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  1. The St. Paul Saints will get a fresh face this week when 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland makes his Triple-A debut. The news broke this afternoon on Twitter. In FCL action, 2022 first-round pick Brooks Lee again shined bright, and fellow draftees Tanner Schobel and Jorel Ortega followed him in the lineup. TRANSACTIONS RHP Louie Varland is being promoted to Triple-A St. Paul per myself and Darren Wolfson INF Brooks Lee is being promoted to Single-A Cedar Rapids per Darren Wolfson COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Pirates 11, FCL Twins 6 Box Score Develson Aria drew the start today for the Twins and unfortunately it was a muted one. He went just 2 2/3 innings allowing nine runs (three earned) on six hits. Aria did strike out five and only walked two. An eight-run second inning for the Pirates ultimately did the Twins in, even though the Twins posted eight hits to the Pirates' nine. First-round pick Brooks Lee was the star of the show again today for Minnesota’s FCL team. He went 3-for-5 including a double. Batting .353 with an .824 OPS, it won’t be a shock if this is a quick stop, or he’s promoted directly to Cedar Rapids for their stretch run (Update: That's exactly what's happening). Ricardo Olivar also had a two-hit game, including a double, and the 20-year-old owns a 1.091 OPS this season in 116 at-bats. Other top picks from this year’s draft class playing today were Tanner Schobel (0-for-4, BB) and Jorel Ortega (0-1, 2 BB) DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Giants Orange 9, DSL Twins 2 Box Score Roger Duran made the start but acted as an opener going just one inning. He worked around two hits and a walk to escape damage. The Twins generated just four hits on the day, and Jose Rodriguez’s triple was the only of the extra-base variety. As he has done all season, Yasser Mercedes continues to pile up numbers and recorded another hit today. He’s got a .985 OPS and just missed out on being included in the recent Twins Daily Top 20 prospect update. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Wilker Reyes (FCL Twins) - 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (FCL Twins) - 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI DRAFT PICK UPDATE 1 - Brooks Lee - FCL Twins - 17 AB, .353 AVG, .824 OPS, 2 R, 6 H, 3 RBI Q&A Link 2 - Tanner Schobel - FCL Twins - 15 AB, .200 AVG, .517 OPS, 3 R, 3 H, RBI Q&A Link 6 - Jorel Ortega - FCL Twins - 4 AB, .000 AVG, .000 OPS, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI Q&A Link TRADED PROSPECT UPDATE Cade Povich - 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K in Aberdeen debut (Orioles High-A). Named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week Spencer Steer - 4 G 6-16, 2 R, 4 RBI, SB for Louisville (Reds Triple-A) Christian Encarnacion-Strand - 3 G 4-11, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI for Chattanooga (Reds Double-A) Sawyer Gipson-Long - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K in Erie debut (Tigers Double-A) Steven Hajjar - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K in Dayton debut (Reds High-A) Brent Rooker - 4 G 7-15, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI for Omaha (Royals Triple-A) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Columbus @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Aaron Sanchez Corpus Christi @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Kody Funderburk Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30PM CST) - RHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Jupiter (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Monday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  2. The draft finished up almost three weeks ago. The signing deadline was last week. All the signed draft picks have reported. So where are they and how are they doing? 1st round pick Brooks Lee has played four games for the FCL Twins and despite starting slow has a .353/.353/.471 (.824) slash line thanks to an impressive game on Monday. Lee has played in the field exclusively at shortstop, starting three games there with his other appearance at DH. There had been rumblings that Lee wouldn't be playing in the Florida Complex League too much longer and those rumblings were confirmed by Darren Wolfson on Monday afternoon. It will be interesting to see how he's integrated into the Kernels lineup. You obviously make way for Brooks Lee, but former bonus baby Wander Javier has made every single one of his starts at shortstop. Make no mistake that Lee is in a different stratosphere as a prospect, but it's possible that both find themselves on the left side of the infield. It's also possible that Lee gets a couple of days off a week as he adjusts to playing a game of baseball every day. Comp Round B pick Tanner Schobel has also played four games for the FCL Twins. He's only 3-for-15 (.200/.250/.267) with a double and a walk and has struck out three times. He's also stolen a base. He has played twice at second base, once at shortstop, and once as a DH. Schobel is in line for more reps at shortstop after Lee's promotion. Once Schobel gets his feet underneath him, it wouldn't be surprising to see him move up a level. The most recent draft pick to make his pro debut is 6th-round pick Jorel Ortega. Ortega has only played in two games, getting a start at both first base and third base. He hasn't started hitting yet, going hitless in his first four at-bats. He's struck out three times and drawn two walks. Other draftees should be joining this trio soon and we'll keep you updated on how they're doing. View full article
  3. 1st round pick Brooks Lee has played four games for the FCL Twins and despite starting slow has a .353/.353/.471 (.824) slash line thanks to an impressive game on Monday. Lee has played in the field exclusively at shortstop, starting three games there with his other appearance at DH. There had been rumblings that Lee wouldn't be playing in the Florida Complex League too much longer and those rumblings were confirmed by Darren Wolfson on Monday afternoon. It will be interesting to see how he's integrated into the Kernels lineup. You obviously make way for Brooks Lee, but former bonus baby Wander Javier has made every single one of his starts at shortstop. Make no mistake that Lee is in a different stratosphere as a prospect, but it's possible that both find themselves on the left side of the infield. It's also possible that Lee gets a couple of days off a week as he adjusts to playing a game of baseball every day. Comp Round B pick Tanner Schobel has also played four games for the FCL Twins. He's only 3-for-15 (.200/.250/.267) with a double and a walk and has struck out three times. He's also stolen a base. He has played twice at second base, once at shortstop, and once as a DH. Schobel is in line for more reps at shortstop after Lee's promotion. Once Schobel gets his feet underneath him, it wouldn't be surprising to see him move up a level. The most recent draft pick to make his pro debut is 6th-round pick Jorel Ortega. Ortega has only played in two games, getting a start at both first base and third base. He hasn't started hitting yet, going hitless in his first four at-bats. He's struck out three times and drawn two walks. Other draftees should be joining this trio soon and we'll keep you updated on how they're doing.
  4. Three Twins draft picks have made their professional debuts. One is already being promoted to Cedar Rapids. Who are they? How are they doing?
  5. Three Twins draft picks have made their professional debuts. One is already being promoted to Cedar Rapids. Who are they? How are they doing? View full video
  6. TRANSACTIONS RHP Louie Varland is being promoted to Triple-A St. Paul per myself and Darren Wolfson INF Brooks Lee is being promoted to Single-A Cedar Rapids per Darren Wolfson COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Pirates 11, FCL Twins 6 Box Score Develson Aria drew the start today for the Twins and unfortunately it was a muted one. He went just 2 2/3 innings allowing nine runs (three earned) on six hits. Aria did strike out five and only walked two. An eight-run second inning for the Pirates ultimately did the Twins in, even though the Twins posted eight hits to the Pirates' nine. First-round pick Brooks Lee was the star of the show again today for Minnesota’s FCL team. He went 3-for-5 including a double. Batting .353 with an .824 OPS, it won’t be a shock if this is a quick stop, or he’s promoted directly to Cedar Rapids for their stretch run (Update: That's exactly what's happening). Ricardo Olivar also had a two-hit game, including a double, and the 20-year-old owns a 1.091 OPS this season in 116 at-bats. Other top picks from this year’s draft class playing today were Tanner Schobel (0-for-4, BB) and Jorel Ortega (0-1, 2 BB) DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Giants Orange 9, DSL Twins 2 Box Score Roger Duran made the start but acted as an opener going just one inning. He worked around two hits and a walk to escape damage. The Twins generated just four hits on the day, and Jose Rodriguez’s triple was the only of the extra-base variety. As he has done all season, Yasser Mercedes continues to pile up numbers and recorded another hit today. He’s got a .985 OPS and just missed out on being included in the recent Twins Daily Top 20 prospect update. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Wilker Reyes (FCL Twins) - 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (FCL Twins) - 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI DRAFT PICK UPDATE 1 - Brooks Lee - FCL Twins - 17 AB, .353 AVG, .824 OPS, 2 R, 6 H, 3 RBI Q&A Link 2 - Tanner Schobel - FCL Twins - 15 AB, .200 AVG, .517 OPS, 3 R, 3 H, RBI Q&A Link 6 - Jorel Ortega - FCL Twins - 4 AB, .000 AVG, .000 OPS, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI Q&A Link TRADED PROSPECT UPDATE Cade Povich - 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K in Aberdeen debut (Orioles High-A). Named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week Spencer Steer - 4 G 6-16, 2 R, 4 RBI, SB for Louisville (Reds Triple-A) Christian Encarnacion-Strand - 3 G 4-11, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI for Chattanooga (Reds Double-A) Sawyer Gipson-Long - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K in Erie debut (Tigers Double-A) Steven Hajjar - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 K in Dayton debut (Reds High-A) Brent Rooker - 4 G 7-15, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI for Omaha (Royals Triple-A) TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Columbus @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Aaron Sanchez Corpus Christi @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Kody Funderburk Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30PM CST) - RHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Jupiter (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Monday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing.
  7. It was a mixed bag for the Twins’ system Thursday. There was some good, some bad, and some in-between. Let’s get you caught up. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 3, Storm Chasers 9 Box Score The Saints had trouble offensively in Thursday’s loss to the Storm Chasers. They struck out 15 times and recorded seven hits, two of which came from the new Saint Nash Knight. Elliott Soto homered in the fifth, his fifth of the season. Caleb Hamilton also went deep in the eighth, his 11th long-ball of the year. Jordan Balazovic started and gave up five runs on six hits in three innings. Balazovic walked two and struck out four. His ERA is 10.75 in 37 ⅔ innings for the Saints. Ronny Henriquez struggled in relief, allowing four runs in four innings. Henriquez walked one and struck out six. The Saints had won four straight and six of their last seven. They fell to 49-51 with the loss on their trek to .500. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 4, Missions 3 Box Score The Wind Surge, after giving up their lead in the ninth, won the game in the 10th on an RBI single from Anthony Prato and a scoreless outing from Steven Cruz. Cruz entered the game with a runner at third and one out in the bottom of the 10th. He got a key strikeout and forced a flyout to end the game. Louie Varland started for the Surge and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Varland has a 3.34 ERA on the season, his follow-up from an outstanding Minor League Pitcher of the Year season in 2021. Andrew Bechtold had a two-hit, two-walk night, including his 14th homer of the season. Prato, the hero in the top of the 10th, notched two hits on the night and drew a walk. He’s hitting .308 with an .808 OPS in 49 games for the Surge. Edouard Julien hit his 13th homer, continuing a scorching hot streak. Wichita is 52-46. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 4, Sky Carp 5 Box Score The Kernels scored their first two runs on wild pitches in the first and second innings, jumping to an early lead. Seth Gray made it a 3-1 game with a double in the fifth, his 12th double and 51st RBI of the season. Gray went 2-for-4 on the day. Orlando Rodríguez started for the Kernels and pitched well. Rodríguez struck out six of the 13 batters he faced, allowing three hits and one run in 3 2/3 innings. The Kernels blew the lead in the sixth, giving up a game-tying two-run homer and a two-run single. The Kernels battled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with three straight singles to pull within one run. They had the tying run on third and the winning run on second but couldn’t cash in. The Kernels are 59-40. They’ve lost three straight to Beloit and five of their last six. MUSSEL MATTERS Mighty Mussels 7, Marauders 4 Box Score The Mighty Mussels built a 7-0 lead behind a tremendous start from Jordan Carr. Carr pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with four strikeouts and zero walks. Misael Urbina and Rubel Cespedes each hit solo homers to give the Mussels a 2-0 lead. Urbina entered the game hitting .290/.333/.548 with 11 extra-base hits over his last 69 plate appearances. Daniel Ozoria added an RBI double in the fourth, his fourth on the season. Cespedes and Urbina had multi-hit nights, as did Noah Cardenas. Nelson Roberto added a double and came around to score. The Mussels gave up four runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but Jackson Hicks ultimately shut the door to secure the win. The Mussels are 55-40. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 8, FCL Pirates 5 Box Score Brooks Lee made his much-anticipated debut Thursday, leading off and playing shortstop for the FCL Twins. Lee went 1-for-4 with his first professional hit, a single to left. Lee, the Twins’ first-round pick mere weeks ago, should be fun to watch down the stretch. Brayan Medina started for the Twins and pitched four solid innings, allowing just one run with five strikeouts and one walk. It was a massive day for Rafael Cruz, who went 2-for-4 with a triple, a homer, and five RBI. Dennis Ortega notched two hits as he rehabs on route back to Wichita. The FCL Twins are inching back toward .500, improving to 20-21 with the win. They’ll face the FCL Red Sox Friday morning in Fort Myers at the historic JetBlue Park. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 6, DSL Dodgers 2 Box Score The DSL Twins took down the DSL Dodgers Thursday, thanks to stellar performances from Yasser Mercedes, José Rodríguez, and the pitching staff. Mercedes went 3-for-4 with a double, and Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his 10th of the season. Both Mercedes and Rodríguez have crushed DSL pitching this summer. Anthony Narváez struck out seven over his three-inning start, allowing only one run and walking none. Orlando Rubio and Bianger Liedo combined to allow zero earned runs over four innings, locking down the victory. It was a strong day. The DSL Twins improved to 27-18 with the win and will return to play the DSL Tigers Friday at 10 a.m. CT. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Minor League Hitter of the Day - José Rodríguez (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Louie Varland (6 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY #7 Jordan Balazovic - 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K #11 Louie Varland - 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K #12 Matt Wallner - 1-for-4, 2B #14 Ronny Henríquez - 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, BB, 6 K View full article
  8. Studs: Royce Lewis Nothing has changed here; Royce Lewis is a phenomenally talented shortstop on the mend with his second ACL tear. All we can do is hope he’ll return quickly enough next season to impact the team meaningfully. Brooks Lee It’s a miracle that Brooks Lee fell to the Twins at 8. We should thank the Cubs and Mets every day—the former for reaching on a pop-up college arm; the latter for turning their noses at Kumar Rocker in 2021, allowing the Rangers to snag him, re-creating the Vanderbilt 1-2 punch. Lee is a great prospect, checking all the offensive boxes with a pedigree as a coach’s son. Sure, he may not stick at shortstop, but people have said that about every infielder ever drafted; only time will prove whether he will have to switch positions. Until then, we can cherish having a guy who slashed .357/.462/.664 in 2022. ------------------------- Guys I love: Noah Miller I don’t like placing Noah Miller this high; either Austin Martin or Jordan Balazovic should be here, but they have underperformed so drastically that I can’t, in good conscience, continue to act like nothing is wrong with them. Miller’s defense remains elite, but his bat has lost its early-season thunder; he slugged .270 in July. I don’t know when I saw a slugging percent that low. Nick Punto slugged .323 over his career. Miller cut down on the Ks, but he’ll need to re-find his power before this placement reflects his ability instead of needing someone to be here. Emmanuel Rodriguez Emmanuel Rodriguez hasn’t played since his brutal injury, but not playing means he couldn’t tank his value by performing poorly. It’s funny how prospect evaluation can work like that; he’s like Schrödinger's baseball player. His strikeouts were still high, but we’re talking about a 19-year-old who walked 28.6% of the time while slugging .551 during his first stint at A-ball; beggars can’t be choosers. Connor Prielipp The pessimist would point out that a freshly-drafted pitcher being the best pitching prospect in the Twins system is a bad sign, but I choose to look at it in another way: Connor Prielipp had a legitimate claim to go first overall before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The procedure is still a severe setback, but modern health advancements have prettied up its boogeyman face, and all reports point towards his stuff returning to previous levels. I’m incredibly excited to see what Prielipp can do in the Twins organization. ------------------------- Guys I like with reservations: Austin Martin Checking Austin Martin’s slash line is like learning that a childhood hero is a scumbag; it’s depressing, and a harsh reminder that the world sucks. Martin’s strikeout rate has plummeted to an impressive rate (13.8%), but he has 11 extra-base hits on the year. 11. It’s August. Martin hasn’t played since the month’s opening game—perhaps the Twins have him locked away deep in the chasms of Fort Myers until he builds more than Jamey Carrollian power—but maybe the reset helps him find his old groove. Until that happens, I have to drop him down the list. Simeon Woods Richardson Simeon Woods Richardson quietly slid to the IL in June—the Wind Surge never announced the move, which I thought was odd—but has finally returned. I remain a skeptic; his high walk rate, low BABIP, and low home run rate all scream vicious regression, but Woods Richardson has avoided that trap, and given that every other top pitching arm has capitulated, he’ll remain here by default. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team calls him up out of desperation for somebody, anybody who can save this pitching staff. Jordan Balazovic Jordan Balazovic’s AAA numbers don’t even make sense, and not in a good way; he’s walking a batter every two innings, and his HR/FB rate is a cartoonish 38.9%. Let me put it in another way: over 34 ⅔ innings, Balazovic has allowed 14 home runs. It’s clear that he isn’t healthy, and I have little clue as to why the team continues to let him die on the mound when he can’t net outs in his current state. I’ll keep Balazovic at this spot because he has dominated hitters in a way I have not seen in a post-José Berríos landscape. Marco Raya The Twins still refuse to let Marco Raya pitch longer than four innings in a game—yes, I know that’s how teams deal with young pitchers these days, but it still feels ridiculous, especially since no research exists that proves this strategy works—but he has crushed his competition. Raya struck out 24.3% of batters he faced in July, and he has been almost untouchable since mid-June. I don’t anticipate a promotion soon, but Raya is well-positioned for a big 2023 if he can stay healthy. Edouard Julien Edouard Julien keeps chugging, taking walks, and putting up impressive slash lines. Julien hit .287/.443/.517 in July, a healthy line that will play in any environment. He also walked as much as he struck out. The worry with Julien is still this: where is his position, and will he have enough power to sustain production there? If he’s a second baseman, that answer becomes more straightforward, but we will have to wait and see. He should be in St. Paul soon. Matt Wallner I previously said that a player needs to have legendary power to offset a strikeout rate like Matt Wallner’s, and he may have that jolt. Wallner’s homer in the Future Games was comical, and it’s easy to imagine his exit velocities translating well in the major leagues. AAA has not been kind to Wallner, but he struggled during his first taste of AA also, so that could just be how the big guy operates. Is he Joey Gallo 2.0? Is that something the Twins want? We shall see. David Festa David Festa is holding his own at A+ ball; the righty is 3rd in the system in innings and owns an ERA/FIP/xFIP slash line of 2.24/2.83/3.39. He struggled with command in July, walking 11.8% of batters, but I believe that to be a blip, not a worrisome trend. He also picked off three straight baserunners during a game in July, which I’ve never seen before in a baseball match. ------------------------- Guys I’m intrigued by: Louie Varland I’ve been one of the low-men on Louie Varland for a while. His peripherals weren’t great last season, and he’s continued that trend at AA ball in 2022. Varland’s July was good (3.91 ERA, 18.6 K-BB%), but those numbers are inflated by an eight-strikeout performance at the end of the month; the rest of his starts were inconsistent and a little sloppy. Blayne Enlow I’m still cutting Blayne Enlow an enormous amount of slack. The righty is trying to pitch his first mostly-full season since 2019, and getting him accustomed to pitching again is the goal for 2022. July was remarkable for his ERA—he allowed two runs over 13 innings—but the walk rate was elevated, and, well, it was just a 13-inning sample. Hopefully, we can see more dominant performances, like his three-inning, five strikeout relief outing to conclude the month. Brent Headrick Brent Headrick crushed A+ ball and earned a promotion to AAin July. He made one disastrous outing—seriously, don’t look it up—but I can chalk that up to jitters around making his first AA appearance. Headrick has the potential to fly up this list even further as the season continues, and he’s now undoubtedly the best left-handed pitching prospect in the system after Cade Povich and Steve Hajjar found new homes. Cole Sands Given the Twins’ inability to pitch at even a watchable level, I’m surprised that Cole Sands hasn’t earned an extended leash in the majors. He sometimes struggles with command, but his sweeper is deadly enough to coax an extra strikeout or two when he really needs it. Sands struck out 30.4% of batters at AAA in July; I think the team could use that. Ronny Henriquez In July, Ronny Henriquez secretly turned a corner; the newly acquired ex-Ranger farmhand put up an ERA of 3.05 with a healthy K-BB% of 20.9. Henriquez had struggled—and I mean struggled—at AAA to begin the season, but this great month could prove to be the launching point for the 22-year-old. Add him to the list of arms the team could look to in their pursuit of pitching. Matt Canterino Matt Canterino is a reliever who can’t stay healthy. I don’t care about stuff or anything else; a pitcher with a James Paxton-level of durability should not rank highly on any prospect list. If Canterino returns to AA and throws strikes, the team should move him to the major league bullpen before August ends. ------------------------- Possible diamonds in the rough: Yasser Mercedes It’s typically unwise to rank DSL players, but Yasser Mercedes commanded a signing bonus of $1.7 million; we aren’t dealing with a random Joe here. As a 17-year-old, Mercedes is hitting well during his first stint in professional baseball; he’s currently good for a .324/.394/.532 slash line. Chris Williams Missing Chris Williams was the most glaring mistake in my previous ranking. I’ve had my eye on Williams since he put together some powerful stretches in 2019, but his play has been dreadfully inconsistent. The 25-year-old slumped during an injury-plagued 2021 season, but he’s evolved into the Terminator recently, slugging a truly absurd .708 in July. He may be somewhat positionless, but you’ll move heaven and earth to find a place for that bat. Noah Cardenas Noah Cardenas is walking 18.2% of the time at A ball, and I feel like no one has mentioned it. Cardenas can already field the position well, so the newfound offensive boost could give his game a new, exciting wrinkle. I would suggest keeping your eye on him. Cesar Lares Cesar Lares is striking out 44.2% of hitters faced at the DSL. This concludes fun facts with Cesar Lares. Misael Urbina Misael Urbina had a late start to the season—visa issues limited his movement—but it seems like that problem is far behind Urbina. The talented outfielder slugged .589 at A ball in July, a good sign considering that power was his most prominent issue in 2021. Urbina could quickly move up a tier or two if he continues to smoke the ball well. Alerick Soularie Alerick Soularie shed the strike-out problems that clouded his prospect status; he punched out in just 19.8% of plate appearances in July while hitting for a solid 123 wRC+. His power output is still low, but that feels like a nitpick in an otherwise excellent hitting package. Yunior Severino Post-post-hype can still exist for a ballplayer; a statement never more true than with Yunior Severino. After the Twins snagged the infielder when the Braves got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, it seemed that Severino had greatness in his future. That timeline branched off into a far more boring story, but Severino did slug .690 in July, so he may still have a chance. ------------------------- Guys: Aaron Sabato The first spot in my “guys” list goes to one of the more frustrating prospects in the Twins’ system. Aaron Sabato has not yet put together an extended period of excellent performance–at least not in my eyes—but he did slug .709 in July while bringing home a Midwest League Hitter of the Week award. Is this a hot streak or a sign of things to come? I’m pessimistic, but we will see. Keoni Cavaco Keoni Cavaco remaining on this list is the baseball equivalent of the lifetime achievement award; he hasn’t impressed since the team took him in the 1st round in 2019, and he’s only here because of that pedigree. He did crawl above a league-average hitting line in July (110 wRC+), but his strikeout problem is still critical. Michael Helman Is Michael Helman just a feel-good story? Maybe. He’s 26 and is just holding his own at AAA, not dominating. No one attribute sticks out about Helman, but there’s a slight chance he’s called up in a pinch and proves enough to stick around. Kala’i Rosario Kala’i Rosario’s hitting peripherals—walks and strikeouts especially—look gross and not in a good way: a 5.8% walk rate compared to a 35.8% K rate. Still, the young, athletic outfielder has serious power potential, which could lead him to future success. Brayan Medina I still don’t know what to make of Brayan Medina, and he’s walking a small village in the low minors. He has almost no professional innings to his name, though, so I’m willing to wait before critically analyzing him. This group of names looked a lot better a few days ago when I started this writeup; of course, the team was always going to lose crucial players if they wanted to buy enough to offset their major league weaknesses. Still, I don’t feel like they lost major foundational pieces; Spencer Steer hurts, but he had no immediate fit on the Twins’ roster; Cade Povich is the primary, painful loss in my eyes. I think Povich will continue to evolve and become a valuable starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. I’m lower than a lot on Christian Encarnacion-Strand—he’s a butcher on the field, and that’s difficult for a major league team to hide—Steve Hajjar has command and shoulder issues, and Sawyer Gipson-Long feels replaceable. This system still isn’t great, but I think it’s in a better spot than it was last month—and that’s while considering the players they lost at the deadline.
  9. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 3, Storm Chasers 9 Box Score The Saints had trouble offensively in Thursday’s loss to the Storm Chasers. They struck out 15 times and recorded seven hits, two of which came from the new Saint Nash Knight. Elliott Soto homered in the fifth, his fifth of the season. Caleb Hamilton also went deep in the eighth, his 11th long-ball of the year. Jordan Balazovic started and gave up five runs on six hits in three innings. Balazovic walked two and struck out four. His ERA is 10.75 in 37 ⅔ innings for the Saints. Ronny Henriquez struggled in relief, allowing four runs in four innings. Henriquez walked one and struck out six. The Saints had won four straight and six of their last seven. They fell to 49-51 with the loss on their trek to .500. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 4, Missions 3 Box Score The Wind Surge, after giving up their lead in the ninth, won the game in the 10th on an RBI single from Anthony Prato and a scoreless outing from Steven Cruz. Cruz entered the game with a runner at third and one out in the bottom of the 10th. He got a key strikeout and forced a flyout to end the game. Louie Varland started for the Surge and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Varland has a 3.34 ERA on the season, his follow-up from an outstanding Minor League Pitcher of the Year season in 2021. Andrew Bechtold had a two-hit, two-walk night, including his 14th homer of the season. Prato, the hero in the top of the 10th, notched two hits on the night and drew a walk. He’s hitting .308 with an .808 OPS in 49 games for the Surge. Edouard Julien hit his 13th homer, continuing a scorching hot streak. Wichita is 52-46. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 4, Sky Carp 5 Box Score The Kernels scored their first two runs on wild pitches in the first and second innings, jumping to an early lead. Seth Gray made it a 3-1 game with a double in the fifth, his 12th double and 51st RBI of the season. Gray went 2-for-4 on the day. Orlando Rodríguez started for the Kernels and pitched well. Rodríguez struck out six of the 13 batters he faced, allowing three hits and one run in 3 2/3 innings. The Kernels blew the lead in the sixth, giving up a game-tying two-run homer and a two-run single. The Kernels battled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with three straight singles to pull within one run. They had the tying run on third and the winning run on second but couldn’t cash in. The Kernels are 59-40. They’ve lost three straight to Beloit and five of their last six. MUSSEL MATTERS Mighty Mussels 7, Marauders 4 Box Score The Mighty Mussels built a 7-0 lead behind a tremendous start from Jordan Carr. Carr pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with four strikeouts and zero walks. Misael Urbina and Rubel Cespedes each hit solo homers to give the Mussels a 2-0 lead. Urbina entered the game hitting .290/.333/.548 with 11 extra-base hits over his last 69 plate appearances. Daniel Ozoria added an RBI double in the fourth, his fourth on the season. Cespedes and Urbina had multi-hit nights, as did Noah Cardenas. Nelson Roberto added a double and came around to score. The Mussels gave up four runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but Jackson Hicks ultimately shut the door to secure the win. The Mussels are 55-40. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 8, FCL Pirates 5 Box Score Brooks Lee made his much-anticipated debut Thursday, leading off and playing shortstop for the FCL Twins. Lee went 1-for-4 with his first professional hit, a single to left. Lee, the Twins’ first-round pick mere weeks ago, should be fun to watch down the stretch. Brayan Medina started for the Twins and pitched four solid innings, allowing just one run with five strikeouts and one walk. It was a massive day for Rafael Cruz, who went 2-for-4 with a triple, a homer, and five RBI. Dennis Ortega notched two hits as he rehabs on route back to Wichita. The FCL Twins are inching back toward .500, improving to 20-21 with the win. They’ll face the FCL Red Sox Friday morning in Fort Myers at the historic JetBlue Park. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Twins 6, DSL Dodgers 2 Box Score The DSL Twins took down the DSL Dodgers Thursday, thanks to stellar performances from Yasser Mercedes, José Rodríguez, and the pitching staff. Mercedes went 3-for-4 with a double, and Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his 10th of the season. Both Mercedes and Rodríguez have crushed DSL pitching this summer. Anthony Narváez struck out seven over his three-inning start, allowing only one run and walking none. Orlando Rubio and Bianger Liedo combined to allow zero earned runs over four innings, locking down the victory. It was a strong day. The DSL Twins improved to 27-18 with the win and will return to play the DSL Tigers Friday at 10 a.m. CT. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Minor League Hitter of the Day - José Rodríguez (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Louie Varland (6 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY #7 Jordan Balazovic - 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K #11 Louie Varland - 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K #12 Matt Wallner - 1-for-4, 2B #14 Ronny Henríquez - 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, BB, 6 K
  10. The Minnesota Twins bullpen got destroyed by the Blue Jays Thursday in a 9-3 loss. Down on the farm, Caleb Hamilton hit his 11th home run for the Saints but it was another rough night for Jordan Balazovic and (to a lesser degree) Ronny Henriquez. Louie Varland pitched great for Wichita, though. Edouard Julien hit another home run for the Wind Surge while Anthony Prato delivered the game-winning hit. Also, Brooks Lee and Tanner Schobel made their professional debuts with the FCL Twins.
  11. The Minnesota Twins bullpen got destroyed by the Blue Jays Thursday in a 9-3 loss. Down on the farm, Caleb Hamilton hit his 11th home run for the Saints but it was another rough night for Jordan Balazovic and (to a lesser degree) Ronny Henriquez. Louie Varland pitched great for Wichita, though. Edouard Julien hit another home run for the Wind Surge while Anthony Prato delivered the game-winning hit. Also, Brooks Lee and Tanner Schobel made their professional debuts with the FCL Twins. View full video
  12. 17 signings. 17 bonuses included. That leaves three players unsigned. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about this year's draft class. You can go more in-depth on any specific player in the Twins Daily Draft Tracker. I'll give you the class overview here. All of the Top 10 round selections and seven of the Day 3 selections are signed, sealed and delivered. We'll keep you updated at Twins Daily as they all embark soon on their professional careers. Only Brooks Lee (first round) and Connor Prielipp (second round) came in over slot. Surprisingly enough, Lee's bonus was more over slot than Prielipp's. Both figure to enter the Twins Top 10 prospects and it isn't out of the question to consider Lee and Prielipp the organization's top hitting and pitching prospect, respectively. In order to get both players signed to over slot deals, the Twins had to shave money off their Day 2 picks. Each one of those players came in under slot - between $24,100 and $178,500 - to guarantee the Twins could make that happen. Now that the dust has settled and figures are public, there are a few interesting tidbits. The Twins spent $9,933,700 of their $10,081,500 bonus pool, meaning they still have $147,800 remaining to spend. Additionally, they could spend 105% of their bonus pool without any penalty. That means the Twins could spend up to $651,875 more. Omari Daniel has not signed yet, but he will be reporting to Fort Myers this weekend and is likely to forego his college eligibility to begin his professional career. Sources have indicated that Daniel's bonus will not exceed $125,000, which would require the signing team to dip into their bonus pool. So that leaves Garrett McMillan (Alabama) and Korbyn Dickerson (Kentucky prep committed to Louisville). Both have said publicly they will not be signing and that would be the expected outcome. The Twins could offer either one $272,800 (sixth round money) to sign. That would put them right at the limit of their bonus pool. If they wanted to use the 5% extra, they could sign either to $776,875 (which is basically third round money) or they could offer each $450,937 (late fourth round money). A late signing after professing publicly that a player is returning isn't unprecedented. The Twins signed Edouard Julien for $493,000 in 2019 after he stated he was going back to Auburn As the signing deadline approaches next week, the only question remains... will either McMillan or Dickerson change their mind? MINNESOTA TWINS $651,875 Player Round Slot Bonus $147,800 Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly 1 $5,442,400 $5,675,000 -$232,600 Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama 2 $1,662,700 $1,825,000 -$162,300 Tanner Schobel, SS, Virginia Tech"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Tanner Schobel, SS, Virginia Tech CB $1,002,000 $1,002,000 $0 Andrew Morris, RHP, Texas Tech"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Andrew Morris, RHP, Texas Tech 4 $533,300 $500,000 $33,300 Ben Ross, SS, Notre Dame Coll."}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Ben Ross, SS, Notre Dame Coll. 5 $398,500 $220,000 $178,500 Jorel Ortega, 2B, Tennessee"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Jorel Ortega, 2B, Tennessee 6 $301,200 $250,000 $51,200 Kyle Jones, RHP, Toledo"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Kyle Jones, RHP, Toledo 7 $235,600 $176,700 $58,900 Zebby Matthews, RHP, W. Carolina"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Zebby Matthews, RHP, W. Carolina 8 $187,900 $125,000 $62,900 Cory Lewis, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara"}" style="font-size:8pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Cory Lewis, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara 9 $164,100 $140,000 $24,100 Dalton Shuffield, SS, Texas State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Dalton Shuffield, SS, Texas State 10 $153,800 $20,000 $133,800 Andrew Cossetti, C, St. Joseph's"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Andrew Cossetti, C, St. Joseph's 11 - $125,000 Nate Baez, C, Arizona State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Nate Baez, C, Arizona State 12 - $125,000 C.J. Culpepper, RHP, Cal Baptist"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">C.J. Culpepper, RHP, Cal Baptist 13 - $125,000 Omari Daniel, SS, The Walker School 14 - Agreed Ben Ethridge, RHP, So. Miss."}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Ben Ethridge, RHP, So. Miss. 15 - $125,000 Jankel Ortiz, SS, Ac. Pres. HS (PR) 16 - $125,000 Alec Sayre, OF, Wright State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Alec Sayre, OF, Wright State 17 - $100,000 Zachary Veen, LHP, Point Loma 18 - $80,000 Garrett McMillan, RHP, Alabama 19 - intends to return to Alabama Korbyn Dickerson, OF, Trinity HS (KY) 20 - intends to go to Louisville View full article
  13. You can go more in-depth on any specific player in the Twins Daily Draft Tracker. I'll give you the class overview here. All of the Top 10 round selections and seven of the Day 3 selections are signed, sealed and delivered. We'll keep you updated at Twins Daily as they all embark soon on their professional careers. Only Brooks Lee (first round) and Connor Prielipp (second round) came in over slot. Surprisingly enough, Lee's bonus was more over slot than Prielipp's. Both figure to enter the Twins Top 10 prospects and it isn't out of the question to consider Lee and Prielipp the organization's top hitting and pitching prospect, respectively. In order to get both players signed to over slot deals, the Twins had to shave money off their Day 2 picks. Each one of those players came in under slot - between $24,100 and $178,500 - to guarantee the Twins could make that happen. Now that the dust has settled and figures are public, there are a few interesting tidbits. The Twins spent $9,933,700 of their $10,081,500 bonus pool, meaning they still have $147,800 remaining to spend. Additionally, they could spend 105% of their bonus pool without any penalty. That means the Twins could spend up to $651,875 more. Omari Daniel has not signed yet, but he will be reporting to Fort Myers this weekend and is likely to forego his college eligibility to begin his professional career. Sources have indicated that Daniel's bonus will not exceed $125,000, which would require the signing team to dip into their bonus pool. So that leaves Garrett McMillan (Alabama) and Korbyn Dickerson (Kentucky prep committed to Louisville). Both have said publicly they will not be signing and that would be the expected outcome. The Twins could offer either one $272,800 (sixth round money) to sign. That would put them right at the limit of their bonus pool. If they wanted to use the 5% extra, they could sign either to $776,875 (which is basically third round money) or they could offer each $450,937 (late fourth round money). A late signing after professing publicly that a player is returning isn't unprecedented. The Twins signed Edouard Julien for $493,000 in 2019 after he stated he was going back to Auburn As the signing deadline approaches next week, the only question remains... will either McMillan or Dickerson change their mind? MINNESOTA TWINS $651,875 Player Round Slot Bonus $147,800 Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly 1 $5,442,400 $5,675,000 -$232,600 Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama 2 $1,662,700 $1,825,000 -$162,300 Tanner Schobel, SS, Virginia Tech"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Tanner Schobel, SS, Virginia Tech CB $1,002,000 $1,002,000 $0 Andrew Morris, RHP, Texas Tech"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Andrew Morris, RHP, Texas Tech 4 $533,300 $500,000 $33,300 Ben Ross, SS, Notre Dame Coll."}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Ben Ross, SS, Notre Dame Coll. 5 $398,500 $220,000 $178,500 Jorel Ortega, 2B, Tennessee"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Jorel Ortega, 2B, Tennessee 6 $301,200 $250,000 $51,200 Kyle Jones, RHP, Toledo"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Kyle Jones, RHP, Toledo 7 $235,600 $176,700 $58,900 Zebby Matthews, RHP, W. Carolina"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Zebby Matthews, RHP, W. Carolina 8 $187,900 $125,000 $62,900 Cory Lewis, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara"}" style="font-size:8pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Cory Lewis, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara 9 $164,100 $140,000 $24,100 Dalton Shuffield, SS, Texas State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Dalton Shuffield, SS, Texas State 10 $153,800 $20,000 $133,800 Andrew Cossetti, C, St. Joseph's"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Andrew Cossetti, C, St. Joseph's 11 - $125,000 Nate Baez, C, Arizona State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Nate Baez, C, Arizona State 12 - $125,000 C.J. Culpepper, RHP, Cal Baptist"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">C.J. Culpepper, RHP, Cal Baptist 13 - $125,000 Omari Daniel, SS, The Walker School 14 - Agreed Ben Ethridge, RHP, So. Miss."}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Ben Ethridge, RHP, So. Miss. 15 - $125,000 Jankel Ortiz, SS, Ac. Pres. HS (PR) 16 - $125,000 Alec Sayre, OF, Wright State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Alec Sayre, OF, Wright State 17 - $100,000 Zachary Veen, LHP, Point Loma 18 - $80,000 Garrett McMillan, RHP, Alabama 19 - intends to return to Alabama Korbyn Dickerson, OF, Trinity HS (KY) 20 - intends to go to Louisville
  14. Take a look at what we know so far about the Twins 2022 Draft Class. Has anyone signed yet? Who isn't likely to sign? How does their overall pool look? View full video
  15. Take a look at what we know so far about the Twins 2022 Draft Class. Has anyone signed yet? Who isn't likely to sign? How does their overall pool look?
  16. The 2022 MLB Draft is in the books. Aside from an outstanding first day, how did the Twins do? What conclusions can we draw from their picks? Here are some insights and some thoughts from Sean Johnson, the Twins Vice President, Amateur Scouting. An Update on the Consensus Big Board The Consensus Big Board worked well in its first year. All of the consensus top 56 we profiled at Twins Daily were drafted. Only 3 players in the 76 I ranked (Tristan Smith, Cam Smith, and Max Martin) were not drafted. They are all high school players going to college. The Minnesota Twins gained 29 draft spots of consensus ranking value with their first two picks. Brooks Lee (ranked 4th, selected 8th), and Connor Prielipp (ranked 23rd, selected 48th), both reflected high value plays by the Twins front office. Barring health issues (which is a big hurdle to clear), the first two picks played out perfectly. Additionally, the consensus board was pretty accurate in the first few rounds. After day one (through 80 picks), 63 of our top 70 players had been drafted. That’s certainly something to build on for next year. In 2023, some of my thoughts on additions will be: Adding more sources (Fangraphs, Perfect Game, etc.) Expanding to 100 picks Limiting the writeups I have a suspicion that the usefulness of the board will be capped at around 75 players, but we’ll use next year to test that theory. Thanks to everyone who commented, gave feedback and interacted with all our pre-draft content at Twins Daily. Now, onto the Twins draft. After Lee and Prielipp, the Twins went heavy on signable college players. That’s not necessarily a trend. Twins VP of Amateur Scouting Sean Johnson says that the Twins "drafted players they liked organically", as opposed to trying to explicitly make savings in later rounds to pay up for initial picks. There were, however, some noticeable trends this year among picks. Here are three. The Twins Targeted Athletes ‘Geez, how many shortstops do the Twins need?' An incredibly tiring refrain tweeted out by many an egg-profile picture sporting twitter account on draft day. The answer is…an infinite number. The Twins picked six shortstops in twenty rounds of the 2022 draft. Brooks Lee (1st), Tanner Schobel (CB-B), Ben Ross (5th), Dalton Shuffield (10th), Omari Daniel (14th), and Jankel Ortiz (16th). Simply, shortstops are typically the best athletes on a given team, the Twins (like many other teams) target athletic players. If a player can play at short, they can play anywhere on the infield (and likely other positions), so please, let’s toss the ridiculous notion that the 'Twins drafted too many shortstops’ out the window forever. Twins are Buying Power Breakouts This may seem obvious, but I think there are some noteworthy case studies here. Competitive Balance pick Tanner Schobel (who Jeremy Nygaard reported has already reached an agreement with the Twins) had a power breakout in 2022. He went from seven home runs and 10 doubles in 2021 to 19 home runs in 2022 with increased elevation and pull-side power. Jorel Ortega, the Twins 6th round pick (and another middle infielder), had a similar breakthrough in 2022. He hit 18 home runs and slugged .672 for the Vols, compared to just one home run and .296 slugging in 2021 in his return from Tommy John surgery. "Just a really strong performer on one of the best college teams in America", says Sean Johnson. Although Ortega is an extreme example, the Twins draft class is littered with them, whether in college, the Cape, or the Northwoods League. Ben Ross is another example. "It's a higher bar to clear (coming from a Division II school), especially on our model, but he held up well on our board", says Johnson of Ross. The Twins are known to value exit velocity in their model. They are also jumping on players who have breakthrough years as a development that may translate to the professional level. Twins Value K/BB Ratio for Pitchers, Confident in Their Ability to add Velocity As John Vittas (play-by-play for Fort Myers) alluded to, the Twins use K:BB as a driving metric for their pitchers. If we look at the pitchers drafted outside of the three mentioned by Vittas, the trend continues: Andrew Morris (91 K, 28 BB) Ben Ethridge (39 K, 7 BB) Zachary Veen (59 K, 3 BB) Garrett McMillan (83 K, 26 BB) Johnson had plenty of interesting insights to share regarding the pitchers the Twins selected. "In these rounds (day 2 and 3), you're looking for one special pitch, something unique", before adding that the Twins feel extremely confident in their player development department in adding velocity to incoming pitchers. Interestingly, Johnson also mentioned careful consideration of the school a pitcher attended, highlighting the additional development possibilities for players who had less access to elite coaching and playing technology in their college programs. On specific pitchers, Johnson had additional insights. "Andrew Morris is a good strike thrower, four solid pitches across the board, we see him as a starter for us". On Zebby Matthews, Johnson noted, "We had him here for a pre-draft workout. He has a chance to throw really hard." When prompted to reflect on the success of last year's draft, particularly with pitchers (Hajjar, Povich, Festa etc.), Johnson noted that no one could have predicted Festa's breakout season, even the scouts who advocated for drafting him. "If you have draft ten guys like him, one might have a breakthrough like that," shares Johnson. What’s not yet clear to me is the extent to which the Twins target raw velocity in their pitchers. In a recent graphic (that I now cannot find), the MLB team was producing some of the most consistently high exit velocities and some of the most consistently low velocities from pitching. It’s likely the front office is working to course correct this in the minors and it just hasn’t shown up yet at the MLB level (besides Duran). What are your takeaways from the draft? What players are you excited to watch? Any Twins draft regrets? View full article
  17. How did the Minnesota Twins do at the 2022 MLB Draft? Here's a rundown of all of their picks and some discussion on their draft strategy.
  18. How did the Minnesota Twins do at the 2022 MLB Draft? Here's a rundown of all of their picks and some discussion on their draft strategy. View full video
  19. Minnesota added a top-10 draft pick to a farm system that included multiple highly regarded prospects. Who is in the conversation for the organization's top prospect following the 2022 MLB Draft? Prospect lists can be exciting, especially as the trade deadline approaches at the beginning of August. Contending teams must part with some of the top-rated prospects so they can add veteran pieces to their roster. Minnesota expects to be active in the trade market, and these are the prospects considered the best in the system. Royce Lewis, SS Minnesota saw the type of impact Royce Lewis could have on the big-league roster during his first call-up in 2022. In 12 games, he hit .300/.317/.550 (.867) with four doubles and two home runs. He was also destroying the baseball at Triple-A with a .940 OPS, which is tremendous considering the amount of time he missed during the 2020-21 seasons. He also made some solid defensive plays at shortstop, which may quiet some of his critics. Unfortunately, another knee injury means he is out until late June or July 2023. Lewis has gone through this rehab before, and the hope is he can return next season and look just as strong. Austin Martin, SS/OF Around this time last season, the Twins acquired Austin Martin as the centerpiece of a trade for Jose Berrios. He was a top-5 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and considered the best college bat in his draft class. Martin's stock has dropped over the last two seasons as he has failed to showcase the power he had at Vanderbilt. He is repeating Double-A this season, but he is putting up career lows in nearly every category. In 63 games, he is hitting .249/.378/.313 (.691) with 11 extra-base hits. Martin is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level. Emmanuel Rodriguez, CF Emmanuel Rodriguez was off to a tremendous start to the 2022 season as he firmly established himself as a breakout prospect. As a 19-year-old, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with 17 extra-base hits in 47 games. What makes his performance even more impressive is the fact that Rodriguez was over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the Florida State League. Unfortunately, he tore the meniscus in his right knee when sliding into a base in the middle of June. Rodriguez is out for the season, but he's certainly in the conversation as one of the team's best overall prospects. Brooks Lee, SS Minnesota's front office was ecstatic when the draft board played out in their favor, and Brooks Lee was still on the board. Baseball America ranked Lee as the second-best prospect in the draft, and the Twins snagged him with the eighth overall pick. He has tremendous bat-to-ball skills as he hit .357/.462/.644 (1.106) with 15 homers and 25 doubles in 58 games during his junior season. Defensively, there are questions about whether he can stick at shortstop, but his bat will play at any defensive position. Lee is similar to Martin in their draft position and strong hitting reputations from college. As he enters the Twins system, few prospects will compare to Lee and his overall potential. Other names are certainly in the conversation at the top of the Twins system. Second-round pick Connor Prielipp was the potential number one pick in this year's draft before missing the season due to Tommy John surgery. Spencer Steer has been dominating the upper levels of the minors as he is a frontrunner for the team's minor league player of the year. Cody's Current Top-5 Twins Prospects 1. Royce Lewis 2. Brooks Lee 3. Austin Martin 4. Emmanuel Rodriguez 5. Connor Prielipp How would you rank the names listed above? Does a different prospect make your top-5 list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  20. An Update on the Consensus Big Board The Consensus Big Board worked well in its first year. All of the consensus top 56 we profiled at Twins Daily were drafted. Only 3 players in the 76 I ranked (Tristan Smith, Cam Smith, and Max Martin) were not drafted. They are all high school players going to college. The Minnesota Twins gained 29 draft spots of consensus ranking value with their first two picks. Brooks Lee (ranked 4th, selected 8th), and Connor Prielipp (ranked 23rd, selected 48th), both reflected high value plays by the Twins front office. Barring health issues (which is a big hurdle to clear), the first two picks played out perfectly. Additionally, the consensus board was pretty accurate in the first few rounds. After day one (through 80 picks), 63 of our top 70 players had been drafted. That’s certainly something to build on for next year. In 2023, some of my thoughts on additions will be: Adding more sources (Fangraphs, Perfect Game, etc.) Expanding to 100 picks Limiting the writeups I have a suspicion that the usefulness of the board will be capped at around 75 players, but we’ll use next year to test that theory. Thanks to everyone who commented, gave feedback and interacted with all our pre-draft content at Twins Daily. Now, onto the Twins draft. After Lee and Prielipp, the Twins went heavy on signable college players. That’s not necessarily a trend. Twins VP of Amateur Scouting Sean Johnson says that the Twins "drafted players they liked organically", as opposed to trying to explicitly make savings in later rounds to pay up for initial picks. There were, however, some noticeable trends this year among picks. Here are three. The Twins Targeted Athletes ‘Geez, how many shortstops do the Twins need?' An incredibly tiring refrain tweeted out by many an egg-profile picture sporting twitter account on draft day. The answer is…an infinite number. The Twins picked six shortstops in twenty rounds of the 2022 draft. Brooks Lee (1st), Tanner Schobel (CB-B), Ben Ross (5th), Dalton Shuffield (10th), Omari Daniel (14th), and Jankel Ortiz (16th). Simply, shortstops are typically the best athletes on a given team, the Twins (like many other teams) target athletic players. If a player can play at short, they can play anywhere on the infield (and likely other positions), so please, let’s toss the ridiculous notion that the 'Twins drafted too many shortstops’ out the window forever. Twins are Buying Power Breakouts This may seem obvious, but I think there are some noteworthy case studies here. Competitive Balance pick Tanner Schobel (who Jeremy Nygaard reported has already reached an agreement with the Twins) had a power breakout in 2022. He went from seven home runs and 10 doubles in 2021 to 19 home runs in 2022 with increased elevation and pull-side power. Jorel Ortega, the Twins 6th round pick (and another middle infielder), had a similar breakthrough in 2022. He hit 18 home runs and slugged .672 for the Vols, compared to just one home run and .296 slugging in 2021 in his return from Tommy John surgery. "Just a really strong performer on one of the best college teams in America", says Sean Johnson. Although Ortega is an extreme example, the Twins draft class is littered with them, whether in college, the Cape, or the Northwoods League. Ben Ross is another example. "It's a higher bar to clear (coming from a Division II school), especially on our model, but he held up well on our board", says Johnson of Ross. The Twins are known to value exit velocity in their model. They are also jumping on players who have breakthrough years as a development that may translate to the professional level. Twins Value K/BB Ratio for Pitchers, Confident in Their Ability to add Velocity As John Vittas (play-by-play for Fort Myers) alluded to, the Twins use K:BB as a driving metric for their pitchers. If we look at the pitchers drafted outside of the three mentioned by Vittas, the trend continues: Andrew Morris (91 K, 28 BB) Ben Ethridge (39 K, 7 BB) Zachary Veen (59 K, 3 BB) Garrett McMillan (83 K, 26 BB) Johnson had plenty of interesting insights to share regarding the pitchers the Twins selected. "In these rounds (day 2 and 3), you're looking for one special pitch, something unique", before adding that the Twins feel extremely confident in their player development department in adding velocity to incoming pitchers. Interestingly, Johnson also mentioned careful consideration of the school a pitcher attended, highlighting the additional development possibilities for players who had less access to elite coaching and playing technology in their college programs. On specific pitchers, Johnson had additional insights. "Andrew Morris is a good strike thrower, four solid pitches across the board, we see him as a starter for us". On Zebby Matthews, Johnson noted, "We had him here for a pre-draft workout. He has a chance to throw really hard." When prompted to reflect on the success of last year's draft, particularly with pitchers (Hajjar, Povich, Festa etc.), Johnson noted that no one could have predicted Festa's breakout season, even the scouts who advocated for drafting him. "If you have draft ten guys like him, one might have a breakthrough like that," shares Johnson. What’s not yet clear to me is the extent to which the Twins target raw velocity in their pitchers. In a recent graphic (that I now cannot find), the MLB team was producing some of the most consistently high exit velocities and some of the most consistently low velocities from pitching. It’s likely the front office is working to course correct this in the minors and it just hasn’t shown up yet at the MLB level (besides Duran). What are your takeaways from the draft? What players are you excited to watch? Any Twins draft regrets?
  21. The Minnesota Twins didn’t have a good season in 2021 and they were rewarded with the 8th overall pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball draft. After a few seasons of later picks, they were in a position to draft a prospect of impact. When Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee fell into their lap, there’s no denying the organization’s excitement level reached unparalleled proportions. Brooks Lee was considered to be a contender for the first overall pick at different points during the draft cycle. An elite hitter with incredible bat-to-ball skills, Lee could’ve helped any number of teams making a selection at the top of this draft. He was an incredible talent for Cal Poly, and he replicated the success in Cape Cod action. Playing for his dad, Larry, at Cal Poly always seemed to be part of the plan, but there was never any doubt that he’d be a top-tier big league prospect. He has now agreed to an over-slot deal with the Twins, checking in at roughly $5.6 million. He still needs to sign the paperwork, but his big league career is set to begin. Before it does, I had the opportunity to check in with him. Twins Daily: As someone that came into the draft looking like a top pick, how was the leadup and anticipation to draft day for you? What was the experience like? Brooks Lee: It was a pretty different experience, unlike the one I had in high school, because in high school I was still deciding whether I wanted to go play for my dad or not. This draft I was already past that and super excited to see where I would land. TD: You got to play for your dad in college and have been around a high level of baseball for quite some time. How has that shaped you as a player? BL: I think it was super beneficial that I got to be around the game at such a young age. I feel like I see the game from a different perspective at times, in a good way. For much of my life I have been involved with college baseball so I believe it’s really helped in the areas of dealing with failure and learning how to create a winning culture. TD: Every publication has written about your elite bat-to-ball skills. What about your preparation and process make you so good at the plate? BL: I have a unique way of hitting and have always been this way. I think the bat-to-ball skills is something that was developed from a really young age. I was forced to swing at every pitch no matter where it was in batting practice which later on helped hitting different pitches in certain areas, especially with two strikes. I love to hit and talk about that part of the game, so it’s super enjoyable to prepare in this area and learn ways to be more advanced. TD: When looking at the next level, what are things about your game that you think will help ease the transition, and what areas are you most looking to develop? BL: I think my understanding of the game is what will help in the biggest way. I will never say I know everything about the game but being around coach and dad who knew so much will definitely help. The areas I want to get better at are speed and arm strength. TD: What do you know about the Minnesota Twins? Have you ever been to Target Field? BL: I know that the Twins are in 1st place in the AL Central and I’m excited to help them keep trending in the right direction whenever that time may be. I played summer ball in Minnesota a couple of years ago and loved it, so I can’t wait to be back doing what I love there. TD: As a person or player, what do you want Twins Territory to know about you? BL: I am a hard-working, selfless kid from California who just wants to win. View full article
  22. Prospect lists can be exciting, especially as the trade deadline approaches at the beginning of August. Contending teams must part with some of the top-rated prospects so they can add veteran pieces to their roster. Minnesota expects to be active in the trade market, and these are the prospects considered the best in the system. Royce Lewis, SS Minnesota saw the type of impact Royce Lewis could have on the big-league roster during his first call-up in 2022. In 12 games, he hit .300/.317/.550 (.867) with four doubles and two home runs. He was also destroying the baseball at Triple-A with a .940 OPS, which is tremendous considering the amount of time he missed during the 2020-21 seasons. He also made some solid defensive plays at shortstop, which may quiet some of his critics. Unfortunately, another knee injury means he is out until late June or July 2023. Lewis has gone through this rehab before, and the hope is he can return next season and look just as strong. Austin Martin, SS/OF Around this time last season, the Twins acquired Austin Martin as the centerpiece of a trade for Jose Berrios. He was a top-5 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and considered the best college bat in his draft class. Martin's stock has dropped over the last two seasons as he has failed to showcase the power he had at Vanderbilt. He is repeating Double-A this season, but he is putting up career lows in nearly every category. In 63 games, he is hitting .249/.378/.313 (.691) with 11 extra-base hits. Martin is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level. Emmanuel Rodriguez, CF Emmanuel Rodriguez was off to a tremendous start to the 2022 season as he firmly established himself as a breakout prospect. As a 19-year-old, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with 17 extra-base hits in 47 games. What makes his performance even more impressive is the fact that Rodriguez was over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the Florida State League. Unfortunately, he tore the meniscus in his right knee when sliding into a base in the middle of June. Rodriguez is out for the season, but he's certainly in the conversation as one of the team's best overall prospects. Brooks Lee, SS Minnesota's front office was ecstatic when the draft board played out in their favor, and Brooks Lee was still on the board. Baseball America ranked Lee as the second-best prospect in the draft, and the Twins snagged him with the eighth overall pick. He has tremendous bat-to-ball skills as he hit .357/.462/.644 (1.106) with 15 homers and 25 doubles in 58 games during his junior season. Defensively, there are questions about whether he can stick at shortstop, but his bat will play at any defensive position. Lee is similar to Martin in their draft position and strong hitting reputations from college. As he enters the Twins system, few prospects will compare to Lee and his overall potential. Other names are certainly in the conversation at the top of the Twins system. Second-round pick Connor Prielipp was the potential number one pick in this year's draft before missing the season due to Tommy John surgery. Spencer Steer has been dominating the upper levels of the minors as he is a frontrunner for the team's minor league player of the year. Cody's Current Top-5 Twins Prospects 1. Royce Lewis 2. Brooks Lee 3. Austin Martin 4. Emmanuel Rodriguez 5. Connor Prielipp How would you rank the names listed above? Does a different prospect make your top-5 list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  23. The newest member of the Minnesota Twins is Brooks Lee, who the team just selected 8th overall in the 2022 MLB Draft. Brooks Lee is a shortstop from Cal Poly. Long-term, Lee's bat will play anywhere, profiling more as a pure hitter than a masher. He's grown to 6' 2 and over 200 pounds, so it's less likely he will stick at shortstop and eventually move to third base, where he easily has enough arm to survive. He doesn't fit the typical power profile as a third baseman, but could be a very good second baseman as well. Regardless, he checks so many of the boxes the Twins are looking for. Great bat-to-ball skills, could unlock more power and has defensive versatility. The draft slot associated with the 8th pick is $5,439,500. You can read Jamie Cameron's profile on Brooks Lee here. Baseball America's scouting report, ranked second overall: MLB.com's scouting report, where he ranked 5th overall: ESPN's scouting report, where he ranked 6th: View full article
  24. Brooks Lee was considered to be a contender for the first overall pick at different points during the draft cycle. An elite hitter with incredible bat-to-ball skills, Lee could’ve helped any number of teams making a selection at the top of this draft. He was an incredible talent for Cal Poly, and he replicated the success in Cape Cod action. Playing for his dad, Larry, at Cal Poly always seemed to be part of the plan, but there was never any doubt that he’d be a top-tier big league prospect. He has now agreed to an over-slot deal with the Twins, checking in at roughly $5.6 million. He still needs to sign the paperwork, but his big league career is set to begin. Before it does, I had the opportunity to check in with him. Twins Daily: As someone that came into the draft looking like a top pick, how was the leadup and anticipation to draft day for you? What was the experience like? Brooks Lee: It was a pretty different experience, unlike the one I had in high school, because in high school I was still deciding whether I wanted to go play for my dad or not. This draft I was already past that and super excited to see where I would land. TD: You got to play for your dad in college and have been around a high level of baseball for quite some time. How has that shaped you as a player? BL: I think it was super beneficial that I got to be around the game at such a young age. I feel like I see the game from a different perspective at times, in a good way. For much of my life I have been involved with college baseball so I believe it’s really helped in the areas of dealing with failure and learning how to create a winning culture. TD: Every publication has written about your elite bat-to-ball skills. What about your preparation and process make you so good at the plate? BL: I have a unique way of hitting and have always been this way. I think the bat-to-ball skills is something that was developed from a really young age. I was forced to swing at every pitch no matter where it was in batting practice which later on helped hitting different pitches in certain areas, especially with two strikes. I love to hit and talk about that part of the game, so it’s super enjoyable to prepare in this area and learn ways to be more advanced. TD: When looking at the next level, what are things about your game that you think will help ease the transition, and what areas are you most looking to develop? BL: I think my understanding of the game is what will help in the biggest way. I will never say I know everything about the game but being around coach and dad who knew so much will definitely help. The areas I want to get better at are speed and arm strength. TD: What do you know about the Minnesota Twins? Have you ever been to Target Field? BL: I know that the Twins are in 1st place in the AL Central and I’m excited to help them keep trending in the right direction whenever that time may be. I played summer ball in Minnesota a couple of years ago and loved it, so I can’t wait to be back doing what I love there. TD: As a person or player, what do you want Twins Territory to know about you? BL: I am a hard-working, selfless kid from California who just wants to win.
  25. 80 players heard their name called on Sunday night, altering the course of their lives, or at least their potential bank accounts. The top 68 draft spots have a slot value of over $1 million. The Twins had three picks in that top 68 picks, and they couldn’t be happier with the players they selected. Let’s start with the basics. The draft was filled with surprises at the start. After Jackson Holliday and Druw Jones went with the top two picks, the Rangers messed up a lot of mock draft boards by selecting righty Kumar Rocker with the third overall pick. In addition, the Cubs used the seventh overall pick on Oklahoma right-hander Cade Horton. That left the Twins with several options that we have read a lot about, including Cam Collier (18th, Reds), Gavin Cross (9th, Royals), Kevin Parada (11th, Mets) and others. The Twins scouting department was ecstatic that shortstop Brooks Lee was available. “We see him as a playmaker. He’s a creative, skilled, and instinctual player,” Scouting Director Sean Johnson said following the first day of picks. Lee could have been a very high pick out of high school but, as Johnson noted, “chose to go play for his dad, Larry Lee, who is a heavily decorated college coach, and they have a very close connection. He comes from a really strong baseball family.” Interestingly, Johnson noted that in 2021, when the Twins selected Wisconsin prep shortstop Noah Miller, they were comparing him to Brooks Lee, who the Twins have been watching for several years going back to high school. He noted, they both “have really good instincts, elite baseball IQ, great feel for the game, really great feel to hit in the batter’s box.” “We think, whether he plays shortstop, or second or third or wherever he ends up, we think that he has a chance to have impact power to go along with the hit skills that he possesses.” Lefty Conner Prielipp was the team’s second-round pick (#48 overall) out of the University of Alabama. He had Tommy John surgery in May of 2021, but he has thrown bullpens and was impressive at the draft combine. Many believe he has the talent to be a top-of-the-rotation starter in time. Several Twins scouts saw him before the injury, but they have been around him a lot. The area scout, Matt Williams, and the supervisor, Derek Dunbar, got the chance to know him. Johnson said, “Our scouting staff has absolutely loved the pitcher, loved the pitches. The uniqueness of the slider is a real draw. It’s a high-velocity breaking ball that you don’t see a lot because his grip on it is pretty unique.” Johnson also said that Alabama head coach Brad Bohanon was very helpful in giving the Twins insight on his makeup and the type of person he is off the field. At the combine, he was up to 95 or 96 mph and the breaking ball was at 90, and he flashed a changeup. It was an impressive outing (just 20 pitches), and it certainly is a signal that he’s tracking toward full health.” In 2021, the Twins drafted Steve Hajjar in the second round. They added Cade Povich in the third round. In the fifth round, they took Christian MacLeod. All three are left-handed, and Prielipp adds another left-handed arm with upside to the mix. Is this a trend? A strategy? Or, just who the best pitcher was on their board at the time. Johnson said, “Our aim is not to acquire left or right-handed pitching, it’s just impact pitching, regardless of which hand they throw with. So obviously it’s a little more unique being left-handed. A guy with his kind of pitches and upside is exciting to turn over to our player development group which has done such an amazing job with a lot of the pitchers we have taken in the last couple of years. To be able to add him into the mix is really exciting for our future, as it pertains to pitching prospects in our system. Finally, with the 68th overall pick, the Twins took infielder Tanner Schobel from Virginia Tech. Now, he is listed at 5-10 and 170 pounds, but his stats might surprise you. This season, he hit .362/.445/.689 with 18 doubles, a triple, 19 home runs, and 74 RBI. He led the Hokies in home runs, RBI and total bases, a team that included Gavin Cross who was taken by the Royals with the ninth overall pick. “He really performed. He’s a guy that grows on you a little bit. He’s not the most physical guy on the board, but he’s got surprising strength and he can jolt the ball farther than you’d ever think he could,” Johnson continued. “His makeup is really good. Comes from a really great background, and family. He’s really competitive. He was the leader on that Virginia Tech team.” The Twins went to watch Gavin Cross a lot, but “The more you see that team play, the more you appreciated Schrobel’s game. He’s got a chance to stay in the middle of the diamond. He’s got a fast swing with some sneaky power. Like Brooks Lee, he’s got plus-intangibles.” Fair to say that the draft couldn’t have gone much better for the Twins. They have two players that probably should have gone higher in the draft fall to them, and their third pick is clearly a guy they really like too and maybe even drafted just a little higher than he might rank, knowing that they don’t have a third-round pick on Monday and he would be gone long before Round 4. The Twins draft room was very happy, according to Johnson. “We were just saying in the room that some years, it feels like you don’t get any bounces falling your way, and some years you feel like some of them go, but you never feel like they all fall that way. But to get the three guys we got tonight, felt like a really good night for our room. We coveted all three players. We were hopeful that ones would make it to certain ranges on the board, and the fact that they did, our room is in a really good spot going into Day 2.” Here’s hoping that Sean Johnson and the personnel at Target Field are just as excited about Day 2’s selections. Regarding Day 2, Johnson said, "Day 2 always seems to be the craziest!" View full article
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