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  1. High-caliber starting pitchers are flourishing within the Twins' farm system. Yet perhaps the organization's finest-kept secret is a reliever from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, with a knack for strikeouts and a changeup that christens nostalgia from the days of Johan Santana. Relief pitchers often don't get the love, recognition, or credit that their colleagues at the front end of the pitching staff receive. Yet it's impossible to not love a guy with a 2.41 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and arguably the best changeup that the Twins' organization has seen since the days of franchise hall of famer Johan Santana. Meet southpaw reliever Jovani Moran. Drafted by the Twins in 2015 out of Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, the 24-year-old has teetered with dominance since joining the organization nearly seven years ago. After starting six games in the GCL Twins' rotation in 2015 Moran was transitioned to the bullpen and has excelled since. After a rough rookie season Moran posted a 2.38 ERA in 71 appearances (a majority from the bullpen) between 2017-2019. That's good, but Moran has been great in 2021. For that, he's our Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Despite his young age, Moran played the role of a rising journeyman this season, bouncing from club to club. Twenty of his 35 appearances came at Double-A Wichita, where he started the season. The Surge relied heavily on Moran through the months of May and June. Between the two months Moran appeared in 16 games and 28 2/3 innings, tossing 47 strikeouts, allowing only 11 hits and six earned runs, and touting a stellar 2.04 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. In that span opposing hitters hit a meager .118 when facing Moran. After a strong start, the month of July was just as fruitful for Moran. After four appearances that consisted of nine innings and 17 strikeouts Moran was promoted to Triple-A St. Paul. While his Triple-A stats weren't as eye-opening as his numbers with the Surge, they were still pretty darn good, especially for a guy pitching at that level for the first time. In 15 appearances and 29 2/3 innings, Moran posted a 3.03 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with opposing batters mustering a .140 average when facing him. Moran's success isn't attributed to a triple-digit fastball or 12-6 curveball. In fact, his fastball rarely surpasses 92-94 MPH. Yet similar to Caleb Thielbar, Moran's success can be attributed to the massive contrast between his fastball and breaking pitches. As mentioned, the changeup is Moran's off-speed weapon of choice, a pitch that he often uses as a strikeout dagger. The secret? Moran's arm delivery on the pitch resembles that of his fastball yet is 10-12 MPH slower. It is, perhaps, the largest reason why he touted a 41.8% strikeout rate in the minors this season. Twins Daily writer Lucas Seehafer broke down Moran's pitch arsenal earlier this season, check it out here. After finding success in Lowertown, Moran was called up by the Twins on September 11th. MLB competition hasn't been the flowers and roses for Moran like it was prior to his big league debut. Don't fret though. Moran will continue to grow and learn as he gets more repetitions at the big league level. Don't be surprised if he starts next season at Triple-A. However, his time will come given the dominance that he's shown over the past five months. Top Three In addition to Moran, Jordan Gore and Zach Featherstone also had outstanding seasons. Check out some of the accomplishments of this years' runner ups! 1. LHP Jovani Moran, Wichita/St. Paul (35 G, 2.41 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 67.1 IP, 28 H, 32 BB, 109 K) Check out this analysis of Moran and Jordan Gore made by Tom Froemming! 2. RHP Jordon Gore, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (39 G, 2.39 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 67.2 IP, 36 H, 28 BB, 88 K) A shortstop-turned-pitcher, 2021 presented Gore with his first full season on the bump. The 2017 draft pick did not disappoint, holding opposing hitters to just a .155 batting average through May and June in Cedar Rapids. Just three games into July, Gore was promoted to Double-A Wichita. Gore didn't tally as many innings with the Surge but was just as effective, posting a 1.61 ERA in 28 innings (20 games) with 30 strikeouts and six saves. It's unclear what Gore's long-term identity will be as a relief pitcher. All we know is that he has excelled in all corners of the bullpen and has done it consistently all season. That's pretty darn impressive for a guy that had only pitched in four professional baseball games prior to this season. 3. LHP Zach Featherstone, Cedar Rapids (40 G, 2.13 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 55 IP, 28 H, 42 BB, 93 K) Similar to Gore, Featherstone isn't a pitcher by trade, he's an outfielder. That didn't stop him from having an outstanding year on the hill for Cedar Rapids. After a rocky month of May, Featherstone was nearly perfect in June, surrendering zero earned runs, five hits, and ten walks while striking out 28 batters in 15 innings over nine appearances. That's right, a PERFECT earned run average for an entire month! Featherstone continued his dominance as the season continued, posting a 3.95 ERA in July, 2.31 ERA in August, and another perfect 0.00 ERA in September. Featherstone has a bit more pitching experience than Gore, but this was still his first full season pitching. He transitioned to the mound in 2017, had Tommy John surgery, rehabbed, and as he was ready to come back, COVID arrived. It's a great story, but he's also become a solid, hard-throwing lefty reliever. Kudos to him on an excellent year. HONORABLE MENTION LHP Denny Bentley, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (36 G, 2.78 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 51.1 IP, 50 H, 33 BB, 87 K) RHP Ryan Mason, Wichita/St. Paul (38 G, 2.67 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 54 IP, 45 H, 28 BB, 63 K) RHP Ian Hamilton, St. Paul (37 G, 4.08 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 45 H, 38 BB, 83 K) RHP Osiris German, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (38 G, 3.34 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 59.1 IP, 47 H, 24 BB, 90 K) RHP Hector Lujan, Wichita (18 G, 3.62 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 32.1 IP, 25 H, 9 BB, 33 K) RHP Melvi Acosta, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (38 G, 3.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 61.1 IP, 55 H, 18 BB, 69 K) RHP Derek Molina, Cedar Rapids (32 G, 4.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 62 IP, 51 H, 26 BB, 81 K) LHP Aaron Rozek, FCL Twins/Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids/Wichita (16 G, 2.40 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 56.1 IP, 42 H, 7 BB, 74 K) Past Winners of the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year Award 2019: Anthony Vizcaya 2018: Andrew Vasquez 2017: John Curtiss 2015 & 2016: Trevor Hildenberger Congrats to all of our 2021 Minor League Award winners! View full article
  2. Relief pitchers often don't get the love, recognition, or credit that their colleagues at the front end of the pitching staff receive. Yet it's impossible to not love a guy with a 2.41 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and arguably the best changeup that the Twins' organization has seen since the days of franchise hall of famer Johan Santana. Meet southpaw reliever Jovani Moran. Drafted by the Twins in 2015 out of Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, the 24-year-old has teetered with dominance since joining the organization nearly seven years ago. After starting six games in the GCL Twins' rotation in 2015 Moran was transitioned to the bullpen and has excelled since. After a rough rookie season Moran posted a 2.38 ERA in 71 appearances (a majority from the bullpen) between 2017-2019. That's good, but Moran has been great in 2021. For that, he's our Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Despite his young age, Moran played the role of a rising journeyman this season, bouncing from club to club. Twenty of his 35 appearances came at Double-A Wichita, where he started the season. The Surge relied heavily on Moran through the months of May and June. Between the two months Moran appeared in 16 games and 28 2/3 innings, tossing 47 strikeouts, allowing only 11 hits and six earned runs, and touting a stellar 2.04 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. In that span opposing hitters hit a meager .118 when facing Moran. After a strong start, the month of July was just as fruitful for Moran. After four appearances that consisted of nine innings and 17 strikeouts Moran was promoted to Triple-A St. Paul. While his Triple-A stats weren't as eye-opening as his numbers with the Surge, they were still pretty darn good, especially for a guy pitching at that level for the first time. In 15 appearances and 29 2/3 innings, Moran posted a 3.03 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with opposing batters mustering a .140 average when facing him. Moran's success isn't attributed to a triple-digit fastball or 12-6 curveball. In fact, his fastball rarely surpasses 92-94 MPH. Yet similar to Caleb Thielbar, Moran's success can be attributed to the massive contrast between his fastball and breaking pitches. As mentioned, the changeup is Moran's off-speed weapon of choice, a pitch that he often uses as a strikeout dagger. The secret? Moran's arm delivery on the pitch resembles that of his fastball yet is 10-12 MPH slower. It is, perhaps, the largest reason why he touted a 41.8% strikeout rate in the minors this season. Twins Daily writer Lucas Seehafer broke down Moran's pitch arsenal earlier this season, check it out here. After finding success in Lowertown, Moran was called up by the Twins on September 11th. MLB competition hasn't been the flowers and roses for Moran like it was prior to his big league debut. Don't fret though. Moran will continue to grow and learn as he gets more repetitions at the big league level. Don't be surprised if he starts next season at Triple-A. However, his time will come given the dominance that he's shown over the past five months. Top Three In addition to Moran, Jordan Gore and Zach Featherstone also had outstanding seasons. Check out some of the accomplishments of this years' runner ups! 1. LHP Jovani Moran, Wichita/St. Paul (35 G, 2.41 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 67.1 IP, 28 H, 32 BB, 109 K) Check out this analysis of Moran and Jordan Gore made by Tom Froemming! 2. RHP Jordon Gore, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (39 G, 2.39 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 67.2 IP, 36 H, 28 BB, 88 K) A shortstop-turned-pitcher, 2021 presented Gore with his first full season on the bump. The 2017 draft pick did not disappoint, holding opposing hitters to just a .155 batting average through May and June in Cedar Rapids. Just three games into July, Gore was promoted to Double-A Wichita. Gore didn't tally as many innings with the Surge but was just as effective, posting a 1.61 ERA in 28 innings (20 games) with 30 strikeouts and six saves. It's unclear what Gore's long-term identity will be as a relief pitcher. All we know is that he has excelled in all corners of the bullpen and has done it consistently all season. That's pretty darn impressive for a guy that had only pitched in four professional baseball games prior to this season. 3. LHP Zach Featherstone, Cedar Rapids (40 G, 2.13 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 55 IP, 28 H, 42 BB, 93 K) Similar to Gore, Featherstone isn't a pitcher by trade, he's an outfielder. That didn't stop him from having an outstanding year on the hill for Cedar Rapids. After a rocky month of May, Featherstone was nearly perfect in June, surrendering zero earned runs, five hits, and ten walks while striking out 28 batters in 15 innings over nine appearances. That's right, a PERFECT earned run average for an entire month! Featherstone continued his dominance as the season continued, posting a 3.95 ERA in July, 2.31 ERA in August, and another perfect 0.00 ERA in September. Featherstone has a bit more pitching experience than Gore, but this was still his first full season pitching. He transitioned to the mound in 2017, had Tommy John surgery, rehabbed, and as he was ready to come back, COVID arrived. It's a great story, but he's also become a solid, hard-throwing lefty reliever. Kudos to him on an excellent year. HONORABLE MENTION LHP Denny Bentley, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (36 G, 2.78 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 51.1 IP, 50 H, 33 BB, 87 K) RHP Ryan Mason, Wichita/St. Paul (38 G, 2.67 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 54 IP, 45 H, 28 BB, 63 K) RHP Ian Hamilton, St. Paul (37 G, 4.08 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 45 H, 38 BB, 83 K) RHP Osiris German, Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids (38 G, 3.34 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 59.1 IP, 47 H, 24 BB, 90 K) RHP Hector Lujan, Wichita (18 G, 3.62 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 32.1 IP, 25 H, 9 BB, 33 K) RHP Melvi Acosta, Cedar Rapids/Wichita (38 G, 3.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 61.1 IP, 55 H, 18 BB, 69 K) RHP Derek Molina, Cedar Rapids (32 G, 4.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 62 IP, 51 H, 26 BB, 81 K) LHP Aaron Rozek, FCL Twins/Fort Myers/Cedar Rapids/Wichita (16 G, 2.40 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 56.1 IP, 42 H, 7 BB, 74 K) Past Winners of the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year Award 2019: Anthony Vizcaya 2018: Andrew Vasquez 2017: John Curtiss 2015 & 2016: Trevor Hildenberger Congrats to all of our 2021 Minor League Award winners!
  3. The Minnesota Twins’ win streak came to an end Saturday evening as the Toronto Blue Jays spoiled Justin Morneau’s big day. Box Score John Gant: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Nick Gordon -.175, Kyle Barraclough -.114, Luke Farrell -.079 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) As has been the case more times than not this season, the Twins simply didn’t have the juice Saturday evening. John Gant took to the mound approximately an hour after the game was scheduled to begin — more on that in a second — and relatively breezed through the opening frame. However, the second didn’t go as smoothly. Teoscar Hernandez wedged his 31st home run of the season in the ivy that coats the batter’s eye in centerfield to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. A couple of hits and a bobbled ball in rightfield later, Toronto extended their lead to 2-0, which ultimately proved enough to take down the Twins. Minnesota’s offense was anemic all evening, mustering a meager three hits, only one of which — a Josh Donaldson double — went for extra bases. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Twins. Jovani Moran produced his best big league outing, throwing 19 pitches — 15 for strikes — and punching out four. Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco picked up stolen bases, while Mitch Garver just missed launching his 14th home run, settling for a long sacrifice fly instead. That’s about where the positives end, though. Minnesota has seven games remaining on their schedule and they’ll have to win at least four to avoid a 90-loss season. The Twins will conclude their series against the Blue Jays on Sunday as Griffin Jax (3-4, 6.75 ERA) and Alek Manoah (7-2, 3.36 ERA) go head-to-head. First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. CT. Morneau Enshrined The reason the game was delayed nearly an hour was because Justin Morneau became the 34th player inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. The four-time All-Star and 2006 American League MVP played his first 11 seasons in a Twins uniform and wracked up 221 home runs with a .278/.347/.485 slash line. He along with his good friend and fellow MVP winner Joe Mauer formed the foundation for some of the most fearsome and fun Twins’ lineups. Morneau’s speech was long but perfectly enmeshed inside jokes with touching commentary and memories. The entire thing can be viewed below. Another thing that I will always remember is the way he was talked about in my hometown. I grew up in a small town in southcentral Minnesota, the same town that Morneau’s wife, Krista, grew up in. It’s one of those farming communities that dot the landscape south and west of the Twin Cities where the only place to eat is a Dairy Queen. Whenever Justin and Krista were in the area, good-natured rumors would spread like wildfire. The neighbor kid saw him riding his moped down by the park. Word on the street is that he had agreed to play with the local townball team once he retired. That kind of stuff. While I wasn’t around to witness it, Morneau stopped by at my brother’s little league game the day after winning the 2008 home run derby with his award. The game paused in the middle innings so that all the kids could take individual pictures with him. He also recognized the rough shape of the dugouts and donated money for them to be refurbished. For all intents and purposes, Justin Morneau is one of the “good ones” and seeing his name forever in the confines of Target Field will never not bring joy and fond memories for myself and all Twins fans. Postgame Interviews Coming soon Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Barraclough 35 0 0 0 33 68 Coulombe 17 0 0 0 37 54 Duffey 11 12 0 17 0 40 Farrell 0 0 19 0 18 37 Colomé 7 24 0 5 0 36 Minaya 0 13 0 19 0 32 Thielbar 16 0 14 0 0 30 Alcalá 10 10 0 6 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 0 19 19 Garza Jr. 0 0 16 0 0 16 Vincent 0 0 13 0 0 13 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
  4. Justin Morneau was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame Saturday night. The Twins fell to the Blue Jays 6-1 but rookie reliever Jovani Moran had a very impressive outing. Also included in this video are highlights of a St. Paul Saints victory that featured a quality start from Drew Strotman. Down in High-A, Sawyer Gipson-Long struck out nine batters and Aaron Sabato hit a home run but the Cedar Rapids Kernels were walked off in a 2-1 loss. That forces a deciding Game 5 in their High-A Central championship series.
  5. Justin Morneau was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame Saturday night. The Twins fell to the Blue Jays 6-1 but rookie reliever Jovani Moran had a very impressive outing. Also included in this video are highlights of a St. Paul Saints victory that featured a quality start from Drew Strotman. Down in High-A, Sawyer Gipson-Long struck out nine batters and Aaron Sabato hit a home run but the Cedar Rapids Kernels were walked off in a 2-1 loss. That forces a deciding Game 5 in their High-A Central championship series. View full video
  6. Box Score John Gant: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Nick Gordon -.175, Kyle Barraclough -.114, Luke Farrell -.079 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) As has been the case more times than not this season, the Twins simply didn’t have the juice Saturday evening. John Gant took to the mound approximately an hour after the game was scheduled to begin — more on that in a second — and relatively breezed through the opening frame. However, the second didn’t go as smoothly. Teoscar Hernandez wedged his 31st home run of the season in the ivy that coats the batter’s eye in centerfield to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. A couple of hits and a bobbled ball in rightfield later, Toronto extended their lead to 2-0, which ultimately proved enough to take down the Twins. Minnesota’s offense was anemic all evening, mustering a meager three hits, only one of which — a Josh Donaldson double — went for extra bases. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Twins. Jovani Moran produced his best big league outing, throwing 19 pitches — 15 for strikes — and punching out four. Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco picked up stolen bases, while Mitch Garver just missed launching his 14th home run, settling for a long sacrifice fly instead. That’s about where the positives end, though. Minnesota has seven games remaining on their schedule and they’ll have to win at least four to avoid a 90-loss season. The Twins will conclude their series against the Blue Jays on Sunday as Griffin Jax (3-4, 6.75 ERA) and Alek Manoah (7-2, 3.36 ERA) go head-to-head. First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. CT. Morneau Enshrined The reason the game was delayed nearly an hour was because Justin Morneau became the 34th player inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. The four-time All-Star and 2006 American League MVP played his first 11 seasons in a Twins uniform and wracked up 221 home runs with a .278/.347/.485 slash line. He along with his good friend and fellow MVP winner Joe Mauer formed the foundation for some of the most fearsome and fun Twins’ lineups. Morneau’s speech was long but perfectly enmeshed inside jokes with touching commentary and memories. The entire thing can be viewed below. Another thing that I will always remember is the way he was talked about in my hometown. I grew up in a small town in southcentral Minnesota, the same town that Morneau’s wife, Krista, grew up in. It’s one of those farming communities that dot the landscape south and west of the Twin Cities where the only place to eat is a Dairy Queen. Whenever Justin and Krista were in the area, good-natured rumors would spread like wildfire. The neighbor kid saw him riding his moped down by the park. Word on the street is that he had agreed to play with the local townball team once he retired. That kind of stuff. While I wasn’t around to witness it, Morneau stopped by at my brother’s little league game the day after winning the 2008 home run derby with his award. The game paused in the middle innings so that all the kids could take individual pictures with him. He also recognized the rough shape of the dugouts and donated money for them to be refurbished. For all intents and purposes, Justin Morneau is one of the “good ones” and seeing his name forever in the confines of Target Field will never not bring joy and fond memories for myself and all Twins fans. Postgame Interviews Coming soon Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Barraclough 35 0 0 0 33 68 Coulombe 17 0 0 0 37 54 Duffey 11 12 0 17 0 40 Farrell 0 0 19 0 18 37 Colomé 7 24 0 5 0 36 Minaya 0 13 0 19 0 32 Thielbar 16 0 14 0 0 30 Alcalá 10 10 0 6 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 0 19 19 Garza Jr. 0 0 16 0 0 16 Vincent 0 0 13 0 0 13 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  7. It was a rough night in every phase of the game for the Minnesota Twins, as they dropped the series finale to Cleveland by a score of 12-3. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K Homeruns: Sano (28) Bottom 3 WPA: Jax (-0.201), Buxton (-0.047), Jeffers (-0.042) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Griffin Jax Gets Blown Up in the Fifth Griffin Jax’s rough first season in the Majors has been especially brutal of late, as he has posted a 7.54 ERA over his last four starts entering play on Wednesday. For a guy that is clearly pitching for a potential spot in the Twins 2022 starting rotation, these last few starts of the season are going to be very important to him. The way things started in this ballgame, it appeared as though Jax was going to have a start that would help him start to right the ship. However, that was not be the case. Jax faced just 10 batters through the first three innings of the game, before giving up a run on a couple doubles in the fourth. Things took a turn for the worse in the top of the fifth inning, which ended with a Twins reliever on the mound (Jovani Moran, to be specific). A single and an error put two runners on base for the Cleveland nine-hole hitter Oscar Mercado, who delivered a three-run blast into the bleachers in left, giving Cleveland a three-run lead. The damage didn't stop there. Cleveland continued to hit up Jax before he was finally pulled with two outs in the inning and the Twins trailing by five. Jovani Moran came in to relieve Jax in just his third Major League appearance, and got Bobby Bradley to strike out looking to end the inning. Moran would stay out and pitch a clean 1-2-3 sixth inning, before things imploded on him as well in the seventh when he gave up three runs on four hits before having to be relieved with just one out in the inning. Andrew Albers came in to relieve Moran, and promptly gave up a two-run blast to Bobby Bradley. One of those runs was charged to Moran, who finished with four earned runs in the inning. Andrew Albers would stay in and pitch the final 2 2/3 innings for the Twins to help give the rest of the bullpen the night off before an off day on Thursday for some additional much-needed rest. He surrendered single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, the latter of which coming off a solo blast from Franmil Reyes. Twins Position Players Have Rough Night While this game will certainly be looked back on as a rough night for the pitching staff, the position players had an equally-rough night. The defense did the pitching staff no favors as they committed two sloppy throwing errors that helped lead to Cleveland’s two big innings. In addition to the defense, the bats were almost non-existent, at least until the game was well out of reach. The Twins bats mustered just one hit through six innings off of Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, and it should have stayed that way through seven had it not been for a misplayed pop-up off the bat of Max Kepler that should have ended the inning. Instead, the inning stayed alive long enough for Miguel Sano to deliver a three-run blast to make the Twins offensive woes seem not as bad as they actually were. Twins Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Minaya 0 17 0 13 0 30 Coulombe 23 0 0 27 0 50 Colomé 0 0 27 11 0 38 Duffey 0 0 38 0 0 38 Farrell 12 0 34 0 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 23 16 0 39 Moran 0 37 0 0 34 71 Thielbar 26 0 11 0 0 37 Alcalá 0 18 0 8 0 26 Albers 0 0 0 0 40 40 Garza Jr. 0 11 6 0 0 17 What's Next? The Twins are off on Thursday before heading back on the road for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays beginning on Friday. Postgame Interview View full article
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K Homeruns: Sano (28) Bottom 3 WPA: Jax (-0.201), Buxton (-0.047), Jeffers (-0.042) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Griffin Jax Gets Blown Up in the Fifth Griffin Jax’s rough first season in the Majors has been especially brutal of late, as he has posted a 7.54 ERA over his last four starts entering play on Wednesday. For a guy that is clearly pitching for a potential spot in the Twins 2022 starting rotation, these last few starts of the season are going to be very important to him. The way things started in this ballgame, it appeared as though Jax was going to have a start that would help him start to right the ship. However, that was not be the case. Jax faced just 10 batters through the first three innings of the game, before giving up a run on a couple doubles in the fourth. Things took a turn for the worse in the top of the fifth inning, which ended with a Twins reliever on the mound (Jovani Moran, to be specific). A single and an error put two runners on base for the Cleveland nine-hole hitter Oscar Mercado, who delivered a three-run blast into the bleachers in left, giving Cleveland a three-run lead. The damage didn't stop there. Cleveland continued to hit up Jax before he was finally pulled with two outs in the inning and the Twins trailing by five. Jovani Moran came in to relieve Jax in just his third Major League appearance, and got Bobby Bradley to strike out looking to end the inning. Moran would stay out and pitch a clean 1-2-3 sixth inning, before things imploded on him as well in the seventh when he gave up three runs on four hits before having to be relieved with just one out in the inning. Andrew Albers came in to relieve Moran, and promptly gave up a two-run blast to Bobby Bradley. One of those runs was charged to Moran, who finished with four earned runs in the inning. Andrew Albers would stay in and pitch the final 2 2/3 innings for the Twins to help give the rest of the bullpen the night off before an off day on Thursday for some additional much-needed rest. He surrendered single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, the latter of which coming off a solo blast from Franmil Reyes. Twins Position Players Have Rough Night While this game will certainly be looked back on as a rough night for the pitching staff, the position players had an equally-rough night. The defense did the pitching staff no favors as they committed two sloppy throwing errors that helped lead to Cleveland’s two big innings. In addition to the defense, the bats were almost non-existent, at least until the game was well out of reach. The Twins bats mustered just one hit through six innings off of Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, and it should have stayed that way through seven had it not been for a misplayed pop-up off the bat of Max Kepler that should have ended the inning. Instead, the inning stayed alive long enough for Miguel Sano to deliver a three-run blast to make the Twins offensive woes seem not as bad as they actually were. Twins Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Minaya 0 17 0 13 0 30 Coulombe 23 0 0 27 0 50 Colomé 0 0 27 11 0 38 Duffey 0 0 38 0 0 38 Farrell 12 0 34 0 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 23 16 0 39 Moran 0 37 0 0 34 71 Thielbar 26 0 11 0 0 37 Alcalá 0 18 0 8 0 26 Albers 0 0 0 0 40 40 Garza Jr. 0 11 6 0 0 17 What's Next? The Twins are off on Thursday before heading back on the road for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays beginning on Friday. Postgame Interview
  9. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/6 thru Sun, 9/12 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 63-80) Run Differential Last Week: +9 (Overall: -102) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (19.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 137 | MIN 5, CLE 2: Ober and Pineda Piggyback, Polanco Rakes Game 138 | MIN 3, CLE 0: Gant Combines with 4 Relievers in Shutout Game 139 | MIN 3, CLE 0: Ryan Flirts with Perfection, Dominates Cleveland Game 140 | CLE 4, MIN 1: Quantrill Keeps Twins Bats Quiet Game 141 | KC 6, MIN 4: Offense Goes Silent After Explosive First Inning Game 142 | MIN 9, KC 2: Twins Drill 5 Homers, Coast to Easy Win Game 143 | KC 5, MIN 3: Royals Rally Late, Take Series NEWS & NOTES If you had to put your finger on just what's gone wrong with the Twins' pitching staff this year, one culprit would be ... well, fingers. Taylor Rogers has officially been shut down for the season with a middle finger sprain that he suffered in late July. While he'll have a full offseason to heal, the nature of this injury for a slider-reliant pitcher turns the team's top reliever (and one of their top trade candidates) into a major question mark. It's hard to fully trust he'll be the same guy when he returns. The same is more or less true for Randy Dobnak, who went back on the IL ahead of his planned Wednesday start with renewed soreness in his own middle finger, which previously sidelined him for more than two months. Dobnak, unlike Rogers, was struggling pretty consistently before getting hurt so there's even less assurance with him going forward. With Dobnak going down again, Andrew Albers was recalled to start on short notice. He did okay, all things considered, but was returned to St. Paul a couple days later when the Twins promoted (at long last) relief pitcher Jovani Moran. The lefty Moran has been a dominant force this year in the minors, piling up whiffs and strikeouts with help from a standout changeup that makes him even highly effective against righties. Moran made his debut on Monday and looked good, notching a pair of strikeouts over 1 ⅓ innings, though his control started to slip a bit in the latter part of the 37-pitch outing. HIGHLIGHTS Joe Ryan stole the show with a dazzling performance at Cleveland in his second major-league start, carrying a perfect game through six and ultimately allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings. His Game Score of 79 was the second-best for a Twins starter all season, trailing only José Berríos' spectacular first start of the year in Milwaukee. The young right-hander showed pretty much everything you'd want to see in his gem. He worked efficiently, needing only 85 pitches to get through seven frames while throwing 71% strikes. He notched only four strikeouts in this one, but induced plenty of weak contact. And while his fastball was good as advertised, Ryan continued to demonstrate he's no one-trick pony, mixing in some very nice low sliders as well. Ryan was the star in another strong week for the rotation, which got another member back via the return of Michael Pineda. Needing to build up after skipping a rehab stint, Big Mike appeared in relief of Bailey Ober on Monday, tossing three scoreless innings. He followed up with five innings of one-run ball against Kansas City on Saturday night. This isn't the dominant version of Pineda we've seen in the past, but he's still plenty effective and the velocity appears to have rebounded. His fastball averaged 91.6 MPH on Saturday, which is his highest mark since early June. Personally, I believe that Pineda makes a lot of sense to bring back on a low-cost deal for the back of the rotation, although not everyone agrees. Ober, for his part, kept chugging along with a couple more strong performances – albeit in two of his shorter outings in a while. On Monday against Detroit, the big righty tossed four innings of two-run ball, striking out four with no walks. In his following start on Sunday, he was charged with three runs over 4 ⅓ innings, but had his stuff working with six strikeouts and 16 swings-and-misses on 75 pitches (21% SwSt). Ober hasn't issued multiple walks in a start since before the All-Star break, and owns a tremendous 48-to-6 K/BB ratio over 50 innings in his past 10 starts. Toss in a very fine outing on Tuesday from John Gant, who struck out seven over five scoreless, and it was an altogether outstanding week for this mish-mashed collection of starting pitchers. Alas, it's not just the rotation holding things down for the pitching staff as this campaign winds down. The bullpen, to its credit, has really come around. Despite lacking its best player in Rogers, the relief corps has quietly been among the best in baseball since the end of July. The past week saw Minnesota's bullpen deliver a 1.56 ERA, with Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, and Luke Farrell chipping in three scoreless innings apiece. Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza Jr., and of course Moran had solid showings as well. Offensively, Jorge Polanco remains the life of the party. He opened his week with a four-hit game in Cleveland that included three doubles and a homer, then launched two bombs against the Royals on Saturday night. The second baseman is putting on a power-hitting clinic here in September, where he's slugging .795 with six doubles and five homers. Perhaps most impressively, he's driving the ball like this without sacrificing much contact. True to form, Polanco has struck out only seven times in 45 plate appearances this month. He's locked in, to put it mildly. Byron Buxton isn't quite on Polanco's level right now, but he does show signs of getting back on track offensively. Buck launched three homers last week, including this mammoth blast to straightaway center on Friday night: He didn't do a ton otherwise, and his swing still feels pretty all-or-nothing at this point, but it's a good start as the center fielder looks to finish strong in another frustrating, incomplete season. LOWLIGHTS Role players vying for opportunities on the 2022 team aren't doing much to help their cases. Brent Rooker came through with a big two-run double on Sunday, but went just 4-for-18 overall with six strikeouts and no walks. Rob Refsnyder – who drew two starts as the No. 3 hitter and one in the two-hole, for reasons unknown – managed three singles in 15 at-bats. Since returning from the IL in early August, he's slashing .208/.313/.236 with two extra-base hits (both doubles) and two RBIs in 83 plate appearances. Jake Cave made one start all week and was 1-for-6 at the plate. In fact, he's started only twice in the team's past 17 games. He's pretty clearly being phased out and his departure this offseason feels like a mere formality. TRENDING STORYLINE Honestly, there's nothing too compelling happening at the moment. Will the Twins avoid 90 losses? (They'd need to go 10-9 or better in the final 19 games.) Can they steer clear of a last-place finish? (They're currently two games behind the fourth-place Royals). How high of a draft pick will they net in 2022? (As Aaron Gleeman notes, they could realistically get as high as No. 7.) Personally I'll be more interested in following some of the noteworthy individual storylines in these last three weeks. I want to see if Buxton can show hints of the player he was back in April. I want to see how Ryan and Ober close out their first impressions in the majors. I want to see how Moran's stuff plays against big-league hitters. The games might not matter much anymore, but there are other implications to this remaining stretch nonetheless. LOOKING AHEAD For a second consecutive week, the Twins must take a disruptive detour in the middle of their homestand, heading to New York on Monday for an afternoon makeup game against the Yankees. Should be a ton of fun! Right?! From there, they quickly turn around and head back home for a double-header against Cleveland on Tuesday. Three games in 35 hours should provide some challenges for Rocco Baldelli in managing a thin pitching staff, but at least there's an off day coming up on Thursday. It's unclear at this point who will take Dobnak's vacant turn with Albers sent back to the minors. Charlie Barnes is a decent bet. MONDAY, 9/13: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP John Gant v. TBD TUESDAY, 9/14: CLEVELAND @ TWINS (G1) – RHP Aaron Civale v. RHP Joe Ryan TUESDAY, 9/14: CLEVELAND @ TWINS (G2) – RHP Triston McKenzie v. TBD WEDNESDAY, 9/15: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Cal Quantrill v. RHP Griffin Jax FRIDAY, 9/17: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP Michael Pineda v. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu SATURDAY, 9/18: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Steven Matz SUNDAY, 9/19: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP John Gant v. RHP Alek Manoah MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. It was another strong week for Minnesota's emerging young arms, including a fantastic performance from their recently promoted rookie starter and an impressive debut from one of their best relief prospects. Find the full scoop below. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/6 thru Sun, 9/12 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 63-80) Run Differential Last Week: +9 (Overall: -102) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (19.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 137 | MIN 5, CLE 2: Ober and Pineda Piggyback, Polanco Rakes Game 138 | MIN 3, CLE 0: Gant Combines with 4 Relievers in Shutout Game 139 | MIN 3, CLE 0: Ryan Flirts with Perfection, Dominates Cleveland Game 140 | CLE 4, MIN 1: Quantrill Keeps Twins Bats Quiet Game 141 | KC 6, MIN 4: Offense Goes Silent After Explosive First Inning Game 142 | MIN 9, KC 2: Twins Drill 5 Homers, Coast to Easy Win Game 143 | KC 5, MIN 3: Royals Rally Late, Take Series NEWS & NOTES If you had to put your finger on just what's gone wrong with the Twins' pitching staff this year, one culprit would be ... well, fingers. Taylor Rogers has officially been shut down for the season with a middle finger sprain that he suffered in late July. While he'll have a full offseason to heal, the nature of this injury for a slider-reliant pitcher turns the team's top reliever (and one of their top trade candidates) into a major question mark. It's hard to fully trust he'll be the same guy when he returns. The same is more or less true for Randy Dobnak, who went back on the IL ahead of his planned Wednesday start with renewed soreness in his own middle finger, which previously sidelined him for more than two months. Dobnak, unlike Rogers, was struggling pretty consistently before getting hurt so there's even less assurance with him going forward. With Dobnak going down again, Andrew Albers was recalled to start on short notice. He did okay, all things considered, but was returned to St. Paul a couple days later when the Twins promoted (at long last) relief pitcher Jovani Moran. The lefty Moran has been a dominant force this year in the minors, piling up whiffs and strikeouts with help from a standout changeup that makes him even highly effective against righties. Moran made his debut on Monday and looked good, notching a pair of strikeouts over 1 ⅓ innings, though his control started to slip a bit in the latter part of the 37-pitch outing. HIGHLIGHTS Joe Ryan stole the show with a dazzling performance at Cleveland in his second major-league start, carrying a perfect game through six and ultimately allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings. His Game Score of 79 was the second-best for a Twins starter all season, trailing only José Berríos' spectacular first start of the year in Milwaukee. The young right-hander showed pretty much everything you'd want to see in his gem. He worked efficiently, needing only 85 pitches to get through seven frames while throwing 71% strikes. He notched only four strikeouts in this one, but induced plenty of weak contact. And while his fastball was good as advertised, Ryan continued to demonstrate he's no one-trick pony, mixing in some very nice low sliders as well. Ryan was the star in another strong week for the rotation, which got another member back via the return of Michael Pineda. Needing to build up after skipping a rehab stint, Big Mike appeared in relief of Bailey Ober on Monday, tossing three scoreless innings. He followed up with five innings of one-run ball against Kansas City on Saturday night. This isn't the dominant version of Pineda we've seen in the past, but he's still plenty effective and the velocity appears to have rebounded. His fastball averaged 91.6 MPH on Saturday, which is his highest mark since early June. Personally, I believe that Pineda makes a lot of sense to bring back on a low-cost deal for the back of the rotation, although not everyone agrees. Ober, for his part, kept chugging along with a couple more strong performances – albeit in two of his shorter outings in a while. On Monday against Detroit, the big righty tossed four innings of two-run ball, striking out four with no walks. In his following start on Sunday, he was charged with three runs over 4 ⅓ innings, but had his stuff working with six strikeouts and 16 swings-and-misses on 75 pitches (21% SwSt). Ober hasn't issued multiple walks in a start since before the All-Star break, and owns a tremendous 48-to-6 K/BB ratio over 50 innings in his past 10 starts. Toss in a very fine outing on Tuesday from John Gant, who struck out seven over five scoreless, and it was an altogether outstanding week for this mish-mashed collection of starting pitchers. Alas, it's not just the rotation holding things down for the pitching staff as this campaign winds down. The bullpen, to its credit, has really come around. Despite lacking its best player in Rogers, the relief corps has quietly been among the best in baseball since the end of July. The past week saw Minnesota's bullpen deliver a 1.56 ERA, with Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, and Luke Farrell chipping in three scoreless innings apiece. Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza Jr., and of course Moran had solid showings as well. Offensively, Jorge Polanco remains the life of the party. He opened his week with a four-hit game in Cleveland that included three doubles and a homer, then launched two bombs against the Royals on Saturday night. The second baseman is putting on a power-hitting clinic here in September, where he's slugging .795 with six doubles and five homers. Perhaps most impressively, he's driving the ball like this without sacrificing much contact. True to form, Polanco has struck out only seven times in 45 plate appearances this month. He's locked in, to put it mildly. Byron Buxton isn't quite on Polanco's level right now, but he does show signs of getting back on track offensively. Buck launched three homers last week, including this mammoth blast to straightaway center on Friday night: He didn't do a ton otherwise, and his swing still feels pretty all-or-nothing at this point, but it's a good start as the center fielder looks to finish strong in another frustrating, incomplete season. LOWLIGHTS Role players vying for opportunities on the 2022 team aren't doing much to help their cases. Brent Rooker came through with a big two-run double on Sunday, but went just 4-for-18 overall with six strikeouts and no walks. Rob Refsnyder – who drew two starts as the No. 3 hitter and one in the two-hole, for reasons unknown – managed three singles in 15 at-bats. Since returning from the IL in early August, he's slashing .208/.313/.236 with two extra-base hits (both doubles) and two RBIs in 83 plate appearances. Jake Cave made one start all week and was 1-for-6 at the plate. In fact, he's started only twice in the team's past 17 games. He's pretty clearly being phased out and his departure this offseason feels like a mere formality. TRENDING STORYLINE Honestly, there's nothing too compelling happening at the moment. Will the Twins avoid 90 losses? (They'd need to go 10-9 or better in the final 19 games.) Can they steer clear of a last-place finish? (They're currently two games behind the fourth-place Royals). How high of a draft pick will they net in 2022? (As Aaron Gleeman notes, they could realistically get as high as No. 7.) Personally I'll be more interested in following some of the noteworthy individual storylines in these last three weeks. I want to see if Buxton can show hints of the player he was back in April. I want to see how Ryan and Ober close out their first impressions in the majors. I want to see how Moran's stuff plays against big-league hitters. The games might not matter much anymore, but there are other implications to this remaining stretch nonetheless. LOOKING AHEAD For a second consecutive week, the Twins must take a disruptive detour in the middle of their homestand, heading to New York on Monday for an afternoon makeup game against the Yankees. Should be a ton of fun! Right?! From there, they quickly turn around and head back home for a double-header against Cleveland on Tuesday. Three games in 35 hours should provide some challenges for Rocco Baldelli in managing a thin pitching staff, but at least there's an off day coming up on Thursday. It's unclear at this point who will take Dobnak's vacant turn with Albers sent back to the minors. Charlie Barnes is a decent bet. MONDAY, 9/13: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP John Gant v. TBD TUESDAY, 9/14: CLEVELAND @ TWINS (G1) – RHP Aaron Civale v. RHP Joe Ryan TUESDAY, 9/14: CLEVELAND @ TWINS (G2) – RHP Triston McKenzie v. TBD WEDNESDAY, 9/15: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Cal Quantrill v. RHP Griffin Jax FRIDAY, 9/17: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP Michael Pineda v. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu SATURDAY, 9/18: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Steven Matz SUNDAY, 9/19: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP John Gant v. RHP Alek Manoah 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
  11. The Minnesota Twins lost Sunday but the game marked reliever Jovani Moran's Major League debut. Also discussed in this video are Rob Refsnyder, Bailey Ober, Brent Rooker, Jimmy Kerrigan, Yennier Cano, Cole Sands, Aaron Whitefield, D.J. Burt, Leobaldo Cabrera and Jair Camargo.
  12. The Minnesota Twins lost Sunday but the game marked reliever Jovani Moran's Major League debut. Also discussed in this video are Rob Refsnyder, Bailey Ober, Brent Rooker, Jimmy Kerrigan, Yennier Cano, Cole Sands, Aaron Whitefield, D.J. Burt, Leobaldo Cabrera and Jair Camargo. View full video
  13. Getting a closer look at younger players can offer a glimmer of hope for the future during a lost season. Here are the next four Twins prospects that may make their big-league debuts. Joe Ryan, RH SP Ryan was one of the key pieces as part of the Nelson Cruz trade and he made his organizational debut last week after returning from the Olympics. His Saints debut was ridiculous as he struck out nine batters in four innings. Ryan, a former water polo player, is known for the life on his fastball and his command of the strike zone. He led the minor-league baseball in strikeout rate in 2019 by fanning 183 batters in 123 2/3 innings. As a 25-year-old, he has already found success in the high minors, and the Twins may want to give him a September audition for the 2022 rotation. Jose Miranda, INF Miranda is having one of the best offensive seasons in team history among players in the high minors, and he is a lock to be the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. There are multiple ways to get him to Minneapolis before the season’s end. Entering 2021, he had struggled with working counts in his favor, which led to a lot of weak contact. Minnesota worked on his approach last season, and the results speak for themselves. St. Paul has been a remarkably better team with Miranda in the line-up, and the team has taken over first place in the division. Jovani Moran, LHRP Moran was left unprotected during this past season’s Rule 5 Draft (and the year before), but he went unselected, which looks like a mistake by MLB’s other organizations. Moran’s stock rose significantly this season as he has compiled strong numbers at Double- and Triple-A. He’s held opponents to hitting .115/.213/.230 (.443) as he has collected 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. His dominant change-up is how he misses bats, as MLB Pipeline calls it a double-plus pitch. Moran is big-league ready, but the Saints are fighting for a division title so the Twins may want to keep him in St. Paul. Austin Martin, SS/CF Martin, one of the pieces of the Jose Berrios trade, is the only player on this list not at Triple-A. He has been playing well at Double-A, and the argument can be made for him as the organization’s top prospect. He is an on-base machine, but there have been some questions raised this year about his power. Defensively, he can play multiple infield positions and centerfield, so this flexibility can allow him to reach the big leagues more quickly. Minnesota has two series against the Blue Jays near the end of September, and that might make for an intriguing big-league debut for Martin. There are a few things to consider when looking at the names above. Three of the players are currently at Triple-A, and St. Paul is in the playoff hunt. Also, none of the players are currently on the 40-man roster, but all but Martin will need to be added this winter. There will be plenty of 40-man roster clean-up to do during the off-season, so the team might not want to add another wrinkle to that equation. All four of these players look more than ready to help the big-league squad. Now the question remains, who will be the first to make it to the show? 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
  14. Joe Ryan, RH SP Ryan was one of the key pieces as part of the Nelson Cruz trade and he made his organizational debut last week after returning from the Olympics. His Saints debut was ridiculous as he struck out nine batters in four innings. Ryan, a former water polo player, is known for the life on his fastball and his command of the strike zone. He led the minor-league baseball in strikeout rate in 2019 by fanning 183 batters in 123 2/3 innings. As a 25-year-old, he has already found success in the high minors, and the Twins may want to give him a September audition for the 2022 rotation. Jose Miranda, INF Miranda is having one of the best offensive seasons in team history among players in the high minors, and he is a lock to be the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. There are multiple ways to get him to Minneapolis before the season’s end. Entering 2021, he had struggled with working counts in his favor, which led to a lot of weak contact. Minnesota worked on his approach last season, and the results speak for themselves. St. Paul has been a remarkably better team with Miranda in the line-up, and the team has taken over first place in the division. Jovani Moran, LHRP Moran was left unprotected during this past season’s Rule 5 Draft (and the year before), but he went unselected, which looks like a mistake by MLB’s other organizations. Moran’s stock rose significantly this season as he has compiled strong numbers at Double- and Triple-A. He’s held opponents to hitting .115/.213/.230 (.443) as he has collected 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. His dominant change-up is how he misses bats, as MLB Pipeline calls it a double-plus pitch. Moran is big-league ready, but the Saints are fighting for a division title so the Twins may want to keep him in St. Paul. Austin Martin, SS/CF Martin, one of the pieces of the Jose Berrios trade, is the only player on this list not at Triple-A. He has been playing well at Double-A, and the argument can be made for him as the organization’s top prospect. He is an on-base machine, but there have been some questions raised this year about his power. Defensively, he can play multiple infield positions and centerfield, so this flexibility can allow him to reach the big leagues more quickly. Minnesota has two series against the Blue Jays near the end of September, and that might make for an intriguing big-league debut for Martin. There are a few things to consider when looking at the names above. Three of the players are currently at Triple-A, and St. Paul is in the playoff hunt. Also, none of the players are currently on the 40-man roster, but all but Martin will need to be added this winter. There will be plenty of 40-man roster clean-up to do during the off-season, so the team might not want to add another wrinkle to that equation. All four of these players look more than ready to help the big-league squad. Now the question remains, who will be the first to make it to the show? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. The doldrums of August have arrived, the Minnesota Twins are firmly outside of the playoff picture, and fans' eyes have begun to aim their gaze with increasing amounts of intensity towards the offseason. While free agency and trades most often dominate the conversation during the winter, another topic of conversation quietly drums on in the background: the 40-man roster. The Twins will be faced with several decisions during the offseason concerning the makeup of their roster, beginning with who's placed on and removed from the 40-man. While it may seem as though the team will be confronted with many impossible decisions, the fact of the matter is that the Twins are well-positioned to add critical prospects to the 40-man without losing much in the way of established talent and productivity. Below is a discussion of the Twins 40-man roster, primarily regarding their top prospects. Twins Daily's most recent Top 30 prospect list was used for reference. Already on the 40-man Jordan Balazovic, RHP Jhoan Duran, RHP Drew Strotman, RHP Gilberto Celestino, OF Edwar Colina, RHP Brent Rooker, OF/DH Nick Gordon, UTIL Of the players listed above, only Rooker's future with the team appears to be dubious. Perhaps Gordon's as well. If the Twins were to try to drop them from the 40-man — something that I don't consider to be particularly likely — they both would be claimed. While Rooker and Gordon may not remain as Twins for the long haul, Minnesota likely won't just give them away for free. The remainder of the athletes above will probably fill critical roles with the Twins, if not next summer, then in the summers to follow. Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft or Minor League Free Agency Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Austin Martin, OF/SS Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Keoni Cavaco, INF Misael Urbina, OF Matt Wallner, OF/DH Alerick Soulaire, UTIL Will Holland, INF Marco Raya, RHP Spencer Steer, INF Steve Hajjar, LHP Louie Varland, RHP Noah Miller, INF Chase Petty, RHP All of these guys are going to be sticking around for at least one more season, if not longer. To be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, a player must have spent at least five seasons with the same team if they were signed or drafted during or after high school or at least four seasons if drafted out of college. To be eligible for minor league free agency, an athlete must have spent at least six full seasons with the same team. None of the players above meet the criteria, so they aren't going anywhere unless traded. Additionally, save for perhaps Austin Martin and Matt Canterino, it's unlikely that any of the above athletes will be promoted to the majors at any point next season. The majority are still fairly young or lack professional experience, meaning some more seasoning in the minor leagues is more than warranted. 40-man Locks Jose Miranda, INF Joe Ryan, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Royce Lewis, SS/OF Jovani Moran, LHP There's no chance that the Twins will risk losing any of these guys. Miranda has been the most impressive minor league player in the system — if not all of MiLB — and will likely slot in somewhere in the infield next season. Joe Ryan and Josh Winder will probably be among those competing for a starting rotation spot next spring. Cole Sands has dominated the minors when healthy. Royce Lewis is a potential franchise cornerstone. Jovani Moran is already an MLB-caliber reliever. While all five athletes may not make the Opening Day roster, they will all accumulate service time beginning next summer, if not sooner. 50/50 Chance Blayne Enlow, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Ian Hamilton, RHP Yunior Severino, INF Jermaine Palacios, INF Here's where the Twins need to make some decisions. Enlow was a third-round pick in 2017 out of high school and has been phenomenal during his minor league career. However, he will miss a good chunk of next season — if not the entire season — after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this summer. While that may seem to disqualify him from Rule 5 consideration, a team could select Enlow and easily keep him on the 60-day IL for the entire season. Doing so would save his 40-man roster spot for another athlete and effectively eliminate the chance for Enlow to be returned to the Twins. Because of this, I would not be surprised if the Twins placed him on the 40-man rather than risk losing him for nothing. As I have discussed frequently, Vallimont is an enigma. He has fantastic raw stuff and strikeout numbers, but he lacks command and gives up too many free passes and runs. While he may eventually become an MLB pitcher, he isn't particularly close to being one at the moment. For this reason, I think it would be unlikely that a team would select him in the Rule 5 Draft, and, as such, I could see the Twins keeping him off their 40-man. Cano is an electric bullpen arm that dominated the lower minor leagues but has struggled a little bit since being promoted to Triple-A. That said, he has the raw stuff to carve out a major league career. He's already 27-years-old, but has only spent two seasons in the minors after signing as a free agent in 2019. So while he isn't eligible for the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, one figures that if he's going to make it to the big leagues, he'll likely have to do it soon. I'd be surprised if we don't see him in Minneapolis at some point next season. Odds are that he won't be added to the 40-man until next season if he isn't by the end of this one. Both Severino and Palacios were former highly-touted prospects who failed to live up to expectations, though both have been performing exceptionally well as of late. As was the case with Vallimont, neither are ready to face MLB pitchers consistently. However, both still have a fair amount of potential, especially if their recent output remains. Palacios would be eligible for free agency if he is not rostered, while Severino would be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. If I'm the Twins, I place Severino on the 40-man and hope I can re-sign Palacios. Hamilton's situation is akin to that of Palacios. He's a former highly-regarded prospect who will be eligible for free agency if not added to the 40-man. He's shown promise this season at the Triple-A level, hitting 100 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions. Frankly, it's a little surprising that the Twins haven't given him a shot to this point, and, who knows, maybe they'll do so before the summer is over. Regardless, Hamilton has shown that he still has MLB talent and simply letting him walk could prove to be a poor decision. Rather Unlikely Notable Prospects Wander Javier, SS Trey Cabbage, OF/DH Both Javier and Cabbage will be eligible for minor league free agency following the season, though I doubt that the Twins will use that fact as motivation to put them on the 40-man. Javier has been too inconsistent at the plate to justify a roster spot, while Cabbage is a power-hitting corner outfielder/1B/DH-type. Cabbage is in the midst of a career year and does have some value; however, the Twins are loaded with young, power-hitting outfield talent. He could probably fetch something like a potential bullpen arm in a trade, but the odds of a team trading for him when they could try to sign him away from the Twins are low. Impending Free Agents Michael Pineda, RHP Alexander Colome, RHP Andrelton Simmons, SS The Twins may try to re-sign Pineda and Colome this coming winter, but Simmons seems highly unlikely to return, especially with Lewis's arrival right around the corner. I'd put the over/under on open 40-man roster spots from this group at 1.5. 40-Man Spots That May Be Up For Grabs Charlie Barnes, LHP Devin Smeltzer, LHP Beau Burrows, RHP Danny Coulombe, LHP Luke Farrell, RHP Edgar Garcia, RHP Ralph Garza Jr., RHP Juan Minaya, RHP Cody Stashak, RHP Lewis Thorpe, LHP Nick Vincent, RHP Derek Law, RHP Willians Astudillo, UTIL Jake Cave, OF Kyle Garlick, OF Rob Refsnyder, OF The Twins have a bevy of bullpen arms, bench players, and trade candidates that could be on the move this offseason. As such, the team has at least 16 40-man spots — and that may be an underestimate — to play with. Add in the impending free agents, and that number jumps to 19. Subtract the locks, and that number falls to 14. So while it may seem as though the Twins are on the cusp of a roster crunch at first blush, the reality is that the team has plenty of room to play with this coming winter. If the team loses anyone to the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, it's because the team determined that they were of little value to them moving forward. 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 of Lucas's minor league prospect coverage here View full article
  16. The Twins will be faced with several decisions during the offseason concerning the makeup of their roster, beginning with who's placed on and removed from the 40-man. While it may seem as though the team will be confronted with many impossible decisions, the fact of the matter is that the Twins are well-positioned to add critical prospects to the 40-man without losing much in the way of established talent and productivity. Below is a discussion of the Twins 40-man roster, primarily regarding their top prospects. Twins Daily's most recent Top 30 prospect list was used for reference. Already on the 40-man Jordan Balazovic, RHP Jhoan Duran, RHP Drew Strotman, RHP Gilberto Celestino, OF Edwar Colina, RHP Brent Rooker, OF/DH Nick Gordon, UTIL Of the players listed above, only Rooker's future with the team appears to be dubious. Perhaps Gordon's as well. If the Twins were to try to drop them from the 40-man — something that I don't consider to be particularly likely — they both would be claimed. While Rooker and Gordon may not remain as Twins for the long haul, Minnesota likely won't just give them away for free. The remainder of the athletes above will probably fill critical roles with the Twins, if not next summer, then in the summers to follow. Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft or Minor League Free Agency Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Austin Martin, OF/SS Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Keoni Cavaco, INF Misael Urbina, OF Matt Wallner, OF/DH Alerick Soulaire, UTIL Will Holland, INF Marco Raya, RHP Spencer Steer, INF Steve Hajjar, LHP Louie Varland, RHP Noah Miller, INF Chase Petty, RHP All of these guys are going to be sticking around for at least one more season, if not longer. To be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, a player must have spent at least five seasons with the same team if they were signed or drafted during or after high school or at least four seasons if drafted out of college. To be eligible for minor league free agency, an athlete must have spent at least six full seasons with the same team. None of the players above meet the criteria, so they aren't going anywhere unless traded. Additionally, save for perhaps Austin Martin and Matt Canterino, it's unlikely that any of the above athletes will be promoted to the majors at any point next season. The majority are still fairly young or lack professional experience, meaning some more seasoning in the minor leagues is more than warranted. 40-man Locks Jose Miranda, INF Joe Ryan, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Royce Lewis, SS/OF Jovani Moran, LHP There's no chance that the Twins will risk losing any of these guys. Miranda has been the most impressive minor league player in the system — if not all of MiLB — and will likely slot in somewhere in the infield next season. Joe Ryan and Josh Winder will probably be among those competing for a starting rotation spot next spring. Cole Sands has dominated the minors when healthy. Royce Lewis is a potential franchise cornerstone. Jovani Moran is already an MLB-caliber reliever. While all five athletes may not make the Opening Day roster, they will all accumulate service time beginning next summer, if not sooner. 50/50 Chance Blayne Enlow, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Ian Hamilton, RHP Yunior Severino, INF Jermaine Palacios, INF Here's where the Twins need to make some decisions. Enlow was a third-round pick in 2017 out of high school and has been phenomenal during his minor league career. However, he will miss a good chunk of next season — if not the entire season — after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this summer. While that may seem to disqualify him from Rule 5 consideration, a team could select Enlow and easily keep him on the 60-day IL for the entire season. Doing so would save his 40-man roster spot for another athlete and effectively eliminate the chance for Enlow to be returned to the Twins. Because of this, I would not be surprised if the Twins placed him on the 40-man rather than risk losing him for nothing. As I have discussed frequently, Vallimont is an enigma. He has fantastic raw stuff and strikeout numbers, but he lacks command and gives up too many free passes and runs. While he may eventually become an MLB pitcher, he isn't particularly close to being one at the moment. For this reason, I think it would be unlikely that a team would select him in the Rule 5 Draft, and, as such, I could see the Twins keeping him off their 40-man. Cano is an electric bullpen arm that dominated the lower minor leagues but has struggled a little bit since being promoted to Triple-A. That said, he has the raw stuff to carve out a major league career. He's already 27-years-old, but has only spent two seasons in the minors after signing as a free agent in 2019. So while he isn't eligible for the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, one figures that if he's going to make it to the big leagues, he'll likely have to do it soon. I'd be surprised if we don't see him in Minneapolis at some point next season. Odds are that he won't be added to the 40-man until next season if he isn't by the end of this one. Both Severino and Palacios were former highly-touted prospects who failed to live up to expectations, though both have been performing exceptionally well as of late. As was the case with Vallimont, neither are ready to face MLB pitchers consistently. However, both still have a fair amount of potential, especially if their recent output remains. Palacios would be eligible for free agency if he is not rostered, while Severino would be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. If I'm the Twins, I place Severino on the 40-man and hope I can re-sign Palacios. Hamilton's situation is akin to that of Palacios. He's a former highly-regarded prospect who will be eligible for free agency if not added to the 40-man. He's shown promise this season at the Triple-A level, hitting 100 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions. Frankly, it's a little surprising that the Twins haven't given him a shot to this point, and, who knows, maybe they'll do so before the summer is over. Regardless, Hamilton has shown that he still has MLB talent and simply letting him walk could prove to be a poor decision. Rather Unlikely Notable Prospects Wander Javier, SS Trey Cabbage, OF/DH Both Javier and Cabbage will be eligible for minor league free agency following the season, though I doubt that the Twins will use that fact as motivation to put them on the 40-man. Javier has been too inconsistent at the plate to justify a roster spot, while Cabbage is a power-hitting corner outfielder/1B/DH-type. Cabbage is in the midst of a career year and does have some value; however, the Twins are loaded with young, power-hitting outfield talent. He could probably fetch something like a potential bullpen arm in a trade, but the odds of a team trading for him when they could try to sign him away from the Twins are low. Impending Free Agents Michael Pineda, RHP Alexander Colome, RHP Andrelton Simmons, SS The Twins may try to re-sign Pineda and Colome this coming winter, but Simmons seems highly unlikely to return, especially with Lewis's arrival right around the corner. I'd put the over/under on open 40-man roster spots from this group at 1.5. 40-Man Spots That May Be Up For Grabs Charlie Barnes, LHP Devin Smeltzer, LHP Beau Burrows, RHP Danny Coulombe, LHP Luke Farrell, RHP Edgar Garcia, RHP Ralph Garza Jr., RHP Juan Minaya, RHP Cody Stashak, RHP Lewis Thorpe, LHP Nick Vincent, RHP Derek Law, RHP Willians Astudillo, UTIL Jake Cave, OF Kyle Garlick, OF Rob Refsnyder, OF The Twins have a bevy of bullpen arms, bench players, and trade candidates that could be on the move this offseason. As such, the team has at least 16 40-man spots — and that may be an underestimate — to play with. Add in the impending free agents, and that number jumps to 19. Subtract the locks, and that number falls to 14. So while it may seem as though the Twins are on the cusp of a roster crunch at first blush, the reality is that the team has plenty of room to play with this coming winter. If the team loses anyone to the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, it's because the team determined that they were of little value to them moving forward. 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 of Lucas's minor league prospect coverage here
  17. It was a good week on the road for the Twins. In the minor leagues, there were some new prospects making their first impressions, some walk-off wins, multi-homer games, transactions, and some graduations. Find out more in this week’s Twins Minor League Week in Review. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the FCL Twins game and the transactions from Monday. TRANSACTIONS RHPs Tyler Beck and Erik Manoah, Jr. were promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 1, FCL Braves 5 Box Score The FCL Twins managed just five hits on Monday. Alerick Soularie had three of them including his first double. Shouldn’t be long before he joins the Mighty Mussels. A rehabbing Anthony Prato had one hit as well. Juan Mendez made the start. He went 3 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on one hit and one walk. He struck out six batters. John Wilson got the next five outs and gave up just one hit. Jackson Hicks made his affiliated-ball debut. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits over three innings. He struck out three. Hicks signed with the team last month out of the USPBL. Rafael Feliz gave up an unearned run in his inning. With that, let’s look at Week 14 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-2, hosting Louisville), overall (44-39) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1, hosting Midland), overall (49-35) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (1-5, hosting Quad Cities), overall (45-39) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, hosting Dunedin), overall (43-38) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-1), overall (7-19) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Complex Struggles but Success Everywhere Else The Twins Bought Low on Austin Martin Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - July 2021 Tuesday: Austin Martin Makes Twins Debut Twins Claim RHP Ralph Garza Jr. Wednesday: Sabato’s Blasts, Martin’s Heroics Thursday: Shootout in Wichita, Pitcher’s Duel in St. Paul Friday: Affiliates Feast on Home Cooking Scouting Twins Prospects: Cole Sands St. Paul to Stardom: Louie Varland is the Real Deal Saturday: Walk-off Winners Sunday: (Gonna Make You Sweat) Everybody Pitch Now TD Top Twins Prospects (Post Draft and Post Trade Deadline): 26-30 HIGHLIGHTS We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 14 performances Twins Player of the Week: Jermaine Palacios, Wichita Wind Surge A former Twins top prospect, Palacios was sent to the Rays in exchange for Jake Odorizzi. He struggled with Tampa, especially in Double-A. The Twins outbid teams to bring back Palacios this offseason. He signed with the Twins with the understanding that Royce Lewis would be the Wichita shortstop to start the season, and he would need to move around the diamond. Instead, Lewis hurt his knee and Palacios played shortstop nearly every day. He plays great defense there, and he has provided strong offense as well. Then last week, the Twins acquired shortstop/center fielder Austin Martin from the Rays, and Palacios needed to move around the infield. He played a game at second base. Then he played a game at third base. Then Martin moved out to center, and Palacios got to play some games at shortstop. It’s fair to say that Palacios handled it well, and was out to prove something. In six games, he hit .304/.385/.783 (1.167) with two doubles, three homers and seven RBI. He also stole two bases. In 76 games this season, he has hit .261/.351/.467 (.818) with 12 doubles and 16 home runs. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Jovani Moran, St. Paul Saints Moran has had a terrific season, and his adjustment to Triple-A has gone swimmingly. This past week, he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings over two games. He gave up no hits. He issued zero walks. He did hit a batter. He also struck out six batters. In seven games since joining the Saints, he is 1-0 with a save. He’s got a 1.80 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP. In 15 innings, he has four walks and 23 strikeouts. (13.8 K/9) That is after he worked 20 games in Double-A Wichita to start the season. There, he went 2-1 with two saves and a 1.91 ERA and 0.74 WHIP. In 37 2/3 innings, he walked 14 and struck out 64 batters (15.3 K/9). So, overall, he’s got a 1.88 ERA, a 0.67 WHIP, just 3.1 BB/9 and 14.9 K/9. Yes, in his 52 2/3 innings, he has 87 strikeouts. The 2015 seventh round pick from Puerto Rico appears to be ready for one more promotion this season. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Ben Rortvedt is getting much more playing time now with the Saints, and he’s performing. This past week, he played in five games and hit .357/.400/.857 (1.257) with a double and two home runs including a pinch-hit, extra-innings, walk-off, two-run homer. Mark Contreras played in five games. He hit .294/.316/.706 (1.022) with a double and two home runs, including a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of the Rortvedt Walkoff Game. The Saints also got some very nice bullpen work. Kyle Barraclough struck out six batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit. Edgar Garcia also worked in three games. He threw four scoreless innings and gave up two hits and a walk. Chandler Shepherd had a terrific start, tossing six shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and walked none. Andrew Albers gave up one run over seven innings in his start. Drew Strotman gave up just one run on four hits over five innings in his start. Wichita Wind Surge Trey Cabbage had a big week. He played in all six games and hit .375/.423/.875 (1.298) with a double, triple and three home runs. In his first week with the Twins organization, Austin Martin played in all six games and hit .400/.571/.500 (1.071) with two doubles. He also walked six times and struck out just once. BJ Boyd played just twice and went 3-for-7 (.429) with a double and a home run. Caleb Hamilton played in three games and had a double, triple and home run. Martin and Hamilton each had a walkoff this week. Jordan Gore worked three scoreless, hitless innings and gave up only a walk. He struck out four. Austin Schulfer provided a solid start. He gave up one run on five hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out six. Cole Sands struck out 11 batters over 8 2/3 innings in his two starts while posting a 3.12 ERA. Cedar Rapids Kernels Max Smith had a strong week again. He played in five games and hit .357/.471/.571 (1.042) with a home run and three walks. DaShawn Keirsey, Jr, hit two home runs. Yunior Severino went 9-for-24 (.375) with a double over his six games. Breckin Williams worked three innings over two relief appearances. He gave up only an unearned run and struck out four. Osiris German struck out four batters over three innings over two games. In addition, he also received his high school equivalency through the Twins academy on Monday. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Aaron Sabato played in four games this past week. He went 2-for-11 (.182), but the two hits were both home runs, one in each game of a doubleheader. The highlight for the organization was the return of Matt Canterino. He worked two perfect innings on Sunday in his first rehab appearance. Matthew Swain struck out five batters over a three-inning performance. Bobby Milacki made one start and gave up just one earned run over four innings. He struck out five batters. Aaron Rozek worked twice out of the bullpen and gave up just one run over four innings. He also struck out five batters. FCL Twins Emmanuel Rodriguez had just seven at bats, but he had four hits including two doubles and a home run. Alerick Soularie finally got to make his professional debut after hurting his foot in spring training. In his three rehab games, he is 5-for-9 (.555) with a double and a home run. Ricardo Olivar also hit a home run. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints Nick Gordon will finally get every day playing time. In his return to the Saints, he played four games and went 2-for-15 (.133). Keon Broxton went 1-for-10 (.100). JT Riddle played in three games and went 0-for-8. Rafael Garza’s first appearance with a Twins affiliate didn’t go great. He gave up three runs on two hits and two walks and recorded just two outs. Wichita Wind Surge Both Aaron Whitefield and Andrew Bechtold went 3-for-20 (.150), though each had a home run, and Bechtold also had a double. Sean Gilmartin gave up four runs on four hits in his innings of work before going on the Injured List. Jordan Balazovic went 4 2/3 innings in his start. He gave up six runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter. Alex Phillips gave up four runs on four hits (2 HR) over 3 2/3 innings over two appearances. Cedar Rapids Kernels Seth Gray went 3-for-23 (.130). Michael Helman went 2-for-18 (.111). Gabriel Maciel went 1-for-9 (.111). Edouard Julien went 1-for-10 (.100). Matt Wallner went 2-for-22 (.091). Tyler Watson has been really good this season, but he had a rough one this past week. The lefty gave up six runs on four hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings in his start. Cody Laweryson gave up four runs on six hits and three walks over just 2 2/3 innings in his start. Even Ben Gross had an off start. He gave up seven runs on eight hits (3 HR) and a walk in 4 1/3 innings. He’s been pretty terrific of late. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Ruben Santana played in all six games and went 0-for-16. Misael Urbina went 1-for-18 (.056) over his six games. The one hit was a home run. Keoni Cavaco played in five games and went 2-for-19 (.105). Will Holland was 2-for-16 (.125) though he had a home run. TRENDING STORYLINE One very cool benefit of the Twins academies both in Ft. Myers and in the Dominican Republic is that beyond baseball work, they are able to take classes. There is a program which allows players to take classes and receive their high school equivalency and graduate. On Monday, there was a virtual celebration of the graduates from 2020 (were not able to celebrate in person) and 2021. Here is the list of Twins players who have received their diplomas. 2021 Graduating Class Carlos Aguiar Luis Baez Miguelangel Boadas Rubel Céspedes Gregory Durán Osiris Germán Oscar Paredes Alexander Peña Emmanuel Rodríguez Endy Rodríguez Malfrin Sosa 2020 Graduating Class Develson Aria Rafael Feliz Giovahniey Germán Argenis Jiménez Jeferson Morales Juan Pichardo Breilin Ramírez Wilker Reyes Carlos Suniaga Wander Valdez Join us in congratulating each of these, well, student-athletes. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. As you have seen, we have started to share the Twins Daily Top 30 Prospect rankings after the draft and trade deadline. Here is Part 1. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 12 GS, 57.1 IP, 55 H, 21 BB, 68 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.33 WHIP #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain, made first rehab appearance for Ft. Myers, 2 perfect innings) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 82 games, .337/.401/.587 (.987) with 19 doubles, 22 homers, 63 RBI, 30 BB, 52 K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 45 games, .249/.323/.341 (.664) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 19 RBI, 17 BB, 57 K, 5 SB #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (7 games, .250/.276/.464 (.740) with 2 homers, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 75 games, .185/.364/.309 (.674) with 13 doubles, 6 homers, 32 RBI, 67 BB, 101 K #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 33 games, .279/.338/.558 (.896) with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 9 homers, 23 RBI, 10 BB, 49 K. #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (12 GS, 52.1 IP, 53 H, 15 BB, 56 K, 4.99 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 12 G, 11 GS, 49.1 IP, 33 H, 21 BB, 64 K, 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (23 games, .176/.235/.374 (.608) with 6 doubles, 4 homers, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 27 K) #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 73 games, .193/.295/.294 (589) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homer, 46 RBI, 37 BB, 60 K, 12 SB) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 79 games, .255/.363/.497 (.860) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 19 homers, 48 RBI, 45 BB, 67 K) #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 77 games, .219/.273/.415 (.688) with 12 doubles, 9 triples, 10 homers, 41 RBI, 20 BB, 112 K) #18 - Alerick Soularie (FCL Twins) – 3 games, .556/.636/1.000 (1.636) with 1 doubles, 1 homer, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K) #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 15 GS, 64.1 IP, 60 H, 40 BB, 102 K, 4.76 ERA, 1.55 WHIP LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (Sean Mooney, Landon Leach, Casey Legumina, Miguel Rodriguez, Bobby Milacki, Aaron Rozek): Cedar Rapids @ Peoria:(Ben Gross, Louie Varland, TBD, Jon Olsen, Sawyer Gipson-Long, TBD) Wichita @ Tulsa: (Jordan Balazovic, Bryan Sammons, Chris Vallmont, Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic) St. Paul @ Indianapolis: (Andrew Albers, Drew Strotman, Chandler Shepherd, TBD, TBD, TBD) Feel free to ask any questions you like. View full article
  18. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the FCL Twins game and the transactions from Monday. TRANSACTIONS RHPs Tyler Beck and Erik Manoah, Jr. were promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 1, FCL Braves 5 Box Score The FCL Twins managed just five hits on Monday. Alerick Soularie had three of them including his first double. Shouldn’t be long before he joins the Mighty Mussels. A rehabbing Anthony Prato had one hit as well. Juan Mendez made the start. He went 3 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on one hit and one walk. He struck out six batters. John Wilson got the next five outs and gave up just one hit. Jackson Hicks made his affiliated-ball debut. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits over three innings. He struck out three. Hicks signed with the team last month out of the USPBL. Rafael Feliz gave up an unearned run in his inning. With that, let’s look at Week 14 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-2, hosting Louisville), overall (44-39) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1, hosting Midland), overall (49-35) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (1-5, hosting Quad Cities), overall (45-39) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, hosting Dunedin), overall (43-38) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-1), overall (7-19) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Complex Struggles but Success Everywhere Else The Twins Bought Low on Austin Martin Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - July 2021 Tuesday: Austin Martin Makes Twins Debut Twins Claim RHP Ralph Garza Jr. Wednesday: Sabato’s Blasts, Martin’s Heroics Thursday: Shootout in Wichita, Pitcher’s Duel in St. Paul Friday: Affiliates Feast on Home Cooking Scouting Twins Prospects: Cole Sands St. Paul to Stardom: Louie Varland is the Real Deal Saturday: Walk-off Winners Sunday: (Gonna Make You Sweat) Everybody Pitch Now TD Top Twins Prospects (Post Draft and Post Trade Deadline): 26-30 HIGHLIGHTS We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 14 performances Twins Player of the Week: Jermaine Palacios, Wichita Wind Surge A former Twins top prospect, Palacios was sent to the Rays in exchange for Jake Odorizzi. He struggled with Tampa, especially in Double-A. The Twins outbid teams to bring back Palacios this offseason. He signed with the Twins with the understanding that Royce Lewis would be the Wichita shortstop to start the season, and he would need to move around the diamond. Instead, Lewis hurt his knee and Palacios played shortstop nearly every day. He plays great defense there, and he has provided strong offense as well. Then last week, the Twins acquired shortstop/center fielder Austin Martin from the Rays, and Palacios needed to move around the infield. He played a game at second base. Then he played a game at third base. Then Martin moved out to center, and Palacios got to play some games at shortstop. It’s fair to say that Palacios handled it well, and was out to prove something. In six games, he hit .304/.385/.783 (1.167) with two doubles, three homers and seven RBI. He also stole two bases. In 76 games this season, he has hit .261/.351/.467 (.818) with 12 doubles and 16 home runs. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Jovani Moran, St. Paul Saints Moran has had a terrific season, and his adjustment to Triple-A has gone swimmingly. This past week, he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings over two games. He gave up no hits. He issued zero walks. He did hit a batter. He also struck out six batters. In seven games since joining the Saints, he is 1-0 with a save. He’s got a 1.80 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP. In 15 innings, he has four walks and 23 strikeouts. (13.8 K/9) That is after he worked 20 games in Double-A Wichita to start the season. There, he went 2-1 with two saves and a 1.91 ERA and 0.74 WHIP. In 37 2/3 innings, he walked 14 and struck out 64 batters (15.3 K/9). So, overall, he’s got a 1.88 ERA, a 0.67 WHIP, just 3.1 BB/9 and 14.9 K/9. Yes, in his 52 2/3 innings, he has 87 strikeouts. The 2015 seventh round pick from Puerto Rico appears to be ready for one more promotion this season. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Ben Rortvedt is getting much more playing time now with the Saints, and he’s performing. This past week, he played in five games and hit .357/.400/.857 (1.257) with a double and two home runs including a pinch-hit, extra-innings, walk-off, two-run homer. Mark Contreras played in five games. He hit .294/.316/.706 (1.022) with a double and two home runs, including a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of the Rortvedt Walkoff Game. The Saints also got some very nice bullpen work. Kyle Barraclough struck out six batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit. Edgar Garcia also worked in three games. He threw four scoreless innings and gave up two hits and a walk. Chandler Shepherd had a terrific start, tossing six shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and walked none. Andrew Albers gave up one run over seven innings in his start. Drew Strotman gave up just one run on four hits over five innings in his start. Wichita Wind Surge Trey Cabbage had a big week. He played in all six games and hit .375/.423/.875 (1.298) with a double, triple and three home runs. In his first week with the Twins organization, Austin Martin played in all six games and hit .400/.571/.500 (1.071) with two doubles. He also walked six times and struck out just once. BJ Boyd played just twice and went 3-for-7 (.429) with a double and a home run. Caleb Hamilton played in three games and had a double, triple and home run. Martin and Hamilton each had a walkoff this week. Jordan Gore worked three scoreless, hitless innings and gave up only a walk. He struck out four. Austin Schulfer provided a solid start. He gave up one run on five hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out six. Cole Sands struck out 11 batters over 8 2/3 innings in his two starts while posting a 3.12 ERA. Cedar Rapids Kernels Max Smith had a strong week again. He played in five games and hit .357/.471/.571 (1.042) with a home run and three walks. DaShawn Keirsey, Jr, hit two home runs. Yunior Severino went 9-for-24 (.375) with a double over his six games. Breckin Williams worked three innings over two relief appearances. He gave up only an unearned run and struck out four. Osiris German struck out four batters over three innings over two games. In addition, he also received his high school equivalency through the Twins academy on Monday. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Aaron Sabato played in four games this past week. He went 2-for-11 (.182), but the two hits were both home runs, one in each game of a doubleheader. The highlight for the organization was the return of Matt Canterino. He worked two perfect innings on Sunday in his first rehab appearance. Matthew Swain struck out five batters over a three-inning performance. Bobby Milacki made one start and gave up just one earned run over four innings. He struck out five batters. Aaron Rozek worked twice out of the bullpen and gave up just one run over four innings. He also struck out five batters. FCL Twins Emmanuel Rodriguez had just seven at bats, but he had four hits including two doubles and a home run. Alerick Soularie finally got to make his professional debut after hurting his foot in spring training. In his three rehab games, he is 5-for-9 (.555) with a double and a home run. Ricardo Olivar also hit a home run. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints Nick Gordon will finally get every day playing time. In his return to the Saints, he played four games and went 2-for-15 (.133). Keon Broxton went 1-for-10 (.100). JT Riddle played in three games and went 0-for-8. Rafael Garza’s first appearance with a Twins affiliate didn’t go great. He gave up three runs on two hits and two walks and recorded just two outs. Wichita Wind Surge Both Aaron Whitefield and Andrew Bechtold went 3-for-20 (.150), though each had a home run, and Bechtold also had a double. Sean Gilmartin gave up four runs on four hits in his innings of work before going on the Injured List. Jordan Balazovic went 4 2/3 innings in his start. He gave up six runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter. Alex Phillips gave up four runs on four hits (2 HR) over 3 2/3 innings over two appearances. Cedar Rapids Kernels Seth Gray went 3-for-23 (.130). Michael Helman went 2-for-18 (.111). Gabriel Maciel went 1-for-9 (.111). Edouard Julien went 1-for-10 (.100). Matt Wallner went 2-for-22 (.091). Tyler Watson has been really good this season, but he had a rough one this past week. The lefty gave up six runs on four hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings in his start. Cody Laweryson gave up four runs on six hits and three walks over just 2 2/3 innings in his start. Even Ben Gross had an off start. He gave up seven runs on eight hits (3 HR) and a walk in 4 1/3 innings. He’s been pretty terrific of late. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Ruben Santana played in all six games and went 0-for-16. Misael Urbina went 1-for-18 (.056) over his six games. The one hit was a home run. Keoni Cavaco played in five games and went 2-for-19 (.105). Will Holland was 2-for-16 (.125) though he had a home run. TRENDING STORYLINE One very cool benefit of the Twins academies both in Ft. Myers and in the Dominican Republic is that beyond baseball work, they are able to take classes. There is a program which allows players to take classes and receive their high school equivalency and graduate. On Monday, there was a virtual celebration of the graduates from 2020 (were not able to celebrate in person) and 2021. Here is the list of Twins players who have received their diplomas. 2021 Graduating Class Carlos Aguiar Luis Baez Miguelangel Boadas Rubel Céspedes Gregory Durán Osiris Germán Oscar Paredes Alexander Peña Emmanuel Rodríguez Endy Rodríguez Malfrin Sosa 2020 Graduating Class Develson Aria Rafael Feliz Giovahniey Germán Argenis Jiménez Jeferson Morales Juan Pichardo Breilin Ramírez Wilker Reyes Carlos Suniaga Wander Valdez Join us in congratulating each of these, well, student-athletes. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. As you have seen, we have started to share the Twins Daily Top 30 Prospect rankings after the draft and trade deadline. Here is Part 1. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 12 GS, 57.1 IP, 55 H, 21 BB, 68 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.33 WHIP #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain, made first rehab appearance for Ft. Myers, 2 perfect innings) #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 82 games, .337/.401/.587 (.987) with 19 doubles, 22 homers, 63 RBI, 30 BB, 52 K #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 45 games, .249/.323/.341 (.664) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 19 RBI, 17 BB, 57 K, 5 SB #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (7 games, .250/.276/.464 (.740) with 2 homers, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 75 games, .185/.364/.309 (.674) with 13 doubles, 6 homers, 32 RBI, 67 BB, 101 K #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 33 games, .279/.338/.558 (.896) with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 9 homers, 23 RBI, 10 BB, 49 K. #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (12 GS, 52.1 IP, 53 H, 15 BB, 56 K, 4.99 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 12 G, 11 GS, 49.1 IP, 33 H, 21 BB, 64 K, 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (23 games, .176/.235/.374 (.608) with 6 doubles, 4 homers, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 27 K) #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 73 games, .193/.295/.294 (589) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homer, 46 RBI, 37 BB, 60 K, 12 SB) #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 79 games, .255/.363/.497 (.860) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 19 homers, 48 RBI, 45 BB, 67 K) #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 77 games, .219/.273/.415 (.688) with 12 doubles, 9 triples, 10 homers, 41 RBI, 20 BB, 112 K) #18 - Alerick Soularie (FCL Twins) – 3 games, .556/.636/1.000 (1.636) with 1 doubles, 1 homer, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K) #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips) #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 15 GS, 64.1 IP, 60 H, 40 BB, 102 K, 4.76 ERA, 1.55 WHIP LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (Sean Mooney, Landon Leach, Casey Legumina, Miguel Rodriguez, Bobby Milacki, Aaron Rozek): Cedar Rapids @ Peoria:(Ben Gross, Louie Varland, TBD, Jon Olsen, Sawyer Gipson-Long, TBD) Wichita @ Tulsa: (Jordan Balazovic, Bryan Sammons, Chris Vallmont, Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic) St. Paul @ Indianapolis: (Andrew Albers, Drew Strotman, Chandler Shepherd, TBD, TBD, TBD) Feel free to ask any questions you like.
  19. Last month’s MLB draft and trade deadline saw the Twins add multiple young players that now fit into the team’s top 30 prospects. Do any of the new acquisitions fit in the back end of the top-30? 30. RHP Marco Raya (19 years old) Season Stats: Yet to Debut Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round draft pick in 2020 out of United South High School in Laredo, Texas. His fastball can hit in the low- to mid-90s, and he mixes in three breaking pitches, including a slider, a curveball, and a change-up. At 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, he isn’t tall on the mound, but he is a good athlete, and the Twins are excited about the promise he shows for the future. Currently, he is on the IL with the FCL Twins. 29. LHP Jovani Moran (24 years old) Season Stats (AA/AAA): 50 IP (26 G), 1.98 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NA Moran has one of the best change-ups in the Twins system, and he has been able to use it to dominate the minor’s upper levels this season. Originally, he was taken by the Twins in the seventh round in 2015 out of Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. During July, he struck out nearly 50% of the batter he faced. Right-handed batters have been limited to a .352 OPS against him in 2021. With his success at Triple-A, he seems likely to make his big-league debut before the season's end. 28. LHP Steve Hajjar (21 years old) Season Stats (College): 81.2 IP (14 G), 3.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Hajjar was Minnesota’s second-round pick in this year’s draft from the University of Michigan. He signed for the full slot value of $1,129,700 but has yet to make his professional debut. At Michigan, he led the Big Ten with 110 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. He is 6-foot-5 and weighs 215 pounds, so he is quite the presence on the mound. Typically, his fastball sits in the low-90s, but he can reach the mid-90s with some movement. He mixes in a change-up and a curveball to keep batters off balance. 27. SS Wander Javier (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 76 G, .219/.274/.409 (.683), 9 HR, 12 2B, 9 3B, 33.8 K%, 6.1 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 17, 2021 Preseason: NA Javier was initially signed by the Twins in July 2015, and his name has populated the team’s top prospect lists throughout that time. At one point, he was considered a top-100 prospect in baseball, but he hasn’t put it all together to the point where he has been left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft the past two years. He had a tremendous month of June with a .834 OPS, but he struck out 41 times in 112 plate appearances in July. Fans can hope he develops into a five-tool talent, but that dream might have passed at this point. 26. 2B Alerick Soularie (22 years old) Season Stats: Rehab Assignment Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 18, 2021 Preseason: 18 Soularie rolled his ankle during spring training and then broke his foot going down some stairs, which has kept him out of action until late last week. He was taken in the second round in 2020 out of the University of Tennessee and he is 22-years old. Soularie has started his rehab assignment by going 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. He is considered one of the best athletes in the Twins system, and the organization has to be excited to have him back on the field. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions. View full article
  20. 30. RHP Marco Raya (19 years old) Season Stats: Yet to Debut Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round draft pick in 2020 out of United South High School in Laredo, Texas. His fastball can hit in the low- to mid-90s, and he mixes in three breaking pitches, including a slider, a curveball, and a change-up. At 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, he isn’t tall on the mound, but he is a good athlete, and the Twins are excited about the promise he shows for the future. Currently, he is on the IL with the FCL Twins. 29. LHP Jovani Moran (24 years old) Season Stats (AA/AAA): 50 IP (26 G), 1.98 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NA Moran has one of the best change-ups in the Twins system, and he has been able to use it to dominate the minor’s upper levels this season. Originally, he was taken by the Twins in the seventh round in 2015 out of Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. During July, he struck out nearly 50% of the batter he faced. Right-handed batters have been limited to a .352 OPS against him in 2021. With his success at Triple-A, he seems likely to make his big-league debut before the season's end. 28. LHP Steve Hajjar (21 years old) Season Stats (College): 81.2 IP (14 G), 3.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 3.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NA, 2021 Preseason: NA Hajjar was Minnesota’s second-round pick in this year’s draft from the University of Michigan. He signed for the full slot value of $1,129,700 but has yet to make his professional debut. At Michigan, he led the Big Ten with 110 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. He is 6-foot-5 and weighs 215 pounds, so he is quite the presence on the mound. Typically, his fastball sits in the low-90s, but he can reach the mid-90s with some movement. He mixes in a change-up and a curveball to keep batters off balance. 27. SS Wander Javier (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 76 G, .219/.274/.409 (.683), 9 HR, 12 2B, 9 3B, 33.8 K%, 6.1 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 17, 2021 Preseason: NA Javier was initially signed by the Twins in July 2015, and his name has populated the team’s top prospect lists throughout that time. At one point, he was considered a top-100 prospect in baseball, but he hasn’t put it all together to the point where he has been left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft the past two years. He had a tremendous month of June with a .834 OPS, but he struck out 41 times in 112 plate appearances in July. Fans can hope he develops into a five-tool talent, but that dream might have passed at this point. 26. 2B Alerick Soularie (22 years old) Season Stats: Rehab Assignment Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 18, 2021 Preseason: 18 Soularie rolled his ankle during spring training and then broke his foot going down some stairs, which has kept him out of action until late last week. He was taken in the second round in 2020 out of the University of Tennessee and he is 22-years old. Soularie has started his rehab assignment by going 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. He is considered one of the best athletes in the Twins system, and the organization has to be excited to have him back on the field. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions.
  21. Following a non-existent 2020 minor league season, the line between reliever and starter continues to be blurred for prospects. That being said, a few pitchers were used more regularly out of the bullpen and were able to separate themselves statistically. Before exploring the top four relievers, here are three Honorable Mentions: Jordan Gore, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Wichita Wind Surge - 8 G, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 8 H, 8 walks, 21 strikeouts Osiris German, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 9 H, 6 walks, 23 strikeouts Ryan Mason, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 0.82 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 10 H, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts. THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS #4 - RHP Derek Molina - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.06 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 22 K Molina was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round back in 2017. He ended the 2019 season at High-A and that’s where he’s spent all of 2021. Things didn’t start off great for him during the 2021 campaign as he entered the month of July with a 5.46 ERA with opponents getting on base over 33% of the time against him. There were some positive signs as his strikeout totals were high (40 K in 29 2/3 innings). He seemed to put it all together in July as was asked to pitch two innings or more in every appearance. Opponents were only able to hit .190/.257/.286 (.543), and his five walks were the fewest he’s had in any month. Righties really struggle against Molina as he has held them to a .190 average with 35 strikeouts in 100 at-bats this season. His numbers could have looked even better if he hadn’t allowed two earned runs on the last day of the month. #3 - LHP Jovani Moran - Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - 8 G, 2.41 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 34 K Moran joined the Twins in 2015 as a 7th round pick from Puerto Rico, and the development of his dominant changeup have made him a reliever to keep an eye on. He made his first five appearances at Triple-A during July, where he is over three years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted some dominant numbers during the month as he faced a total of 71 batters and compiled 34 strikeouts. Yes, he struck out nearly 50% of the batters he faced during the month. Also, he was asked to pitch more than one inning in every appearance during July. Batters struggled to do anything against him as he held them to a .094/.183/.203 slash line. With him now in St. Paul, it is not hard to imagine him making his big league debut before season’s end. #2 - LHP Denny Bentley - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels - 11 G, 1.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 8 H, 8 BB, 21 K Bentley, a 33rd round pick back in 2018, was the June Relief Pitcher of the Month, so it’s no surprise to see his name back near the top of the list. For the second straight month, batters hit under .145 against him and got on base only 25% of the time. All three of his earned runs this month came in one appearance as he was asked to make a spot start back on July 6. That means he ended the month with eight straight scoreless appearances. Even as a lefty, Bentley allows a .705 OPS against left-handed hitters, which is nearly 240 points higher than his OPS versus righties. Since he’s pitched at Low-A for the entire season, one has to wonder if he will make the jump to High-A during the season’s second half. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: RHP Erik Manoah Jr. - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 20 K Manoah might not be a familiar name to Twins fans because he wasn’t even in the organization at season’s start. He began the year pitching in independent baseball as part of the Atlantic League, but he impressed enough to catch the eye of the Twins organization. Originally, he was a 13th round pick of the Mets and he pitched parts of three seasons for that organization before joining the Angels organization. He topped out at High-A with Los Angeles and ended 2019 pitching in the American Association. As the calendar turned to July, Manoah was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made an immediate impact. Across nine appearances, he only allowed one run and he held batters to hitting .140/.241/.180 (.421). Lefties have only been able to combine for a .313 OPS when facing Manoah. Also, he seems to buckle down in pressure situations as he has 24 strikeouts in 43 at-bats with runners on base. Because of his stints in independent leagues, all but one of his at-bats this season has come against younger batters. Other players might have quit after multiple years in independent leagues, but now he is back on the professional map. And yes, his younger brother Alek pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. As the Twins have seen this year, an organization can never have too much relief pitching. All of these players had strong month and some may be worthy of promotions in the weeks ahead. Congratulations to Erik Manoah Jr., the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for July 2021.
  22. Over the last two days, Twins Daily announced the writer’s picks for top minor league hitter and starting pitcher for July. Now it’s time to discuss the relief pitchers that shined during the season’s third month. Following a non-existent 2020 minor league season, the line between reliever and starter continues to be blurred for prospects. That being said, a few pitchers were used more regularly out of the bullpen and were able to separate themselves statistically. Before exploring the top four relievers, here are three Honorable Mentions: Jordan Gore, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Wichita Wind Surge - 8 G, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 8 H, 8 walks, 21 strikeouts Osiris German, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 9 H, 6 walks, 23 strikeouts Ryan Mason, Wichita Wind Surge - 9 G, 0.82 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 10 H, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts. THE TOP FOUR RELIEF PITCHERS #4 - RHP Derek Molina - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.06 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 12 H, 5 BB, 22 K Molina was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round back in 2017. He ended the 2019 season at High-A and that’s where he’s spent all of 2021. Things didn’t start off great for him during the 2021 campaign as he entered the month of July with a 5.46 ERA with opponents getting on base over 33% of the time against him. There were some positive signs as his strikeout totals were high (40 K in 29 2/3 innings). He seemed to put it all together in July as was asked to pitch two innings or more in every appearance. Opponents were only able to hit .190/.257/.286 (.543), and his five walks were the fewest he’s had in any month. Righties really struggle against Molina as he has held them to a .190 average with 35 strikeouts in 100 at-bats this season. His numbers could have looked even better if he hadn’t allowed two earned runs on the last day of the month. #3 - LHP Jovani Moran - Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - 8 G, 2.41 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 34 K Moran joined the Twins in 2015 as a 7th round pick from Puerto Rico, and the development of his dominant changeup have made him a reliever to keep an eye on. He made his first five appearances at Triple-A during July, where he is over three years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted some dominant numbers during the month as he faced a total of 71 batters and compiled 34 strikeouts. Yes, he struck out nearly 50% of the batters he faced during the month. Also, he was asked to pitch more than one inning in every appearance during July. Batters struggled to do anything against him as he held them to a .094/.183/.203 slash line. With him now in St. Paul, it is not hard to imagine him making his big league debut before season’s end. #2 - LHP Denny Bentley - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels - 11 G, 1.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 8 H, 8 BB, 21 K Bentley, a 33rd round pick back in 2018, was the June Relief Pitcher of the Month, so it’s no surprise to see his name back near the top of the list. For the second straight month, batters hit under .145 against him and got on base only 25% of the time. All three of his earned runs this month came in one appearance as he was asked to make a spot start back on July 6. That means he ended the month with eight straight scoreless appearances. Even as a lefty, Bentley allows a .705 OPS against left-handed hitters, which is nearly 240 points higher than his OPS versus righties. Since he’s pitched at Low-A for the entire season, one has to wonder if he will make the jump to High-A during the season’s second half. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: RHP Erik Manoah Jr. - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 9 G, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 20 K Manoah might not be a familiar name to Twins fans because he wasn’t even in the organization at season’s start. He began the year pitching in independent baseball as part of the Atlantic League, but he impressed enough to catch the eye of the Twins organization. Originally, he was a 13th round pick of the Mets and he pitched parts of three seasons for that organization before joining the Angels organization. He topped out at High-A with Los Angeles and ended 2019 pitching in the American Association. As the calendar turned to July, Manoah was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made an immediate impact. Across nine appearances, he only allowed one run and he held batters to hitting .140/.241/.180 (.421). Lefties have only been able to combine for a .313 OPS when facing Manoah. Also, he seems to buckle down in pressure situations as he has 24 strikeouts in 43 at-bats with runners on base. Because of his stints in independent leagues, all but one of his at-bats this season has come against younger batters. Other players might have quit after multiple years in independent leagues, but now he is back on the professional map. And yes, his younger brother Alek pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. As the Twins have seen this year, an organization can never have too much relief pitching. All of these players had strong month and some may be worthy of promotions in the weeks ahead. Congratulations to Erik Manoah Jr., the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for July 2021. View full article
  23. Some possible solutions to the rotation were found with the return from the Nelson Cruz trade on Thursday. Still, the front office has their work cut out for them to improve the pitching staff as a whole. More trades are surely on the way and a fair share of the available payroll will likely be spent on arms. There are three relievers at AAA however who we may see by season’s end that could put a massive patch in the sinking ship that is this pitching staff. Ian Hamilton Nick summarized just about every reason to have hope for Hamilton in one tweet. Hamilton was drafted in the 11th round in 2016 and quickly proved to be an exciting up and coming bullpen arm in the White Sox system. Unfortunately Hamilton’s career was thrown off course by two freak accidents. He struggled thereafter and eventually bounce around waiver claims before the Twins claimed him (and then successfully DFAd him) this spring. Hamilton has spent the entire season in St. Paul which is by no means an indicator of his effectiveness. Instead, it almost seems like the Twins are developing the 26-year-old as if he was a prospect as he weathers his first full season of professional baseball since 2018. This plan appears to have paid dividends, as Hamilton has posted a 34% K rate with a 0.58 HR/9 so far and has sorted out his early season walk issues. He should get a chance by season’s end to showcase his high 90s fastball at Target Field in an attempt to earn a place for 2022. Yennier Cano Signed in 2019 as an international free agent out of Cuba, Cano is a bit different than most prospects in the Twins top 30 as he’s 27 years old. Cano has moved a bit more slowly through the system than expected when he was signed, but he appears to be on the precipice of the Major Leagues after debuting at AA ball this year and getting called up to St. Paul a few weeks ago. Cano got hit around a bit in his AAA debut allowing three Earned Runs in 1 2/3 innings. He’s settled down since then, dropping his ERA to 4.50 with a 3.05 FIP. He’s struck out 28.4% of the hitters he’s faced. He has a pitch mix that profiles extremely well with a mid 90s fastball to go with a great slider and a splitter to equalize left-handed hitters. It’s honestly a bit surprising that Cano hasn’t received The Call already, but it’s easy to foresee him in Minneapolis very soon. Jovani Moran Moran was Cano’s partner in crime when it came to terrorizing opposing lineups out of the AA bullpen to start the year. Moran has long had the reputation of having nasty stuff but has struggled with control thus far in his career. After having 14% walk rates at both levels in 2019, it was encouraging even to see those numbers drop to 10% at AA to start the season. Moran is a left-handed pitcher with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but his changeup is likely one of the best the Twins system has seen since Johan Santana as Lucas points out (tweet above). The pitch allows him not only to avoid big lefty/righty splits, but is also his go-to weapon for swings and misses. He seems to have the right idea, as he’s struck out 46% of AA hitters and 44.4% of AAA hitters thus far. His late arrival to AAA makes him a bit more questionable to debut with the Twins this season, but it’s certainly a possibility depending on how the trade deadline shakes out. Skepticism is warranted after this season, but it’s been a long time since the Twins in particular have developed arms with such high octane, can’t miss stuff. While far from a sure thing, we should get a look at at least a few of them this year. At the very least it’s a bit of excitement in what will be an inconsequential finish to 2021. At best, we just might get a glimpse into a more effective stable of arms for 2022. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  24. It’s easy to feel hopeless about the Twins pitching staff and bullpen in particular after such an abysmal 2021. There may be help on the way, however. A trio of arms in St. Paul just might be worth holding out hope for 2022. Some possible solutions to the rotation were found with the return from the Nelson Cruz trade on Thursday. Still, the front office has their work cut out for them to improve the pitching staff as a whole. More trades are surely on the way and a fair share of the available payroll will likely be spent on arms. There are three relievers at AAA however who we may see by season’s end that could put a massive patch in the sinking ship that is this pitching staff. Ian Hamilton Nick summarized just about every reason to have hope for Hamilton in one tweet. Hamilton was drafted in the 11th round in 2016 and quickly proved to be an exciting up and coming bullpen arm in the White Sox system. Unfortunately Hamilton’s career was thrown off course by two freak accidents. He struggled thereafter and eventually bounce around waiver claims before the Twins claimed him (and then successfully DFAd him) this spring. Hamilton has spent the entire season in St. Paul which is by no means an indicator of his effectiveness. Instead, it almost seems like the Twins are developing the 26-year-old as if he was a prospect as he weathers his first full season of professional baseball since 2018. This plan appears to have paid dividends, as Hamilton has posted a 34% K rate with a 0.58 HR/9 so far and has sorted out his early season walk issues. He should get a chance by season’s end to showcase his high 90s fastball at Target Field in an attempt to earn a place for 2022. Yennier Cano Signed in 2019 as an international free agent out of Cuba, Cano is a bit different than most prospects in the Twins top 30 as he’s 27 years old. Cano has moved a bit more slowly through the system than expected when he was signed, but he appears to be on the precipice of the Major Leagues after debuting at AA ball this year and getting called up to St. Paul a few weeks ago. Cano got hit around a bit in his AAA debut allowing three Earned Runs in 1 2/3 innings. He’s settled down since then, dropping his ERA to 4.50 with a 3.05 FIP. He’s struck out 28.4% of the hitters he’s faced. He has a pitch mix that profiles extremely well with a mid 90s fastball to go with a great slider and a splitter to equalize left-handed hitters. It’s honestly a bit surprising that Cano hasn’t received The Call already, but it’s easy to foresee him in Minneapolis very soon. Jovani Moran Moran was Cano’s partner in crime when it came to terrorizing opposing lineups out of the AA bullpen to start the year. Moran has long had the reputation of having nasty stuff but has struggled with control thus far in his career. After having 14% walk rates at both levels in 2019, it was encouraging even to see those numbers drop to 10% at AA to start the season. Moran is a left-handed pitcher with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but his changeup is likely one of the best the Twins system has seen since Johan Santana as Lucas points out (tweet above). The pitch allows him not only to avoid big lefty/righty splits, but is also his go-to weapon for swings and misses. He seems to have the right idea, as he’s struck out 46% of AA hitters and 44.4% of AAA hitters thus far. His late arrival to AAA makes him a bit more questionable to debut with the Twins this season, but it’s certainly a possibility depending on how the trade deadline shakes out. Skepticism is warranted after this season, but it’s been a long time since the Twins in particular have developed arms with such high octane, can’t miss stuff. While far from a sure thing, we should get a look at at least a few of them this year. At the very least it’s a bit of excitement in what will be an inconsequential finish to 2021. At best, we just might get a glimpse into a more effective stable of arms for 2022. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  25. From the album: Blue Wahoos Photos

    Luis Arraez and friends sing karaoke Photo: Daniel Venn
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