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  1. Minnesota’s current front office regime has tended to rely on internal options to bolster the bullpen. Will any of these prospects join the big-league squad as relievers in 2023? Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports In recent years, the front office has shied away from investing in bullpen options. Joe Smith was the team’s lone free agent signing last winter, and he wasn’t on the club by the season’s end. Minnesota also traded away Taylor Rogers on the eve of Opening Day for Emilio Pagan and Chris Paddack. Jhoan Duran became the team’s top reliever after being a former top prospect. Can any of these players follow in Duran’s footsteps in 2023? Triple-A: Ronny Henriquez (ETA: 2022), Austin Schulfer (ETA: 2023), Evan Sisk (ETA: 2023) Henriquez made his big-league debut in 2022 as a reliever, but the club may still utilize him as a starter in 2023. He split time between both roles at Triple-A last season, and all his big-league innings came as a reliever. As a 22-year-old, there is still time for development, and the Twins hope he can continue to stick as a starter. Schulfer dominated Double-A last season before running into some trouble at Triple-A. He only allowed one earned run in 15 appearances before his promotion. In a six-game span at Triple-A, he allowed nine earned runs and a .982 OPS in 6 2/3 innings to inflate his overall numbers. The 26-year-old struck out nearly ten batters per nine innings for the season and had a 1.04 WHIP. Sisk was one of the most successful left-handed pitchers in the Twins organization last season. The 25-year-old made 50 appearances between Double- and Triple-A with a 1.57 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He posted a 10.9 K/9 and held lefties to a .286 OPS in over 106 at-bats. Surprisingly, he didn’t get an opportunity during the 2022 season, but he should fit into the team’s plans during 2023. Double-A: Denny Bentley (ETA: 2023), Steven Cruz (ETA: 2024), Osiris German (ETA: 2024), Francis Peguero (ETA: 2024) Bentley spent time at High- and Double-A last season while posting a 3.56 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings, so the Twins sent him to the AFL to build off his solid season. Unfortunately, the AFL is a very hitter-friendly environment, and Bentley has struggled with command. The 24-year-old has walked 14 batters in 11 1/3 innings, but it is a small sample size. Cruz (23yo) and German (24yo) were a year and a half younger than the competition at Double-A this season, and both were given the opportunity to pitch in late-inning situations. In his final 34 appearances (50 innings), Cruz had a 3.35 ERA and 51 strikeouts while holding batters to a .680 OPS. German posted a 3.02 ERA with 9.9 K/9 in 43 appearances. Both players should get more time at Double-A before moving up the ladder. Minnesota acquired Peguero from the Reds as part of the Sonny Gray trade. Injuries limited him to 17 appearances at Double-A in 2022, so the team sent him to the AFL. In 11 innings, he has posted a 2.45 ERA with a 1.64 WHIP and 7.4 K/9. High-A: Hunter McMahon (ETA: 2024) Minnesota acquired McMahon back in 2020 from the Nationals for Ryne Harper. As a 24-year-old, he broke out and pitched at three different levels last season. He pitched 70 innings (39 appearances), between Low- and High-A, with a 1.67 ERA with batters hitting .171/.219/.296 (.515) against him. He struggled in a brief taste of Double-A by allowing multiple earned runs in three of his four appearances. To be even more successful, McMahon needs to see his strikeout totals continue to improve. Obviously, there are plenty of relievers throughout the Twins system that aren’t mentioned above. Other starting pitching prospects might shift to bullpen roles if they can’t improve as starters. Some of the best relievers in franchise history (Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Taylor Rogers ) were failed starters that shifted to the bullpen and found their eventual ticket to the big leagues. Duran was used primarily as a starter throughout his professional career before dominating as a reliever last season. Overall, it can be tough to project an organization’s depth at reliever, especially as the role of the pitcher continues to evolve. How many of these relievers will get an opportunity in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. Edouard Julien and Austin Martin continued their hitting prowess in Week 5 of the AFL season, and both sit near the top of leaderboards in several categories heading into the final week. A pitcher had another good start to pick up a win, and two players also played in the Fall Stars Game on Sunday. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey (Wichita Wind Surge), Steve Buhr (Cedar Rapids Kernels) Game Results: Tuesday, 11/1 | Glendale 4, Peoria 0 Wednesday, 11/2 | Glendale 1, Surprise 2 Thursday, 11/3 | Surprise 12, Glendale 4 Friday, 11/4 | Glendale 6, Scottsdale 1 Sunday 11/6 | AL Fall Stars 3, NL Fall Stars 9 The Glendale Desert Dogs went 2-2 in the win-loss column in week 5, continuing their trend of being a .500 team in Arizona Fall League play. As of Tuesday, they are tied with three other teams at 13-13 on the season for second place in the standings with two games left to play. (Apologies for the delay on the report this week! There’s this thing called deer hunting that opened up in Minnesota this past weekend, and I never miss it. The deer and blizzard didn’t cooperate much though…) IF Austin Martin Week: 5-for-8, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 SB (2 games) Overall: .380/.464/.507 (.971 OPS) Austin Martin got back to his hitting ways in week five, though he played in just two of the Desert Dogs' games. In Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Peoria, he was 2-for-4 and started off the sixth inning with a single, later coming around to score to make it 2-0. He played center field and batted leadoff. On Wednesday he was again the leadoff man, but back to manning shortstop. He made a big impact in this one, finishing 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and stealing two bases. He was left stranded in scoring position a couple of times, otherwise, the box score may have been a bit different for Glendale. IF Edouard Julien Week: 4-for-12, 4 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 2 SB (4 games) Overall: .365/.535/.683 (1.218 OPS) Julien continued to hit with authority, and reach base at a greater than .500 clip on the AFL season in week five. He slugged his fifth home run of the season to start the bottom of the first inning in Thursday’s game against Surprise for an early lead. He reached base in each game during the week, scored four runs total, and also stole two bases. He played second base in all of the games, and in Martin’s absence on Thursday and Friday, took over the leadoff duties after batting second in the prior two games. Julien leads all hitters in the AFL in runs scored, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS heading into the final three games of the season. He also started in the AFL Fall Stars game on Sunday, and competed in the home run derby, as his five home runs on the season rank second in the league. No matter who actually wins the award (star power has always played a role here), this is your on-field-performance Arizona Fall League MVP, hands down. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 3-for-16, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K (4 games) Overall: .216/.322/.294 (.616 OPS) Isola also played in all four games on the week, getting bumped up to the middle of the lineup after a strong week four. He played first base in two games, catcher in one, and served as the designated hitter in the other. He scored two runs in Thursday’s loss to Surprise and drove in two runs with a double in the seventh inning to add some insurance runs in Friday’s win over Scottsdale. RHP Jon Olsen Week: W, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (1 start) Overall: 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .288 BAA, 10 BB, 17 K (13 2/3 IP) The right-hander got the starting nod in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Scorpions, finishing three solid innings to get credited with his second win of the season. He worked around a triple and a walk in the first for a scoreless frame and added a one-two-three second inning. In the third Scottsdale finally strung a pair of singles and a walk together to get their only run of the game. Olsen threw 65 pitches in the outing, with 37 going for strikes (57%). LHP Denny Bentley Week: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, .189 BAA, 14 BB, 9 K (11 1/3 IP) The left-handed Bentley made one appearance during the week, finishing the ninth inning in Thursday’s loss to Surprise. He faced four hitters, allowing just a single while picking up one strikeout. The more encouraging aspect was Bentley needed just 13 pitches, with 9 going for strikes (69%) in the scoreless inning. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .171 BAA, 7 BB, 10 K (13 IP) Shreve continued to be a steadying presence in the Desert Dogs bullpen, delivering two scoreless innings in Tuesday’s shutout of Peoria to open the week. He came on for the sixth inning and was credited with a hold as he faced just eight hitters over his two innings, walking one in the sixth, and hitting a batter in the seventh. 16 of his 21 pitches went for strikes (76%) in the outing. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .227 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Like the rest of his fellow Twins pitching prospects, Peguero made one appearance on the week, coming in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Surprise. Unfortunately, he was credited with the loss, as he came on for the top of the ninth inning and surrendered a two-out go-ahead home run. AFL Fall Stars Game All the best prospects in the league came together for the Fall Stars Game on Sunday, with the National League squad coming out on top in the game 9-3. Edouard Julien got the start at second base, batting second, and finished 0-for-2 with a walk. He grounded out in the first, struck out in the third, and made it to third base in the fifth after drawing his walk. He also participated in the pre-game home run derby, launching three home runs in his first round before being shut out in the second. The only other Twins prospect to make an appearance, was pitcher Francis Peguero, who pitched a one-two-three sixth inning, needing just seven pitches. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! View full article
  3. In recent years, the front office has shied away from investing in bullpen options. Joe Smith was the team’s lone free agent signing last winter, and he wasn’t on the club by the season’s end. Minnesota also traded away Taylor Rogers on the eve of Opening Day for Emilio Pagan and Chris Paddack. Jhoan Duran became the team’s top reliever after being a former top prospect. Can any of these players follow in Duran’s footsteps in 2023? Triple-A: Ronny Henriquez (ETA: 2022), Austin Schulfer (ETA: 2023), Evan Sisk (ETA: 2023) Henriquez made his big-league debut in 2022 as a reliever, but the club may still utilize him as a starter in 2023. He split time between both roles at Triple-A last season, and all his big-league innings came as a reliever. As a 22-year-old, there is still time for development, and the Twins hope he can continue to stick as a starter. Schulfer dominated Double-A last season before running into some trouble at Triple-A. He only allowed one earned run in 15 appearances before his promotion. In a six-game span at Triple-A, he allowed nine earned runs and a .982 OPS in 6 2/3 innings to inflate his overall numbers. The 26-year-old struck out nearly ten batters per nine innings for the season and had a 1.04 WHIP. Sisk was one of the most successful left-handed pitchers in the Twins organization last season. The 25-year-old made 50 appearances between Double- and Triple-A with a 1.57 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He posted a 10.9 K/9 and held lefties to a .286 OPS in over 106 at-bats. Surprisingly, he didn’t get an opportunity during the 2022 season, but he should fit into the team’s plans during 2023. Double-A: Denny Bentley (ETA: 2023), Steven Cruz (ETA: 2024), Osiris German (ETA: 2024), Francis Peguero (ETA: 2024) Bentley spent time at High- and Double-A last season while posting a 3.56 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings, so the Twins sent him to the AFL to build off his solid season. Unfortunately, the AFL is a very hitter-friendly environment, and Bentley has struggled with command. The 24-year-old has walked 14 batters in 11 1/3 innings, but it is a small sample size. Cruz (23yo) and German (24yo) were a year and a half younger than the competition at Double-A this season, and both were given the opportunity to pitch in late-inning situations. In his final 34 appearances (50 innings), Cruz had a 3.35 ERA and 51 strikeouts while holding batters to a .680 OPS. German posted a 3.02 ERA with 9.9 K/9 in 43 appearances. Both players should get more time at Double-A before moving up the ladder. Minnesota acquired Peguero from the Reds as part of the Sonny Gray trade. Injuries limited him to 17 appearances at Double-A in 2022, so the team sent him to the AFL. In 11 innings, he has posted a 2.45 ERA with a 1.64 WHIP and 7.4 K/9. High-A: Hunter McMahon (ETA: 2024) Minnesota acquired McMahon back in 2020 from the Nationals for Ryne Harper. As a 24-year-old, he broke out and pitched at three different levels last season. He pitched 70 innings (39 appearances), between Low- and High-A, with a 1.67 ERA with batters hitting .171/.219/.296 (.515) against him. He struggled in a brief taste of Double-A by allowing multiple earned runs in three of his four appearances. To be even more successful, McMahon needs to see his strikeout totals continue to improve. Obviously, there are plenty of relievers throughout the Twins system that aren’t mentioned above. Other starting pitching prospects might shift to bullpen roles if they can’t improve as starters. Some of the best relievers in franchise history (Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Taylor Rogers ) were failed starters that shifted to the bullpen and found their eventual ticket to the big leagues. Duran was used primarily as a starter throughout his professional career before dominating as a reliever last season. Overall, it can be tough to project an organization’s depth at reliever, especially as the role of the pitcher continues to evolve. How many of these relievers will get an opportunity in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. Game Results: Tuesday, 11/1 | Glendale 4, Peoria 0 Wednesday, 11/2 | Glendale 1, Surprise 2 Thursday, 11/3 | Surprise 12, Glendale 4 Friday, 11/4 | Glendale 6, Scottsdale 1 Sunday 11/6 | AL Fall Stars 3, NL Fall Stars 9 The Glendale Desert Dogs went 2-2 in the win-loss column in week 5, continuing their trend of being a .500 team in Arizona Fall League play. As of Tuesday, they are tied with three other teams at 13-13 on the season for second place in the standings with two games left to play. (Apologies for the delay on the report this week! There’s this thing called deer hunting that opened up in Minnesota this past weekend, and I never miss it. The deer and blizzard didn’t cooperate much though…) IF Austin Martin Week: 5-for-8, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 SB (2 games) Overall: .380/.464/.507 (.971 OPS) Austin Martin got back to his hitting ways in week five, though he played in just two of the Desert Dogs' games. In Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Peoria, he was 2-for-4 and started off the sixth inning with a single, later coming around to score to make it 2-0. He played center field and batted leadoff. On Wednesday he was again the leadoff man, but back to manning shortstop. He made a big impact in this one, finishing 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and stealing two bases. He was left stranded in scoring position a couple of times, otherwise, the box score may have been a bit different for Glendale. IF Edouard Julien Week: 4-for-12, 4 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 2 SB (4 games) Overall: .365/.535/.683 (1.218 OPS) Julien continued to hit with authority, and reach base at a greater than .500 clip on the AFL season in week five. He slugged his fifth home run of the season to start the bottom of the first inning in Thursday’s game against Surprise for an early lead. He reached base in each game during the week, scored four runs total, and also stole two bases. He played second base in all of the games, and in Martin’s absence on Thursday and Friday, took over the leadoff duties after batting second in the prior two games. Julien leads all hitters in the AFL in runs scored, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS heading into the final three games of the season. He also started in the AFL Fall Stars game on Sunday, and competed in the home run derby, as his five home runs on the season rank second in the league. No matter who actually wins the award (star power has always played a role here), this is your on-field-performance Arizona Fall League MVP, hands down. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 3-for-16, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K (4 games) Overall: .216/.322/.294 (.616 OPS) Isola also played in all four games on the week, getting bumped up to the middle of the lineup after a strong week four. He played first base in two games, catcher in one, and served as the designated hitter in the other. He scored two runs in Thursday’s loss to Surprise and drove in two runs with a double in the seventh inning to add some insurance runs in Friday’s win over Scottsdale. RHP Jon Olsen Week: W, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (1 start) Overall: 2-1, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .288 BAA, 10 BB, 17 K (13 2/3 IP) The right-hander got the starting nod in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Scorpions, finishing three solid innings to get credited with his second win of the season. He worked around a triple and a walk in the first for a scoreless frame and added a one-two-three second inning. In the third Scottsdale finally strung a pair of singles and a walk together to get their only run of the game. Olsen threw 65 pitches in the outing, with 37 going for strikes (57%). LHP Denny Bentley Week: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, .189 BAA, 14 BB, 9 K (11 1/3 IP) The left-handed Bentley made one appearance during the week, finishing the ninth inning in Thursday’s loss to Surprise. He faced four hitters, allowing just a single while picking up one strikeout. The more encouraging aspect was Bentley needed just 13 pitches, with 9 going for strikes (69%) in the scoreless inning. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .171 BAA, 7 BB, 10 K (13 IP) Shreve continued to be a steadying presence in the Desert Dogs bullpen, delivering two scoreless innings in Tuesday’s shutout of Peoria to open the week. He came on for the sixth inning and was credited with a hold as he faced just eight hitters over his two innings, walking one in the sixth, and hitting a batter in the seventh. 16 of his 21 pitches went for strikes (76%) in the outing. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .227 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (11 IP) Like the rest of his fellow Twins pitching prospects, Peguero made one appearance on the week, coming in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Surprise. Unfortunately, he was credited with the loss, as he came on for the top of the ninth inning and surrendered a two-out go-ahead home run. AFL Fall Stars Game All the best prospects in the league came together for the Fall Stars Game on Sunday, with the National League squad coming out on top in the game 9-3. Edouard Julien got the start at second base, batting second, and finished 0-for-2 with a walk. He grounded out in the first, struck out in the third, and made it to third base in the fifth after drawing his walk. He also participated in the pre-game home run derby, launching three home runs in his first round before being shut out in the second. The only other Twins prospect to make an appearance, was pitcher Francis Peguero, who pitched a one-two-three sixth inning, needing just seven pitches. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  5. With Austin Martin missing a few games in week three of the AFL season, it was up to another Minnesota Twins infielder prospect to take over the “hot-hitting” mantle. With all credit due to Martin so far during the AFL season, even he hasn’t done what Edouard Julien did to opposing pitchers in week 3. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (photo of Edouard Julien) Game Results: Monday, 10/17 | Glendale 6, Mesa 3 Tuesday, 10/18 | Mesa 6, Glendale 3 Wednesday, 10/19 | Salt River 4, Glendale 5 Thursday, 10/20 | Glendale 4, Peoria 3 Friday, 10/21 | Surprise 7, Glendale 2 Saturday, 10/22 | Glendale 7, Scottsdale 9 The Glendale Desert Dogs completed another .500 week, going 3-3 in their six games. Their 8-8 overall record (including one tie) is tied for third place in the standings, a half-game behind second place heading into week four. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in week three of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin Week: 2-for-9, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K (3 games) Overall: .439/.538/.561 (1.099 OPS) Martin continued his scorching hot hitting to start the week, going 2-for-6 in Monday’s win over the Mesa Solar Sox. That gave him 13 hits in his last five games and he added another stolen base. In Tuesday’s loss to the Solar Sox, Martin got just two plate appearances, drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch. After the HBP, he stole his seventh base of the season, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a groundout before being replaced in the field in the fifth inning (no reason has been given). He wouldn’t play again until Saturday when he went 0-for-3, but reached base in the game with another hit-by-pitch and also scored another run. On the week Martin played one game in center field, DH’ed, and finished his week up at shortstop after getting a few days off. IF Edouard Julien Week: 6-for-13, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 3 K (4 games) Overall: .364/.543/.636 (1.179 OPS) Julien entered the week with no extra-base hits yet on the season and a .800 OPS. He finished it with three doubles, two home runs, and a 1.179 OPS that leads his team and ranks fourth in the AFL overall (Martin is fifth). It was a monster week for the infielder that just kept getting better. In Monday’s win, he was 1-for-3 with his first double, scored a run, and drew two walks. In Wednesday's win over Salt River, he added two more doubles, scored two runs, and drew another walk as the leadoff man with Martin out. While he was 0-for-3 in his next game, he continued to do what he’s known for, drawing a pair of walks and scoring another run. Then he turned it up to eleven on Saturday, batting in the cleanup spot as the DH. While his team lost the game, Julien did everything he could to help. His two-run homer in the first inning put them up 2-0 early. He added an RBI single in the fifth inning before his second two-run blast in the seventh got his team within three late. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 1-for-9, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K (3 games) Overall: .125/.250/.125 (.375 OPS) Isola saw action in three games on the week, including his first game at catcher in Friday’s loss to Surprise. In Monday’s win against Mesa, he got the first run of the game on the board for the Desert Dogs with his RBI single in the fourth inning that drove in Julien. Later in the frame, he’d score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and he also drew a walk to lead off the seventh. RHP Jon Olsen Week: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (1 start) Overall: 0-1, 9.75 ERA, 2.85 WHIP, .393 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (6 2/3 IP) Olsen made the start in Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Surprise Saguaros, pitching into the fourth inning. He kept them scoreless for the first three frames, striking out one in the first, three in the second, and another in the third as Glendale had a 1-0 lead. A pair of walks to start the fourth inning put an end to his outing, but it was solid up until that point. Two runs were charged to him as his replacement gave up a single, and on the same play committed an egregious throwing error that allowed that batter to come all the way home for a 3-1 Saguaros lead. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .167 BAA, 7 BB, 4 K (7 1/3 IP) The lefty reliever made two appearances on the week, going multiple innings in Monday’s win over Mesa for his first hold of the season, and picking up his second in Thursday’s win over Peoria. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings against the Solar Sox, giving up a single, walk, and a solo home run. Against the Javelinas he came on for the seventh inning, striking out one in a scoreless frame. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, .269 BAA, 6 BB, 5 K (8 IP) Shreve was the first reliever summoned in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Salt River, coming into the game in the middle of the third inning with his team up 2-1 at the time. He retired both hitters he faced to keep them out front, but a pair of singles in the fourth inning led to the Rafters tying the game at two before he was able to get out of the inning. RHP Francis Peguero Week: W, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .095 BAA, 6 BB, 5 K (6 1/3 IP) Peguero is becoming somewhat of a finisher for his Desert Dogs roster, as he again was the final pitcher for his team in his only appearance of the week. He got credited with the win by pitching the eighth and ninth innings against the Rafters on Wednesday, as the Desert Dogs scored three in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead after his one-two-three top half. He allowed a single in the ninth but struck out one in each of his frames to secure the win. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! View full article
  6. Game Results: Monday, 10/17 | Glendale 6, Mesa 3 Tuesday, 10/18 | Mesa 6, Glendale 3 Wednesday, 10/19 | Salt River 4, Glendale 5 Thursday, 10/20 | Glendale 4, Peoria 3 Friday, 10/21 | Surprise 7, Glendale 2 Saturday, 10/22 | Glendale 7, Scottsdale 9 The Glendale Desert Dogs completed another .500 week, going 3-3 in their six games. Their 8-8 overall record (including one tie) is tied for third place in the standings, a half-game behind second place heading into week four. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in week three of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin Week: 2-for-9, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K (3 games) Overall: .439/.538/.561 (1.099 OPS) Martin continued his scorching hot hitting to start the week, going 2-for-6 in Monday’s win over the Mesa Solar Sox. That gave him 13 hits in his last five games and he added another stolen base. In Tuesday’s loss to the Solar Sox, Martin got just two plate appearances, drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch. After the HBP, he stole his seventh base of the season, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a groundout before being replaced in the field in the fifth inning (no reason has been given). He wouldn’t play again until Saturday when he went 0-for-3, but reached base in the game with another hit-by-pitch and also scored another run. On the week Martin played one game in center field, DH’ed, and finished his week up at shortstop after getting a few days off. IF Edouard Julien Week: 6-for-13, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 3 K (4 games) Overall: .364/.543/.636 (1.179 OPS) Julien entered the week with no extra-base hits yet on the season and a .800 OPS. He finished it with three doubles, two home runs, and a 1.179 OPS that leads his team and ranks fourth in the AFL overall (Martin is fifth). It was a monster week for the infielder that just kept getting better. In Monday’s win, he was 1-for-3 with his first double, scored a run, and drew two walks. In Wednesday's win over Salt River, he added two more doubles, scored two runs, and drew another walk as the leadoff man with Martin out. While he was 0-for-3 in his next game, he continued to do what he’s known for, drawing a pair of walks and scoring another run. Then he turned it up to eleven on Saturday, batting in the cleanup spot as the DH. While his team lost the game, Julien did everything he could to help. His two-run homer in the first inning put them up 2-0 early. He added an RBI single in the fifth inning before his second two-run blast in the seventh got his team within three late. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 1-for-9, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K (3 games) Overall: .125/.250/.125 (.375 OPS) Isola saw action in three games on the week, including his first game at catcher in Friday’s loss to Surprise. In Monday’s win against Mesa, he got the first run of the game on the board for the Desert Dogs with his RBI single in the fourth inning that drove in Julien. Later in the frame, he’d score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and he also drew a walk to lead off the seventh. RHP Jon Olsen Week: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (1 start) Overall: 0-1, 9.75 ERA, 2.85 WHIP, .393 BAA, 8 BB, 9 K (6 2/3 IP) Olsen made the start in Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Surprise Saguaros, pitching into the fourth inning. He kept them scoreless for the first three frames, striking out one in the first, three in the second, and another in the third as Glendale had a 1-0 lead. A pair of walks to start the fourth inning put an end to his outing, but it was solid up until that point. Two runs were charged to him as his replacement gave up a single, and on the same play committed an egregious throwing error that allowed that batter to come all the way home for a 3-1 Saguaros lead. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (2 appearances) Overall: 1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .167 BAA, 7 BB, 4 K (7 1/3 IP) The lefty reliever made two appearances on the week, going multiple innings in Monday’s win over Mesa for his first hold of the season, and picking up his second in Thursday’s win over Peoria. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings against the Solar Sox, giving up a single, walk, and a solo home run. Against the Javelinas he came on for the seventh inning, striking out one in a scoreless frame. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, .269 BAA, 6 BB, 5 K (8 IP) Shreve was the first reliever summoned in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Salt River, coming into the game in the middle of the third inning with his team up 2-1 at the time. He retired both hitters he faced to keep them out front, but a pair of singles in the fourth inning led to the Rafters tying the game at two before he was able to get out of the inning. RHP Francis Peguero Week: W, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K (1 appearance) Overall: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .095 BAA, 6 BB, 5 K (6 1/3 IP) Peguero is becoming somewhat of a finisher for his Desert Dogs roster, as he again was the final pitcher for his team in his only appearance of the week. He got credited with the win by pitching the eighth and ninth innings against the Rafters on Wednesday, as the Desert Dogs scored three in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead after his one-two-three top half. He allowed a single in the ninth but struck out one in each of his frames to secure the win. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week!
  7. The story of Week 2 in the Arizona Fall League for Minnesota Twins prospects was again Austin Martin. After finishing Week 1 with a three-hit outburst, he added 11 hits in four games in Week 2, including a breakout performance of sorts in a blowout win. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey (Wichita Wind Surge), Steve Buhr (Cedar Rapids Kernels) Game Results: Monday, 10/10 | Glendale 8, Salt River 3 Tuesday, 10/11 | Glendale 20, Salt River 4 Thursday, 10/13 | Glendale 7, Mesa 9 Friday, 10/14 | Scottsdale 2, Glendale 0 Saturday, 10/15 | Mesa 1, Glendale 1 The Glendale Desert Dogs again went .500 on the week, which is odd as they played five total games. That’s the nature of the Arizona Fall League, as they blew out the Salt River Rafters, outsourcing them 28-7 in their two games to start the week’s action, but then fell to Mesa and Scottsdale in close contests before a game with Mesa was called with the score tied 1-1 after eight innings. They’ll enter Week 3 with a record of 5-5-1 and a game and a half behind the league-leading Surprise Saguaros. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in week two of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin Week: 11-for-18, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 SB (4 games) Overall: .500/.575/.656 (1.231 OPS) Martin played in four of the Desert Dogs' five games this week and batted leadoff in each. He played two games at shortstop, one in center field, and DH-ed in the other. He was on fire all week, collecting three or more hits in three of those games, and is now batting .500 going into Week 3. In Monday’s 8-3 win over Salt River, he was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. He followed that up with a 4-for-6 effort in the Desert Dogs' destruction of the Rafters on Tuesday, where he scored two runs and drove in five. He fell a triple shy of the cycle and hit the first pitch of the game out to left-center for his first AFL home run. His quietest game of the week came in Thursday’s loss to Mesa, but he still reached base multiple times with a single and a walk. After a day off on Friday, he closed out his week with three more hits in four at-bats in their tie with the Solar Sox. He also drove in their only run with his single in the eighth inning. After two weeks, Martin leads the AFL in hits with 16, is third with five stolen bases (has been caught once), and is fifth in OPS with a 1.231 mark. Martin will look to continue his scorching hot hitting in Week 3, but Twins fans should be ecstatic about what he’s showing in the AFL so far. IF Edouard Julien Week: 3-for-6, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K (2 games) Overall: .300/.500/.300 (.800 OPS). Julien got the start in just two games on the week, serving as the DH in the blowout of Salt River, and playing second base in Friday’s 2-0 loss against Scottsdale. He batted seventh in the lineup in the 20-4 win and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and keeping with his professional theme, drew three walks to reach base in five-of-six trips. On Friday, he knocked one base hit in three at-bats, batting second in the lineup. His hit came in the bottom of the first inning, and he reached third base before their early rally got stalled. They then went on to be shut out as the Desert Dogs managed just three hits total in the game. While Julien is still looking for his first extra-base-hit of the AFL season, he has reached base in half his plate appearances and trails only teammate Matt McLain in walks drawn overall, with eight in six games. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 1-for-5, 1 RBI (1 game) Overall: .133/.235/.133 (.368 OPS) Alex Isola got into only one game during the week, and that came in Monday’s 8-3 win over the Salt River Rafters. He batted ninth in the lineup, played first base, and finished 1-for-5 with an RBI. His single in the top of the sixth inning drove in the Desert Dogs' third and final run of the inning, putting them out front in the game 3-1 at the time. While it has to be disappointing to play in only one game during the week, the player rotation hopefully gets him more time in Week 3. RHP Jon Olsen Week: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (1 appearance) Overall: 12.27 ERA, 3.82 WHIP (3 2/3 IP) The right-hander made one appearance on the week, as the first reliever summoned in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions. He came on to start the fourth inning and after a leadoff walk got the next hitter to line into a double play. He allowed a single and hit a batter before getting a groundout for a scoreless frame. Back out for the fifth, he got a strikeout before a walk and a triple led to an earned run, but he finished off the final two hitters with two more strikeouts to end his outing on a high note. Olsen’s numbers in the AFL likely aren’t going to ever look great after his first outing of the season last week, but he can be encouraged by the strikeouts that came late in this one moving forward. And he only had a couple of rehab outings during the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 4.15 ERA, 1.62 WHIP (4 1/3 IP). Bentley came out of the bullpen for just one appearance during the week. He entered the blowout game against Salt River in the seventh inning with the game already well out of hand. His predecessor had loaded the bases with one out, and after a sac fly made it 19-2, Bentley entered the game to try and keep it moving. He gave up a single that made it 19-4 but was not charged with either of those runs. He then got a pop-out to end the inning before coming back out for the eighth with a clean slate. He walked one batter but retired all three others, including a strikeout. In a positive change from week one, 14 of his 24 pitches in this one went for strikes (58%) as he looks to keep his pitches in the zone better. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 3 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 K (2 appearances) Overall: 2.84 ERA, 1.74 WHIP (6 1/3 IP). Shreve made two appearances on the week, going more than one inning in both of them. In Monday’s win over the Rafters, he was the first reliever summoned. He came into the game to start the fourth inning. He promptly gave up a solo home run but got some help from his defense to keep that run as his only one allowed during the week. After a walk to the next hitter, he got a pair of flyouts before his defense executed a nice relay throw to catch the runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Back out for the fifth, he picked up a strikeout but then loaded the bases before he was removed from the game. His pitching counterpart Ben Harris picked him up by getting a double-play grounder. In Friday’s loss to Scottsdale, Shreve finished the game for Glendale, pitching two shutout innings. He gave up two walks, but no hits and struck out one to keep the game close in the final two innings. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K (2 appearances) Overall: 0.00 ERA, 1.62 WHIP (4 1/3 IP). The little-known right-hander made two appearances. He finished the game for Glendale in both of them. In Tuesday’s big win over the Salt River Rafters, he walked the first batter of the ninth inning but proceeded to strike out two of the next three to close it out. In Saturday’s tie with the Mesa Solar Sox, he took over for the “extra” eighth inning with the score still 0-0, and a runner starting on second base. He gave up his first hit of the season to put runners on the corners before a double-play ball allowed the first run of the game to score. As it was the “ghost” runner, it was of the unearned variety. Another batter reached due to an error before giving up a walk, but he then got a lineout to keep his team in it, and Austin Martin was able to tie it with his RBI single before it was called. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! (Another Austin Martin highlight for tax) View full article
  8. Game Results: Monday, 10/10 | Glendale 8, Salt River 3 Tuesday, 10/11 | Glendale 20, Salt River 4 Thursday, 10/13 | Glendale 7, Mesa 9 Friday, 10/14 | Scottsdale 2, Glendale 0 Saturday, 10/15 | Mesa 1, Glendale 1 The Glendale Desert Dogs again went .500 on the week, which is odd as they played five total games. That’s the nature of the Arizona Fall League, as they blew out the Salt River Rafters, outsourcing them 28-7 in their two games to start the week’s action, but then fell to Mesa and Scottsdale in close contests before a game with Mesa was called with the score tied 1-1 after eight innings. They’ll enter Week 3 with a record of 5-5-1 and a game and a half behind the league-leading Surprise Saguaros. How did all of the Minnesota Twins prospects fare for the Desert Dogs in week two of the 2022 AFL season? IF Austin Martin Week: 11-for-18, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 SB (4 games) Overall: .500/.575/.656 (1.231 OPS) Martin played in four of the Desert Dogs' five games this week and batted leadoff in each. He played two games at shortstop, one in center field, and DH-ed in the other. He was on fire all week, collecting three or more hits in three of those games, and is now batting .500 going into Week 3. In Monday’s 8-3 win over Salt River, he was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. He followed that up with a 4-for-6 effort in the Desert Dogs' destruction of the Rafters on Tuesday, where he scored two runs and drove in five. He fell a triple shy of the cycle and hit the first pitch of the game out to left-center for his first AFL home run. His quietest game of the week came in Thursday’s loss to Mesa, but he still reached base multiple times with a single and a walk. After a day off on Friday, he closed out his week with three more hits in four at-bats in their tie with the Solar Sox. He also drove in their only run with his single in the eighth inning. After two weeks, Martin leads the AFL in hits with 16, is third with five stolen bases (has been caught once), and is fifth in OPS with a 1.231 mark. Martin will look to continue his scorching hot hitting in Week 3, but Twins fans should be ecstatic about what he’s showing in the AFL so far. IF Edouard Julien Week: 3-for-6, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K (2 games) Overall: .300/.500/.300 (.800 OPS). Julien got the start in just two games on the week, serving as the DH in the blowout of Salt River, and playing second base in Friday’s 2-0 loss against Scottsdale. He batted seventh in the lineup in the 20-4 win and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and keeping with his professional theme, drew three walks to reach base in five-of-six trips. On Friday, he knocked one base hit in three at-bats, batting second in the lineup. His hit came in the bottom of the first inning, and he reached third base before their early rally got stalled. They then went on to be shut out as the Desert Dogs managed just three hits total in the game. While Julien is still looking for his first extra-base-hit of the AFL season, he has reached base in half his plate appearances and trails only teammate Matt McLain in walks drawn overall, with eight in six games. C/1B Alex Isola Week: 1-for-5, 1 RBI (1 game) Overall: .133/.235/.133 (.368 OPS) Alex Isola got into only one game during the week, and that came in Monday’s 8-3 win over the Salt River Rafters. He batted ninth in the lineup, played first base, and finished 1-for-5 with an RBI. His single in the top of the sixth inning drove in the Desert Dogs' third and final run of the inning, putting them out front in the game 3-1 at the time. While it has to be disappointing to play in only one game during the week, the player rotation hopefully gets him more time in Week 3. RHP Jon Olsen Week: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (1 appearance) Overall: 12.27 ERA, 3.82 WHIP (3 2/3 IP) The right-hander made one appearance on the week, as the first reliever summoned in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions. He came on to start the fourth inning and after a leadoff walk got the next hitter to line into a double play. He allowed a single and hit a batter before getting a groundout for a scoreless frame. Back out for the fifth, he got a strikeout before a walk and a triple led to an earned run, but he finished off the final two hitters with two more strikeouts to end his outing on a high note. Olsen’s numbers in the AFL likely aren’t going to ever look great after his first outing of the season last week, but he can be encouraged by the strikeouts that came late in this one moving forward. And he only had a couple of rehab outings during the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago. LHP Denny Bentley Week: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (1 appearance) Overall: 4.15 ERA, 1.62 WHIP (4 1/3 IP). Bentley came out of the bullpen for just one appearance during the week. He entered the blowout game against Salt River in the seventh inning with the game already well out of hand. His predecessor had loaded the bases with one out, and after a sac fly made it 19-2, Bentley entered the game to try and keep it moving. He gave up a single that made it 19-4 but was not charged with either of those runs. He then got a pop-out to end the inning before coming back out for the eighth with a clean slate. He walked one batter but retired all three others, including a strikeout. In a positive change from week one, 14 of his 24 pitches in this one went for strikes (58%) as he looks to keep his pitches in the zone better. RHP Ryan Shreve Week: 3 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 K (2 appearances) Overall: 2.84 ERA, 1.74 WHIP (6 1/3 IP). Shreve made two appearances on the week, going more than one inning in both of them. In Monday’s win over the Rafters, he was the first reliever summoned. He came into the game to start the fourth inning. He promptly gave up a solo home run but got some help from his defense to keep that run as his only one allowed during the week. After a walk to the next hitter, he got a pair of flyouts before his defense executed a nice relay throw to catch the runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Back out for the fifth, he picked up a strikeout but then loaded the bases before he was removed from the game. His pitching counterpart Ben Harris picked him up by getting a double-play grounder. In Friday’s loss to Scottsdale, Shreve finished the game for Glendale, pitching two shutout innings. He gave up two walks, but no hits and struck out one to keep the game close in the final two innings. RHP Francis Peguero Week: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K (2 appearances) Overall: 0.00 ERA, 1.62 WHIP (4 1/3 IP). The little-known right-hander made two appearances. He finished the game for Glendale in both of them. In Tuesday’s big win over the Salt River Rafters, he walked the first batter of the ninth inning but proceeded to strike out two of the next three to close it out. In Saturday’s tie with the Mesa Solar Sox, he took over for the “extra” eighth inning with the score still 0-0, and a runner starting on second base. He gave up his first hit of the season to put runners on the corners before a double-play ball allowed the first run of the game to score. As it was the “ghost” runner, it was of the unearned variety. Another batter reached due to an error before giving up a walk, but he then got a lineout to keep his team in it, and Austin Martin was able to tie it with his RBI single before it was called. Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the prospects playing in the AFL this week! (Another Austin Martin highlight for tax)
  9. Minor league seasons are complete, but the Arizona Fall League is just getting started. Here are four things to watch with Twins prospects this fall. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey (Wichita Wind Surge), Steve Buhr (Cedar Rapids Kernels) Some of baseball's best prospects head to Arizona every year to showcase their skills against other top players. Throughout the AFL's history, some of the league's biggest stars have gotten their careers boosted by a strong AFL performance. AFL Games started this week, and the Twins are sending some of their top prospects with something to prove. Can Austin Martin Have a Wallner-Type Breakout? Last year, the Twins sent Matt Wallner to the AFL because he missed time during the season with an injury. In 18 games, he hit .303/.405/.606 (1.011) with two doubles and six home runs. Wallner carried that performance over to the 2022 season, where he posted a .953 OPS between Double- and Triple-A. Also, he was recently named the TD Minor League Hitter of the Year. Martin dealt with a wrist injury during the 2022 season, but he ended the year strongly. Now, Minnesota hopes Martin can follow the same path as Wallner from the AFL to making his big-league debut. Is Edouard Julien the Twins' Second Baseman of the Future? Julien is coming off a breakout season at Double-A, where the 23-year-old was over a year younger than the average age of the competition. In 113 games, he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. Defensively, the Twins had moved Julien around during his first two professional seasons, but he played the entire 2022 season at second base. Jorge Polanco has one guaranteed year left on his contract with the Twins controlling the next two seasons as well. If Julien continues to develop, he has a chance to become the heir apparent to Polanco in the Twins infield. Can Denny Bentley Become a Dominant Reliever? Minnesota's front office hasn't spent a lot on bullpen arms in recent years, instead relying on the farm system to produce cheaper relief options. During the 2022 season, the Twins used younger organizational arms like Jhoan Duran, Jovani Moran, and Griffin Jax to impact the bullpen. Bentley spent the majority of the 2022 season at Double-A and posted an 11.8 K/9 across 55 2/3 innings. His WHIP has been high during his first two professional seasons because he allows more than 7.0 H/9 and close to 5.0 BB/9. Bentley will need to improve in both of those areas if he wants to become a dominant reliever at the big-league level. What Do the Twins Have in Francis Peguero? The Twins acquired Peguero as part of the Sonny Gray trade, and his professional career has seen some ups and downs. His debut in the Twins system was delayed because of an injury, and then he made 17 appearances out of the Wind Surge bullpen. In August, he posted a 3.65 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in nine appearances, but his strikeout totals have remained low. He can hit in the mid-90s with his fastball, so the AFL will allow him the opportunity to work on his secondary pitches. Can one of his secondary offerings improve enough for him to limit hits and start collecting more strikeouts? Check out the TD AFL Preview to read more about the other Twins prospects participating in the 2022 AFL. Which of the prospects above has the most to prove? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  10. Some of baseball's best prospects head to Arizona every year to showcase their skills against other top players. Throughout the AFL's history, some of the league's biggest stars have gotten their careers boosted by a strong AFL performance. AFL Games started this week, and the Twins are sending some of their top prospects with something to prove. Can Austin Martin Have a Wallner-Type Breakout? Last year, the Twins sent Matt Wallner to the AFL because he missed time during the season with an injury. In 18 games, he hit .303/.405/.606 (1.011) with two doubles and six home runs. Wallner carried that performance over to the 2022 season, where he posted a .953 OPS between Double- and Triple-A. Also, he was recently named the TD Minor League Hitter of the Year. Martin dealt with a wrist injury during the 2022 season, but he ended the year strongly. Now, Minnesota hopes Martin can follow the same path as Wallner from the AFL to making his big-league debut. Is Edouard Julien the Twins' Second Baseman of the Future? Julien is coming off a breakout season at Double-A, where the 23-year-old was over a year younger than the average age of the competition. In 113 games, he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. Defensively, the Twins had moved Julien around during his first two professional seasons, but he played the entire 2022 season at second base. Jorge Polanco has one guaranteed year left on his contract with the Twins controlling the next two seasons as well. If Julien continues to develop, he has a chance to become the heir apparent to Polanco in the Twins infield. Can Denny Bentley Become a Dominant Reliever? Minnesota's front office hasn't spent a lot on bullpen arms in recent years, instead relying on the farm system to produce cheaper relief options. During the 2022 season, the Twins used younger organizational arms like Jhoan Duran, Jovani Moran, and Griffin Jax to impact the bullpen. Bentley spent the majority of the 2022 season at Double-A and posted an 11.8 K/9 across 55 2/3 innings. His WHIP has been high during his first two professional seasons because he allows more than 7.0 H/9 and close to 5.0 BB/9. Bentley will need to improve in both of those areas if he wants to become a dominant reliever at the big-league level. What Do the Twins Have in Francis Peguero? The Twins acquired Peguero as part of the Sonny Gray trade, and his professional career has seen some ups and downs. His debut in the Twins system was delayed because of an injury, and then he made 17 appearances out of the Wind Surge bullpen. In August, he posted a 3.65 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in nine appearances, but his strikeout totals have remained low. He can hit in the mid-90s with his fastball, so the AFL will allow him the opportunity to work on his secondary pitches. Can one of his secondary offerings improve enough for him to limit hits and start collecting more strikeouts? Check out the TD AFL Preview to read more about the other Twins prospects participating in the 2022 AFL. Which of the prospects above has the most to prove? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. Honorable Mention Hunter Wood (St. Paul Saints) 5 G, 4.2 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP Evan Sisk (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) 8G, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 13 K, 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP. Miguel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids Kernels) 7 G, 9.2 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 11 K, 0.93, 1.97 WHIP Malik Barrington (Fort Myers Mighty Mussels) 6 G, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 16 K, 1.54 ERA, 1.60 WHIP Isaiah Rivera (FCL Twins) 5 G, 5 IP, 3 H, 1, R, 1 ER, 8 SO, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIPS Number Three: Austin Schulfer (St. Paul Saints) 7 G, 8.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 2.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP After giving up just one run over 15 games and 23 innings in Wichita (0.38 ERA), Schulfer was promoted to the Saints. He made one Triple-A appearance before the calendar turned to June. Among his seven appearances in June, he went 3-0 with a save. He continued to throw strikes. Schulfer was the Twins 19th round pick in 2018 out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was worked out of the bullpen and as a starter at various times in his career. In 2021, he started for Wichita and led the Twins minor leagues in Innings Pitched. Could Schulfer debut in the much-maligned Twins bullpen yet this season? We shall see. Number Two: Bobby Milacki (Cedar Rapids Kernels) 7 G, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 10 K, 0.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP Milacki is the son of a former major-leaguer, Bob Milacki, who pitched for the Orioles in the early '90s. The son was drafted by the Nationals in 2018. He headed to the independent leagues, and early in the 2021 season, the Twins signed him from Joliet in the Frontier League. He pitched well in limited duty with the Mighty Mussels a year ago. This year, the 26-year-old has pitched well out of the bullpen in Cedar Rapids. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball, Milacki is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 21 games for the Kernels this season. In 35 innings, he has 13 walks and 34 strikeouts. He also keeps the ball in the ballpark. He's allowed just two homers all season. Twins Daily Minor League Reliever of the Month: Denny Bentley (Wichita Wind Surge) 10 G, 11.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 BB, 16 SO, 1.59 ERA, 1.50 WHIP Bentley was the Twins 33rd round draft pick in 2018 out of Howard College in Texas. Following the lost 2020 season, he broke out in a big way in 2022. He recorded nine saves in Ft. Myers before ending the season pitching well in Cedar Rapids. In 58 1/3 combined innings, he walked 33 but struck out 87 batters (13.4 K/9). The 24-year-old began the 2022 season with the Kernels before getting a promotion to Wichita at the end of May. His first Wind Surge outing came on June 1. He certainly walked too many batters, but he continues to rack up strikeouts at a very impressive rate. What are your thoughts on the choices? Who would get your vote for Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month?
  12. There were a number of incredible performances from the 'pen over the last month. See who we've selected as our Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month! Honorable Mention Hunter Wood (St. Paul Saints) 5 G, 4.2 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP Evan Sisk (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) 8G, 10.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 13 K, 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP. Miguel Rodriguez (Cedar Rapids Kernels) 7 G, 9.2 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 11 K, 0.93, 1.97 WHIP Malik Barrington (Fort Myers Mighty Mussels) 6 G, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 16 K, 1.54 ERA, 1.60 WHIP Isaiah Rivera (FCL Twins) 5 G, 5 IP, 3 H, 1, R, 1 ER, 8 SO, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIPS Number Three: Austin Schulfer (St. Paul Saints) 7 G, 8.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 2.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP After giving up just one run over 15 games and 23 innings in Wichita (0.38 ERA), Schulfer was promoted to the Saints. He made one Triple-A appearance before the calendar turned to June. Among his seven appearances in June, he went 3-0 with a save. He continued to throw strikes. Schulfer was the Twins 19th round pick in 2018 out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was worked out of the bullpen and as a starter at various times in his career. In 2021, he started for Wichita and led the Twins minor leagues in Innings Pitched. Could Schulfer debut in the much-maligned Twins bullpen yet this season? We shall see. Number Two: Bobby Milacki (Cedar Rapids Kernels) 7 G, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 10 K, 0.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP Milacki is the son of a former major-leaguer, Bob Milacki, who pitched for the Orioles in the early '90s. The son was drafted by the Nationals in 2018. He headed to the independent leagues, and early in the 2021 season, the Twins signed him from Joliet in the Frontier League. He pitched well in limited duty with the Mighty Mussels a year ago. This year, the 26-year-old has pitched well out of the bullpen in Cedar Rapids. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball, Milacki is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 21 games for the Kernels this season. In 35 innings, he has 13 walks and 34 strikeouts. He also keeps the ball in the ballpark. He's allowed just two homers all season. Twins Daily Minor League Reliever of the Month: Denny Bentley (Wichita Wind Surge) 10 G, 11.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 BB, 16 SO, 1.59 ERA, 1.50 WHIP Bentley was the Twins 33rd round draft pick in 2018 out of Howard College in Texas. Following the lost 2020 season, he broke out in a big way in 2022. He recorded nine saves in Ft. Myers before ending the season pitching well in Cedar Rapids. In 58 1/3 combined innings, he walked 33 but struck out 87 batters (13.4 K/9). The 24-year-old began the 2022 season with the Kernels before getting a promotion to Wichita at the end of May. His first Wind Surge outing came on June 1. He certainly walked too many batters, but he continues to rack up strikeouts at a very impressive rate. What are your thoughts on the choices? Who would get your vote for Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month? View full article
  13. The Twins pitching staff as a whole had a solid first month of the season, but the starting rotation really shined. Check out who the Twins Daily writers voted as the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month. When the Twins Daily Writers sat down to review the minor league relief pitchers, it was a tough decision with all the strong numbers from this month. Who would be the pitcher of the month? Especially with it being so early, the four minor league affiliates: The St. Paul Saints (12-10), Wichita Wind Surge (12-8), Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (11-7) and Cedar Rapids Kernels (15-4) are teams Major League pipelines dream of. Stacked with talent and above .500 in early April, the relievers chosen this month have been responsible for a lot of the success of their teams. The Minor Leagues have implemented the pitch clock which has put a little more pressure on pitching, but these pitchers aren’t letting that phase them. The pitching is solid in the minor leagues, and pitchers like Osiris German, Evan Sisk, and Hunter McMahon continue to grow in their potential while others take a commanding lead in the first month of the season. With so many outstanding choices on the mound, let's see how Twins Daily writers voted. Honorable Mention #2: Denny Bentley LHP 6G, 0.96 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 4H, 2BB, 13K Bentley is back in Iowa after splitting his time between Iowa and Florida last season and was on the opening day roster. Bentley has been impressive in his just 9 1/3 innings pitched with two saves and 0.96 ERA. In his second game of the season, he got his first win versus the Quad City River Bandits after relieving Sean Mooney. In his following appearance, Bentley’s a top 3 reliever for the month, he’s had several 1-2-3 innings, or at least zero-run innings. His ERA and WHIP have dropped considerably in 2022 compared to 2021. His discipline continues to grow, and his stats continue to be strong. Bentley was drafted in 2018 by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard College, a Junior College in Big Springs, Texas. With the exception of not playing baseball in 2020 along with the rest of the minor leagues, he has been with the Twins since being drafted. Honorable Mention #1: Austin Schulfer RHP 7G, 0.00 ERA, .71 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 5H, 3BB, 14K Austin is in his second season with the Surge but has been making an impact on minor league baseball since his time with the Kernels in 2019. Early in that season, he and teammate Jose Martinez recorded the 15th combined no-no in Cedar Rapids history. Last year, he was in the Wind Surge starting rotation and led the Twins minor leagues in innings pitched has given him experience and confidence. Schulfer’s April is off to a great start, registering one of the lowest WHIP’s among the other April award contenders at 0.71 and striking out 14 hitters in 11 innings. He also recorded three saves in his seven games pitched. Schulfer was the only UW-Milwaukee player drafted in 2018. He was picked by the Twins in the 19th round, 574th overall. Before coming to the Twins he left UWM in 2018 leading his college team in innings pitched (91.1) and wins (6). Relief Pitcher of the Month: Tyler Viza 12G, 0.97 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 9H, 3BB, 21K Tyler Viza’s first month with the Twins has been nothing short of spectacular. Viza has pitched in only six games for the Surge and is already making an impact. He has three wins and struck out 21 hitters in just over 12 innings. Viza was drafted in 2013 by the Phillies in the 32nd round. He stayed with them through 2019 when he became a free agent. He signed with the Padres who were hurting for starting pitching. Viza was signed as a free agent on March 20 to the Twins, just two weeks before opening day, out of the independent American Association. The bullpen pitching of the minor league teams has been a huge asset to the Twins affiliates so far in April. If you were to rank your top 3 for the month of April, are these the three you would have ranked? In the same order? Who are you looking forward to making the Minor League Awards next month? View full article
  14. When the Twins Daily Writers sat down to review the minor league relief pitchers, it was a tough decision with all the strong numbers from this month. Who would be the pitcher of the month? Especially with it being so early, the four minor league affiliates: The St. Paul Saints (12-10), Wichita Wind Surge (12-8), Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (11-7) and Cedar Rapids Kernels (15-4) are teams Major League pipelines dream of. Stacked with talent and above .500 in early April, the relievers chosen this month have been responsible for a lot of the success of their teams. The Minor Leagues have implemented the pitch clock which has put a little more pressure on pitching, but these pitchers aren’t letting that phase them. The pitching is solid in the minor leagues, and pitchers like Osiris German, Evan Sisk, and Hunter McMahon continue to grow in their potential while others take a commanding lead in the first month of the season. With so many outstanding choices on the mound, let's see how Twins Daily writers voted. Honorable Mention #2: Denny Bentley LHP 6G, 0.96 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 4H, 2BB, 13K Bentley is back in Iowa after splitting his time between Iowa and Florida last season and was on the opening day roster. Bentley has been impressive in his just 9 1/3 innings pitched with two saves and 0.96 ERA. In his second game of the season, he got his first win versus the Quad City River Bandits after relieving Sean Mooney. In his following appearance, Bentley’s a top 3 reliever for the month, he’s had several 1-2-3 innings, or at least zero-run innings. His ERA and WHIP have dropped considerably in 2022 compared to 2021. His discipline continues to grow, and his stats continue to be strong. Bentley was drafted in 2018 by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Howard College, a Junior College in Big Springs, Texas. With the exception of not playing baseball in 2020 along with the rest of the minor leagues, he has been with the Twins since being drafted. Honorable Mention #1: Austin Schulfer RHP 7G, 0.00 ERA, .71 WHIP, 11.1 IP, 5H, 3BB, 14K Austin is in his second season with the Surge but has been making an impact on minor league baseball since his time with the Kernels in 2019. Early in that season, he and teammate Jose Martinez recorded the 15th combined no-no in Cedar Rapids history. Last year, he was in the Wind Surge starting rotation and led the Twins minor leagues in innings pitched has given him experience and confidence. Schulfer’s April is off to a great start, registering one of the lowest WHIP’s among the other April award contenders at 0.71 and striking out 14 hitters in 11 innings. He also recorded three saves in his seven games pitched. Schulfer was the only UW-Milwaukee player drafted in 2018. He was picked by the Twins in the 19th round, 574th overall. Before coming to the Twins he left UWM in 2018 leading his college team in innings pitched (91.1) and wins (6). Relief Pitcher of the Month: Tyler Viza 12G, 0.97 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 9H, 3BB, 21K Tyler Viza’s first month with the Twins has been nothing short of spectacular. Viza has pitched in only six games for the Surge and is already making an impact. He has three wins and struck out 21 hitters in just over 12 innings. Viza was drafted in 2013 by the Phillies in the 32nd round. He stayed with them through 2019 when he became a free agent. He signed with the Padres who were hurting for starting pitching. Viza was signed as a free agent on March 20 to the Twins, just two weeks before opening day, out of the independent American Association. The bullpen pitching of the minor league teams has been a huge asset to the Twins affiliates so far in April. If you were to rank your top 3 for the month of April, are these the three you would have ranked? In the same order? Who are you looking forward to making the Minor League Awards next month?
  15. Over the last two days, Twins Daily announced the writer’s picks for top minor league hitter and starting pitcher for July. Now it’s time to discuss the relief pitchers that shined during the season’s third month. Following a non-existent 2020 minor league season, the line between reliever and starter continues to be blurred for prospects. That being said, a few pitchers were used more regularly out of the bullpen and were able to separate themselves statistically. Before exploring the top four relievers, here are three Honorable Mentions: Jordan Gore, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Wichita Wind Surge - 8 G, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 8 H, 8 walks, 21 strikeouts Osiris German, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 9 H, 6 walks, 23 strikeouts Ryan Mason, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 0.82 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 10 H, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts. THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS #4 - RHP Derek Molina - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.06 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 22 K Molina was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round back in 2017. He ended the 2019 season at High-A and that’s where he’s spent all of 2021. Things didn’t start off great for him during the 2021 campaign as he entered the month of July with a 5.46 ERA with opponents getting on base over 33% of the time against him. There were some positive signs as his strikeout totals were high (40 K in 29 2/3 innings). He seemed to put it all together in July as was asked to pitch two innings or more in every appearance. Opponents were only able to hit .190/.257/.286 (.543), and his five walks were the fewest he’s had in any month. Righties really struggle against Molina as he has held them to a .190 average with 35 strikeouts in 100 at-bats this season. His numbers could have looked even better if he hadn’t allowed two earned runs on the last day of the month. #3 - LHP Jovani Moran - Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - 8 G, 2.41 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 34 K Moran joined the Twins in 2015 as a 7th round pick from Puerto Rico, and the development of his dominant changeup have made him a reliever to keep an eye on. He made his first five appearances at Triple-A during July, where he is over three years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted some dominant numbers during the month as he faced a total of 71 batters and compiled 34 strikeouts. Yes, he struck out nearly 50% of the batters he faced during the month. Also, he was asked to pitch more than one inning in every appearance during July. Batters struggled to do anything against him as he held them to a .094/.183/.203 slash line. With him now in St. Paul, it is not hard to imagine him making his big league debut before season’s end. #2 - LHP Denny Bentley - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels - 11 G, 1.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 8 H, 8 BB, 21 K Bentley, a 33rd round pick back in 2018, was the June Relief Pitcher of the Month, so it’s no surprise to see his name back near the top of the list. For the second straight month, batters hit under .145 against him and got on base only 25% of the time. All three of his earned runs this month came in one appearance as he was asked to make a spot start back on July 6. That means he ended the month with eight straight scoreless appearances. Even as a lefty, Bentley allows a .705 OPS against left-handed hitters, which is nearly 240 points higher than his OPS versus righties. Since he’s pitched at Low-A for the entire season, one has to wonder if he will make the jump to High-A during the season’s second half. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: RHP Erik Manoah Jr. - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 20 K Manoah might not be a familiar name to Twins fans because he wasn’t even in the organization at season’s start. He began the year pitching in independent baseball as part of the Atlantic League, but he impressed enough to catch the eye of the Twins organization. Originally, he was a 13th round pick of the Mets and he pitched parts of three seasons for that organization before joining the Angels organization. He topped out at High-A with Los Angeles and ended 2019 pitching in the American Association. As the calendar turned to July, Manoah was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made an immediate impact. Across nine appearances, he only allowed one run and he held batters to hitting .140/.241/.180 (.421). Lefties have only been able to combine for a .313 OPS when facing Manoah. Also, he seems to buckle down in pressure situations as he has 24 strikeouts in 43 at-bats with runners on base. Because of his stints in independent leagues, all but one of his at-bats this season has come against younger batters. Other players might have quit after multiple years in independent leagues, but now he is back on the professional map. And yes, his younger brother Alek pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. As the Twins have seen this year, an organization can never have too much relief pitching. All of these players had strong month and some may be worthy of promotions in the weeks ahead. Congratulations to Erik Manoah Jr., the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for July 2021. View full article
  16. Following a non-existent 2020 minor league season, the line between reliever and starter continues to be blurred for prospects. That being said, a few pitchers were used more regularly out of the bullpen and were able to separate themselves statistically. Before exploring the top four relievers, here are three Honorable Mentions: Jordan Gore, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Wichita Wind Surge - 8 G, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 8 H, 8 walks, 21 strikeouts Osiris German, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 9 H, 6 walks, 23 strikeouts Ryan Mason, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 0.82 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 10 H, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts. THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS #4 - RHP Derek Molina - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.06 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 22 K Molina was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round back in 2017. He ended the 2019 season at High-A and that’s where he’s spent all of 2021. Things didn’t start off great for him during the 2021 campaign as he entered the month of July with a 5.46 ERA with opponents getting on base over 33% of the time against him. There were some positive signs as his strikeout totals were high (40 K in 29 2/3 innings). He seemed to put it all together in July as was asked to pitch two innings or more in every appearance. Opponents were only able to hit .190/.257/.286 (.543), and his five walks were the fewest he’s had in any month. Righties really struggle against Molina as he has held them to a .190 average with 35 strikeouts in 100 at-bats this season. His numbers could have looked even better if he hadn’t allowed two earned runs on the last day of the month. #3 - LHP Jovani Moran - Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - 8 G, 2.41 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 34 K Moran joined the Twins in 2015 as a 7th round pick from Puerto Rico, and the development of his dominant changeup have made him a reliever to keep an eye on. He made his first five appearances at Triple-A during July, where he is over three years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted some dominant numbers during the month as he faced a total of 71 batters and compiled 34 strikeouts. Yes, he struck out nearly 50% of the batters he faced during the month. Also, he was asked to pitch more than one inning in every appearance during July. Batters struggled to do anything against him as he held them to a .094/.183/.203 slash line. With him now in St. Paul, it is not hard to imagine him making his big league debut before season’s end. #2 - LHP Denny Bentley - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels - 11 G, 1.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 8 H, 8 BB, 21 K Bentley, a 33rd round pick back in 2018, was the June Relief Pitcher of the Month, so it’s no surprise to see his name back near the top of the list. For the second straight month, batters hit under .145 against him and got on base only 25% of the time. All three of his earned runs this month came in one appearance as he was asked to make a spot start back on July 6. That means he ended the month with eight straight scoreless appearances. Even as a lefty, Bentley allows a .705 OPS against left-handed hitters, which is nearly 240 points higher than his OPS versus righties. Since he’s pitched at Low-A for the entire season, one has to wonder if he will make the jump to High-A during the season’s second half. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: RHP Erik Manoah Jr. - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 20 K Manoah might not be a familiar name to Twins fans because he wasn’t even in the organization at season’s start. He began the year pitching in independent baseball as part of the Atlantic League, but he impressed enough to catch the eye of the Twins organization. Originally, he was a 13th round pick of the Mets and he pitched parts of three seasons for that organization before joining the Angels organization. He topped out at High-A with Los Angeles and ended 2019 pitching in the American Association. As the calendar turned to July, Manoah was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made an immediate impact. Across nine appearances, he only allowed one run and he held batters to hitting .140/.241/.180 (.421). Lefties have only been able to combine for a .313 OPS when facing Manoah. Also, he seems to buckle down in pressure situations as he has 24 strikeouts in 43 at-bats with runners on base. Because of his stints in independent leagues, all but one of his at-bats this season has come against younger batters. Other players might have quit after multiple years in independent leagues, but now he is back on the professional map. And yes, his younger brother Alek pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. As the Twins have seen this year, an organization can never have too much relief pitching. All of these players had strong month and some may be worthy of promotions in the weeks ahead. Congratulations to Erik Manoah Jr., the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for July 2021.
  17. The last couple of days, we announced our choices for the JuneTwins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month (Jose Miranda) and Starting Pitcher of the Month (Josh Winder). Today, we will discuss the relief pitchers who pitched well and dominated in the season’s second month. In May, many, if not most, of the pitchers in the system were piggybacking, so it was hard to distinguish ‘starters’ from ‘relievers,’ and that made sense. In June, there were a few more pitchers who were used more consistently out of the bullpen and a few really distinguished this month. Here are four relief pitchers who were great in June, but let’s start with some Honorable Mentions: RHP Steven Cruz, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 6 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 2 hits, 5 walks, 22 strikeouts. RHP Matthew Swain, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 8 G, 1.93 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 hits, 4 walks, 19 strikeouts. LHP Zach Neff, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 1.98 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 9 hits, 2 walks, 20 strikeouts. LHP Jovani Moran, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 2.51 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 5 hits, 5 walks, 27 strikeouts. LHP Andrew Vasquez, St. Paul Saints - 9 G, 3.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 hits, 7 walks, 25 strikeouts. THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS #4 - RHP Jordan Gore - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 1.80 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 6 H, 9 BB, 27 K You know the story. Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina… as a shortstop. In fact, in 2019, he was the main starting shortstop until late in the season when Royce Lewis was called up. However, it was also at that time that Gore and the Twins started the conversation about moving to the mound. That transition started at the end of that season, but with the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to show off in his new position until this year. It took a little bit. In May, he struck out 22 batters in 13 2/3 innings, but he had a 4.61 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. In June, he was fantastic. He worked a lot. 20 innings for a reliever in the minors is a lot. He kept his strikeout rate over 12 per nine. Opponents hit just .098 off of him! As impressive as the numbers, his stuff has come along quickly. Yes, he throws a mid-90s fastball, but he knows he needs more than that. If you watch him throw, he throws a lot of changeups and sliders, and both appear to have some potential. #3 - LHP Zach Featherstone - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 5 H, 10 BB, 25 K Featherstone was the Twins 12th round pick in 2016 out of community college. Like Gore, he was a position player. After one season splitting time between first base and the outfield, he moved to the mound. He pitched in 12 games in the GCL in 2017. In 2018, he got hurt, and when the GCL season started, he worked in three games to see how he was progressing. It was determined that he needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2019 season. He was ready to work some in the GCL late in the season, but a hurricane ended that season early. 2020 pandemic meant another season lost. So this spring when he finally got the chance to pitch again, he was very excited. In fact, in his first inning with the Kernels, he threw one pitch at 97 mph. Again, it took him some time to get into a groove. In May, he posted a 5.40 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 11 but walked nine. In June, he found the strike zone and showed dominance. Batters hit just .106 off of him. He throws into the mid-90s and has a sharp slider. He’s left-handed and certainly is worth watching. #2 - RHP Osiris German - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 6 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 2 H, 5 BB, 22 K. German signed with the Twins back in 2016 from San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic. The 22-year-old has worked slowly up the ladder. He spent parts of 2017 and 2018 in the DSL. He ended the 2018 season in the GCL. In 2019, he posted a 3.11 ERA over 37 2/3 innings. He struck out 47. After missing the 2020 season, he made the move to the full season with the Mighty Mussels. In May, he posted a 6.55 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP over 11 innings. In June, he put up incredible numbers, several of them were zero, including the number of runs allowed. I mean, he gave up just two hits over the full month. Opponents hit just .053 against him. One report told me that he has a “Devin Williams-like changeup that is a plus-plus pitch.” That certainly is intriguing too. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: LHP Denny Bentley - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 7 G, 1.35 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 25 K Denny Bentley was the Twins 33rd round draft pick in 2018 out of Howard College in Texas. He posted a 2.60 ERA over 17 1/3 innings. He struck out 21. In 2019, he moved up to Elizabethton and had some ups and downs. In 19 games, he went 2-3 with two saves. He had a 4.38 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. When the E-Twins season ended, the Triple-A Red Wings needed some help on the final weekend. Bentley got that opportunity and made the best of it. He tossed two scoreless innings and gave up only a walk. He also struck out two batters. He also pitched for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the playoffs. Like the others, Bentley did not pitch in 2020. As you might expect, it took Bentley a little while to get things going. In May, he posted a 7.15 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP over 11 1/3 innings. While he struck out 18 batters, he gave up 15 hits and 11 walks. However, it was night-and-day and Bentley earned the top spot on this list. Along with giving up just seven base runners over 13 1/3 innings, he was dominant striking out 25 batters (16.9 K/9). Opponents hit just .095/.184/.143 (.327). His control and command greatly and quickly improved. Also, his stuff just got much sharper. As you can see, there were several solid relief pitcher performances in June. These guys are all worthy of some recognition. It was a good month for each of these pitchers. Congratulations to Denny Bentley, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for June 2021. View full article
  18. In May, many, if not most, of the pitchers in the system were piggybacking, so it was hard to distinguish ‘starters’ from ‘relievers,’ and that made sense. In June, there were a few more pitchers who were used more consistently out of the bullpen and a few really distinguished this month. Here are four relief pitchers who were great in June, but let’s start with some Honorable Mentions: RHP Steven Cruz, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 6 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 2 hits, 5 walks, 22 strikeouts. RHP Matthew Swain, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 8 G, 1.93 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 hits, 4 walks, 19 strikeouts. LHP Zach Neff, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 1.98 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 9 hits, 2 walks, 20 strikeouts. LHP Jovani Moran, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 2.51 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 5 hits, 5 walks, 27 strikeouts. LHP Andrew Vasquez, St. Paul Saints - 9 G, 3.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 hits, 7 walks, 25 strikeouts. THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS #4 - RHP Jordan Gore - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 1.80 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 6 H, 9 BB, 27 K You know the story. Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina… as a shortstop. In fact, in 2019, he was the main starting shortstop until late in the season when Royce Lewis was called up. However, it was also at that time that Gore and the Twins started the conversation about moving to the mound. That transition started at the end of that season, but with the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to show off in his new position until this year. It took a little bit. In May, he struck out 22 batters in 13 2/3 innings, but he had a 4.61 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. In June, he was fantastic. He worked a lot. 20 innings for a reliever in the minors is a lot. He kept his strikeout rate over 12 per nine. Opponents hit just .098 off of him! As impressive as the numbers, his stuff has come along quickly. Yes, he throws a mid-90s fastball, but he knows he needs more than that. If you watch him throw, he throws a lot of changeups and sliders, and both appear to have some potential. #3 - LHP Zach Featherstone - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 5 H, 10 BB, 25 K Featherstone was the Twins 12th round pick in 2016 out of community college. Like Gore, he was a position player. After one season splitting time between first base and the outfield, he moved to the mound. He pitched in 12 games in the GCL in 2017. In 2018, he got hurt, and when the GCL season started, he worked in three games to see how he was progressing. It was determined that he needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2019 season. He was ready to work some in the GCL late in the season, but a hurricane ended that season early. 2020 pandemic meant another season lost. So this spring when he finally got the chance to pitch again, he was very excited. In fact, in his first inning with the Kernels, he threw one pitch at 97 mph. Again, it took him some time to get into a groove. In May, he posted a 5.40 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 11 but walked nine. In June, he found the strike zone and showed dominance. Batters hit just .106 off of him. He throws into the mid-90s and has a sharp slider. He’s left-handed and certainly is worth watching. #2 - RHP Osiris German - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 6 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 2 H, 5 BB, 22 K. German signed with the Twins back in 2016 from San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic. The 22-year-old has worked slowly up the ladder. He spent parts of 2017 and 2018 in the DSL. He ended the 2018 season in the GCL. In 2019, he posted a 3.11 ERA over 37 2/3 innings. He struck out 47. After missing the 2020 season, he made the move to the full season with the Mighty Mussels. In May, he posted a 6.55 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP over 11 innings. In June, he put up incredible numbers, several of them were zero, including the number of runs allowed. I mean, he gave up just two hits over the full month. Opponents hit just .053 against him. One report told me that he has a “Devin Williams-like changeup that is a plus-plus pitch.” That certainly is intriguing too. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: LHP Denny Bentley - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 7 G, 1.35 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 25 K Denny Bentley was the Twins 33rd round draft pick in 2018 out of Howard College in Texas. He posted a 2.60 ERA over 17 1/3 innings. He struck out 21. In 2019, he moved up to Elizabethton and had some ups and downs. In 19 games, he went 2-3 with two saves. He had a 4.38 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. When the E-Twins season ended, the Triple-A Red Wings needed some help on the final weekend. Bentley got that opportunity and made the best of it. He tossed two scoreless innings and gave up only a walk. He also struck out two batters. He also pitched for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the playoffs. Like the others, Bentley did not pitch in 2020. As you might expect, it took Bentley a little while to get things going. In May, he posted a 7.15 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP over 11 1/3 innings. While he struck out 18 batters, he gave up 15 hits and 11 walks. However, it was night-and-day and Bentley earned the top spot on this list. Along with giving up just seven base runners over 13 1/3 innings, he was dominant striking out 25 batters (16.9 K/9). Opponents hit just .095/.184/.143 (.327). His control and command greatly and quickly improved. Also, his stuff just got much sharper. As you can see, there were several solid relief pitcher performances in June. These guys are all worthy of some recognition. It was a good month for each of these pitchers. Congratulations to Denny Bentley, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for June 2021.
  19. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS None KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Clinton 6 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels season ended one win shy of participating in the Midwest League championship series. Congratulations to first-year manager Brian Dinkelman and his coaching staff. Brian Dinkelman sent RHP Tyler Palm to the mound to start, it was all hands on deck for the Kernels in the win or go home game. Unfortunately, Palm didn’t get through the first inning. He got two outs, but he was removed having given up three runs on three hits and a walk. Lefty Denny Bentley came on and gave the team length. He was able to work three scoreless innings and gave up just two hits. Jose Martinez got two outs but was charged with one run. Nate Hadley recorded five outs and gave up just one hit. JT Perez came on for the top of the seventh inning. He was charged with two unearned runs. Austin Schulfer worked the final two innings Tyler Webb continued to hit in the playoffs for the Kernels. His fifth inning single drove in a run and cut the Kernels deficit to 4-2 at the time. Webb went 10-for-17 (.588). On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Wallner went 0-for-24 with 10 strikeouts in the six Kernels playoff games. Wander Javier had a single and two doubles in the game as well. Jared Akins and Trevor Casanova each had a double for the Kernels as well. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Denny Bentley, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, 2-2B, R #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS No More Games! Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s Kernels game or any other minor league topics you would like.
  20. The Cedar Rapids Kernel take the title of Twins affiliate to last the longest in 2019. They faced another must-win game on Monday. With a win, the Kernels would advance to the Midwest League finals. Lose, and the players would be sent home on Tuesday.Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS NoneKERNELS NUGGETSCedar Rapids 2, Clinton 6 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels season ended one win shy of participating in the Midwest League championship series. Congratulations to first-year manager Brian Dinkelman and his coaching staff. Brian Dinkelman sent RHP Tyler Palm to the mound to start, it was all hands on deck for the Kernels in the win or go home game. Unfortunately, Palm didn’t get through the first inning. He got two outs, but he was removed having given up three runs on three hits and a walk. Lefty Denny Bentley came on and gave the team length. He was able to work three scoreless innings and gave up just two hits. Jose Martinez got two outs but was charged with one run. Nate Hadley recorded five outs and gave up just one hit. JT Perez came on for the top of the seventh inning. He was charged with two unearned runs. Austin Schulfer worked the final two innings Tyler Webb continued to hit in the playoffs for the Kernels. His fifth inning single drove in a run and cut the Kernels deficit to 4-2 at the time. Webb went 10-for-17 (.588). On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Wallner went 0-for-24 with 10 strikeouts in the six Kernels playoff games. Wander Javier had a single and two doubles in the game as well. Jared Akins and Trevor Casanova each had a double for the Kernels as well. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Denny Bentley, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 2-4, 2-2B, R #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS No More Games! Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s Kernels game or any other minor league topics you would like. Click here to view the article
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