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  1. Once upon a time, Billy Hamilton was viewed as one of the best young players in baseball, thanks to his transcendent and potentially game-changing speed. A second-round draft pick by the Reds in 2009, he appeared in back-to-back Futures Games in 2012 and 2013. He reached as high as #11 overall on MLB.com's top prospect rankings. He was Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2014, and went on to amass more than 3,000 major-league plate appearances before his 30th birthday – despite, well, not hitting at all. Hamilton's offensive game never developed remotely. He has a career .239/.293/.326 slash line and at this point, as a 31-year-old, he's barely even usable at the plate. There is a reason he was freely available to the Twins in August, after being cut loose by both the Mariners and Marlins this summer. Still, he's an intriguing piece to have on hand for late-game situations as the Twins face the prospect of playoff-intensity baseball throughout September. 1. Hamilton is a highly specialized weapon, suited for high-stakes games. In assessing the veteran speedster's utility, it's easy to think back to players like Kansas City's Jarrod Dyson, who was a dynamic weapon in the playoffs despite similar offensive ineptitude. Compared to his athletic prime, Hamilton may have lost a step, but he's still REALLY fast and really effective on the basepaths. His sprint speed in 2021 ranked in the top 3% of all big-leaguers, and he's stolen his last 19 consecutive bases successfully, dating back to 2020. 2. Hamilton set the minor-league record for most stolen bases in a season. To say he's always had a knack for swiping bags would be a major understatement. While coming up through the minors, Hamilton was an unstoppable force once he got aboard, terrorizing helpless batteries. In his first full minor-league season in 2011, he stole 103 bases in 135 games. The next year he would set the all-time minor-league record for steals in a season, when he stole his 146th base on August 12th to surpass Vince Coleman's record from 1983. Hamilton set the (still standing) new record as a member of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, who would briefly become the Twins' Double-A affiliate several years later. Hamilton finished the 2012 season with a mind-blowing 155 steals on 192 attempts (81%) in 132 games. 3. In an alternative dimension, Hamilton might've been catching footballs from Dak Prescott. Before he decided on baseball and got taken by Cincinnati in the 2009 MLB Draft, Hamilton had signed a letter of intent to play wide receiver at the Mississippi State University. In 2012, which would've been Hamilton's senior year, a quarterback by the name of Dak Prescott started working his way into the Bulldogs' quarterback rotation, although he didn't become the full-time starter until 2013. 4. He's not the first guy named Billy Hamilton with a legendary rep for stealing bases. This isn't so much a fact about the current player of focus, but it's a quirky little nugget that I find quite amusing. If you look up the name "Billy Hamilton" on Baseball Reference you'll find two results: the guy who debuted for the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, and the guy who debuted for the Kansas City Cowboys back in 1888. The "old" Billy Hamilton, who played 14 seasons before retiring in 1901, was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961 primarily because he – guess what – was an incredible base-stealer. Hamilton swiped 100+ bags in four different seasons and led the league five times. He ranks third all-time in stolen bases (914) behind only Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock. I'll venture to guess the "new" Billy Hamilton, with 321 career steals, won't be catching his namesake. But he might be able to inch a little bit closer during his time with the Twins. It'll also be fun to see Hamilton on the same team as Byron Buxton. As of five years ago, they ranked #1 and #2 for fastest men in the game.
  2. On Thursday, the Twins promoted outfielder Billy Hamilton to the active roster as a September call-up. He is expected to play a very limited role, so there's no need to blow his arrival out of proportion. Still, Hamilton is a pretty fascinating player. Here are a few reasons why. Once upon a time, Billy Hamilton was viewed as one of the best young players in baseball, thanks to his transcendent and potentially game-changing speed. A second-round draft pick by the Reds in 2009, he appeared in back-to-back Futures Games in 2012 and 2013. He reached as high as #11 overall on MLB.com's top prospect rankings. He was Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2014, and went on to amass more than 3,000 major-league plate appearances before his 30th birthday – despite, well, not hitting at all. Hamilton's offensive game never developed remotely. He has a career .239/.293/.326 slash line and at this point, as a 31-year-old, he's barely even usable at the plate. There is a reason he was freely available to the Twins in August, after being cut loose by both the Mariners and Marlins this summer. Still, he's an intriguing piece to have on hand for late-game situations as the Twins face the prospect of playoff-intensity baseball throughout September. 1. Hamilton is a highly specialized weapon, suited for high-stakes games. In assessing the veteran speedster's utility, it's easy to think back to players like Kansas City's Jarrod Dyson, who was a dynamic weapon in the playoffs despite similar offensive ineptitude. Compared to his athletic prime, Hamilton may have lost a step, but he's still REALLY fast and really effective on the basepaths. His sprint speed in 2021 ranked in the top 3% of all big-leaguers, and he's stolen his last 19 consecutive bases successfully, dating back to 2020. 2. Hamilton set the minor-league record for most stolen bases in a season. To say he's always had a knack for swiping bags would be a major understatement. While coming up through the minors, Hamilton was an unstoppable force once he got aboard, terrorizing helpless batteries. In his first full minor-league season in 2011, he stole 103 bases in 135 games. The next year he would set the all-time minor-league record for steals in a season, when he stole his 146th base on August 12th to surpass Vince Coleman's record from 1983. Hamilton set the (still standing) new record as a member of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, who would briefly become the Twins' Double-A affiliate several years later. Hamilton finished the 2012 season with a mind-blowing 155 steals on 192 attempts (81%) in 132 games. 3. In an alternative dimension, Hamilton might've been catching footballs from Dak Prescott. Before he decided on baseball and got taken by Cincinnati in the 2009 MLB Draft, Hamilton had signed a letter of intent to play wide receiver at the Mississippi State University. In 2012, which would've been Hamilton's senior year, a quarterback by the name of Dak Prescott started working his way into the Bulldogs' quarterback rotation, although he didn't become the full-time starter until 2013. 4. He's not the first guy named Billy Hamilton with a legendary rep for stealing bases. This isn't so much a fact about the current player of focus, but it's a quirky little nugget that I find quite amusing. If you look up the name "Billy Hamilton" on Baseball Reference you'll find two results: the guy who debuted for the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, and the guy who debuted for the Kansas City Cowboys back in 1888. The "old" Billy Hamilton, who played 14 seasons before retiring in 1901, was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961 primarily because he – guess what – was an incredible base-stealer. Hamilton swiped 100+ bags in four different seasons and led the league five times. He ranks third all-time in stolen bases (914) behind only Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock. I'll venture to guess the "new" Billy Hamilton, with 321 career steals, won't be catching his namesake. But he might be able to inch a little bit closer during his time with the Twins. It'll also be fun to see Hamilton on the same team as Byron Buxton. As of five years ago, they ranked #1 and #2 for fastest men in the game. View full article
  3. Josh Winder returned from the injured list, Billy Hamilton made an impact in his debut, and a traded away top Twins draft pick even made the start against his former organization. While all four affiliates were able to jump out to early leads, would they be able to hold them? TRANSACTIONS OF Billy Hamilton was officially assigned to the St. Paul Saints, and batted leadoff in their game, playing centerfield. RHP Josh Winder was also activated from the injured list and made the start for the Saints. IF Tim Beckham elected free agency after his DFA earlier in the week. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 6, St. Paul 10 Box Score Josh Winder returned from the injured list and made the start in St. Paul on Tuesday, and Billy Hamilton was also making his organizational debut as the designated hitter in the leadoff spot. Besides those storylines, it was an entertaining game to watch for a variety of other reasons. The Saints took little time putting a crooked number up on the scoreboard, as walks from Michael Helman and Matt Wallner preceded a three-run bomb from guess who? If you answered anything but Chris Williams, we need to have a chat. It was William’s 7th home run with the Saints, in just his 16th game with the team (that’s a higher pace than Aaron Judge this year, if you were curious), and his 25th of the year in total. On the mound Winder came out throwing 96MPH, looking plenty ready from a velocity standpoint, but was definitely shaking off some rust as he had just one appearance on his rehab assignment. He battled through it however, finishing four innings and allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out two. He threw 57 pitches, and could be brought back to the Twins later in some form as early as this week if there is a need. The lineup added two more runs in the second inning after four consecutive walks and an RBI single from Mark Contreras. In that sequence, Hamilton and Helman also executed a double steal. Hamilton led off the fourth inning with a double, and would later score on a wild pitch that made the score 6-2. This is what his speed can do: After Winder’s exit, the Saints got a scoreless fifth inning from Ben Heller (IP, BB, 2 K), but wildness from Tyler Thornburg (2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, K, 2 HBP) let the Storm Chasers tie the game in the sixth. Austin Schulfer stopped the bleeding and picked up the win with 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out one, as the Saints took advantage of Omaha miscues in the bottom half of the sixth to pull back out front for good. After drawing a walk in each of his prior three plate appearances, Wallner finally got a pitch he liked and cut it in half, almost literally, sending a screaming line drive into the gap in right center to start the inning. Mark Contreras drove him in with a double a batter later, then the Benny Hill theme song began to play. A Jermaine Palacios blooper fell in between three players in shallow right, John Andreoli put down a bunt nobody was ready for to drive in another run, and then a slow ground ball got under the glove of the third baseman for an error that allowed another run to score for a 9-6 lead. It was an odd sequence to watch live, trust me. The Saints would add one more insurance run in the eighth, when Palacios hit a slow grounder away from a shift, and the throw was late and sailed over first base, allowing Contreras to scamper home after he had hit another double. Jharel Cotton (IP, BB, 2 K) and Michael Feliz (IP, K) finished off the game for St. Paul with scoreless innings. Contreras led the way with two doubles among his four hits on the night, Palacios was 3-for-5, and Williams drove in four runners. Hamilton, Helman, Wallner, and Contreras each scored two runs on the game, and as a team they swiped five bases, including three from Helman. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 6, Springfield 7 Box Score Always fun to write about a matchup in a stadium I’ve had the pleasure of watching multiple games at in my life, as the Wind Surge traveled to Springfield, MO and Hammons Field to face off with the Cardinals on Tuesday (check out Ebbets Field Bar if ever in the area!). Wichita jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as a two-out walk from Jair Camargo was followed by a two-run bomb from Alex Isola. They added to that lead in the fourth with another two-out rally, when Yunior Severino clubbed a double and was driven in by an Anthony Prato single. Starter Daniel Gossett, thrower of a recent no-hitter, was solid through five innings in this one. Despite surrendering five walks, he allowed just two hits and struck out nine, so was able to limit the damage to just one run. Unfortunately, his bullpen wouldn’t fare as well, as their 3-1 lead turned into a four run deficit after the seventh inning. Fireballer Steven Cruz pitched a scoreless sixth, but three singles and just one out chased him in the seventh. Blayne Enlow was brought on to try and limit the damage, but four singles and a sac fly led to three runs being charged to each of them. Enlow did add a scoreless eighth, going one-two-three with a clean slate. Down 7-3 in the top of the ninth, Camargo sparked a comeback with a one-out solo home run. Isola then singled before Aaron Sabato got them within one with a bomb of his own. Anthony Prato would reach base with a single to put the tying run on base, but a groundout would leave them falling short. Isola (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI) and Prato (2-for-4, RBI) had multiple hits. With three of their eight hits going for home runs, the Wind Surge had just one at-bat with runners in scoring position, and left only two men on base for the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Dayton 7 Box Score In what would be a universal theme on the night, the Kernels were also able to take the first lead against the Dragons on the road. Of note in this one, is they did it against the Twins 2021 1st round draft pick, Chase Petty. Singles from Kyler Fedko and Wander Javier started the second inning, and they loaded the bases when Jeferson Morales was hit by a pitch. One out later, Charles Mack delivered a two-run single to put them out front early. They’d tack on three more in the fourth thanks to an RBI triple from Willie Joe Garry Jr., that was followed by a home run from Jake Rucker for a 5-1 lead. Petty’s day would be done after four, allowing five runs on seven hits and two hit batters against his former organization. He did strike out six. Starter Orlando Rodriguez was, in comparison, dominating for Cedar Rapids. In his five innings he allowed just one run on four hits, and struck out eight Dragons. Of his 66 pitches, 44 went for strikes (67%), including 11 swinging strikes. Cedar Rapids would add a run in the sixth thanks to doubles from Morales and Rucker that made it 6-1. That’s where the good things stopped for the Kernels, however. After Rodriguez’s exit, Dayton was quick to adjust to the bullpen. Matt Mullenbach got just one out in the sixth, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. While Matthew Swain got them out of that inning, he ended up allowing three runs of his own in the seventh on two hits and a walk. Derek Molina came on in the seventh with one out, and gave up two doubles, allowing the Dragons to take a 7-6 lead and the Kernels were unable to respond. Rucker (2-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, K), Morales (2-for-2, 2 R, 2B, SB), and Mack (2-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB) had multiple hits in the game. The Twins 2022 1st round draft pick, Brooks Lee, was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but did reach base when Petty hit him with a pitch in the first inning. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 11 Box Score The Mighty Mussels also struck first in this one, taking advantage of a pair of walks from Misael Urbina and Noah Miller to lead off the game. A fly out from Tanner Schobel moved Urbina to third base, and he and Miller then executed a double steal for the game’s first run. They’d add another run in the top of the third when Miller reached base on a strikeout-wild-pitch to open the frame. He moved to third on two consecutive groundouts before Ben Ross drove him in with a single and a 2-0 lead. In a bullpen game from Fort Myers, Michael Boyle got the start and pitched into the second inning. He walked two and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings. John Wilson got the final two outs in the second before giving way to Brock Stewart in the third. He promptly surrendered a solo home run to the first hitter he faced, but got out of the inning without any further damage. In the top of the fourth the Mighty Mussels got their big inning after loading the bases with no outs. Noah Miller drew another walk with them juiced to score the first run, and then a sac fly from Schobel led to two more runs thanks to an error on the throw from center field. Back out for the fifth, Stewart was unable to finish the inning as walks and wild pitches led to a pair of runs. Mike Paredes got the final out of the fourth with the score 5-3, but would allow three of his own in the fifth to tie the game at six. Fort Myers was able to add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings courtesy of an RBI single from Rubel Cespedes and Ben Ross sac fly, respectively, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold their lead for long. After Paredes delivered a scoreless sixth (2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K in total), A.J. Labas was brought on to start the seventh and the 7-6 lead turned into an 11-7 deficit heading into the ninth. The good guys made it interesting, as three straight singles scored a run and put ducks on the pond, before another pair of walks from Urbina and Miller brought in a second run and loaded the bases with two outs. It would end there however, as Schobel struck out swinging to end the game. Four Mighty Mussels had multiple hits in the game, but Alec Sayre was the only one in the lineup to get one for extra bases, a double. Thanks to 12 free passes they were able to score their nine runs, as they went just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Miller drew five walks total, scored two runs, and stole his 21st base of the season in the loss. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Orlando Rodriguez, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K) Hitter of the Day - Mark Contreras, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, HBP, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-4 #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, 2 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, SB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-2, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-4, K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, RBI, BB, K #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 1-for-5, R, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (1-0, 1.06 ERA) Wichita @ Springfield (6:35 PM CDT) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Dayton (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Luis Rijo (0-3, 7.80 ERA) Fort Myers @ Bradenton (11:00 AM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (6-7, 3.43 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! We are also conducting a survey on Twins Daily’s minor league coverage, and would love for you to participate. Please take a few minutes to answer some questions and provide your feedback! View full article
  4. TRANSACTIONS OF Billy Hamilton was officially assigned to the St. Paul Saints, and batted leadoff in their game, playing centerfield. RHP Josh Winder was also activated from the injured list and made the start for the Saints. IF Tim Beckham elected free agency after his DFA earlier in the week. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 6, St. Paul 10 Box Score Josh Winder returned from the injured list and made the start in St. Paul on Tuesday, and Billy Hamilton was also making his organizational debut as the designated hitter in the leadoff spot. Besides those storylines, it was an entertaining game to watch for a variety of other reasons. The Saints took little time putting a crooked number up on the scoreboard, as walks from Michael Helman and Matt Wallner preceded a three-run bomb from guess who? If you answered anything but Chris Williams, we need to have a chat. It was William’s 7th home run with the Saints, in just his 16th game with the team (that’s a higher pace than Aaron Judge this year, if you were curious), and his 25th of the year in total. On the mound Winder came out throwing 96MPH, looking plenty ready from a velocity standpoint, but was definitely shaking off some rust as he had just one appearance on his rehab assignment. He battled through it however, finishing four innings and allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out two. He threw 57 pitches, and could be brought back to the Twins later in some form as early as this week if there is a need. The lineup added two more runs in the second inning after four consecutive walks and an RBI single from Mark Contreras. In that sequence, Hamilton and Helman also executed a double steal. Hamilton led off the fourth inning with a double, and would later score on a wild pitch that made the score 6-2. This is what his speed can do: After Winder’s exit, the Saints got a scoreless fifth inning from Ben Heller (IP, BB, 2 K), but wildness from Tyler Thornburg (2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, K, 2 HBP) let the Storm Chasers tie the game in the sixth. Austin Schulfer stopped the bleeding and picked up the win with 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out one, as the Saints took advantage of Omaha miscues in the bottom half of the sixth to pull back out front for good. After drawing a walk in each of his prior three plate appearances, Wallner finally got a pitch he liked and cut it in half, almost literally, sending a screaming line drive into the gap in right center to start the inning. Mark Contreras drove him in with a double a batter later, then the Benny Hill theme song began to play. A Jermaine Palacios blooper fell in between three players in shallow right, John Andreoli put down a bunt nobody was ready for to drive in another run, and then a slow ground ball got under the glove of the third baseman for an error that allowed another run to score for a 9-6 lead. It was an odd sequence to watch live, trust me. The Saints would add one more insurance run in the eighth, when Palacios hit a slow grounder away from a shift, and the throw was late and sailed over first base, allowing Contreras to scamper home after he had hit another double. Jharel Cotton (IP, BB, 2 K) and Michael Feliz (IP, K) finished off the game for St. Paul with scoreless innings. Contreras led the way with two doubles among his four hits on the night, Palacios was 3-for-5, and Williams drove in four runners. Hamilton, Helman, Wallner, and Contreras each scored two runs on the game, and as a team they swiped five bases, including three from Helman. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 6, Springfield 7 Box Score Always fun to write about a matchup in a stadium I’ve had the pleasure of watching multiple games at in my life, as the Wind Surge traveled to Springfield, MO and Hammons Field to face off with the Cardinals on Tuesday (check out Ebbets Field Bar if ever in the area!). Wichita jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as a two-out walk from Jair Camargo was followed by a two-run bomb from Alex Isola. They added to that lead in the fourth with another two-out rally, when Yunior Severino clubbed a double and was driven in by an Anthony Prato single. Starter Daniel Gossett, thrower of a recent no-hitter, was solid through five innings in this one. Despite surrendering five walks, he allowed just two hits and struck out nine, so was able to limit the damage to just one run. Unfortunately, his bullpen wouldn’t fare as well, as their 3-1 lead turned into a four run deficit after the seventh inning. Fireballer Steven Cruz pitched a scoreless sixth, but three singles and just one out chased him in the seventh. Blayne Enlow was brought on to try and limit the damage, but four singles and a sac fly led to three runs being charged to each of them. Enlow did add a scoreless eighth, going one-two-three with a clean slate. Down 7-3 in the top of the ninth, Camargo sparked a comeback with a one-out solo home run. Isola then singled before Aaron Sabato got them within one with a bomb of his own. Anthony Prato would reach base with a single to put the tying run on base, but a groundout would leave them falling short. Isola (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI) and Prato (2-for-4, RBI) had multiple hits. With three of their eight hits going for home runs, the Wind Surge had just one at-bat with runners in scoring position, and left only two men on base for the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 6, Dayton 7 Box Score In what would be a universal theme on the night, the Kernels were also able to take the first lead against the Dragons on the road. Of note in this one, is they did it against the Twins 2021 1st round draft pick, Chase Petty. Singles from Kyler Fedko and Wander Javier started the second inning, and they loaded the bases when Jeferson Morales was hit by a pitch. One out later, Charles Mack delivered a two-run single to put them out front early. They’d tack on three more in the fourth thanks to an RBI triple from Willie Joe Garry Jr., that was followed by a home run from Jake Rucker for a 5-1 lead. Petty’s day would be done after four, allowing five runs on seven hits and two hit batters against his former organization. He did strike out six. Starter Orlando Rodriguez was, in comparison, dominating for Cedar Rapids. In his five innings he allowed just one run on four hits, and struck out eight Dragons. Of his 66 pitches, 44 went for strikes (67%), including 11 swinging strikes. Cedar Rapids would add a run in the sixth thanks to doubles from Morales and Rucker that made it 6-1. That’s where the good things stopped for the Kernels, however. After Rodriguez’s exit, Dayton was quick to adjust to the bullpen. Matt Mullenbach got just one out in the sixth, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. While Matthew Swain got them out of that inning, he ended up allowing three runs of his own in the seventh on two hits and a walk. Derek Molina came on in the seventh with one out, and gave up two doubles, allowing the Dragons to take a 7-6 lead and the Kernels were unable to respond. Rucker (2-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, K), Morales (2-for-2, 2 R, 2B, SB), and Mack (2-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB) had multiple hits in the game. The Twins 2022 1st round draft pick, Brooks Lee, was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but did reach base when Petty hit him with a pitch in the first inning. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 11 Box Score The Mighty Mussels also struck first in this one, taking advantage of a pair of walks from Misael Urbina and Noah Miller to lead off the game. A fly out from Tanner Schobel moved Urbina to third base, and he and Miller then executed a double steal for the game’s first run. They’d add another run in the top of the third when Miller reached base on a strikeout-wild-pitch to open the frame. He moved to third on two consecutive groundouts before Ben Ross drove him in with a single and a 2-0 lead. In a bullpen game from Fort Myers, Michael Boyle got the start and pitched into the second inning. He walked two and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings. John Wilson got the final two outs in the second before giving way to Brock Stewart in the third. He promptly surrendered a solo home run to the first hitter he faced, but got out of the inning without any further damage. In the top of the fourth the Mighty Mussels got their big inning after loading the bases with no outs. Noah Miller drew another walk with them juiced to score the first run, and then a sac fly from Schobel led to two more runs thanks to an error on the throw from center field. Back out for the fifth, Stewart was unable to finish the inning as walks and wild pitches led to a pair of runs. Mike Paredes got the final out of the fourth with the score 5-3, but would allow three of his own in the fifth to tie the game at six. Fort Myers was able to add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings courtesy of an RBI single from Rubel Cespedes and Ben Ross sac fly, respectively, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold their lead for long. After Paredes delivered a scoreless sixth (2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K in total), A.J. Labas was brought on to start the seventh and the 7-6 lead turned into an 11-7 deficit heading into the ninth. The good guys made it interesting, as three straight singles scored a run and put ducks on the pond, before another pair of walks from Urbina and Miller brought in a second run and loaded the bases with two outs. It would end there however, as Schobel struck out swinging to end the game. Four Mighty Mussels had multiple hits in the game, but Alec Sayre was the only one in the lineup to get one for extra bases, a double. Thanks to 12 free passes they were able to score their nine runs, as they went just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Miller drew five walks total, scored two runs, and stole his 21st base of the season in the loss. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Orlando Rodriguez, Cedar Rapids Kernels (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K) Hitter of the Day - Mark Contreras, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, HBP, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-4 #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-1, 2 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, SB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-2, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-4, K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, RBI, BB, K #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 1-for-5, R, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (1-0, 1.06 ERA) Wichita @ Springfield (6:35 PM CDT) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Dayton (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Luis Rijo (0-3, 7.80 ERA) Fort Myers @ Bradenton (11:00 AM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (6-7, 3.43 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! We are also conducting a survey on Twins Daily’s minor league coverage, and would love for you to participate. Please take a few minutes to answer some questions and provide your feedback!
  5. The Twins signed outfielder Billy Hamilton to a minor-league contract on Friday. What can the veteran outfielder provide the Twins? On Friday, multiple reports surfaced that the Twins had agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton. Minnesota is the third different organization this season for the former top prospect, but the Twins need outfield depth, and they were willing to give Hamilton a chance. It also sounds like he has early opt-outs in the deal if the Twins don't add him to the active roster in the next week. Nearly a decade ago, Billy Hamilton was considered one of baseball's best prospects. As a speedy outfielder in the Reds organization, he stole bases at a record pace and provided elite outfield defense. His offensive skills weren't fully developed, but many viewed that as something that could improve throughout his professional career. Entering the 2013 season, all three national prospect rankings placed him as one of baseball's top-20 prospects. Hamilton broke into the big leagues as a 22-year-old and played parts of six seasons in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, his bat never fully developed, even with multiple chances as a regular player for the Reds. In 690 games, he hit .245/.298/.333 (.631) while striking out 554 times. He was able to steal 277 bases, but he was also caught 63 times. During the 2014 season, he led baseball in caught stealing as he was thrown out 23 times. It was tough for him to live up to the hype surrounding his minor league career, and he hasn't played more than 120 games in a season since leaving the Reds. Over the next three seasons, Hamilton bounced around to five different organizations and never played more than 93 games in one place. He has posted a .568 OPS and a 51 OPS+ during that stretch. His chances to steal bases also dropped as he was getting on base less than 27% of the time. In 221 games, he was limited to 37 stolen bases. Last season, he appeared in 71 games for the White Sox and posted a .620 OPS. The Marlins used Hamilton in 20 games during the current season, but he was limited to 15 plate appearances. He has mostly been relegated to a pinch-runner or late-game defensive replacement. Hamilton went 1-for-13 with seven steals and nine runs scored in limited action. Minnesota will likely use Hamilton in a similar role as the Twins wait for some other outfielders to get healthy. The Twins currently have multiple outfielders on the injured list, including Byron Buxton, Trevor Larnach, and Alex Kirilloff. Royce Lewis is another injured player that likely would have picked up time in the outfield if he was healthy. Minnesota has used other outfield options like Tim Beckham, Kyle Garlick, and Jake Cave. Those players have found some success, but it has hardly been an ideal outfield depth chart. Hamilton's inability to hit consistently has pushed him to a bench role in recent years. However, his speed and defensive ability can still change a game. The Twins haven't had many dynamic players to use off the bench during the 2022 season, and Hamilton certainly offers skills that can help a contending team. Minnesota will need to be strategic in how he is utilized, but he can help a team that has struggled to consistently score runs this season. What do you think Hamilton can offer the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. On Friday, multiple reports surfaced that the Twins had agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton. Minnesota is the third different organization this season for the former top prospect, but the Twins need outfield depth, and they were willing to give Hamilton a chance. It also sounds like he has early opt-outs in the deal if the Twins don't add him to the active roster in the next week. Nearly a decade ago, Billy Hamilton was considered one of baseball's best prospects. As a speedy outfielder in the Reds organization, he stole bases at a record pace and provided elite outfield defense. His offensive skills weren't fully developed, but many viewed that as something that could improve throughout his professional career. Entering the 2013 season, all three national prospect rankings placed him as one of baseball's top-20 prospects. Hamilton broke into the big leagues as a 22-year-old and played parts of six seasons in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, his bat never fully developed, even with multiple chances as a regular player for the Reds. In 690 games, he hit .245/.298/.333 (.631) while striking out 554 times. He was able to steal 277 bases, but he was also caught 63 times. During the 2014 season, he led baseball in caught stealing as he was thrown out 23 times. It was tough for him to live up to the hype surrounding his minor league career, and he hasn't played more than 120 games in a season since leaving the Reds. Over the next three seasons, Hamilton bounced around to five different organizations and never played more than 93 games in one place. He has posted a .568 OPS and a 51 OPS+ during that stretch. His chances to steal bases also dropped as he was getting on base less than 27% of the time. In 221 games, he was limited to 37 stolen bases. Last season, he appeared in 71 games for the White Sox and posted a .620 OPS. The Marlins used Hamilton in 20 games during the current season, but he was limited to 15 plate appearances. He has mostly been relegated to a pinch-runner or late-game defensive replacement. Hamilton went 1-for-13 with seven steals and nine runs scored in limited action. Minnesota will likely use Hamilton in a similar role as the Twins wait for some other outfielders to get healthy. The Twins currently have multiple outfielders on the injured list, including Byron Buxton, Trevor Larnach, and Alex Kirilloff. Royce Lewis is another injured player that likely would have picked up time in the outfield if he was healthy. Minnesota has used other outfield options like Tim Beckham, Kyle Garlick, and Jake Cave. Those players have found some success, but it has hardly been an ideal outfield depth chart. Hamilton's inability to hit consistently has pushed him to a bench role in recent years. However, his speed and defensive ability can still change a game. The Twins haven't had many dynamic players to use off the bench during the 2022 season, and Hamilton certainly offers skills that can help a contending team. Minnesota will need to be strategic in how he is utilized, but he can help a team that has struggled to consistently score runs this season. What do you think Hamilton can offer the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. The Royals current record is 25-48, albeit with a pythag W/L of 31-42 that suggests some bad luck, but they still find themselves in the basement of a poor AL Central. What They Do Well The Royals have stolen the most bases in baseball and it isn’t even really particularly close (70 swipes, second place is 61). The main culprit has been Adalberto Mondesi whose 27 swipes is more than the entirety of 10 teams so far. After that, both Billy Hamilton and Whit Merrifield clock in with more than 10 steals. None of the three catchers who the Twins have employed rank notably well in pop time or arm strength according to Statcast so the Royals will certainly look to cause some havoc on the base paths against them. Defensively, the Royals rank as the fifth-best defensive team in baseball according to Fangraphs thanks in large part to their excellent range that FanGraphs has as the fourth best in MLB. Their defense is cemented by two great defensive catchers in Cam Gallagher and Martin Maldonado, great up-the-middle defense thanks to shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and second baseman Nicky Lopez, and the speedster Billy Hamilton in center who can make Twins fans understand what other fans feel whenever Byron Buxton robs someone of a hit. A great defense can be frustrating to play against both as a fan watching and as a team playing against said defense so I assume the Royals figured they might as well be annoying if they aren’t going to be good. What They Do Not Do Well Generally, when you compliment a team and the only two things you can come up with are speed and defense, that's a sign that you aren’t talking about a good team. The Royals have the eighth-worst wRC+ at 87 (as well as Danny Valencia hit with the Twins), their team FIP is the 12th worst in baseball at 4.56 (Grant Balfour’s Twins FIP was 4.54), their offense walks at a 7.7% clip (Denny Hocking or Matthew LeCroy, take your pick), and their pitchers strike out eight guys per nine (Matt Belisle’s Twins run has them beat at 8.04). To put it simply, this team is below average to bad in most offensive and pitching categories. Individuals Of Note Not to be incredibly down, the Royals do have a few interesting players of note. Hunter Dozier has accumulated 2.3 fWAR over 216 plate appearances this year (but he is currently on the IL and his status for the weekend makes it seem like he is unlikely to play), Adalberto Mondesi has continued to do well with his interesting combo of power (.172 ISO, 11th best among qualified SS) and speed (the aforementioned 27 steals), and Whit Merrifield is still the quality player at the bat and in the field that Twins fans have come to expect. On the pitching side of things, Homer Bailey is enjoying a strange renaissance as he sits at a 4.09 FIP on the year, a good .73 points below his ERA, and Ian Kennedy has had a resurgence as a reliever and he currently holds a 2.06 FIP thanks in part to a 30.4 K%. Recent History The last time these two teams played was … last series! The Twins took two of three at home with all three games being decided by two runs or fewer. The last time the Twins played Kansas City in Kansas City was the quick two-game series all the way back on April 2 and 3. The Twins took both games thanks to late heroics in both matches but would probably like to avoid needing that this time around. Ending Thoughts The Royals are tanking, yes, but divisional games on the road are never a given no matter the talent difference and a split series (in my opinion) would not be all too surprising. But as long as the Twins play like the Twins we know and love, they should be able to win some games against a Royals team that has no desire, nor much ability, to win this year.
  8. Other American League Previews AL West: Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem AL East: New York State of Mind Central Intelligence: Clawless Tigers Key Additions: Billy Hamilton, Chris Owings, Brad Boxberger, Homer Bailey Billy Hamilton fits nicely with Ned Yost’s style. He can play great defense and he’s one of the best base-stealers in the game. Having Hamliton in the same division as Byron Buxton means baseball’s two fastest players will see each other multiple times this season. Chris Owings was once a top prospect in Arizona but he’s hoping to find himself in a new city. Brad Boxberger should get some key outs in late innings. He should split closing duties with Wily Peralta. Homer Bailey could slide into the back of the rotation, but Kansas City might want to see what they have in some younger arms. Key Departures: Mike Moustakas, Lucas Duda, Alcides Escobar, Jason Hammel Mike Moustakas was one of the key pieces of the 2015 World Series Championship. The Moose was the second overall pick in 2007 and he made two All-Star Games with the club. Another key piece, Salvador Perez, will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery. His leadership on the field will be greatly missed this season. Alcides Escobar had been a regular starter in KC since 2011. Last year his OPS was almost 40 points lower than his career average. Lucas Duda was traded away at last year’s trade deadline and he ended up in camp with the Twins this spring. Jason Hammel struggled through two seasons in KC. His ERA was almost 5.60 in over 300 innings. Potential X-Factor: Whit Merrifield Kansas City locked up their 30-year-old second baseman to a four-year, $16.5 million contract this off-season. He has led the AL in steals in each of the last two seasons. His 192 hits were tops in the AL last year. He ranked in the AL’s top-10 for WAR last season, which put him higher than Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton. Merrifield might not make the top-5 but he could move up that list with improvements this season. Could Merrifield take over the leadership role left vacated by Perez? Or will the Royals need other pieces to take the next step? FanGraphs Projected 2019 Record: 68-94 My Projected 2019 Record: 67-95 2018 Record: 58-104, (5th Place in the AL Central) 2017 Record: 80-82 (3rd Place in the AL Central) 2016 Record: 81-81 (3rd Place in the AL Central)
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