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  1. Unlike their pitching prospects, the Twins have only four or five clear position players who could debut 2022. Who are you most likely to see at Target Field? This is an exciting group with high-risk, high-reward prospects mixed with established minor league hitters. Let's break it down. 13. SS Noah Miller The Twins picked Miller, 19, in the first round of the 2021 draft. JD Cameron recently broke down Millers’ all-around skills, if not his lack of a transparent standout tool. Miller could see Low-A in 2022, but a slow progression is a good bet. 12. OF Emmanuel Rodríguez The Twins may have a budding top prospect in Rodríguez. At 18 years old, Rodríguez posted an .870 OPS in 153 plate appearances for the FCL Twins in 2021. That’s quite impressive for someone listed at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds. 11. OF Misael Urbina Urbina, 19, is still a ways away from the high-minors. He hit just .191/.299/.286 for Fort Myers in 2021. He was over two years younger than the average Low-A position player, but Urbina has work to do before 2022. 10. SS Keoni Cavaco Cavaco, 20, has had a rough two years in the minors. He’s played only 88 games, but Cavaco has hit just .217/.276/.289 while striking out in 35% of his plate appearances. 2022 is a big year for the former first-round pick. 9. UTIL Alerick Soularie There is a noticeable gap between Soularie and the four above him on this list. Soularie is an advanced college hitter who has yet to settle into the minors. Soularie, 22, was a monster at Tennessee and is a sleeper breakout candidate for 2022. 8. UTIL Edouard Julien Julien, 22, hit .267/.434/.480 across both A-levels in 2021, showing off impressive speed with 34 steals and power with 47 extra-base hits. One should expect Julien to hit in the heart of Wichita’s order for much of 2022. 7. 1B Aaron Sabato The Twins’ first-round pick in 2020 didn’t exactly turn heads during his pro debut. Sabato, 22, hit .202/.373/.410 across two levels, but that included a monstrous showing at High-A. Sabato could move up rapidly if he carries that late-season production into 2022. 6. OF Matt Wallner Twins fans have paid closer attention to Wallner, 24, because of his roots. A Forest Lake native, his performance should draw just as many eyes. Wallner hit .264/.350/.508 at Cedar Rapids despite working through a broken hamate bone in 2021. 5. SS Royce Lewis Many are anxiously awaiting the return of Lewis, 22, who has lost two full minor league seasons of development. He’s the type of talent who could move up quickly if everything clicks. Lewis’ progression is one of the biggest storylines for the Twins in 2022. 4. UTIL Spencer Steer Steer, 24, quietly broke out with a powerful 2021 campaign. Steer hit ten homers in 45 games for Cedar Rapids and earned a promotion to Wichita. His overall line there wasn’t great, but he had a 35-game stretch where he hit .272/.336/.544 with 18 extra-base hits. 3. UTIL Austin Martin Martin, 22, shouldn’t spend too much longer in the minors if things go as planned. Martin posted a .414 On-Base Percentage at Double-A last year and could spend most of his time in St. Paul in 2022. He’s a prime September call-up candidate. 2. OF Gilberto Celestino Arguably the Twins’ best defensive replacement for Byron Buxton in centerfield, Celestino, 22, is primed for another look in 2022. He hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games for the Saints following a less-than-stellar debut with the Twins. 1. INF José Miranda A lock for a prominent role if he’s healthy, Miranda is far and away the closest Twins prospect to the majors. Miranda, 23, was spotless at the plate in 2021. His adjustment to major league pitching is a story to watch in 2022. The takeaway: prepare for Miranda Mania at Target Field. The breakout prospect is guaranteed to debut if healthy. Sleeper contributors include Lewis, Celestino, and Steer, with Martin likely joining the team later in the summer. The lefty-righty combo of Wallner and Sabato is intriguing for the future, as is Rodríguez. Who are you most excited to see in 2022? Comment below! FOR THE PITCHER LIST, CLICK HERE -> Ranking the Twins Top Pitching Prospects by ETA MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  2. This is an exciting group with high-risk, high-reward prospects mixed with established minor league hitters. Let's break it down. 13. SS Noah Miller The Twins picked Miller, 19, in the first round of the 2021 draft. JD Cameron recently broke down Millers’ all-around skills, if not his lack of a transparent standout tool. Miller could see Low-A in 2022, but a slow progression is a good bet. 12. OF Emmanuel Rodríguez The Twins may have a budding top prospect in Rodríguez. At 18 years old, Rodríguez posted an .870 OPS in 153 plate appearances for the FCL Twins in 2021. That’s quite impressive for someone listed at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds. 11. OF Misael Urbina Urbina, 19, is still a ways away from the high-minors. He hit just .191/.299/.286 for Fort Myers in 2021. He was over two years younger than the average Low-A position player, but Urbina has work to do before 2022. 10. SS Keoni Cavaco Cavaco, 20, has had a rough two years in the minors. He’s played only 88 games, but Cavaco has hit just .217/.276/.289 while striking out in 35% of his plate appearances. 2022 is a big year for the former first-round pick. 9. UTIL Alerick Soularie There is a noticeable gap between Soularie and the four above him on this list. Soularie is an advanced college hitter who has yet to settle into the minors. Soularie, 22, was a monster at Tennessee and is a sleeper breakout candidate for 2022. 8. UTIL Edouard Julien Julien, 22, hit .267/.434/.480 across both A-levels in 2021, showing off impressive speed with 34 steals and power with 47 extra-base hits. One should expect Julien to hit in the heart of Wichita’s order for much of 2022. 7. 1B Aaron Sabato The Twins’ first-round pick in 2020 didn’t exactly turn heads during his pro debut. Sabato, 22, hit .202/.373/.410 across two levels, but that included a monstrous showing at High-A. Sabato could move up rapidly if he carries that late-season production into 2022. 6. OF Matt Wallner Twins fans have paid closer attention to Wallner, 24, because of his roots. A Forest Lake native, his performance should draw just as many eyes. Wallner hit .264/.350/.508 at Cedar Rapids despite working through a broken hamate bone in 2021. 5. SS Royce Lewis Many are anxiously awaiting the return of Lewis, 22, who has lost two full minor league seasons of development. He’s the type of talent who could move up quickly if everything clicks. Lewis’ progression is one of the biggest storylines for the Twins in 2022. 4. UTIL Spencer Steer Steer, 24, quietly broke out with a powerful 2021 campaign. Steer hit ten homers in 45 games for Cedar Rapids and earned a promotion to Wichita. His overall line there wasn’t great, but he had a 35-game stretch where he hit .272/.336/.544 with 18 extra-base hits. 3. UTIL Austin Martin Martin, 22, shouldn’t spend too much longer in the minors if things go as planned. Martin posted a .414 On-Base Percentage at Double-A last year and could spend most of his time in St. Paul in 2022. He’s a prime September call-up candidate. 2. OF Gilberto Celestino Arguably the Twins’ best defensive replacement for Byron Buxton in centerfield, Celestino, 22, is primed for another look in 2022. He hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games for the Saints following a less-than-stellar debut with the Twins. 1. INF José Miranda A lock for a prominent role if he’s healthy, Miranda is far and away the closest Twins prospect to the majors. Miranda, 23, was spotless at the plate in 2021. His adjustment to major league pitching is a story to watch in 2022. The takeaway: prepare for Miranda Mania at Target Field. The breakout prospect is guaranteed to debut if healthy. Sleeper contributors include Lewis, Celestino, and Steer, with Martin likely joining the team later in the summer. The lefty-righty combo of Wallner and Sabato is intriguing for the future, as is Rodríguez. Who are you most excited to see in 2022? Comment below! FOR THE PITCHER LIST, CLICK HERE -> Ranking the Twins Top Pitching Prospects by ETA MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  3. On July 27, 2018, the Minnesota Twins made a move that many found frustrating when valuing Derek Falvey’s return. The team was mediocre, and Ryan Pressly was one of their best relievers. He was sent to Houston in exchange for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. In 2022, it may be time for Falvey to cash both those checks. There was never any question that losing Pressly would hurt the Twins in the short term. He went on to post a 0.77 ERA with Houston over the final half of 2018. In 139 1/3 innings since Pressly has tallied a 2.45 ERA to go with an 11.8 K/9. He had become one of baseball’s best relievers with the Twins and has only ratcheted that up with the Astros. After making 60 appearances in 2021, Pressly’s team option vested into a fully guaranteed $10 million deal for 2022. He’ll hit the open market again before 2023 for his age 34 season. On the Twins side of things, they’ve seen a bit of what both Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino can do, but 2022 should represent an opportunity for both to establish themselves completely. Let’s start in the bullpen with Alcala, as he’s a much more integral piece of the immediate puzzle. Pitching 59 2/3 innings last year for the Twins, Alcala owned a 3.92 ERA to go with a 9.2 K/9. Despite the 0.97 WHIP, his bugaboo was a 1.5 HR/9, pushing his FIP to 4.06. However, what’s worth noting is that it was a tale of two seasons for the Minnesota reliever. Through 40 appearances, he posted a 5.73 ERA and had allowed nine home runs in just 37 2/3 innings. A stretch of 22 innings pitched from that point forward, Alcala owned a 0.82 ERA, keeping opposing batters to a .420 OPS. His 27/3 K/BB was incredible, and only one ball left the yard. That’s what we must hope for coming into 2022. Derek Falvey didn’t flip Ryan Pressly for what Jorge Alcala was at the time, but he did make that move for what he could be now. At just 26-years-old, Alcala is still pre-arbitration and won’t hit free agency until 2026. Getting an elite level of production out of him for pennies on the dollar over the next four seasons would be a massive victory. He looks the part of a late-inning arm and could undoubtedly eat up closer opportunities should they present themselves. That alone would make the deal worth it, and we’ve yet to discuss Celestino. Forced into action early from Double-A after a run on outfield injuries last season, Celestino appeared in 23 games for the Twins. It went as to be expected, and he posted just a .466 OPS. Defensively the skills looked very close, but the bat needed more time to mature. Going to Triple-A St. Paul the rest of the way, Celestino made his case. Over 49 games with the Saints, he slashed .290/.384/.443 with 18 extra-base hits included five home runs. It was unquestionably his best offensive showing in the minors and should help re-establish his confidence in the future. Minnesota is always going to need a solid fourth outfielder behind Byron Buxton. I have some feelings about who they should look at outside of the organization, but Celestino could easily play himself into a better option for that role. Without needing to be an impact player immediately on Opening Day, it’s more than fair to suggest Celestino could parlay his strong finish at Triple-A into a forced promotion early on in 2022. Hitting on both inclusions in the Ryan Pressly trade would be the type of result Falvey had undoubtedly envisioned. It’s never easy to evaluate a baseball trade when it is made with an indication of how it will pan out. You can draw conclusions based on the level of prospect returned, but the real evaluation always takes place once players have had an opportunity to develop. Minnesota has pushed both talents through their system and is now ready to cash them in. It could soon become time to call this swap a victory. View full article
  4. There was never any question that losing Pressly would hurt the Twins in the short term. He went on to post a 0.77 ERA with Houston over the final half of 2018. In 139 1/3 innings since Pressly has tallied a 2.45 ERA to go with an 11.8 K/9. He had become one of baseball’s best relievers with the Twins and has only ratcheted that up with the Astros. After making 60 appearances in 2021, Pressly’s team option vested into a fully guaranteed $10 million deal for 2022. He’ll hit the open market again before 2023 for his age 34 season. On the Twins side of things, they’ve seen a bit of what both Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino can do, but 2022 should represent an opportunity for both to establish themselves completely. Let’s start in the bullpen with Alcala, as he’s a much more integral piece of the immediate puzzle. Pitching 59 2/3 innings last year for the Twins, Alcala owned a 3.92 ERA to go with a 9.2 K/9. Despite the 0.97 WHIP, his bugaboo was a 1.5 HR/9, pushing his FIP to 4.06. However, what’s worth noting is that it was a tale of two seasons for the Minnesota reliever. Through 40 appearances, he posted a 5.73 ERA and had allowed nine home runs in just 37 2/3 innings. A stretch of 22 innings pitched from that point forward, Alcala owned a 0.82 ERA, keeping opposing batters to a .420 OPS. His 27/3 K/BB was incredible, and only one ball left the yard. That’s what we must hope for coming into 2022. Derek Falvey didn’t flip Ryan Pressly for what Jorge Alcala was at the time, but he did make that move for what he could be now. At just 26-years-old, Alcala is still pre-arbitration and won’t hit free agency until 2026. Getting an elite level of production out of him for pennies on the dollar over the next four seasons would be a massive victory. He looks the part of a late-inning arm and could undoubtedly eat up closer opportunities should they present themselves. That alone would make the deal worth it, and we’ve yet to discuss Celestino. Forced into action early from Double-A after a run on outfield injuries last season, Celestino appeared in 23 games for the Twins. It went as to be expected, and he posted just a .466 OPS. Defensively the skills looked very close, but the bat needed more time to mature. Going to Triple-A St. Paul the rest of the way, Celestino made his case. Over 49 games with the Saints, he slashed .290/.384/.443 with 18 extra-base hits included five home runs. It was unquestionably his best offensive showing in the minors and should help re-establish his confidence in the future. Minnesota is always going to need a solid fourth outfielder behind Byron Buxton. I have some feelings about who they should look at outside of the organization, but Celestino could easily play himself into a better option for that role. Without needing to be an impact player immediately on Opening Day, it’s more than fair to suggest Celestino could parlay his strong finish at Triple-A into a forced promotion early on in 2022. Hitting on both inclusions in the Ryan Pressly trade would be the type of result Falvey had undoubtedly envisioned. It’s never easy to evaluate a baseball trade when it is made with an indication of how it will pan out. You can draw conclusions based on the level of prospect returned, but the real evaluation always takes place once players have had an opportunity to develop. Minnesota has pushed both talents through their system and is now ready to cash them in. It could soon become time to call this swap a victory.
  5. Today we jump into the Top 10 Minnesota Twins hitting prospects (according to me). Another interesting group, and when you have read it, you can start speculating on the Top 5! In today’s rankings, there are some interesting names. There are a few college draft picks that had some ups and downs throughout the season, but their tool set remains quality and clear. There is a former highly ranked international free agent who came to the team in a trade and made his unexpected debut in 2021. And there is a young player that hasn’t spent a lot of time in the organization yet but who is really exciting. Here are my choices for the 6-10 hitting prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization. #10 1B Aaron Sabato 2021 STATS: .202/.373/.410, 18 2B, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 32.1 K%, 19.8 BB%, 1/1 SB Aaron Sabato was the Twins first-round draft pick (27th overall) out of the University of North Carolina in 2020. Over 83 college games, he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. He was added to the Twins depth camp at 2021 spring training and then began the season with Low-A Ft. Myers. It was certainly a struggle for him, especially in the first half of the season. Only one player in all of minor league baseball had more walks than Sabato, but he also struck out a lot more than was expected. However, late in the summer he started showing a little more power. In 85 games with the Mussels, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 homers. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids and played in 22 games. He hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with eight homers. He had 92 walks and 149 strikeouts on the season, certainly more than was expected from a strong college bat. But, getting out of the former Florida State League and experiencing the success in Iowa reminds us of the immense power potential that he does have. #9 IF Edouard Julien 2021 STATS: .266/.434/.480, 28 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 28.0 K%, 21.4 BB%, 34/39 SB Edouard Julien grew up in Quebec. Out of high school, the Phillies drafted him in the 37th round in 2017. He declined and went to Auburn where he (and teammate Will Holland) led Auburn to the 2019 College World Series. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft. While he really wanted to go back to Auburn, the Twins gave up fourth-round money and he decided to sign. Unfortunately, he went to Peru for the Can-Am Games but hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He likely would have missed at least half of a 2020 season either way. So, his professional debut came in May in Ft. Myers. He played 47 games and hit .299/490/.456 (.946) with 12 doubles, three homers and 21 steals (in 23 attempts). Yes, a .490 on-base percentage. He moved up to Cedar Rapids for 65 more games. He hit .247/.397/.494 (.891) with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 13 more stolen bases. On the season, he struck out 144 times, but he led minor league baseball with 110 walks. In college, he was a power hitter and upon joining the Kernels, he showed that again. But he added the speed dimension back to his game. He’s got a great eye and with those things combined, he becomes a very intriguing prospect. We just don’t know where he is going to play. #8 IF Spencer Steer 2021 STATS: .254/.348/.484, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 66 RBI, 21.5 K%, 11.3 BB%, 8/12 SB A southern California native, Spencer Steer headed north to the University of Oregon despite being drafted by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 draft. He was a starter all three years in Eugene. He hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 20 extra base hits as a junior, and the Twins selected him with their third round pick. He played 20 games in Elizabethton before ending with 44 games in Cedar Rapids. Following the lost 2020 season, Steer was a late addition to the Twins depth camp during spring training in 2021. He homered in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was a sign of things to come. In an interview with Twins Daily following the 2019 season, Steer said, “I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.” He began the season with High-A Cedar Rapids and hit .274/.409/.506 (.915) with seven doubles and ten home runs in 45 games. He was promoted to Wichita where he hit .241/.304/.470 (.773) with 11 doubles and 14 more homers. As Torii Hunter would have said, his man-muscles arrived. Defensively, he played 46 games at second base, 38 games at third base and 15 games at shortstop. Asked early in the year if Steer was a future utility player, Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said no. He thinks he can be an everyday second baseman, but they will continue playing him around the infield. Steer should start 2022 with the Wind Surge, but he could get a chance to play in St. Paul in the season’s second half. He just turned 24 in December. #7 OF Gilberto Celestino 2021 STATS: .277/.371/.423, 18 2B, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21.8 K%, 11.4 BB%, 4/5 SB 2021 MLB STATS: .136/.177/.288, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 22.2 K%, 4.8 BB%, 0/0 SB First and foremost, Twins fans need to realize that what they saw from Gilberto Celestino isn’t necessarily the player that he is or certainly will become. Frankly, the 22-year-old looked like a guy who had only played eight games of High-A baseball in 2019, missed all of 2020 and had just 21 games in Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. What we saw late in the year in St. Paul. We saw a guy who takes good plate appearances and is willing to walk. He can hit for some average, and he does have a little pop in his bat. Defensively, despite some nervous issues in his first stint with the Twins, he is a plus defensive outfielder, fully capable of play centerfield well. He has good (though not great) speed. He typically takes good routes, and he has a strong and generally accurate arm. Expect that he will spend most of the 2022 season at age 23 and in St. Paul. He should mostly play in centerfield, but with Byron Buxton locked in, he really should play all three outfield spots and be ready when needed. #6 OF Kala’i Rosario 2021 STATS: .277/.341/.452, 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 31.7 K%, 9.1 BB%, 4/4 SB There were just five rounds in the 2020 draft due to the lockout. The Twins drafted Kala’i Rosario from Waiakea High School in Hawaii with their fifth round pick. It was noted that, along with Red Sox early pick Blaze Jordan, Rosario had as much power as any prep player from that draft. He signed, but of course, there was no season for him to report to Ft. Myers. In 2021, he stayed at the complex and then played most everyday for the FCL Twins once their season. With solid all-around offensive numbers, Rosario was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year. He played in 51 games and showed off the extra base power. He also walked at a decent clip. Clearly he will need to keep working and try to reduce that strikeout rate, but the bat is legit and the power is legit. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder. He spent about 75% of his innings in right field and the rest in left field. He also still has work to do with the glove and arm, but he does have the potential to an average corner outfielder. Obviously he has several levels to work through on his way up the organizational ladder. He’s going to be fun to watch. Presumably, he will spend the majority of the 2022 season in Ft. Myers again, this time with the Mighty Mussels. If he is able to show much power in that league (he’ll turn 20 in July) next year, his prospect status should go up even further. And if he doesn’t, but he shows an improved eye and produces more contact, it will be very exciting to see how he does when he moves up to Cedar Rapids. I think this is another interesting group. The first three listed above are college bats. Sabato certainly had his struggles early, but he came on late and his power is legit. Julien showed off all of his skills, his ability to know the strike zone and get on base, use his speed and also hit for a lot of power. Steer’s power certainly arrived and has moved up quickly. Celestino remains really young, and certainly was not at all ready for the big leagues when he was called up, but he has upside both offensively and defensively. Finally, Rosario is very young, and a long way from the big leagues, but he has a lot of potential with his bat that will be fun to watch. So there are hitting prospects 6-10. What do you think of this group? Please feel free to discuss and ask questions. And also try to guess how the Top 5 will be ranked when that is posted later this week. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 View full article
  6. In today’s rankings, there are some interesting names. There are a few college draft picks that had some ups and downs throughout the season, but their tool set remains quality and clear. There is a former highly ranked international free agent who came to the team in a trade and made his unexpected debut in 2021. And there is a young player that hasn’t spent a lot of time in the organization yet but who is really exciting. Here are my choices for the 6-10 hitting prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization. #10 1B Aaron Sabato 2021 STATS: .202/.373/.410, 18 2B, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 32.1 K%, 19.8 BB%, 1/1 SB Aaron Sabato was the Twins first-round draft pick (27th overall) out of the University of North Carolina in 2020. Over 83 college games, he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. He was added to the Twins depth camp at 2021 spring training and then began the season with Low-A Ft. Myers. It was certainly a struggle for him, especially in the first half of the season. Only one player in all of minor league baseball had more walks than Sabato, but he also struck out a lot more than was expected. However, late in the summer he started showing a little more power. In 85 games with the Mussels, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 homers. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids and played in 22 games. He hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with eight homers. He had 92 walks and 149 strikeouts on the season, certainly more than was expected from a strong college bat. But, getting out of the former Florida State League and experiencing the success in Iowa reminds us of the immense power potential that he does have. #9 IF Edouard Julien 2021 STATS: .266/.434/.480, 28 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 28.0 K%, 21.4 BB%, 34/39 SB Edouard Julien grew up in Quebec. Out of high school, the Phillies drafted him in the 37th round in 2017. He declined and went to Auburn where he (and teammate Will Holland) led Auburn to the 2019 College World Series. The Twins took him in the 18th round of the 2019 draft. While he really wanted to go back to Auburn, the Twins gave up fourth-round money and he decided to sign. Unfortunately, he went to Peru for the Can-Am Games but hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He likely would have missed at least half of a 2020 season either way. So, his professional debut came in May in Ft. Myers. He played 47 games and hit .299/490/.456 (.946) with 12 doubles, three homers and 21 steals (in 23 attempts). Yes, a .490 on-base percentage. He moved up to Cedar Rapids for 65 more games. He hit .247/.397/.494 (.891) with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 13 more stolen bases. On the season, he struck out 144 times, but he led minor league baseball with 110 walks. In college, he was a power hitter and upon joining the Kernels, he showed that again. But he added the speed dimension back to his game. He’s got a great eye and with those things combined, he becomes a very intriguing prospect. We just don’t know where he is going to play. #8 IF Spencer Steer 2021 STATS: .254/.348/.484, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 66 RBI, 21.5 K%, 11.3 BB%, 8/12 SB A southern California native, Spencer Steer headed north to the University of Oregon despite being drafted by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 draft. He was a starter all three years in Eugene. He hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 20 extra base hits as a junior, and the Twins selected him with their third round pick. He played 20 games in Elizabethton before ending with 44 games in Cedar Rapids. Following the lost 2020 season, Steer was a late addition to the Twins depth camp during spring training in 2021. He homered in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was a sign of things to come. In an interview with Twins Daily following the 2019 season, Steer said, “I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.” He began the season with High-A Cedar Rapids and hit .274/.409/.506 (.915) with seven doubles and ten home runs in 45 games. He was promoted to Wichita where he hit .241/.304/.470 (.773) with 11 doubles and 14 more homers. As Torii Hunter would have said, his man-muscles arrived. Defensively, he played 46 games at second base, 38 games at third base and 15 games at shortstop. Asked early in the year if Steer was a future utility player, Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said no. He thinks he can be an everyday second baseman, but they will continue playing him around the infield. Steer should start 2022 with the Wind Surge, but he could get a chance to play in St. Paul in the season’s second half. He just turned 24 in December. #7 OF Gilberto Celestino 2021 STATS: .277/.371/.423, 18 2B, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21.8 K%, 11.4 BB%, 4/5 SB 2021 MLB STATS: .136/.177/.288, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 22.2 K%, 4.8 BB%, 0/0 SB First and foremost, Twins fans need to realize that what they saw from Gilberto Celestino isn’t necessarily the player that he is or certainly will become. Frankly, the 22-year-old looked like a guy who had only played eight games of High-A baseball in 2019, missed all of 2020 and had just 21 games in Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. What we saw late in the year in St. Paul. We saw a guy who takes good plate appearances and is willing to walk. He can hit for some average, and he does have a little pop in his bat. Defensively, despite some nervous issues in his first stint with the Twins, he is a plus defensive outfielder, fully capable of play centerfield well. He has good (though not great) speed. He typically takes good routes, and he has a strong and generally accurate arm. Expect that he will spend most of the 2022 season at age 23 and in St. Paul. He should mostly play in centerfield, but with Byron Buxton locked in, he really should play all three outfield spots and be ready when needed. #6 OF Kala’i Rosario 2021 STATS: .277/.341/.452, 10 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 31.7 K%, 9.1 BB%, 4/4 SB There were just five rounds in the 2020 draft due to the lockout. The Twins drafted Kala’i Rosario from Waiakea High School in Hawaii with their fifth round pick. It was noted that, along with Red Sox early pick Blaze Jordan, Rosario had as much power as any prep player from that draft. He signed, but of course, there was no season for him to report to Ft. Myers. In 2021, he stayed at the complex and then played most everyday for the FCL Twins once their season. With solid all-around offensive numbers, Rosario was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year. He played in 51 games and showed off the extra base power. He also walked at a decent clip. Clearly he will need to keep working and try to reduce that strikeout rate, but the bat is legit and the power is legit. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder. He spent about 75% of his innings in right field and the rest in left field. He also still has work to do with the glove and arm, but he does have the potential to an average corner outfielder. Obviously he has several levels to work through on his way up the organizational ladder. He’s going to be fun to watch. Presumably, he will spend the majority of the 2022 season in Ft. Myers again, this time with the Mighty Mussels. If he is able to show much power in that league (he’ll turn 20 in July) next year, his prospect status should go up even further. And if he doesn’t, but he shows an improved eye and produces more contact, it will be very exciting to see how he does when he moves up to Cedar Rapids. I think this is another interesting group. The first three listed above are college bats. Sabato certainly had his struggles early, but he came on late and his power is legit. Julien showed off all of his skills, his ability to know the strike zone and get on base, use his speed and also hit for a lot of power. Steer’s power certainly arrived and has moved up quickly. Celestino remains really young, and certainly was not at all ready for the big leagues when he was called up, but he has upside both offensively and defensively. Finally, Rosario is very young, and a long way from the big leagues, but he has a lot of potential with his bat that will be fun to watch. So there are hitting prospects 6-10. What do you think of this group? Please feel free to discuss and ask questions. And also try to guess how the Top 5 will be ranked when that is posted later this week. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10
  7. In November, the Minnesota Twins finally paid Byron Buxton. That was the right move all along, and it looks the part of a fair deal for both sides. One caveat to the talented centerfielder is his availability. With that in mind, do the Twins have a built-in insurance policy? Leader of the “Pay. The. Man” campaign, I’ve always been a staunch supporter of the Twins locking Buxton up long term. My follow-up to that suggestion has always been the need for a capable fourth outfielder. Jake Cave hasn’t been that for quite some time, and despite a brief renaissance period for Rob Refsnyder, he’s not that guy either. Minnesota needs someone with the ability to start in centerfield over two weeks and hold serve. Currently, there are only two potential options on the 40 man roster: Nick Gordon Earning himself run because of his versatility last season, Gordon played 73 games for the Twins. Despite having played solely on the dirt in the minor leagues, he looked comfortable in the outfield. The defense should improve as he settles into the role, but the bat is where things may break down. His .647 OPS last season isn’t going to get it done, and with minimal power to his credit, he’ll need to expand heavily upon his on-base profile. Steamer projects a .697 OPS in 2021, and while still not good enough, it’s worth noting that he’s improved at every level in year two. I don’t think he’s the guy, but I like the idea of Minnesota rostering him as he brings a speed threat that has otherwise been missing. Gilberto Celestino This is an interesting case in that Celestino was thrust into action during 2021 before being ready. Celestino was promoted as a 22-year-old after just 21 games in Double-A with no centerfield options available. He understandably was overmatched, posting a .466 OPS in 23 MLB games. The defense has always been his calling card, and that too looked out of sorts at times. Settling back in at Triple-A St. Paul, Celestino turned it on. In 49 games, he posted an .827 OPS and was back to being strong in the outfield. The additional time to settle in no doubt helped regain confidence, a talent that can translate to the highest level. Celestino will be just 23-years-old in 2022 and remains someone to watch for the future. Steamer projections have him at a .692 OPS in 2022, which would be a substantial jump from his debut. Handing him the fourth outfielder role on Opening Day may be a bit soon, but a repeat of the Triple-A numbers should suggest he’s ready. This could become an option sooner rather than later. If Derek Falvey wants to go beyond the organization, options exist there as well. Some of that has to do with how the Twins move forward in trading assets. Max Kepler is a defensive stalwart in right field and can undoubtedly cover in center should Buxton go down. That allows the fourth outfielder to be less of a center-mandated role. However, if he’s not in the picture, things get understandably more complicated. The high end of the free-agent market would be signing corner and sometimes center outfielder Kris Bryant. That’s a bat that has fit the Twins for a while but would seem like a longshot at best. The more economical veteran options are a who’s who of retreads. Names such as Kevin Pillar, Jake Marisnick, and Billy Hamilton are all there. However, if there’s someone I’ve got my eye on, it’s another former Cub, Albert Almora. Since his top prospect days, Almora's stock has dropped after playing strong defense and posting a .777 OPS in his first two seasons. He’ll be just 28 in 2022, though, and a trip to the American League could be good for him. With the Mets Triple-A club last season, he owned a .759 OPS, and Steamer projections have him at a .691 OPS in 2022. If there’s a guy with upside to bank on while still having done it already, this is where I’m looking. Minnesota signing Almora to a two-year deal, or one with an option, would make Byron Buxton’s over-under of 120 games less of a gamble. At the end of the day, the Twins should want to get back to an outfield defense similar to 2020. Before being 12th in defensive runs saved a year ago, Minnesota was third in 2020. Defenders that can prevent runs will be at a premium whether the staff lacks top-tier talent or throws out young arms. The more confidence you can feel from the top four outfielders, the better. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. Leader of the “Pay. The. Man” campaign, I’ve always been a staunch supporter of the Twins locking Buxton up long term. My follow-up to that suggestion has always been the need for a capable fourth outfielder. Jake Cave hasn’t been that for quite some time, and despite a brief renaissance period for Rob Refsnyder, he’s not that guy either. Minnesota needs someone with the ability to start in centerfield over two weeks and hold serve. Currently, there are only two potential options on the 40 man roster: Nick Gordon Earning himself run because of his versatility last season, Gordon played 73 games for the Twins. Despite having played solely on the dirt in the minor leagues, he looked comfortable in the outfield. The defense should improve as he settles into the role, but the bat is where things may break down. His .647 OPS last season isn’t going to get it done, and with minimal power to his credit, he’ll need to expand heavily upon his on-base profile. Steamer projects a .697 OPS in 2021, and while still not good enough, it’s worth noting that he’s improved at every level in year two. I don’t think he’s the guy, but I like the idea of Minnesota rostering him as he brings a speed threat that has otherwise been missing. Gilberto Celestino This is an interesting case in that Celestino was thrust into action during 2021 before being ready. Celestino was promoted as a 22-year-old after just 21 games in Double-A with no centerfield options available. He understandably was overmatched, posting a .466 OPS in 23 MLB games. The defense has always been his calling card, and that too looked out of sorts at times. Settling back in at Triple-A St. Paul, Celestino turned it on. In 49 games, he posted an .827 OPS and was back to being strong in the outfield. The additional time to settle in no doubt helped regain confidence, a talent that can translate to the highest level. Celestino will be just 23-years-old in 2022 and remains someone to watch for the future. Steamer projections have him at a .692 OPS in 2022, which would be a substantial jump from his debut. Handing him the fourth outfielder role on Opening Day may be a bit soon, but a repeat of the Triple-A numbers should suggest he’s ready. This could become an option sooner rather than later. If Derek Falvey wants to go beyond the organization, options exist there as well. Some of that has to do with how the Twins move forward in trading assets. Max Kepler is a defensive stalwart in right field and can undoubtedly cover in center should Buxton go down. That allows the fourth outfielder to be less of a center-mandated role. However, if he’s not in the picture, things get understandably more complicated. The high end of the free-agent market would be signing corner and sometimes center outfielder Kris Bryant. That’s a bat that has fit the Twins for a while but would seem like a longshot at best. The more economical veteran options are a who’s who of retreads. Names such as Kevin Pillar, Jake Marisnick, and Billy Hamilton are all there. However, if there’s someone I’ve got my eye on, it’s another former Cub, Albert Almora. Since his top prospect days, Almora's stock has dropped after playing strong defense and posting a .777 OPS in his first two seasons. He’ll be just 28 in 2022, though, and a trip to the American League could be good for him. With the Mets Triple-A club last season, he owned a .759 OPS, and Steamer projections have him at a .691 OPS in 2022. If there’s a guy with upside to bank on while still having done it already, this is where I’m looking. Minnesota signing Almora to a two-year deal, or one with an option, would make Byron Buxton’s over-under of 120 games less of a gamble. At the end of the day, the Twins should want to get back to an outfield defense similar to 2020. Before being 12th in defensive runs saved a year ago, Minnesota was third in 2020. Defenders that can prevent runs will be at a premium whether the staff lacks top-tier talent or throws out young arms. The more confidence you can feel from the top four outfielders, the better. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. With the arrival of a new year, it's time to update my annual rankings of the most valuable player assets in the Minnesota Twins organization. This list attempts to answer a simple question: Which 20 players and prospects are most indispensable in the team's quest to win a championship? Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  10. Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. The Minnesota Twins once again reached into the barrel that is minor-league free agency on Thursday afternoon, signing former top outfield prospect Derek Fisher to a deal, according to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson. Although he has failed to live up to lofty expectations, Fisher is a potentially good signing who improves the outfield depth within the farm system at worst and could slot in as an occasional fourth outfielder when needed. Derek Fisher was selected by the Houston Astros with the 37th overall pick during the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Virginia. He quickly ascended through the Astros’ farm system — he topped out as the team’s fourth-best prospect according to MLB.com in 2017 — reaching Triple-A in 2016 and eventually the majors the following summer, on the back of strong power numbers. The lefthanded slugger hit 16 home runs in 84 games at High-A in 2015, 21 across 129 games at Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, and 26 in 137 Triple-A and MLB games in 2017. Fisher bounced between the majors and minors in 2018 and 2019 before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the deadline in exchange for RHP Aaron Sanchez, OF Cal Stevenson, and RHP Joe Biagini. He battled a couple of minor leg injuries during the 2020 season which limited him to 16 games and zapped him of his power. He was then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers during the offseason for a player to be named later and cash. Once again, he was bitten by the injury bug — this time a significant hamstring strain — which allowed him to appear in only four games for the Brewers and 25 for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. Fisher’s various leg injuries and increasing age, he’ll be 29 next August, have largely robbed him of his once above-average speed. Upon making his debut in 2017, Fisher ranked in the 96th percentile in sprint speed, which helped him rack up 111 stolen bases during his minor-league career. However, during limited action this past season, his sprint speed had dropped precipitously to the 37th percentile. Unlike many left-handed batters these days, Fisher is not a dead-pull hitter. He tends to spray the ball all over the field throughout his major league career, with the majority of his batted balls going back up the middle (41.1%). What has kept Fisher from sticking in the majors is his propensity to strike out. He has done so 165 times in 466 MLB plate appearances, which equates to a whopping 35.5% K-rate. He possesses neither the power nor the defense to make up for his greatest weakness. In many respects, Fisher profiles similarly to that of Jake Cave, but with perhaps more power potential. He’s a fourth outfielder-type at best who could slot in at any spot, though he’s probably best in one of the corners. Odds are that he won’t play a significant role on the Twins next season, but could directly slide into Cave’s spot if he leaves the team and/or they don’t believe that someone like Gilberto Celestino is quite ready for the role. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here View full article
  12. Derek Fisher was selected by the Houston Astros with the 37th overall pick during the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Virginia. He quickly ascended through the Astros’ farm system — he topped out as the team’s fourth-best prospect according to MLB.com in 2017 — reaching Triple-A in 2016 and eventually the majors the following summer, on the back of strong power numbers. The lefthanded slugger hit 16 home runs in 84 games at High-A in 2015, 21 across 129 games at Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, and 26 in 137 Triple-A and MLB games in 2017. Fisher bounced between the majors and minors in 2018 and 2019 before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the deadline in exchange for RHP Aaron Sanchez, OF Cal Stevenson, and RHP Joe Biagini. He battled a couple of minor leg injuries during the 2020 season which limited him to 16 games and zapped him of his power. He was then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers during the offseason for a player to be named later and cash. Once again, he was bitten by the injury bug — this time a significant hamstring strain — which allowed him to appear in only four games for the Brewers and 25 for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. Fisher’s various leg injuries and increasing age, he’ll be 29 next August, have largely robbed him of his once above-average speed. Upon making his debut in 2017, Fisher ranked in the 96th percentile in sprint speed, which helped him rack up 111 stolen bases during his minor-league career. However, during limited action this past season, his sprint speed had dropped precipitously to the 37th percentile. Unlike many left-handed batters these days, Fisher is not a dead-pull hitter. He tends to spray the ball all over the field throughout his major league career, with the majority of his batted balls going back up the middle (41.1%). What has kept Fisher from sticking in the majors is his propensity to strike out. He has done so 165 times in 466 MLB plate appearances, which equates to a whopping 35.5% K-rate. He possesses neither the power nor the defense to make up for his greatest weakness. In many respects, Fisher profiles similarly to that of Jake Cave, but with perhaps more power potential. He’s a fourth outfielder-type at best who could slot in at any spot, though he’s probably best in one of the corners. Odds are that he won’t play a significant role on the Twins next season, but could directly slide into Cave’s spot if he leaves the team and/or they don’t believe that someone like Gilberto Celestino is quite ready for the role. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
  13. The Twins locked up Byron Buxton for the prime of his career, but if history is any indication, the team will need depth behind him in the years ahead. What players can step in for Buxton if the injury bug bites him again? Current Center Fielder: Byron Buxton In the days leading into the MLB lock-out, the Twins signed Byron Buxton to a seven-year, $100 million contract extension to keep him tied to Minnesota until his mid-30s. Buxton has played at a superstar level over the last three seasons when he has been healthy. Unfortunately, he has played 87 games or fewer in all but one of his big-league seasons. The Twins were able to sign Buxton for a relatively cheap deal because of these injury concerns, and he expressed a strong desire to stay in the Twin Cities. Now, Minnesota has to make a plan to keep him healthy, so some of the players below aren't relied on in center field. 40-Man Roster Options The Twins have used Max Kepler as a backup option in center field. He has made 127 starts and logged over 1,100 big-league innings at the position. In the past, Kepler preferred playing in a corner outfield spot because of the increased physical demand from playing in center. Kepler might be one of baseball's most valuable trade assets, and this may result in him being dealt this winter for starting pitching depth. Some younger players on the 40-man roster also fit into the team's center field plans. The Twins rushed Gilberto Celestino to the big leagues last season because the team was out of outfield options on the 40-man roster. Entering last season, he had never appeared above the High-A level. In 70-games between Double- and Triple-A last year, he posted a .795 OPS and combined for 25 extra-base hits. If Buxton gets hurt, Celestino should get some opportunities next season. Royce Lewis is another intriguing option on the 40-man roster that may end up playing center field at the big-league level. Minnesota will give him every opportunity to prove he can be a shortstop before transitioning him to a new defensive position. However, his knee injury last spring means he hasn't been on the field since the 2019 Arizona Fall League, where he was named MVP. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's center field depth. Minnesota has multiple center field options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. According to FanGraphs, there are seven players scheduled to be outfielders at Triple-A next season, and all of them have some experience in center field. One of the team's top prospects, Austin Martin, is the most intriguing option as he split time between shortstop and center field after being acquired at last year's trade deadline. Few think he will stick at shortstop, so his eventual defensive home is likely in the outfield or at third base, his college position. Jake Cave is off the 40-man roster, but the team has used him in the center field in the past. His increasing age and more athletic options at Triple-A will likely relegate Cave to a corner outfield spot. Mark Contreras played over 180 innings in center field for St. Paul last season, but he profiles more as a corner outfielder. Last season, he posted an .824 OPS in 114 games with 53 extra-base hits. Jimmy Kerrigan played all three outfield positions for the Saints in 2021 while hitting .260/.330/.478 (.808) with 38 extra-base hits. DaShawn Keirsey was a 4th round pick in 2018 and served as one of the primary center fielders in Cedar Rapids last season. He was over a year and a half older than the average age of the competition at that level, and he posted a .733 OPS. Willie Joe Garry made 32 starts in center field for Fort Myers but only compiled a .601 OPS in 95 games. Misael Urbina was Minnesota's top international signee in the class of 2018. Last season, he made his stateside debut, where he was over two years younger than the competition. In 101 games, he batted .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 21 extra-base hits. One year after Urbina, Emmanuel Rodriguez was Minnesota's top international signee. Last season, he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with 17 extra-base hits in 37 games for the FCL Twins. Overall, Minnesota has one of baseball's best players in center field, but depth is critical with his injury history. What do you think about the organization's center field depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catcher — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop View full article
  14. Current Center Fielder: Byron Buxton In the days leading into the MLB lock-out, the Twins signed Byron Buxton to a seven-year, $100 million contract extension to keep him tied to Minnesota until his mid-30s. Buxton has played at a superstar level over the last three seasons when he has been healthy. Unfortunately, he has played 87 games or fewer in all but one of his big-league seasons. The Twins were able to sign Buxton for a relatively cheap deal because of these injury concerns, and he expressed a strong desire to stay in the Twin Cities. Now, Minnesota has to make a plan to keep him healthy, so some of the players below aren't relied on in center field. 40-Man Roster Options The Twins have used Max Kepler as a backup option in center field. He has made 127 starts and logged over 1,100 big-league innings at the position. In the past, Kepler preferred playing in a corner outfield spot because of the increased physical demand from playing in center. Kepler might be one of baseball's most valuable trade assets, and this may result in him being dealt this winter for starting pitching depth. Some younger players on the 40-man roster also fit into the team's center field plans. The Twins rushed Gilberto Celestino to the big leagues last season because the team was out of outfield options on the 40-man roster. Entering last season, he had never appeared above the High-A level. In 70-games between Double- and Triple-A last year, he posted a .795 OPS and combined for 25 extra-base hits. If Buxton gets hurt, Celestino should get some opportunities next season. Royce Lewis is another intriguing option on the 40-man roster that may end up playing center field at the big-league level. Minnesota will give him every opportunity to prove he can be a shortstop before transitioning him to a new defensive position. However, his knee injury last spring means he hasn't been on the field since the 2019 Arizona Fall League, where he was named MVP. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's center field depth. Minnesota has multiple center field options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. According to FanGraphs, there are seven players scheduled to be outfielders at Triple-A next season, and all of them have some experience in center field. One of the team's top prospects, Austin Martin, is the most intriguing option as he split time between shortstop and center field after being acquired at last year's trade deadline. Few think he will stick at shortstop, so his eventual defensive home is likely in the outfield or at third base, his college position. Jake Cave is off the 40-man roster, but the team has used him in the center field in the past. His increasing age and more athletic options at Triple-A will likely relegate Cave to a corner outfield spot. Mark Contreras played over 180 innings in center field for St. Paul last season, but he profiles more as a corner outfielder. Last season, he posted an .824 OPS in 114 games with 53 extra-base hits. Jimmy Kerrigan played all three outfield positions for the Saints in 2021 while hitting .260/.330/.478 (.808) with 38 extra-base hits. DaShawn Keirsey was a 4th round pick in 2018 and served as one of the primary center fielders in Cedar Rapids last season. He was over a year and a half older than the average age of the competition at that level, and he posted a .733 OPS. Willie Joe Garry made 32 starts in center field for Fort Myers but only compiled a .601 OPS in 95 games. Misael Urbina was Minnesota's top international signee in the class of 2018. Last season, he made his stateside debut, where he was over two years younger than the competition. In 101 games, he batted .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 21 extra-base hits. One year after Urbina, Emmanuel Rodriguez was Minnesota's top international signee. Last season, he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with 17 extra-base hits in 37 games for the FCL Twins. Overall, Minnesota has one of baseball's best players in center field, but depth is critical with his injury history. What do you think about the organization's center field depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catcher — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop
  15. Byron Buxton is officially locked up in a Twins uniform for the next seven seasons. As exciting as the news is, there is still the question on who will be Buxton's back up to start this extension year in 2022 as his injury history will still have to be considered each season. Twins Territory can finally take a sigh of relief as late Sunday afternoon multiple sources announced Byron Buxton’s seven-year, $100 million extension with the Minnesota Twins. Buxton’s extension ensures that the Twins will not have to worry about pursuing a new starting center fielder for a long time. However, there is still the likelihood Buxton could miss playing time with an injury in 2022. With Buxton’s injury history still a concern for many, even after this contract extension, the Twins will be weighing their options on who will get the most playing time in centerfield when Buxton is not playing. Right now the Twins have three possible internal choices to back up Buxton when he is not playing in centerfield whether due to injury or a day off from the field. The first option is Max Kepler. Kepler has totaled 84 games in centerfield since 2019 and both he and the Twins front office are looking for him to spend less time in center and more time at his primary position, right field. This does not rule out that Kepler won’t play center field at all in 2022. It’s just more likely that another player will be seen there more often. The next likely player to see playing time in center field behind Buxton is Jake Cave. The majority of Cave’s 281 career games have been played in center field and now that the Twins have signed him to a Major League contract for the 2022 season, there could be an increase in his playing time. Cave’s 2021 season was abysmal at best and one that both he and Twins fans want to put behind them. It is likely, at this time, that Cave will be the primary backup to Buxton in centerfield to start 2022. One other option within the Twins organization, and on the 40-man roster, that could see playing time in center field for the team in 2022 is Gilberto Celestino. Celestino’s brief time with the Twins in 2021 did help the team defensively in Buxton’s absence. Yet Celestino showed he is not ready to face major-league pitching. In his time with the club last season, he had eight hits in just 59 at-bats. Celestino will still need time to develop his hitting with the St. Paul Saints in 2022. If his hitting continues to improve, as it did in Triple-A in 2021, it could provide another chance for him to play in center for the Twins in 2022. There is a fourth option currently in the Twins minor league system that is hopeful to make his MLB debut in 2022 and could see playing time in center field if he does get called up. That is Austin Martin. The timeframe on when the Twins second-best prospect could make his MLB debut is still uncertain. Martin split time between center field and shortstop following his trade to the Twins organization near the July deadline. He played 46 games in center and 43 at short for the Wichita Wind Surge. Martin’s primary position may be tweaked by the Twins following the Buxton extension, but if he does get called up in 2022, that won’t rule out any playing time he could see in center field with the Twins. Buxton’s extension with the Twins doesn’t dismiss the fact that the Twins won’t try to add more depth to the outfield either. A utility player like Danny Santana or super-utility player such as Chris Taylor could be options for the Twins to still pursue. Taylor and Santana are examples of players who aren’t primarily center fielders yet can still fill in holes for the Twins at other positions where they’re needed such as shortstop. Taylor would be the perfect fit for the Twins because he can play shortstop and back up Buxton in center. Santana, not so much. Santana has only played 12 games at shortstop since the start of the 2016 season and many more games at almost every other position, including center field. The great take away from the Buxton extension is that the Twins organization can be comfortable with a star centerfielder once again playing out his career with the Twins. Buxton’s injury history does warrant a need to have depth in center field. The Twins have solid options to work within the organization, but they could still pursue options outside their system to help ensure Buxton has the right players supporting him in center field when he isn’t playing. View full article
  16. Twins Territory can finally take a sigh of relief as late Sunday afternoon multiple sources announced Byron Buxton’s seven-year, $100 million extension with the Minnesota Twins. Buxton’s extension ensures that the Twins will not have to worry about pursuing a new starting center fielder for a long time. However, there is still the likelihood Buxton could miss playing time with an injury in 2022. With Buxton’s injury history still a concern for many, even after this contract extension, the Twins will be weighing their options on who will get the most playing time in centerfield when Buxton is not playing. Right now the Twins have three possible internal choices to back up Buxton when he is not playing in centerfield whether due to injury or a day off from the field. The first option is Max Kepler. Kepler has totaled 84 games in centerfield since 2019 and both he and the Twins front office are looking for him to spend less time in center and more time at his primary position, right field. This does not rule out that Kepler won’t play center field at all in 2022. It’s just more likely that another player will be seen there more often. The next likely player to see playing time in center field behind Buxton is Jake Cave. The majority of Cave’s 281 career games have been played in center field and now that the Twins have signed him to a Major League contract for the 2022 season, there could be an increase in his playing time. Cave’s 2021 season was abysmal at best and one that both he and Twins fans want to put behind them. It is likely, at this time, that Cave will be the primary backup to Buxton in centerfield to start 2022. One other option within the Twins organization, and on the 40-man roster, that could see playing time in center field for the team in 2022 is Gilberto Celestino. Celestino’s brief time with the Twins in 2021 did help the team defensively in Buxton’s absence. Yet Celestino showed he is not ready to face major-league pitching. In his time with the club last season, he had eight hits in just 59 at-bats. Celestino will still need time to develop his hitting with the St. Paul Saints in 2022. If his hitting continues to improve, as it did in Triple-A in 2021, it could provide another chance for him to play in center for the Twins in 2022. There is a fourth option currently in the Twins minor league system that is hopeful to make his MLB debut in 2022 and could see playing time in center field if he does get called up. That is Austin Martin. The timeframe on when the Twins second-best prospect could make his MLB debut is still uncertain. Martin split time between center field and shortstop following his trade to the Twins organization near the July deadline. He played 46 games in center and 43 at short for the Wichita Wind Surge. Martin’s primary position may be tweaked by the Twins following the Buxton extension, but if he does get called up in 2022, that won’t rule out any playing time he could see in center field with the Twins. Buxton’s extension with the Twins doesn’t dismiss the fact that the Twins won’t try to add more depth to the outfield either. A utility player like Danny Santana or super-utility player such as Chris Taylor could be options for the Twins to still pursue. Taylor and Santana are examples of players who aren’t primarily center fielders yet can still fill in holes for the Twins at other positions where they’re needed such as shortstop. Taylor would be the perfect fit for the Twins because he can play shortstop and back up Buxton in center. Santana, not so much. Santana has only played 12 games at shortstop since the start of the 2016 season and many more games at almost every other position, including center field. The great take away from the Buxton extension is that the Twins organization can be comfortable with a star centerfielder once again playing out his career with the Twins. Buxton’s injury history does warrant a need to have depth in center field. The Twins have solid options to work within the organization, but they could still pursue options outside their system to help ensure Buxton has the right players supporting him in center field when he isn’t playing.
  17. Gilberto Celestino was overmatched during his 23 games with the Minnesota Twins this past summer. Other than the occasional flash of true MLB talent, his performance was more akin to a floundering fish out of water than that of a professional baseball player. But, at the end of the day, what could be expected from a 22-year-old who had appeared in a mere 24 games above High-A and was thrust into the limelight due to a rash of injuries suffered by an otherwise deep Twins outfield? Still, the outfielder acquired from the Houston Astros as part of the Ryan Pressly trade displayed enough talent, particularly at the minor league level, in 2021 to warrant excitement about his prospects. Celestino is an athletic and speedy outfielder whose defense projects best in centerfield but would be a viable option in right. Across the three levels (Double-A, Triple-A, and MLB), he played at this season, he appeared in 57 games in center, 25 in right, and five in left. With Byron Buxton (temporarily?), Austin Martin, and perhaps even Royce Lewis either in or near the majors, Celestino’s long-term outfield home remains up in the air. While his defense was worth -2 outs above average — albeit with a small sample size — while with the Twins, he made several two- and three-star caliber catches, which is suggestive for possessing good range. This assessment is backed up with the eye test as he made many highlight-reel catches during Spring Training and in the minors. Celestino boasts solid doubles power at the plate (29.3 per 140 game pace for his career), but his home run power remains a work in progress; his .153 ISO was the third-best of his career, while his nine home runs in 93 games pace represented a career-best. Although his average exit velocity (87.2 mph) and launch angle (5.4 degrees) were both below the MLB average, he achieved a maximum exit velocity of 111.4 mph — good for the 80th percentile — which suggests he may have hidden power potential. He possesses a decent eye and approach to batting, as evidenced by his walk rate (11.5% at Double-A; 11.4% at Triple-A), which is above average. His strikeout rate (25.0%; 20.4%), by comparison, hovers closer to the mean. Celestino’s bat-to-ball skills — as indicated by his average exit velocity — could use some refinement. This was particularly exposed at the major league level, where he had difficulty catching up to higher speed fastballs and could not hit offspeed or breaking ball offerings to save his life (combined: 2-for-20, 10 K). To their credit, the Twins recognized this and often made in-game adjustments to Celestino's stance, likely in an attempt to better position his hands to catch up to the increased velocity. As things currently stand, Celestino's median outcome would likely be the fourth outfielder on a playoff-caliber Twins team. He can play all three positions at least an average clip, which makes him a suitable replacement for the likes of Buxton, Trevor Larnach, and Max Kepler in 1-3 game intervals. However, hitting from the right side of the plate limits some of his and the Twins' lineup versatility as the roster is currently constructed. If his power progresses to the point where he's hitting home runs at a 20 per 130-140 game pace, his ceiling progresses to that of a solid everyday centerfielder. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here View full article
  18. Still, the outfielder acquired from the Houston Astros as part of the Ryan Pressly trade displayed enough talent, particularly at the minor league level, in 2021 to warrant excitement about his prospects. Celestino is an athletic and speedy outfielder whose defense projects best in centerfield but would be a viable option in right. Across the three levels (Double-A, Triple-A, and MLB), he played at this season, he appeared in 57 games in center, 25 in right, and five in left. With Byron Buxton (temporarily?), Austin Martin, and perhaps even Royce Lewis either in or near the majors, Celestino’s long-term outfield home remains up in the air. While his defense was worth -2 outs above average — albeit with a small sample size — while with the Twins, he made several two- and three-star caliber catches, which is suggestive for possessing good range. This assessment is backed up with the eye test as he made many highlight-reel catches during Spring Training and in the minors. Celestino boasts solid doubles power at the plate (29.3 per 140 game pace for his career), but his home run power remains a work in progress; his .153 ISO was the third-best of his career, while his nine home runs in 93 games pace represented a career-best. Although his average exit velocity (87.2 mph) and launch angle (5.4 degrees) were both below the MLB average, he achieved a maximum exit velocity of 111.4 mph — good for the 80th percentile — which suggests he may have hidden power potential. He possesses a decent eye and approach to batting, as evidenced by his walk rate (11.5% at Double-A; 11.4% at Triple-A), which is above average. His strikeout rate (25.0%; 20.4%), by comparison, hovers closer to the mean. Celestino’s bat-to-ball skills — as indicated by his average exit velocity — could use some refinement. This was particularly exposed at the major league level, where he had difficulty catching up to higher speed fastballs and could not hit offspeed or breaking ball offerings to save his life (combined: 2-for-20, 10 K). To their credit, the Twins recognized this and often made in-game adjustments to Celestino's stance, likely in an attempt to better position his hands to catch up to the increased velocity. As things currently stand, Celestino's median outcome would likely be the fourth outfielder on a playoff-caliber Twins team. He can play all three positions at least an average clip, which makes him a suitable replacement for the likes of Buxton, Trevor Larnach, and Max Kepler in 1-3 game intervals. However, hitting from the right side of the plate limits some of his and the Twins' lineup versatility as the roster is currently constructed. If his power progresses to the point where he's hitting home runs at a 20 per 130-140 game pace, his ceiling progresses to that of a solid everyday centerfielder. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
  19. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS 2021 was a wild year across the Twins organization. Yet through the ups, downs, and everything in between there were a few individuals that stood out. Congrats to all of our award winners! Twins Daily 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year: Jose Miranda Twins Daily 2021 Starting Pitching of the Year: Louie Varland Twins Daily 2021 Relief Pitcher of the Year: Jovani Moran Short Season Awards Twins Daily 2021 Short Season Hitter of the Year: Kala'i Rosario Twins Daily 2021 Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Samuel Perez TRANSACTIONS Twins recall LHP Charlie Barnes from Triple-A St. Paul. Barnes will start Sunday's season finale for the Minnesota Twins. John Gant was placed on the Injured List. SAINTS SENTINEL Toledo 8, St. Paul 5 Box Score A leadoff homer from Jose Miranda and a ninth-inning rally weren't enough to light a flame for the Saints to overcome the Mud Hen bats on Saturday. On the very first pitch of the game Miranda launched a high fastball over the left-center field wall to give the Saints an early 1-0 lead. Miranda's shot was his 30th on the season. He's now one of only 12 players across Minor League Baseball with 30 or more homers this season. Despite the early momentum, Miranda's blast would be one of only the five runs plated for St. Paul. The other four runs came in a ninth inning two-out rally with the Saints trailing 8-1. Miranda led off the inning with a double (24) and eventually scored thanks to a bases-loaded walk from Drew Maggi. B.J Boyd followed that up with a two-run RBI single that scored Mark Contreras and Gilberto Celestino. Sherman Johnson kept the magic alive by following Boyd's lead with an RBI single that scored Maggi from third. Yet some happy endings are just too good to be true. In the next at-bat Drew Stankiewicz grounded out to end the valiant comeback effort. The Saints out hit Toledo drastically (11 to 5) but were plagued by runners left in scoring position (4-for-15) and a decade of walks from the pitching staff St. Paul starter Drew Strotman lasted only one inning, giving up four walks, three runs, and two hits while striking out one. The performance was Strotman's shortest outing since June 3rd when he was still pitching for the Durham Bulls. The eye sore shouldn't be dwelled on too much as Strotman is 3-1 in five starts in September minus today's outing. Strotman wasn't the only St. Paul pitcher that struggled against an electric Toledo offense. Relievers Edgar Garcia and Chris Nunn gave up a combined five runs on two hits and three walks in five innings. Yet despite the struggle reliever Vinny Nittoli provided a bright spot for the Saints pitching staff. Nittoli pitched the final two innings and was perfect, not allowing a single run or hit and striking out four batters. Saturday was Nittoli's best outing for the Saints in his young tenure with the Twins organization. The 30-year-old RHP was signed by the organization on August 31st after a year-long stint with the Mariners organization. While it may not have shown in the final score the Saints saw three players record multi-hit games. Miranda and Drew Stankiewicz both recorded two-hit games, with Stankiewicz roping his first triple of the year in addition to a single. Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect Gilberto Celestino tagged two singles and a double on the night, his seventh three-hit game of the 2021 season. Despite already being eliminated from playoff contention the Saints look to end their historic season on a high note in tomorrow's season finale. TWINS DAILY SAINTS PLAYERS OF THE GAME Hitter of the Game: Jose Miranda- 2-for-5, 2B, HR (30), 2 R, RBI Pitcher of the Game: Vinny Nittoli- 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 4 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #6 Jose Miranda (St. Paul)- 2-for-5, 2B, HR (30), 2 R, RBI #13 Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul)- 3-for-4, 2B, R, BB, K #16 Brent Rooker (Minnesota)- 0-for-3, K SUNDAY'S STARTING PITCHER St. Paul @ Toledo (12:05PM CST) LHP Andrew Albers (7-4, 3.75 ERA)
  20. The smoking hot bats of Jose Miranda and Gilberto Celestino were extinguished by a plethora of walks from the Saints on Saturday evening in Toledo. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS 2021 was a wild year across the Twins organization. Yet through the ups, downs, and everything in between there were a few individuals that stood out. Congrats to all of our award winners! Twins Daily 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year: Jose Miranda Twins Daily 2021 Starting Pitching of the Year: Louie Varland Twins Daily 2021 Relief Pitcher of the Year: Jovani Moran Short Season Awards Twins Daily 2021 Short Season Hitter of the Year: Kala'i Rosario Twins Daily 2021 Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Samuel Perez TRANSACTIONS Twins recall LHP Charlie Barnes from Triple-A St. Paul. Barnes will start Sunday's season finale for the Minnesota Twins. John Gant was placed on the Injured List. SAINTS SENTINEL Toledo 8, St. Paul 5 Box Score A leadoff homer from Jose Miranda and a ninth-inning rally weren't enough to light a flame for the Saints to overcome the Mud Hen bats on Saturday. On the very first pitch of the game Miranda launched a high fastball over the left-center field wall to give the Saints an early 1-0 lead. Miranda's shot was his 30th on the season. He's now one of only 12 players across Minor League Baseball with 30 or more homers this season. Despite the early momentum, Miranda's blast would be one of only the five runs plated for St. Paul. The other four runs came in a ninth inning two-out rally with the Saints trailing 8-1. Miranda led off the inning with a double (24) and eventually scored thanks to a bases-loaded walk from Drew Maggi. B.J Boyd followed that up with a two-run RBI single that scored Mark Contreras and Gilberto Celestino. Sherman Johnson kept the magic alive by following Boyd's lead with an RBI single that scored Maggi from third. Yet some happy endings are just too good to be true. In the next at-bat Drew Stankiewicz grounded out to end the valiant comeback effort. The Saints out hit Toledo drastically (11 to 5) but were plagued by runners left in scoring position (4-for-15) and a decade of walks from the pitching staff St. Paul starter Drew Strotman lasted only one inning, giving up four walks, three runs, and two hits while striking out one. The performance was Strotman's shortest outing since June 3rd when he was still pitching for the Durham Bulls. The eye sore shouldn't be dwelled on too much as Strotman is 3-1 in five starts in September minus today's outing. Strotman wasn't the only St. Paul pitcher that struggled against an electric Toledo offense. Relievers Edgar Garcia and Chris Nunn gave up a combined five runs on two hits and three walks in five innings. Yet despite the struggle reliever Vinny Nittoli provided a bright spot for the Saints pitching staff. Nittoli pitched the final two innings and was perfect, not allowing a single run or hit and striking out four batters. Saturday was Nittoli's best outing for the Saints in his young tenure with the Twins organization. The 30-year-old RHP was signed by the organization on August 31st after a year-long stint with the Mariners organization. While it may not have shown in the final score the Saints saw three players record multi-hit games. Miranda and Drew Stankiewicz both recorded two-hit games, with Stankiewicz roping his first triple of the year in addition to a single. Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect Gilberto Celestino tagged two singles and a double on the night, his seventh three-hit game of the 2021 season. Despite already being eliminated from playoff contention the Saints look to end their historic season on a high note in tomorrow's season finale. TWINS DAILY SAINTS PLAYERS OF THE GAME Hitter of the Game: Jose Miranda- 2-for-5, 2B, HR (30), 2 R, RBI Pitcher of the Game: Vinny Nittoli- 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 4 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #6 Jose Miranda (St. Paul)- 2-for-5, 2B, HR (30), 2 R, RBI #13 Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul)- 3-for-4, 2B, R, BB, K #16 Brent Rooker (Minnesota)- 0-for-3, K SUNDAY'S STARTING PITCHER St. Paul @ Toledo (12:05PM CST) LHP Andrew Albers (7-4, 3.75 ERA) View full article
  21. It was an 0-fer on the farm for Twins affiliates tonight, and while Joe Ryan dazzled in the big leagues, prospect production was in short supply. SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 4, St. Paul 1 Box Score Entering their final stretch of games on a balmy evening, the Saints grounds crew busted out some new field artwork. David Youngs recently wrote up a great piece on the guys the get things ready in St. Paul. Derek Law made the start tonight for St. Paul but unfortunately recorded just two outs before being lifted. He gave up a run on one hit and two walks while striking out one. Former Twins outfielder Ian Miller scored the run on a 1st inning wild pitch. After a three-run blast in the 2nd inning put Iowa up by four, it was on the Saints to chip away. Ben Rortvedt came through with the first tally for St. Paul on a 6th inning single that scored Tomas Telis. Despite out hitting Iowa 6-to-5, St. Paul couldn’t push across another run. Jose Miranda continued his great season with a two-hit night after signing autographs on the off day. He was the long batter to record a multi-hit effort. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 2: NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score After the Wind Surge dropped game one of the series with Jordan Balazovic on the mound, Cole Sands took the ball in game two. Wichita’s starter went five innings allowing five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. The bullpen did their job blanking the Naturals over the next three innings, but the Wind Surge were able to generate just one run off of their seven hits. Giving up three runs in the 4th inning, Wichita needed to rebound fast. D.J. Burt scored Aaron Whitefield with a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning to trim the deficit, but that was the lone run production available on the evening. Catcher Chris Williams kept the base paths in order for Wichita all night. Nabbing three would-be base stealers, he shut the Naturals running game down. As Northwest Arkansas tacked on, the Wind Surge saw their hill to climb steepen, and they’ll now face the test of winning three straight should they want to capture a title. Austin Martin and Jermaine Palacios both had two-hit nights for Wichita. The Wind Surge didn’t have anyone record an extra-base hit in this one. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 2: Quad Cities 6, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jumping out to a 1-0 series lead last night, Cedar Rapids turned to Sean Mooney for game two. He went three innings allowing three earned runs on three hits. Mooney did fan six while allowing just a single free pass. Two long balls are what did him in for an early exit. The River Bandits scored first on a two-run blast in the 1st inning, and they added on with a solo shot in the third. Another run crossed in the 4th inning before a pair were plated in the 7th inning. Cedar Rapids was held to just three hits in the contest, and DaShawn Keirsey was responsible for two of them. The Kernels didn’t have a player reach third base, and Michael Helman was the lone player to touch second after his single was followed by an Aaron Sabato walk. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4 PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-5, K #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, 2K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-2, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-3 #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Bryan Sammons (1-3, 6.50 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the playoff games from Wednesday! View full article
  22. SAINTS SENTINEL Iowa 4, St. Paul 1 Box Score Entering their final stretch of games on a balmy evening, the Saints grounds crew busted out some new field artwork. David Youngs recently wrote up a great piece on the guys the get things ready in St. Paul. Derek Law made the start tonight for St. Paul but unfortunately recorded just two outs before being lifted. He gave up a run on one hit and two walks while striking out one. Former Twins outfielder Ian Miller scored the run on a 1st inning wild pitch. After a three-run blast in the 2nd inning put Iowa up by four, it was on the Saints to chip away. Ben Rortvedt came through with the first tally for St. Paul on a 6th inning single that scored Tomas Telis. Despite out hitting Iowa 6-to-5, St. Paul couldn’t push across another run. Jose Miranda continued his great season with a two-hit night after signing autographs on the off day. He was the long batter to record a multi-hit effort. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 2: NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score After the Wind Surge dropped game one of the series with Jordan Balazovic on the mound, Cole Sands took the ball in game two. Wichita’s starter went five innings allowing five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. The bullpen did their job blanking the Naturals over the next three innings, but the Wind Surge were able to generate just one run off of their seven hits. Giving up three runs in the 4th inning, Wichita needed to rebound fast. D.J. Burt scored Aaron Whitefield with a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning to trim the deficit, but that was the lone run production available on the evening. Catcher Chris Williams kept the base paths in order for Wichita all night. Nabbing three would-be base stealers, he shut the Naturals running game down. As Northwest Arkansas tacked on, the Wind Surge saw their hill to climb steepen, and they’ll now face the test of winning three straight should they want to capture a title. Austin Martin and Jermaine Palacios both had two-hit nights for Wichita. The Wind Surge didn’t have anyone record an extra-base hit in this one. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 2: Quad Cities 6, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jumping out to a 1-0 series lead last night, Cedar Rapids turned to Sean Mooney for game two. He went three innings allowing three earned runs on three hits. Mooney did fan six while allowing just a single free pass. Two long balls are what did him in for an early exit. The River Bandits scored first on a two-run blast in the 1st inning, and they added on with a solo shot in the third. Another run crossed in the 4th inning before a pair were plated in the 7th inning. Cedar Rapids was held to just three hits in the contest, and DaShawn Keirsey was responsible for two of them. The Kernels didn’t have a player reach third base, and Michael Helman was the lone player to touch second after his single was followed by an Aaron Sabato walk. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4 PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-5, K #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, 2K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-2, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-3 #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Bryan Sammons (1-3, 6.50 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the playoff games from Wednesday!
  23. Transactions Minnesota Twins select the contract of RHP Nick Vincent from Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins option LHP Andrew Albers to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins sent C Mitch Garver on a rehab assignment to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins promote IF Ernie Yake to Triple-A St. Paul from Twins Complex SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 2, St. Paul 0 Box Score The Saints' never got in gear in this one, spoiling a solid pitching performance across the board. Jason Garcia got the start for Saint Paul and was effective over four full innings. He allowed four hits and walked one but did not allow a run and struck out one. Unfortunately, the Saints’ bats struggled early as well and this contest stayed scoreless until the fifth, when Indianapolis got on the board first. Now facing reliever Edgar Garcia, Indianapolis grabbed a run in the fifth off a Bligh Madris double and another in the sixth from an Ethan Paul single. Those turned out to be the only runs of the game, spurring Indianapolis to a 2-0 win. The Saints only managed multiple base runners in the first and ninth innings and didn’t score in either inning. Miguel Yajure sailed through six against St. Paul before turning it over to the bullpen that was just as effective. Gilberto Celestino had a big 3-for-3 night, but he was the only Saints hitter with more than one knock. Chris Nunn pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings but the damage was done during Edgar Garcia’s outing. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Arkansas 1 Box Score Fresh off clinching a spot in the playoff, Wichita gave the ball to Cole Sands and Twins Daily’s #19 prospect was dominant, as he and Kody Funderburk keyed a pitcher’s duel victory. Sands went five full innings and only allowed three hits while striking out four. He did allow three walks but did not allow any of them to score. In fact he, didn’t allow anyone to score. From there, Funderburk took over and it was as if nothing changed. Kody cruised through three hitless innings, and though he ran into some trouble and allowed a run in the ninth, he still closed out the win. On the offensive end, the Surge didn’t do a lot, but it was just enough. The first run of the game came in the second, when a Jermaine Palacios single finished off a rally that brought Leobaldo Cabrera to the plate. Hours of scoreless baseball later, Ernie De La Trinidad blasted a shot into the bullpen to grab Wichita’s second run of the game. Those runs proved to be all the Surge needed, thanks to the dominant pitching. D.J Burt and Ernie De La Trinidad had the only multi-hit games for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 6 Box Score With a playoff berth very much in the balance, Cedar Rapids turned to Casey Legumina tonight for his debut start for the Kernels. Legumina allowed three runs and struck out seven in 4 ⅔ innings, keeping the Kernels in it and allowing their late offensive explosion to carry the day. The Kernels didn’t wait to take the lead in this one as Michael Helman came to the plate on a throwing error from Peoria third baseman Jacob Buchberger. Peoria answered in the bottom of the third with a run coming in on a Jhon Torres double, but the Kernels took their lead right back off a massive solo homer from Aaron Sabato. Unfortunately, the Chiefs took the lead for themselves in the fifth with two runs, with Torres and Pedro Pages registering RBI singles. Cedar Rapids still trailed 3-2 heading in the eighth inning, but then they decided they’d had enough of that. The offense blasted three homers in the inning for four runs to take a strong three-run lead. The bombs came from Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, and Aaron Sabato for his second of the night. However, the Chiefs took that punch and responded with one of their own in their half of the eighth. They strung together four straight hits and put up three runs to tie the game, with RBI going to Tommy Jew (2) and Tyler Reichenborn. But, as if to spit in the face of Peoria’s comeback, Seth Gray hit a go-ahead bomb to dead center to lead off the ninth inning. And, though the bottom of the ninth inning didn't go smoothly for Cedar Rapids, no runs were scored and the Kernels secured a massive win. Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for the second playoff spot in High-A Central and both teams were just one game up on Great Lakes with three to play. With losses tonight from both of their playoff rivals, this Kernels win gives them a one-game lead over Lake County. Cedar Rapids trails both Lake County and Great Lakes in the playoff tiebreaker, so that one-game lead is crucial as they'll need it to secure a spot against Quad Cities in the playoff. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 0, Fort Myers 0 (postponed top first) Box Score The Mussels were scheduled to finish last night’s postponed game against Tampa tonight. Unfortunately, the rain continued to create problems in Fort Myers and no baseball could be played today. The game that had been scheduled for today has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The Mussels and Tarpons will play a doubleheader tomorrow, weather permitting. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Game 1: FCL Red Sox 10, FCL Twins 2 Box Score It’s Friday, so you already know that the FCL Twins lost to the Red Sox. In the first half of a scheduled doubleheader the Twins struggled on both sides of the ball, losing 10-2. The Twins only managed four hits in this one and no hitter had a multi-hit game. The runs scored on two solo homers, one from LaRon Smith in the second, and the other from Rubel Cespedes in the fifth. The Red Sox offense scored runs in all but two innings and built their substantial lead with a four-run second inning and a three-run second. On the mound for the Twins, Giovahniey German started the game and struggled, allowing five runs (four earned) in less than two innings. Control was an issue for German, as he walked three batters and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Danny Moreno took over from German and was better, allowing a run and striking out three in two innings of work. Cole Bellair’s 2 ⅔ innings was the longest outing of the night, though he was touched for four earned runs during his time on the bump. Ricardo Velez took care of the seventh and was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run. Game 2: FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 0 (postponed, bottom second) Box Score TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR (7) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 3 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-3, BB, 2B #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR (8) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 5.49 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (6-7, 4.37 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-3, 4.63 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Doubleheader (Game 1: 3:30 PM CST, Game 2 to follow) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
  24. In a wild game, the Cedar Rapids Kernels used five home runs to pull within a game of a playoff berth. Read more about that and the other affiliates in tonight's Minor League Report! Transactions Minnesota Twins select the contract of RHP Nick Vincent from Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins option LHP Andrew Albers to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins sent C Mitch Garver on a rehab assignment to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins promote IF Ernie Yake to Triple-A St. Paul from Twins Complex SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 2, St. Paul 0 Box Score The Saints' never got in gear in this one, spoiling a solid pitching performance across the board. Jason Garcia got the start for Saint Paul and was effective over four full innings. He allowed four hits and walked one but did not allow a run and struck out one. Unfortunately, the Saints’ bats struggled early as well and this contest stayed scoreless until the fifth, when Indianapolis got on the board first. Now facing reliever Edgar Garcia, Indianapolis grabbed a run in the fifth off a Bligh Madris double and another in the sixth from an Ethan Paul single. Those turned out to be the only runs of the game, spurring Indianapolis to a 2-0 win. The Saints only managed multiple base runners in the first and ninth innings and didn’t score in either inning. Miguel Yajure sailed through six against St. Paul before turning it over to the bullpen that was just as effective. Gilberto Celestino had a big 3-for-3 night, but he was the only Saints hitter with more than one knock. Chris Nunn pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings but the damage was done during Edgar Garcia’s outing. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Arkansas 1 Box Score Fresh off clinching a spot in the playoff, Wichita gave the ball to Cole Sands and Twins Daily’s #19 prospect was dominant, as he and Kody Funderburk keyed a pitcher’s duel victory. Sands went five full innings and only allowed three hits while striking out four. He did allow three walks but did not allow any of them to score. In fact he, didn’t allow anyone to score. From there, Funderburk took over and it was as if nothing changed. Kody cruised through three hitless innings, and though he ran into some trouble and allowed a run in the ninth, he still closed out the win. On the offensive end, the Surge didn’t do a lot, but it was just enough. The first run of the game came in the second, when a Jermaine Palacios single finished off a rally that brought Leobaldo Cabrera to the plate. Hours of scoreless baseball later, Ernie De La Trinidad blasted a shot into the bullpen to grab Wichita’s second run of the game. Those runs proved to be all the Surge needed, thanks to the dominant pitching. D.J Burt and Ernie De La Trinidad had the only multi-hit games for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 6 Box Score With a playoff berth very much in the balance, Cedar Rapids turned to Casey Legumina tonight for his debut start for the Kernels. Legumina allowed three runs and struck out seven in 4 ⅔ innings, keeping the Kernels in it and allowing their late offensive explosion to carry the day. The Kernels didn’t wait to take the lead in this one as Michael Helman came to the plate on a throwing error from Peoria third baseman Jacob Buchberger. Peoria answered in the bottom of the third with a run coming in on a Jhon Torres double, but the Kernels took their lead right back off a massive solo homer from Aaron Sabato. Unfortunately, the Chiefs took the lead for themselves in the fifth with two runs, with Torres and Pedro Pages registering RBI singles. Cedar Rapids still trailed 3-2 heading in the eighth inning, but then they decided they’d had enough of that. The offense blasted three homers in the inning for four runs to take a strong three-run lead. The bombs came from Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, and Aaron Sabato for his second of the night. However, the Chiefs took that punch and responded with one of their own in their half of the eighth. They strung together four straight hits and put up three runs to tie the game, with RBI going to Tommy Jew (2) and Tyler Reichenborn. But, as if to spit in the face of Peoria’s comeback, Seth Gray hit a go-ahead bomb to dead center to lead off the ninth inning. And, though the bottom of the ninth inning didn't go smoothly for Cedar Rapids, no runs were scored and the Kernels secured a massive win. Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for the second playoff spot in High-A Central and both teams were just one game up on Great Lakes with three to play. With losses tonight from both of their playoff rivals, this Kernels win gives them a one-game lead over Lake County. Cedar Rapids trails both Lake County and Great Lakes in the playoff tiebreaker, so that one-game lead is crucial as they'll need it to secure a spot against Quad Cities in the playoff. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 0, Fort Myers 0 (postponed top first) Box Score The Mussels were scheduled to finish last night’s postponed game against Tampa tonight. Unfortunately, the rain continued to create problems in Fort Myers and no baseball could be played today. The game that had been scheduled for today has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The Mussels and Tarpons will play a doubleheader tomorrow, weather permitting. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Game 1: FCL Red Sox 10, FCL Twins 2 Box Score It’s Friday, so you already know that the FCL Twins lost to the Red Sox. In the first half of a scheduled doubleheader the Twins struggled on both sides of the ball, losing 10-2. The Twins only managed four hits in this one and no hitter had a multi-hit game. The runs scored on two solo homers, one from LaRon Smith in the second, and the other from Rubel Cespedes in the fifth. The Red Sox offense scored runs in all but two innings and built their substantial lead with a four-run second inning and a three-run second. On the mound for the Twins, Giovahniey German started the game and struggled, allowing five runs (four earned) in less than two innings. Control was an issue for German, as he walked three batters and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Danny Moreno took over from German and was better, allowing a run and striking out three in two innings of work. Cole Bellair’s 2 ⅔ innings was the longest outing of the night, though he was touched for four earned runs during his time on the bump. Ricardo Velez took care of the seventh and was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run. Game 2: FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 0 (postponed, bottom second) Box Score TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR (7) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 3 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-3, BB, 2B #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR (8) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 5.49 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (6-7, 4.37 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-3, 4.63 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Doubleheader (Game 1: 3:30 PM CST, Game 2 to follow) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! 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  25. The Saints scored 21 of them en route to a crushing victory. Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers won close ones. TRANSACTIONS LHP Jovani Moran promoted from Triple-A St. Paul to Minnesota Twins RHP Andrew Albers optioned from Minnesota Twins to Triple-A St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 21, Omaha 4 Box Score Holy runs, Batman! The Saints’ lineup exploded on Saturday evening, particularly prior to the fifth inning, in which they scored 17 of their runs. The 21 runs is the high-water mark for the Triple-A East this season. Shortstop J.T. Riddle set the tone for St. Paul in the bottom of the second inning when he launched his seventh home run of the season to give his squad a 3-0 lead. However, the Saints weren’t done as center fielder Jimmy Kerrigan hit his 18th dinger and first baseman Sherman Johnson his fourth, later in the frame. It was his first hit since he went 3-for-5 on August 26th. He had been 0-for-17, though he had walked seven times in that stretch. Right fielder Mark Contreras joined the fun in the third inning when he smacked his 15th. The ball flew 461 feet. Every Saints batter picked up at least one hit on the evening except for catcher Caleb Hamilton who was a late-game replacement for Tomas Telis, who went 3-for-4. DH Gilberto Celestino led the way, going 4-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored. B.J. Boyd (3-for-5), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-5), and Kerrigan (2-for-6) also contributed multi-hit games. Derek Law, Vinny Nittoli, and Edgar Garcia tossed six innings of scoreless ball out of the pen after Jason Garcia exited after three innings. WIND SURGE WISDOM Arkansas 10, Wichita 3 Box Score Well, let’s just say that it wasn’t Chris Vallimont’s night. The Naturals touched the Twins RHP prospect for nine runs — seven of them earned — in 2 1.3 innings as they cruised to an easy victory. Vallimont was only able to pick up three strikeouts and surrendered nine hits as his ERA ballooned to 6.33. However, despite the first couple of frames going poorly, as a whole the Wind Surge’s pitching staff performed quite well. Evan Sisk, Hector Lujan, Erik Manoah Jr., and Mitchell Osnowitz combined to strike out 10 batters and allow one run over the course of their 6 2/3 innings. Right fielder Trey Cabbage led Wichita in hits as he picked up three — all singles — in four plate appearances. Third baseman Spencer Steer went 2-for-3 with a double; however, it was second baseman D.J. Burt’s mammoth home run in the first inning that was the highlight of the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Wisconsin 4, F/10 Box Score The Kernels took home a close victory over the Timber Rattlers Saturday afternoon. Former Minnesota State University, Mankato Maverick Aaron Rozek started the game on the hill, and although he surrendered all four of Wisconsin’s runs — three coming via the long ball — he was able to put together a strong showing, striking out nine and only walking one. The 26-year-old lefty has made a name for himself after being signed midway through the season thanks to gaudy strikeout numbers and a refusal to issue walks. In 51 1/3 innings across Rookie, Low-A, High-A, and Double-A ball this summer, Rozek has punched out 70 and walked only six batters. That’s a nearly 12:1 K:BB ratio, which is the best in the system among pitchers with at least 50 innings and by a wide margin. Andrew Albers is second with a 8.7:1 ratio and Josh Winder is third with a 6.15:1 ratio. Derek Molina and Andrew Cabezas tossed the final five innings with shutout ball, striking out five. Catcher Jefferson Morales and shortstop Anthony Prato each went 3-for-5 on the afternoon; however, it was center fielder DaShawn Keirsey who played the role of hero out of the nine-hole, going 2-for-5 with a double and his fourth home run of the season; he finished with three RBI. Second baseman Edouard Julien (2-for-5, BB) and left fielder Michael Helman (2-for-6, triple, RBI) also contributed multi-hit games. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Palm Beach 5 Box score The Mighty Mussels pulled off a come-from-behind victory against their cross-state rivals despite only one of their seven hits going for extra bases. Fort Myers scored all six of their runs over their final three at-bats, including four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Second baseman Mikey Perez and third baseman Jake Rucker each when 2-for-3, with one of Perez’s hits being the team’s lone double. First baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand kept his hot streak alive as he drove in two of the Mighty Mussels’ runs. While his box score won’t jump off the page, left fielder Alerick Soularie had a productive night going 0-for-1 with three walks, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Regi Grace started on the bump for Fort Myers and tossed three innings, striking out three and walking one. RHP Ramon Pineda, brother of Twins’ RHP Michael, was awarded the win after he threw two innings in relief; he struck out two and allowed one earned run. RHP Matt Mullenbach earned the save. FCL COMPLEX REPORT Game 1: FCL Red Sox 2, FCL Twins 1, F/8 Game 2: FCL Twins 4, FCL Red Sox 1, F/7 2021 first-round draft pick RHP Chase Petty made his professional debut Saturday afternoon and performed largely as advertised. Across two innings of scoreless work, Petty surrendered two hits, struck out two, and did not surrender a run. First baseman Wander Valdez clubbed his fourth home run of the season during the Twins’ win, while DH Carlos Aguiar hit his fifth during the loss. As a unit, the Twins’ offense mustered only nine hits between the two games. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day — Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids: 3 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day — Jimmy Kerrigan, St. Paul Saints: 2-for-6, 2B, HR, 4 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, RBI, BB #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - Did not play #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - On Temporary Inactive List. #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, RBI, BB #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, 2 RBI, 3 R #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 0-for-5, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4 #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-3, 2B, BB SUNDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (2:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 4.96 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (2-2, 2.86 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (12:05 PM CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (2-3, 4.52 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM CST) - TBD Feel free to comment and discuss tonight’s games! 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