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  1. Last night's thunderstorms in the Twin Cities couldn't bring any electricity to the Twins' bats on Thursday afternoon. Read up on all the action from the second game of Thursday's pseudo-double-header. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3BB, 2 K (77 pitches, 45 strikes, 58%) Home Runs: none Bottom Three WPA: Josh Winder (-.209), Byron Buxton (-.105), Jose Miranda (-.097), Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After a rocky finish to last night's weather-delayed game, the Twins finished up a 'less than pretty' series against the Astros with a 5-0 shutout loss on Thursday afternoon. Despite garnering seven hits (to Houston's eight), the Twins were unable to convert any rallies and left 16 runners on base throughout the game. First Foe for Winder After two incredible starts to kick off his MLB campaign Josh Winder had his first sub-par start on Tuesday afternoon. The highly-touted prospect lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six hits while walking three batters. Twins trainer Abe Masa accompanied skipper Rocco Baldelli to the mound to check on Winder towards the end of his outing. Winder continued to pitch and appeared fine. Hopefully, the young talent is healthy and will rebound for another great start next week! Bullpen After a rough outing in the first game of the day, the Twins' bullpen was adequate through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar followed Josh Winder in relief and was scoreless through 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Duffey followed suit with two innings of scoreless ball. The highlight of the bullpen experience came from Cole Sands in the top of the eighth inning. Called up to the 40-man roster after last night's delay, Sands struck out the side, providing the only 1-2-3 inning on the day for the Twins' pitching staff. Sands wasn't as lucky in the ninth, giving up a homer to Yordan Alvarez. Arraez and Rocco Return Despite the gloom of the box score, Luiz Arraez and Rocco Baldelli returned from the COVID protocol on Thursday. Baldelli managed both games today and Arraez made his debut in the second game of the pseudo-double-header, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Nick Gordon is a Renaissance Man The Twins may have lost, but Nick Gordon won over the hearts of Twins fans between the two games on Thursday. After pitching a scoreless ninth inning of a blowout loss, Gordon made one of the most spectacular catches across the league in the second inning of the second game. Gordon had an impressive day at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh innings. The former first-round pick has been a joy to watch for the Twins this season both in the field and at the plate. The Avon Park, Florida native has hit .294 in his last seven games, and Thursday afternoon's game was his first multi-hit game since April 21 against Kansas City. Bullpen Usage Chart What’s Next? After a disappointing sweep, the Twins will look to regain momentum tomorrow night with a home series against the Cleveland Guardians. RHP Sonny Gray (0-1, 3.48 ERA) will face off against Aaron Civale (1-2, 9.45 ERA) in a battle of two of the AL Central's top teams. First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 pm CST. View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3BB, 2 K (77 pitches, 45 strikes, 58%) Home Runs: none Bottom Three WPA: Josh Winder (-.209), Byron Buxton (-.105), Jose Miranda (-.097), Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After a rocky finish to last night's weather-delayed game, the Twins finished up a 'less than pretty' series against the Astros with a 5-0 shutout loss on Thursday afternoon. Despite garnering seven hits (to Houston's eight), the Twins were unable to convert any rallies and left 16 runners on base throughout the game. First Foe for Winder After two incredible starts to kick off his MLB campaign Josh Winder had his first sub-par start on Tuesday afternoon. The highly-touted prospect lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six hits while walking three batters. Twins trainer Abe Masa accompanied skipper Rocco Baldelli to the mound to check on Winder towards the end of his outing. Winder continued to pitch and appeared fine. Hopefully, the young talent is healthy and will rebound for another great start next week! Bullpen After a rough outing in the first game of the day, the Twins' bullpen was adequate through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar followed Josh Winder in relief and was scoreless through 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Duffey followed suit with two innings of scoreless ball. The highlight of the bullpen experience came from Cole Sands in the top of the eighth inning. Called up to the 40-man roster after last night's delay, Sands struck out the side, providing the only 1-2-3 inning on the day for the Twins' pitching staff. Sands wasn't as lucky in the ninth, giving up a homer to Yordan Alvarez. Arraez and Rocco Return Despite the gloom of the box score, Luiz Arraez and Rocco Baldelli returned from the COVID protocol on Thursday. Baldelli managed both games today and Arraez made his debut in the second game of the pseudo-double-header, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Nick Gordon is a Renaissance Man The Twins may have lost, but Nick Gordon won over the hearts of Twins fans between the two games on Thursday. After pitching a scoreless ninth inning of a blowout loss, Gordon made one of the most spectacular catches across the league in the second inning of the second game. Gordon had an impressive day at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh innings. The former first-round pick has been a joy to watch for the Twins this season both in the field and at the plate. The Avon Park, Florida native has hit .294 in his last seven games, and Thursday afternoon's game was his first multi-hit game since April 21 against Kansas City. Bullpen Usage Chart What’s Next? After a disappointing sweep, the Twins will look to regain momentum tomorrow night with a home series against the Cleveland Guardians. RHP Sonny Gray (0-1, 3.48 ERA) will face off against Aaron Civale (1-2, 9.45 ERA) in a battle of two of the AL Central's top teams. First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 pm CST.
  3. It was a vastly different experience going to that little ballpark compared to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but watching unknown minor leaguers play on those fields always filled my mind with delusions of grandeur to be like them one day—a professional baseball player chasing their dream to become a Major Leaguer. That is the main reason I do a little bit different of a list heading into a new season than all those “Top Prospects” lists you see here at Twins Daily, on MLB.com, or at other outlets like FanGraphs and Baseball America. There are so many of them these days I don’t think this amateur scout can tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Instead, I want to recognize all those guys who have worked hard to get where they are, whether they’re a top prospect or not, and whom you might see make their MLB debut at Target Field during the upcoming season—those ready to make their childhood dreams like mine come true. Across all of Major League Baseball during the 2021 season, 265 players made their Major League debut, with eight members of the Minnesota Twins organization contributing to that number. They included pitchers Charlie Barnes, Griffin Jax, Jovani Moran, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan, as well as position players Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. All four of those hitters and pitchers Jax and Ober were profiled in this same column before the start of the 2021 season, and you’ll see some of the same names in this list below for the 2022 calendar year that didn’t quite make the jump. So, who are the prospects that could make their Major League debut and become the next Minnesota Twins during the 2022 season? ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER: The Twins enter the 2022 season with a 40-man MLB roster that does not have much room for position players yet to make their MLB debut. That list is just two players, but any fan should be excited about the names that are included in this section. There is, however, much more room for pitchers in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and the top end talent is almost all at the top of their system to start the 2022 season. Royce Lewis (22 years old on opening day), IF/OF – Twins Daily’s #2 Prospect (Lewis made his MLB debut on 5/6, playing SS against the Oakland Athletics and batting 7th. He finished 1-for-4, picking up a single in the 8th inning of a 2-1 win) It’s hard to gauge where Royce Lewis is at in his development, given he’s missed two entire years’ worth of time due to Covid and tearing his ACL. But when we last saw him, he was crushing in the Arizona Fall League to the point he took home the league’s MVP award. He has continued to work on his swing while off the field, and I expect big things during the 2022 season when he finds his footing. The biggest question continues to be what position he will play when he reaches the majors. I have been critical of his shortstop play in the past, but there is no doubt he can be an elite defender in the outfield. He excelled at third base in the AFL as well if that does not work out. That is to say, if he’s hitting well and anyone in the outfield or middle infield on the Major League roster goes out for an extended period, it would not surprise me at all if Lewis is the name that gets called to fill in if he is hitting. Plus, he looked good at short for the Saints on Tuesday if you were wondering: Jordan Balazovic (23), RHP – TD’s #4 Prospect Balazovic is ticketed for the starting rotation with the St. Paul Saints in 2022, though he will start the season on the Injured List with a left knee strain. While he does not necessarily get the accolades around his pure “stuff” that some of the other guys on this list do, he has been one to get better results as he’s climbed the ladder. That can be attributed some to having better command, but he has also shown steady improvement with his offerings year over year, showcased by his fastball averaging around 96 MPH with Wichita last season. One thing going against him is innings, as his 97 in 2021 were a career high after missing the first two months with a back injury. There is little doubt when it comes to Balazovic that he will break through as a starting pitcher and stay there when he reaches the majors, compared to others further down this list. Jose Miranda (23), 3B – TD’s #3 Prospect (Miranda made his MLB debut on 5/2, playing third base and batting sixth against the Baltimore Orioles. He was 0-for-4 in a 2-1 Twins win) The thing with Miranda was never about talent, as the Twins had always seen a good bat in the infielder from Puerto Rico. However, before the 2021 season that bat had never quite lived up to expectations, producing just one season with an OPS above .750 and that was all the way back in rookie ball. But coaches continued to encourage him to alter his approach and wait for pitches he could do damage with, instead of swinging first and asking questions later. He took it to heart and ran with it for the 2021 season, enroute to one of the most impressive Minor League seasons you have ever seen from a Twins prospect. He led all of the minors in total bases, clubbing 32 doubles and 30 home runs in 127 games between Wichita and St. Paul. He finished with a .344/.401/.572 slash line and rocketed up prospect lists by the end of the year. He’s basically only a corner infielder and won’t win any Gold Glove awards with his defense, but if he’s even close to repeating those hitting numbers in 2022 at triple-A, his bat will force the issue sooner rather than later. Jhoan Duran (24), RHP – TD’s #7 Prospect (Duran made his MLB debut on opening day, pithing two innings against the Seattle Mariners. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four in a scoreless outing) Whether they’ve been trying or not, since I’ve been a fan of the Twins they have always had a velocity problem. Duran is one of the pitchers who can continue to change that, whether that comes as a starter or a reliever. He has size, is capable of hitting 100+ MPH with his fastball, and throws a weird sinker he can play off that velocity to get swings and misses. Like many young hurlers, consistency is key and despite his stuff he has had trouble maintaining that start-to-start in the past. When he is on Duran is fully capable of dominating an outing, but has thrown only 16 innings in live games since the end of the 2019 season. If you were asking me before the start of Spring Training, I would have fully expected Duran to begin the season in the St. Paul Saints rotation. Instead, he has been absolutely dominant in his outings thus far and will come North with the Twins to start the year! Josh Winder (25), RHP – TD’s #9 Prospect (Winder made his MLB debut on 4/12, pitching one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed one run on two walks and struck out one. He made his first MLB start on 5/1, and picked up the win with 6 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out seven against the Tampa Bay Rays) A casual fan may not recognize Winder’s name as much as others, but I recommend paying a lot more attention to him this season. I have seen evidence from the Twins over the past two years that they may think he is the best of the starting pitching bunch they have approaching the majors. Plus, as of writing this he is still on the bubble to come North to Minneapolis instead of St. Paul to start the 2022 season. While he only threw 72 innings last year, they were so good that he was the Twins representative to play in the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. He was promoted to triple-A immediately after that and made four starts for the Saints before being shut down for the rest of the season with a shoulder impingement. He was solid in his outings this spring, starting three games (meaning he was facing mostly MLB players) and allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine in eight total innings pitched. While there is no reason for the Twins to put him in the bullpen permanently, it would not shock me to see him as part of a 16-man pitching staff to start the season in a piggy-backing role. I can even envision him performing better than whomever he follows to the point he takes over when rosters get cut down from 28 players. Cole Sands (24), RHP – TD’s #13 Prospect (Sands made his MLB debut on 5/1, pitching two innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays. He allowed two earned runs on three hits, and struck out two.) Making his professional debut during the 2019 season, Sands was a standout performer and as a result pitched at three levels, reaching double-A for one start to end the year. He finished the season with a 2.68 ERA and struck out 108 hitters over 97 1/3 innings. He followed that up in 2021 by dominating with Wichita to the tune of a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 80 1/3 innings. He missed some time due to an injury, but will be in the Saints rotation to start the 2022 season. His path reminds me a bit of one Bailey Ober and if the Twins can get more of that, they would be ecstatic. Since he is on the 40-man roster, you never know—if he is lined up to pitch on the right day, an injury on the Twins could spur a cab ride across the river to Target Field at any point. Drew Strotman (25), RHP The second half of the trade package the Twins received from the Tampa Bay Rays for Nelson Cruz, Strotman was thought by some evaluators to be the better prospect in the deal at the time. I do not think that is the case now, considering Joe Ryan is slated to pitch opening day for the Twins while Strotman fell off a bit after coming over, but it should give you an idea of how well the Twins did in that trade to get both of those guys. He throws in the mid-90s with a good cutter that catches the attention of scouts, but command has been a bit of an issue since having Tommy John Surgery back in 2018. He is being fully transitioned to the bullpen in 2022 and could turn into another high-octane option there as the season progresses. Ronny Henriquez (21), RHP – TD’s #16 Prospect With the flurry of trade activity that happened after the lockout ended, the Twins ended up with an intriguing right-hander from the Texas Rangers in sending off Mitch Garver. You will hear a lot about his size or lack thereof, but there is a lightning arm attached to his right shoulder that hits the mid-90s with ease. He has consistently piled up strikeouts and limited baserunners, but the long ball has been a bugaboo as he gave up nearly two per nine innings pitched in double-A last season. He has primarily started games in his pro career thus far and should continue to do so with the Twins, but his profile sounds a lot like a future reliever when it is all said and done. Chris Vallimont (25), RHP The moniker of the “Vallimonster” is apt for the right-hander, as he can perform quite the Jekyll and Hyde routine whenever he is on the mound. He paired a 13.0/9IP strikeout rate with a 5.8/9IP walk rate during the 2021 season and if you go game to game, you will see that up and down nature in his stat lines as well. A switch to the bullpen to maximize his pure stuff in shorter stints is something to watch for during the season if that pattern continues. TOP PROSPECTS: Consider this entry more of a “not-yet-on-the-40-man-roster” section heading into this season since a lot of the top prospects have already appeared above, but what remains below still holds the theme that these guys are close to Major League ready. All three of them are on the double-A roster of the Wichita Wind Surge to start the year, with a few of them sure to move up quickly when the 40-man depth above is called upon by the Twins. Austin Martin (23), IF/OF – TD’s #1 Prospect The top prospect on our board, it is slightly odd that Martin returns to double-A to start the season after spending all of the 2021 season there, but he does have some things to work on. Those being his defense at shortstop (or elsewhere), and tapping into some power that may have been hindered by a wrist injury throughout last year. That said, he posted a .414 on-base percentage in 93 games that led all of double-A and you would be hard-pressed to find a more prototypical leadoff hitter anywhere in the minors. As soon as a spot opens up in St. Paul I expect Martin to be promoted, but the depth the Twins have when it comes to position players pushes a debut timeline out to later in the summer. He is the type of talent who can force that issue sooner rather than later, however. Simeon Woods Richardson (21), RHP – TD’s #8 Prospect Plenty of people seem to be down on SWR going into the 2022 season, but I am not one of them. You cannot blame him for the 2020 season being canceled or for competing in the Olympics (though he didn’t pitch at all) in the middle of the 2021 campaign. There was absolutely some rust to shake off by the time he put on a Wind Surge uniform, but he did flash what makes him highly regarded as well: A key point to consider with him in comparison to every other player on this list is his age. Even after missing a full season, he was only 20 years old and pitching in double-A at the beginning of last year. Especially for the Twins, this is a rare occurrence. Jose Berrios, for example, had turned 21 a couple of months before he reached double-A and was the quickest moving pitcher the Twins had produced in a long time. If he can reign back in his control, Berrios is also a great comp for the type of ceiling we are talking about for Woods Richardson, who has dwarfed any strikeout rates the former Twins pitcher ever produced in the minors. Matt Canterino (23), RHP – TD’s #6 Prospect Canterino finds himself in double-A to start the 2022 season despite pitching only 23 total innings last year with Cedar Rapids. That was due to elbow troubles, which is a legitimate concern moving forward given his history coming out of Rice University and herky-jerky mechanics, but you cannot deny the numbers. He struck out over half the hitters he faced while walking only four in his time on the mound, resulting in a 0.78 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. His stuff is electric, with a fastball that can reach the high 90’s and a slider and changeup that are both legitimate swing-and-miss offerings as well. Due to those health concerns, there are many evaluators who see the bullpen in his future, but if you are looking for a pitcher that can make some serious noise during the 2022 campaign, Canterino is your guy. MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH: While these players may not necessarily be top prospects, they are at or near the top of the system and have performed well to get themselves there. It could be a situation where a pitcher is lined up to pitch on the right day the Twins need a spot-start across the river at Target Field, or an injury leads to needing a specific position covered and there is no other ready replacement available. Maybe something new has clicked and they have improved their stock from internal evaluators. No matter how it happens, players like these are always needed at some point during the MLB season. Ryan Mason (26), RHP Mason has been a standout performer in the bullpens of Twins affiliates since being taken in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. Missing the 2020 season hurt guys like him more than most, but he came back in 2021 to post stellar numbers and finished the final two months of the season in St. Paul. While there, he posted a career-high strikeout rate of 12.1/9IP, and guys like him are always among my favorites to root for. Yennier Cano (27), RHP (Even though he didn't throw a pitch as the game was suspended, Yennier Cano was credited with his MLB debut on 5/11 against the Houston Astros. When he did take the mound the next day, he delivered two perfect innings before running into some trouble in his third. In total, he allowed three runs on three hits, and struck out two.) A sneaky international signing all the way back in 2019, Cano finally got to showcase his talents for a full season during the 2021 campaign, spending the bulk of it in St. Paul. He boasts a mid-90s fastball and deep repertoire, as well as an intimidating mound presence that reminds me a lot of Aroldis Chapman (both are around 6’4” and 230 lbs). He will need to reign in the walks that spiked once he reached triple-A, but certainly looks the part of a bullpen horse. Mark Contreras (27), OF (Contreras made his MLB debut on 5/12, when the suspended game from the day before resumed he took over for Byron Buxton, playing left field. He finished 0-for-2, but scored a run and drove in one with a sac fly in the 11-3 loss to the Houston Astros.) Contreras made his mark in the Twins organization with his defense, taking home a MiLB Gold Glove award after the 2019 season, but something clicked for him in the batter’s box in 2021. Spending the bulk of the year with St. Paul, the lefty nearly matched his career home run total to that point (23) with 20 on the year, 18 of them coming in his 95 games at triple-A. I would not expect Contreras to get the call as a long-term starter in the majors, but you can do a lot worse with a fourth outfielder type as he can play all the outfield positions well, including center in a pinch. Jermaine Palacios (25), IF Palacios is a bit buried on an organizational depth chart with the names Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Austin Martin in the fold, but what he has above the other two prospects is that he is definitely a shortstop. That fact plays against him a little for the 2022 season as those two prospects above him need the work, but he is in triple-A where he will be moved around the infield depending on the day. He also showed some pop with 19 home runs for Wichita last year, and was also spectacular in the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason, posting a .987 OPS in 42 games. DARK HORSES: There always seems to be a player or two who comes out of nowhere to make a surprise debut during the season. They might be a known name but are not that far up the ladder at the season’s outset, returning from an injury so they have been forgotten some, or have a unique skill set or background that is intriguing and could pay big dividends if something else falls into place. These are my shots in the dark at guys that could be in 2022. Jordan Gore (27), RHP The former shortstop begins the season as a high-leverage option out of the St. Paul Saints bullpen. He split time between Cedar Rapids and Wichita during the 2021 season, picking up seven saves and striking out 11.7/9IP with a WHIP below 1.00. Plus, he has great hair. Louie Varland (24), RHP – TD’s #14 Prospect First of all, he is #OneOfUs, growing up in Maplewood and being drafted out of Concordia University in St. Paul in the 15th round of the 2019 draft. Second of all, he is the reigning Twins and Twins Daily’s, Minor League Pitcher of the Year. That is because he struck out 142 hitters in 103 innings pitched last season split between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. He is buried on a starting pitching depth chart at this point, but if he continues that type of dominance in double-A and eventually triple-A this season, there will be a spot for him at some point. Edouard Julien (22), OF – TD’s #19 Prospect I have long been a fan of the type of player Julien was during the 2021 season, where he led all of the minors in walks (110 in 112 games) and had an on-base percentage flirting with .500 for a large chunk of the season. He also tapped into some power upon being promoted to Cedar Rapids, launching 15 homers in 65 games after getting out of the Florida State League. He starts the 2022 season with Wichita, and he and Austin Martin should prove extremely annoying to double-A pitching for much of the summer. So, there you have it, my picks for some of the minor league players I think could be called up to the majors and put on a Minnesota Twins uniform for the first time during the coming season. When do you think any of them will show up at Target Field? Who are you looking forward to the most? And who are some of the prospects you think I have missed that could make that jump? Let’s play ball!
  4. Minnesota drafted Cole Sands in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Florida State University. In three collegiate seasons (228 1/3 innings), he posted a 4.73 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP and 210 strikeouts. His stock fell a little heading into the draft because of some injury concerns. However, he showed the ability to improve throughout his collegiate career as he limited his walk rate and increased his strikeout totals. The Twins waited for Sands to make his professional debut until the start of the 2019 season. If the team was cautious to start his career, they made up for it by pushing him through three levels in his first pro season. At Low-A, he started eight games (41 1/3 innings) and posted a 3.05 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and a 49-to-11 strikeout to walk ratio. It was a great start to his career, but it improved after his promotion. Sands dominated after being promoted to High-A. Across nine starts (52 innings), he had a 2.25 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP. He struck out more than a batter per inning and only issued seven walks. He was also nearly two years younger than the average age of the competition at that level. Over 57% of his plate appearances came against older batters for the season. His final 2019 appearance came at Double-A, where he allowed two earned runs over 4.0 innings with six strikeouts. During the 2021 campaign, Sands pitched the entire year at Double-A, and he continued to establish himself as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. In 19 appearances (18 starts), he posted a 2.46 ERA with 1.17 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings. After an impressive season, the Twins rewarded Sands by adding him to the 40-man roster. His 2022 season started off well as he posted some impressive numbers in his first two starts. In both games, he pitched five innings, and he only allowed one earned run, a home run, while striking out 12. His subsequent two appearances were disastrous as he combined to pitch 2 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs in both outings. “He checks a lot of the traditional boxes that get you excited,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I mean he’s a big strong guy with some real arm strength and can spin the ball and can really find the strike zone and can pinpoint what he’s doing.” Minnesota will continue to allow Sands to start games, where he has the opportunity to be a back-of-the-rotation starter. His pitch mix and stuff may also make him an intriguing late-inning reliever if the team decides to go in that direction. His debut didn't go perfectly, but that doesn't take away from what he has accomplished so far in his professional career. What stands out to you about Sands? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Cole Sands made his big-league debut on Sunday, and he has come a long way since being drafted by the Twins. Here’s a look back at his professional career so far. Minnesota drafted Cole Sands in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Florida State University. In three collegiate seasons (228 1/3 innings), he posted a 4.73 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP and 210 strikeouts. His stock fell a little heading into the draft because of some injury concerns. However, he showed the ability to improve throughout his collegiate career as he limited his walk rate and increased his strikeout totals. The Twins waited for Sands to make his professional debut until the start of the 2019 season. If the team was cautious to start his career, they made up for it by pushing him through three levels in his first pro season. At Low-A, he started eight games (41 1/3 innings) and posted a 3.05 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and a 49-to-11 strikeout to walk ratio. It was a great start to his career, but it improved after his promotion. Sands dominated after being promoted to High-A. Across nine starts (52 innings), he had a 2.25 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP. He struck out more than a batter per inning and only issued seven walks. He was also nearly two years younger than the average age of the competition at that level. Over 57% of his plate appearances came against older batters for the season. His final 2019 appearance came at Double-A, where he allowed two earned runs over 4.0 innings with six strikeouts. During the 2021 campaign, Sands pitched the entire year at Double-A, and he continued to establish himself as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. In 19 appearances (18 starts), he posted a 2.46 ERA with 1.17 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings. After an impressive season, the Twins rewarded Sands by adding him to the 40-man roster. His 2022 season started off well as he posted some impressive numbers in his first two starts. In both games, he pitched five innings, and he only allowed one earned run, a home run, while striking out 12. His subsequent two appearances were disastrous as he combined to pitch 2 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs in both outings. “He checks a lot of the traditional boxes that get you excited,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I mean he’s a big strong guy with some real arm strength and can spin the ball and can really find the strike zone and can pinpoint what he’s doing.” Minnesota will continue to allow Sands to start games, where he has the opportunity to be a back-of-the-rotation starter. His pitch mix and stuff may also make him an intriguing late-inning reliever if the team decides to go in that direction. His debut didn't go perfectly, but that doesn't take away from what he has accomplished so far in his professional career. What stands out to you about Sands? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. Josh Winder went to the mound Sunday afternoon for his first Major League start, and his teammates gave him an early favor by scoring five runs in the first inning. The Twins went on to a 9-3 win, and a series win on the road in Tampa. Box Score SP: Josh Winder 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (83 pitches, 54 strikes (65 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (7) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.131), Kyle Garlick (.106), Josh Winder (.102) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins bats were ready to continue their hot streak from Saturday against the Rays on Sunday and wasted no time doing so. The top of the first brought about a lot of excitement for the Twins as Byron Buxton reached base on a throwing error from Rays shortstop Taylor Walls which advanced him to second. In the next at-bat Carlos Correa hit a single to have two runners on for Kyle Garlick. Garlick was able to drive in the Twins' first run of the game with an RBI single to right which scored Buxton. This had two runners aboard for Jorge Polanco who drove both Correa and Garlick in on a bases-clearing double to make it a 3-0 Twins lead. Gio Urshela was the Twins first out of the inning, but Max Kepler came up next to make it a 4-0 game on another double. The scoring didn’t stop there for the Twins in the top of the first. Gary Sanchez followed Kepler’s RBI double with an RBI single of his own to make it 5-0. Left fielder Gilberto Celestino ended the inning with a double play hit to Walls but the Twins still gave Winder an extensive lead for his first MLB start. The Twins offense certainly stood out during Sunday’s game but Winder was the star of the game making his first MLB start. Winder had made three bullpen appearances for the Twins before Sunday only looking rough in his MLB debut against the Dodgers on April 12. The six inning workload that Winder pitched on Sunday was not set to be a challenge either. Winder had a relief appearance of 5 1/3 innings on April 16 after Sonny Gray was removed from his start due to injury. Winder’s start against the Rays was his best pitching appearance of 2022 to date. Six shutout innings, only three base runners on two hits and a walk and seven strikeouts proved why the Twins were smart to put him on the Opening Day roster. After the first inning that almost had the Twins bat around, the scoring didn’t stop there for them. Buxton was the next to add on a run for the Twins as he hit his seventh home run of the season to deep left field in the top of the fourth. The Twins bats wouldn’t do anything again until the top of the seventh where they scored an additional two runs thanks to another Polanco bases-clearing double. Trevor Larnach, who came into the game for Garlick who had to leave due to a hamstring injury, made sure the Twins weren’t done scoring in the top of the eighth. Larnach drove in Celestino on an RBI single to make it a 9-1 game for the Twins. The Twins bullpen was not able to keep the shoutout going for Winder after he left the game. Tyler Duffey came into the game in the bottom of the seventh and gave up an RBI double to Walls to make it a 8-1 game. Following Duffey’s one-run inning, Twins Daily 13th-ranked prospect Cole Sands came into the game to make his Major League debut in the bottom of the eighth. After recording the first out, Sands struggled surrendering three straight hits and two earned runs. Sands recovered though as he recorded his first two big-league strikeouts to get out of the eighth inning. Even with his struggles in the eighth, Rocco Baldelli sent his newly arrived reliever in for the ninth to close the game out for the Twins. Sands cooled off completely in the ninth throwing a one, two, three ninth inning to give the Twins the win and series victory on the road against Tampa. What’s Next? The Twins will start the second series of this road trip against Baltimore tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. CT. Chris Paddack will be making his fourth start for the Twins against the Orioles 6’8 righty Tyler Wells. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Coulombe 20 0 35 0 0 55 Jax 0 46 0 0 0 46 Stashak 0 18 0 14 0 32 Sands 0 0 0 0 30 30 Duffey 0 8 0 0 17 25 Duran 0 0 0 20 0 20 Smith 10 0 0 9 0 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 15 0 15 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  7. Box Score SP: Josh Winder 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (83 pitches, 54 strikes (65 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (7) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.131), Kyle Garlick (.106), Josh Winder (.102) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins bats were ready to continue their hot streak from Saturday against the Rays on Sunday and wasted no time doing so. The top of the first brought about a lot of excitement for the Twins as Byron Buxton reached base on a throwing error from Rays shortstop Taylor Walls which advanced him to second. In the next at-bat Carlos Correa hit a single to have two runners on for Kyle Garlick. Garlick was able to drive in the Twins' first run of the game with an RBI single to right which scored Buxton. This had two runners aboard for Jorge Polanco who drove both Correa and Garlick in on a bases-clearing double to make it a 3-0 Twins lead. Gio Urshela was the Twins first out of the inning, but Max Kepler came up next to make it a 4-0 game on another double. The scoring didn’t stop there for the Twins in the top of the first. Gary Sanchez followed Kepler’s RBI double with an RBI single of his own to make it 5-0. Left fielder Gilberto Celestino ended the inning with a double play hit to Walls but the Twins still gave Winder an extensive lead for his first MLB start. The Twins offense certainly stood out during Sunday’s game but Winder was the star of the game making his first MLB start. Winder had made three bullpen appearances for the Twins before Sunday only looking rough in his MLB debut against the Dodgers on April 12. The six inning workload that Winder pitched on Sunday was not set to be a challenge either. Winder had a relief appearance of 5 1/3 innings on April 16 after Sonny Gray was removed from his start due to injury. Winder’s start against the Rays was his best pitching appearance of 2022 to date. Six shutout innings, only three base runners on two hits and a walk and seven strikeouts proved why the Twins were smart to put him on the Opening Day roster. After the first inning that almost had the Twins bat around, the scoring didn’t stop there for them. Buxton was the next to add on a run for the Twins as he hit his seventh home run of the season to deep left field in the top of the fourth. The Twins bats wouldn’t do anything again until the top of the seventh where they scored an additional two runs thanks to another Polanco bases-clearing double. Trevor Larnach, who came into the game for Garlick who had to leave due to a hamstring injury, made sure the Twins weren’t done scoring in the top of the eighth. Larnach drove in Celestino on an RBI single to make it a 9-1 game for the Twins. The Twins bullpen was not able to keep the shoutout going for Winder after he left the game. Tyler Duffey came into the game in the bottom of the seventh and gave up an RBI double to Walls to make it a 8-1 game. Following Duffey’s one-run inning, Twins Daily 13th-ranked prospect Cole Sands came into the game to make his Major League debut in the bottom of the eighth. After recording the first out, Sands struggled surrendering three straight hits and two earned runs. Sands recovered though as he recorded his first two big-league strikeouts to get out of the eighth inning. Even with his struggles in the eighth, Rocco Baldelli sent his newly arrived reliever in for the ninth to close the game out for the Twins. Sands cooled off completely in the ninth throwing a one, two, three ninth inning to give the Twins the win and series victory on the road against Tampa. What’s Next? The Twins will start the second series of this road trip against Baltimore tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. CT. Chris Paddack will be making his fourth start for the Twins against the Orioles 6’8 righty Tyler Wells. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Coulombe 20 0 35 0 0 55 Jax 0 46 0 0 0 46 Stashak 0 18 0 14 0 32 Sands 0 0 0 0 30 30 Duffey 0 8 0 0 17 25 Duran 0 0 0 20 0 20 Smith 10 0 0 9 0 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 15 0 15 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0
  8. Josh Winder was magnificent in his first career start as the Minnesota Twins beat the Rays 9-3 to take the series. Cole Sands also made his Major League debut in today's game, pitching the final two frames. Highlights of those two plus Byron Buxton, Cade Povich, Jair Camargo, Jeferson Morales, Austin Martin, Alex Isola and rehab update on Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic.
  9. Josh Winder was magnificent in his first career start as the Minnesota Twins beat the Rays 9-3 to take the series. Cole Sands also made his Major League debut in today's game, pitching the final two frames. Highlights of those two plus Byron Buxton, Cade Povich, Jair Camargo, Jeferson Morales, Austin Martin, Alex Isola and rehab update on Sonny Gray and Jordan Balazovic. View full video
  10. I will never forget my experiences as a little kid taking in baseball at minor league parks in Wisconsin when visiting family for summer vacations. Back then, it was a Seattle Mariners’ Class A affiliate named the Appleton Foxes that we would go see before they later morphed into the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, which are now in the Milwaukee Brewers organizational family. It was a vastly different experience going to that little ballpark compared to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but watching unknown minor leaguers play on those fields always filled my mind with delusions of grandeur to be like them one day—a professional baseball player chasing their dream to become a Major Leaguer. That is the main reason I do a little bit different of a list heading into a new season than all those “Top Prospects” lists you see here at Twins Daily, on MLB.com, or at other outlets like FanGraphs and Baseball America. There are so many of them these days I don’t think this amateur scout can tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Instead, I want to recognize all those guys who have worked hard to get where they are, whether they’re a top prospect or not, and whom you might see make their MLB debut at Target Field during the upcoming season—those ready to make their childhood dreams like mine come true. Across all of Major League Baseball during the 2021 season, 265 players made their Major League debut, with eight members of the Minnesota Twins organization contributing to that number. They included pitchers Charlie Barnes, Griffin Jax, Jovani Moran, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan, as well as position players Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. All four of those hitters and pitchers Jax and Ober were profiled in this same column before the start of the 2021 season, and you’ll see some of the same names in this list below for the 2022 calendar year that didn’t quite make the jump. So, who are the prospects that could make their Major League debut and become the next Minnesota Twins during the 2022 season? ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER: The Twins enter the 2022 season with a 40-man MLB roster that does not have much room for position players yet to make their MLB debut. That list is just two players, but any fan should be excited about the names that are included in this section. There is, however, much more room for pitchers in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and the top end talent is almost all at the top of their system to start the 2022 season. Royce Lewis (22 years old on opening day), IF/OF – Twins Daily’s #2 Prospect (Lewis made his MLB debut on 5/6, playing SS against the Oakland Athletics and batting 7th. He finished 1-for-4, picking up a single in the 8th inning of a 2-1 win) It’s hard to gauge where Royce Lewis is at in his development, given he’s missed two entire years’ worth of time due to Covid and tearing his ACL. But when we last saw him, he was crushing in the Arizona Fall League to the point he took home the league’s MVP award. He has continued to work on his swing while off the field, and I expect big things during the 2022 season when he finds his footing. The biggest question continues to be what position he will play when he reaches the majors. I have been critical of his shortstop play in the past, but there is no doubt he can be an elite defender in the outfield. He excelled at third base in the AFL as well if that does not work out. That is to say, if he’s hitting well and anyone in the outfield or middle infield on the Major League roster goes out for an extended period, it would not surprise me at all if Lewis is the name that gets called to fill in if he is hitting. Plus, he looked good at short for the Saints on Tuesday if you were wondering: Jordan Balazovic (23), RHP – TD’s #4 Prospect Balazovic is ticketed for the starting rotation with the St. Paul Saints in 2022, though he will start the season on the Injured List with a left knee strain. While he does not necessarily get the accolades around his pure “stuff” that some of the other guys on this list do, he has been one to get better results as he’s climbed the ladder. That can be attributed some to having better command, but he has also shown steady improvement with his offerings year over year, showcased by his fastball averaging around 96 MPH with Wichita last season. One thing going against him is innings, as his 97 in 2021 were a career high after missing the first two months with a back injury. There is little doubt when it comes to Balazovic that he will break through as a starting pitcher and stay there when he reaches the majors, compared to others further down this list. Jose Miranda (23), 3B – TD’s #3 Prospect (Miranda made his MLB debut on 5/2, playing third base and batting sixth against the Baltimore Orioles. He was 0-for-4 in a 2-1 Twins win) The thing with Miranda was never about talent, as the Twins had always seen a good bat in the infielder from Puerto Rico. However, before the 2021 season that bat had never quite lived up to expectations, producing just one season with an OPS above .750 and that was all the way back in rookie ball. But coaches continued to encourage him to alter his approach and wait for pitches he could do damage with, instead of swinging first and asking questions later. He took it to heart and ran with it for the 2021 season, enroute to one of the most impressive Minor League seasons you have ever seen from a Twins prospect. He led all of the minors in total bases, clubbing 32 doubles and 30 home runs in 127 games between Wichita and St. Paul. He finished with a .344/.401/.572 slash line and rocketed up prospect lists by the end of the year. He’s basically only a corner infielder and won’t win any Gold Glove awards with his defense, but if he’s even close to repeating those hitting numbers in 2022 at triple-A, his bat will force the issue sooner rather than later. Jhoan Duran (24), RHP – TD’s #7 Prospect (Duran made his MLB debut on opening day, pithing two innings against the Seattle Mariners. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four in a scoreless outing) Whether they’ve been trying or not, since I’ve been a fan of the Twins they have always had a velocity problem. Duran is one of the pitchers who can continue to change that, whether that comes as a starter or a reliever. He has size, is capable of hitting 100+ MPH with his fastball, and throws a weird sinker he can play off that velocity to get swings and misses. Like many young hurlers, consistency is key and despite his stuff he has had trouble maintaining that start-to-start in the past. When he is on Duran is fully capable of dominating an outing, but has thrown only 16 innings in live games since the end of the 2019 season. If you were asking me before the start of Spring Training, I would have fully expected Duran to begin the season in the St. Paul Saints rotation. Instead, he has been absolutely dominant in his outings thus far and will come North with the Twins to start the year! Josh Winder (25), RHP – TD’s #9 Prospect (Winder made his MLB debut on 4/12, pitching one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed one run on two walks and struck out one. He made his first MLB start on 5/1, and picked up the win with 6 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out seven against the Tampa Bay Rays) A casual fan may not recognize Winder’s name as much as others, but I recommend paying a lot more attention to him this season. I have seen evidence from the Twins over the past two years that they may think he is the best of the starting pitching bunch they have approaching the majors. Plus, as of writing this he is still on the bubble to come North to Minneapolis instead of St. Paul to start the 2022 season. While he only threw 72 innings last year, they were so good that he was the Twins representative to play in the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. He was promoted to triple-A immediately after that and made four starts for the Saints before being shut down for the rest of the season with a shoulder impingement. He was solid in his outings this spring, starting three games (meaning he was facing mostly MLB players) and allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine in eight total innings pitched. While there is no reason for the Twins to put him in the bullpen permanently, it would not shock me to see him as part of a 16-man pitching staff to start the season in a piggy-backing role. I can even envision him performing better than whomever he follows to the point he takes over when rosters get cut down from 28 players. Cole Sands (24), RHP – TD’s #13 Prospect (Sands made his MLB debut on 5/1, pitching two innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays. He allowed two earned runs on three hits, and struck out two.) Making his professional debut during the 2019 season, Sands was a standout performer and as a result pitched at three levels, reaching double-A for one start to end the year. He finished the season with a 2.68 ERA and struck out 108 hitters over 97 1/3 innings. He followed that up in 2021 by dominating with Wichita to the tune of a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 80 1/3 innings. He missed some time due to an injury, but will be in the Saints rotation to start the 2022 season. His path reminds me a bit of one Bailey Ober and if the Twins can get more of that, they would be ecstatic. Since he is on the 40-man roster, you never know—if he is lined up to pitch on the right day, an injury on the Twins could spur a cab ride across the river to Target Field at any point. Drew Strotman (25), RHP The second half of the trade package the Twins received from the Tampa Bay Rays for Nelson Cruz, Strotman was thought by some evaluators to be the better prospect in the deal at the time. I do not think that is the case now, considering Joe Ryan is slated to pitch opening day for the Twins while Strotman fell off a bit after coming over, but it should give you an idea of how well the Twins did in that trade to get both of those guys. He throws in the mid-90s with a good cutter that catches the attention of scouts, but command has been a bit of an issue since having Tommy John Surgery back in 2018. He is being fully transitioned to the bullpen in 2022 and could turn into another high-octane option there as the season progresses. Ronny Henriquez (21), RHP – TD’s #16 Prospect With the flurry of trade activity that happened after the lockout ended, the Twins ended up with an intriguing right-hander from the Texas Rangers in sending off Mitch Garver. You will hear a lot about his size or lack thereof, but there is a lightning arm attached to his right shoulder that hits the mid-90s with ease. He has consistently piled up strikeouts and limited baserunners, but the long ball has been a bugaboo as he gave up nearly two per nine innings pitched in double-A last season. He has primarily started games in his pro career thus far and should continue to do so with the Twins, but his profile sounds a lot like a future reliever when it is all said and done. Chris Vallimont (25), RHP The moniker of the “Vallimonster” is apt for the right-hander, as he can perform quite the Jekyll and Hyde routine whenever he is on the mound. He paired a 13.0/9IP strikeout rate with a 5.8/9IP walk rate during the 2021 season and if you go game to game, you will see that up and down nature in his stat lines as well. A switch to the bullpen to maximize his pure stuff in shorter stints is something to watch for during the season if that pattern continues. TOP PROSPECTS: Consider this entry more of a “not-yet-on-the-40-man-roster” section heading into this season since a lot of the top prospects have already appeared above, but what remains below still holds the theme that these guys are close to Major League ready. All three of them are on the double-A roster of the Wichita Wind Surge to start the year, with a few of them sure to move up quickly when the 40-man depth above is called upon by the Twins. Austin Martin (23), IF/OF – TD’s #1 Prospect The top prospect on our board, it is slightly odd that Martin returns to double-A to start the season after spending all of the 2021 season there, but he does have some things to work on. Those being his defense at shortstop (or elsewhere), and tapping into some power that may have been hindered by a wrist injury throughout last year. That said, he posted a .414 on-base percentage in 93 games that led all of double-A and you would be hard-pressed to find a more prototypical leadoff hitter anywhere in the minors. As soon as a spot opens up in St. Paul I expect Martin to be promoted, but the depth the Twins have when it comes to position players pushes a debut timeline out to later in the summer. He is the type of talent who can force that issue sooner rather than later, however. Simeon Woods Richardson (21), RHP – TD’s #8 Prospect Plenty of people seem to be down on SWR going into the 2022 season, but I am not one of them. You cannot blame him for the 2020 season being canceled or for competing in the Olympics (though he didn’t pitch at all) in the middle of the 2021 campaign. There was absolutely some rust to shake off by the time he put on a Wind Surge uniform, but he did flash what makes him highly regarded as well: A key point to consider with him in comparison to every other player on this list is his age. Even after missing a full season, he was only 20 years old and pitching in double-A at the beginning of last year. Especially for the Twins, this is a rare occurrence. Jose Berrios, for example, had turned 21 a couple of months before he reached double-A and was the quickest moving pitcher the Twins had produced in a long time. If he can reign back in his control, Berrios is also a great comp for the type of ceiling we are talking about for Woods Richardson, who has dwarfed any strikeout rates the former Twins pitcher ever produced in the minors. Matt Canterino (23), RHP – TD’s #6 Prospect Canterino finds himself in double-A to start the 2022 season despite pitching only 23 total innings last year with Cedar Rapids. That was due to elbow troubles, which is a legitimate concern moving forward given his history coming out of Rice University and herky-jerky mechanics, but you cannot deny the numbers. He struck out over half the hitters he faced while walking only four in his time on the mound, resulting in a 0.78 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. His stuff is electric, with a fastball that can reach the high 90’s and a slider and changeup that are both legitimate swing-and-miss offerings as well. Due to those health concerns, there are many evaluators who see the bullpen in his future, but if you are looking for a pitcher that can make some serious noise during the 2022 campaign, Canterino is your guy. MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH: While these players may not necessarily be top prospects, they are at or near the top of the system and have performed well to get themselves there. It could be a situation where a pitcher is lined up to pitch on the right day the Twins need a spot-start across the river at Target Field, or an injury leads to needing a specific position covered and there is no other ready replacement available. Maybe something new has clicked and they have improved their stock from internal evaluators. No matter how it happens, players like these are always needed at some point during the MLB season. Ryan Mason (26), RHP Mason has been a standout performer in the bullpens of Twins affiliates since being taken in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. Missing the 2020 season hurt guys like him more than most, but he came back in 2021 to post stellar numbers and finished the final two months of the season in St. Paul. While there, he posted a career-high strikeout rate of 12.1/9IP, and guys like him are always among my favorites to root for. Yennier Cano (27), RHP (Even though he didn't throw a pitch as the game was suspended, Yennier Cano was credited with his MLB debut on 5/11 against the Houston Astros. When he did take the mound the next day, he delivered two perfect innings before running into some trouble in his third. In total, he allowed three runs on three hits, and struck out two.) A sneaky international signing all the way back in 2019, Cano finally got to showcase his talents for a full season during the 2021 campaign, spending the bulk of it in St. Paul. He boasts a mid-90s fastball and deep repertoire, as well as an intimidating mound presence that reminds me a lot of Aroldis Chapman (both are around 6’4” and 230 lbs). He will need to reign in the walks that spiked once he reached triple-A, but certainly looks the part of a bullpen horse. Mark Contreras (27), OF (Contreras made his MLB debut on 5/12, when the suspended game from the day before resumed he took over for Byron Buxton, playing left field. He finished 0-for-2, but scored a run and drove in one with a sac fly in the 11-3 loss to the Houston Astros.) Contreras made his mark in the Twins organization with his defense, taking home a MiLB Gold Glove award after the 2019 season, but something clicked for him in the batter’s box in 2021. Spending the bulk of the year with St. Paul, the lefty nearly matched his career home run total to that point (23) with 20 on the year, 18 of them coming in his 95 games at triple-A. I would not expect Contreras to get the call as a long-term starter in the majors, but you can do a lot worse with a fourth outfielder type as he can play all the outfield positions well, including center in a pinch. Jermaine Palacios (25), IF Palacios is a bit buried on an organizational depth chart with the names Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Austin Martin in the fold, but what he has above the other two prospects is that he is definitely a shortstop. That fact plays against him a little for the 2022 season as those two prospects above him need the work, but he is in triple-A where he will be moved around the infield depending on the day. He also showed some pop with 19 home runs for Wichita last year, and was also spectacular in the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason, posting a .987 OPS in 42 games. DARK HORSES: There always seems to be a player or two who comes out of nowhere to make a surprise debut during the season. They might be a known name but are not that far up the ladder at the season’s outset, returning from an injury so they have been forgotten some, or have a unique skill set or background that is intriguing and could pay big dividends if something else falls into place. These are my shots in the dark at guys that could be in 2022. Jordan Gore (27), RHP The former shortstop begins the season as a high-leverage option out of the St. Paul Saints bullpen. He split time between Cedar Rapids and Wichita during the 2021 season, picking up seven saves and striking out 11.7/9IP with a WHIP below 1.00. Plus, he has great hair. Louie Varland (24), RHP – TD’s #14 Prospect First of all, he is #OneOfUs, growing up in Maplewood and being drafted out of Concordia University in St. Paul in the 15th round of the 2019 draft. Second of all, he is the reigning Twins and Twins Daily’s, Minor League Pitcher of the Year. That is because he struck out 142 hitters in 103 innings pitched last season split between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. He is buried on a starting pitching depth chart at this point, but if he continues that type of dominance in double-A and eventually triple-A this season, there will be a spot for him at some point. Edouard Julien (22), OF – TD’s #19 Prospect I have long been a fan of the type of player Julien was during the 2021 season, where he led all of the minors in walks (110 in 112 games) and had an on-base percentage flirting with .500 for a large chunk of the season. He also tapped into some power upon being promoted to Cedar Rapids, launching 15 homers in 65 games after getting out of the Florida State League. He starts the 2022 season with Wichita, and he and Austin Martin should prove extremely annoying to double-A pitching for much of the summer. So, there you have it, my picks for some of the minor league players I think could be called up to the majors and put on a Minnesota Twins uniform for the first time during the coming season. When do you think any of them will show up at Target Field? Who are you looking forward to the most? And who are some of the prospects you think I have missed that could make that jump? Let’s play ball! View full article
  11. Spencer Steer continued his hitting streak, the Fort Myers bullpen dazzled, and the Saints were no-hit in Lowertown. Read up on all the action from across the Twins minor league system from Wednesday night! TRANSACTIONS Wichita Wind Surge placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day injured list. Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed SS Keoni Cavaco on the 7-day injured list. Minnesota Twins selected the contract of RHP Dereck Rodriguez from St. Paul Saints. Minnesota Twins recalled OF Trevor Larnach from St. Paul Saints. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 0, Indianapolis 5 Box Score The night after a rain-shortened home-opener, the Saints’ bats ran dry on Wednesday at CHS Field, succumbing to a combined no-hitter at the hands of Pirates Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis. Former Twins reliever Chase De Jong brought some magic to the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Wednesday evening with a dominant pitching performance that lead to a 5-0 Indianapolis victory over the Saints. De Jong, who pitched for the Twins organization in 2018 and 2019 was spectacular, no-hitting the Saints through seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. Jermaine Palacios and Jake Cave were the only St. Paul hitters to reach base in what would prove to be the 15th no-hitter in Indianapolis history. And while the bats may have been cold, the Saints pitching staff had moments of brilliance throughout the evening. Starting pitcher Cole Sands was rock-solid, pitching five innings of three-hit ball while only allowing only one run. That run came on a solo homer in the fourth inning. Sands struck out five with one walk in his second appearance of the season and is sitting at an ERA of 0.90. Jovani Moran and Jordan Gore covered the sixth and seven innings with ease, allowing no runs on one hit. Moran was perfect in the sixth inning, striking out all three batters on sixteen pitches. RHP Ryan Mason would finish the night on the bump for the Saints with a perfect frame in the ninth. And while the game remained competitive through seven innings, Indianapolis broke open the flood gates in the eighth with a four-run inning that featured extra-base hits, a fielding error, and a controversial play at the plate. Derek Fischer almost ended the no-no in the eighth when he laced a line drive to the right-field corner, only to be robbed on a spectacular play by Indianapolis right-fielder Cal Mitchell. The loss drops the Saints to 5-3 on the season as they look to win their first game of the year against Indianapolis tomorrow night. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, NW Arkansas 8 Box Score Despite a scattering of runs, the Wind Surge were unable to contain the NW Arkansas offense on Wednesday night. A night after eight innings of scoreless baseball from the bullpen, the Surge surrendered 12 hits and 17 total base runners to the Naturals in a 5-8 defeat. Sensational prospect Matt Canterino had a short outing on Wednesday, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks in 1.2 innings. Expect the talented RHP to ease in as he gets more time under his belt at the Double-A level. The Wind Surge struck with a pair of runs in both the second and seventh innings. Following a DeShawn Keirsey walk and a stolen base (2), Andrew Bechtold launched his first homer of the season to plate two runs for the Surge. Keirsey would score again in the seventh. After punching a double (2) to left field, Dennis Ortega homered on a 2-1 count to score two more runs for Wichita. Top prospect Austin Martin would score the final Wind Surge run of the game in the eighth. After an infield single, Martin was moved to third on a Spencer Steer double (3) and scored thanks to an RBI single from Matt Wallner. Despite the loss, Spencer Steer continued his red hot start to 2022 on Wednesday night. Steer has now hit safely in all five games this season and his three doubles are tied for second-most in Double-A. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids vs. Quad Cities POSTPONED The Kernel’s Wednesday evening matchup against the River Bandits was postponed due to inclement weather in Davenport. The game will be made up tomorrow as a part of a double-header beginning at 4:30. Casey Legumina will start the first game of the twin bill while the Kernels have yet to announce who will start game two. The Kernels look to continue their hot start after winning their first five games, including an 8-1 beat down of Quad Cities in the series opener last night. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Jupiter 4 Box Score Despite an early deficit, the Mussels used a massive third inning surge to push their way past the Hammerheads on Wednesday night in the Sunshine State. Fort Myers plated five runs in the third inning thanks to a Kyler Fedko double (2) and Kyle Schmidt's three-run homer (1) to keep the Mussels' perfect season intact. Fedko also laced a double in the second inning making him the only Fort Myers player with two extra-base hits in the game. And while the offense delivered, the Mussels' bullpen was excellent following the debut of one of the organization's most exciting pitching prospects. Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect and 2021 draft pick Steven Hajjar made his Twins organization debut, giving up four runs and four hits while striking out six in four innings. Expect Hajjar to continue to post high strikeout numbers as he continues to get his feet wet at the pro ball level. After Hajjar exited, the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (W, 1-0), John Wilson (H, 1), and Regi Grace (S, 1) made swift work of the Hammerheads, tossing six shutout innings on only two hits. Both Hicks and Wilson managed to strike out three hitters in their two-inning appearances while Regi Grace fanned five hitters in the final two frames, tossing 25 of his 32 pitches for strikes. The Mussels are now 5-0 on the young season and look to continue their run against Jupiter tomorrow night. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Regi Grace, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (S, 2 IP, 2 H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Kyler Fedko, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, R, RBI, K) TOP PROSPECTS #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, 2 K #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 2 K (51 pitches, 26 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, RBI, 2 BB, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, 3 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, K #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 45 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2 BB #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - i-for-4, 2B, K #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CDT) - RHP Mario Sanchez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (0-1, 7.71 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (Double-header starting at 4:30 PM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, O.00 ERA) Give us your thoughts on Wednesday night's performance from around the farm! View full article
  12. Chris Paddack made his Minnesota Twins debut, laboring through four innings but showing a competitive spirit. Cole Sands was the starter for the St. Paul Saints and pitched five innings of one-run ball. Those two lineups -- the Twins and Saints -- combined for one hit tonight. Ouch. Also featured in this video are Matt Canterino, Austin Martin and Andrew Bechtold. Steve Hajjar made his minor league debut for the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels tonight.
  13. Chris Paddack made his Minnesota Twins debut, laboring through four innings but showing a competitive spirit. Cole Sands was the starter for the St. Paul Saints and pitched five innings of one-run ball. Those two lineups -- the Twins and Saints -- combined for one hit tonight. Ouch. Also featured in this video are Matt Canterino, Austin Martin and Andrew Bechtold. Steve Hajjar made his minor league debut for the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels tonight. View full video
  14. TRANSACTIONS Wichita Wind Surge placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day injured list. Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed SS Keoni Cavaco on the 7-day injured list. Minnesota Twins selected the contract of RHP Dereck Rodriguez from St. Paul Saints. Minnesota Twins recalled OF Trevor Larnach from St. Paul Saints. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 0, Indianapolis 5 Box Score The night after a rain-shortened home-opener, the Saints’ bats ran dry on Wednesday at CHS Field, succumbing to a combined no-hitter at the hands of Pirates Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis. Former Twins reliever Chase De Jong brought some magic to the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Wednesday evening with a dominant pitching performance that lead to a 5-0 Indianapolis victory over the Saints. De Jong, who pitched for the Twins organization in 2018 and 2019 was spectacular, no-hitting the Saints through seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. Jermaine Palacios and Jake Cave were the only St. Paul hitters to reach base in what would prove to be the 15th no-hitter in Indianapolis history. And while the bats may have been cold, the Saints pitching staff had moments of brilliance throughout the evening. Starting pitcher Cole Sands was rock-solid, pitching five innings of three-hit ball while only allowing only one run. That run came on a solo homer in the fourth inning. Sands struck out five with one walk in his second appearance of the season and is sitting at an ERA of 0.90. Jovani Moran and Jordan Gore covered the sixth and seven innings with ease, allowing no runs on one hit. Moran was perfect in the sixth inning, striking out all three batters on sixteen pitches. RHP Ryan Mason would finish the night on the bump for the Saints with a perfect frame in the ninth. And while the game remained competitive through seven innings, Indianapolis broke open the flood gates in the eighth with a four-run inning that featured extra-base hits, a fielding error, and a controversial play at the plate. Derek Fischer almost ended the no-no in the eighth when he laced a line drive to the right-field corner, only to be robbed on a spectacular play by Indianapolis right-fielder Cal Mitchell. The loss drops the Saints to 5-3 on the season as they look to win their first game of the year against Indianapolis tomorrow night. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, NW Arkansas 8 Box Score Despite a scattering of runs, the Wind Surge were unable to contain the NW Arkansas offense on Wednesday night. A night after eight innings of scoreless baseball from the bullpen, the Surge surrendered 12 hits and 17 total base runners to the Naturals in a 5-8 defeat. Sensational prospect Matt Canterino had a short outing on Wednesday, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks in 1.2 innings. Expect the talented RHP to ease in as he gets more time under his belt at the Double-A level. The Wind Surge struck with a pair of runs in both the second and seventh innings. Following a DeShawn Keirsey walk and a stolen base (2), Andrew Bechtold launched his first homer of the season to plate two runs for the Surge. Keirsey would score again in the seventh. After punching a double (2) to left field, Dennis Ortega homered on a 2-1 count to score two more runs for Wichita. Top prospect Austin Martin would score the final Wind Surge run of the game in the eighth. After an infield single, Martin was moved to third on a Spencer Steer double (3) and scored thanks to an RBI single from Matt Wallner. Despite the loss, Spencer Steer continued his red hot start to 2022 on Wednesday night. Steer has now hit safely in all five games this season and his three doubles are tied for second-most in Double-A. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids vs. Quad Cities POSTPONED The Kernel’s Wednesday evening matchup against the River Bandits was postponed due to inclement weather in Davenport. The game will be made up tomorrow as a part of a double-header beginning at 4:30. Casey Legumina will start the first game of the twin bill while the Kernels have yet to announce who will start game two. The Kernels look to continue their hot start after winning their first five games, including an 8-1 beat down of Quad Cities in the series opener last night. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Jupiter 4 Box Score Despite an early deficit, the Mussels used a massive third inning surge to push their way past the Hammerheads on Wednesday night in the Sunshine State. Fort Myers plated five runs in the third inning thanks to a Kyler Fedko double (2) and Kyle Schmidt's three-run homer (1) to keep the Mussels' perfect season intact. Fedko also laced a double in the second inning making him the only Fort Myers player with two extra-base hits in the game. And while the offense delivered, the Mussels' bullpen was excellent following the debut of one of the organization's most exciting pitching prospects. Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect and 2021 draft pick Steven Hajjar made his Twins organization debut, giving up four runs and four hits while striking out six in four innings. Expect Hajjar to continue to post high strikeout numbers as he continues to get his feet wet at the pro ball level. After Hajjar exited, the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (W, 1-0), John Wilson (H, 1), and Regi Grace (S, 1) made swift work of the Hammerheads, tossing six shutout innings on only two hits. Both Hicks and Wilson managed to strike out three hitters in their two-inning appearances while Regi Grace fanned five hitters in the final two frames, tossing 25 of his 32 pitches for strikes. The Mussels are now 5-0 on the young season and look to continue their run against Jupiter tomorrow night. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Regi Grace, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (S, 2 IP, 2 H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Kyler Fedko, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, R, RBI, K) TOP PROSPECTS #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, 2 K #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 2 K (51 pitches, 26 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, RBI, 2 BB, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, 3 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, K #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 45 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2 BB #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - i-for-4, 2B, K #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CDT) - RHP Mario Sanchez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (0-1, 7.71 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (Double-header starting at 4:30 PM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, O.00 ERA) Give us your thoughts on Wednesday night's performance from around the farm!
  15. Minor League Baseball is underway! The Twins’ affiliates kicked offseasons that will be filled with breakouts, wins, and box score hawking. On the whole, the system went 11-4. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (@ Louisville) 5-1 (5-1 overall) It was an awesome opening week for the Saints. The team scored 47 runs and won five of their six games. Royce Lewis is off to a great start, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer. Lewis stole three bases and reached base in 48% of his plate appearances. He also made numerous strong plays at shortstop. Mark Contreras picked up right where he left off in 2021, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two homers. The player of the week, though, was Jake Cave, who went 9-for-19 with three doubles and a triple. Cave posted a 1.320 OPS and is undoubtedly itching to join the Twins in Minneapolis. On the pitching front, Cole Sands dazzled with five scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss. Sands struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one hit. He’s a key part of what the Twins hope will be adequate starting pitching depth this season. Several Saints relievers had strong weeks, including Wladimir Pinto (4 IP, 0 ER), Juan Minaya (3 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), and Yennier Cano (3 IP, 0 ER, 4 K). Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (vs. Tulsa) 0-3 (0-3 overall) The Surge had a rough first go at the plate, hitting .167/.264/.250 with one homer in 110 plate appearances. Austin Martin went 2-for-13 with multiple errors and Matt Wallner went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. Spencer Steer had a nice weekend with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI. Matt Canterino started the opener and battled through a tenuous first inning. The second was much better, but with the Twins monitoring his workload closely, Canterino lasted two innings and 45 pitches. Twins’ 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland made his debut in relief, walking five in a rough 4 2/3 innings. Simeon Woods Richardson pitched very well in his season debut, striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. SWR threw 46 of 66 pitches for strikes, an awesome sign after command issues last year. Austin Schulfer, Steven Cruz, and the Surge bullpen was fairly solid all weekend. The bats were the issue. High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (vs. Beloit) 3-0 (3-0 overall) What an insane week for Twins’ 2021 fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He went 10-for-14 with two doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. Sawyer Gipson-Long quietly had a solid season in 2021, striking out 32% of hitters across both A-levels. He is off to a nice start this year, pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his season debut. Brent Headrick and Aaron Rozek also turned in solid starts. Outscoring Beloit 23-8, the Kernels could have a potent offense with Encarnacion-Strand, Alerick Soularie, and Aaron Sabato in the heart of the order. The bullpen was also fantastic, headlined by Osiris German, Cody Laweryson, and Bradley Hanner. Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (@ Clearwater) 3-0 (3-0 overall) Emmanuel Rodríguez will be a must-follow prospect all summer long. The 19-year-old showed elite plate discipline and power in his 2021 debut. Rodríguez walked six times over his first three games this weekend, adding a homer and a double. He also stole a base in Sunday’s win. Rodríguez could move quickly. Outfielder Kyler Fedko, the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2021, is off and running with a double, triple, and four RBI. Kala’i Rosario went 2-for-8 with a triple and Keoni Cavaco had a monster Opening Day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Cavaco walked twice Saturday and once more Sunday, but he struck out six times in 15 plate appearances. Starters David Festa, Travis Adams, and John Stankiewicz combined to allow three runs in 15 innings. They struck out 16 and walked only two. The Mighty Mussels lead the league with a 3.00 ERA after the first weekend. They led the Florida State League with a 3.96 ERA and tied for first with 1,288 strikeouts in 2021. Complex League FCL Twins: 2021 Regular Season (21-38) The FCL Twins start their season in Mid-June. Players not currently on a full-season affiliate's roster are in Ft. Myers at the complex for what amounts to Extended Spring Training. Several of those players will move back and forth between the Complex roster and the Mighty Mussels roster, or even the other rosters depending on need. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-13, 2 2B #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 7-for-21, 3 2B, 4 BB, 3 SB #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5-for-25, HR #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes) #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-14, SB #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play. #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-9, 3 BB #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-9, 2B, HR, SB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-11, 2 2B #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-11, BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch Feel free to discuss the teams or players, and ask questions in the COMMENTS below. View full article
  16. Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (@ Louisville) 5-1 (5-1 overall) It was an awesome opening week for the Saints. The team scored 47 runs and won five of their six games. Royce Lewis is off to a great start, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer. Lewis stole three bases and reached base in 48% of his plate appearances. He also made numerous strong plays at shortstop. Mark Contreras picked up right where he left off in 2021, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two homers. The player of the week, though, was Jake Cave, who went 9-for-19 with three doubles and a triple. Cave posted a 1.320 OPS and is undoubtedly itching to join the Twins in Minneapolis. On the pitching front, Cole Sands dazzled with five scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss. Sands struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one hit. He’s a key part of what the Twins hope will be adequate starting pitching depth this season. Several Saints relievers had strong weeks, including Wladimir Pinto (4 IP, 0 ER), Juan Minaya (3 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), and Yennier Cano (3 IP, 0 ER, 4 K). Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (vs. Tulsa) 0-3 (0-3 overall) The Surge had a rough first go at the plate, hitting .167/.264/.250 with one homer in 110 plate appearances. Austin Martin went 2-for-13 with multiple errors and Matt Wallner went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. Spencer Steer had a nice weekend with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI. Matt Canterino started the opener and battled through a tenuous first inning. The second was much better, but with the Twins monitoring his workload closely, Canterino lasted two innings and 45 pitches. Twins’ 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland made his debut in relief, walking five in a rough 4 2/3 innings. Simeon Woods Richardson pitched very well in his season debut, striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. SWR threw 46 of 66 pitches for strikes, an awesome sign after command issues last year. Austin Schulfer, Steven Cruz, and the Surge bullpen was fairly solid all weekend. The bats were the issue. High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (vs. Beloit) 3-0 (3-0 overall) What an insane week for Twins’ 2021 fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He went 10-for-14 with two doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. Sawyer Gipson-Long quietly had a solid season in 2021, striking out 32% of hitters across both A-levels. He is off to a nice start this year, pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his season debut. Brent Headrick and Aaron Rozek also turned in solid starts. Outscoring Beloit 23-8, the Kernels could have a potent offense with Encarnacion-Strand, Alerick Soularie, and Aaron Sabato in the heart of the order. The bullpen was also fantastic, headlined by Osiris German, Cody Laweryson, and Bradley Hanner. Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (@ Clearwater) 3-0 (3-0 overall) Emmanuel Rodríguez will be a must-follow prospect all summer long. The 19-year-old showed elite plate discipline and power in his 2021 debut. Rodríguez walked six times over his first three games this weekend, adding a homer and a double. He also stole a base in Sunday’s win. Rodríguez could move quickly. Outfielder Kyler Fedko, the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2021, is off and running with a double, triple, and four RBI. Kala’i Rosario went 2-for-8 with a triple and Keoni Cavaco had a monster Opening Day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Cavaco walked twice Saturday and once more Sunday, but he struck out six times in 15 plate appearances. Starters David Festa, Travis Adams, and John Stankiewicz combined to allow three runs in 15 innings. They struck out 16 and walked only two. The Mighty Mussels lead the league with a 3.00 ERA after the first weekend. They led the Florida State League with a 3.96 ERA and tied for first with 1,288 strikeouts in 2021. Complex League FCL Twins: 2021 Regular Season (21-38) The FCL Twins start their season in Mid-June. Players not currently on a full-season affiliate's roster are in Ft. Myers at the complex for what amounts to Extended Spring Training. Several of those players will move back and forth between the Complex roster and the Mighty Mussels roster, or even the other rosters depending on need. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-13, 2 2B #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 7-for-21, 3 2B, 4 BB, 3 SB #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5-for-25, HR #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes) #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes) #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes) #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-14, SB #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play. #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-9, 3 BB #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes) #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-9, 2B, HR, SB #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-11, 2 2B #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-11, BB #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch Feel free to discuss the teams or players, and ask questions in the COMMENTS below.
  17. Making his Triple-A debut, Twins pitching prospect Cole Sands looked the part of a star in what was a dazzling first outing. Unfortunately things got away from the Saints late as they dropped their first game of the season. TRANSACTIONS Minnesota Twins signed Chance Sisco and assigned to St. Paul OF Gilberto Celestino promoted to Minnesota RHP Griffin Jax was optioned to St. Paul OF Kyle Garlick was reassigned to St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Louisville 5, St. Paul 4 Box Score Exciting pitching prospect Cole Sands made his Triple-A debut in this one for the St. Paul Saints. Working five scoreless innings, he allowed just a single baserunner on one base hit. Sands punched out seven and was efficient throwing 45 of 63 pitches for strikes. The Saints looked to continue their quest towards an undefeated season and scored first. Former Astros outfielder Derek Fisher went deep for a solo shot in the 2nd inning. After giving up the lead in the bottom of the 6th, St. Paul immediately went back to work. Jake Cave scampered across the plate on a wild pitch by Kyle Zimmer in the 7th inning, and then the Saints added again in the 8th inning. Cave singled to drive in Mark Contreras and move Curtis Terry up to second base. Following a Fisher free pass, Terry scored with the bases chucked. Converted infielder Jordan Gore made his Triple-A debut after a 2.39 ERA split between Double-A Wichita and Single-A Cedar Rapids last season. He worked a strong first inning but got blown up for four runs on three hits in his second inning of work. Unfortunately the four run inning for the Bats did the Saints in. Jake Cave had a nice night at the dish going 3-for-4 with a double and driving in a run. WIND SURGE WISDOM The Wind Surge will begin their season on Friday at home against the Tulsa Drillers. The Surge will send top prospect Matt Canterino to the mound for the season opener. Canterino was 1-0 with a 0.78 ERA in 2021 before being sidelined with an elbow injury. The return of one of the most exciting pitchers in the Twins organization should be electric. In the meantime, be sure to check out the Wind Surge roster preview. KERNELS NUGGETS The Kernels announced on Wednesday that LHP and Burnsville, MN native Aaron Rozek will take the bump for Cedar Rapids' opener on Friday against Beloit. Signed to a minor-league contract last season, Rozek went 3-2 with a 2.40 ERA between Fort Myers, Cedar Rapids, and Wichita in 2021. Be sure to take a look at the Cedar Rapids roster in advance of their opener on Friday. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers will give the ball to right-handed pitcher John Stankiewicz on Opening Day. He was 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his professional debut season split between the Complex League and Fort Myers last year. You can check out the Fort Myers roster prior to the opening on Friday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day - Jake Cave (St. Paul) 3-4, 2B, R, RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - Did Not Play #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-5 #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Wichita vs Tulsa (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino Cedar Rapids vs Beloit (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Clearwater (5:30 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz View full article
  18. TRANSACTIONS Minnesota Twins signed Chance Sisco and assigned to St. Paul OF Gilberto Celestino promoted to Minnesota RHP Griffin Jax was optioned to St. Paul OF Kyle Garlick was reassigned to St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Louisville 5, St. Paul 4 Box Score Exciting pitching prospect Cole Sands made his Triple-A debut in this one for the St. Paul Saints. Working five scoreless innings, he allowed just a single baserunner on one base hit. Sands punched out seven and was efficient throwing 45 of 63 pitches for strikes. The Saints looked to continue their quest towards an undefeated season and scored first. Former Astros outfielder Derek Fisher went deep for a solo shot in the 2nd inning. After giving up the lead in the bottom of the 6th, St. Paul immediately went back to work. Jake Cave scampered across the plate on a wild pitch by Kyle Zimmer in the 7th inning, and then the Saints added again in the 8th inning. Cave singled to drive in Mark Contreras and move Curtis Terry up to second base. Following a Fisher free pass, Terry scored with the bases chucked. Converted infielder Jordan Gore made his Triple-A debut after a 2.39 ERA split between Double-A Wichita and Single-A Cedar Rapids last season. He worked a strong first inning but got blown up for four runs on three hits in his second inning of work. Unfortunately the four run inning for the Bats did the Saints in. Jake Cave had a nice night at the dish going 3-for-4 with a double and driving in a run. WIND SURGE WISDOM The Wind Surge will begin their season on Friday at home against the Tulsa Drillers. The Surge will send top prospect Matt Canterino to the mound for the season opener. Canterino was 1-0 with a 0.78 ERA in 2021 before being sidelined with an elbow injury. The return of one of the most exciting pitchers in the Twins organization should be electric. In the meantime, be sure to check out the Wind Surge roster preview. KERNELS NUGGETS The Kernels announced on Wednesday that LHP and Burnsville, MN native Aaron Rozek will take the bump for Cedar Rapids' opener on Friday against Beloit. Signed to a minor-league contract last season, Rozek went 3-2 with a 2.40 ERA between Fort Myers, Cedar Rapids, and Wichita in 2021. Be sure to take a look at the Cedar Rapids roster in advance of their opener on Friday. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers will give the ball to right-handed pitcher John Stankiewicz on Opening Day. He was 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his professional debut season split between the Complex League and Fort Myers last year. You can check out the Fort Myers roster prior to the opening on Friday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day - Jake Cave (St. Paul) 3-4, 2B, R, RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - Did Not Play #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-5 #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Wichita vs Tulsa (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino Cedar Rapids vs Beloit (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Aaron Rozek Fort Myers @ Clearwater (5:30 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz
  19. Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Cole Sands made his Triple-A debut for the St. Paul Saints tonight and delivered five innings of shutout ball, giving up just one hit while striking out seven batters. Here are some highlights of that performance as well as a discussion around tomorrow's full slate of games and a quick preview of both the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers Mightly Mussels rosters. View full video
  20. Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Cole Sands made his Triple-A debut for the St. Paul Saints tonight and delivered five innings of shutout ball, giving up just one hit while striking out seven batters. Here are some highlights of that performance as well as a discussion around tomorrow's full slate of games and a quick preview of both the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers Mightly Mussels rosters.
  21. On Tuesday morning, the St. Paul Saints announced their 2022 Opening Day Roster. Tonight, they will play their first game, in Louisville. The roster includes several of the team’s top prospects including Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, and Jordan Balazovic. Let’s take a look at the Saints roster. In 2021, the Saints joined the Twins family of affiliates and had a really strong, veteran roster. With so many Twins injuries, the Saints roster often was loaded with minor-league veterans. In 2022, there should be several of the organization’s top prospects including the return of Royce Lewis after not playing for the past two years. Jose Miranda also returns after his incredible 2021 campaign. Several return to Toby Gardenhire’s roster from last year, but there will also be many new faces, including on his coaching staff. Pitching coach Cibney Bello and Defensive Coach Tyler Smarslok return. Hitting Coach Matt Borgschulte got a big-league job with the Orioles. He was replaced by Ryan Smith who moves up to the Saints after spending last season in Wichita. Michael McCarthy left the organization to be the Triple-A pitching coach for the Padres. Virgil Vasquez moves up from the Wind Surge to take his place. . Here we will introduce you to the 2021 Saints Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospects on this roster to go with all the veterans and there are some great stories as well. COACHES Manager: Toby Gardenhire Hitting Coach: Ryan Smith Pitching Coaches: Cibney Bello, Virgil Vasquez Defensive Coach: Tyler Smarslok PITCHERS RHP Yennier Cano (28) - The 28-year-old signed with the Twins in the summer of 2019. He began 2021 in Wichita for 12 games before joining the Saints for 30 games. Combined, he went 5-3 with five saves, a 3.23 ERA. In 69 2/3 innings, he struck out 86 batters. Strong pitch-mix and always willing to take the ball. RHP Jake Faria (28) - One of the final cuts in spring training, Faria has played in the big leagues for parts of four of the past five seasons. He debuted with the Rays in 207 and has pitched for the Brewers and Diamondbacks as well. He can work multiple innings out of the bullpen. RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (30) - Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers in 2015 and 2016. He missed the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to injury, but he has spent time with the Rockies each of the past three seasons and posted ERAs well over five each year. Hopefully will eat innings for the Saints. RHP Jordan Gore (27) - The shortstop-turned-reliever started last season in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Wichita where he became the closer and performed even better. Combined, he went 8-2 with seven saves. In 67 2/3 innings, he struck out 88 batters. Mid-90s fastball is combined with a good slider and a good changeup. RHP Daniel Gossett (29) - After pitching at Clemson, he was drafted by the A’s in 2014 and pitched in their system through the 2019 season. He debuted with the A’s in 2017 and then made five more starts in 2018. He pitched in Triple-A with the Red Sox last year. He signed a minor-league deal with the Twins and provides depth to the organization. RHP Ian Hamilton (26) - Drafted by the White Sox in 2016, Hamilton pitched for that organization through the 2020 season. He pitched 10 games for the Sox in 2018 and four more games in 2020 before spending time on the waiver wire. The Twins claimed him and DFAd him in spring training. He cleared and he spent the full season with the Saints. RHP Ryan Mason (27) - Drafted in the 13th round in 2016 out of California, Mason has slowly but steadily risen through the Twins farm system. He ended last year with 13 games with the Saints. Combined, he had 63 strikeouts in 54 innings. RHP Trevor Megill (28) - Big (6-8), burly (250 pounds) right-hander debuted with 28 games with the Cubs in 2021. In 23 2/3 innings with the Cubs, he had 30 strikeouts. Megill throws hard and just might have some potential out of the bullpen. RHP Juan Minaya (31) - Minaya has pitched in 154 big league games including 29 games with the Twins in 2021. In 40 innings last year, he struck out 43 batters and posted a 2.48 ERA. It was somewhat surprising when he was DFAd after the season, but fortunately, they were able to bring him back on a minor-league deal. LHP Jovani Moran (24) - Moran was drafted by the Twins in 2015. When healthy, he has been dominant. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball, a good slider, and a tremendous changeup, he has the ability to miss a lot of bats. He debuted with the Twins with five games in September 2021. One of the last players optioned to St. Paul, he should spend a lot of time with the Twins. RHP Wladimir Pinto (24) - Signed by the Tigers in 2015, he reached Triple-A in 2021 but became a free agent following the season. The Twins picked him up on a minor league deal. Last year, in 50 2/3 innings, he walked 35 and struck out 60 batters. He throws hard. He’s got good stuff, but clearly, control is the issue. Just 24, this is the kind of upside minor-league signings that are fun! RHP JC Ramirez (33) - Signed just last week, the Nicaraguan debuted with the Phillies in 2013. Since, he has pitched in the big leagues for the Diamondbacks, Mariners, Reds, and from 2016 to 2019 with the Angels. He pitched in Mexico and China in 2021. RHP Dereck Rodriguez (29) - Drafted in 2011 by the Twins, he spent the first three pro seasons as an outfielder before moving to the moun in 2014. He reached Double-A with the Twins before signing with the Giants as a free agent in 2018. That year, he debuted with 21 games (19 starts) in the big leagues for San Francisco. He pitched for the Giants into the 2020 season. Pitched at Triple-A with the Rockies in 2021 and came back to the Twins this offseason. RHP Mario Sanchez (27) - The Venezuelan signed with the Nationals in 2011. He spent two seasons in the Phillies system, but then he was back in the Nationals system from 2019-21. Last year, he went 4-8 with a 4.16 ERA. In 114 2/3 innings, he struck out 115 and walked just 23 batters. RHP Cole Sands (24) - Sands is the #13 ranked prospect in the system. The team’s fifth-round pick in 2018 from Florida State, Sands went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA at Wichita. In 80 1/3 innings, he walked 35 and struck out 96 batters. He was added to the 40-man roster in November. LHP Devin Smeltzer (26) - The southpaw debuted with seven games for the Twins in 2019 and then pitched in seven games for them in 2020. Last year, he made one appearance (4 2/3 scoreless innings) before his season came to an end because of a herniated disc in his neck. He was removed from the 40-man roster, but this spring, he gave up just five hits over 11 scoreless innings. I’d expect him to pitch for the Twins in 2022. RHP Drew Strotman (25) - A former fourth-round pick of the Rays, Strotman came to the Twins with Joe Ryan in last July’s Nelson Cruz trade. He struggled in adjusting to the Twins, but even so, he was hitting 97-99 mph with a fastball. He’s developed as a starter because he has a four-pitch mix, but he is now shifting to the bullpen. He will debut in 2022. CATCHERS David Banuelos (25) - After being drafted by the Mariners, the Twins acquired him for international signing dollars that offseason. In 2021, he played in 15 games for Wichita and 30 games with the Saints. Overall, he hit .201/.245/.340 (.586) with seven doubles, two triples and three homers. All but two doubles came with the Saints. But Banuelos is a plus defensive catcher who works really well with pitchers. Stevie Berman (27) - Came to the Twins very late last year from the Dodgers in the Andrew Vasquez trade. Definitely a defense first veteran backstop. Caleb Hamilton (27) - Drafted from Oregon State in 2016, Hamilton was moved behind the plate. However, he has played all over the diamond. He played 78 games in 2021 between Wichita and St. Paul and hit a combined .181/.308/.341 (.649) with eight doubles and nine home runs. Chance Sisco (27) - Not officially on the roster yet, but he was signed by the Twins on Monday to a minor-league deal, Sisco will be joining the team in Louisville soon. The former top prospect of the Orioles, he spent part of each of the past five seasons in the big leagues. In 191 games, he has hit .297/.317/.337 (.654). INFIELDERS Royce Lewis (22) - The Twins' top pick in the 2017 draft is a Top 100 prospect and remains the #2 Twins prospect. Unfortunately, he missed 2021 with a torn ACL. He’s excited to be back and will be playing shortstop most every day. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and could debut in 2022. Jose Miranda (23) - Miranda has always had the tools, and in 2021, he busted out in a big way. Between Wichita and St. Paul, Miranda hit .344/.401/.572 (.973) with 32 doubles and 30 homers in 127 games. He was added to the 40-man roster in November. Able to play first base, second base, and third base, Miranda is just waiting for an opportunity, and for some, he will have to prove that 2021 was the real deal. Jermaine Palacios (25) - While fans may not get excited, the idea of Palacios getting to the big leagues with the Twins would be pretty neat. He became a good prospect with the Twins and then was traded to the Rays for Jake Odorizzi. After struggling mightily, Palacios returned to the Twins as a free agent last year. In 110 games at Wichita, he hit .259/.341/.439 (.780) with 17 doubles, 19 homers, and 18 stolen bases. In addition, he is a really good defensive shortstop. That said, he’s likely to play all over the infield in 2022. Daniel Robertson (28) - The veteran utility infielder played in the big leagues with the Rays from 2017 to 2019, the Giants in 2020, and the Brewers in 2021. Overall, he has hit .227/.338/.345 (.683) with 34 doubles and 18 home runs in 299 games. He can play all of the infield positions pretty well and has minimal time spent in the outfield. Elliot Soto (32) - The Twins drafted Soto in 2007 out of high school He didn’t sign, went to Creighton, and was drafted by the Cubs in 2010. Beyond the Cubs, he has also played in the Marlins, Rockies, Angels, and Dodgers organizations. In 2020, he played in three big league games for the Angels and hit .333 (2-for-6) with a double. Curtis Terry (25) - Terry was drafted out of high school in Georgia in 2015 by the Rangers. He slowly worked up the Texas system, and finally got an opportunity in the big leagues in 2021. He had four hits including two doubles, in 13 games. He became a free agent after the seasons and very quickly joined the Twins on a minor league deal in November. OUTFIELDERS Jake Cave (29) - Cave has spent most of the past four seasons with the Twins. He has played in 281 games and hit .240/.305/.417 (.722) with 36 doubles, seven triples, and 28 home runs. For the first two seasons, he was a quality fourth outfielder who did well in limited duty. In the last couple of years, he has been a bit over-exposed and struggled. He was removed from the 40-man roster before spring training. Gilberto Celestino (23) - If you only watch the big league games, you saw Celestino really struggle in his debut in 2021. He hit just .136 over 62 plate appearances, though he had three doubles and two homers. In reality, he made that MLB debut with only 21 games played above A-ball and 29 games above Low-A. Excessive injuries forced him to The Show. But with the Saints, he hit .290/.384/.443 (.827) with 13 doubles and five homers in 49 games. Mark Contreras (27) - After four years at UC-Riverside, Contreras was the Twins' ninth-round pick in 2017. After a tough 2019 season (in which he still won a minor-league Gold Glove) and a lost 2020, Contreras broke out in 2021. In 114 games (95 in St. Paul), he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles, 20 homers and 15 RBI. Derek Fisher (28) - Over the past five seasons, Fisher has spent time in the big leaguers with the Astros, Blue Jays, and Brewers. In 172 big-league games, he’s hit. 195/.285/.378 (.663) with eight doubles and ten homers. Trevor Larnach (25) - Twin's top pick in 2018 from Oregon State, Larnach was the minor league hitter of the year in 2019. He was at the alternate site in 2020. After just one game in Triple-A last year, he was called up having had just a half-season at Double-A two years earlier. He started well but struggled late. Still, he will make adjustments and get back to the big leagues where in time he can hit for average and power. Should still be considered a big part of the Twins' future. There are likely to be several changes coming soon. For instance, will Kyle Garlick or Brent Rooker be on the Saints roster? Will Jose Godoy clear waivers and join the Saints? The Injured List includes Tim Beckham (quad), Jordan Balazovic (knee), and Ariel Jurado (Tommy John) to start the season. Like I said at the top, this roster has a solid mix of prospects and minor-league veterans. As you would expect, there are certain to be many transactions, but the depth is strong. View full article
  22. In 2021, the Saints joined the Twins family of affiliates and had a really strong, veteran roster. With so many Twins injuries, the Saints roster often was loaded with minor-league veterans. In 2022, there should be several of the organization’s top prospects including the return of Royce Lewis after not playing for the past two years. Jose Miranda also returns after his incredible 2021 campaign. Several return to Toby Gardenhire’s roster from last year, but there will also be many new faces, including on his coaching staff. Pitching coach Cibney Bello and Defensive Coach Tyler Smarslok return. Hitting Coach Matt Borgschulte got a big-league job with the Orioles. He was replaced by Ryan Smith who moves up to the Saints after spending last season in Wichita. Michael McCarthy left the organization to be the Triple-A pitching coach for the Padres. Virgil Vasquez moves up from the Wind Surge to take his place. . Here we will introduce you to the 2021 Saints Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospects on this roster to go with all the veterans and there are some great stories as well. COACHES Manager: Toby Gardenhire Hitting Coach: Ryan Smith Pitching Coaches: Cibney Bello, Virgil Vasquez Defensive Coach: Tyler Smarslok PITCHERS RHP Yennier Cano (28) - The 28-year-old signed with the Twins in the summer of 2019. He began 2021 in Wichita for 12 games before joining the Saints for 30 games. Combined, he went 5-3 with five saves, a 3.23 ERA. In 69 2/3 innings, he struck out 86 batters. Strong pitch-mix and always willing to take the ball. RHP Jake Faria (28) - One of the final cuts in spring training, Faria has played in the big leagues for parts of four of the past five seasons. He debuted with the Rays in 207 and has pitched for the Brewers and Diamondbacks as well. He can work multiple innings out of the bullpen. RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (30) - Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers in 2015 and 2016. He missed the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to injury, but he has spent time with the Rockies each of the past three seasons and posted ERAs well over five each year. Hopefully will eat innings for the Saints. RHP Jordan Gore (27) - The shortstop-turned-reliever started last season in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Wichita where he became the closer and performed even better. Combined, he went 8-2 with seven saves. In 67 2/3 innings, he struck out 88 batters. Mid-90s fastball is combined with a good slider and a good changeup. RHP Daniel Gossett (29) - After pitching at Clemson, he was drafted by the A’s in 2014 and pitched in their system through the 2019 season. He debuted with the A’s in 2017 and then made five more starts in 2018. He pitched in Triple-A with the Red Sox last year. He signed a minor-league deal with the Twins and provides depth to the organization. RHP Ian Hamilton (26) - Drafted by the White Sox in 2016, Hamilton pitched for that organization through the 2020 season. He pitched 10 games for the Sox in 2018 and four more games in 2020 before spending time on the waiver wire. The Twins claimed him and DFAd him in spring training. He cleared and he spent the full season with the Saints. RHP Ryan Mason (27) - Drafted in the 13th round in 2016 out of California, Mason has slowly but steadily risen through the Twins farm system. He ended last year with 13 games with the Saints. Combined, he had 63 strikeouts in 54 innings. RHP Trevor Megill (28) - Big (6-8), burly (250 pounds) right-hander debuted with 28 games with the Cubs in 2021. In 23 2/3 innings with the Cubs, he had 30 strikeouts. Megill throws hard and just might have some potential out of the bullpen. RHP Juan Minaya (31) - Minaya has pitched in 154 big league games including 29 games with the Twins in 2021. In 40 innings last year, he struck out 43 batters and posted a 2.48 ERA. It was somewhat surprising when he was DFAd after the season, but fortunately, they were able to bring him back on a minor-league deal. LHP Jovani Moran (24) - Moran was drafted by the Twins in 2015. When healthy, he has been dominant. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball, a good slider, and a tremendous changeup, he has the ability to miss a lot of bats. He debuted with the Twins with five games in September 2021. One of the last players optioned to St. Paul, he should spend a lot of time with the Twins. RHP Wladimir Pinto (24) - Signed by the Tigers in 2015, he reached Triple-A in 2021 but became a free agent following the season. The Twins picked him up on a minor league deal. Last year, in 50 2/3 innings, he walked 35 and struck out 60 batters. He throws hard. He’s got good stuff, but clearly, control is the issue. Just 24, this is the kind of upside minor-league signings that are fun! RHP JC Ramirez (33) - Signed just last week, the Nicaraguan debuted with the Phillies in 2013. Since, he has pitched in the big leagues for the Diamondbacks, Mariners, Reds, and from 2016 to 2019 with the Angels. He pitched in Mexico and China in 2021. RHP Dereck Rodriguez (29) - Drafted in 2011 by the Twins, he spent the first three pro seasons as an outfielder before moving to the moun in 2014. He reached Double-A with the Twins before signing with the Giants as a free agent in 2018. That year, he debuted with 21 games (19 starts) in the big leagues for San Francisco. He pitched for the Giants into the 2020 season. Pitched at Triple-A with the Rockies in 2021 and came back to the Twins this offseason. RHP Mario Sanchez (27) - The Venezuelan signed with the Nationals in 2011. He spent two seasons in the Phillies system, but then he was back in the Nationals system from 2019-21. Last year, he went 4-8 with a 4.16 ERA. In 114 2/3 innings, he struck out 115 and walked just 23 batters. RHP Cole Sands (24) - Sands is the #13 ranked prospect in the system. The team’s fifth-round pick in 2018 from Florida State, Sands went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA at Wichita. In 80 1/3 innings, he walked 35 and struck out 96 batters. He was added to the 40-man roster in November. LHP Devin Smeltzer (26) - The southpaw debuted with seven games for the Twins in 2019 and then pitched in seven games for them in 2020. Last year, he made one appearance (4 2/3 scoreless innings) before his season came to an end because of a herniated disc in his neck. He was removed from the 40-man roster, but this spring, he gave up just five hits over 11 scoreless innings. I’d expect him to pitch for the Twins in 2022. RHP Drew Strotman (25) - A former fourth-round pick of the Rays, Strotman came to the Twins with Joe Ryan in last July’s Nelson Cruz trade. He struggled in adjusting to the Twins, but even so, he was hitting 97-99 mph with a fastball. He’s developed as a starter because he has a four-pitch mix, but he is now shifting to the bullpen. He will debut in 2022. CATCHERS David Banuelos (25) - After being drafted by the Mariners, the Twins acquired him for international signing dollars that offseason. In 2021, he played in 15 games for Wichita and 30 games with the Saints. Overall, he hit .201/.245/.340 (.586) with seven doubles, two triples and three homers. All but two doubles came with the Saints. But Banuelos is a plus defensive catcher who works really well with pitchers. Stevie Berman (27) - Came to the Twins very late last year from the Dodgers in the Andrew Vasquez trade. Definitely a defense first veteran backstop. Caleb Hamilton (27) - Drafted from Oregon State in 2016, Hamilton was moved behind the plate. However, he has played all over the diamond. He played 78 games in 2021 between Wichita and St. Paul and hit a combined .181/.308/.341 (.649) with eight doubles and nine home runs. Chance Sisco (27) - Not officially on the roster yet, but he was signed by the Twins on Monday to a minor-league deal, Sisco will be joining the team in Louisville soon. The former top prospect of the Orioles, he spent part of each of the past five seasons in the big leagues. In 191 games, he has hit .297/.317/.337 (.654). INFIELDERS Royce Lewis (22) - The Twins' top pick in the 2017 draft is a Top 100 prospect and remains the #2 Twins prospect. Unfortunately, he missed 2021 with a torn ACL. He’s excited to be back and will be playing shortstop most every day. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and could debut in 2022. Jose Miranda (23) - Miranda has always had the tools, and in 2021, he busted out in a big way. Between Wichita and St. Paul, Miranda hit .344/.401/.572 (.973) with 32 doubles and 30 homers in 127 games. He was added to the 40-man roster in November. Able to play first base, second base, and third base, Miranda is just waiting for an opportunity, and for some, he will have to prove that 2021 was the real deal. Jermaine Palacios (25) - While fans may not get excited, the idea of Palacios getting to the big leagues with the Twins would be pretty neat. He became a good prospect with the Twins and then was traded to the Rays for Jake Odorizzi. After struggling mightily, Palacios returned to the Twins as a free agent last year. In 110 games at Wichita, he hit .259/.341/.439 (.780) with 17 doubles, 19 homers, and 18 stolen bases. In addition, he is a really good defensive shortstop. That said, he’s likely to play all over the infield in 2022. Daniel Robertson (28) - The veteran utility infielder played in the big leagues with the Rays from 2017 to 2019, the Giants in 2020, and the Brewers in 2021. Overall, he has hit .227/.338/.345 (.683) with 34 doubles and 18 home runs in 299 games. He can play all of the infield positions pretty well and has minimal time spent in the outfield. Elliot Soto (32) - The Twins drafted Soto in 2007 out of high school He didn’t sign, went to Creighton, and was drafted by the Cubs in 2010. Beyond the Cubs, he has also played in the Marlins, Rockies, Angels, and Dodgers organizations. In 2020, he played in three big league games for the Angels and hit .333 (2-for-6) with a double. Curtis Terry (25) - Terry was drafted out of high school in Georgia in 2015 by the Rangers. He slowly worked up the Texas system, and finally got an opportunity in the big leagues in 2021. He had four hits including two doubles, in 13 games. He became a free agent after the seasons and very quickly joined the Twins on a minor league deal in November. OUTFIELDERS Jake Cave (29) - Cave has spent most of the past four seasons with the Twins. He has played in 281 games and hit .240/.305/.417 (.722) with 36 doubles, seven triples, and 28 home runs. For the first two seasons, he was a quality fourth outfielder who did well in limited duty. In the last couple of years, he has been a bit over-exposed and struggled. He was removed from the 40-man roster before spring training. Gilberto Celestino (23) - If you only watch the big league games, you saw Celestino really struggle in his debut in 2021. He hit just .136 over 62 plate appearances, though he had three doubles and two homers. In reality, he made that MLB debut with only 21 games played above A-ball and 29 games above Low-A. Excessive injuries forced him to The Show. But with the Saints, he hit .290/.384/.443 (.827) with 13 doubles and five homers in 49 games. Mark Contreras (27) - After four years at UC-Riverside, Contreras was the Twins' ninth-round pick in 2017. After a tough 2019 season (in which he still won a minor-league Gold Glove) and a lost 2020, Contreras broke out in 2021. In 114 games (95 in St. Paul), he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles, 20 homers and 15 RBI. Derek Fisher (28) - Over the past five seasons, Fisher has spent time in the big leaguers with the Astros, Blue Jays, and Brewers. In 172 big-league games, he’s hit. 195/.285/.378 (.663) with eight doubles and ten homers. Trevor Larnach (25) - Twin's top pick in 2018 from Oregon State, Larnach was the minor league hitter of the year in 2019. He was at the alternate site in 2020. After just one game in Triple-A last year, he was called up having had just a half-season at Double-A two years earlier. He started well but struggled late. Still, he will make adjustments and get back to the big leagues where in time he can hit for average and power. Should still be considered a big part of the Twins' future. There are likely to be several changes coming soon. For instance, will Kyle Garlick or Brent Rooker be on the Saints roster? Will Jose Godoy clear waivers and join the Saints? The Injured List includes Tim Beckham (quad), Jordan Balazovic (knee), and Ariel Jurado (Tommy John) to start the season. Like I said at the top, this roster has a solid mix of prospects and minor-league veterans. As you would expect, there are certain to be many transactions, but the depth is strong.
  23. Last season the Minnesota Twins went through starting pitchers at an alarming rate, and it wasn't until the emergence of Bailey Ober that they found an unlikely source to stick. The numbers were all great, but the expectations never made headlines. Who follows that path in 2022? The Twins drafted Bailey Ober in the 12th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. He was taken from the College of Charleston and went to Elizabethton as a 21-year-old. After posting a 3.21 and 3.84 ERA, respectively, in each of his first two professional seasons, 2019 saw a massive leap. Compiling a 0.69 ERA across 78 2/3 inning from Rookie-ball to Double-A, Ober had announced his presence. At 6’9”, it’s pretty hard not to notice Ober, and while he doesn’t reach triple-digits, that frame allows his fastball to get on hitters quickly. He had a track record of high strikeout rates with few walks in the minors. Despite not being invited to the Twins alternate site during the 2020 minor league shutdown, Ober continued to put in work. Dominating quickly at Triple-A in 2021, he earned a big-league promotion after just 7 innings. Looking back at Ober’s track record before his promotion, there is no evidence of sustained innings. He had never pitched more than his 2019 total and had the entire 2020 season without games. What that suggests is that Minnesota would be willing to allow an opportunity for an arm they feel is ready, even if it’s not battle-tested or proven through longevity. Right now, the Twins have no less than two open rotation spots. Whether they’re filled externally or not, it’s a good bet that someone will emerge and turn heads sooner than expected. Although not a 12th rounder, my bet this season is Florida State product, Cole Sands. Arguably the most significant thing working against Sands at the moment is his recent inclusion to the Twins 40-man roster. Subject to the lockout, he cannot get the season going with other minor leaguers currently down in Fort Myers. However, Sands substantiated a strong 2019 and worthy draft position with an even greater step forward last season. Following 75 innings of work at Florida State in 2018, Sands didn’t debut professionally until 2019. He posted a 2.68 ERA and made starts from Low Single-A to Double-A. A 10.0 K/9 was paired with a 1.8 BB/9 and a 1.027 WHIP. The production looked every bit the reason why he was targeted so early in the draft. Getting back to professional games following the 2020 shutdown, Sands spent all of 2021 at Double-A Wichita. His 2.46 ERA solidified the strong debut and again was combined with a double-digit strikeout rate. He did allow an alarming number of walks at 3.9 BB/9, but the missed bats and lack of hard contact allowed him to keep opposing lineups at bay. Sands should begin at Triple-A St. Paul this year, and he could be knocking at the Major League door quickly. While the development may not be as surprising as that of Ober, this is still a guy that’s a borderline top-20 prospect for Minnesota on most national lists. He’s not going to be an ace, but a strong contributor in the middle of a rotation exists here. Ober turned in 20 starts to the tune of a 4.19 ERA in his rookie season with Minnesota, and seeing Sands do that or better might not be a crazy thought. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  24. Everything is happening more quickly than normal in spring training, and roster decisions is a part of that. Allowing for them to be able to get more innings and get stretched out to start the minor league season, six pitchers have been optioned. The Twins have optioned pitchers Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, Cole Sands, and Drew Strotman to Triple-A St. Paul. Chris Vallimont and Blayne Enlow were also optioned, but he was optioned to Double-A Wichita. It is the second options for Balazovic and Strotman. It is the first options for the others. The spring training roster currently has 53 players on it, including 19 non-roster players. There are still 24 pitchers (7 non-roster), five catchers (2 non-roster), 15 infielders (7 non-roster), and nine outfielders (3 non-roster). The regular-season big-league roster will include 26 players, although it is likely that there will be expanded rosters for a little while when the season begins due to the shortened spring training. It is normal for players on the 40-man roster who will not start the season in the big leagues to be optioned with the first cuts. There are several reasons for that. One might be that if a player gets hurt in big-league spring training, they would go on the big-league Injured List. In this case, these pitchers are likely to be starters in the minor leagues, and they need to be stretched out. They simply won't get the innings in big-league camp to do that. Enlow will start the season on the Wind Surge Injured List, but don't be surprised if he's back to pitching in games by May. He had Tommy John surgery last May. Josh Winder is on the mound today for the Twins in their spring game against the Red Sox. It is possible he is optioned either after the game or in the coming days. If he is not, that tells us he is being considered for an Opening Day job. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY Latest Twins coverage from our writers Recent Twins discussion in our forums Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  25. The Twins have optioned pitchers Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, Cole Sands, and Drew Strotman to Triple-A St. Paul. Chris Vallimont and Blayne Enlow were also optioned, but he was optioned to Double-A Wichita. It is the second options for Balazovic and Strotman. It is the first options for the others. The spring training roster currently has 53 players on it, including 19 non-roster players. There are still 24 pitchers (7 non-roster), five catchers (2 non-roster), 15 infielders (7 non-roster), and nine outfielders (3 non-roster). The regular-season big-league roster will include 26 players, although it is likely that there will be expanded rosters for a little while when the season begins due to the shortened spring training. It is normal for players on the 40-man roster who will not start the season in the big leagues to be optioned with the first cuts. There are several reasons for that. One might be that if a player gets hurt in big-league spring training, they would go on the big-league Injured List. In this case, these pitchers are likely to be starters in the minor leagues, and they need to be stretched out. They simply won't get the innings in big-league camp to do that. Enlow will start the season on the Wind Surge Injured List, but don't be surprised if he's back to pitching in games by May. He had Tommy John surgery last May. Josh Winder is on the mound today for the Twins in their spring game against the Red Sox. It is possible he is optioned either after the game or in the coming days. If he is not, that tells us he is being considered for an Opening Day job. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY Latest Twins coverage from our writers Recent Twins discussion in our forums Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
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