopes Robles can find some of his previous successes. From Minnesota's perspective, the front office has to be happy to get any value back for a player that wasn't part of the team's long-term plans. Who Wasn't Traded? Not every part of the trade deadline was positive for the Twins. Minnesota had multiple players on expiring contracts that stayed with the team, including Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons. Pineda is the biggest head-scratcher as the trade market seemed hot for starting pitching. As the smoke cleared, the front office said the right things, but there doesn’t seem to be much value in keeping him around until season’s end. There were plenty of other rumors circulating on Friday, including some big names for the Twins. There was a chance of a Byron Buxton deal with multiple teams interested in the centerfielder. For good reasons, Minnesota’s price was likely high, and there will still be an opportunity to revisit trades this winter. There may also be a chance to revisit a contract extension with Buxton, especially with the young core the organization has built in the minor leagues. Another missed opportunity was parting ways with Josh Donaldson, as his name had been out in the rumor mill throughout the last few weeks. Minnesota signed Donaldson to his four-year deal, knowing that he may decline toward the backend of the contract. He has been relatively healthy this year and producing as one of the league’s best third basemen. This trade deadline might have been his peak trade value, especially since it’s tough to imagine the Twins contending in 2022. Overall, this might go down as a franchise-altering day in Twins history. However, there were some missed opportunities along the way. Now it might be a couple of years before fans know if the team indeed won or lost the 2021 trade deadline. Do you think the Twins were winners or losers at the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
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