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  1. Kenta Maeda is going under the knife today after a somewhat disappointing 2021 season. The extent of the injury will be known when the surgery is complete. (Editor's Update: Maeda had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.) So, two seasons after the deal, can we answer yet which team won the Kenta Maeda trade? Minnesota had many reasons to be interested in trading for Kenta Maeda before the 2020 season. He had shown positive signs during his time in Los Angeles, and the Dodgers had an influx of starting pitching. He pitched over 125 innings in each of his first four big-league seasons, but the team tended to move him to a bullpen role as the season came to a close. Injury concerns might have been one of the reasons the Dodgers tried to limit Maeda’s innings. (At least that sounds better than trying to limit how much they had to pay him.) When he initially signed from Japan, his physical exam revealed “irregularities” in his right elbow. At the time, MLB.com said, “the strong suspicion is that he will need Tommy John reconstruction at some point.” This prognosis resulted in a very team-friendly eight-year contract which guaranteed Maeda a minimum of $25 million with a chance to be worth over $106 million. This gave the Dodgers some wiggle room if Maeda did go under the knife. He pitched over 600 innings for the Dodgers, and they went on multiple World Series runs, and his elbow wasn’t an issue. Team-controlled starting pitching is one of baseball’s most valuable assets, so Maeda was an easy target for the Twins. His team-friendly deal was a positive, and he hadn’t shown any injury concerns up to this point. Any team trading for a player gets access to their medical records, so there must not have been anything out of the ordinary regarding Maeda’s physical. Plus, the Twins saw their winning window was open, and Maeda helped make the team better. Maeda provided Minnesota with everything they wanted and more during his first season with the club. He finished runner-up for the Cy Young Award after a dominating season where he posted a 2.70 ERA and an MLB-leading 0.75 WHIP. He struck out 80 batters in 66 2/3 innings while only issuing ten walks. From the other perspective, Brusdar Graterol has pitched less than 50 innings for the Dodgers. He has posted a 3.50 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings. Graterol makes hitting triple-digits look easy, but he has yet to develop into a dominant late-inning reliever. He won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2023, and he can’t reach free agency until 2026, so there is plenty of time for the 22-year-old to develop. Two minor league players and a draft pick were also part of this trade. Luke Raley went back to LA after initially being part of the Brian Dozier trade. He has 30 big-league games under his belt, and he has hit .169/.246/.237 with two extra-base hits. He has mashed with a .982 OPS at Triple-A this season, and 29 extra-base hits in 58 games. The Dodger also received a 2020 competitive balance round pick (66th overall), which they used to select Clayton Beeter. He has been used in an opener style role this season while posting a 2.89 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP with 13.8 K/9. Minnesota received Jair Camargo, who has hit .233/.281/.452 with 21 extra-base hits at High-A Cedar Rapids this year. Maeda’s recent injury news means there is a good chance he misses all of the 2022 season, and that might be the season Minnesota needs him the most. Also, a missed season means the next time he steps on the mound will be during his age-35 campaign. So what do you think? Which team do you think won the trade, or is it still too early to judge? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 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
  2. Minnesota had many reasons to be interested in trading for Kenta Maeda before the 2020 season. He had shown positive signs during his time in Los Angeles, and the Dodgers had an influx of starting pitching. He pitched over 125 innings in each of his first four big-league seasons, but the team tended to move him to a bullpen role as the season came to a close. Injury concerns might have been one of the reasons the Dodgers tried to limit Maeda’s innings. (At least that sounds better than trying to limit how much they had to pay him.) When he initially signed from Japan, his physical exam revealed “irregularities” in his right elbow. At the time, MLB.com said, “the strong suspicion is that he will need Tommy John reconstruction at some point.” This prognosis resulted in a very team-friendly eight-year contract which guaranteed Maeda a minimum of $25 million with a chance to be worth over $106 million. This gave the Dodgers some wiggle room if Maeda did go under the knife. He pitched over 600 innings for the Dodgers, and they went on multiple World Series runs, and his elbow wasn’t an issue. Team-controlled starting pitching is one of baseball’s most valuable assets, so Maeda was an easy target for the Twins. His team-friendly deal was a positive, and he hadn’t shown any injury concerns up to this point. Any team trading for a player gets access to their medical records, so there must not have been anything out of the ordinary regarding Maeda’s physical. Plus, the Twins saw their winning window was open, and Maeda helped make the team better. Maeda provided Minnesota with everything they wanted and more during his first season with the club. He finished runner-up for the Cy Young Award after a dominating season where he posted a 2.70 ERA and an MLB-leading 0.75 WHIP. He struck out 80 batters in 66 2/3 innings while only issuing ten walks. From the other perspective, Brusdar Graterol has pitched less than 50 innings for the Dodgers. He has posted a 3.50 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings. Graterol makes hitting triple-digits look easy, but he has yet to develop into a dominant late-inning reliever. He won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2023, and he can’t reach free agency until 2026, so there is plenty of time for the 22-year-old to develop. Two minor league players and a draft pick were also part of this trade. Luke Raley went back to LA after initially being part of the Brian Dozier trade. He has 30 big-league games under his belt, and he has hit .169/.246/.237 with two extra-base hits. He has mashed with a .982 OPS at Triple-A this season, and 29 extra-base hits in 58 games. The Dodger also received a 2020 competitive balance round pick (66th overall), which they used to select Clayton Beeter. He has been used in an opener style role this season while posting a 2.89 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP with 13.8 K/9. Minnesota received Jair Camargo, who has hit .233/.281/.452 with 21 extra-base hits at High-A Cedar Rapids this year. Maeda’s recent injury news means there is a good chance he misses all of the 2022 season, and that might be the season Minnesota needs him the most. Also, a missed season means the next time he steps on the mound will be during his age-35 campaign. So what do you think? Which team do you think won the trade, or is it still too early to judge? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Time can change the view of a trade, so here’s what was said back in 2018 at the time of the deal. What Did People Say at the Time of the Trade? Los Angeles had been interested in Dozier for multiple years, but a deal never materialized. Minnesota’s asking price included Walker Buehler or Cody Bellinger and it’s clear now why the Dodgers wanted to hang on to these young assets. The Dodgers eventually dealt Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay for Logan Forsythe who became part of this trade. "Our lineup against left-handed pitching has been a concern of ours, particularly over the last month or two," said Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi. "When teams can game plan and stack their pitching when they think you have a weakness on a certain side, to bring in a right-handed bat gives our lineup really good balance." Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said, "Brian has been a meaningful part of this franchise. This an opportunity for him to go to a winning ballclub that was in the World Series last year and with their roster is looking to maybe finish it off this time. We just felt like for us as an organization, this was the right time to make this decision. We were able to acquire some talent we feel can help us build toward a championship future." Logan Forsythe was included in the deal to off-set Dozier’s salary and this allowed the Twins to acquire a couple of intriguing prospects in Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer. Raley was LA’s 26th best prospect entering the season, and this is what Baseball America had to say about him at the time. “Raley is a muscular lefthanded hitter with a potent bat. He shows power to all fields, and has the bat speed and swing path to get to it without sacrificing average…Raley isn’t overly explosive or toolsy, but he does a lot of things well and optimistic evaluators see the chance for him to become an everyday left fielder who hits 20 or more home runs a season” As far as Smeltzer, Baseball America said, “Smeltzer has decent command and an above-average changeup, but his fastball has ticked down from 90-93 mph to 88-90 in his starts this season… Smeltzer throws strikes, and his ticket to the majors will be if he can improve against lefthanded batters (currently batting .289/.326/.446 against him) and rise as a lefty specialist.” Dozier’s Los Angeles Time After joining the Dodgers, Dozier played in 47 regular season games while hitting .182/.300/.350 (.650) with five home runs and nine doubles. Los Angeles made a run to the World Series that year and Dozier played in 11 of the team’s postseason games. He went 2-for-16 with no extra-base hits and five walks. Boston walked away with the title and Dozier walked away in free agency. Baseball Reference gives him a 0.2 WAR for his LA stint, and he had a negative win probability added in the postseason. Minnesota’s Trade Return Forsythe played in 50 games for the Twins and he saw his numbers improve compared to what he had done in Los Angeles that season. He hit .258 with a .356 OBP, but he didn’t hit for much power. He was a free agent following the season and went on to sign with the Texas Rangers. Raley headed to Double-A with the Twins and hit .276/.371/.449 with eight extra-base hits in just under 100 at-bats. He headed to the Arizona Fall League and went 3-for-14 while only appearing in four games. His 2019 season was limited due to a dislocated tendon in his left ankle, which limited him to 38 games. It’s too bad because he was off to a strong start at Triple-A as he already had eight home runs and an .878 OPS. He’d go back to the AFL following the season and hit .244/.312/.439 with nine extra-base hits in 82 at-bats. Last winter, Raley was traded back to the Dodgers as part of the Kenta Maeda deal. This means Smeltzer is the lone piece of this trade still in the Twins organization. While the Dodgers had been using Smeltzer as a reliever, Minnesota gave him an opportunity to start in 2019. Between Double- and Triple-A, he posted a 2.76 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 104 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings. At the big-league level, he also showed some promise as he started six games and appeared in 11 games total. As a starter, he had a 4.11 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP over 30 2/3 innings. He struck out 22 and limited batters to hitting .239/.294/.410. This season Smeltzer appeared in seven games and pitched multiple innings in all but one appearance. In his first appearance, he got shelled for five earned runs, but he’d post a 4.50 ERA the rest of the way. Who Won the Trade? At the time, Tom wrote at Twins Daily and gave the Twins a D-grade for this trade. One of his biggest reasons for that was the inclusion of Forsythe in the deal and the possibility that the Twins might not have maximized their return with the other trades that took place leading into the deadline. Hindsight might be 20-20, but this trade is now looking a little more favorable for the Twins. Dozier didn’t do much with his time in LA and the Twins weren’t likely going to extend him a qualifying offer. Minnesota has better corner outfield prospects than Raley, so it was probably easier for the team to include him in the Maeda deal. Plus, the Twins got back the runner-up for AL Cy Young this year, so not too shabby. Smeltzer may never reproduce his 2019 numbers, but he looks like he might be able to fill a big-league role for multiple seasons. Looking back, what do you think about the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series: -Ryan Pressly Trade -Eduardo Escobar Trade MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. The three-team mega blockbuster involving the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers is finally complete. At this point, most Twins fans are aware of what happened - a deal was in place on February 4th, sending Graterol to Boston as part of the return for offloading Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers. However, that soon changed after Boston came to the conclusion that Graterol was not destined to be a starting pitcher. This was a conclusion that the Twins publicly announced well in advance of the trade. Chaos, medical speculation, and finger pointing ensued, and the entire trade between the three teams was put on ice. This was perhaps the most dramatic trade saga of my Minnesota Twins fandom, maybe ranking behind the Johan Santana rumors that dominated the entire 2008 offseason. I will spare you all the back-and-forth rumors between Boston getting cold feet and the revised agreement between the three teams, as this is a massive movement of players. Instead, the changes in the Twins aspect is highlighted below: 2/4 Twins Agreement V1 Twins trade Brusdar Graterol to Boston. Twins acquire Kenta Maeda from Los Angeles. 2/9 Twins Agreement V2 Twins trade Brusdar Graterol, 2020 Comp B Draft Pick, and Luke Raley to Los Angeles Twins acquire Kenta Maeda, $10M in cash assets, and Jair Camargo © from Los Angeles. The second version is much more complex, but paints a better picture of the Twins 2020 mindset. While the delay was agonizing, irritating, and heart-burn inducing, I think the Twins used time to their advantage and improved their haul from the first version. Let’s review what changed from the first trade to the second, and how the Twins sacrificed future unknowns for increased flexibility to improve the 2020 club at a later date. The 67th Pick In the 2020 MLB Draft Here’s a look at the Twins’ last 25 second round picks - ranging from pick number 37 to 92. There’s a lot of variability here, with 71% of the bWAR coming from the combination of Scott Baker and Jesse Crain. The Twins have failed to receive value from the second round in the last decade, but the second round picks from the Falvine regime are legitimate prospects within the system. The jury is out on anyone drafted from 2016 onward. Make no mistake - the Twins are taking an unprecedented risk for this organization by trading a draft pick this high, especially after losing the #99 pick for signing Josh Donaldson. However, there’s a very realistic chance this pick doesn’t reach the MLB level. If the player were to reach the majors, it would likely be in year outside of the Twins current competitive window. There’s plenty of second round draft talent currently in the system to supplement the current core. Another way to look at the value of this pick is by equating it to a monetary value. Fangraphs placed the value of the 67th pick in 2019 at $4.1M. That factors in a signing bonus subtracted from projected future value, based on historic WAR from players picked in that slot. That’s an interesting way to look at this part of the trade, considering the dollar amount that Los Angeles is providing. $10M in Cash Assets Cash. Don’t worry, this isn’t meant to line the pockets of the Pohlads. This is spending money for the 2020 Trade Deadline in late July/early August. This allows them to acquire an asset at the deadline using more financial capital, and less prospect capital. Judging from their pre-Donaldson free agent signings, it’s clear that Falvey and Levine crave financial flexibility. Here are several ways to look at this incoming cash, beyond use in a trade scenario: Covering the majority of Kenta Maeda’s base salary ($12.5M through 2023) Covering Maeda’s full 2020 contract, if he hits the majority of his incentives. Pays for the #67 Comp B draft pick, with roughly $5.9M in excess value. This is a huge benefit over the previous agreement, as it protects the Twins if Maeda flames out, or allows more budget room to acquire a pricier trade target in July. The $10M from Los Angeles will go to valid use in many scenarios. Luke Raley for Jair Camargo Luke Raley boomerangs back to the organization that dealt him to Minnesota for Brian Dozier in 2018. In exchange, the Twins are receiving a low-level catching prospect in Jair Camargo. Camargo is a young catcher at 20 years old, and played at Class A last year in the Great Lakes league. His offensive line was middling with a .642 OPS, but he is rumored to have a strong exit velocity from his bat (90 MPH+) with a high hard hit percentage. The Twins seem to like that offensive profile, and the fact it's coming from a catcher is extra appealing. It never hurts to add catching depth at any level. The Twins are giving up Raley, who was a fine prospect, but he suffered through an injury for the majority of 2019. He projects as a corner outfield platoon/bench piece, and that role is valuable to MLB clubs. However, the Twins outfield depth is immense, with a young starting core on the MLB team, and multiple top 100 ranked outfield prospects behind him in Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff. Even with blockages in front of him, and top prospects behind him - Raley was competing alongside multiple outfielders at a similar level of development. Jake Cave, LaMonte Wade Jr, and Brent Rooker are all fellow outfielders with similar ages and projections to Raley. All of these similar corner outfielders were occupying 40-man roster spots. The major benefit in trading away Raley to Los Angeles, is that it immediately opens up a 40-man roster spot for the 2020 team. Camargo is years away from being added, and is essentially a lottery ticket at a premium position. For now, the open 40-man roster vacancy creates a large amount of flexibility. The open spot can be used for Jhoulys Chacín, an injury replacement, or a future acquisition. Brusdar Graterol Is Gone - But To A Different Opponent Fair trades are supposed to hurt, right? This aspect did not change, as pitchers who throw 100 MPH+ do not grow on trees. It still hurts to lose Graterol, but the same analysis that applied a few days ago remains the same. The Twins are betting that Graterol will remain in the bullpen, and are filling an area of need in the starting rotation, from an area of strength on the 2020 team. Unlike Boston, Los Angeles is fine with Graterol’s likely reliever projection. The Twins are hoping Graterol doesn’t turn into Aroldis Chapman. So why is the version of the trade more beneficial to the Twins, in relation to Brusdar? Simple, the Twins won’t have to face him nearly as much over the next few years if he’s pitching in the National League, compared to two guaranteed series per year against Boston. Of course, that could change with a few late October match-ups against Los Angeles, but we’d all be very pleased if that’s the case. It’ll be much easier to root for him in Dodger Blue for the next few years. The End Result The one constant between the two versions of this trade is that Kenta Maeda is still coming to the Twins, as the #3 starter to open the season. The Twins had to get a bit more creative after Boston shied away from Graterol, but Los Angeles was a flexible trade partner. While the first version of this trade was already risky with the Twins shipping away Graterol’s sky-high potential, the second version adds even more risk to the equation. The loss of the Comp B draft pick and Luke Raley could come back to sting in their own rights. However, I’m glad the Twins doubled down, as the increased roster and financial flexibility for 2020 are the only known factors in this entire deal.
  5. The Twins added outfielder Luke Raley to the 40-man roster earlier this offseason. Here are some 2019 highlights of Raley from spring training and his time with Triple-A Rochester. He was No. 27 on our 2019 Midseason Prospect List.
  6. A 40-man roster spot is a precious commodity, especially for a contenting team. When prospects are added during the offseason, it says something about the organization's belief in those talents, and their potential MLB impact. As we size up the five newly rostered players, what types of roles might they play in the franchise's near future?By nature, entering the 40-man roster puts prospects in position for a somewhat imminent arrival in the big leagues. Once added, a player can only be optioned in three different seasons before the club is essentially forced to keep him in the majors or lose him. So the clock is now ticking for Jhoan Duran, Dakota Chalmers, Luke Raley, Gilberto Celestino, and Travis Blankenhorn. Technically, the Twins could keep all five in the minors through 2023 without risk of losing them, but recent history tells us they'll be arriving much sooner. Last year, Minnesota's 40-man additions ahead of the Rule 5 protection deadline were Luis Arraez, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Nick Gordon. Two of those guys reached the majors in 2019, with one breaking out as a rookie, and Gordon is poised to do so in early 2020. The prior year's wave of additions – Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, and Lewis Thorpe – all received call-ups within two years of being selected. As I look at the pivotal impacts made by Arraez and Littell this year, I can't help but ponder how soon, and to what extent, this new class might begin to factor in. None are premier, nationally touted prospects at this point, but then, neither were the aforementioned duo. Peering through an optimistic lens, here's a look at what these five new 40-man roster additions could potentially bring to the table: Jhoan Duran, RHP Age: 21 2019 Stats (A+/AA): 115 IP, 3.76 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.19 WHIP There was a lot of buzz around Duran and his standout changeup in spring training. He lived up to the hype during his first full season in the Twins system, piling up strikeouts with an overpowering arsenal and finishing the year in Double-A as a 21-year-old. Like Brusdar Graterol, the right-hander can touch triple digits, and he has developed his "splinker" into a weapon along with the quality change-piece. The depth of his arsenal and relatively advanced workload build (he's thrown 100+ innings in each of the past two years without showing obvious wear) keep him on a starter's track. In that capacity, he truly does have front-of-rotation potential – and if he reaches it, oh MAN what a get for renting Eduardo Escobar to the D-backs last year – but he might take a bit longer to enter the MLB mix. If the Twins elect to slide him into a bullpen role, temporarily or permanently, his arrival could come early in the 2020 campaign. Dominant back-end reliever looks like his floor right now. Dakota Chalmers, RHP Age: 23 2019 Stats (A+/Rk): 34.2 IP, 3.63 ERA, 12.5 K/9, 6.0 BB/9, 1.24 WHIP Dominant back-end reliever is more realistically the ceiling for Chalmers, but it's an achievable one in the short term. This hard-throwing right-hander was even more of a coup than Duran, having been acquired in August of 2018 for aging Fernando Rodney. It was a little surprising to see the A's give up on Chalmers, who they went significantly overslot to sign out of high school as a third-round draft pick in 2015, but not that much. He hasn't been too effective in the minors, besieged by injuries and erratic control, and the latter has definitely been present since he switched organizations. Still, the Twins felt compelled to protect him because the potency of his arm is easy to see. Clearly they felt another team might be inclined to give him a shot in their bullpen straightaway. It only stands to reason that Minnesota might take a look soon, should Chalmers come out firing at Double-A next year. Thus far he's worked exclusively as a starter in the Twins system, but that feels like a fanciful plan for a guy who has worked 35+ IP once in five seasons since being drafted, and never anywhere close to 100. If he switches to relieving, he could be on the fast-track, with closer potential if he can stay healthy and rein in his command. Luke Raley, OF Age: 25 2019 Stats (AAA/Rk): 158 PA, .310/.361/.517, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 29 R Raley isn't a guy that screams "upside" but he exudes plenty of "useful" vibes. Acquired alongside Devin Smeltzer at the 2018 deadline for Brian Dozier, Raley has been a steady offensive force since the trade. There's nothing flashy about his skill set – a decent corner outfielder who can hit for average with a bit of pop from the left side – but he's polished and basically MLB-ready. In fact, he likely would've already debuted in 2019, had he not suffered an ankle injury requiring surgery in May. Raley is a seemingly redundant presence on the roster, stuck behind two lefty-swinging corner outfielders (Wade and Jake Cave) who are stuck behind two lefty-swinging corner outfielders (Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario). But the Twins saw fit to add him anyway, which says something. Of note: Raley has considerable experience at first base, which could quickly come into play should the Twins bring back C.J. Cron, who put up a .685 OPS against right-handed pitchers this year. With benches getting deeper in 2020, it's not hard to envision Raley making a fast impact in a platoon role. Gilberto Celestino, OF Age: 20 2019 Stats (A/A+): 536 PA, .315/.385/.491, 8 HR, 54 RBI, 58 R Perhaps the most surprising and intriguing addition of this batch, given that Celestino is 20 and has played only eight games above the Low-A level. In a sense it's hard to imagine any MLB club rostering such a young and raw player, but then again maybe not: Celestino is a toolsy center fielder with good speed who flashed his offensive upside during a spectacular second half at Cedar Rapids. Hitting just .219/.299/.290 at the end of May, he upgraded to .315/.385/.491 over the next 69 games before earning a late-season promotion to High-A. Although Minnesota justifiably felt the need to shield Celestino from a bottom-rung team that might've tried to Rule 5 him and stash him, he's the only one on this list that doesn't realistically have a shot at figuring into the semi-immediate picture. His potential down the line, however, is enormous. Around the same time Oakland invested heavily in Chalmers out of high school, the Astros spent $2.5 million to sign a teenaged Celestino out of the Dominican Republic. His tools and athleticism have long been lauded and they all came together last summer at Cedar Rapids. Travis Blankenhorn, IF Age: 23 2019 Stats (A+/AA): 471 PA, .277/.321/.466, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 56 R Among the five players on this list, Blankenhorn is the only one who wasn't brought in by the new front office – in fact, he's the only one who wasn't added around the deadline last year. He's an increasingly rare remnant of the previous regime, but one that could stick for some time. Drafted in the third round out of a Pennsylvania high school in 2015, Blankenhorn didn't storm the minors, following a more traditional progressive curve. His production has consistently been solid, outside of a rough 2018 in the pitcher-friendly FSL, but never outstanding enough to merit top prospect status; in our latest midseason rankings at Twins Daily, we had him at No. 20, and he peaked on our list at No. 9 in 2017. But that doesn't mean much. Arraez never gained much traction on top prospect lists either, up until he burst onto the scene as a Rookie of the Year contender for the Twins this season. Blankenhorn's circumstances are somewhat similar to those of Arraez a year ago: somewhat fringey prospect still learning the ropes in Double-A. Blankenhorn hasn't posted an .800 OPS anywhere north of rookie ball. But the decision to protect him, amidst a slew of their own guys, tells us not only that this front office is high on the blatantly athletic 23-year-old, but that they suspect others are too. His innate strength has always been evident – Blanknhorn won the FSL Home Run Derby in 2018, amidst a season where he struggled to a .686 OPS – and is now starting to transfer into games. He launched 18 homers in 93 games at Double-A this year, while bouncing capably between second base and left field. The defensive versatility, and blossoming power, set him up to provide value in the near future. He's a very different player than Arraez, but it's not implausible Blankenhorn could be a functionally similar rookie asset – left-handed bat that you want in the lineup, capable of being used at second, third, or left – as soon as 2020. Click here to view the article
  7. By nature, entering the 40-man roster puts prospects in position for a somewhat imminent arrival in the big leagues. Once added, a player can only be optioned in three different seasons before the club is essentially forced to keep him in the majors or lose him. So the clock is now ticking for Jhoan Duran, Dakota Chalmers, Luke Raley, Gilberto Celestino, and Travis Blankenhorn. Technically, the Twins could keep all five in the minors through 2023 without risk of losing them, but recent history tells us they'll be arriving much sooner. Last year, Minnesota's 40-man additions ahead of the Rule 5 protection deadline were Luis Arraez, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Nick Gordon. Two of those guys reached the majors in 2019, with one breaking out as a rookie, and Gordon is poised to do so in early 2020. The prior year's wave of additions – Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, and Lewis Thorpe – all received call-ups within two years of being selected. As I look at the pivotal impacts made by Arraez and Littell this year, I can't help but ponder how soon, and to what extent, this new class might begin to factor in. None are premier, nationally touted prospects at this point, but then, neither were the aforementioned duo. Peering through an optimistic lens, here's a look at what these five new 40-man roster additions could potentially bring to the table: Jhoan Duran, RHP Age: 21 2019 Stats (A+/AA): 115 IP, 3.76 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.19 WHIP There was a lot of buzz around Duran and his standout changeup in spring training. He lived up to the hype during his first full season in the Twins system, piling up strikeouts with an overpowering arsenal and finishing the year in Double-A as a 21-year-old. Like Brusdar Graterol, the right-hander can touch triple digits, and he has developed his "splinker" into a weapon along with the quality change-piece. The depth of his arsenal and relatively advanced workload build (he's thrown 100+ innings in each of the past two years without showing obvious wear) keep him on a starter's track. In that capacity, he truly does have front-of-rotation potential – and if he reaches it, oh MAN what a get for renting Eduardo Escobar to the D-backs last year – but he might take a bit longer to enter the MLB mix. If the Twins elect to slide him into a bullpen role, temporarily or permanently, his arrival could come early in the 2020 campaign. Dominant back-end reliever looks like his floor right now. Dakota Chalmers, RHP Age: 23 2019 Stats (A+/Rk): 34.2 IP, 3.63 ERA, 12.5 K/9, 6.0 BB/9, 1.24 WHIP Dominant back-end reliever is more realistically the ceiling for Chalmers, but it's an achievable one in the short term. This hard-throwing right-hander was even more of a coup than Duran, having been acquired in August of 2018 for aging Fernando Rodney. It was a little surprising to see the A's give up on Chalmers, who they went significantly overslot to sign out of high school as a third-round draft pick in 2015, but not that much. He hasn't been too effective in the minors, besieged by injuries and erratic control, and the latter has definitely been present since he switched organizations. Still, the Twins felt compelled to protect him because the potency of his arm is easy to see. Clearly they felt another team might be inclined to give him a shot in their bullpen straightaway. It only stands to reason that Minnesota might take a look soon, should Chalmers come out firing at Double-A next year. Thus far he's worked exclusively as a starter in the Twins system, but that feels like a fanciful plan for a guy who has worked 35+ IP once in five seasons since being drafted, and never anywhere close to 100. If he switches to relieving, he could be on the fast-track, with closer potential if he can stay healthy and rein in his command. Luke Raley, OF Age: 25 2019 Stats (AAA/Rk): 158 PA, .310/.361/.517, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 29 R Raley isn't a guy that screams "upside" but he exudes plenty of "useful" vibes. Acquired alongside Devin Smeltzer at the 2018 deadline for Brian Dozier, Raley has been a steady offensive force since the trade. There's nothing flashy about his skill set – a decent corner outfielder who can hit for average with a bit of pop from the left side – but he's polished and basically MLB-ready. In fact, he likely would've already debuted in 2019, had he not suffered an ankle injury requiring surgery in May. Raley is a seemingly redundant presence on the roster, stuck behind two lefty-swinging corner outfielders (Wade and Jake Cave) who are stuck behind two lefty-swinging corner outfielders (Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario). But the Twins saw fit to add him anyway, which says something. Of note: Raley has considerable experience at first base, which could quickly come into play should the Twins bring back C.J. Cron, who put up a .685 OPS against right-handed pitchers this year. With benches getting deeper in 2020, it's not hard to envision Raley making a fast impact in a platoon role. Gilberto Celestino, OF Age: 20 2019 Stats (A/A+): 536 PA, .315/.385/.491, 8 HR, 54 RBI, 58 R Perhaps the most surprising and intriguing addition of this batch, given that Celestino is 20 and has played only eight games above the Low-A level. In a sense it's hard to imagine any MLB club rostering such a young and raw player, but then again maybe not: Celestino is a toolsy center fielder with good speed who flashed his offensive upside during a spectacular second half at Cedar Rapids. Hitting just .219/.299/.290 at the end of May, he upgraded to .315/.385/.491 over the next 69 games before earning a late-season promotion to High-A. Although Minnesota justifiably felt the need to shield Celestino from a bottom-rung team that might've tried to Rule 5 him and stash him, he's the only one on this list that doesn't realistically have a shot at figuring into the semi-immediate picture. His potential down the line, however, is enormous. Around the same time Oakland invested heavily in Chalmers out of high school, the Astros spent $2.5 million to sign a teenaged Celestino out of the Dominican Republic. His tools and athleticism have long been lauded and they all came together last summer at Cedar Rapids. Travis Blankenhorn, IF Age: 23 2019 Stats (A+/AA): 471 PA, .277/.321/.466, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 56 R Among the five players on this list, Blankenhorn is the only one who wasn't brought in by the new front office – in fact, he's the only one who wasn't added around the deadline last year. He's an increasingly rare remnant of the previous regime, but one that could stick for some time. Drafted in the third round out of a Pennsylvania high school in 2015, Blankenhorn didn't storm the minors, following a more traditional progressive curve. His production has consistently been solid, outside of a rough 2018 in the pitcher-friendly FSL, but never outstanding enough to merit top prospect status; in our latest midseason rankings at Twins Daily, we had him at No. 20, and he peaked on our list at No. 9 in 2017. But that doesn't mean much. Arraez never gained much traction on top prospect lists either, up until he burst onto the scene as a Rookie of the Year contender for the Twins this season. Blankenhorn's circumstances are somewhat similar to those of Arraez a year ago: somewhat fringey prospect still learning the ropes in Double-A. Blankenhorn hasn't posted an .800 OPS anywhere north of rookie ball. But the decision to protect him, amidst a slew of their own guys, tells us not only that this front office is high on the blatantly athletic 23-year-old, but that they suspect others are too. His innate strength has always been evident – Blanknhorn won the FSL Home Run Derby in 2018, amidst a season where he struggled to a .686 OPS – and is now starting to transfer into games. He launched 18 homers in 93 games at Double-A this year, while bouncing capably between second base and left field. The defensive versatility, and blossoming power, set him up to provide value in the near future. He's a very different player than Arraez, but it's not implausible Blankenhorn could be a functionally similar rookie asset – left-handed bat that you want in the lineup, capable of being used at second, third, or left – as soon as 2020.
  8. The Minnesota Twins have announced that right-handed pitchers Jhoan Duran and Dakota Chalmers, infielder Travis Blankenhorn and outfielders Luke Raley and Gilberto Celestino have been added to the team's 40-man roster. The Twins roster now sits at 37 players.Jhoan Duran was the obvious choice. He split the 2019 season between Ft. Myers and Pensacola. He is touted for his fastball which has hit triple digits on multiple occasions. He is viewed as a starting pitcher. The Twins acquired him in July 2018 from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. Dakota Chalmers came to the Twins in August 2018 from the A's in exchange for Fernando Rodney. Chalmers had recently undergone Tommy John surgery, but he is touted for having a big fastball. He also has the makings of plus change up and curveball. He returned to action in the second half of 2019 for the Ft. Myers Miracle. When their season ended, he and Jordan Balazovic were promoted to Pensacola for their playoff run. Gilberto Celestino joined the Twins in July 2018, with Jorge Alcala who was added to the roster in September, in the Ryan Pressly trade. After a slow start, he was on fire his final two-plus months in Cedar Rapids. He ended the season with a couple of weeks in Ft. Myers where he continued to hit. He also plays an elite caliber centerfield. Luke Raley came to the Twins with Devin Smeltzer in the July 2018 Brian Dozier trade from the Dodgers. He missed most of the 2019 season but returned to play in the Arizona Fall League. Travis Blankenhorn was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania. He spent about two weeks in Ft. Myers this year before hitting 18 homers for Pensacola. The biggest name left off of the roster is Wander Javier. The Twins signed the shortstop from the Dominican Republic in 2015 for a $4 million signing bonus. Griffin Jax and Luis Rijo are two starting pitchers who could potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Share your thoughts on the Twins decisions. Here is our listing of players who were eligible to be protected. Click here to view the article
  9. Jhoan Duran was the obvious choice. He split the 2019 season between Ft. Myers and Pensacola. He is touted for his fastball which has hit triple digits on multiple occasions. He is viewed as a starting pitcher. The Twins acquired him in July 2018 from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. Dakota Chalmers came to the Twins in August 2018 from the A's in exchange for Fernando Rodney. Chalmers had recently undergone Tommy John surgery, but he is touted for having a big fastball. He also has the makings of plus change up and curveball. He returned to action in the second half of 2019 for the Ft. Myers Miracle. When their season ended, he and Jordan Balazovic were promoted to Pensacola for their playoff run. Gilberto Celestino joined the Twins in July 2018, with Jorge Alcala who was added to the roster in September, in the Ryan Pressly trade. After a slow start, he was on fire his final two-plus months in Cedar Rapids. He ended the season with a couple of weeks in Ft. Myers where he continued to hit. He also plays an elite caliber centerfield. Luke Raley came to the Twins with Devin Smeltzer in the July 2018 Brian Dozier trade from the Dodgers. He missed most of the 2019 season but returned to play in the Arizona Fall League. Travis Blankenhorn was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania. He spent about two weeks in Ft. Myers this year before hitting 18 homers for Pensacola. The biggest name left off of the roster is Wander Javier. The Twins signed the shortstop from the Dominican Republic in 2015 for a $4 million signing bonus. Griffin Jax and Luis Rijo are two starting pitchers who could potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Share your thoughts on the Twins decisions. Here is our listing of players who were eligible to be protected.
  10. With Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart and Martin Perez removed from the Twins 40-man roster on Monday, as well as six Twins players being free agents, the Twins 40-man roster is currently at 31 players. Here’s the quick version: Pitchers (16): Jorge Alcala, Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, Tyler Duffey, Brusdar Graterol, Ryne Harper, Trevor Hildenberger, Zack Littell, Trevor May, Sean Poppen, Taylor Rogers, Fernando Romero, Devin Smeltzer, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe, Matt Wisler. Catchers (2): Willians Astudillo, Mitch Garver Infielders (7): Ehire Adrianza, Luis Arraez, CJ Cron, Marwin Gonzalez, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano Outfielders: (5) Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, LaMonte Wade DH(1): Nelson Cruz Recall that the players who are added to the 40-man roster can’t be DFA'd until spring training, so the team will likely not want to fill up their roster now. But as you can see, there are still players on this list that need to be offered arbitration (or not) and there are several players who could be DFA'd for when the team signs free agents. ---------------------------------- Last year, the Twins added three players to their 40-man roster. The “givens” at that time were Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade. We included Luis Arraez as the first “on the bubble” name. The third “on the bubble” name mentioned here a year ago was RH RP Nick Anderson who was traded to the Marlins and pitched tremendously for the Marlins and the Rays as a rookie in 2019. ---------------------------------- So, let’s get to the players that the team will consider adding to their 40-man roster. As a reminder, here are some of the criteria for who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2015 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2016. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted or signed during the 2013 season became free agents after the World Series was complete. That includes Johan Quezada and Jose Martinez. That is why Kohl Stewart, who went unclaimed on Monday, was able to become a free agent. If the Twins signed them (or other minor league free agents) before the Rule 5 draft, they would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. But back to the players needing to be added or risk losing to the Rule 5 draft, I’ll break them into a few categories. The Givens are players that I think have to be added or there is a high likelihood that they will be selected by another team. The next group is a group of players that I think will probably be added, though not quite as obviously. The final group includes players that I would consider On The Bubble. It will be interesting to see which of these guys are added later this month. How many spots will be available on the team’s 40-man roster at that time? The Givens Several players that would have been Givens were already added to the 40-man roster and called up late in the season. In fact, there were several guys who may have been borderline who were added already. For instance, Brusdar Graterol and Jorge Alcala were going to be added. No question. Here are a couple more. RHP Jhoan Duran - He came to the Twins in July 2018 from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. Duran throws hard. He hit triple-digits with a fastball several times in many of his starts. He went just 2-9 despite a 3.23 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for the Miracle. He had 95 strikeouts in 78 innings.He moved up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven starts. He struck out 41 batters in 37 innings. The 21-year-old stands 6-5 and has the potential for a starting pitcher’s mix. RHP Dakota Chalmers - Chalmers was a third-round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, but he has often struggled with control. He also fought injury and had Tommy John surgery early in 2018. The Twins acquired him in August in the Fernando Rodney trade. He returned to the mound in the second half of the 2019 season. After rehabbing in the GCL, the 23-year-old finished the regular season in Ft. Myers with the Miracle. He pitched for the Blue Wahoos in the playoffs and then headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more innings. He has a mid-90s fastball and good spin on his curveball. He also throws a changeup that is good when on. The Probables 2B/3B Travis Blankenhorn - The 23-year-old struggled in 2018 in Ft. Myers, as many do in the Florida State League, so he began 2019 with the Miracle. After just 15 games, he was promoted to AA Pensacola. He took off from there. In 93 games with the Blue Wahoos, he hit .278 with 18 doubles and 18 home runs. He was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania. He is one of the best athletes in the organization and has power and speed. OF Gilberto Celestino - The same year Javier signed with the Twins, the Astros signed Gilberto Celestino to a $2.25 million signing bonus. He came to the Twins in 2018 in the Ryan Pressly trade (with Jorge Alcala). He began 2019 by really struggling in Cedar Rapids, but he was on fire the final three months of the season and ended the year with the Miracle. And there, in 30 at-bats, he hit .300/.344/.433 (.767) OF Luke Raley - Raley was the Dodgers seventh-round pick in 2016 out of Division 2 Lake Erie College. He played well, and in July 2018, he came to the Twins with Devin Smeltzer in the Brian Dozier trade. He started 2019 in Rochester and was playing well when he hurt his ankle and needed surgery. It ended his season though he did play in the Arizona Fall League. He has power, and can play all three outfield positions, though center field is a stretch. On the Bubble RHP Luis Rijo - He came to the Twins from the Yankees in the July 2018 Lance Lynn trade. In 2018 in Cedar Rapids, he impressed by often hitting 95 and 96 mph with his fastball. He went 5-8 with a 2.86 ERA over 107 innings pitched. If he had spent time in Ft. Myers, he would probably be a Given, but could a team stash him for the full 2019 season? SS Wander Javier - When you sign an amateur to a $4 million signing bonus, you’d like to think that this decision would be easy, and maybe it is. But Javier has unfortunately missed nearly two seasons because of injury (most of 2016 in DSL and all of 2018). His 2019 started late and in 80 games, he hit just .177 with nine doubles and 11 home runs. He also had 17 errors. So, could he play in the big leagues today? Probably not. But he has as much talent as anyone in the organization, so a team might be willing to stash the 20-year-old on their big league roster for his potential. RHP Griffin Jax - The Twins third-round pick in 2016 out of the Air Force Academy. He signed and while he had commitments to the military, he pitched each summer. He has been able to pitch consistently since early in the 2018 season. He spent most of the 2019 season in Double-A Pensacola but made a couple of starts at Triple-A Rochester too. In 23 starts, he went a combined 5-7 with a 2.90 ERA. In 127 1/3 innings, he walked just 27 and struck out 94 (6.6 K/9). The Next This is a group that contains some intriguing names. While they aren’t obvious choices, there could be a team that likes them enough to take a shot with a Rule 5 pick. 1B Zander Wiel - The 26-year-old hit .254 with 40 doubles, five triples and 24 RBI at AAA Rochester in 2019 while performing adequately at first base. IF/OF Trey Cabbage - The 22-year-old was the Twins 4th round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He is incredibly strong and hit a combined 15 homers in 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. LHP Sam Clay - Fourth round pick in 2014 from Georgia Tech, Clay reached AAA in 2019. In 123 2/3 innings above High A, he has not given up a home run. In 69 1/3 innings in 2019 (2/3 of the innings in AA), he walked 28 and struck out 72 batters. RHP Moises Gomez - The 22-year-old Venezuelan posted a 1-4 record with 10 saves and a 2.91 ERA this season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He also struck out 15 batters in 11 innings in the Arizona Fall League (we won’t mention the nine walks). RHP Jake Reed - We have brought him up as a Must-Add each of the last few seasons. He hasn’t been added, and he hasn’t been selected. Now 27, he is coming off of a 2019 season in which he posted a 5.76 ERA in Rochester (though he struck out 92 batters in 75 innings). RHP Tom Hackimer - The side-winding 25-year-old was the Twins 4th round pick in 2016 from St. John's. When healthy, he has been very productive. In 56 2/3 innings in 2019, he struck out 75 batters. The Rest Here is a list of other players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the Twins organization. LHP Alex Robinson RHP Miguel De Jesus LHP Lachlan Wells RHP Yancarlos Baez RHP Melvi Acosta RHP Adam Bray RHP Andro Cutura LHP Zach Featherstone RHP Randy LeBlanc RHP Hector Lujan RHP Andriu Marin RHP Ryan Mason LHP Jovani Moran RHP Alex Schick RHP Carlos Suniaga LHP Andrew Vasquez LHP Tyler Watson RHP Tyler Wells IF Joe Cronin SS Yeltsin Encarnacion C Caleb Hamilton 3B Brian Schales OF Aaron Whitefield OF Malique Ziegler In the comments below, discuss my ranking and rank them by how you would protect them. We saw in 2019, and in 2018 too, that the Twins front office will make moves and keep that Rochester Connection quite active, so being on the 40-man roster is a big deal, but we have also seen that it can be altered frequently throughout a season. So, who do you think will be added? Does the fact that the Twins 40-man roster is currently at just 31 and there are others who could be DFAd still make you think they will add as many as eight players in two weeks?
  11. Re-post as the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster is 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20. Between now and March, there are many decisions that this front office will need to make. (See the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook for much more on them.). The Twins made several roster moves on Monday, and more will happen soon. One big decision that is made every November is which players to add to the 40-man roster. Being added to the 40-man roster is a really big deal for players. They make extra money in the minor leagues, but more important, a huge obstacle to being called up to the big leagues is removed. Below you will find a list of Twins minor leaguers who would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster.With Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart and Martin Perez removed from the Twins 40-man rosteron Monday, as well as six Twins players being free agents, the Twins 40-man roster is currently at 31 players. Here’s the quick version: Pitchers (16): Jorge Alcala, Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, Tyler Duffey, Brusdar Graterol, Ryne Harper, Trevor Hildenberger, Zack Littell, Trevor May, Sean Poppen, Taylor Rogers, Fernando Romero, Devin Smeltzer, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe, Matt Wisler.Catchers (2): Willians Astudillo, Mitch GarverInfielders (7): Ehire Adrianza, Luis Arraez, CJ Cron, Marwin Gonzalez, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Miguel SanoOutfielders: (5) Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, LaMonte WadeDH(1): Nelson CruzRecall that the players who are added to the 40-man roster can’t be DFA'd until spring training, so the team will likely not want to fill up their roster now. But as you can see, there are still players on this list that need to be offered arbitration (or not) and there are several players who could be DFA'd for when the team signs free agents. ---------------------------------- Last year, the Twins added three players to their 40-man roster. The “givens” at that time were Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade. We included Luis Arraez as the first “on the bubble” name. The third “on the bubble” name mentioned here a year ago was RH RP Nick Anderson who was traded to the Marlins and pitched tremendously for the Marlins and the Rays as a rookie in 2019. ---------------------------------- So, let’s get to the players that the team will consider adding to their 40-man roster. As a reminder, here are some of the criteria for who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2015 (during the minor league season).Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2016.Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.Players drafted or signed during the 2013 season became free agents after the World Series was complete. That includes Johan Quezada and Jose Martinez. That is why Kohl Stewart, who went unclaimed on Monday, was able to become a free agent. If the Twins signed them (or other minor league free agents) before the Rule 5 draft, they would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.But back to the players needing to be added or risk losing to the Rule 5 draft, I’ll break them into a few categories. The Givens are players that I think have to be added or there is a high likelihood that they will be selected by another team. The next group is a group of players that I think will probably be added, though not quite as obviously. The final group includes players that I would consider On The Bubble. It will be interesting to see which of these guys are added later this month. How many spots will be available on the team’s 40-man roster at that time? The Givens Several players that would have been Givens were already added to the 40-man roster and called up late in the season. In fact, there were several guys who may have been borderline who were added already. For instance, Brusdar Graterol and Jorge Alcala were going to be added. No question. Here are a couple more. RHP Jhoan Duran - He came to the Twins in July 2018 from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. Duran throws hard. He hit triple-digits with a fastball several times in many of his starts. He went just 2-9 despite a 3.23 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for the Miracle. He had 95 strikeouts in 78 innings.He moved up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven starts. He struck out 41 batters in 37 innings. The 21-year-old stands 6-5 and has the potential for a starting pitcher’s mix.RHP Dakota Chalmers - Chalmers was a third-round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, but he has often struggled with control. He also fought injury and had Tommy John surgery early in 2018. The Twins acquired him in August in the Fernando Rodney trade. He returned to the mound in the second half of the 2019 season. After rehabbing in the GCL, the 23-year-old finished the regular season in Ft. Myers with the Miracle. He pitched for the Blue Wahoos in the playoffs and then headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more innings. He has a mid-90s fastball and good spin on his curveball. He also throws a changeup that is good when on.The Probables2B/3B Travis Blankenhorn - The 23-year-old struggled in 2018 in Ft. Myers, as many do in the Florida State League, so he began 2019 with the Miracle. After just 15 games, he was promoted to AA Pensacola. He took off from there. In 93 games with the Blue Wahoos, he hit .278 with 18 doubles and 18 home runs. He was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania. He is one of the best athletes in the organization and has power and speed.OF Gilberto Celestino - The same year Javier signed with the Twins, the Astros signed Gilberto Celestino to a $2.25 million signing bonus. He came to the Twins in 2018 in the Ryan Pressly trade (with Jorge Alcala). He began 2019 by really struggling in Cedar Rapids, but he was on fire the final three months of the season and ended the year with the Miracle. And there, in 30 at-bats, he hit .300/.344/.433 (.767)OF Luke Raley - Raley was the Dodgers seventh-round pick in 2016 out of Division 2 Lake Erie College. He played well, and in July 2018, he came to the Twins with Devin Smeltzer in the Brian Dozier trade. He started 2019 in Rochester and was playing well when he hurt his ankle and needed surgery. It ended his season though he did play in the Arizona Fall League. He has power, and can play all three outfield positions, though center field is a stretch.On the Bubble RHP Luis Rijo - He came to the Twins from the Yankees in the July 2018 Lance Lynn trade. In 2018 in Cedar Rapids, he impressed by often hitting 95 and 96 mph with his fastball. He went 5-8 with a 2.86 ERA over 107 innings pitched. If he had spent time in Ft. Myers, he would probably be a Given, but could a team stash him for the full 2019 season?SS Wander Javier - When you sign an amateur to a $4 million signing bonus, you’d like to think that this decision would be easy, and maybe it is. But Javier has unfortunately missed nearly two seasons because of injury (most of 2016 in DSL and all of 2018). His 2019 started late and in 80 games, he hit just .177 with nine doubles and 11 home runs. He also had 17 errors. So, could he play in the big leagues today? Probably not. But he has as much talent as anyone in the organization, so a team might be willing to stash the 20-year-old on their big league roster for his potential.RHP Griffin Jax - The Twins third-round pick in 2016 out of the Air Force Academy. He signed and while he had commitments to the military, he pitched each summer. He has been able to pitch consistently since early in the 2018 season. He spent most of the 2019 season in Double-A Pensacola but made a couple of starts at Triple-A Rochester too. In 23 starts, he went a combined 5-7 with a 2.90 ERA. In 127 1/3 innings, he walked just 27 and struck out 94 (6.6 K/9).The Next This is a group that contains some intriguing names. While they aren’t obvious choices, there could be a team that likes them enough to take a shot with a Rule 5 pick. 1B Zander Wiel - The 26-year-old hit .254 with 40 doubles, five triples and 24 RBI at AAA Rochester in 2019 while performing adequately at first base.IF/OF Trey Cabbage - The 22-year-old was the Twins 4th round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He is incredibly strong and hit a combined 15 homers in 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers.LHP Sam Clay - Fourth round pick in 2014 from Georgia Tech, Clay reached AAA in 2019. In 123 2/3 innings above High A, he has not given up a home run. In 69 1/3 innings in 2019 (2/3 of the innings in AA), he walked 28 and struck out 72 batters.RHP Moises Gomez - The 22-year-old Venezuelan posted a 1-4 record with 10 saves and a 2.91 ERA this season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He also struck out 15 batters in 11 innings in the Arizona Fall League (we won’t mention the nine walks).RHP Jake Reed - We have brought him up as a Must-Add each of the last few seasons. He hasn’t been added, and he hasn’t been selected. Now 27, he is coming off of a 2019 season in which he posted a 5.76 ERA in Rochester (though he struck out 92 batters in 75 innings).RHP Tom Hackimer - The side-winding 25-year-old was the Twins 4th round pick in 2016 from St. John's. When healthy, he has been very productive. In 56 2/3 innings in 2019, he struck out 75 batters.The Rest Here is a list of other players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the Twins organization. LHP Alex RobinsonRHP Miguel De JesusLHP Lachlan WellsRHP Yancarlos BaezRHP Melvi AcostaRHP Adam BrayRHP Andro CuturaLHP Zach FeatherstoneRHP Randy LeBlancRHP Hector LujanRHP Andriu MarinRHP Ryan MasonLHP Jovani MoranRHP Alex SchickRHP Carlos SuniagaLHP Andrew VasquezLHP Tyler WatsonRHP Tyler WellsIF Joe CroninSS Yeltsin EncarnacionC Caleb Hamilton3B Brian SchalesOF Aaron WhitefieldOF Malique ZieglerIn the comments below, discuss my ranking and rank them by how you would protect them. We saw in 2019, and in 2018 too, that the Twins front office will make moves and keep that Rochester Connection quite active, so being on the 40-man roster is a big deal, but we have also seen that it can be altered frequently throughout a season. So, who do you think will be added? Does the fact that the Twins 40-man roster is currently at just 31 and there are others who could be DFAd still make you think they will add as many as eight players in two weeks? Click here to view the article
  12. After having wrapped up their East division title in week five and a place in the Arizona Fall League Championship Game, the Salt River Rafters closed out their regular season with two wins, one loss, and a tie in week six. They finished with the top record in the league at 17-11-1 (.607 winning percentage) and faced the West Division winning Surprise Saguaros on Saturday for the title. To find out how all your #MNTwinsInTheAFL closed out their regular seasons, and how that title game went down, keep reading! (This report includes the games played through 10/26 and the end of the AFL season)(links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 3 games, 4-for-12, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K, SB; .353/.411/.565 (overall) Lewis got the start in center field in Monday’s 11-7 win over Glendale and after reaching base on a fielders choice in the top of the first, proceeded to steal his fifth base before being stranded on second. In the third inning with the Desert Dogs up 2-0, Lewis got the Rafters on the board with an RBI single before his teammates added four more to go up 5-2. Glendale took back the lead 7-5 going into the ninth inning however, but Lewis again sparked his team with an RBI double to make it 7-6 before they tacked on five more for the final of 11-7. It was another fantastic performance for Lewis, but it wasn’t the best one in this game from Twins prospects —we’ll get to that later. After a few days of rest, Lewis was back in center field on Thursday against the Mesa Solar Sox and batting third in the lineup. He singled in his first at-bat of the game, but both teams were woefully deficient on offense throughout as this one ended in a 0-0 tie. The teams combined to go 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, left 18 men on base, and struck out 18 times versus just two walks. Finishing out the regular season on Friday against Peoria, Lewis made the start at another new position in the AFL, but you’ll be pleased to learn it was at shortstop. He also batted cleanup in this abbreviated seven inning game and delivered an RBI single in the fifth inning that made the score 5-1 Rafters. As the shortstop, Lewis committed a fielding error on the first batted ball of the game and had only one other opportunity for the rest of it. He had this to say afterwards, as the Rafters still had one more game to go on Saturday: Lewis ended his impressive AFL season by being named the league’s MVP, adding further hardware to his mantle from an impressive fall campaign. He was named the hitter of the week once and also took home the MVP award during the Fall Stars Game where he hit a home run. He paced the league in hits (30) and runs scored (21) while also ranking top three in doubles (9), RBI (20), total bases (48), batting average (.353), slugging percentage (.565), and OPS (.975). If you have found yourself unimpressed with Lewis after the regular minor league season in which he admittedly struggled, my advice now is to get over it. This was the most outstanding showing by a Minnesota Twins prospect in the Arizona Fall League since I’ve been recapping it in this fashion as a blogger, which was long before your favorite website Twins Daily came into existence. Get excited, because no matter what position Lewis shows up in the majors at, he’s going to be an impact player. Don’t just take my word for it either: Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; 1-2, 5.09 ERA, 1.64 WHIP (overall) Chalmers made his final start of regular season play in Monday’s win over the Desert Dogs, finishing 3 2/3 innings. He allowed single runs in each of the first and second frames on RBI doubles before tossing a scoreless third inning after his offense gave him a 5-2 lead. Back out for the fourth a solo home run cut the lead to two and he walked a batter before picking up a strikeout to end his day. He mixed in four total strikeouts that pushed his total on the season to 25 in 17 2/3 innings to lead the Rafters staff. He threw 71 pitches on the game, with 42 going for strikes (59%). There was both good-to-great and bad-to-worse outings on Chalmers ledger during the AFL season, but after throwing just 34 2/3 innings in 2018 in his return from Tommy John surgery it’s hard to view his AFL performance as anything but positive. He showed a consistent high-90’s fastball and swing and miss breaking ball, and when he had command of them was dominant. That’s nothing new in relation to his prospect profile, but it was a solid step toward the 2020 season which will tell a lot more as he distances himself further from his surgery. Ben Rortvedt: Did not play; .111/.200/.111 (overall) While a knee injury Rortvedt had been playing with during the latter portion of the 2019 season ultimately put an end to his time in the AFL. Before that he had continued to showcase his defensive chops as a catcher while also bringing an improved bat. He’ll be ready to go when pitchers and catchers report to spring training and after reaching Double-A in 2019 will be looking to solidify his place near the top of the minor league depth chart among Twins catchers. Luke Raley: 3 games, 3-for-10, R, HR, 5 RBI, BB, 2 K; .244/.312/.439 (overall) After an impressive week 5 showing, Raley continued his emergence in the first game of week 6 with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate that out-shined his MVP teammate as alluded to above. His two hits included a two-RBI single in the third that made it 5-2 at the time, then his three-run home run in the ninth punctuated a six-run inning for the Rafters as they went back ahead for good 11-7. He also drew a walk in the sixth inning with the score tied at five, but while attempting to score the go-ahead run from third on a grounder he was thrown out at home. In Thursday’s 0-0 pitching duel with Mesa, Raley batted sixth in the lineup and was in right field. He finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout but reached base in the ninth when he was hit by a pitch. Closing out the regular season on Friday against the Javelinas Raley batted fifth behind Lewis and also finished 1-for-3. His single led off the second inning against top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley and the inning ended with him stranded on third. After missing several months of the minor league season due to an ankle injury, the AFL was mostly about making up time for Raley. It took him some time to get going but when he did, he was a force in the Rafters lineup. Over his final 10 games he had at least one hit in eight of them, and they included two doubles, three home runs, and eight RBI. His OPS in that time frame was over 1.000 as he slashed .333/.400/.639. Eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December, I expect Raley will get protected and should debut with the Twins at some point during the 2020 season. Moises Gomez: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 BB, K; 0-1, 6.55 ERA, 2.09 WHIP (overall) Gomez saw his final action of the AFL season in Monday’s victory over Glendale, but it didn’t end as he probably would have liked. Coming on in relief of Chalmers in the fourth inning, Gomez inherited a runner in scoring position and walked his first batter before getting a ground out to keep his team up by two runs. Back out for the fifth inning Gomez got the first two hitters before trouble began to brew. He would walk the next three hitters to load the bases and end his outing. Two of those runners ended up coming around to score after his exit, to tie the game at five. After a fantastic minor league season that saw him come in third in Twins Daily’s MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Year voting, Gomez got a nice reward and challenge by being sent to the AFL after spending less than half of the year in Fort Myers. While his 15 strikeouts in 11 total innings was nice, he also allowed runs in six of nine appearances and gave up nine free passes. I’d project he’ll start the 2020 season back with the Miracle, but if he shows improved command could again find himself promoted midsummer. Jovani Moran: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, 2 K; 0-1, 7.00 ERA, 2.11 WHIP (overall) Moran’s final appearance of the AFL season came in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Glendale when he entered the game to start the eighth inning with the Desert Dogs up 6-4. The left-hander delivered a one-two-three inning, striking out two in the process to end his season on a high note. He needed just twelve pitches and got both of those K’s on 94 MPH fastballs that hitters swung through near the top of the zone. Moran’s showing in the AFL was very similar to Gomez’s, in that he racked up strikeouts (14 in nine total innings) but also gave up walks and runs in bunches. His final outing this week was the first on the season that he did not issue at least one walk. Moran pitched with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for all of the 2019 season but did miss a few months during the summer with two separate trips to the injured list. He made up some innings in the AFL, but I’d expect him to be back with Pensacola at the start of the 2020 season looking to rediscover his magic from 2018. Zach Neff: 2 appearances, 2.1 IP, H; 1-0, 1 Save, 1.38 ERA, 0.54 WHIP (overall) Neff was called upon two more times in the season’s final week, appearing in Monday’s win over the Desert Dogs and Thursday’s tie against the Solar Sox. In Monday’s contest Neff was summoned with two outs in the fifth inning after Gomez had loaded the bases with three consecutive walks. He allowed a two-run single to the first batter he faced that tied the game at five, but then got a lineout to end the inning. Starting clean in the sixth inning, Neff delivered a one-two-three frame, getting two ground outs and an infield pop out on thirteen pitches. He was charged with a blown save for giving up the game-tying hit in the fifth. In Thursday’s scoreless tie, Neff was called upon for the eighth inning and again delivered a one-two-three outing, getting each batter to pop out in the infield and requiring only five pitches to do so. That was the theme for Neff during the AFL season, recording outs in uber-efficient fashion and limiting baserunners. His 0.54 WHIP in league play ranked second on his team, and he recorded 12 strikeouts compared to just one walk in nine appearances and 13 innings pitched. He’s certainly raised his profile with his performance against the top competition of the AFL and will look to continue that into the 2020 season. Perhaps with a bump to Double-A to start the year on the merits of his AFL showing. AFL Championship Game As the East division champions for the second year in a row, the Salt River Rafters had one more game to play on Saturday for all the marbles in the AFL Championship against the West division winning Surprise Saguaros. On the mound to start the game for the Rafters was the Twins very own Dakota Chalmers, and he came out in the first inning determined to give his team his best effort. He needed 24 pitches and had full counts to three of the four hitters in the opening frame, but after walking the first hitter of the game he came back to finish off the next three with strikeouts. In the second he again walked the leadoff man, this time on four pitches, but needed just six more in the inning to get the three outs and keep the game scoreless. In the bottom of the third a leadoff walk would finally catch up to him as that batter stole second base and then came around to score on a single and early 1-0 lead for Surprise. After that single Chalmers was lifted and finished with a line of one earned run on one hit and three walks in 2 1/3 innings, along with striking out three. The Rafters lineup picked him up in the top of the fourth however, as they erupted for five runs of their own to put the game out of reach. Royce Lewis led off the inning but grounded out before a hit batter, wild pitch, and single tied the game at one. Luke Raley and Colton Welker then drew walks to load the bases, and two batters later with two outs, Marlins outfield prospect Jerar Encarnacion broke it open with a grand slam and 5-1 lead that would stand until the end. Lewis tallied two hits in five at-bats on the game, including a double in the seventh inning and single to lead off the ninth. After that double in the seventh, Lewis got caught in a rundown between home and third on a comebacker to the pitcher for the inning's second out, but it would not matter. Lewis played third base and batted second in the lineup for the game. Luke Raley started the game in left field and batted fifth in the lineup, finishing 0-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. He was also hit by a pitch in the second inning. Raley was on third base when Encarnacion blasted the game-winning grand slam. Reliever Zach Neff also got into the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, when he was brought on to face the left-handed hitting top of the Saguaros lineup with two outs. He allowed a double on a 3-2 breaking ball that he left over the heart of the plate but got the next hitter to chase a fastball out of the zone for an easy ground ball to first. The Rafters then took care of business in the ninth to bring home the hardware! Congratulations to all of the Minnesota Twins prospects, and those of the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks on a great season and thanks for following along during the AFL season with me! Other AFL and Minor League Links: -MLB Pipelines AFL Championship Game recap. -The Rafters home complex, Salt River Fields, was home to the automated ball-strike (ABS) system throughout AFL play, and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo spoke with several players and prospects, including Royce Lewis, on how the system fared during the season. -Pensacola Blue Wahoos Senior Writer Bill Vilona on Royce Lewis and winning the AFL MVP award. -Vilona also caught up with Twins pitcher Devin Smeltzer to recap his dream season that started with the Blue Wahoos. -MLB.com’s Jim Callis details eight players who stood out during the AFL Championship Game. -The Athletic’s Dan Hayes caught up with Royce Lewis to talk about his so-called struggles during the minor league season, his success in the AFL, and what he’ll be doing during the offseason (paywall). Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there! Click here to view the article
  13. (links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 3 games, 4-for-12, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K, SB; .353/.411/.565 (overall) Lewis got the start in center field in Monday’s 11-7 win over Glendale and after reaching base on a fielders choice in the top of the first, proceeded to steal his fifth base before being stranded on second. In the third inning with the Desert Dogs up 2-0, Lewis got the Rafters on the board with an RBI single before his teammates added four more to go up 5-2. Glendale took back the lead 7-5 going into the ninth inning however, but Lewis again sparked his team with an RBI double to make it 7-6 before they tacked on five more for the final of 11-7. It was another fantastic performance for Lewis, but it wasn’t the best one in this game from Twins prospects —we’ll get to that later. After a few days of rest, Lewis was back in center field on Thursday against the Mesa Solar Sox and batting third in the lineup. He singled in his first at-bat of the game, but both teams were woefully deficient on offense throughout as this one ended in a 0-0 tie. The teams combined to go 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, left 18 men on base, and struck out 18 times versus just two walks. Finishing out the regular season on Friday against Peoria, Lewis made the start at another new position in the AFL, but you’ll be pleased to learn it was at shortstop. He also batted cleanup in this abbreviated seven inning game and delivered an RBI single in the fifth inning that made the score 5-1 Rafters. As the shortstop, Lewis committed a fielding error on the first batted ball of the game and had only one other opportunity for the rest of it. He had this to say afterwards, as the Rafters still had one more game to go on Saturday: https://twitter.com/MLBPipeline/status/1186699172449312770 Lewis ended his impressive AFL season by being named the league’s MVP, adding further hardware to his mantle from an impressive fall campaign. He was named the hitter of the week once and also took home the MVP award during the Fall Stars Game where he hit a home run. He paced the league in hits (30) and runs scored (21) while also ranking top three in doubles (9), RBI (20), total bases (48), batting average (.353), slugging percentage (.565), and OPS (.975). If you have found yourself unimpressed with Lewis after the regular minor league season in which he admittedly struggled, my advice now is to get over it. This was the most outstanding showing by a Minnesota Twins prospect in the Arizona Fall League since I’ve been recapping it in this fashion as a blogger, which was long before your favorite website Twins Daily came into existence. Get excited, because no matter what position Lewis shows up in the majors at, he’s going to be an impact player. Don’t just take my word for it either: https://twitter.com/BerniePleskoff/status/1188138808740462592 Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; 1-2, 5.09 ERA, 1.64 WHIP (overall) Chalmers made his final start of regular season play in Monday’s win over the Desert Dogs, finishing 3 2/3 innings. He allowed single runs in each of the first and second frames on RBI doubles before tossing a scoreless third inning after his offense gave him a 5-2 lead. Back out for the fourth a solo home run cut the lead to two and he walked a batter before picking up a strikeout to end his day. He mixed in four total strikeouts that pushed his total on the season to 25 in 17 2/3 innings to lead the Rafters staff. He threw 71 pitches on the game, with 42 going for strikes (59%). There was both good-to-great and bad-to-worse outings on Chalmers ledger during the AFL season, but after throwing just 34 2/3 innings in 2018 in his return from Tommy John surgery it’s hard to view his AFL performance as anything but positive. He showed a consistent high-90’s fastball and swing and miss breaking ball, and when he had command of them was dominant. That’s nothing new in relation to his prospect profile, but it was a solid step toward the 2020 season which will tell a lot more as he distances himself further from his surgery. Ben Rortvedt: Did not play; .111/.200/.111 (overall) While a knee injury Rortvedt had been playing with during the latter portion of the 2019 season ultimately put an end to his time in the AFL. Before that he had continued to showcase his defensive chops as a catcher while also bringing an improved bat. He’ll be ready to go when pitchers and catchers report to spring training and after reaching Double-A in 2019 will be looking to solidify his place near the top of the minor league depth chart among Twins catchers. Luke Raley: 3 games, 3-for-10, R, HR, 5 RBI, BB, 2 K; .244/.312/.439 (overall) After an impressive week 5 showing, Raley continued his emergence in the first game of week 6 with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate that out-shined his MVP teammate as alluded to above. His two hits included a two-RBI single in the third that made it 5-2 at the time, then his three-run home run in the ninth punctuated a six-run inning for the Rafters as they went back ahead for good 11-7. He also drew a walk in the sixth inning with the score tied at five, but while attempting to score the go-ahead run from third on a grounder he was thrown out at home. In Thursday’s 0-0 pitching duel with Mesa, Raley batted sixth in the lineup and was in right field. He finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout but reached base in the ninth when he was hit by a pitch. Closing out the regular season on Friday against the Javelinas Raley batted fifth behind Lewis and also finished 1-for-3. His single led off the second inning against top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley and the inning ended with him stranded on third. After missing several months of the minor league season due to an ankle injury, the AFL was mostly about making up time for Raley. It took him some time to get going but when he did, he was a force in the Rafters lineup. Over his final 10 games he had at least one hit in eight of them, and they included two doubles, three home runs, and eight RBI. His OPS in that time frame was over 1.000 as he slashed .333/.400/.639. Eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December, I expect Raley will get protected and should debut with the Twins at some point during the 2020 season. Moises Gomez: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 BB, K; 0-1, 6.55 ERA, 2.09 WHIP (overall) Gomez saw his final action of the AFL season in Monday’s victory over Glendale, but it didn’t end as he probably would have liked. Coming on in relief of Chalmers in the fourth inning, Gomez inherited a runner in scoring position and walked his first batter before getting a ground out to keep his team up by two runs. Back out for the fifth inning Gomez got the first two hitters before trouble began to brew. He would walk the next three hitters to load the bases and end his outing. Two of those runners ended up coming around to score after his exit, to tie the game at five. After a fantastic minor league season that saw him come in third in Twins Daily’s MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Year voting, Gomez got a nice reward and challenge by being sent to the AFL after spending less than half of the year in Fort Myers. While his 15 strikeouts in 11 total innings was nice, he also allowed runs in six of nine appearances and gave up nine free passes. I’d project he’ll start the 2020 season back with the Miracle, but if he shows improved command could again find himself promoted midsummer. Jovani Moran: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, 2 K; 0-1, 7.00 ERA, 2.11 WHIP (overall) Moran’s final appearance of the AFL season came in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Glendale when he entered the game to start the eighth inning with the Desert Dogs up 6-4. The left-hander delivered a one-two-three inning, striking out two in the process to end his season on a high note. He needed just twelve pitches and got both of those K’s on 94 MPH fastballs that hitters swung through near the top of the zone. Moran’s showing in the AFL was very similar to Gomez’s, in that he racked up strikeouts (14 in nine total innings) but also gave up walks and runs in bunches. His final outing this week was the first on the season that he did not issue at least one walk. Moran pitched with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for all of the 2019 season but did miss a few months during the summer with two separate trips to the injured list. He made up some innings in the AFL, but I’d expect him to be back with Pensacola at the start of the 2020 season looking to rediscover his magic from 2018. Zach Neff: 2 appearances, 2.1 IP, H; 1-0, 1 Save, 1.38 ERA, 0.54 WHIP (overall) Neff was called upon two more times in the season’s final week, appearing in Monday’s win over the Desert Dogs and Thursday’s tie against the Solar Sox. In Monday’s contest Neff was summoned with two outs in the fifth inning after Gomez had loaded the bases with three consecutive walks. He allowed a two-run single to the first batter he faced that tied the game at five, but then got a lineout to end the inning. Starting clean in the sixth inning, Neff delivered a one-two-three frame, getting two ground outs and an infield pop out on thirteen pitches. He was charged with a blown save for giving up the game-tying hit in the fifth. In Thursday’s scoreless tie, Neff was called upon for the eighth inning and again delivered a one-two-three outing, getting each batter to pop out in the infield and requiring only five pitches to do so. That was the theme for Neff during the AFL season, recording outs in uber-efficient fashion and limiting baserunners. His 0.54 WHIP in league play ranked second on his team, and he recorded 12 strikeouts compared to just one walk in nine appearances and 13 innings pitched. He’s certainly raised his profile with his performance against the top competition of the AFL and will look to continue that into the 2020 season. Perhaps with a bump to Double-A to start the year on the merits of his AFL showing. AFL Championship Game As the East division champions for the second year in a row, the Salt River Rafters had one more game to play on Saturday for all the marbles in the AFL Championship against the West division winning Surprise Saguaros. On the mound to start the game for the Rafters was the Twins very own Dakota Chalmers, and he came out in the first inning determined to give his team his best effort. He needed 24 pitches and had full counts to three of the four hitters in the opening frame, but after walking the first hitter of the game he came back to finish off the next three with strikeouts. In the second he again walked the leadoff man, this time on four pitches, but needed just six more in the inning to get the three outs and keep the game scoreless. In the bottom of the third a leadoff walk would finally catch up to him as that batter stole second base and then came around to score on a single and early 1-0 lead for Surprise. After that single Chalmers was lifted and finished with a line of one earned run on one hit and three walks in 2 1/3 innings, along with striking out three. The Rafters lineup picked him up in the top of the fourth however, as they erupted for five runs of their own to put the game out of reach. Royce Lewis led off the inning but grounded out before a hit batter, wild pitch, and single tied the game at one. Luke Raley and Colton Welker then drew walks to load the bases, and two batters later with two outs, Marlins outfield prospect Jerar Encarnacion broke it open with a grand slam and 5-1 lead that would stand until the end. Lewis tallied two hits in five at-bats on the game, including a double in the seventh inning and single to lead off the ninth. After that double in the seventh, Lewis got caught in a rundown between home and third on a comebacker to the pitcher for the inning's second out, but it would not matter. Lewis played third base and batted second in the lineup for the game. Luke Raley started the game in left field and batted fifth in the lineup, finishing 0-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. He was also hit by a pitch in the second inning. Raley was on third base when Encarnacion blasted the game-winning grand slam. Reliever Zach Neff also got into the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, when he was brought on to face the left-handed hitting top of the Saguaros lineup with two outs. He allowed a double on a 3-2 breaking ball that he left over the heart of the plate but got the next hitter to chase a fastball out of the zone for an easy ground ball to first. The Rafters then took care of business in the ninth to bring home the hardware! https://twitter.com/wboor/status/1188195897785499648 Congratulations to all of the Minnesota Twins prospects, and those of the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks on a great season and thanks for following along during the AFL season with me! Other AFL and Minor League Links: -MLB Pipelines AFL Championship Game recap. -The Rafters home complex, Salt River Fields, was home to the automated ball-strike (ABS) system throughout AFL play, and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo spoke with several players and prospects, including Royce Lewis, on how the system fared during the season. -Pensacola Blue Wahoos Senior Writer Bill Vilona on Royce Lewis and winning the AFL MVP award. -Vilona also caught up with Twins pitcher Devin Smeltzer to recap his dream season that started with the Blue Wahoos. -MLB.com’s Jim Callis details eight players who stood out during the AFL Championship Game. -The Athletic’s Dan Hayes caught up with Royce Lewis to talk about his so-called struggles during the minor league season, his success in the AFL, and what he’ll be doing during the offseason (paywall). Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there!
  14. The Salt River Rafters finished week five of the Arizona Fall League season with a 3-3 record that kept themselves atop the East division standings. After a big week four that saw him collect several accolades, Royce Lewis finally appeared somewhat human, but Luke Raley more than picked up the slack with a monster week that could go a long way toward his 2020 prospects with the big-league club. Dakota Chalmers also had another strong start and reliever Zach Neff continued to baffle his opponents with his savvy. Continue reading to see just how big Raley came up for the Rafters, and how all the #MNTwinsInTheAFL performed in week 5 of the AFL season! (This report includes the games played through 10/20)(links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 5 games, 4-19, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, SB; .356/.422/.589 (overall) Lewis finally had somewhat of a quiet week in the AFL after his hitting streak came to an end at 12 games, but if this is as bad as it gets there’s nothing to worry about. He reached base in four of five games and multiple times in three of five to remain at the top of the AFL leaderboards in several categories. In Monday’s 6-5 loss to Scottsdale he batted second and played second base, finishing 1-for-4 with a run scored and drew a walk. The walk came in the top of the first and Lewis would end up stranded on second base. In their five run third inning, Lewis drove in the first run of the game with an opposite field single and would later score on a three-run homer from teammate Jerar Encarnacion. In Tuesday’s rematch with the Scorpions, runs and hits were at a premium for both teams as they combined for just three and ten combined, respectively. Lewis finished 0-for-4 and his hit streak would come to an end at 12 games thanks to a fantastic play from Philadelphia Phillies prospect, and fellow #1 overall pick, Mickey Moniak: Lewis however, was responsible for driving in the Rafters lone run on the game with an RBI groundout in the fourth. Lewis again manned the keystone in this game. Back at third base and batting third in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Peoria, Lewis would finish 2-for-4, but did not score a run as he was picked off at second base by the catcher after his double in the third inning. He may have picked up something up from the catcher on that play however, as later in the game after he had singled and the next batter drew a walk, he stole third base (which he has done multiple times in AFL play) but would end up stranded. After a couple of days off, Lewis was back in the lineup at second base for Salt River’s 8-1 win over Surprise on Saturday. He drew a walk in the first inning and would come around to score on a single for an early 2-0 lead. He added an RBI single in the fourth inning that made the score 6-0 Rafters at the time. To close out a busy week on Sunday, Lewis went 0-for-3 with a walk in Salt River’s extra inning win over Surprise. He batted second and played third base and was on deck when the Rafters walked it off in the tenth thanks to an RBI single from Vidal Brujan of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, L, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K; 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP (overall) Chalmers was the hard luck loser in Tuesday’s pitching duel, getting the start and finishing four solid innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and zero walks, while striking out four. He was in command of all his pitches in this one, throwing 35 of his 49 pitches for strikes (71%). He allowed a solo home run in the top of the first and an RBI double in the fourth, but in between retired seven in a row and topped out at 97.9 MPH on the radar gun. Ben Rortvedt: Did not play; .111/.200/.111 (overall) As detailed last week, a minor knee injury Rortvedt had been dealing with during the season with Pensacola and into the AFL has brought his fall league campaign to a close. He’ll be 100 percent well in advance of when pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Luke Raley: 6 games, 9-for-23, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 4 K; .236/.296/.417 (overall) Raley’s 2018 AFL season ended after just four games due to a shoulder injury, and it took him some time to get going in the AFL this year after coming back from an ankle injury suffered back in May. Entering week five with just a .510 OPS through 14 games, he found his groove in a big way in six games on the week. He collected a hit in each contest to raise his average on the season from .170 to .236, but it was his showing in Saturday’s win over Surprise that stood out the most, as it was perhaps the best performance of any hitter in the AFL on the season. Just how good you ask? Let’s take a look at-bat by at-bat: 2nd inning: Leads off frame with a hard hit single up the middle, later scores on a single for a 3-0 Rafters lead. 3rd inning: Blasts a 2-run homer to the opposite field off Kansas City Royals prospect Daniel Lynch (#69 overall prospect per MLB.com, and #8 LHP prospect) for a 5-0 lead. 5th inning: On a 2-1 pitch, Raley clubs his second home run of the game, this one a solo shot to right field, making it 8-1 Salt River. 7th inning: On perhaps his hardest hit ball of the night, Raley obliterates a pitch into the gap that hits high off the wall for a double, barely missing his third homer of the night. In Raley’s 4-for-4 night he would score three and drive in three. While I’m not going to detail the rest of his games on the week, he is on a current seven game hitting streak that’s completely transformed his batting line on the AFL season. I’d also encourage you to check out what he did in Monday’s game a week early, helping propel the Rafters to an especially big comeback win. Moises Gomez: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, K; 5.40 ERA, 1.90 WHIP (overall) Gomez saw action in just one game on the week but made the most of it with a one-two-three outing. He came on for the seventh inning in Wednesday’s win over Peoria with the score 3-2 in favor of the Rafters and was awarded his third hold for his efforts. He threw twelve pitches with nine of them going for strikes (also was charged with an “automatic ball” to the leadoff man) and punctuated his outing with a strikeout to end the frame. Jovani Moran: 2 appearances, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, K; 7.88 ERA, 2.38 WHIP (overall) The left-handed reliever’s first action of the week came in Monday’s loss to Scottsdale, and unfortunately for him would be charged with both a blown save and the loss. Entering the game in the eighth inning with a 5-3 lead, Scottsdale wasted no time making him work. The leadoff man doubled before he got a groundout, but then loaded the bases with consecutive walks. A sac fly was then followed by a two-run single that put the Scorpions out front 6-5 before he got the final out. In Friday’s 9-0 loss to Peoria Moran was summoned with one out and a runner on first in the top of the seventh. A wild pitch that was followed by a single put runners on the corners before a sac fly made it 4-0 Javelinas. Back out to start the eighth Moran struggled to find the strike zone, walking the first two hitters of the inning before a mound visit bought some time to warm up another reliever. He then got a pop-up to record three total outs but that was the end of his outing. Both of the runners he was responsible for would end up scoring though it didn’t matter much besides inflating his ERA as the Rafters were shut out. Zach Neff: 1 appearance, S, 2.0 IP, BB, 3 K; 1.69 ERA, 0.56 WHIP (overall) Neff has been the reliever standout among Twins prospects thus far in the AFL season, and his lone appearance on the week followed that theme. Entering Wednesdays 4-2 win over Peoria in the eighth after Gomez, he also picked up his first save by finishing the final two innings. He set the Javelina’s down in order in his first inning on just eight pitches, including a strikeout, before needing to work a little harder in the ninth. He struck out the leadoff man on three pitches then got a grounder on a 2-2 pitch for the second out before losing a nine-pitch battle by allowing his first walk of the AFL season. With the tying runner up to bat, Neff buckled down and caught him looking on a 3-2 count to end the game. Other AFL and Minor League Links: -For his efforts last week, including an MVP award in the Fall Stars game, Royce Lewis was named the AFL hitter of the week. -After their victory on Monday (10/21) behind Luke Raley and Lewis, the Salt River Rafters have clinched the AFL East Division and will play in the AFL championship game on Saturday. -MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo spoke with Luke Raley after his monster game on Saturday. He talks about his ankle injury that kept him out for most of the MiLB season and getting back into the swing of things in the AFL and with his new organization. Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there! Click here to view the article
  15. (links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 5 games, 4-19, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, SB; .356/.422/.589 (overall) Lewis finally had somewhat of a quiet week in the AFL after his hitting streak came to an end at 12 games, but if this is as bad as it gets there’s nothing to worry about. He reached base in four of five games and multiple times in three of five to remain at the top of the AFL leaderboards in several categories. In Monday’s 6-5 loss to Scottsdale he batted second and played second base, finishing 1-for-4 with a run scored and drew a walk. The walk came in the top of the first and Lewis would end up stranded on second base. In their five run third inning, Lewis drove in the first run of the game with an opposite field single and would later score on a three-run homer from teammate Jerar Encarnacion. In Tuesday’s rematch with the Scorpions, runs and hits were at a premium for both teams as they combined for just three and ten combined, respectively. Lewis finished 0-for-4 and his hit streak would come to an end at 12 games thanks to a fantastic play from Philadelphia Phillies prospect, and fellow #1 overall pick, Mickey Moniak: https://twitter.com/MLBazFallLeague/status/1184302618157338625 Lewis however, was responsible for driving in the Rafters lone run on the game with an RBI groundout in the fourth. Lewis again manned the keystone in this game. Back at third base and batting third in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Peoria, Lewis would finish 2-for-4, but did not score a run as he was picked off at second base by the catcher after his double in the third inning. He may have picked up something up from the catcher on that play however, as later in the game after he had singled and the next batter drew a walk, he stole third base (which he has done multiple times in AFL play) but would end up stranded. After a couple of days off, Lewis was back in the lineup at second base for Salt River’s 8-1 win over Surprise on Saturday. He drew a walk in the first inning and would come around to score on a single for an early 2-0 lead. He added an RBI single in the fourth inning that made the score 6-0 Rafters at the time. To close out a busy week on Sunday, Lewis went 0-for-3 with a walk in Salt River’s extra inning win over Surprise. He batted second and played third base and was on deck when the Rafters walked it off in the tenth thanks to an RBI single from Vidal Brujan of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, L, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K; 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP (overall) Chalmers was the hard luck loser in Tuesday’s pitching duel, getting the start and finishing four solid innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and zero walks, while striking out four. He was in command of all his pitches in this one, throwing 35 of his 49 pitches for strikes (71%). He allowed a solo home run in the top of the first and an RBI double in the fourth, but in between retired seven in a row and topped out at 97.9 MPH on the radar gun. Ben Rortvedt: Did not play; .111/.200/.111 (overall) As detailed last week, a minor knee injury Rortvedt had been dealing with during the season with Pensacola and into the AFL has brought his fall league campaign to a close. He’ll be 100 percent well in advance of when pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Luke Raley: 6 games, 9-for-23, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 4 K; .236/.296/.417 (overall) Raley’s 2018 AFL season ended after just four games due to a shoulder injury, and it took him some time to get going in the AFL this year after coming back from an ankle injury suffered back in May. Entering week five with just a .510 OPS through 14 games, he found his groove in a big way in six games on the week. He collected a hit in each contest to raise his average on the season from .170 to .236, but it was his showing in Saturday’s win over Surprise that stood out the most, as it was perhaps the best performance of any hitter in the AFL on the season. Just how good you ask? Let’s take a look at-bat by at-bat: 2nd inning: Leads off frame with a hard hit single up the middle, later scores on a single for a 3-0 Rafters lead. 3rd inning: Blasts a 2-run homer to the opposite field off Kansas City Royals prospect Daniel Lynch (#69 overall prospect per MLB.com, and #8 LHP prospect) for a 5-0 lead. 5th inning: On a 2-1 pitch, Raley clubs his second home run of the game, this one a solo shot to right field, making it 8-1 Salt River. 7th inning: On perhaps his hardest hit ball of the night, Raley obliterates a pitch into the gap that hits high off the wall for a double, barely missing his third homer of the night. https://twitter.com/JonathanMayo/status/1185760714591367168 In Raley’s 4-for-4 night he would score three and drive in three. While I’m not going to detail the rest of his games on the week, he is on a current seven game hitting streak that’s completely transformed his batting line on the AFL season. I’d also encourage you to check out what he did in Monday’s game a week early, helping propel the Rafters to an especially big comeback win. Moises Gomez: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, K; 5.40 ERA, 1.90 WHIP (overall) Gomez saw action in just one game on the week but made the most of it with a one-two-three outing. He came on for the seventh inning in Wednesday’s win over Peoria with the score 3-2 in favor of the Rafters and was awarded his third hold for his efforts. He threw twelve pitches with nine of them going for strikes (also was charged with an “automatic ball” to the leadoff man) and punctuated his outing with a strikeout to end the frame. Jovani Moran: 2 appearances, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, K; 7.88 ERA, 2.38 WHIP (overall) The left-handed reliever’s first action of the week came in Monday’s loss to Scottsdale, and unfortunately for him would be charged with both a blown save and the loss. Entering the game in the eighth inning with a 5-3 lead, Scottsdale wasted no time making him work. The leadoff man doubled before he got a groundout, but then loaded the bases with consecutive walks. A sac fly was then followed by a two-run single that put the Scorpions out front 6-5 before he got the final out. In Friday’s 9-0 loss to Peoria Moran was summoned with one out and a runner on first in the top of the seventh. A wild pitch that was followed by a single put runners on the corners before a sac fly made it 4-0 Javelinas. Back out to start the eighth Moran struggled to find the strike zone, walking the first two hitters of the inning before a mound visit bought some time to warm up another reliever. He then got a pop-up to record three total outs but that was the end of his outing. Both of the runners he was responsible for would end up scoring though it didn’t matter much besides inflating his ERA as the Rafters were shut out. Zach Neff: 1 appearance, S, 2.0 IP, BB, 3 K; 1.69 ERA, 0.56 WHIP (overall) Neff has been the reliever standout among Twins prospects thus far in the AFL season, and his lone appearance on the week followed that theme. Entering Wednesdays 4-2 win over Peoria in the eighth after Gomez, he also picked up his first save by finishing the final two innings. He set the Javelina’s down in order in his first inning on just eight pitches, including a strikeout, before needing to work a little harder in the ninth. He struck out the leadoff man on three pitches then got a grounder on a 2-2 pitch for the second out before losing a nine-pitch battle by allowing his first walk of the AFL season. With the tying runner up to bat, Neff buckled down and caught him looking on a 3-2 count to end the game. Other AFL and Minor League Links: -For his efforts last week, including an MVP award in the Fall Stars game, Royce Lewis was named the AFL hitter of the week. -After their victory on Monday (10/21) behind Luke Raley and Lewis, the Salt River Rafters have clinched the AFL East Division and will play in the AFL championship game on Saturday. https://twitter.com/MLBazFallLeague/status/1186706048989585408 -MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo spoke with Luke Raley after his monster game on Saturday. He talks about his ankle injury that kept him out for most of the MiLB season and getting back into the swing of things in the AFL and with his new organization. Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there!
  16. In week 2 of the Arizona Fall League season, the Salt River Rafters went 4-1 to end the week tied atop the East Division standings at 6-4. After coming out scorching hot in the seasons first week, Royce Lewis continued that in week two with his bat while also adding his speed on the basepaths to the display of tools he’s shown thus far in the desert. Along with Lewis, a pitcher may have started making a name for himself with a level of efficiency and dominance on the week that’s quite eye-opening.To find out how good Lewis was again, who that pitcher was and what he did, and what all the other Twins prospects in the AFL did during week two, keep reading! (links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 3 games, 4-for-11, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB, 4 K, 2 SB; .346/.400/.808 (overall) Lewis got the first few days of week two off, in part thanks to the Rafters game on Wednesday the 25th being postponed due to lighting in Glendale. He finally started at third base in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Desert Dogs, and was again in the three spot of the lineup. With a runner on first base in the bottom of the opening frame, Lewis reached base by beating the double play turn on a grounder to third, then promptly stole second base for his first steal of the AFL season. When the fifth inning started, the Rafters were down 5-0, but after an RBI single from Lewis they had cut that deficit to 5-3. With the same score in the eighth inning, Lewis got another rally going with a one-out double, his second so far in the league, and would be driven in two batters later to close within one, but that’s how the game ended. After another (likely scheduled) day off, Lewis was back in action on Saturday in Salt River’s 10-3 win over Mesa. Finding his home in the three-hole, Lewis contributed the loudest contact of the night, putting the game away in the seventh inning with his third AFL home run, a two-run shot to put the game out of reach for the Solar Sox at 8-3: In the game’s first inning, Lewis drew a walk and stole second base, putting himself into position to score a run on a single and an early 2-1 lead for the Rafters. In the fifth inning after his team had taken a 3-2 lead, Lewis added another run with an RBI sac fly. For a 1-for-3 performance, Lewis contributed to the big victory in several ways. In the final game of the week for Salt River, Lewis was in the same spots for their 4-3 win over Glendale. He got just one hit in this one, but it turned out to be a big one as it led to the needed insurance run for the Rafters to secure the victory. With the score 3-1 in their favor, Lewis led off the eighth inning with his third double. Two batters later a sac fly brought him home to go up by three. In his other three plate appearances he flew out to left field and struck out twice, but it was overall another fantastic week for Lewis in Arizona. Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (4 earned), 2 BB, 4 K; 8.31 ERA, 1.85 WHIP (overall) Chalmers made a strong first start in the AFL last week and came into Thursday’s contest against Glendale looking to build off of that moving forward. That didn’t quite happen, as the leadoff man in this one singled and that was followed by a walk, a wild pitch, and then a two-RBI double. Another wild pitch put that runner on third base before he picked up a strikeout, but then another pitch got by the catcher for an early three-run deficit before he struck out the next two hitters to end the inning. Back out for the second inning he didn’t fare much better, hitting the first batter with a pitch, walking the next, and allowing an RBI single before he got another K for the first out of the inning, but that was also the end of his day. He needed 46 pitches to get his four outs, and of those just 23 went for strikes (50%). Chalmers will look to rein in his wildness in his next start while continuing to rack up the strikeouts. Ben Rortvedt: 2 games, 1-for-6, 2 K; .111/.200/.111 (overall) Rortvedt got the starting nod at catcher for two games on the week, batting eighth in both contests. In Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican League he finished 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, so he was still looking for his first hit in the AFL. But on the defensive side he appeared to have his pitchers locked in, as they held their opponents to just three hits and one walk on the day while racking up 12 strikeouts. He finally got that first hit in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Solar Sox, with a single in the fifth inning that put runners on the corners and led to a 3-0 lead after five completed frames for the Rafters. In the seventh inning he reached base in the form of a hit-by-pitch but would end up stranded. It was another notable day calling pitches behind the plate, as Mesa managed just four hits and three walks while striking out 11 times against Rafters pitching. He’ll look to get his bat going in week three while also getting back his caught stealing mojo from week one as runners were 4-for-4 against him in his two starts on the week. Luke Raley: 3 games, 1-for-9, 3 R, BB, 4 K; .154/.233/.269 (overall) Raley made three starts on the week, playing right-field in two games and as the designated hitter in the other. In their win against their MBL cohorts on Tuesday, Raley was the DH hitting sixth in the lineup. There’s not much to talk about as I’m sure he’d like to forget a 0-for-3 day with three strikeouts, so we’ll move on to the next one. That was Friday’s win over Mesa where he batted cleanup as the right fielder. It took until his fourth at-bat, but he finally reached base on the week by drawing a walk in the eighth inning and later scored the final run of the game for Salt River. Back in the sixth spot of the lineup and in right field again on Saturday, Raley salvaged a hitless week in the 10-3 win, finishing 1-for-3. He was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning and came around to score a run, before doing the same after his single in the seventh inning when the Rafters put the game away with four runs. Moises Gomez: 2 appearances, 2.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K; 5.40 ERA, 2.60 WHIP (overall) Gomez’s first appearance of the week came in Thursday’s loss to Glendale, when he came on to start the eighth inning with the score 5-3 in favor of the Desert Dogs. He struck out the first two hitters of the inning swinging, before allowing a single to Jeren Kendall, but he was quickly erased by a caught stealing to end the frame. In their tilt with the Glendale on Sunday, Gomez came on in the bottom of the eighth with the Rafters holding a 4-1 lead. He struck out the leadoff man and got a groundout before giving up a single, again to Kendall of the Desert Dogs. He got the next man with a looking K to end the inning and came back out for the ninth looking to close out the game for the Rafters. This inning didn’t go quite as well, as two singles followed by a double brought Glendale within one, then he walked another batter and got a fly out before the manager was able to get another arm warmed up. He finished 1 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk, but his replacement was able to secure the win for Salt River. Jovani Moran: 1 appearance 1.1 IP, BB, 3 K; 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP (overall) The left-hander made just one appearance on the week, and it came in Friday’s contest against the Mesa Solar Sox. After Tampa Bay Rays prospect Shane Baz ran into trouble in the sixth and had allowed one run already, Moran came on with two outs and runners on second and third looking to snuff any further rally. He surrendered a walk to his first hitter to load the bases but came back to strike out the next hitter and do just that. Back out for the seventh he made quick work of the Mesa hitters, needing only thirteen pitches to set them down in order, including strikeouts to the last two hitters he faced. It was his first scoreless appearance of the AFL season, and in 3 1/3 total innings so far, has walked four but also struck out seven. He’ll look to build off this outing in week three. Zach Neff: 2 appearances, 3.1 IP, H, 4K; 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP (overall) Neff made two appearances on the week, going more than one inning in both Tuesday’s matchup with Hermosillo of the MBL and Saturday’s win over Mesa. He was the first man out the bullpen against the Naranjeros, coming on to start the fifth inning with the Rafters up 1-0. He allowed a leadoff single on his first pitch but got the next three hitters out on just six more, including a strikeout. In the sixth he again attacked hitters, setting them down one-two-three on just eleven pitches, including two more strikeouts. On Saturday against Mesa, he came on with two outs in the sixth inning with runners on the corners and one of baseball’s top prospects, Jo Adell of the Los Angeles Angels, coming up. After reading the way his first appearance on the week went, you may not be surprised to learn it took him just three pitches to send him sulking back to the dugout with a K to end the threat. Back out for the seventh inning, Neff needed to face four hitters as his defense committed an error, but it was another uber-efficient inning, requiring just twelve pitches. If you’re counting, in 3 1/3 innings on the week Neff needed only 33 pitches, with 25 of them going for strikes (76%). The Gameday logs show him throwing a four-seam fastball around 90 MPH, a mid-70’s curveball, and low-80’s slider if you’re wondering what he’s fooling hitters with. Other AFL and Minor League Links -After another strong week, Royce Lewis checks in at #3 on Baseball America’s latest hot sheet (behind their paywall) -MiLB.com’s Rob Terranova takes a look at a topic Nate Palmer examined last week here at Twins Daily, that being why he’s not playing shortstop in the AFL. It’s not a conspiracy, or even what the Twins necessarily had planned for him, he just wants to play! (Also, lots of other great information from Twins director of Minor League operations Jeremy Zoll on Lewis’ development) Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there! Click here to view the article
  17. To find out how good Lewis was again, who that pitcher was and what he did, and what all the other Twins prospects in the AFL did during week two, keep reading! (links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 3 games, 4-for-11, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB, 4 K, 2 SB; .346/.400/.808 (overall) Lewis got the first few days of week two off, in part thanks to the Rafters game on Wednesday the 25th being postponed due to lighting in Glendale. He finally started at third base in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Desert Dogs, and was again in the three spot of the lineup. With a runner on first base in the bottom of the opening frame, Lewis reached base by beating the double play turn on a grounder to third, then promptly stole second base for his first steal of the AFL season. When the fifth inning started, the Rafters were down 5-0, but after an RBI single from Lewis they had cut that deficit to 5-3. With the same score in the eighth inning, Lewis got another rally going with a one-out double, his second so far in the league, and would be driven in two batters later to close within one, but that’s how the game ended. After another (likely scheduled) day off, Lewis was back in action on Saturday in Salt River’s 10-3 win over Mesa. Finding his home in the three-hole, Lewis contributed the loudest contact of the night, putting the game away in the seventh inning with his third AFL home run, a two-run shot to put the game out of reach for the Solar Sox at 8-3: https://twitter.com/MLBazFallLeague/status/1178155779427164160 In the game’s first inning, Lewis drew a walk and stole second base, putting himself into position to score a run on a single and an early 2-1 lead for the Rafters. In the fifth inning after his team had taken a 3-2 lead, Lewis added another run with an RBI sac fly. For a 1-for-3 performance, Lewis contributed to the big victory in several ways. In the final game of the week for Salt River, Lewis was in the same spots for their 4-3 win over Glendale. He got just one hit in this one, but it turned out to be a big one as it led to the needed insurance run for the Rafters to secure the victory. With the score 3-1 in their favor, Lewis led off the eighth inning with his third double. Two batters later a sac fly brought him home to go up by three. In his other three plate appearances he flew out to left field and struck out twice, but it was overall another fantastic week for Lewis in Arizona. Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (4 earned), 2 BB, 4 K; 8.31 ERA, 1.85 WHIP (overall) Chalmers made a strong first start in the AFL last week and came into Thursday’s contest against Glendale looking to build off of that moving forward. That didn’t quite happen, as the leadoff man in this one singled and that was followed by a walk, a wild pitch, and then a two-RBI double. Another wild pitch put that runner on third base before he picked up a strikeout, but then another pitch got by the catcher for an early three-run deficit before he struck out the next two hitters to end the inning. Back out for the second inning he didn’t fare much better, hitting the first batter with a pitch, walking the next, and allowing an RBI single before he got another K for the first out of the inning, but that was also the end of his day. He needed 46 pitches to get his four outs, and of those just 23 went for strikes (50%). Chalmers will look to rein in his wildness in his next start while continuing to rack up the strikeouts. Ben Rortvedt: 2 games, 1-for-6, 2 K; .111/.200/.111 (overall) Rortvedt got the starting nod at catcher for two games on the week, batting eighth in both contests. In Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican League he finished 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, so he was still looking for his first hit in the AFL. But on the defensive side he appeared to have his pitchers locked in, as they held their opponents to just three hits and one walk on the day while racking up 12 strikeouts. He finally got that first hit in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Solar Sox, with a single in the fifth inning that put runners on the corners and led to a 3-0 lead after five completed frames for the Rafters. In the seventh inning he reached base in the form of a hit-by-pitch but would end up stranded. It was another notable day calling pitches behind the plate, as Mesa managed just four hits and three walks while striking out 11 times against Rafters pitching. He’ll look to get his bat going in week three while also getting back his caught stealing mojo from week one as runners were 4-for-4 against him in his two starts on the week. Luke Raley: 3 games, 1-for-9, 3 R, BB, 4 K; .154/.233/.269 (overall) Raley made three starts on the week, playing right-field in two games and as the designated hitter in the other. In their win against their MBL cohorts on Tuesday, Raley was the DH hitting sixth in the lineup. There’s not much to talk about as I’m sure he’d like to forget a 0-for-3 day with three strikeouts, so we’ll move on to the next one. That was Friday’s win over Mesa where he batted cleanup as the right fielder. It took until his fourth at-bat, but he finally reached base on the week by drawing a walk in the eighth inning and later scored the final run of the game for Salt River. Back in the sixth spot of the lineup and in right field again on Saturday, Raley salvaged a hitless week in the 10-3 win, finishing 1-for-3. He was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning and came around to score a run, before doing the same after his single in the seventh inning when the Rafters put the game away with four runs. Moises Gomez: 2 appearances, 2.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K; 5.40 ERA, 2.60 WHIP (overall) Gomez’s first appearance of the week came in Thursday’s loss to Glendale, when he came on to start the eighth inning with the score 5-3 in favor of the Desert Dogs. He struck out the first two hitters of the inning swinging, before allowing a single to Jeren Kendall, but he was quickly erased by a caught stealing to end the frame. In their tilt with the Glendale on Sunday, Gomez came on in the bottom of the eighth with the Rafters holding a 4-1 lead. He struck out the leadoff man and got a groundout before giving up a single, again to Kendall of the Desert Dogs. He got the next man with a looking K to end the inning and came back out for the ninth looking to close out the game for the Rafters. This inning didn’t go quite as well, as two singles followed by a double brought Glendale within one, then he walked another batter and got a fly out before the manager was able to get another arm warmed up. He finished 1 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk, but his replacement was able to secure the win for Salt River. Jovani Moran: 1 appearance 1.1 IP, BB, 3 K; 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP (overall) The left-hander made just one appearance on the week, and it came in Friday’s contest against the Mesa Solar Sox. After Tampa Bay Rays prospect Shane Baz ran into trouble in the sixth and had allowed one run already, Moran came on with two outs and runners on second and third looking to snuff any further rally. He surrendered a walk to his first hitter to load the bases but came back to strike out the next hitter and do just that. Back out for the seventh he made quick work of the Mesa hitters, needing only thirteen pitches to set them down in order, including strikeouts to the last two hitters he faced. It was his first scoreless appearance of the AFL season, and in 3 1/3 total innings so far, has walked four but also struck out seven. He’ll look to build off this outing in week three. Zach Neff: 2 appearances, 3.1 IP, H, 4K; 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP (overall) Neff made two appearances on the week, going more than one inning in both Tuesday’s matchup with Hermosillo of the MBL and Saturday’s win over Mesa. He was the first man out the bullpen against the Naranjeros, coming on to start the fifth inning with the Rafters up 1-0. He allowed a leadoff single on his first pitch but got the next three hitters out on just six more, including a strikeout. In the sixth he again attacked hitters, setting them down one-two-three on just eleven pitches, including two more strikeouts. On Saturday against Mesa, he came on with two outs in the sixth inning with runners on the corners and one of baseball’s top prospects, Jo Adell of the Los Angeles Angels, coming up. After reading the way his first appearance on the week went, you may not be surprised to learn it took him just three pitches to send him sulking back to the dugout with a K to end the threat. Back out for the seventh inning, Neff needed to face four hitters as his defense committed an error, but it was another uber-efficient inning, requiring just twelve pitches. If you’re counting, in 3 1/3 innings on the week Neff needed only 33 pitches, with 25 of them going for strikes (76%). The Gameday logs show him throwing a four-seam fastball around 90 MPH, a mid-70’s curveball, and low-80’s slider if you’re wondering what he’s fooling hitters with. Other AFL and Minor League Links -After another strong week, Royce Lewis checks in at #3 on Baseball America’s latest hot sheet (behind their paywall) -MiLB.com’s Rob Terranova takes a look at a topic Nate Palmer examined last week here at Twins Daily, that being why he’s not playing shortstop in the AFL. It’s not a conspiracy, or even what the Twins necessarily had planned for him, he just wants to play! (Also, lots of other great information from Twins director of Minor League operations Jeremy Zoll on Lewis’ development) Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there!
  18. The first week of the AFL season is in the books, and boy was it a good one from one of the games' top prospects. After somewhat of a down year with his bat, Royce Lewis showed there’s still a lot of promise there with multiple big games. He also showed off his defensive chops with a spectacular catch…as an outfielder. In addition to Lewis’ big week, a pitcher also made a strong impression in his first start, and a catcher continued to show why he’s so highly regarded as a defensive backstop.Keep reading to find out how each of the Twins prospects performed during the opening week of the AFL season! (links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 4 games, 5-for-15, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 K; .333/.412/.800 (overall) Lewis was one of the biggest stars of the AFL in the first week of the season, and that’s because he crushed two homers, scored four runs, and drove in six over his first four games of the season. Also noteworthy, and as I had predicted in the AFL preview article last week and Nate Palmer discussed earlier today, he did not play any game at the shortstop position. Instead, he was at the hot corner for three games, and in center field in the other. He started the season off with a bang in Wednesday’s 10-6 loss to Peoria with a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning, then drew a walk and singled in four other plate appearances on the day. In Thursday’s 4-1 win over Mesa, Lewis put together a highlight reel while playing in the outfield for just the second time in his career. He robbed a hitter of extra bases to run down a fly ball, then came up to bat in the bottom half of that inning and clubbed his first home run: After getting a day off Lewis was back at third base on Saturday and hitting in the three-hole for the Rafters lineup. It didn’t click on this day for him, as he finished 0-for-4 with 3 K's as the Rafters were bludgeoned 12-0 by the Saguaros, but that “slump” only lasted one game. In Sunday’s 11-4 win over Scottsdale, Lewis finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk, while again hitting third for Salt River. He also punctuated his first week in the prestigious circuit by getting the Rafters on the board first with his second home run: Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K; 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (overall) Chalmers got the start for the Rafters on Friday in their 4-1 loss against Surprise and was efficient in his three innings against the Saguaros lineup. He struck out two in the first inning, worked around a double and a pair of errors in the second by inducing an inning-ending double-play ball, then struck out two more in the third to end his day. Of his 43 pitches on the game, 30 went for strikes (69.8%), including six of the swinging variety. Ben Rortvedt: 2 games (1 start), 0-for-3; .000/.000/.000 (overall) Rortvedt’s first game action came as a defensive replacement in the season opener, as he entered the game at catcher in the eighth inning against Peoria. He was on deck when Lewis popped out to end the game. In Friday’s loss with Chalmers on the mound he got his first start at catcher, batting eighth. He grounded out to second base in all three of his plate appearances and was again on deck when the final out of the game was made. I made it a point to highlight Rortvedt’s defense, and especially his arm, in my preview article and he showed it off in both his appearances on the week. After entering the game on Wednesday, he caught Seattle Mariner’s second base prospect Jose Caballero, who had swiped 33 bases in just 69 games during the minor league season, attempting to steal second. Then on Friday he also cut down Surprise’s leadoff hitter and Kansas City Royals speedster, Brewer Hicklen, who had also stolen 39 bases in the minors on the year. Luke Raley: 4 games, 3-for-17, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 4 K; .176/.167/.353 (overall) Raley started four games on the week, playing in right field in two, left field in one, and getting penciled in at DH in the other. He batted fifth in his first two games, before sliding down to sixth and seventh in the batting order to end the week. In the opening day game, he finished 0-for-5 with two K's, but also scored a run as he reached on an error in the first inning. He followed that up with a 0-for-4 night the next day against Mesa, reaching base once on a fielder’s choice. He got his first hit on Sunday against Surprise with a double in the sixth inning to drive in the Rafters only run of the game. In Sunday’s win against Scottsdale, Raley added two more hits, including a triple to lead off the eighth inning before picking up an RBI with a sac fly in the ninth to end his week on a high note. Moises Gomez: 2 appearances, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (1 earned) 4 BB, 3 K; 3.38 ERA, 2.63 WHIP (overall). Gomez was the first Twins pitcher to make an appearance in the AFL this year, coming in for the eighth inning of their opening day tilt against Peoria when Rortvedt took over behind the plate. He struck out the first batter he faced, gave up a single before Rortvedt threw out the runner stealing, then tacked on another K to end the inning. Back out for the ninth he walked the leadoff man before getting another K and a ground ball for two outs, but an error and another walk ended his day at 1 2/3 innings. He pitched again on Saturday in the blowout loss to Surprise, finishing the game for the Rafters but not before being responsible for three of their twelve runs allowed on the day. He got a fly out to start the inning, but then two singles and a walk were followed by consecutive errors, including one on Gomez that led to his first two runs allowed. A bases-loaded walk led to the third before he induced a grounder that turned two to stop the bleeding. Jovani Moran: 2 appearances, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 earned), 3 BB, 4 K; 9.00 ERA, 2.50 WHIP (overall). The lefty made his first appearance of the week in Thursday’s win over Mesa, coming on for the top of the sixth with his team up 4-0. He promptly struck out the first two hitters of the inning on just eight pitches before giving up a single and a four-pitch walk. The next batter sent a grounder toward first base, but it was misplayed for an error to load the bases before another walk to score the Solar Sox lone run of the game. After a mound visit, he struck out another batter for the third out. In Sunday’s thrashing of Scottsdale, Moran came on for the eighth inning and again got himself into trouble. A leadoff walk, single, and wild pitch put runners on second and third before a grounder scored one and a sac fly another. He then struck out a hitter to end the inning with his team still up big 11-4. Zach Neff: 1 appearance, 1.1 IP, H, 2 K; 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP (overall). The Twins other left-handed prospect in the AFL made just one appearance on the week, and it came in Friday’s loss to the Saguaros. After Rafter’s pitcher Antonio Santos had allowed consecutive two-out singles in the fifth, he came on to keep their deficit at two, and did so by getting a fly out. Back out for the sixth he struck out the first two hitters of the inning before allowing a single, but that was it as he got the next man to fly out to center. Other AFL and Minor League Links: -MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo caught up with Royce Lewis after his big first week to discuss what Lewis is looking to accomplish in the AFL, and also talks about all the other Twins prospects in Arizona. -For a great AFL Twitter follow (and tons of video of prospects) follow William Boor of MLB.com and MLB Pipeline: Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there! Click here to view the article
  19. Keep reading to find out how each of the Twins prospects performed during the opening week of the AFL season! (links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name) Royce Lewis: 4 games, 5-for-15, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 5 K; .333/.412/.800 (overall) Lewis was one of the biggest stars of the AFL in the first week of the season, and that’s because he crushed two homers, scored four runs, and drove in six over his first four games of the season. Also noteworthy, and as I had predicted in the AFL preview article last week and Nate Palmer discussed earlier today, he did not play any game at the shortstop position. Instead, he was at the hot corner for three games, and in center field in the other. He started the season off with a bang in Wednesday’s 10-6 loss to Peoria with a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning, then drew a walk and singled in four other plate appearances on the day. In Thursday’s 4-1 win over Mesa, Lewis put together a highlight reel while playing in the outfield for just the second time in his career. He robbed a hitter of extra bases to run down a fly ball, then came up to bat in the bottom half of that inning and clubbed his first home run: https://twitter.com/wboor/status/1174876147072425984 After getting a day off Lewis was back at third base on Saturday and hitting in the three-hole for the Rafters lineup. It didn’t click on this day for him, as he finished 0-for-4 with 3 K's as the Rafters were bludgeoned 12-0 by the Saguaros, but that “slump” only lasted one game. In Sunday’s 11-4 win over Scottsdale, Lewis finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk, while again hitting third for Salt River. He also punctuated his first week in the prestigious circuit by getting the Rafters on the board first with his second home run: https://twitter.com/MLBPipeline/status/1175947963769774085 Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K; 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (overall) Chalmers got the start for the Rafters on Friday in their 4-1 loss against Surprise and was efficient in his three innings against the Saguaros lineup. He struck out two in the first inning, worked around a double and a pair of errors in the second by inducing an inning-ending double-play ball, then struck out two more in the third to end his day. Of his 43 pitches on the game, 30 went for strikes (69.8%), including six of the swinging variety. Ben Rortvedt: 2 games (1 start), 0-for-3; .000/.000/.000 (overall) Rortvedt’s first game action came as a defensive replacement in the season opener, as he entered the game at catcher in the eighth inning against Peoria. He was on deck when Lewis popped out to end the game. In Friday’s loss with Chalmers on the mound he got his first start at catcher, batting eighth. He grounded out to second base in all three of his plate appearances and was again on deck when the final out of the game was made. I made it a point to highlight Rortvedt’s defense, and especially his arm, in my preview article and he showed it off in both his appearances on the week. After entering the game on Wednesday, he caught Seattle Mariner’s second base prospect Jose Caballero, who had swiped 33 bases in just 69 games during the minor league season, attempting to steal second. Then on Friday he also cut down Surprise’s leadoff hitter and Kansas City Royals speedster, Brewer Hicklen, who had also stolen 39 bases in the minors on the year. Luke Raley: 4 games, 3-for-17, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 4 K; .176/.167/.353 (overall) Raley started four games on the week, playing in right field in two, left field in one, and getting penciled in at DH in the other. He batted fifth in his first two games, before sliding down to sixth and seventh in the batting order to end the week. In the opening day game, he finished 0-for-5 with two K's, but also scored a run as he reached on an error in the first inning. He followed that up with a 0-for-4 night the next day against Mesa, reaching base once on a fielder’s choice. He got his first hit on Sunday against Surprise with a double in the sixth inning to drive in the Rafters only run of the game. In Sunday’s win against Scottsdale, Raley added two more hits, including a triple to lead off the eighth inning before picking up an RBI with a sac fly in the ninth to end his week on a high note. Moises Gomez: 2 appearances, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (1 earned) 4 BB, 3 K; 3.38 ERA, 2.63 WHIP (overall). Gomez was the first Twins pitcher to make an appearance in the AFL this year, coming in for the eighth inning of their opening day tilt against Peoria when Rortvedt took over behind the plate. He struck out the first batter he faced, gave up a single before Rortvedt threw out the runner stealing, then tacked on another K to end the inning. Back out for the ninth he walked the leadoff man before getting another K and a ground ball for two outs, but an error and another walk ended his day at 1 2/3 innings. He pitched again on Saturday in the blowout loss to Surprise, finishing the game for the Rafters but not before being responsible for three of their twelve runs allowed on the day. He got a fly out to start the inning, but then two singles and a walk were followed by consecutive errors, including one on Gomez that led to his first two runs allowed. A bases-loaded walk led to the third before he induced a grounder that turned two to stop the bleeding. Jovani Moran: 2 appearances, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 earned), 3 BB, 4 K; 9.00 ERA, 2.50 WHIP (overall). The lefty made his first appearance of the week in Thursday’s win over Mesa, coming on for the top of the sixth with his team up 4-0. He promptly struck out the first two hitters of the inning on just eight pitches before giving up a single and a four-pitch walk. The next batter sent a grounder toward first base, but it was misplayed for an error to load the bases before another walk to score the Solar Sox lone run of the game. After a mound visit, he struck out another batter for the third out. In Sunday’s thrashing of Scottsdale, Moran came on for the eighth inning and again got himself into trouble. A leadoff walk, single, and wild pitch put runners on second and third before a grounder scored one and a sac fly another. He then struck out a hitter to end the inning with his team still up big 11-4. Zach Neff: 1 appearance, 1.1 IP, H, 2 K; 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP (overall). The Twins other left-handed prospect in the AFL made just one appearance on the week, and it came in Friday’s loss to the Saguaros. After Rafter’s pitcher Antonio Santos had allowed consecutive two-out singles in the fifth, he came on to keep their deficit at two, and did so by getting a fly out. Back out for the sixth he struck out the first two hitters of the inning before allowing a single, but that was it as he got the next man to fly out to center. Other AFL and Minor League Links: -MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo caught up with Royce Lewis after his big first week to discuss what Lewis is looking to accomplish in the AFL, and also talks about all the other Twins prospects in Arizona. -For a great AFL Twitter follow (and tons of video of prospects) follow William Boor of MLB.com and MLB Pipeline: https://twitter.com/wboor/status/1175926873135534080 Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there!
  20. As of your reading of this article, the Arizona Fall League season has gotten underway for the 2019 season. If you’re thinking that seems a bit early, you are not mistaken as the schedule has been changed to closer align with the end of the minor league seasons and major league playoff schedules in October. They’ve also added a wrinkle where the AFL teams will face off against Mexican League teams from September 24th through October 5th. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Arizona Fall League is a short-season circuit where every team in major league baseball sends some of their prospects in October. It is often used as a proving ground for players looking to take the final steps to their MLB dreams. Many of the top prospects in baseball play here every season looking to make a final impression for a call-up next year, but there are also many experienced minor leaguers at the upper levels that are evaluated for protection on the 40-man roster, and those trying to make up some development time after an injury. These minor league games in October can determine a lot going into the next MLB season for these players and MLB rosters, and that’s why I love following the league so closely.Each MLB team typically sends seven players to the AFL (there are exceptions), and they are split up amongst the six teams that make up the league. The Minnesota Twins prospects will again be on the roster of the Salt River Rafters, with pitchers Dakota Chalmers, Moises Gomez, Jovani Moran, and Zach Neff being joined by position players Royce Lewis, Ben Rortvedt, and Luke Raley. It will be Raley’s second time going to the AFL, though his season was cut short there in 2018. They will join prospects from the rosters of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, and Tampa Bay Rays. Last season, the Twins were represented in the AFL by pitchers Adam Bray, Griffin Jax, Hector Lujan, and Devin Smeltzer with position players Travis Blankenhorn, Jaylin Davis, and Luke Raley joining them (Brent Rooker was supposed to be there but ended up being kept out due to injury). Devin Smeltzer and Jaylin Davis went on from the AFL to make their major league debut during the 2019 season, though in Davis’ case it was with the San Francisco Giants and not the Twins. Each week I’ll be recapping the action for all the Twins representatives during their time in the desert of Arizona, so who are the players they sent? How have their careers gone thus far and what will I be looking for from each of them in the AFL as we head into October? 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospects in the AFL: — Royce Lewis, IF (20 years old) The number one overall selection from the 2017 draft began his professional career by excelling in his first two seasons all the way up to the high-A level and validating his status as an elite prospect. While he continued his ascent to Double-A during the 2019 season, it could be considered one where he endured his first real struggles. His OPS on the season was just .661 while he had gone .788 and .803 the years prior. It hasn’t affected his stock too much among prospect evaluators, as he still remains a top-20 prospect on multiple lists and will show you flashes of all his tools when you watch him play, but it’s also typical for a top prospect to go through some growing pains when pushed until they’re challenged. Beginning the season as a 19-year old, Lewis was the second youngest player in the Florida State League, and he continued to be near the top of the Double-A list when he was promoted to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, resulting in him not taking an at-bat against a younger pitcher the entire season. A large reason for the drop in overall numbers this year was his struggles against same-sided pitchers. While he crushed lefties to the tune of a .315/.351/.500 triple slash line, that dipped to .211/.271/.331 against right-handers. His only month of the season where his OPS was above .700 was July, where it was a solid .788. The AFL will be a great environment for Lewis to finish his 2019 season, among his top prospect peers where he can continue to learn and be challenged. Despite him being a shortstop to this point in his career, what would not surprise me given how AFL rosters are put together and utilized, is if Lewis spends most of his time on the diamonds in Arizona elsewhere, whether at other infield spots or the outfield (as of publishing this article, Lewis is the starting third baseman in the season opener). — Ben Rortvedt, C (21 - turns 22 on 9/25) It took a few seasons for Rortvedt’s bat to start showing it’s potential to go along with his strong defense behind the plate, but that changed some during the 2018 season where he had an OPS of .710 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers. He then came out hot to start the 2019 season with the Miracle and after just 24 games moved up to the Blue Wahoos. He was a monster with his bat over the first two months of the season, hitting a combined .274/.377/.487 through 35 games, but cooled off as the season wore on by hitting just .213/.302/.300 after that. He did maintain a strong walk rate throughout the year however, as he drew a free pass in 11.9% of his plate appearances. Before the year started, he also was somewhat of a poster-boy for the Minnesota Twins seemingly unorthodox catcher development program pointed out during spring training, and that’s because he was already a stellar defender employing some of those practices. He’s thrown out 43% of basestealers over his career but was even better than that in 2019 by catching 30 out of 58 attempts (52%). He gets rave reviews for his receiving and even if the bat never becomes more than average, that defense would make him a strong backup catching option for the Twins in the future. Rortvedt is the exact type of player I think the AFL is perfect for. A prospect at the high-levels of the minors that can contribute soon, playing a demanding position with a bunch of his peers that he can talk shop with, and his parent MLB team perhaps needing another option in the near future. While he likely won’t alter any internal opinions unless he torches the league, Rortvedt can establish himself high on the depth chart in 2020 when a need behind the plate arises in the majors with a strong showing. — Dakota Chalmers, RHP (22 - turns 23 on 10/8) Chalmers came to the organization at the 2018 deadline when the Twins sent Fernando Rodney to the Oakland Athletics. He didn’t pitch for the Twins until late this year however as he had undergone Tommy John surgery before he was acquired. He can throw in the upper 90’s and has a swing-and-miss breaking ball that can give opposing hitters fits —when he throws them for strikes, which has been his battle as a prospect thus far. While he struck out 12.5/9IP in his 34 2/3 innings this season, he also walked 6.0/9IP and is likely his biggest emphasis in the AFL this fall. There’re a couple of categories Chalmers falls into as a prospect heading to the AFL, those being he needs to throw some innings to make up development time, and also needs protecting on the 40-man roster if the Twins don’t want to risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft this December. He’s probably the only pitching prospect from the Twins that could make traditional starts for the Rafters this season, and will look to build upon the success he had with Fort Myers in his final three starts where he was 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA and .440 OPS against in 16 1/3 innings where he struck out 23 and walked seven. — Moises Gomez, RHP (22) Gomez came in a number three on Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year award balloting on the strength of a fantastic season spent between the Kernels and Miracle. In 32 appearances he pitched 52 2/3 innings, allowing just 28 hits and 21 base on balls while striking out 78 (13.3/9IP). He surrendered just a .155 batting average against and racked up 10 saves. As an international signing during the 2014 season, Gomez will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason. While I don’t think he’s a large risk to lose as he’s only reached high-A to this point, the AFL will serve as a good barometer for if the Twins will push him to start the 2020 season. The Twins have seen plenty of relievers rise from Double-A (or even Fort Myers) to the majors the past two seasons, and Gomez could be one to watch for next year. — Luke Raley, OF (25 as of 9/19) It will be the second year in a row in the AFL for Raley, but hopefully this time he’ll be able to stick around a bit longer as his time there was finished after just four games in 2018. Raley was perhaps the prospect center piece (at the time) of the Twins trade of Brian Dozier to the Dodgers that also brought in Devin Smeltzer, and that was due to the breakout of his bat. His 2019 season in Triple-A was cut very short thanks to an ankle injury that kept him out from May until August, when he returned only to play a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. He was a force in the middle of the Red Wings lineup at the beginning of the year, clubbing seven home runs in 33 games while batting above .300. Despite being on the bigger side, Raley is able to sneak up on opponents with his overall athleticism and is a solid corner outfield defender with a strong arm. He’ll rack up a healthy amount of strikeouts with a big swing geared for power, but also shows a good approach at the plate and attacks pitches he can mash. He’s another guy that is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December in an organization full of young outfielders, so if he’s going to earn a 40-man roster spot he likely needs to take advantage of his time in Arizona and work himself back into the grind of a season. — Jovani Moran, LHP (22) Moran is a bit of a personal favorite of mine, stemming back to his 2017 and 2018 seasons where he struck out every hitter he faced in the Applachian, Midwest, and Florida State Leagues. That’s a slight exaggeration, but for any pure reliever to strike out 16.4/9IP or over 100 hitters in the course of a season in the minors is impressive. He was the runner-up to Andrew Vasquez in our 2018 Relief Pitcher of the Year award, and while he wasn’t as impressive during 2019 at Double-A there was still a lot to like. He struck out 50 in 34 1/3 innings (13.1/9IP) and after a rough May that resulted in a month-long trip to the injured list, he returned to his dominant ways. From his return on July 5th through the end of the season he posted a 2.78 ERA, .550 OPS against, and struck out 30 over 22 2/3 innings. He had reigned in his control with Fort Myers to end 2018 with a 2.3BB/9IP walk-rate in his time there, but it jumped to a career high 6.0BB/9IP in 2019. He’ll need to work on getting that control back in the AFL, a league where that problem could be magnified by the skill level of his competition. He’s demonstrated he can miss bats with all of his pitches due to the movement he gets and may just need to learn that he can also get away with that inside the strike zone, as he’s allowed only six home runs in 158 career innings. Moran will also be eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but as a pitcher who doesn’t bring elite velocity, I find it unlikely for him to be picked unless he blows hitters away in the AFL like he has in the past. But of course, if he does that it wouldn’t surprise me that he gets protected. — Zach Neff, LHP (23) Neff was drafted by the Twins in the 31st round of the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State after spending his first three seasons in college at Austin Peay and worked his way up to Fort Myers during the 2019 season. He also appeared at #5 in our Relief Pitcher of the Year voting for his efforts. He’s not overpowering by any means with a fastball that flirts around 90MPH, but still managed to post a strong strikeout rate of 11.0/9IP on the year thanks to a solid three-pitch mix. As a left-handed pitcher you might expect him to rack up most of his numbers against same-sided hitters, but he actually fared better against righties with a .569 OPS allowed vs. .622 against lefties. Neff is an intriguing choice to send to the AFL, as it will be by far the stiffest competition he has faced and is not eligible for the Rule 5 draft until the 2021 season, but as a 23-year old with four years of collegiate experience it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. I’ll be watching to see if he can pitch himself to Double-A to start the 2020 season, or if he’ll end up back in Fort Myers to keep improving. Good luck to all seven of the Minnesota Twins prospects participating in the AFL this year, and I’m looking forward to following along with everyone here at Twins Daily! Hopefully Lewis and company can push Salt River to the championship game again this season! I’ll be doing a recap of everyone’s performance on a weekly basis, but if there is anything specific you would like to see included in these recaps, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to see if I can work them in. If you’d like to get an idea of what to expect, here is the final recap from the 2018 AFL season. Other AFL and Minor League Links: - With the MiLB seasons coming to a close in September, Baseball America released several postseason lists, including: Classification All-Stars (Jaylin Davis, Devin Smeltzer, Lewin Diaz, Trevor Larnach, and Cody Laweryson are included)Twins Minor League Player of the Year (Trevor Larnach)Overall MiLB All-Star Team (Trevor Larnach makes 2nd team)- MLB.com also released their end of year Top 100 prospect list. Twins included are Royce Lewis (#9), Alex Kirilloff (#16), Brusdar Graterol (#54), Jordan Balazovic (#77), and Trevor Larnach (#78). -MLB Pipeline also put out a list of the top prospect each team has sent to the AFL, with Royce Lewis represented for the Twins and is one of two former #1 overall picks playing this season (Mickey Moniak) -On 9/19 MLB/MiLB.com also put out a list of sleeper prospects for each team in the AFL, highlighting Ben Rortvedt for the Twins and his arm to throw out runners. -Recap and interview with Royce Lewis after his big game on Thursday night that included: Please feel free to ask any questions about the AFL or the players who are there! Click here to view the article
  21. Each MLB team typically sends seven players to the AFL (there are exceptions), and they are split up amongst the six teams that make up the league. The Minnesota Twins prospects will again be on the roster of the Salt River Rafters, with pitchers Dakota Chalmers, Moises Gomez, Jovani Moran, and Zach Neff being joined by position players Royce Lewis, Ben Rortvedt, and Luke Raley. It will be Raley’s second time going to the AFL, though his season was cut short there in 2018. They will join prospects from the rosters of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, and Tampa Bay Rays. Last season, the Twins were represented in the AFL by pitchers Adam Bray, Griffin Jax, Hector Lujan, and Devin Smeltzer with position players Travis Blankenhorn, Jaylin Davis, and Luke Raley joining them (Brent Rooker was supposed to be there but ended up being kept out due to injury). Devin Smeltzer and Jaylin Davis went on from the AFL to make their major league debut during the 2019 season, though in Davis’ case it was with the San Francisco Giants and not the Twins. Each week I’ll be recapping the action for all the Twins representatives during their time in the desert of Arizona, so who are the players they sent? How have their careers gone thus far and what will I be looking for from each of them in the AFL as we head into October? 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospects in the AFL: — Royce Lewis, IF (20 years old) The number one overall selection from the 2017 draft began his professional career by excelling in his first two seasons all the way up to the high-A level and validating his status as an elite prospect. While he continued his ascent to Double-A during the 2019 season, it could be considered one where he endured his first real struggles. His OPS on the season was just .661 while he had gone .788 and .803 the years prior. It hasn’t affected his stock too much among prospect evaluators, as he still remains a top-20 prospect on multiple lists and will show you flashes of all his tools when you watch him play, but it’s also typical for a top prospect to go through some growing pains when pushed until they’re challenged. Beginning the season as a 19-year old, Lewis was the second youngest player in the Florida State League, and he continued to be near the top of the Double-A list when he was promoted to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, resulting in him not taking an at-bat against a younger pitcher the entire season. A large reason for the drop in overall numbers this year was his struggles against same-sided pitchers. While he crushed lefties to the tune of a .315/.351/.500 triple slash line, that dipped to .211/.271/.331 against right-handers. His only month of the season where his OPS was above .700 was July, where it was a solid .788. The AFL will be a great environment for Lewis to finish his 2019 season, among his top prospect peers where he can continue to learn and be challenged. Despite him being a shortstop to this point in his career, what would not surprise me given how AFL rosters are put together and utilized, is if Lewis spends most of his time on the diamonds in Arizona elsewhere, whether at other infield spots or the outfield (as of publishing this article, Lewis is the starting third baseman in the season opener). — Ben Rortvedt, C (21 - turns 22 on 9/25) It took a few seasons for Rortvedt’s bat to start showing it’s potential to go along with his strong defense behind the plate, but that changed some during the 2018 season where he had an OPS of .710 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers. He then came out hot to start the 2019 season with the Miracle and after just 24 games moved up to the Blue Wahoos. He was a monster with his bat over the first two months of the season, hitting a combined .274/.377/.487 through 35 games, but cooled off as the season wore on by hitting just .213/.302/.300 after that. He did maintain a strong walk rate throughout the year however, as he drew a free pass in 11.9% of his plate appearances. Before the year started, he also was somewhat of a poster-boy for the Minnesota Twins seemingly unorthodox catcher development program pointed out during spring training, and that’s because he was already a stellar defender employing some of those practices. He’s thrown out 43% of basestealers over his career but was even better than that in 2019 by catching 30 out of 58 attempts (52%). He gets rave reviews for his receiving and even if the bat never becomes more than average, that defense would make him a strong backup catching option for the Twins in the future. Rortvedt is the exact type of player I think the AFL is perfect for. A prospect at the high-levels of the minors that can contribute soon, playing a demanding position with a bunch of his peers that he can talk shop with, and his parent MLB team perhaps needing another option in the near future. While he likely won’t alter any internal opinions unless he torches the league, Rortvedt can establish himself high on the depth chart in 2020 when a need behind the plate arises in the majors with a strong showing. — Dakota Chalmers, RHP (22 - turns 23 on 10/8) Chalmers came to the organization at the 2018 deadline when the Twins sent Fernando Rodney to the Oakland Athletics. He didn’t pitch for the Twins until late this year however as he had undergone Tommy John surgery before he was acquired. He can throw in the upper 90’s and has a swing-and-miss breaking ball that can give opposing hitters fits —when he throws them for strikes, which has been his battle as a prospect thus far. While he struck out 12.5/9IP in his 34 2/3 innings this season, he also walked 6.0/9IP and is likely his biggest emphasis in the AFL this fall. There’re a couple of categories Chalmers falls into as a prospect heading to the AFL, those being he needs to throw some innings to make up development time, and also needs protecting on the 40-man roster if the Twins don’t want to risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft this December. He’s probably the only pitching prospect from the Twins that could make traditional starts for the Rafters this season, and will look to build upon the success he had with Fort Myers in his final three starts where he was 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA and .440 OPS against in 16 1/3 innings where he struck out 23 and walked seven. — Moises Gomez, RHP (22) Gomez came in a number three on Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year award balloting on the strength of a fantastic season spent between the Kernels and Miracle. In 32 appearances he pitched 52 2/3 innings, allowing just 28 hits and 21 base on balls while striking out 78 (13.3/9IP). He surrendered just a .155 batting average against and racked up 10 saves. As an international signing during the 2014 season, Gomez will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason. While I don’t think he’s a large risk to lose as he’s only reached high-A to this point, the AFL will serve as a good barometer for if the Twins will push him to start the 2020 season. The Twins have seen plenty of relievers rise from Double-A (or even Fort Myers) to the majors the past two seasons, and Gomez could be one to watch for next year. — Luke Raley, OF (25 as of 9/19) It will be the second year in a row in the AFL for Raley, but hopefully this time he’ll be able to stick around a bit longer as his time there was finished after just four games in 2018. Raley was perhaps the prospect center piece (at the time) of the Twins trade of Brian Dozier to the Dodgers that also brought in Devin Smeltzer, and that was due to the breakout of his bat. His 2019 season in Triple-A was cut very short thanks to an ankle injury that kept him out from May until August, when he returned only to play a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. He was a force in the middle of the Red Wings lineup at the beginning of the year, clubbing seven home runs in 33 games while batting above .300. Despite being on the bigger side, Raley is able to sneak up on opponents with his overall athleticism and is a solid corner outfield defender with a strong arm. He’ll rack up a healthy amount of strikeouts with a big swing geared for power, but also shows a good approach at the plate and attacks pitches he can mash. He’s another guy that is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December in an organization full of young outfielders, so if he’s going to earn a 40-man roster spot he likely needs to take advantage of his time in Arizona and work himself back into the grind of a season. — Jovani Moran, LHP (22) Moran is a bit of a personal favorite of mine, stemming back to his 2017 and 2018 seasons where he struck out every hitter he faced in the Applachian, Midwest, and Florida State Leagues. That’s a slight exaggeration, but for any pure reliever to strike out 16.4/9IP or over 100 hitters in the course of a season in the minors is impressive. He was the runner-up to Andrew Vasquez in our 2018 Relief Pitcher of the Year award, and while he wasn’t as impressive during 2019 at Double-A there was still a lot to like. He struck out 50 in 34 1/3 innings (13.1/9IP) and after a rough May that resulted in a month-long trip to the injured list, he returned to his dominant ways. From his return on July 5th through the end of the season he posted a 2.78 ERA, .550 OPS against, and struck out 30 over 22 2/3 innings. He had reigned in his control with Fort Myers to end 2018 with a 2.3BB/9IP walk-rate in his time there, but it jumped to a career high 6.0BB/9IP in 2019. He’ll need to work on getting that control back in the AFL, a league where that problem could be magnified by the skill level of his competition. He’s demonstrated he can miss bats with all of his pitches due to the movement he gets and may just need to learn that he can also get away with that inside the strike zone, as he’s allowed only six home runs in 158 career innings. Moran will also be eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but as a pitcher who doesn’t bring elite velocity, I find it unlikely for him to be picked unless he blows hitters away in the AFL like he has in the past. But of course, if he does that it wouldn’t surprise me that he gets protected. — Zach Neff, LHP (23) Neff was drafted by the Twins in the 31st round of the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State after spending his first three seasons in college at Austin Peay and worked his way up to Fort Myers during the 2019 season. He also appeared at #5 in our Relief Pitcher of the Year voting for his efforts. He’s not overpowering by any means with a fastball that flirts around 90MPH, but still managed to post a strong strikeout rate of 11.0/9IP on the year thanks to a solid three-pitch mix. As a left-handed pitcher you might expect him to rack up most of his numbers against same-sided hitters, but he actually fared better against righties with a .569 OPS allowed vs. .622 against lefties. Neff is an intriguing choice to send to the AFL, as it will be by far the stiffest competition he has faced and is not eligible for the Rule 5 draft until the 2021 season, but as a 23-year old with four years of collegiate experience it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. I’ll be watching to see if he can pitch himself to Double-A to start the 2020 season, or if he’ll end up back in Fort Myers to keep improving. Good luck to all seven of the Minnesota Twins prospects participating in the AFL this year, and I’m looking forward to following along with everyone here at Twins Daily! Hopefully Lewis and company can push Salt River to the championship game again this season! I’ll be doing a recap of everyone’s performance on a weekly basis, but if there is anything specific you would like to see included in these recaps, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to see if I can work them in. If you’d like to get an idea of what to expect, here is the final recap from the 2018 AFL season. Other AFL and Minor League Links: - With the MiLB seasons coming to a close in September, Baseball America released several postseason lists, including: Classification All-Stars (Jaylin Davis, Devin Smeltzer, Lewin Diaz, Trevor Larnach, and Cody Laweryson are included) Twins Minor League Player of the Year (Trevor Larnach) Overall MiLB All-Star Team (Trevor Larnach makes 2nd team) - MLB.com also released their end of year Top 100 prospect list. Twins included are Royce Lewis (#9), Alex Kirilloff (#16), Brusdar Graterol (#54), Jordan Balazovic (#77), and Trevor Larnach (#78). -MLB Pipeline also put out a list of the top prospect each team has sent to the AFL, with Royce Lewis represented for the Twins and is one of two former #1 overall picks playing this season (Mickey Moniak) -On 9/19 MLB/MiLB.com also put out a list of sleeper prospects for each team in the AFL, highlighting Ben Rortvedt for the Twins and his arm to throw out runners. -Recap and interview with Royce Lewis after his big game on Thursday night that included: https://twitter.com/MLBazFallLeague/status/1174879659030245376 Please feel free to ask any questions about the AFL or the players who are there!
  22. It’s hard to believe, the minor league seasons are coming to an end very quickly. On Wednesday night, Pensacola played their final home game. Elizabethton has one more game. The GCL Twins are finishing out their season with a few days of doubleheaders. Ft. Myers is done on Sunday. There have been a lot of stories. Some good. Some bad. Some crazy. While not a Twins minor league story, one interesting transaction from Tuesday does have Twins ties. The San Francisco Giants have called up RH RP Tyler Rogers. When the submarining Tyler gets into a game, he and Taylor will be the tenth set of twins to play in the big leagues. Congratulations to the Rogers family. GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1 - GCL Twins 3, GCL Rays 2 (10 innings) Box Score The game was suspended on Monday in the bottom of the fourth and resumed on Tuesday morning. On Monday, non-drafted free agent Evan Gillespie started the game and gave up just two hits over four scoreless innings. He struck out four. When the game resumed on Tuesday, Jordan Gore was on the mound. He faced five batters. He walked three and struck out two batters before exiting the game. Yes, this is the same Jordan Gore who began the season as the starting shortstop of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. In a game he pitched for Pensacola earlier this season, he was regularly hitting 96 mph on the radar gun. Anthony Escobar turned 19 a couple of days ago. He went the final 5 1/3 innings He gave up two runs on four hits to record the win. He struck out three without issuing a walk. In the game, Luke Raley went 3-for-5. Brent Rooker went 1-for-3 before exiting. Alex Craig had a single and two walks. LaRon Smith hit his fifth double, and Jesus Feliz hit his ninth double. Game 2 - GCL Twins 6, GCL Rays 4 Box Score Regi Grace made the start and gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out seven batters. Danny Moreno came on and gave up one hit in a scoreless inning. Junior Navas gave up a run on three hits in the sixth inning. Steve Theetge worked a perfect seventh inning for his first pro save. The GCL Twins scored six runs with just five hits. However, in what was certainly an enjoyable game to watch, they walked 12 times. Jesus Feliz, Eric Jones, Francisco Martinez, Alec Craig and Jim Caceres each walked twice. Feliz added his third triple. In rehab news, Luke Raley was 1-4 with a sacrifice fly. He again played center field. Brent Rooker went 1-for-3 with a walk. DHd after playing left field in Game 1. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Bailey Ober, Pensacola Blue Wahoos Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trey Cabbage, Ft. Myers Miracle PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2B(9), K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-4, R, K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - 1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HBP #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-3, BB, R, K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Game 1 (1-4, R, 2 K) #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - GCL Rehab Game 1 (1-3), Game 2 (1-3, BB, 2 R) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 2-3, R #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - Did Not Play #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Play #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - Did Not Play. WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:35 CST) - RHP Preston Guilmet (2-6, 4.81 ERA) Pensacola - No Game Scheduled Ft. Myers @ Dunedin (DH @ 4:00 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (6-4, 3.04 ERA), TBD Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Matt Canterino (1-1, 1.80 ERA) Greeneville @ Elizabethton (5:30 CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Braves (9:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Tuesday games or any other minor league topics you would like. Click here to view the article
  23. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Tuesday, starting with some awards and the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS Taking LHP Lewis Thorpe’s spot on the Twins roster is RHP Randy Dobnak. RHP Ryne Harper returned to the Red Wings after being optioned on Saturday. OF Alejandro de Aza activated from the injured list for the Red Wings. LHP Charlie Barnes sent down to Pensacola. SS Jordan Gore began a rehab in the GCL. As you will see below, he might be trying something new. Not really a transaction, but the Twins announced that Byron Buxton's Cedar Rapids rehab has hit a setback. For more information, click here. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Buffalo 5 Box Score Kohl Stewart started and gave up two runs on three hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out six batters. Brusdar Graterol came on for the sixth inning. After a walk and a hit batter, he got a fielder’s choice. However, the next batter connected on a three-run homer. Graterol got the final two outs, the third out on a strikeout. Trevor Hildenberger came on and gave up just a single over two scoreless innings. The Red Wings tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning. Down 5-0, they scored three runs, but fell short. Tomas Telis went 2-for-4 and drove in the first ninth inning run. Zander Wiel followed with a two-run homer, his 22nd of the season. He went 2-for-3 with a walk in the game. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Pensacola 4, Jackson 2 Box Score Bailey Ober has been quite the story in 2019. After pitching well in Ft. Myers, when healthy, he has now been really good in three starts with the Wahoos. On this night, he gave up only an unearned run on four hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out 11. https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1166524981032845312 Another story of note, Stephen Gonsalves came in for the eighth inning. He gave up an unearned run on a walk and a hit batter in his inning. He struck out two. Alex Phillips came on and got the final three outs for the save. Pensacola scored all three of their runs in the first inning. Alex Kirilloff scored on a ground out from LaMonte Wade. Mark Contreras added a two run single. Ryan Jeffers went 2-for-3. Trevor Larnach went 1-for-3 with a walk. It was the final game of the home schedule for Pensacola. After taking Wednesday off, they will begin their final series of the season. https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1166543322606985216 MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1 - Ft. Myers 2, Dunedin 3 Box Score Lachlan Wells started the first game. He gave up two runs on five hits in the first five innings. He walked two and struck out four. Tyler Watson gave up one run on one hit in one inning. Yeltsin Encarnacion led the offense. He went 3-for-3 and drive in a run. The Miracle had just seven total hits. Game 2 - Ft. Myers 5, Dunedin 2 Box Score In game two, the Miracle got a strong start and a big blast. Trey Cabbage and Jose Miranda provided much of the Miracle offense. Miranda went 3-for-3 with a walk and his 24th and 25th doubles. Trey Cabbage went 2-for-3 with a walk and his fifth-inning, three-run homer proved to be all that they needed to get the win. On the mound, Dakota Chalmers put together another solid start and picked up his first Miracle win. He gave up one run on three hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out eight batters. Zach Neff recorded his sixth save. He struck out three over two innings of work. He gave up one run on two hits. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 3 Box Score The Kernels nearly went to extra innings for a second straight night, but instead, Spencer Steer played hero in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off single. Steer went 2-for-5 in the game. Wander Javier provided a big hit, his tenth home run of the season. Luis Rijo had another impressive outing in August. He gave up just one run on four hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out six batters. Jose Martinez went the next 1 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. Dylan Thomas came out and got the final two outs of the eight inning and all three outs in the ninth frame. E-TWINS E-NOTES E-Twins 3, Greeneville 1 Box Score Ruben Santana spent three summers playing in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the States this year. On Tuesday night, Santana led off the game with the first home run of his professional career. Fidel Castro tied the game in the third inning with a home run for Greeneville, but in the fourth, the E-Twins responded with two runs. Seth Gray had an RBI double, followed by an RBI single by Trevor Jensen. Gray hit his 14 and 15th doubles. Max Smith added his 12th double. Brent Headrick made the start for the Twins. He worked two scoreless innings and didn’t give up a hit. He walked two and struck out one. Ryan Shreve came in and gave up one run on four hits over the next four innings. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Denny Bentley worked the next two innings and kept Greeneville from adding any runs. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two. Tyler Beck worked a scoreless ninth inning. He gave up a hit and a walk but struck out three batters. Wednesday is the final day of the Appalachian League regular season. I’d explain how the E-Twins can make the playoffs, but Nick Badders did all the work, so let’s let him. https://twitter.com/BadderUpSports/status/1166523310433296384 GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1 - GCL Twins 3, GCL Rays 2 (10 innings) Box Score The game was suspended on Monday in the bottom of the fourth and resumed on Tuesday morning. On Monday, non-drafted free agent Evan Gillespie started the game and gave up just two hits over four scoreless innings. He struck out four. When the game resumed on Tuesday, Jordan Gore was on the mound. He faced five batters. He walked three and struck out two batters before exiting the game. Yes, this is the same Jordan Gore who began the season as the starting shortstop of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. In a game he pitched for Pensacola earlier this season, he was regularly hitting 96 mph on the radar gun. Anthony Escobar turned 19 a couple of days ago. He went the final 5 1/3 innings He gave up two runs on four hits to record the win. He struck out three without issuing a walk. In the game, Luke Raley went 3-for-5. Brent Rooker went 1-for-3 before exiting. Alex Craig had a single and two walks. LaRon Smith hit his fifth double, and Jesus Feliz hit his ninth double. Game 2 - GCL Twins 6, GCL Rays 4 Box Score Regi Grace made the start and gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out seven batters. Danny Moreno came on and gave up one hit in a scoreless inning. Junior Navas gave up a run on three hits in the sixth inning. Steve Theetge worked a perfect seventh inning for his first pro save. The GCL Twins scored six runs with just five hits. However, in what was certainly an enjoyable game to watch, they walked 12 times. Jesus Feliz, Eric Jones, Francisco Martinez, Alec Craig and Jim Caceres each walked twice. Feliz added his third triple. In rehab news, Luke Raley was 1-4 with a sacrifice fly. He again played center field. Brent Rooker went 1-for-3 with a walk. DHd after playing left field in Game 1. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Bailey Ober, Pensacola Blue Wahoos Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trey Cabbage, Ft. Myers Miracle PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2B(9), K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-4, R, K #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - 1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HBP #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-3, BB, R, K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Game 1 (1-4, R, 2 K) #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - GCL Rehab Game 1 (1-3), Game 2 (1-3, BB, 2 R) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 2-3, R #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - Did Not Play #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Play #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - Did Not Play. WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:35 CST) - RHP Preston Guilmet (2-6, 4.81 ERA) Pensacola - No Game Scheduled Ft. Myers @ Dunedin (DH @ 4:00 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (6-4, 3.04 ERA), TBD Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Matt Canterino (1-1, 1.80 ERA) Greeneville @ Elizabethton (5:30 CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Braves (9:00 am CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Tuesday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  24. Tonight on the farm there were a pair of affiliates that scored runs in bunches. The Red Wings put on a hitting clinic and the E-Twins saw every batter record a base hit. Jordan Balazovic had a shortened but strong outing, and a pair of outfielders showed progress in their rehab assignments. Read all about it below.TRANSACTIONS Rochester OF Luke Raley begins rehab assignment with GCL Pensacola OF LaMonte Wade Jr. rehab transferred from Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids LHP J.T. Perez placed on IL with lower back strain RHP Alex Schick activated from IL RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 20, Buffalo 3 Box Score After losing by three last night it didn’t matter who was on the mound as the Red Wings pounded out 20 runs on 19 hits. Kohl Stewart went five innings allowing just two hits and no runs while fanning two. This one was a laugher en route to his eighth win of the season. The scoring started early for Rochester with a four-run first being followed by a five- run second. The third inning came up, short generating just two runs, but after the first third of the game the good guys were ahead 11-0. Buffalo tried to make a game of it answering with a trio in the sixth, but Rochester responded with a nine-spot in the bottom half. Five of the Red Wings batters recorded three or more hits on the evening, with Tomas Telis going a perfect 4-for-4. Turtle man himself went 3-5 out of the two-hole, scoring three times. Brandon Barnes launched his 28th dinger of the season, a grand slam, and Ronald Torreyes grabbed his 11th. This one wasn’t competitive from the get go and the Red Wings pulverized the Bison, holding the opposition to just three hits. Zack Littell worked 2 1/3 scoreless while not allowing a hit and Jake Reed struck out the side to close out the contest. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Mississippi 3, Pensacola 1 Box Score Adam Bray was back in Florida for this one and he turned in four strong for the Wahoos. Keeping the Braves scoreless, he worked around three hits and three walks while striking out three. No one had pushed a run across when he had left the game, and it would be on Pensacola to try to strike first. The game’s first runs came in the sixth inning when Mississippi put up a crooked number. Tallying a three spot, Pensacola found themselves in a late hole. The only answer they could muster came on Jimmy Kerrigan’s ninth homer of the season in the eighth. It was his second in two days and as a solo shot, represented the lone offense for the visitors. Pensacola generated just four hits on the night, and two of them came from leadoff hitter Alex Kirilloff. LaMonte Wade joined Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, and Ryan Jeffers in the 0-fer department. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 5, Charlotte 2 Box Score Stud prospect Jordan Balazovic was on the bump for this one, and though he came up an out shy of completing five innings, he turned in a strong outing. The Canadian allowed just two runs on three hits while issuing a single free pass and posting seven strikeouts. The Miracle provide Balazovic some early breathing room by scoring five in the first three innings. Trey Cabbage drove in two in the first before Andrew Bechtold followed with another. Gilberto Celestino then scored in the second before Yelstin Encarnacion doubled home another in the third. Charlotte answered with two of their own in the fifth, but that was all the damage they did. Phenom Wander Franco was held to a 1-for-5 evening and fanned twice. KERNELS NUGGETS Clinton 6, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Unfortunately it was another ugly night for the Kernels. Aftering going down 9-0 last night, they made it 15-0 in the two day stretch. Matt Canterino was on the bump and gave up four runs (two earned) on two hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked two but it was a dropped third strike that cost him dearly. Clinton scored four times in the first, and tallied two on an ugly dropped third strike and then a follow-up throwing error from Canterino. They added single runs in both the sixth and eighth to widen the margin. Cedar Rapids generated just four hits in the game, and catcher Trevor Casanova was responsible for two of them out of the eight-hole. Alex Schick returned to the bump from the injured list and gave up a run on one hit in one inning of work. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 14, Johnson City 4 Box Score Following up a close loss last night, it didn’t take long for the Twins to exact their revenge. Ryley Widell turned in a quality start going six innings allowing just three runs on three hits while fanning seven and walking two. It was his second win of the season, and among his better starts of 2019. The E-Twins motto in this one was early and often. They popped up with three first inning runs, took a break for just one in the second, and then added an eight-spot in the third. For good measure another pair crossed the plate in the eighth and this one was a ten-run-rule worthy affair by the time all was said and done. Elizabethton notched 15 hits in the contest but only Max Smith had more than a pair, as he went 3-for-5. Each E-Twins batter recorded a hit on the night, and five of the nine had multi-hit efforts. It was a singles barrage though as Smith accounted for the only double and homer (a grand slam) throughout the nine inning affair. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Orioles 13, GCL Twins 3 Box Score Two straight wins for the GCL Orioles were achieved by knocking off the GCL Twins in each of the past two days. Anthony Escobar gave up six earned runs before getting out of the first inning in this one, and it became a larger uphill battle than the visitors could overcome. The GCL Twins generated just four hits in the contest, and three runs came across in three separate innings. Rochester Red Wings outfielder Luke Raley made his rehab debut and went 1-for-4 on the day. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) - 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Tomas Telis (Rochester) 4-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 0-4, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 2-3, BB #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did not pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 0-4, 2 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) - 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) - Did not play #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List (groin) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 0-4, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 0-3, K #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Did not play #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did not pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) - Did not play #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 1-3, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (6:05PM CST) - TBD Jackson @ Pensacola (6:35PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (5:30PM CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (3-3, 3.34 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30PM CST) - RHP Tyler Palm (3-8, 3.84 ERA) Danville @ Elizabethton (5:30PM CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Red Sox (11:00AM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! 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  25. TRANSACTIONS Rochester OF Luke Raley begins rehab assignment with GCL Pensacola OF LaMonte Wade Jr. rehab transferred from Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids LHP J.T. Perez placed on IL with lower back strain RHP Alex Schick activated from IL RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 20, Buffalo 3 Box Score After losing by three last night it didn’t matter who was on the mound as the Red Wings pounded out 20 runs on 19 hits. Kohl Stewart went five innings allowing just two hits and no runs while fanning two. This one was a laugher en route to his eighth win of the season. The scoring started early for Rochester with a four-run first being followed by a five- run second. The third inning came up, short generating just two runs, but after the first third of the game the good guys were ahead 11-0. Buffalo tried to make a game of it answering with a trio in the sixth, but Rochester responded with a nine-spot in the bottom half. Five of the Red Wings batters recorded three or more hits on the evening, with Tomas Telis going a perfect 4-for-4. Turtle man himself went 3-5 out of the two-hole, scoring three times. Brandon Barnes launched his 28th dinger of the season, a grand slam, and Ronald Torreyes grabbed his 11th. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1164689341182087174 This one wasn’t competitive from the get go and the Red Wings pulverized the Bison, holding the opposition to just three hits. Zack Littell worked 2 1/3 scoreless while not allowing a hit and Jake Reed struck out the side to close out the contest. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Mississippi 3, Pensacola 1 Box Score Adam Bray was back in Florida for this one and he turned in four strong for the Wahoos. Keeping the Braves scoreless, he worked around three hits and three walks while striking out three. No one had pushed a run across when he had left the game, and it would be on Pensacola to try to strike first. The game’s first runs came in the sixth inning when Mississippi put up a crooked number. Tallying a three spot, Pensacola found themselves in a late hole. The only answer they could muster came on Jimmy Kerrigan’s ninth homer of the season in the eighth. It was his second in two days and as a solo shot, represented the lone offense for the visitors. Pensacola generated just four hits on the night, and two of them came from leadoff hitter Alex Kirilloff. LaMonte Wade joined Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, and Ryan Jeffers in the 0-fer department. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 5, Charlotte 2 Box Score Stud prospect Jordan Balazovic was on the bump for this one, and though he came up an out shy of completing five innings, he turned in a strong outing. The Canadian allowed just two runs on three hits while issuing a single free pass and posting seven strikeouts. The Miracle provide Balazovic some early breathing room by scoring five in the first three innings. Trey Cabbage drove in two in the first before Andrew Bechtold followed with another. Gilberto Celestino then scored in the second before Yelstin Encarnacion doubled home another in the third. Charlotte answered with two of their own in the fifth, but that was all the damage they did. Phenom Wander Franco was held to a 1-for-5 evening and fanned twice. KERNELS NUGGETS Clinton 6, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Unfortunately it was another ugly night for the Kernels. Aftering going down 9-0 last night, they made it 15-0 in the two day stretch. Matt Canterino was on the bump and gave up four runs (two earned) on two hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked two but it was a dropped third strike that cost him dearly. Clinton scored four times in the first, and tallied two on an ugly dropped third strike and then a follow-up throwing error from Canterino. They added single runs in both the sixth and eighth to widen the margin. Cedar Rapids generated just four hits in the game, and catcher Trevor Casanova was responsible for two of them out of the eight-hole. Alex Schick returned to the bump from the injured list and gave up a run on one hit in one inning of work. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 14, Johnson City 4 Box Score Following up a close loss last night, it didn’t take long for the Twins to exact their revenge. Ryley Widell turned in a quality start going six innings allowing just three runs on three hits while fanning seven and walking two. It was his second win of the season, and among his better starts of 2019. The E-Twins motto in this one was early and often. They popped up with three first inning runs, took a break for just one in the second, and then added an eight-spot in the third. For good measure another pair crossed the plate in the eighth and this one was a ten-run-rule worthy affair by the time all was said and done. Elizabethton notched 15 hits in the contest but only Max Smith had more than a pair, as he went 3-for-5. Each E-Twins batter recorded a hit on the night, and five of the nine had multi-hit efforts. It was a singles barrage though as Smith accounted for the only double and homer (a grand slam) throughout the nine inning affair. https://twitter.com/ETwinsBaseball/status/1164688281587654657 GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Orioles 13, GCL Twins 3 Box Score Two straight wins for the GCL Orioles were achieved by knocking off the GCL Twins in each of the past two days. Anthony Escobar gave up six earned runs before getting out of the first inning in this one, and it became a larger uphill battle than the visitors could overcome. The GCL Twins generated just four hits in the contest, and three runs came across in three separate innings. Rochester Red Wings outfielder Luke Raley made his rehab debut and went 1-for-4 on the day. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) - 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Tomas Telis (Rochester) 4-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 0-4, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 2-3, BB #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did not pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 0-4, 2 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) - 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) - Did not play #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List (groin) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 0-4, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 0-3, K #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Did not play #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did not pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) - Did not play #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 1-3, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Syracuse (6:05PM CST) - TBD Jackson @ Pensacola (6:35PM CST) - TBD Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (5:30PM CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (3-3, 3.34 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Clinton (6:30PM CST) - RHP Tyler Palm (3-8, 3.84 ERA) Danville @ Elizabethton (5:30PM CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Red Sox (11:00AM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games!
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