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  1. Austin Martin’s time in the Twins organization hasn’t gone perfectly. After struggling through most of 2022, he may have finally broken out over the last month. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge Hitting was never supposed to be a problem for Austin Martin. He was widely considered the top college bat in the 2020 MLB Draft after finishing a tremendous three years at Vanderbilt. In three seasons, he hit .368/.474/.532 (1.007) with 43 steals and more walks (85) than strikeouts (82). During his sophomore season, he posted a 1.091 OPS with 33 extra-base hits in 65 games as he helped Vanderbilt win the 2019 College World Series. Toronto had to be excited when Martin fell to them with the fifth overall pick in 2020, which will be an intriguing draft to examine in future years. The pandemic wiped out college and high school seasons, so it became challenging to scout players without any games to watch. Martin received the draft’s second-highest signing bonus, but his professional debut had to wait until 2021. All three national prospect rankings put Martin in their top-25 prospects entering the 2021 season. The Blue Jays were aggressive with him by sending him directly to Double-A. In his first 56 games, he hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with 14 extra-base hits and a 53-to-37 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota acquired him at the trade deadline as part of the Jose Berrios deal. His OPS dropped to .779, but he collected 11 extra-base hits in 37 games. His prospect stock dropped a little, but he’d still be considered one of baseball’s top-55 prospects entering the 2022 campaign. Minnesota sent Martin back to Double-A for the 2022 season, hoping his performance would warrant a move up the organizational ladder. For various reasons, Martin’s performance has struggled in 2022, with a wrist injury weakening his power. His OPS dropped from .796 in 2021 to .685 in 92 games this season. He suffered a wrist injury while diving for a ball at the beginning of July, but he has returned strongly to end the season. In September, Martin compiled his best numbers of the season as he hit .277/.392/.431 (.823). His OPS was over 100 points higher than any other month in the season, and two of his three home runs came this month. Martin has been over a year younger than the competition at his level, and over 78% of his at-bats have come against older pitchers. After a bleak season, it helps to end the season on a positive note. Martin will get the opportunity to build off his strong September by representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League. He will be one of the team’s top prospects participating in the AFL this season, and it can be an important opportunity for players closing in on the big leagues. Last season, Matt Wallner headed to the AFL and used it as a springboard for a tremendous 2022 season. Wallner was recently named the Twins Daily Minor League Player of the Year. Next season, Martin will begin the season as a 24-year-old with over 180 games played at the Double-A level. He is no longer considered a top-100 prospect, and many have dropped him out of the top-10 prospects in the Twins organization. He has plenty to prove in 2023, and the Twins hope this September is the beginning of him getting back on track. What do you think Martin can prove in the AFL? Is this September a positive sign for the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. In a must-win game for the Wichita Wind Surge to keep their Texas League Championship hopes alive, they got a dominating start from Brent Headrick when they needed it. Would it be enough? Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (photo of Brent Headrick) TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the organization ahead of Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 3, St. Paul 10 Box Score The St. Paul Saints took care of business on Tuesday, riding home runs from David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, and Roy Morales to a 10-3 victory in their penultimate game of the season against the Omaha Storm Chasers. Right-hander Jordan Balazovic got the start, and was solid over five innings, allowing his only run of the game on a solo homer in the fifth inning. In all, he completed five frames, allowing three hits, walking three, and striking out five. While it wasn’t the season Balazovic or fans were hoping for, he did finish the season much better than he started. Over his final five starts, he allowed two or fewer runs in four of them and struck out 30 over those 21 innings. St. Paul got the scoring started in the third inning thanks to an RBI triple from Dalton Shuffield, followed by an RBI double from Michael Helman. Cole Sands came on for the start of the sixth inning and would complete three frames, being charged win a blown save but also the win for his efforts. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out three. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, David Banuelos tied the game with a solo home run, before the Saints exploded in the eighth inning. They sent 10 men to the plate, and seven of them scored thanks in large part to the home runs from Bechtold and Morales. Evan Sisk then shut the door with a perfect ninth, striking out two, to close out on a high note in a season full of them for Twins Daily’s 2022 Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Bechtold (2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Banuelos (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, RBI), and Shuffield (2-for-4, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI, SB) had multiple hits in the game. Morales drove in three, and Nash Knight added a double. WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Championship Series (Game 2 of 3) Frisco 7, Wichita 5 (10 innings) Box Score Down 1-0 in their League Championship Series, the Wichita Wind Surge called upon Brent Headrick to keep their title dreams alive. He would be facing off against 2021’s number two overall draft pick, Jack Leiter of the Frisco RoughRiders. Though Leiter had success against Wichita during the regular season, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 16 across two games and 11 innings, Austin Martin and Edouard Julien were ready for him on this night. Martin led off the bottom of the first with a double to center field, and Julien followed with a double into the right-center gap to make it 1-0 early. In the second inning, Leobaldo Cabrera, Martin, and Julien all drew walks to end Leiter’s night after just 1 2/3 innings. They were not able to score any of those runners after his exit, but they wouldn’t need any more for the first seven innings. That’s because Headrick was the pitcher who looked like the top prospect in this one. He tied his career high for strikeouts in finishing seven shutout innings. He allowed just three hits, walked none, and punched out 11 in a dominating effort. Of his 95 pitches, 64 went for strikes (67%) and included 15 swinging strikes. He struck out multiple hitters in each of the second, third, fourth, and sixth innings to keep his team in the lead. From the second through the seventh inning, the Wind Surge had opportunities to extend their lead, but couldn’t take advantage, leaving eight men on base in that timeframe. Bullpen stalwart Cody Laweryson came on for the eighth inning, but after striking out the first hitter he faced ran into some trouble. A walk followed by a double resulted in the RoughRiders first run of the game, and an error on the play put the tying run 90 just feet away. A sac fly to the next batter tied the game at two before Laweryson was able to escape the jam. In the bottom of the eighth the Wind Surge were able to manufacture a run to retake the lead, but again squandered opportunities to put the game away. Brooks Lee led off with a single, Anthony Prato drew a walk, then a bunt from DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led to a throwing error and a 3-2 lead. It wasn’t enough again, as Casey Legumina allowed a leadoff single, then a two-out walk, and another single to tie it at three. A pair of walks in the bottom half gave Wichita a chance, but it would go to extra innings. Back out for the tenth, Legumina recorded one out but an RBI single put the RoughRiders out front for the first time in the game, then a walk brought in Alex Phillips to try and keep it close. Three consecutive singles broke it open for Frisco, and they’d take a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the tenth. With the runner starting on second base, DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led off with a two-run home run to make it 7-5, and they’d get the tying run into the batter's box, but it wasn’t meant to be. The Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas Rangers organization, are your 2022 Texas League Champions, rallying late to steal the game after Headrick’s fantastic outing. Martin finished the game 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and drew three walks. Julien was 2-for-5 with a double, RBI, and walk. Brooks Lee finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and walk. Keirsey Jr. also chipped in two hits on the game, including his 2-run home run. Despite the loss, congratulations on a great season to the Wichita Wind Surge! TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (7 IP, 3 H, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - David Banuelos, St. Paul Saints (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-4, R, BB #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 2B, 3 BB, K #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - W, 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CDT) - RHP Randy Dobnak (1-2, 7.04 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! View full article
  3. Brent Headrick struck out 11 batters over seven shutout innings for the Wichita Wind Surge in their Texas League championship series game tonight. Unfortunately, Wichita would lose in extra innings, ending their season. There are tons of highlights from that wild game including players such as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, Jair Camargo, Brooks Lee, DaShawn Keirsey Jr. and more. This is the final one of these system recap videos for the season. Thank you all so much for watching.
  4. Brent Headrick struck out 11 batters over seven shutout innings for the Wichita Wind Surge in their Texas League championship series game tonight. Unfortunately, Wichita would lose in extra innings, ending their season. There are tons of highlights from that wild game including players such as Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, Jair Camargo, Brooks Lee, DaShawn Keirsey Jr. and more. This is the final one of these system recap videos for the season. Thank you all so much for watching. View full video
  5. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the organization ahead of Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 3, St. Paul 10 Box Score The St. Paul Saints took care of business on Tuesday, riding home runs from David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, and Roy Morales to a 10-3 victory in their penultimate game of the season against the Omaha Storm Chasers. Right-hander Jordan Balazovic got the start, and was solid over five innings, allowing his only run of the game on a solo homer in the fifth inning. In all, he completed five frames, allowing three hits, walking three, and striking out five. While it wasn’t the season Balazovic or fans were hoping for, he did finish the season much better than he started. Over his final five starts, he allowed two or fewer runs in four of them and struck out 30 over those 21 innings. St. Paul got the scoring started in the third inning thanks to an RBI triple from Dalton Shuffield, followed by an RBI double from Michael Helman. Cole Sands came on for the start of the sixth inning and would complete three frames, being charged win a blown save but also the win for his efforts. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out three. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, David Banuelos tied the game with a solo home run, before the Saints exploded in the eighth inning. They sent 10 men to the plate, and seven of them scored thanks in large part to the home runs from Bechtold and Morales. Evan Sisk then shut the door with a perfect ninth, striking out two, to close out on a high note in a season full of them for Twins Daily’s 2022 Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Bechtold (2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Banuelos (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, RBI), and Shuffield (2-for-4, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI, SB) had multiple hits in the game. Morales drove in three, and Nash Knight added a double. WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Championship Series (Game 2 of 3) Frisco 7, Wichita 5 (10 innings) Box Score Down 1-0 in their League Championship Series, the Wichita Wind Surge called upon Brent Headrick to keep their title dreams alive. He would be facing off against 2021’s number two overall draft pick, Jack Leiter of the Frisco RoughRiders. Though Leiter had success against Wichita during the regular season, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 16 across two games and 11 innings, Austin Martin and Edouard Julien were ready for him on this night. Martin led off the bottom of the first with a double to center field, and Julien followed with a double into the right-center gap to make it 1-0 early. In the second inning, Leobaldo Cabrera, Martin, and Julien all drew walks to end Leiter’s night after just 1 2/3 innings. They were not able to score any of those runners after his exit, but they wouldn’t need any more for the first seven innings. That’s because Headrick was the pitcher who looked like the top prospect in this one. He tied his career high for strikeouts in finishing seven shutout innings. He allowed just three hits, walked none, and punched out 11 in a dominating effort. Of his 95 pitches, 64 went for strikes (67%) and included 15 swinging strikes. He struck out multiple hitters in each of the second, third, fourth, and sixth innings to keep his team in the lead. From the second through the seventh inning, the Wind Surge had opportunities to extend their lead, but couldn’t take advantage, leaving eight men on base in that timeframe. Bullpen stalwart Cody Laweryson came on for the eighth inning, but after striking out the first hitter he faced ran into some trouble. A walk followed by a double resulted in the RoughRiders first run of the game, and an error on the play put the tying run 90 just feet away. A sac fly to the next batter tied the game at two before Laweryson was able to escape the jam. In the bottom of the eighth the Wind Surge were able to manufacture a run to retake the lead, but again squandered opportunities to put the game away. Brooks Lee led off with a single, Anthony Prato drew a walk, then a bunt from DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led to a throwing error and a 3-2 lead. It wasn’t enough again, as Casey Legumina allowed a leadoff single, then a two-out walk, and another single to tie it at three. A pair of walks in the bottom half gave Wichita a chance, but it would go to extra innings. Back out for the tenth, Legumina recorded one out but an RBI single put the RoughRiders out front for the first time in the game, then a walk brought in Alex Phillips to try and keep it close. Three consecutive singles broke it open for Frisco, and they’d take a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the tenth. With the runner starting on second base, DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led off with a two-run home run to make it 7-5, and they’d get the tying run into the batter's box, but it wasn’t meant to be. The Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas Rangers organization, are your 2022 Texas League Champions, rallying late to steal the game after Headrick’s fantastic outing. Martin finished the game 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and drew three walks. Julien was 2-for-5 with a double, RBI, and walk. Brooks Lee finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and walk. Keirsey Jr. also chipped in two hits on the game, including his 2-run home run. Despite the loss, congratulations on a great season to the Wichita Wind Surge! TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (7 IP, 3 H, 11 K) Hitter of the Day - David Banuelos, St. Paul Saints (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-4, R, BB #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 2B, 3 BB, K #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - W, 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CDT) - RHP Randy Dobnak (1-2, 7.04 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  6. Hitting was never supposed to be a problem for Austin Martin. He was widely considered the top college bat in the 2020 MLB Draft after finishing a tremendous three years at Vanderbilt. In three seasons, he hit .368/.474/.532 (1.007) with 43 steals and more walks (85) than strikeouts (82). During his sophomore season, he posted a 1.091 OPS with 33 extra-base hits in 65 games as he helped Vanderbilt win the 2019 College World Series. Toronto had to be excited when Martin fell to them with the fifth overall pick in 2020, which will be an intriguing draft to examine in future years. The pandemic wiped out college and high school seasons, so it became challenging to scout players without any games to watch. Martin received the draft’s second-highest signing bonus, but his professional debut had to wait until 2021. All three national prospect rankings put Martin in their top-25 prospects entering the 2021 season. The Blue Jays were aggressive with him by sending him directly to Double-A. In his first 56 games, he hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with 14 extra-base hits and a 53-to-37 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota acquired him at the trade deadline as part of the Jose Berrios deal. His OPS dropped to .779, but he collected 11 extra-base hits in 37 games. His prospect stock dropped a little, but he’d still be considered one of baseball’s top-55 prospects entering the 2022 campaign. Minnesota sent Martin back to Double-A for the 2022 season, hoping his performance would warrant a move up the organizational ladder. For various reasons, Martin’s performance has struggled in 2022, with a wrist injury weakening his power. His OPS dropped from .796 in 2021 to .685 in 92 games this season. He suffered a wrist injury while diving for a ball at the beginning of July, but he has returned strongly to end the season. In September, Martin compiled his best numbers of the season as he hit .277/.392/.431 (.823). His OPS was over 100 points higher than any other month in the season, and two of his three home runs came this month. Martin has been over a year younger than the competition at his level, and over 78% of his at-bats have come against older pitchers. After a bleak season, it helps to end the season on a positive note. Martin will get the opportunity to build off his strong September by representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League. He will be one of the team’s top prospects participating in the AFL this season, and it can be an important opportunity for players closing in on the big leagues. Last season, Matt Wallner headed to the AFL and used it as a springboard for a tremendous 2022 season. Wallner was recently named the Twins Daily Minor League Player of the Year. Next season, Martin will begin the season as a 24-year-old with over 180 games played at the Double-A level. He is no longer considered a top-100 prospect, and many have dropped him out of the top-10 prospects in the Twins organization. He has plenty to prove in 2023, and the Twins hope this September is the beginning of him getting back on track. What do you think Martin can prove in the AFL? Is this September a positive sign for the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. If the Minnesota Twins are going to bounce back next year, it will take more than savvy offseason moves from the front office. Impact veterans help but, as we've seen with Carlos Correa, they can't do it all. The Twins were partly derailed this year by a lack of expected contributions from key players in the system, including the following three premier talents. Unfortunately, their setback seasons will cast a shadow forward onto 2023. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (Austin Martin) Coming into the 2022 season, Twins Daily ranked Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino as the first, fourth, and sixth best prospects in the organization, respectively. Not only were they high-caliber talents with polish and big upside, but they were all more or less on the precipice of major-league readiness. In each case, things hardly could've gone worse. Whether performance, injury, or a combination, each of these critical assets saw his stock nosedive over the past summer, and it adds another layer of complexity for a front office trying to build its way back to contention. With that said, hope isn't lost for any of these three. Let's take a look at each of their campaigns so far, as things come close to wrapping up here in September. Austin Martin and the power that never came. The prize of last year's José Berríos trade at the deadline, Martin was billed as a near-ready prospect right out of the gates. It was warranted, after he led all of Double-A in on-base percentage during his first pro season. Despite his resounding success, Minnesota sent Martin back to the same level this year, no doubt hoping he'd shore up his biggest weakness from 2022 – an absence of power to complement the excellent OBP – and earn a quick call-up to Triple-A or even the majors. That didn't happen. Martin's power trended the wrong direction this year. After slugging .382 with a .127 ISO and five home runs in 418 PAs between New Hampshire and Wichita, this year he's slugging .317 with an .074 ISO and two home runs in 406 PAs at Wichita. Martin has kept his on-base skills steady, with a .367 OBP despite the crummy .241 average, but his lack of ability to drive the ball with any authority almost renders it moot. Posting a .685 OPS as a 23-year-old in your second turn at Double-A, with no apparent underlying injury, is nothing short of disastrous. Given all the injuries the Twins have faced this season, it's likely Martin would've gotten a chance at some point if he'd even modestly improved his production from a year ago. His drop-off eliminated that possibility and will leave him as something of an afterthought heading into 2023. Martin's going to tank on national prospect lists, where he ranked around #50 by consensus coming into the season. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Martin would hardly be the first player to develop significant power rapidly in his mid-20s. In fact, two "shortstop" prospects who came before him in the Twins system serve as optimistic precedents: Brain Dozier totaled 14 home runs in 317 games through his first three minor-league seasons. Five years later he would set an American League record by launching 42 as a second baseman in 2016. Jorge Polanco hit 35 total home runs total in 598 minor-league games, and could barely muster an XBH in his early days. He hit 33 home runs for the Twins last year. Jordan Balazovic's puzzling struggles in St. Paul. We had Balazovic ranked as the #1 pitcher in the system coming into this year, following a strong campaign at Double-A where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 rate as a 22-year-old. Relative to other arms in the system, Balazovic had a more consistent track record and more established workload base, which is why it seemed feasible to envision him playing a significant role in the Twins rotation this year. His abominable performance at Triple-A has done away with that notion entirely. Balazovic started a month late with the Saints due to a knee strain. While he ostensibly put that behind him, staying healthy enough to take the mound each sixth day, he has never seemed right at any point. The right-hander's performance with St. Paul has been beyond awful. In 62 ⅔ innings across 20 appearances, he's 0-6 with a 7.47 ERA. Opponents have slashed .342/.412/.625 against him, as both his walk and home run rates have spiraled out of control. Balazovic has made 19 starts for the Saints and completed five innings ONCE. In late June, Balazovic told Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press his struggles were "like a puzzle; every day it’s something new." "I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.” The big 6-foot-5 righty boiled his issues down to consistency and execution, but expressed hope he was getting closer to solving the puzzle. "I’m still hoping for that day," he said, "and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow." It wasn't. The following day he needed 60 pitches to get through 2 ⅔ innings against the Iowa Cubs, allowing five hits (two homers) and two walks. His next time out he coughed up five earned runs in three innings against Omaha. These have been typical results for Balazovic this year, and as a result he's slid down a pitching pipeline hierarchy that's already been depleted by the Chase Petty trade and the development we'll look at next. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Balazovic didn't quite follow through on his "hoping that day is tomorrow" goal, but he might not have been far off? While he bombed in his next two starts, he's been on a bit of a roll ever since, posting a 2.52 ERA and 29-to-11 K/BB ratio with just three homers allowed over 25 innings in his past six starts. Sometimes guys need to experience their worst to unlock their best. Balazovic has plenty of talent to rebound and get back on track. Matt Canterino and the elbow that finally gave way. Canterino's elbow is the only thing that's stood in his way. Drafted 54th overall in 2019 after blowing people away at Rice University for three years, the hard-throwing righty immediately started doing the same to professional hitters. In a 25-inning debut between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a 1.44 ERA with 31 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed. Then, the pandemic happened and wiped out the 2020 season. In 2021, he was limited to 23 total innings by a forearm strain (he posted a 0.78 ERA when he was able to pitch). This year, his elbow soreness re-emerged and while the Twins continually tried to navigate around it, treating surgery as a last resort, they eventually ran out of options. "It felt like we didn't have anymore stones to turn over," said assistant GM Jeremy Zoll. Unfortunately, the efforts to avoid surgery only delayed it, and now Canterino's prospective impact has also been pushed well down the line. Since he didn't undergo Tommy John until last month, Canterino will likely miss all of next year rehabbing, meaning that by the time he's ready to fully return to the mound, he'll be a 26-year-old with fewer than 100 innings as a pro. It's really difficult to come back from that. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Difficult, but not impossible. The biggest cost of all this lost time would theoretically be missed development for a guy who's barely been able to get in-game reps since being drafted three years ago. For Canterino, I'm not sure it matters as much. He's basically always looked like a guy ready for the majors when he's pitched, with raw stuff that speaks for itself. So long as that stuff remains mostly intact after the surgery, he'll have a chance to get back up to speed quickly and make his long-awaited impact on the bullpen, even if it's not until 2024. Feeling bummed out? I hear you! Make sure to check back tomorrow when I break down the most uplifting developments on the farm for the Twins this year ... Good news: I couldn't manage to limit that list to just three. View full article
  8. The Wichita Wind Surge got their playoff push started with a bang, blowing out the Tulsa Drillers in Game one of their Texas League Division Series. Multiple players delivered big blasts in the decisive victory, while a top pitching prospect continued to make a good impression in Triple-A. Image courtesy of of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge TRANSACTIONS Ahead of St. Paul’s game with Indianapolis, RHP Melvi Acosta was promoted from Wichita, and RHP Matt Mullenbach was also called up from Cedar Rapids. In addition to those moves, RHP Dereck Rodriguez was also outrighted to Triple-A. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 7 Box Score On Tuesday the St. Paul Saints kicked off their penultimate series of the season, against the Tulsa Drillers with right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson on the bump. His lineup gave him some run support before he even took the mound when Michael Helman led off the game with a single. He advanced to third after a fielder’s choice (no out recorded) and double-play ball, before a passed ball allowed him to scamper home. With the early lead, Woods Richardson came out ready to go. He delivered a one-two-three first inning, before striking out five hitters over his next two innings. Through five innings he had scattered four hits and kept Indianapolis off the scoreboard. Back out for the sixth, he finally ran into his first real trouble. A leadoff single was followed by a walk to put multiple runners on base, then three stolen bases allowed two consecutive sac flies to put the home team out front 2-1. Woods Richardson delivered a quality outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. He threw 85 pitches, with 61 going for strikes (72%), including 16 swinging. The Saints lineup picked him up in the top of the seventh, with a leadoff walk from Andrew Bechtold that was followed by a Dalton Shuffield home run, of the inside-the-park variety, to retake the lead. Just as quickly, however, the bullpen let their starter down. Devin Smeltzer gave up the game-tying home run in the seventh, then wasn’t able to record an out in the eighth before being replaced by Mario Sanchez. Smeltzer was charged with a blown save and loss, allowing three runs (two earned) in one-plus innings on two hits. He struck out one. Sanchez was then hit for two earned runs of his own, allowing four hits in his inning. St. Paul’s lineup was led by multiple hits from Bechtold (2-for-3, R, BB, K) and Shuffield (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. Trevor Larnach was 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout, while Ryan Jeffers was 0-for-4 in their rehabs. Wander Javier was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. As a team, the Saints were just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. Catcher Jose Godoy got some revenge on his former team and organization, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead Indianapolis. Number six Pirates prospect (per MLB.com) Endy Rodriguez, was 2-for-3 with an RBI double, batting fifth as the DH. WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Division Series (Game 1 of Best of 3 Series) Tulsa 1, Wichita 17 Box Score The Wind Surge never died down in this one, as they battered the Drillers from start to finish to take game one of their Division Series. A five-run second inning got the damage started, and before it was over they scored at least four runs in two other innings. They took advantage of nine walks by crushing three separate three-run homers among seven extra-base hits in the game. Those home runs came off the bats of DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Edouard Julien, and Anthony Prato. Austin Martin added a solo shot of his own, and Keirsey Jr. also added an RBI triple. Left-hander Brent Headrick got the start for Wichita and was fantastic for the first five innings, never letting the Drillers build any momentum in the blowout. He scattered six hits and allowed just an unearned run. He punched out eight hitters, including multiple in each of the first, third, and fourth innings. The recently fast-tracked Brooks Lee, got the party started with an RBI single in the second inning, and two batters later Keirsey Jr. delivered the first three-run blast of the game. After an RBI single from Prato in the third, a Jair Camargo RBI double and Alex Isola sac fly in the fourth, Wichita was already rolling 8-0. A four-run fifth included an RBI triple from Keirsey Jr., and then the Julien blast to make it 12-1. Martin led off the seventh with his home run, and later Prato slugged the Wind Surge’s third big blast of the night, giving them the final score of 17-1. After Headrick’s exit, relievers Osiris German, Jordan Gore, Blayne Enlow, and Casey Legumina combined to keep the Drillers stuck at one run to finish the final four innings, pitching one frame apiece. German struck out the side in the sixth, Gore two in the seventh, Enlow one in the eighth, and Legumina two in the ninth. As a staff, they combined for 16 K’s to just one walk. Martin (2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB), Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB), Camargo (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Lee (3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI), Prato (2-for-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), and Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI) all had multiple hits in the blowout victory. Game 2 of the Texas League Division series will be on Thursday in Tulsa, with right-hander (and no-hitter throwing) Daniel Gossett getting the starting nod for Wichita. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 8 K) Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, BB, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (12:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-6, 7.47 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! View full article
  9. TRANSACTIONS Ahead of St. Paul’s game with Indianapolis, RHP Melvi Acosta was promoted from Wichita, and RHP Matt Mullenbach was also called up from Cedar Rapids. In addition to those moves, RHP Dereck Rodriguez was also outrighted to Triple-A. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 7 Box Score On Tuesday the St. Paul Saints kicked off their penultimate series of the season, against the Tulsa Drillers with right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson on the bump. His lineup gave him some run support before he even took the mound when Michael Helman led off the game with a single. He advanced to third after a fielder’s choice (no out recorded) and double-play ball, before a passed ball allowed him to scamper home. With the early lead, Woods Richardson came out ready to go. He delivered a one-two-three first inning, before striking out five hitters over his next two innings. Through five innings he had scattered four hits and kept Indianapolis off the scoreboard. Back out for the sixth, he finally ran into his first real trouble. A leadoff single was followed by a walk to put multiple runners on base, then three stolen bases allowed two consecutive sac flies to put the home team out front 2-1. Woods Richardson delivered a quality outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. He threw 85 pitches, with 61 going for strikes (72%), including 16 swinging. The Saints lineup picked him up in the top of the seventh, with a leadoff walk from Andrew Bechtold that was followed by a Dalton Shuffield home run, of the inside-the-park variety, to retake the lead. Just as quickly, however, the bullpen let their starter down. Devin Smeltzer gave up the game-tying home run in the seventh, then wasn’t able to record an out in the eighth before being replaced by Mario Sanchez. Smeltzer was charged with a blown save and loss, allowing three runs (two earned) in one-plus innings on two hits. He struck out one. Sanchez was then hit for two earned runs of his own, allowing four hits in his inning. St. Paul’s lineup was led by multiple hits from Bechtold (2-for-3, R, BB, K) and Shuffield (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. Trevor Larnach was 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout, while Ryan Jeffers was 0-for-4 in their rehabs. Wander Javier was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. As a team, the Saints were just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. Catcher Jose Godoy got some revenge on his former team and organization, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead Indianapolis. Number six Pirates prospect (per MLB.com) Endy Rodriguez, was 2-for-3 with an RBI double, batting fifth as the DH. WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Division Series (Game 1 of Best of 3 Series) Tulsa 1, Wichita 17 Box Score The Wind Surge never died down in this one, as they battered the Drillers from start to finish to take game one of their Division Series. A five-run second inning got the damage started, and before it was over they scored at least four runs in two other innings. They took advantage of nine walks by crushing three separate three-run homers among seven extra-base hits in the game. Those home runs came off the bats of DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Edouard Julien, and Anthony Prato. Austin Martin added a solo shot of his own, and Keirsey Jr. also added an RBI triple. Left-hander Brent Headrick got the start for Wichita and was fantastic for the first five innings, never letting the Drillers build any momentum in the blowout. He scattered six hits and allowed just an unearned run. He punched out eight hitters, including multiple in each of the first, third, and fourth innings. The recently fast-tracked Brooks Lee, got the party started with an RBI single in the second inning, and two batters later Keirsey Jr. delivered the first three-run blast of the game. After an RBI single from Prato in the third, a Jair Camargo RBI double and Alex Isola sac fly in the fourth, Wichita was already rolling 8-0. A four-run fifth included an RBI triple from Keirsey Jr., and then the Julien blast to make it 12-1. Martin led off the seventh with his home run, and later Prato slugged the Wind Surge’s third big blast of the night, giving them the final score of 17-1. After Headrick’s exit, relievers Osiris German, Jordan Gore, Blayne Enlow, and Casey Legumina combined to keep the Drillers stuck at one run to finish the final four innings, pitching one frame apiece. German struck out the side in the sixth, Gore two in the seventh, Enlow one in the eighth, and Legumina two in the ninth. As a staff, they combined for 16 K’s to just one walk. Martin (2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB), Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB), Camargo (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Lee (3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI), Prato (2-for-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), and Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI) all had multiple hits in the blowout victory. Game 2 of the Texas League Division series will be on Thursday in Tulsa, with right-hander (and no-hitter throwing) Daniel Gossett getting the starting nod for Wichita. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 8 K) Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, BB, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (12:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-6, 7.47 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  10. Coming into the 2022 season, Twins Daily ranked Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino as the first, fourth, and sixth best prospects in the organization, respectively. Not only were they high-caliber talents with polish and big upside, but they were all more or less on the precipice of major-league readiness. In each case, things hardly could've gone worse. Whether performance, injury, or a combination, each of these critical assets saw his stock nosedive over the past summer, and it adds another layer of complexity for a front office trying to build its way back to contention. With that said, hope isn't lost for any of these three. Let's take a look at each of their campaigns so far, as things come close to wrapping up here in September. Austin Martin and the power that never came. The prize of last year's José Berríos trade at the deadline, Martin was billed as a near-ready prospect right out of the gates. It was warranted, after he led all of Double-A in on-base percentage during his first pro season. Despite his resounding success, Minnesota sent Martin back to the same level this year, no doubt hoping he'd shore up his biggest weakness from 2022 – an absence of power to complement the excellent OBP – and earn a quick call-up to Triple-A or even the majors. That didn't happen. Martin's power trended the wrong direction this year. After slugging .382 with a .127 ISO and five home runs in 418 PAs between New Hampshire and Wichita, this year he's slugging .317 with an .074 ISO and two home runs in 406 PAs at Wichita. Martin has kept his on-base skills steady, with a .367 OBP despite the crummy .241 average, but his lack of ability to drive the ball with any authority almost renders it moot. Posting a .685 OPS as a 23-year-old in your second turn at Double-A, with no apparent underlying injury, is nothing short of disastrous. Given all the injuries the Twins have faced this season, it's likely Martin would've gotten a chance at some point if he'd even modestly improved his production from a year ago. His drop-off eliminated that possibility and will leave him as something of an afterthought heading into 2023. Martin's going to tank on national prospect lists, where he ranked around #50 by consensus coming into the season. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Martin would hardly be the first player to develop significant power rapidly in his mid-20s. In fact, two "shortstop" prospects who came before him in the Twins system serve as optimistic precedents: Brain Dozier totaled 14 home runs in 317 games through his first three minor-league seasons. Five years later he would set an American League record by launching 42 as a second baseman in 2016. Jorge Polanco hit 35 total home runs total in 598 minor-league games, and could barely muster an XBH in his early days. He hit 33 home runs for the Twins last year. Jordan Balazovic's puzzling struggles in St. Paul. We had Balazovic ranked as the #1 pitcher in the system coming into this year, following a strong campaign at Double-A where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 rate as a 22-year-old. Relative to other arms in the system, Balazovic had a more consistent track record and more established workload base, which is why it seemed feasible to envision him playing a significant role in the Twins rotation this year. His abominable performance at Triple-A has done away with that notion entirely. Balazovic started a month late with the Saints due to a knee strain. While he ostensibly put that behind him, staying healthy enough to take the mound each sixth day, he has never seemed right at any point. The right-hander's performance with St. Paul has been beyond awful. In 62 ⅔ innings across 20 appearances, he's 0-6 with a 7.47 ERA. Opponents have slashed .342/.412/.625 against him, as both his walk and home run rates have spiraled out of control. Balazovic has made 19 starts for the Saints and completed five innings ONCE. In late June, Balazovic told Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press his struggles were "like a puzzle; every day it’s something new." "I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.” The big 6-foot-5 righty boiled his issues down to consistency and execution, but expressed hope he was getting closer to solving the puzzle. "I’m still hoping for that day," he said, "and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow." It wasn't. The following day he needed 60 pitches to get through 2 ⅔ innings against the Iowa Cubs, allowing five hits (two homers) and two walks. His next time out he coughed up five earned runs in three innings against Omaha. These have been typical results for Balazovic this year, and as a result he's slid down a pitching pipeline hierarchy that's already been depleted by the Chase Petty trade and the development we'll look at next. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Balazovic didn't quite follow through on his "hoping that day is tomorrow" goal, but he might not have been far off? While he bombed in his next two starts, he's been on a bit of a roll ever since, posting a 2.52 ERA and 29-to-11 K/BB ratio with just three homers allowed over 25 innings in his past six starts. Sometimes guys need to experience their worst to unlock their best. Balazovic has plenty of talent to rebound and get back on track. Matt Canterino and the elbow that finally gave way. Canterino's elbow is the only thing that's stood in his way. Drafted 54th overall in 2019 after blowing people away at Rice University for three years, the hard-throwing righty immediately started doing the same to professional hitters. In a 25-inning debut between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a 1.44 ERA with 31 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed. Then, the pandemic happened and wiped out the 2020 season. In 2021, he was limited to 23 total innings by a forearm strain (he posted a 0.78 ERA when he was able to pitch). This year, his elbow soreness re-emerged and while the Twins continually tried to navigate around it, treating surgery as a last resort, they eventually ran out of options. "It felt like we didn't have anymore stones to turn over," said assistant GM Jeremy Zoll. Unfortunately, the efforts to avoid surgery only delayed it, and now Canterino's prospective impact has also been pushed well down the line. Since he didn't undergo Tommy John until last month, Canterino will likely miss all of next year rehabbing, meaning that by the time he's ready to fully return to the mound, he'll be a 26-year-old with fewer than 100 innings as a pro. It's really difficult to come back from that. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Difficult, but not impossible. The biggest cost of all this lost time would theoretically be missed development for a guy who's barely been able to get in-game reps since being drafted three years ago. For Canterino, I'm not sure it matters as much. He's basically always looked like a guy ready for the majors when he's pitched, with raw stuff that speaks for itself. So long as that stuff remains mostly intact after the surgery, he'll have a chance to get back up to speed quickly and make his long-awaited impact on the bullpen, even if it's not until 2024. Feeling bummed out? I hear you! Make sure to check back tomorrow when I break down the most uplifting developments on the farm for the Twins this year ... Good news: I couldn't manage to limit that list to just three.
  11. The Wind Surge won and Ryan Jeffers late inning heroics helped push the Saints over Louisville. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints TRANSACTIONS OF Matt Wallner was assigned to the Minnesota Twins Taxi Squad C Ryan Jeffers assigned to the St. Paul Saints on Major League rehab INF Jorge Polanco assigned to the St. Paul Saints on Major League rehab RHP Randy Dobnak cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to the St. Paul Saints RHP Bailey Ober has completed his Major League rehab and returned to Minnesota Twins OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Twins Austin Martin, Edouard Julien Alex Isola, Denny Bentley, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, and Ryan Shreve to participate in Arizona Fall League SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Louisville 6, F/10 Box Score The Saints took down the Bats in dramatic fashion Friday evening after trailing for the vast majority of the game. Down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Jeffers three-run home run tied the game up at 5-5. After failing to score with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and surrendering a run in the top of the 10th, St. Paul filled the bags again following a Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3, 2B, BB) double and a Chris Williams (0-for-2, 3 BB, HBP) hit by pitch. Andrew Bechtold (0-for-4, RBI, 2 BB) tied the game with a walk and Nash Knight (3-for-3, RBI, 3 BB) brought home the winning run on a walk-off single. In less fun news, Jorge Polanco exited the game after five innings. He was originally slated to play seven innings. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Midland 1 Box Score Daniel Gossett continued his strong season for the Wind Surge, shutting down the RockHounds to help his team pull off a close victory. He threw five innings and struck out seven while surrendering a single run. His ERA dropped to 2.26 on the year. Denny Bentley, Jordan Gore, Francis Peguero, and Alex Phillips pitched lights out from the pen, striking out two and allowing only a single Midland batter to reach base in four innings of work. Edouard Julien led the Wichita charge offensively, going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI, and a walk. Austin Martin (2-for-4) was the only Wind Surge batter to register multiple hits. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 9, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score The Kernels’ season came to a close Friday night as they fell to the Cubs, dropping the Division Series contest, 2-1. South Bend touched starter Orlando Rodriguez for four runs in the top of the first, a total that was ultimately enough to secure the win. Rodriguez recorded just one out in the game. He was followed by six more Kernels pitchers. Cedar Rapids managed only four hits on the night, all of them singles. Mikey Perez (1-for-3, 2 RBI) and Willie Joe Garry Jr. (1-for-3, RBI) plated the Kernels’ runs. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 3: Fort Myers vs. Dunedin, PPD Series tied 1-1 Darn rain. They plan to try to get it in on Saturday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Daniel Gossett (Wichita): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul): 2-for-6, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Louisville (7:07 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (7-4, 5.02 ERA) Wichita @ Midland (5:00 CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (5-0, 0.82 ERA) Wichita @ Midland (TBD CST) - TBD Fort Myers vs. Dunedin (11:00 am CST) - TBD View full article
  12. Major League Baseball has released the initial full rosters of prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League, which starts this year on October 3rd. Headlining the Minnesota Twins prospects are Austin Martin and Edouard Julien. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey (Wichita Wind Surge), Steve Buhr (Cedar Rapids Kernels) Joining infielders Austin Martin and Edouard Julien on the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs will be catcher Alex Isola, and pitchers Denny Bentley (LHP), Jon Olsen, Francis Peguero, and Ryan Shreve. Countless numbers of top prospects have gone through the Arizona Fall League, which is often used as a proving ground for those near the top of their team’s system looking to make their jump to the majors. It’s also a mechanism utilized to help make 40-man roster decisions heading into the next season and to make up for lost development time among players. Last season, for example, the Twins were represented by pitchers Kody Funderburk, Cody Laweryson, Evan Sisk, and Zach Featherstone as well as hitters Matt Wallner, Andrew Bechtold, and Michael Helman. Almost all of these players took that experience and ran with it in 2022, pushing themselves up the organizational ladder and having great seasons in many different ways. So who are the players for the 2022 season? IF/OF Austin Martin (Twins Daily’s #4 prospect) Austin Martin came to the Twins from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade, after being drafted fifth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. His elite contact ability and athleticism had him in the running for the first overall pick and was widely considered as perhaps the best overall hitter in the class after hitting .368/.474/.532 in his career at Vanderbilt. It hasn’t necessarily played out that way so far for Martin as a professional, but the potential still remains. Martin missed over a month this season with a wrist injury, so he’s in the AFL both looking to make up for lost time, and attempting to recapture some of that “top prospect” status. His inclusion reminds me a lot of Royce Lewis’ during the 2019 season, where he had struggled in High-A and Double-A, but went on to win the AFL’s Most Valuable Player award while playing all over the diamond. For more Twins Daily content on Austin Martin, click here. IF/OF Edouard Julien (TD’s #14 prospect) Julien continues to fly a bit under the radar as a prospect despite owning a career OPS over .900 in two minor league seasons, spending all of this season at Double-A Wichita. Known primarily for his ability to draw a walk, Julien has also demonstrated some pop and speed since turning pro, slugging 35 home runs, and stealing 51 bases in his career thus far. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn, and they have to be ecstatic about the return they’ve received thus far. He may not have a defined defensive position at this point, but he has played second base exclusively during the 2022 season, after splitting time in the infield and outfield in 2021. His time in the AFL will likely be spent proving his hitting prowess is no fluke, and perhaps seeing if he can handle multiple positions. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. C Alex Isola Isola joined the Twins organization in the 2019 draft, being selected in the 29th round out of Texas Christian University. He’s spent his career in the minors splitting time between catcher, first base, and designated hitter. His bat has continued to develop since turning pro, improving a .243/.342/.425 line with Cedar Rapids in 2021, to .286/.384/.473 line with Wichita this season. He will likely continue to work on his receiving skills once a week in the desert, while also getting plugged in at first base or designated hitter. He also missed two months of the 2022 season with an injury, so he’s getting the opportunity to make up for missed at-bats as well. We've written several articles on Alex Isola at Twins Daily. Check them out here. RHP Jon Olsen Projected to go much higher in the 2018 draft initially, Olsen fell to the Twins in the 12th round due to undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then later had a Thoracic Outlet procedure. Because of that and the COVID pandemic, Olsen has pitched less than 100 innings in four seasons since being drafted. Olsen is the most likely of the four pitchers the Twins are sending to the league to start games for the Desert Dogs, but it’s all about simply getting on the mound and throwing innings for the right-hander. He’s pitched just over 20 innings for the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season, and it will be interesting to follow if he can keep his strikeout rate up against the improved competition. For more Twins Daily content on Jon Olsen, click here. LHP Denny Bentley Bentley was drafted by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard Community College, a well-known JUCO program in Texas. He’s been purely a reliever since then, posting excellent strikeout rates as well as high walk rates, while pitching at five different levels thus far, including a brief jump to Rochester in 2019. He’s spent the 2022 season split between Cedar Rapids and Wichita, accumulating a 3.52 ERA, three saves, and 71 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings (11.9K/9IP) thanks in large part to an improving slider. He was Twins Daily’s choice for MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month in June after being promoted to Wichita. Like several relievers before him (think Jovani Moran), Bentley will look to keep his strikeouts up and bring his walks down against the better competition in the AFL, and perhaps improve his stock in the system. Bentley has frequently been mentioned and a strong candidate for Relief Pitcher of the Month. For more, click here. RHP Ryan Shreve Shreve made his mark on the Twins system during the 2021 season, after being taken in the 16th round of the 2019 draft from Pacific University. He accumulated 73 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings, a drastic increase from his college days, that was good for a 3.62 ERA at three levels, holding hitters to a .167 average in the Midwest League. He suffered a shoulder impingement early in the 2022 season, and upon his return, the strikeouts didn’t come back right away. He got stronger as the season wore on, however, and since the start of July owns a 1.26 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just 8. For those efforts, he took home Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Month award for August. In the AFL he will look to keep up that momentum heading into the 2023 season, adding innings to his ledger after the missed time. For more Twins Daily content on Ryan Shreve, click here. RHP Francis Peguero Peguero came to the organization just before the 2022 season started, as part of the trade package that netted the Twins Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds. He was signed by the Reds in the 2017 international signing period and has since made it to Double-A, appearing in 15 games for the Wind Surge this year. He did not appear in games until July as he dealt with an injury, so his time in the AFL is also about making up innings and allowing the Twins to get a better idea of what they have with the 25-year-old right-hander. He boasts a mid-90s fastball, doesn’t walk anybody, and can pick up strikeouts in bunches at times, but has had trouble limiting contact, allowing well over a hit per inning in his career. He will likely use the AFL to work on his secondary offerings with a plethora of new coaching voices, to see if he can unlock any new tricks. He hasn't been in the organization long, but Peguero has been mentioned in a few Twins Daily articles. Click here for more. What do you think of the contingent the Minnesota Twins are sending to the Arizona Fall League? What are you looking for out of the prospects above? View full article
  13. TRANSACTIONS OF Matt Wallner was assigned to the Minnesota Twins Taxi Squad C Ryan Jeffers assigned to the St. Paul Saints on Major League rehab INF Jorge Polanco assigned to the St. Paul Saints on Major League rehab RHP Randy Dobnak cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to the St. Paul Saints RHP Bailey Ober has completed his Major League rehab and returned to Minnesota Twins OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Twins Austin Martin, Edouard Julien Alex Isola, Denny Bentley, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, and Ryan Shreve to participate in Arizona Fall League SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Louisville 6, F/10 Box Score The Saints took down the Bats in dramatic fashion Friday evening after trailing for the vast majority of the game. Down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Jeffers three-run home run tied the game up at 5-5. After failing to score with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and surrendering a run in the top of the 10th, St. Paul filled the bags again following a Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3, 2B, BB) double and a Chris Williams (0-for-2, 3 BB, HBP) hit by pitch. Andrew Bechtold (0-for-4, RBI, 2 BB) tied the game with a walk and Nash Knight (3-for-3, RBI, 3 BB) brought home the winning run on a walk-off single. In less fun news, Jorge Polanco exited the game after five innings. He was originally slated to play seven innings. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Midland 1 Box Score Daniel Gossett continued his strong season for the Wind Surge, shutting down the RockHounds to help his team pull off a close victory. He threw five innings and struck out seven while surrendering a single run. His ERA dropped to 2.26 on the year. Denny Bentley, Jordan Gore, Francis Peguero, and Alex Phillips pitched lights out from the pen, striking out two and allowing only a single Midland batter to reach base in four innings of work. Edouard Julien led the Wichita charge offensively, going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI, and a walk. Austin Martin (2-for-4) was the only Wind Surge batter to register multiple hits. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 9, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score The Kernels’ season came to a close Friday night as they fell to the Cubs, dropping the Division Series contest, 2-1. South Bend touched starter Orlando Rodriguez for four runs in the top of the first, a total that was ultimately enough to secure the win. Rodriguez recorded just one out in the game. He was followed by six more Kernels pitchers. Cedar Rapids managed only four hits on the night, all of them singles. Mikey Perez (1-for-3, 2 RBI) and Willie Joe Garry Jr. (1-for-3, RBI) plated the Kernels’ runs. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 3: Fort Myers vs. Dunedin, PPD Series tied 1-1 Darn rain. They plan to try to get it in on Saturday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Daniel Gossett (Wichita): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul): 2-for-6, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul vs. Louisville (7:07 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez (7-4, 5.02 ERA) Wichita @ Midland (5:00 CST) - RHP Cody Laweryson (5-0, 0.82 ERA) Wichita @ Midland (TBD CST) - TBD Fort Myers vs. Dunedin (11:00 am CST) - TBD
  14. Joining infielders Austin Martin and Edouard Julien on the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs will be catcher Alex Isola, and pitchers Denny Bentley (LHP), Jon Olsen, Francis Peguero, and Ryan Shreve. Countless numbers of top prospects have gone through the Arizona Fall League, which is often used as a proving ground for those near the top of their team’s system looking to make their jump to the majors. It’s also a mechanism utilized to help make 40-man roster decisions heading into the next season and to make up for lost development time among players. Last season, for example, the Twins were represented by pitchers Kody Funderburk, Cody Laweryson, Evan Sisk, and Zach Featherstone as well as hitters Matt Wallner, Andrew Bechtold, and Michael Helman. Almost all of these players took that experience and ran with it in 2022, pushing themselves up the organizational ladder and having great seasons in many different ways. So who are the players for the 2022 season? IF/OF Austin Martin (Twins Daily’s #4 prospect) Austin Martin came to the Twins from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade, after being drafted fifth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. His elite contact ability and athleticism had him in the running for the first overall pick and was widely considered as perhaps the best overall hitter in the class after hitting .368/.474/.532 in his career at Vanderbilt. It hasn’t necessarily played out that way so far for Martin as a professional, but the potential still remains. Martin missed over a month this season with a wrist injury, so he’s in the AFL both looking to make up for lost time, and attempting to recapture some of that “top prospect” status. His inclusion reminds me a lot of Royce Lewis’ during the 2019 season, where he had struggled in High-A and Double-A, but went on to win the AFL’s Most Valuable Player award while playing all over the diamond. For more Twins Daily content on Austin Martin, click here. IF/OF Edouard Julien (TD’s #14 prospect) Julien continues to fly a bit under the radar as a prospect despite owning a career OPS over .900 in two minor league seasons, spending all of this season at Double-A Wichita. Known primarily for his ability to draw a walk, Julien has also demonstrated some pop and speed since turning pro, slugging 35 home runs, and stealing 51 bases in his career thus far. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn, and they have to be ecstatic about the return they’ve received thus far. He may not have a defined defensive position at this point, but he has played second base exclusively during the 2022 season, after splitting time in the infield and outfield in 2021. His time in the AFL will likely be spent proving his hitting prowess is no fluke, and perhaps seeing if he can handle multiple positions. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. C Alex Isola Isola joined the Twins organization in the 2019 draft, being selected in the 29th round out of Texas Christian University. He’s spent his career in the minors splitting time between catcher, first base, and designated hitter. His bat has continued to develop since turning pro, improving a .243/.342/.425 line with Cedar Rapids in 2021, to .286/.384/.473 line with Wichita this season. He will likely continue to work on his receiving skills once a week in the desert, while also getting plugged in at first base or designated hitter. He also missed two months of the 2022 season with an injury, so he’s getting the opportunity to make up for missed at-bats as well. We've written several articles on Alex Isola at Twins Daily. Check them out here. RHP Jon Olsen Projected to go much higher in the 2018 draft initially, Olsen fell to the Twins in the 12th round due to undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then later had a Thoracic Outlet procedure. Because of that and the COVID pandemic, Olsen has pitched less than 100 innings in four seasons since being drafted. Olsen is the most likely of the four pitchers the Twins are sending to the league to start games for the Desert Dogs, but it’s all about simply getting on the mound and throwing innings for the right-hander. He’s pitched just over 20 innings for the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season, and it will be interesting to follow if he can keep his strikeout rate up against the improved competition. For more Twins Daily content on Jon Olsen, click here. LHP Denny Bentley Bentley was drafted by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard Community College, a well-known JUCO program in Texas. He’s been purely a reliever since then, posting excellent strikeout rates as well as high walk rates, while pitching at five different levels thus far, including a brief jump to Rochester in 2019. He’s spent the 2022 season split between Cedar Rapids and Wichita, accumulating a 3.52 ERA, three saves, and 71 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings (11.9K/9IP) thanks in large part to an improving slider. He was Twins Daily’s choice for MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month in June after being promoted to Wichita. Like several relievers before him (think Jovani Moran), Bentley will look to keep his strikeouts up and bring his walks down against the better competition in the AFL, and perhaps improve his stock in the system. Bentley has frequently been mentioned and a strong candidate for Relief Pitcher of the Month. For more, click here. RHP Ryan Shreve Shreve made his mark on the Twins system during the 2021 season, after being taken in the 16th round of the 2019 draft from Pacific University. He accumulated 73 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings, a drastic increase from his college days, that was good for a 3.62 ERA at three levels, holding hitters to a .167 average in the Midwest League. He suffered a shoulder impingement early in the 2022 season, and upon his return, the strikeouts didn’t come back right away. He got stronger as the season wore on, however, and since the start of July owns a 1.26 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, striking out 32 and walking just 8. For those efforts, he took home Twins Daily’s Relief Pitcher of the Month award for August. In the AFL he will look to keep up that momentum heading into the 2023 season, adding innings to his ledger after the missed time. For more Twins Daily content on Ryan Shreve, click here. RHP Francis Peguero Peguero came to the organization just before the 2022 season started, as part of the trade package that netted the Twins Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds. He was signed by the Reds in the 2017 international signing period and has since made it to Double-A, appearing in 15 games for the Wind Surge this year. He did not appear in games until July as he dealt with an injury, so his time in the AFL is also about making up innings and allowing the Twins to get a better idea of what they have with the 25-year-old right-hander. He boasts a mid-90s fastball, doesn’t walk anybody, and can pick up strikeouts in bunches at times, but has had trouble limiting contact, allowing well over a hit per inning in his career. He will likely use the AFL to work on his secondary offerings with a plethora of new coaching voices, to see if he can unlock any new tricks. He hasn't been in the organization long, but Peguero has been mentioned in a few Twins Daily articles. Click here for more. What do you think of the contingent the Minnesota Twins are sending to the Arizona Fall League? What are you looking for out of the prospects above?
  15. 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 (Henriquez made his MLB debut on September 19th against the Cleveland Guardians, pitching four innings of long-relief. He allowed three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two.) 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 made his MLB debut on 5/31, playing SS in both games of a doubleheader. He picked up his first run scored, and hit, by finishing the day 1-for6 with a BB) 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 (Varland made his MLB debut on 9/7 against the New York Yankees on the road. He was fantastic, going 5 1/3 innings, striking out Aaron Judge for his first career strikeout. He allowed two runs on three hits, walked one, and struck out seven) 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!
  16. The Twins’ Minor League affiliates couldn’t get the bats rolling in a quieter offensive night. Even then, the Kernels picked up another win and a top prospect hit a homer for the Surge. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge TRANSACTIONS INF/OF Dalton Shuffield promoted from Cedar Rapids to St. Paul C Dillon Tatum promoted from Fort Myers to Wichita C Ricardo Olivar promoted from FCL Twins to Fort Myers Wind Surge placed C Kyle Schmidt on the Injured List SAINTS SENTINEL Mud Hens 5, Saints 2 Box Score The Saints had trouble getting their offense going in a 5-2 loss to the Mud Hens Thursday. Simeon Woods Richardson started and allowed two runs over five strong innings. Woods Richardson struck out seven and walked three. It's been a wonderful bounce back season for SWR, who now owns a 3.12 ERA across both levels of the upper minors. Opponents are hitting just .212/.286/.307 off SWR this season and he's six years younger than his average competition at Triple-A. The Saints tallied five hits on the night, including four doubles from Matt Wallner, Mark Contreras, Elliot Soto, and John Andreoli. The game was tied at two after an RBI groundout from Michael Helman in the fifth. The Mud Hens took the lead in the sixth and never looked back. The Saints are 65-66 on the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Naturals 6, Wind Surge 3 Box Score The Wind Surge took a tough loss in the late innings Thursday night. Leobaldo Cabrera tied the game on an RBI single in the second. In the fifth, Austin Martin hit his second homer of the year to tie the game at three. Martin entered the game hitting .304/.467/.348 (.815 OPS) in 30 September plate appearances. It's been a down year for Martin but a strong finish could provide momentum for 2023. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, while Aaron Sabato also doubled. Francis Peguero was outstanding in relief, pitching 1 1/3 innings with one hit and no runs allowed. It was all Naturals from that point on. They scored one in the eighth and two in the ninth, securing the victory. Despite notching nine hits and drawing five walks, the Surge couldn’t score more than three. They left 25 men on base. The Surge are 71-57. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 2, Cubs 1 Box Score Travis Adams was terrific in his start for the Kernels in Thursday’s win. Adams allowed one run over five innings. The Kernels followed that up with four scoreless from the bullpen, including scoreless innings from Bobby Milacki, Sean Mooney, and Miguel Rodríguez. The trio struck out seven in a masterful pitching performance. Brooks Lee’s defense also helped. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Jeferson Morales blasted a go-ahead two-run homer to left. It was Morales’ seventh homer of the season. The Kernels had only five total hits, but the swing from Morales was enough to seal the victory. Willie Joe Garry Jr. tallied two hits in the win. The Kernels are 73-56. MUSSEL MATTERS The Mussels’ doubleheader was rained out Thursday. TWINS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Minor League Hitter of the Day - Austin Martin (2-for-4, HR, BB) Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Simeon Woods Richardson (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 7 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 Brooks Lee - (1-for-3, BB) #4 Austin Martin - (2-for-4, HR, BB) #6 Simeon Woods Richardson - (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 7 K) #9 Matt Wallner - (1-for-4, 2B, R) #14 Edouard Julien - (0-for-3, 2 BB) FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Saints - Jordan Balazovic Surge - Brent Headrick Kernels - TBD Mussels - TBD (Doubleheader) QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE THEM BELOW! View full article
  17. The Minnesota Twins held on to win a game at Yankee Stadium Thursday. It was a nail-biter, but they prevailed 4-3. Carlos Correa delivered the lead with a late home run while Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer protected it through a stressful final two innings. Down in the minors, Simeon Woods Richardson had a strong outing for St. Paul, Austin Martin homered for Wichita and both Matt Wallner and Brooks Lee made good plays in the field.
  18. The Minnesota Twins held on to win a game at Yankee Stadium Thursday. It was a nail-biter, but they prevailed 4-3. Carlos Correa delivered the lead with a late home run while Caleb Thielbar and Michael Fulmer protected it through a stressful final two innings. Down in the minors, Simeon Woods Richardson had a strong outing for St. Paul, Austin Martin homered for Wichita and both Matt Wallner and Brooks Lee made good plays in the field. View full video
  19. TRANSACTIONS INF/OF Dalton Shuffield promoted from Cedar Rapids to St. Paul C Dillon Tatum promoted from Fort Myers to Wichita C Ricardo Olivar promoted from FCL Twins to Fort Myers Wind Surge placed C Kyle Schmidt on the Injured List SAINTS SENTINEL Mud Hens 5, Saints 2 Box Score The Saints had trouble getting their offense going in a 5-2 loss to the Mud Hens Thursday. Simeon Woods Richardson started and allowed two runs over five strong innings. Woods Richardson struck out seven and walked three. It's been a wonderful bounce back season for SWR, who now owns a 3.12 ERA across both levels of the upper minors. Opponents are hitting just .212/.286/.307 off SWR this season and he's six years younger than his average competition at Triple-A. The Saints tallied five hits on the night, including four doubles from Matt Wallner, Mark Contreras, Elliot Soto, and John Andreoli. The game was tied at two after an RBI groundout from Michael Helman in the fifth. The Mud Hens took the lead in the sixth and never looked back. The Saints are 65-66 on the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Naturals 6, Wind Surge 3 Box Score The Wind Surge took a tough loss in the late innings Thursday night. Leobaldo Cabrera tied the game on an RBI single in the second. In the fifth, Austin Martin hit his second homer of the year to tie the game at three. Martin entered the game hitting .304/.467/.348 (.815 OPS) in 30 September plate appearances. It's been a down year for Martin but a strong finish could provide momentum for 2023. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, while Aaron Sabato also doubled. Francis Peguero was outstanding in relief, pitching 1 1/3 innings with one hit and no runs allowed. It was all Naturals from that point on. They scored one in the eighth and two in the ninth, securing the victory. Despite notching nine hits and drawing five walks, the Surge couldn’t score more than three. They left 25 men on base. The Surge are 71-57. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 2, Cubs 1 Box Score Travis Adams was terrific in his start for the Kernels in Thursday’s win. Adams allowed one run over five innings. The Kernels followed that up with four scoreless from the bullpen, including scoreless innings from Bobby Milacki, Sean Mooney, and Miguel Rodríguez. The trio struck out seven in a masterful pitching performance. Brooks Lee’s defense also helped. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Jeferson Morales blasted a go-ahead two-run homer to left. It was Morales’ seventh homer of the season. The Kernels had only five total hits, but the swing from Morales was enough to seal the victory. Willie Joe Garry Jr. tallied two hits in the win. The Kernels are 73-56. MUSSEL MATTERS The Mussels’ doubleheader was rained out Thursday. TWINS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Minor League Hitter of the Day - Austin Martin (2-for-4, HR, BB) Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Simeon Woods Richardson (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 7 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 Brooks Lee - (1-for-3, BB) #4 Austin Martin - (2-for-4, HR, BB) #6 Simeon Woods Richardson - (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 7 K) #9 Matt Wallner - (1-for-4, 2B, R) #14 Edouard Julien - (0-for-3, 2 BB) FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Saints - Jordan Balazovic Surge - Brent Headrick Kernels - TBD Mussels - TBD (Doubleheader) QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE THEM BELOW!
  20. There were multiple shutouts from the pitching staffs of Minnesota Twins affiliates on Tuesday, including one in a triple-A doubleheader, and another down in Fort Myers that was started by a rehabbing Bailey Ober. TRANSACTIONS In Triple-A on Sunday, the St. Paul Saints activated RHP Brock Stewart, who had been down in Fort Myers working his way back. In addition, RHPs Ben Heller, Juan Minaya, and Tyler Thornburg were released. 2022 draft pick, OF Alec Sayre was placed on the 7-Day IL. The Wichita Wind Surge released LHP Bryan Sammons on Monday, and RHP Hunter McMahon was promoted to them from Cedar Rapids. They also transferred RHP Andrew Cabezas to the development list and received RHP Jordan Brink from the FCL Twins on Tuesday. RHP Malik Barrington was promoted from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids along with RHP Regi Grace. In Fort Myers, RHP Anthony Escobar was released, while the Mighty Mussels received RHP Kyle Jones, LHP Develson Aria, and RHP Zebby Matthews from the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINEL Game 1: Toledo 1, St. Paul 2 (completion of game suspended July 17th) Box Score This game was suspended over a month ago in the first inning, so there were a lot of changes to the lineups for each team when it resumed on Tuesday. Cole Sands had started the game back then, and allowed one run while recording two outs. Ariel Jurado took over on this night, and got them through the fourth, allowing just one hit and striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. Devin Smeltzer was just as good for the next three innings, also allowing just one hit and striking out four, and would get the credit for the win. Michael Feliz picked up a hold with a one-two-three eighth, striking out two before Brad Peacock picked up his eighth save by striking out two in the ninth as well. Four consecutive singles in the bottom of the second led to the first run of the game for St. Paul, tying it at one. Mark Contreras tallied the third of those singles, driving in Michael Helman who had led off the frame with a base knock of his own. Chris Williams led off the fifth inning with a home run, which actually gets credited as his first of the season in Triple-A when looking at the box score, as well as the second game he played on this day. It is of course his ninth home run with St. Paul, and 27th of the season overall. That was enough to secure the victory as Saints pitching held the Mud Hens to just three hits in the game. Braden Bishop had two hits to lead the lineup, and also drew a walk. Game 2: St. Paul 1, Toledo 0 (7 innings) Box Score In Game 2, Saints pitching again held Toledo to just three hits, and with the result being a shutout the five hits of their own were enough to pull out another victory. Mario Sanchez made the start and went the first four innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three. Drew Strotman pitched a one-two-three fifth to pick up the win, and Jharel Cotton picked up a two-inning save, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out four. St. Paul scored the only run of the game in the top of the sixth after Mark Contreras drew a walk, moved into scoring position on an errant pickoff attempt, then scampered home on a single from Cole Sturgeon. Michael Helman added a single, a walk, and his 29th stolen base of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score The Kansas City Royals #9 prospect (per MLB.com), outfielder Tyler Gentry, took the Wind Surge to task late on Tuesday, tallying all five of the Naturals' RBI thanks to a two-run homer in the eighth, and a bases-clearing double in the ninth. To that point, Wichita pitchers had been great, as Cody Laweryson made the start and allowed no runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out five in the first four innings. Michael Boyle, Osiris German, and Jordan Brink then were able to add a scoreless inning each, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out three between them before the eighth. Hunter McMahon was the victim of the home run in the eighth before Blayne Enlow got tagged with the double in the ninth. McMahon gave up three hits and struck out one, while Enlow gave up three free passes in front of the double, but did strike out two as well. The Wind Surge’s lone run came in the bottom of the eighth when Yunior Severino delivered a bases loaded single to score Edouard Julien, who had led off the inning with a single of his own. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, a strikeout preceded an inning-ending double play ball to kill their late rally. Julien finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and stolen bases, Aaron Sabato chipped in a double, and Austin Martin was 1-for-4 with a walk and his 32nd stolen base to lead the offense, and also made an athletic tag at second on a steal attempt. KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 6, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score This one got crazy late, as a six-run inning from the Kernels almost wasn’t enough to hold off a five-run rally from the Cubs in a battle of teams who ended the night with identical 71-56 records on the season. While the Kernels took the West Division first-half title, South Bend looks poised to take the second-half, so this could be a playoff preview series. Orlando Rodriguez took the mound for Cedar Rapids and was fantastic for six innings. He allowed just one run on three hits and a walk, while punching out four Cubs. Matt Mullenbach pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two before the Kernels came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. With the score 2-1 in favor of the good guys at that point, the Kernels broke it open thanks to some wildness to start the inning (two walks and a hit-by-pitch), and loud contact to end it. With the bases loaded Willie Joe Garry Jr. clubbed a double to score two, Dylan Neuse delivered a two-RBI single, and Jake Rucker put the exclamation point on it with a two-run home run, making it 8-1 Cedar Rapids. Then it was time for Regi Grace’s Midwest League debut in the ninth, and it was one he’ll want to forget quickly. While recording two outs, he would be charged with four runs on three hits and walk, and Tyler Palm would be called upon to stop the bleeding. Palm also gave up two hits and a run of his own, but managed to keep the tying run off the basepaths to secure a win. Neuse led the way for the Kernels with three hits in four at-bats, scoring a run and driving in two. In addition to his double, Garry Jr. also drew a walk, scored a run, and stole a base. Brooks Lee was 1-for-5 and scored a run, while Mikey Perez scored two runs and stole two bases. MUSSEL MATTERS St. Lucie 0, Fort Myers 5 Box Score Bailey Ober made his second rehab appearance with the Mighty Mussels, and was in command for all four of his innings. He allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out three in the outing, and should be ready for St. Paul and/or the Minnesota Twins soon. Of his 52 pitches, 38 went for strikes (73%) in the game, and he faced just one hitter over the minimum in the outing. Develson Aria made his debut in full-season ball after Ober’s exit, and threw two scoreless frames, walking two and striking out three. Jackson Hicks then finished off the shutout with three scoreless innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. He allowed just one hit and struck out five Mets hitters, including all three in the ninth. Of note in this one is the 11th overall pick in this year's draft, catcher Kevin Parada, was 0-for-4 and struck out against each Mighty Mussels pitcher. Fort Myers did all their damage in the seventh inning, with the first two runs coming on Keoni Cavaco’s tenth home run of the year, and Noah Cardenas unloading the bases with a double for their final three. Cavaco was 2-for-4 on the night and also stole base in addition to his go-ahead homer. Tanner Schobel added a double, two walks, stolen base, and scored a run. Noah Miller finished 1-for-4 with a run scored, walk, and his 23rd stolen base of the year. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Jackson Hicks, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 3 IP, H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Dylan Neuse, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, SB #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, BB, SB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-7, BB, K (2 games) #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, K, SB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2B, 2 BB, SB #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (2:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (MLB Debut), Game 2 (Joe Ryan) St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35 PM CDT) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (2-4, 5.94 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (8-5, 3.24 ERA) South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP David Festa (7-3, 2.59 ERA) St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (6-7, 3.53 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  21. With the Minnesota Twins rained out in New York, we turn our full attention to the minor leagues Tuesday. Cody Laweryson delivered another four shutout innings for Wichita, lowering his ERA with the Wind Surge to 0.94. Also included in tonight's highlights are Will Holland, Austin Martin, Jair Camargo, Brooks Lee, Jake Rucker and more.
  22. With the Minnesota Twins rained out in New York, we turn our full attention to the minor leagues Tuesday. Cody Laweryson delivered another four shutout innings for Wichita, lowering his ERA with the Wind Surge to 0.94. Also included in tonight's highlights are Will Holland, Austin Martin, Jair Camargo, Brooks Lee, Jake Rucker and more. View full video
  23. TRANSACTIONS In Triple-A on Sunday, the St. Paul Saints activated RHP Brock Stewart, who had been down in Fort Myers working his way back. In addition, RHPs Ben Heller, Juan Minaya, and Tyler Thornburg were released. 2022 draft pick, OF Alec Sayre was placed on the 7-Day IL. The Wichita Wind Surge released LHP Bryan Sammons on Monday, and RHP Hunter McMahon was promoted to them from Cedar Rapids. They also transferred RHP Andrew Cabezas to the development list and received RHP Jordan Brink from the FCL Twins on Tuesday. RHP Malik Barrington was promoted from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids along with RHP Regi Grace. In Fort Myers, RHP Anthony Escobar was released, while the Mighty Mussels received RHP Kyle Jones, LHP Develson Aria, and RHP Zebby Matthews from the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINEL Game 1: Toledo 1, St. Paul 2 (completion of game suspended July 17th) Box Score This game was suspended over a month ago in the first inning, so there were a lot of changes to the lineups for each team when it resumed on Tuesday. Cole Sands had started the game back then, and allowed one run while recording two outs. Ariel Jurado took over on this night, and got them through the fourth, allowing just one hit and striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. Devin Smeltzer was just as good for the next three innings, also allowing just one hit and striking out four, and would get the credit for the win. Michael Feliz picked up a hold with a one-two-three eighth, striking out two before Brad Peacock picked up his eighth save by striking out two in the ninth as well. Four consecutive singles in the bottom of the second led to the first run of the game for St. Paul, tying it at one. Mark Contreras tallied the third of those singles, driving in Michael Helman who had led off the frame with a base knock of his own. Chris Williams led off the fifth inning with a home run, which actually gets credited as his first of the season in Triple-A when looking at the box score, as well as the second game he played on this day. It is of course his ninth home run with St. Paul, and 27th of the season overall. That was enough to secure the victory as Saints pitching held the Mud Hens to just three hits in the game. Braden Bishop had two hits to lead the lineup, and also drew a walk. Game 2: St. Paul 1, Toledo 0 (7 innings) Box Score In Game 2, Saints pitching again held Toledo to just three hits, and with the result being a shutout the five hits of their own were enough to pull out another victory. Mario Sanchez made the start and went the first four innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three. Drew Strotman pitched a one-two-three fifth to pick up the win, and Jharel Cotton picked up a two-inning save, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out four. St. Paul scored the only run of the game in the top of the sixth after Mark Contreras drew a walk, moved into scoring position on an errant pickoff attempt, then scampered home on a single from Cole Sturgeon. Michael Helman added a single, a walk, and his 29th stolen base of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score The Kansas City Royals #9 prospect (per MLB.com), outfielder Tyler Gentry, took the Wind Surge to task late on Tuesday, tallying all five of the Naturals' RBI thanks to a two-run homer in the eighth, and a bases-clearing double in the ninth. To that point, Wichita pitchers had been great, as Cody Laweryson made the start and allowed no runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out five in the first four innings. Michael Boyle, Osiris German, and Jordan Brink then were able to add a scoreless inning each, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out three between them before the eighth. Hunter McMahon was the victim of the home run in the eighth before Blayne Enlow got tagged with the double in the ninth. McMahon gave up three hits and struck out one, while Enlow gave up three free passes in front of the double, but did strike out two as well. The Wind Surge’s lone run came in the bottom of the eighth when Yunior Severino delivered a bases loaded single to score Edouard Julien, who had led off the inning with a single of his own. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, a strikeout preceded an inning-ending double play ball to kill their late rally. Julien finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and stolen bases, Aaron Sabato chipped in a double, and Austin Martin was 1-for-4 with a walk and his 32nd stolen base to lead the offense, and also made an athletic tag at second on a steal attempt. KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 6, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score This one got crazy late, as a six-run inning from the Kernels almost wasn’t enough to hold off a five-run rally from the Cubs in a battle of teams who ended the night with identical 71-56 records on the season. While the Kernels took the West Division first-half title, South Bend looks poised to take the second-half, so this could be a playoff preview series. Orlando Rodriguez took the mound for Cedar Rapids and was fantastic for six innings. He allowed just one run on three hits and a walk, while punching out four Cubs. Matt Mullenbach pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two before the Kernels came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. With the score 2-1 in favor of the good guys at that point, the Kernels broke it open thanks to some wildness to start the inning (two walks and a hit-by-pitch), and loud contact to end it. With the bases loaded Willie Joe Garry Jr. clubbed a double to score two, Dylan Neuse delivered a two-RBI single, and Jake Rucker put the exclamation point on it with a two-run home run, making it 8-1 Cedar Rapids. Then it was time for Regi Grace’s Midwest League debut in the ninth, and it was one he’ll want to forget quickly. While recording two outs, he would be charged with four runs on three hits and walk, and Tyler Palm would be called upon to stop the bleeding. Palm also gave up two hits and a run of his own, but managed to keep the tying run off the basepaths to secure a win. Neuse led the way for the Kernels with three hits in four at-bats, scoring a run and driving in two. In addition to his double, Garry Jr. also drew a walk, scored a run, and stole a base. Brooks Lee was 1-for-5 and scored a run, while Mikey Perez scored two runs and stole two bases. MUSSEL MATTERS St. Lucie 0, Fort Myers 5 Box Score Bailey Ober made his second rehab appearance with the Mighty Mussels, and was in command for all four of his innings. He allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out three in the outing, and should be ready for St. Paul and/or the Minnesota Twins soon. Of his 52 pitches, 38 went for strikes (73%) in the game, and he faced just one hitter over the minimum in the outing. Develson Aria made his debut in full-season ball after Ober’s exit, and threw two scoreless frames, walking two and striking out three. Jackson Hicks then finished off the shutout with three scoreless innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. He allowed just one hit and struck out five Mets hitters, including all three in the ninth. Of note in this one is the 11th overall pick in this year's draft, catcher Kevin Parada, was 0-for-4 and struck out against each Mighty Mussels pitcher. Fort Myers did all their damage in the seventh inning, with the first two runs coming on Keoni Cavaco’s tenth home run of the year, and Noah Cardenas unloading the bases with a double for their final three. Cavaco was 2-for-4 on the night and also stole base in addition to his go-ahead homer. Tanner Schobel added a double, two walks, stolen base, and scored a run. Noah Miller finished 1-for-4 with a run scored, walk, and his 23rd stolen base of the year. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Jackson Hicks, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 3 IP, H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Dylan Neuse, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, SB #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, BB, SB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-7, BB, K (2 games) #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, K, SB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2B, 2 BB, SB #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (2:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (MLB Debut), Game 2 (Joe Ryan) St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35 PM CDT) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (2-4, 5.94 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (8-5, 3.24 ERA) South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP David Festa (7-3, 2.59 ERA) St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (6-7, 3.53 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  24. The Wind Surge put on a power show while the Mussels lost in heartbreaking fashion. Meanwhile, Matt Wallner hit for the cycle. Let’s get you caught up on a busy night in the system! TRANSACTIONS RHP Brad Peacock re-signed with Twins, assigned to St.Paul Saints Twins selected the contract of OF Billy Hamilton Fort Myers activated SS Daniel Ozoria RHP Bailey Ober began a rehab assignment for Fort Myers Wichita released LHP Ryan Horstman LHP Michael Boyle assigned to Wichita Wind Surge from Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 18, Storm Chasers 6 Box Score It seems as though Matt Wallner has figured it out. The Forest Lake native hit a majestic three-run homer (off a lefty) as part of a huge night. Wallner also doubled twice and tripled, continuing his torrid 10-game stretch and completing the cycle. Nash Knight and Jermaine Palacios each homered in the win. Wallner, Knight, Palacios, Chris Williams, and Cole Sturgeon all notched multi-hit games. It was an awesome night for the Saints’ offense. Randy Dobnak walked four in 1 1/3 innings of relief but he allowed only one run. Dobnak’s sinker was sitting at 93-94 and his command returned toward the end of the outing. Evan Sisk continued his dominant season with… WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 12, Cardinals 8 Box Score The Wind Surge scored early and often in a high-powered victory over the Springfield Cardinals. Aaron Sabato smashed a three-run homer in the top of the first, his fifth as a member of the Surge. Edouard Julien added his own three-run shot in the fifth, opening up an 8-1 lead. Yunior Severino got in on the power surge in the seventh with a solo blast. The Cardinals, led by top prospect Jordan Walker, came storming back but it wasn’t enough. Sabato had a three-hit night, Austin Martin had a three-hit night, and Julien added to his ridiculous line with an outstanding evening. Will Holland and DaShawn Keirsey each had two hits with the Surge tallying 17 total. The Wind Surge are 69-53, the best record in the Texas League. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 2, Dragons 6 Box Score It was a rare tough night for David Festa and the Kernels. They couldn’t get the offense going, scoring just two runs on a solo homer from Brooks Lee and an RBI groundout from Pat Winkel. Even with the four earned runs, Festa’s ERA sits at a sterling 2.59. Lee’s homer was his third as a Kernel. The first-round pick has adjusted wonderfully to pro-ball and continues to impress with his swing. Jake Rucker added two hits, bringing his season average up to .287. The Kernels are 69-54 after dropping their fifth straight game. MUSSEL MATTERS Mussels 7, Marauders 8 Box Score It was a crushing night for the Mussels. Leading 7-6 going in the bottom of the ninth, the Marauders hit a walk-off two-run homer to pull within a tie for first place in the FSL West. Ouch! Bailey Ober made his first rehab start for the Mussels, pitching three innings and throwing 42 pitches. Ober walked none and struck out three while giving up one run on a solo homer. It was a solid return to the mound for the Twins’ 2021 breakout rookie. The Mussels had a great offensive night despite the loss, scoring seven runs on nine hits and six walks. Noah Miller drew three more free passes and now boasts a .345 on-base percentage. Kala’i Rosario belted his 12th homer of the year while Noah Cardenas, Tanner Schobel, and Rubel Cespedes also notched multi-hit games. TWINS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter - Matt Wallner (5-for-6, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI) Pitcher - Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, HR #4 Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-6, 2 R, RBI #7 Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, 3 BB, 4 R #9 Matt Wallner (St.Paul) - 5-for-6, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI #13 David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K #14 Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R #16 Ronny Henriquez (St.Paul) - 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K #18 Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, R, RBI #19 Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, BB #20 Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, HR FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Saints - Simeon Woods Richardson Surge - Aaron Rozek Kernels - Travis Adams Mussels - TBD QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE THEM BELOW! View full article
  25. TRANSACTIONS RHP Brad Peacock re-signed with Twins, assigned to St.Paul Saints Twins selected the contract of OF Billy Hamilton Fort Myers activated SS Daniel Ozoria RHP Bailey Ober began a rehab assignment for Fort Myers Wichita released LHP Ryan Horstman LHP Michael Boyle assigned to Wichita Wind Surge from Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 18, Storm Chasers 6 Box Score It seems as though Matt Wallner has figured it out. The Forest Lake native hit a majestic three-run homer (off a lefty) as part of a huge night. Wallner also doubled twice and tripled, continuing his torrid 10-game stretch and completing the cycle. Nash Knight and Jermaine Palacios each homered in the win. Wallner, Knight, Palacios, Chris Williams, and Cole Sturgeon all notched multi-hit games. It was an awesome night for the Saints’ offense. Randy Dobnak walked four in 1 1/3 innings of relief but he allowed only one run. Dobnak’s sinker was sitting at 93-94 and his command returned toward the end of the outing. Evan Sisk continued his dominant season with… WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 12, Cardinals 8 Box Score The Wind Surge scored early and often in a high-powered victory over the Springfield Cardinals. Aaron Sabato smashed a three-run homer in the top of the first, his fifth as a member of the Surge. Edouard Julien added his own three-run shot in the fifth, opening up an 8-1 lead. Yunior Severino got in on the power surge in the seventh with a solo blast. The Cardinals, led by top prospect Jordan Walker, came storming back but it wasn’t enough. Sabato had a three-hit night, Austin Martin had a three-hit night, and Julien added to his ridiculous line with an outstanding evening. Will Holland and DaShawn Keirsey each had two hits with the Surge tallying 17 total. The Wind Surge are 69-53, the best record in the Texas League. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 2, Dragons 6 Box Score It was a rare tough night for David Festa and the Kernels. They couldn’t get the offense going, scoring just two runs on a solo homer from Brooks Lee and an RBI groundout from Pat Winkel. Even with the four earned runs, Festa’s ERA sits at a sterling 2.59. Lee’s homer was his third as a Kernel. The first-round pick has adjusted wonderfully to pro-ball and continues to impress with his swing. Jake Rucker added two hits, bringing his season average up to .287. The Kernels are 69-54 after dropping their fifth straight game. MUSSEL MATTERS Mussels 7, Marauders 8 Box Score It was a crushing night for the Mussels. Leading 7-6 going in the bottom of the ninth, the Marauders hit a walk-off two-run homer to pull within a tie for first place in the FSL West. Ouch! Bailey Ober made his first rehab start for the Mussels, pitching three innings and throwing 42 pitches. Ober walked none and struck out three while giving up one run on a solo homer. It was a solid return to the mound for the Twins’ 2021 breakout rookie. The Mussels had a great offensive night despite the loss, scoring seven runs on nine hits and six walks. Noah Miller drew three more free passes and now boasts a .345 on-base percentage. Kala’i Rosario belted his 12th homer of the year while Noah Cardenas, Tanner Schobel, and Rubel Cespedes also notched multi-hit games. TWINS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter - Matt Wallner (5-for-6, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI) Pitcher - Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, HR #4 Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-for-6, 2 R, RBI #7 Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, 3 BB, 4 R #9 Matt Wallner (St.Paul) - 5-for-6, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI #13 David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K #14 Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R #16 Ronny Henriquez (St.Paul) - 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K #18 Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, R, RBI #19 Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, BB #20 Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, HR FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Saints - Simeon Woods Richardson Surge - Aaron Rozek Kernels - Travis Adams Mussels - TBD QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE THEM BELOW!
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