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  1. The season ended nearly two months ago. Our Twins Daily minor-league writers voted on the various awards including the Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Minor League All-Stars. Today we unveil those choices. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints (Woods Richardson, Helman, Varland, Wallner, Sisk) Read through our choices for each position. Check back at past Twins Daily Minor League All-Stars. Then discuss and cast your votes as well. Potentially more in 2022 than in most previous years, most of our All-Star selections spent time in the upper-levels of the minor league system. That is especially encouraging when you consider how many young players there are on the MLB roster. Now the key is to get everyone healthy and let them keep on working to earn more shots in the big leagues. Let’s get started. The Twins Daily 2022 Minnesota Twins Minor League All-Star Team Catcher: Noah Cardenas (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels) Acquired: 2021 Draft (8th Round) from UCLA 2022 Stats: .261/.421/.413 (.834) with 18 doubles, 9 home runs, and 43 RBI. In 2022, Cardenas was an on-base machine for the Mighty Mussels. Isolated Discipline is simply On-Base Percentage minus Batting Average. An Isolated Discipline of 0.160 is huge. He had 73 walks to just 70 strikeouts. However, he isn’t just a passive hitter, he bashed 28 extra-base hits around the diamond. He also does a nice job defensively and has taken to some of the new catching techniques well. He’s got a strong arm. To learn much more about Cardenas, please watch his recent Twins Spotlight interview. For more Twins Daily content on Noah Cardenas, click here. ETA - June 2025 First Base: Chris Williams (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 8th round pick in 2018 from Clemson 2022 Stats: .246/.343/.500 (.843) with 21 doubles, 28 home runs, and 89 RBI. The Twins drafted Williams as a catcher, though he spent a lot of time at first base at Clemson after an elbow injury. He has continued to work as a catcher and can play there, but he has spent most of his time playing first base. In 2022, he made 81 starts at first base and 21 starts behind the plate. But Williams makes this team due to his powerful bat. He started the season with 75 games in Wichita where he hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished the season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit .192, but he maintained the power. He had 10 more homers. There will be strikeouts, but there will also be walks, and there is the potential for a lot of power. For more Twins Daily content on Chris Williams, click here. ETA - July 2023 Second Base: Edouard Julien (Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (17th Round) from Auburn 2022 Stats:.300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs, and 67 RBI The Quebec native had a breakout in his pro debut in 2021. Between Low-A and High-A, he played 112 games and hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles and 18 triples. He also had 34 stolen bases and his 110 walks led all of minor-league baseball. He played all over the place. In 2022 at Double-A, you can see that he was even better. His 98 walks ranked sixth and his .441 OBP ranked fourth in minor-league ball. He went to the Arizona Fall League and played in the Fall Stars game and was named the league’s Breakout Player. Earlier this week, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. Want to see some bat speed? For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. ETA: May 2023 Third Base: Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent 2022 Stats: .278/.370/.536 (.907) with 17 doubles, 19 home runs, and 65 RBI. As a youth, Severino was such an impressive prospect, he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. In 2022, he was limited to 83 games by a midseason injury, but he put together a strong season. In 46 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 home runs. He finished the season with 37 games in Wichita where he hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. The Twins left him off of their 40-man roster, and after putting up solid numbers in Double-A, a team could have interest and think he’d be ready for some role. For more Twins Daily content on Yunior Severino, click here. ETA: July 2024 Shortstop: Jermaine Palacios (St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Signed as minor league free agent 2022 Stats: .252/.354/.456 (.810) with 13 doubles, 2 triples, 16 homers, and 50 RBI Palacios became a Top 10 Twins prospect with the Twins, and then he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi. Before the 2021 season, he came back to the Twins as a minor-league free agent. He had a solid season at Wichita, hitting .259 with 17 doubles, 19 homers, and 18 stolen bases. He quickly re-signed with the Twins. He spent most of the season with the Saints and did a nice job getting on base and showing some pop. He made his MLB debut on May 31st, playing shortstop in both games of a doubleheader. He made eight straight starts at short while Carlos Correa was on the Covid-IL. He earned a spot on the 40-man roster in September. In his first 16 games of the month, he went a combined 0-for-33 before a three-hit game in Detroit. He ended the season by hitting his first two homers in the final two games of the year. Following the season, he was claimed by the Tigers who then elected free agency. For more Twins Daily content on Jermaine Palacios, click here. ETA: May 2022 Left fielder: Anthony Prato (Cedar Rapids, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (7th round) from the University of Connecticut 2022 Stats: .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, 8 triples, 10 home runs, 64 RBI. The scouting report on Prato might tell us that he doesn’t have a lot of tools that immediately jump out, but when you watch him on a regular basis for a while, you start to realize that he can do a lot of things well. His approach is ideal for a top-of-the-lineup hitter. He knows the strike zone and is willing to take walks. But he also has an aggressive swing that produced nearly 50 extra-base hits this year. In 45 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .271/.349/.486 (.836). In 87 games in Wichita, he hit .294/.403/.419 (.822). He was a shortstop at UConn. In pro ball, he’s played several positions. In 2022, he played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 more games at third base. For more Twins Daily content on Anthony Prato, click here. ETA: August 2024 Center fielder: Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels) Acquired: Signed as international free agent in July 2019 2022 Stats: .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs and 25 RBI. Rodriguez was a big prospect out of the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, he was unable to play in 2020 but the Twins pushed him to the FCL in 2021. He hit just .214 in 37 games, but he got on base 35% of the time and he had five doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs. He was certainly a prospect but in 2022, he broke out in a big way in Ft. Myers. He continued to strike out, but incredibly, he walked more than he struck out, and he got on base nearly 50% of the time. Just as impressive he hit for a lot of power in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee and surgery ended his season. In mid-September, he was the #1 overall pick of Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League and has hit a couple more home runs with them already. For more Twins Daily content on Emmanuel Rodriguez, click here. ETA: August 2024 Right fielder - Matt Wallner (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2019 Draft (1st Round, Comp Balance A) from Southern Mississippi 2022 Stats: .277/.412/.542 (.953), with 32 doubles, 4 triples, 27 home runs and 95 RBI. After missing a couple of months of the 2021 season with a broken hamate bone, he went to the Arizona Fall League where he hit six home runs in 18 games. If there were question marks surrounding the Forest Lake native entering the 2022 season, but less than a year later, it is clear he has a big-league future. He began with 78 games in Wichita where he hit .299/.436/.597 (1.033) with 15 doubles and 21 homers. He moved up to St. Paul in August. In 50 games, he hit .247/. 376/.463 (.839) with 17 doubles, three triples and six homers. He hit for the cycle in one game. He was named the Twins and Twins Daily’s Minor League Hitter of the Year. He ended the season with 18 games for the Twins in which he hit .228/.323/.386 (.709) with three doubles and two homers. Is he a finished product? Not at all, which is really exciting if you are a Twins fan. For much more Twins Daily content on Matt Wallner, click here. ETA: September 2022 Designated Hitter: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2021 Draft (4th Round) from Oklahoma State 2022 Stats: 302/.374/.612 (.987) with 25 doubles, 4 triples, 25 home runs, and 85 RBI Matt Wallner was the easy choice for Minor League Hitter of the Year, but if Encarnacion-Strand had not been traded at the deadline, it could have been a very tight race. Drafted from Oklahoma State, where his head coach was Robin Ventura and his hitting coach was Matt Holliday, he is a hitting machine. In 74 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .296/.370/.599 (.968) with 23 doubles and 20 home runs. He was our Hitter of the Month in both April and June. He moved up to Wichita and in just 13 games he hit .333/.400/.685 (1.085) with two doubles, a triple, and five home runs. After being traded to the Reds and in 35 games, he hit ..309/.351/.522 (.874) with six doubles and seven homers. While it is likely he will wind up at first base, he continues to play at the hot corner. He was traded to the Reds in the Tyler Mahle deal in early August. For more Twins Daily content on Christian Encarnacion-Strand, click here. ETA: August 2023 Utility Player: Michael Helman (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2018 Draft (11th Round) from Texas A&M 2022 Stats: .258/.337/.432 (.769) with 23 doubles, 3 triples, 20 home runs, and 60 RBI Something clicked for Michael Helman in Cedar Rapids in 2021, and he added some pop to his game. He also began playing all over the diamond. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season to continue the progress. He began 2022 with 39 games in Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles and six homers. He moved up to St. Paul where he finished the season with 96 games played. He hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. In addition, he stole a combined 40 bases in 45 attempts. On the season, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at first base. In 2021, he made 64 starts between left field and right field. He has become an intriguing utility player with some right-handed pop and speed as well. For more Twins Daily content on Michael Helman, click here. ETA: May 2023 Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2019 Draft (15th Round) from Concordia-St. Paul 2022 Stats: 10-4, 2.10 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103.0 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 12.4 K/9 Louie Varland was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2021 after pitching in Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. Despite moving up, Varland pitched all in both Wichita and St. Paul not only earned him the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year again in 2022, but he earned a handful of big-league starts late in the season. In 20 games (19 starts) with Wichita, he went 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA. In 105 innings, he struck out 119 batters with just 39 walks. He moved up to his hometown St. Paul Saints and made five starts. In five starts, he went 1-2 with a 3.81 ERA. It was at that point that he made his MLB debut in Yankees Stadium, and on the final day of the season, he earned his first MLB win. For much more Twins Daily content on Louie Varland, click here. ETA: September 2022 Starting Pitcher: Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Traded from Blue Jays with Austin Martin for Jose Berrios (July 2021) 2022 Stats: 5-3, 2.77 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 107.1 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.6 K/9 2021 was a strange season for Woods Richardson, but he returned in 2022 and had a fantastic season. He began 2020 as a 20-year-old in Double-A, but early on he was named to Team USA and then went to the Olympics where he earned a Silver Medal. While in Japan, he was traded to the Twins. Woods Richardson got off to a strong start in Wichita. In 16 games (15 starts), he went 3-3 with a 3.06 ERA. He had 77 strikeouts (and 26 walks) in 70 2/3 innings. He moved up to St. Paul where he made seven starts and went 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA. He had 38 strikeouts (to just 10 walks) in 36 2/3 innings. When the Saints season finished, Woods Richardson was called up to the Twins for one start in which he gave up three runs (2 earned) in five innings. For more Twins Daily content on Simeon Woods Richardson, click here. ETA: September 2022 Starting Pitcher: David Festa (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, Cedar Rapids Kernels) Acquired: 2021 Draft (13th Round) from Seton Hall 2022 Stats: 9-4, 2.43 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103 2/3 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 Last offseason, reports surfaced that Festa was hitting 97 mph in the Instructional League. He began his first full pro season with the Mighty Mussels, but he needed just five starts to prove he was ready to move up to Hi-A. He went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. In 24 innings, he had 33 strikeouts to go with just six walks. He pitched in 16 games (13 starts) for Cedar Rapids and went 7-3 with a 2.71 ERA. He added 75 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings. As impressive, he was clocked over 99 mph on several occasions and even his secondary pitches showed improvement. He is another good example of the scouting department finding guys in the later rounds and the Twins pitcher development working with them to make them intriguing prospects. For more Twins Daily content on David Festa, click here. ETA: June 2024 Starting Pitcher: Brent Headrick (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (7th Round) from Illinois State 2022 Stats: 10-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 108.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 11.3 K/9 Headrick stands 6-6. He’s long and lean, and a lefty. After missing some time in 2021 with some shoulder issues, Headrick began the 2022 season in Cedar Rapids. In 15 starts, he went 8-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. He was promoted to Wichita where he made 10 appearances (8 starts). He went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. However, most of the damage came in his Double-A debut when he gave up seven runs on 10 hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Over his final nine appearances, he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA. He had at least six strikeouts in each of his final seven starts. Headrick sits 90-92 with the fastball, though he can hit 94 at times. He’s found an ability to miss bats despite throwing a ton of strikes. Last week, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. ETA: July 2024 Right-Handed Relief Pitcher: Cody Laweryson (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (14th round) from the University of Maine 2022 Stats: 6-0, 1 save, 1.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 10.6 K/9 He ended the season by making starts in Double-A, but Laweryson spent most of the season working out of the bullpen. In all, he pitched in 35 games and made 10 starts. He pitched in 16 games for the Kernels and went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He ended the season with 19 games in Wichita (8 starts) and went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. As you can see, Laweryson throws strikes, but he’s also got an unusual delivery and misses a lot of bats. He played in the Arizona Fall League in 2021 and pitched very well. For more Cody Laweryson content at Twins Daily, click here. ETA: August 2024 Left-Handed Relief Pitcher: Evan Sisk (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Traded from Cardinals with John Gant for J.A. Happ (July 2021) 2022 MiLB Stats: 5-1, 1 save, 1.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 Fair to say that when the Twins got anything at the July 2021 trade deadline for J.A. Happ. John Gant came to the Twins and was able to eat up some innings at the end of a long, frustrating season, but they also got Sisk, a Double-A left-handed reliever too. After 13 games with Wichita, the Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He began 2022 with 19 more games for the Wind Surge. He went 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He moved up to Triple-A and was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 31 appearances. In 63 combined innings, he had an impressive 76 strikeouts. His 29 walks were too many, but then he gave up just 5.0 hits per nine innings which is incredible. Sisk sits in the low-90s with his fastball, but it is his breaking stuff that makes him really good. He throws from an angle that could make left-handed batters think that the ball starts behind them, but then breaks over the strike zone. He can be devastating against same-siders. He was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft and is certainly someone that the Twins could lose at that time. For more Evan Sisk content from Twins Daily, click here. ETA: June 2023 ------------------------------------------------------------------ PREVIOUS Twins Daily Minor League All Stars Looking Back: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Nelson Molina, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Daniel Palka, DH: Adam Brett Walker, RH SP: Fernando Romero, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Trevor Hildenberger, LH RP: Michael Theofanopoulos. Looking Back: 2017 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Jonathan Rodriguez, 2B: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B: TJ White, SS: Jermaine Palacios, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Akil Baddoo, DH: Brent Rooker, RH SP: Clark Beeker, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: John Curtiss, LH RP: Andrew Vasquez. Looking Back: 2018 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Taylor Grzelakowski, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Jose Miranda, SS: Royce Lewis, OF: Alex Kirilloff, Jaylin Davis, Akil Baddoo, DH: Brent Rooker, RH SP: Tyler Wells, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Cody Stashak, LH RP: Andrew Vasquez. Looking Back: 2019 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Ryan Jeffers, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B: Spencer Steer, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: Trevor Larnach, Jaylin Davis, Brent Rooker, DH: Gabe Snyder, RH SP: Randy Dobnak, LH SP: Devin Smeltzer, RH RP: Moises Gomez, LH RP: Zach Neff Looking Back: 2021 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Jeferson Morales, 1B: Alex Isola, 2B: Spencer Steer, 3B: Jose Miranda, SS: Drew Maggi, OF: Trey Cabbage, BJ Boyd, Mark Contreras, DH: Edouard Julien, UT: Michael Helman, SP (4): Louie Varland, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic, RH RP: Jordan Gore, LH RP: Jovani Moran. View full article
  2. Read through our choices for each position. Check back at past Twins Daily Minor League All-Stars. Then discuss and cast your votes as well. Potentially more in 2022 than in most previous years, most of our All-Star selections spent time in the upper-levels of the minor league system. That is especially encouraging when you consider how many young players there are on the MLB roster. Now the key is to get everyone healthy and let them keep on working to earn more shots in the big leagues. Let’s get started. The Twins Daily 2022 Minnesota Twins Minor League All-Star Team Catcher: Noah Cardenas (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels) Acquired: 2021 Draft (8th Round) from UCLA 2022 Stats: .261/.421/.413 (.834) with 18 doubles, 9 home runs, and 43 RBI. In 2022, Cardenas was an on-base machine for the Mighty Mussels. Isolated Discipline is simply On-Base Percentage minus Batting Average. An Isolated Discipline of 0.160 is huge. He had 73 walks to just 70 strikeouts. However, he isn’t just a passive hitter, he bashed 28 extra-base hits around the diamond. He also does a nice job defensively and has taken to some of the new catching techniques well. He’s got a strong arm. To learn much more about Cardenas, please watch his recent Twins Spotlight interview. For more Twins Daily content on Noah Cardenas, click here. ETA - June 2025 First Base: Chris Williams (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 8th round pick in 2018 from Clemson 2022 Stats: .246/.343/.500 (.843) with 21 doubles, 28 home runs, and 89 RBI. The Twins drafted Williams as a catcher, though he spent a lot of time at first base at Clemson after an elbow injury. He has continued to work as a catcher and can play there, but he has spent most of his time playing first base. In 2022, he made 81 starts at first base and 21 starts behind the plate. But Williams makes this team due to his powerful bat. He started the season with 75 games in Wichita where he hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished the season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit .192, but he maintained the power. He had 10 more homers. There will be strikeouts, but there will also be walks, and there is the potential for a lot of power. For more Twins Daily content on Chris Williams, click here. ETA - July 2023 Second Base: Edouard Julien (Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (17th Round) from Auburn 2022 Stats:.300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs, and 67 RBI The Quebec native had a breakout in his pro debut in 2021. Between Low-A and High-A, he played 112 games and hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles and 18 triples. He also had 34 stolen bases and his 110 walks led all of minor-league baseball. He played all over the place. In 2022 at Double-A, you can see that he was even better. His 98 walks ranked sixth and his .441 OBP ranked fourth in minor-league ball. He went to the Arizona Fall League and played in the Fall Stars game and was named the league’s Breakout Player. Earlier this week, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. Want to see some bat speed? For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. ETA: May 2023 Third Base: Yunior Severino (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent 2022 Stats: .278/.370/.536 (.907) with 17 doubles, 19 home runs, and 65 RBI. As a youth, Severino was such an impressive prospect, he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. In 2022, he was limited to 83 games by a midseason injury, but he put together a strong season. In 46 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 home runs. He finished the season with 37 games in Wichita where he hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. The Twins left him off of their 40-man roster, and after putting up solid numbers in Double-A, a team could have interest and think he’d be ready for some role. For more Twins Daily content on Yunior Severino, click here. ETA: July 2024 Shortstop: Jermaine Palacios (St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Signed as minor league free agent 2022 Stats: .252/.354/.456 (.810) with 13 doubles, 2 triples, 16 homers, and 50 RBI Palacios became a Top 10 Twins prospect with the Twins, and then he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi. Before the 2021 season, he came back to the Twins as a minor-league free agent. He had a solid season at Wichita, hitting .259 with 17 doubles, 19 homers, and 18 stolen bases. He quickly re-signed with the Twins. He spent most of the season with the Saints and did a nice job getting on base and showing some pop. He made his MLB debut on May 31st, playing shortstop in both games of a doubleheader. He made eight straight starts at short while Carlos Correa was on the Covid-IL. He earned a spot on the 40-man roster in September. In his first 16 games of the month, he went a combined 0-for-33 before a three-hit game in Detroit. He ended the season by hitting his first two homers in the final two games of the year. Following the season, he was claimed by the Tigers who then elected free agency. For more Twins Daily content on Jermaine Palacios, click here. ETA: May 2022 Left fielder: Anthony Prato (Cedar Rapids, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (7th round) from the University of Connecticut 2022 Stats: .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, 8 triples, 10 home runs, 64 RBI. The scouting report on Prato might tell us that he doesn’t have a lot of tools that immediately jump out, but when you watch him on a regular basis for a while, you start to realize that he can do a lot of things well. His approach is ideal for a top-of-the-lineup hitter. He knows the strike zone and is willing to take walks. But he also has an aggressive swing that produced nearly 50 extra-base hits this year. In 45 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .271/.349/.486 (.836). In 87 games in Wichita, he hit .294/.403/.419 (.822). He was a shortstop at UConn. In pro ball, he’s played several positions. In 2022, he played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 more games at third base. For more Twins Daily content on Anthony Prato, click here. ETA: August 2024 Center fielder: Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels) Acquired: Signed as international free agent in July 2019 2022 Stats: .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs and 25 RBI. Rodriguez was a big prospect out of the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, he was unable to play in 2020 but the Twins pushed him to the FCL in 2021. He hit just .214 in 37 games, but he got on base 35% of the time and he had five doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs. He was certainly a prospect but in 2022, he broke out in a big way in Ft. Myers. He continued to strike out, but incredibly, he walked more than he struck out, and he got on base nearly 50% of the time. Just as impressive he hit for a lot of power in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee and surgery ended his season. In mid-September, he was the #1 overall pick of Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League and has hit a couple more home runs with them already. For more Twins Daily content on Emmanuel Rodriguez, click here. ETA: August 2024 Right fielder - Matt Wallner (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2019 Draft (1st Round, Comp Balance A) from Southern Mississippi 2022 Stats: .277/.412/.542 (.953), with 32 doubles, 4 triples, 27 home runs and 95 RBI. After missing a couple of months of the 2021 season with a broken hamate bone, he went to the Arizona Fall League where he hit six home runs in 18 games. If there were question marks surrounding the Forest Lake native entering the 2022 season, but less than a year later, it is clear he has a big-league future. He began with 78 games in Wichita where he hit .299/.436/.597 (1.033) with 15 doubles and 21 homers. He moved up to St. Paul in August. In 50 games, he hit .247/. 376/.463 (.839) with 17 doubles, three triples and six homers. He hit for the cycle in one game. He was named the Twins and Twins Daily’s Minor League Hitter of the Year. He ended the season with 18 games for the Twins in which he hit .228/.323/.386 (.709) with three doubles and two homers. Is he a finished product? Not at all, which is really exciting if you are a Twins fan. For much more Twins Daily content on Matt Wallner, click here. ETA: September 2022 Designated Hitter: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2021 Draft (4th Round) from Oklahoma State 2022 Stats: 302/.374/.612 (.987) with 25 doubles, 4 triples, 25 home runs, and 85 RBI Matt Wallner was the easy choice for Minor League Hitter of the Year, but if Encarnacion-Strand had not been traded at the deadline, it could have been a very tight race. Drafted from Oklahoma State, where his head coach was Robin Ventura and his hitting coach was Matt Holliday, he is a hitting machine. In 74 games in Cedar Rapids, he hit .296/.370/.599 (.968) with 23 doubles and 20 home runs. He was our Hitter of the Month in both April and June. He moved up to Wichita and in just 13 games he hit .333/.400/.685 (1.085) with two doubles, a triple, and five home runs. After being traded to the Reds and in 35 games, he hit ..309/.351/.522 (.874) with six doubles and seven homers. While it is likely he will wind up at first base, he continues to play at the hot corner. He was traded to the Reds in the Tyler Mahle deal in early August. For more Twins Daily content on Christian Encarnacion-Strand, click here. ETA: August 2023 Utility Player: Michael Helman (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2018 Draft (11th Round) from Texas A&M 2022 Stats: .258/.337/.432 (.769) with 23 doubles, 3 triples, 20 home runs, and 60 RBI Something clicked for Michael Helman in Cedar Rapids in 2021, and he added some pop to his game. He also began playing all over the diamond. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season to continue the progress. He began 2022 with 39 games in Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles and six homers. He moved up to St. Paul where he finished the season with 96 games played. He hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. In addition, he stole a combined 40 bases in 45 attempts. On the season, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at first base. In 2021, he made 64 starts between left field and right field. He has become an intriguing utility player with some right-handed pop and speed as well. For more Twins Daily content on Michael Helman, click here. ETA: May 2023 Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: 2019 Draft (15th Round) from Concordia-St. Paul 2022 Stats: 10-4, 2.10 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103.0 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 12.4 K/9 Louie Varland was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2021 after pitching in Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. Despite moving up, Varland pitched all in both Wichita and St. Paul not only earned him the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year again in 2022, but he earned a handful of big-league starts late in the season. In 20 games (19 starts) with Wichita, he went 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA. In 105 innings, he struck out 119 batters with just 39 walks. He moved up to his hometown St. Paul Saints and made five starts. In five starts, he went 1-2 with a 3.81 ERA. It was at that point that he made his MLB debut in Yankees Stadium, and on the final day of the season, he earned his first MLB win. For much more Twins Daily content on Louie Varland, click here. ETA: September 2022 Starting Pitcher: Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Traded from Blue Jays with Austin Martin for Jose Berrios (July 2021) 2022 Stats: 5-3, 2.77 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 107.1 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.6 K/9 2021 was a strange season for Woods Richardson, but he returned in 2022 and had a fantastic season. He began 2020 as a 20-year-old in Double-A, but early on he was named to Team USA and then went to the Olympics where he earned a Silver Medal. While in Japan, he was traded to the Twins. Woods Richardson got off to a strong start in Wichita. In 16 games (15 starts), he went 3-3 with a 3.06 ERA. He had 77 strikeouts (and 26 walks) in 70 2/3 innings. He moved up to St. Paul where he made seven starts and went 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA. He had 38 strikeouts (to just 10 walks) in 36 2/3 innings. When the Saints season finished, Woods Richardson was called up to the Twins for one start in which he gave up three runs (2 earned) in five innings. For more Twins Daily content on Simeon Woods Richardson, click here. ETA: September 2022 Starting Pitcher: David Festa (Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, Cedar Rapids Kernels) Acquired: 2021 Draft (13th Round) from Seton Hall 2022 Stats: 9-4, 2.43 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 103 2/3 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 Last offseason, reports surfaced that Festa was hitting 97 mph in the Instructional League. He began his first full pro season with the Mighty Mussels, but he needed just five starts to prove he was ready to move up to Hi-A. He went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA. In 24 innings, he had 33 strikeouts to go with just six walks. He pitched in 16 games (13 starts) for Cedar Rapids and went 7-3 with a 2.71 ERA. He added 75 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings. As impressive, he was clocked over 99 mph on several occasions and even his secondary pitches showed improvement. He is another good example of the scouting department finding guys in the later rounds and the Twins pitcher development working with them to make them intriguing prospects. For more Twins Daily content on David Festa, click here. ETA: June 2024 Starting Pitcher: Brent Headrick (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (7th Round) from Illinois State 2022 Stats: 10-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 108.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 11.3 K/9 Headrick stands 6-6. He’s long and lean, and a lefty. After missing some time in 2021 with some shoulder issues, Headrick began the 2022 season in Cedar Rapids. In 15 starts, he went 8-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. He was promoted to Wichita where he made 10 appearances (8 starts). He went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. However, most of the damage came in his Double-A debut when he gave up seven runs on 10 hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Over his final nine appearances, he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA. He had at least six strikeouts in each of his final seven starts. Headrick sits 90-92 with the fastball, though he can hit 94 at times. He’s found an ability to miss bats despite throwing a ton of strikes. Last week, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. ETA: July 2024 Right-Handed Relief Pitcher: Cody Laweryson (Cedar Rapids Kernels, Wichita Wind Surge) Acquired: 2019 Draft (14th round) from the University of Maine 2022 Stats: 6-0, 1 save, 1.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 10.6 K/9 He ended the season by making starts in Double-A, but Laweryson spent most of the season working out of the bullpen. In all, he pitched in 35 games and made 10 starts. He pitched in 16 games for the Kernels and went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He ended the season with 19 games in Wichita (8 starts) and went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. As you can see, Laweryson throws strikes, but he’s also got an unusual delivery and misses a lot of bats. He played in the Arizona Fall League in 2021 and pitched very well. For more Cody Laweryson content at Twins Daily, click here. ETA: August 2024 Left-Handed Relief Pitcher: Evan Sisk (Wichita Wind Surge, St. Paul Saints) Acquired: Traded from Cardinals with John Gant for J.A. Happ (July 2021) 2022 MiLB Stats: 5-1, 1 save, 1.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 Fair to say that when the Twins got anything at the July 2021 trade deadline for J.A. Happ. John Gant came to the Twins and was able to eat up some innings at the end of a long, frustrating season, but they also got Sisk, a Double-A left-handed reliever too. After 13 games with Wichita, the Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He began 2022 with 19 more games for the Wind Surge. He went 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He moved up to Triple-A and was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 31 appearances. In 63 combined innings, he had an impressive 76 strikeouts. His 29 walks were too many, but then he gave up just 5.0 hits per nine innings which is incredible. Sisk sits in the low-90s with his fastball, but it is his breaking stuff that makes him really good. He throws from an angle that could make left-handed batters think that the ball starts behind them, but then breaks over the strike zone. He can be devastating against same-siders. He was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft and is certainly someone that the Twins could lose at that time. For more Evan Sisk content from Twins Daily, click here. ETA: June 2023 ------------------------------------------------------------------ PREVIOUS Twins Daily Minor League All Stars Looking Back: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Nelson Molina, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Daniel Palka, DH: Adam Brett Walker, RH SP: Fernando Romero, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Trevor Hildenberger, LH RP: Michael Theofanopoulos. Looking Back: 2017 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Jonathan Rodriguez, 2B: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B: TJ White, SS: Jermaine Palacios, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Akil Baddoo, DH: Brent Rooker, RH SP: Clark Beeker, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: John Curtiss, LH RP: Andrew Vasquez. Looking Back: 2018 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Taylor Grzelakowski, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Jose Miranda, SS: Royce Lewis, OF: Alex Kirilloff, Jaylin Davis, Akil Baddoo, DH: Brent Rooker, RH SP: Tyler Wells, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Cody Stashak, LH RP: Andrew Vasquez. Looking Back: 2019 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Ryan Jeffers, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B: Spencer Steer, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: Trevor Larnach, Jaylin Davis, Brent Rooker, DH: Gabe Snyder, RH SP: Randy Dobnak, LH SP: Devin Smeltzer, RH RP: Moises Gomez, LH RP: Zach Neff Looking Back: 2021 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Jeferson Morales, 1B: Alex Isola, 2B: Spencer Steer, 3B: Jose Miranda, SS: Drew Maggi, OF: Trey Cabbage, BJ Boyd, Mark Contreras, DH: Edouard Julien, UT: Michael Helman, SP (4): Louie Varland, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic, RH RP: Jordan Gore, LH RP: Jovani Moran.
  3. The Twins have seen a trio of talented outfielders move through the farm system in recent years. After a rough 2022 season, what does the future hold for these young players? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach both made top-100 prospect lists on their way to the big leagues. Minnesota expected both players to be in the middle of the order for the next decade. Over the last 12 months, Matt Wallner has put himself on the prospect map, and he may have altered the team’s future outfield outlook. Alex Kirilloff 2022 Stats (45 G): .250/.290/.361 (.651), 7 2B, 3 HR, 36 K, 5 BB Kirilloff’s 2022 season was plagued by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. Each of his first two seasons has been cut short because of a wrist injury. His wrist surgery this season is unique in the fact that they are shortening his ulna, which is something that few MLB players have had done. Kirilloff showed signs of being able to play through the injury as he dominated at Triple-A with a 1.106 OPS in 35 games. Eventually, he wasn’t able to play through the injury. "Any time you're talking about shaving a bone down or shortening a bone, I mean that's a substantial procedure," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But we're hopeful that by getting it done now gives us a chance to use the offseason to get right, to start swinging the bat again, to feel good and to start getting ready for next year." Minnesota hopes Kirilloff is ready for the start of spring training, but there is no guarantee with this type of surgery. Out of these players, Kirilloff was seen as the best prospect, because Baseball America and MLB.com had him in their top-15 prospects leading into the 2019 campaign. Entering his age-25 season, questions will continue to follow him regarding his wrist and whether or not he can get his career back on track. Trevor Larnach 2022 Stats (51 G): .231/.306/.406 (.712), 13 2B, 5 HR, 57 K, 18 BB Like Kirilloff, injuries have impacted Larnach’s first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he posted an .806 OPS through his first 50 games, but things went south. His OPS dropped to .672 before the team eventually demoted him to Triple-A. He eventually revealed that a hand injury had bothered him through part of the season. Larnach started the 2022 season well and was one of the team’s best hitters during May as he posted a 1.077 OPS. By the end of June, his performance had suffered and the team announced he’d undergo a bilateral surgical repair to treat the core muscle strain. At the time, the team announced that he’d need about 6-8 weeks before returning, but he learned that he needed more time to recover. “You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it." During his rehab with the Saints, Larnach suffered a wrist injury that will end his season. He seemed close to returning, so this is likely a frustrating end for the 24-year-old. He has been limited to 130 games in his first two seasons, and injuries have stopped him from producing like he did in the minors. Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (AA/AAA 128 G): .277/.412/.542 (.953), 32 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 170 K, 97 BB Unlike Larnach and Kirilloff, Wallner is coming off a tremendous season where he played well in the upper minors and made his big-league debut. In 128 minor league games, Wallner posted a .953 OPS on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kirilloff (2018) and Larnach (2019) were both previous winners of this award, but Wallner’s stock is on the rise. He’s seen limited action at the big-league level, but he has been on base over 30% of the time and three of his eight hits have been for extra bases. Wallner used last year’s Arizona Fall League to make adjustments for the 2022 season. “It’s just cool to bounce ideas off different guys and strategies that they have going into the game, at the plate, in the field, whatever,” Wallner said during last year’s AFL. “I’ve definitely learned a lot since I’ve been out here, even in a short six weeks. So, it’s definitely been good for me.” All three outfielders will be entering their age-25 season in 2023. Kirilloff and Larnach were seen as better prospects in the minors with both making top-100 lists before debuting. Now, Wallner may have passed them by, especially with the injury concerns facing the other two outfielders. There's no question that Minnesota’s future line-up is better with all three bats being healthy and hitting in the middle of the order. Do you think Wallner has passed Kirilloff and Larnach this season? Will all three players be able to stay healthy in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. The Minnesota Twins were snakebit at times this season, and that led to a need for reinforcements to step in. Unfortunately much of the Opening Day roster remained in flux, but that allowed ample opportunity for prospects to make their mark. A special debut came from a Minnesota kid, and it’s now an opportune time to look back at what a special 2022 it was for Matt Wallner. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports Starting at Double-A Wichita this season, Matt Wallner came out focused on altering his approach at the plate. This is a prospect with a ton of power, but he had previously shown a need to improve his plate discipline. Knowing that he needed to make more contact and be more selective when attempting to do damage, he came in with a renewed focus. Wallner blitzed the Twins minor league system this season, making Double-A look like little challenge, and then easily settling in at Triple-A following a short acclimation period. Twins Daily named him the Minor League Hitter of the Year. I talked to Wallner over the summer about his season to that point, but after making a three-week cameo in September for the Minnesota Twins, it was time to get some insight as to how he looks back on it all. Twins Daily: We talked earlier this year about your shift in approach at the plate, looking for pitches you could do damage on. How did you keep up with the strong OBP and K/BB progress at Triple-A? Matt Wallner: I felt like I was able to continue developing in that area at Triple-A, and felt good about my continued progress on that front. TD: You saw a bit more of a challenge in St. Paul, how did that position you for success in the big leagues? MW: It was more of the same with obviously more experienced players in St. Paul. Seeing how I would get pitched by older guys there gave me a step in the door for the continued move up to the big leagues. TD: What were some of the emotions surrounding your debut? Your first hit was a homer, obviously, that’s huge. What will you remember from that day? MW: It was an awesome day, was fun, and very nice to get that first one out of the way. Most importantly, I was just happy my family could be there watching and able to see my first game in person. TD: Going into the offseason, will you have a different focus or emphasis on training and preparation having seen the highest level? MW: More of the same in training, trying to keep building my game and hopefully come in as healthy and fit as I ever have been going into Spring Training 2023. TD: Fast forward to a year from now, how do you want 2023 to be defined? MW: Hopefully 2023 is one where I continue to make improvements in my game, and hopefully, I put myself in a position where most, if not all of that time, is at the big league level. TD: Last one, what are you looking forward to this offseason off of the diamond? MW: Looking forward to some time off, and recovery from my first fully healthy full season of pro ball. No matter where Matt Wallner starts out in 2023, you can bet he'll factor into an outfield that includes Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, and Alex Kirilloff for the Minnesota Twins. Some of those names may move, but Wallner has shown he definitely can play at the highest level. For more Matt Wallner Twins Daily content, click here. View full article
  5. Starting at Double-A Wichita this season, Matt Wallner came out focused on altering his approach at the plate. This is a prospect with a ton of power, but he had previously shown a need to improve his plate discipline. Knowing that he needed to make more contact and be more selective when attempting to do damage, he came in with a renewed focus. Wallner blitzed the Twins minor league system this season, making Double-A look like little challenge, and then easily settling in at Triple-A following a short acclimation period. Twins Daily named him the Minor League Hitter of the Year. I talked to Wallner over the summer about his season to that point, but after making a three-week cameo in September for the Minnesota Twins, it was time to get some insight as to how he looks back on it all. Twins Daily: We talked earlier this year about your shift in approach at the plate, looking for pitches you could do damage on. How did you keep up with the strong OBP and K/BB progress at Triple-A? Matt Wallner: I felt like I was able to continue developing in that area at Triple-A, and felt good about my continued progress on that front. TD: You saw a bit more of a challenge in St. Paul, how did that position you for success in the big leagues? MW: It was more of the same with obviously more experienced players in St. Paul. Seeing how I would get pitched by older guys there gave me a step in the door for the continued move up to the big leagues. TD: What were some of the emotions surrounding your debut? Your first hit was a homer, obviously, that’s huge. What will you remember from that day? MW: It was an awesome day, was fun, and very nice to get that first one out of the way. Most importantly, I was just happy my family could be there watching and able to see my first game in person. TD: Going into the offseason, will you have a different focus or emphasis on training and preparation having seen the highest level? MW: More of the same in training, trying to keep building my game and hopefully come in as healthy and fit as I ever have been going into Spring Training 2023. TD: Fast forward to a year from now, how do you want 2023 to be defined? MW: Hopefully 2023 is one where I continue to make improvements in my game, and hopefully, I put myself in a position where most, if not all of that time, is at the big league level. TD: Last one, what are you looking forward to this offseason off of the diamond? MW: Looking forward to some time off, and recovery from my first fully healthy full season of pro ball. No matter where Matt Wallner starts out in 2023, you can bet he'll factor into an outfield that includes Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, and Alex Kirilloff for the Minnesota Twins. Some of those names may move, but Wallner has shown he definitely can play at the highest level. For more Matt Wallner Twins Daily content, click here.
  6. Here are my picks for Minnesota Twins minor league award winners and all-stars, featuring Minnesotans Matt Wallner and Louie Varland.
  7. Here are my picks for Minnesota Twins minor league award winners and all-stars, featuring Minnesotans Matt Wallner and Louie Varland. View full video
  8. The Minnesota Twins had 13 players make their MLB debuts in 2022, one shy of the club record. Here’s a look back at the position players who debuted. Image courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota’s injury woes forced the team to utilize more rookies than the club had planned. Some rookies were impressive in their debuts, while others will need more time to showcase their future value. Frankly, some of these guys debuted because there were so many injuries, not necessarily because they were ready or part of future planning. Overall, there are some bright futures for the names described below. Jose Miranda 2022 Stats (125 G): .268/.325/.426 (.751), 116 OPS+, 25 2B, 15 HR Miranda was one of Minnesota’s highest-rated prospects entering the season because of a massive 2021 campaign. His big-league career started slowly when he posted a .512 OPS through his first 22 games. Things finally clicked for him at the beginning of June. He has an .807 OPS over his last 99 games, which is well above the league average this season. Miranda’s debut makes it easy to project him being a middle-of-the-order bat for multiple seasons. MLB Debut (May 2): 0-for-4 Royce Lewis 2022 Stats (12 G): .300/.317/.550 (.867), 144 OPS+, 4 2B, 2 HR Everything was going great. Lewis returned from his torn ACL that cost him the 2021 season. He posted a .940 OPS at Triple-A after not appearing in a competitive game since the 2019 Arizona Fall League. After a pitch hit Carlos Correa, it looked like Lewis might get an extended look at the big-league level. Instead, Correa returned, and the Twins started using Lewis around the diamond including in the outfield. In his first game back to the big leagues, he smashed into the wall and tore his ACL for a second time. It was a tragic end to a tremendous debut. MLB Debut (May 6): 1-for-4 Mark Contreras 2022 Stats (28 G): .121/.148/.293 (.441), 23 OPS+, 1 2B, 3 HR Contreras was never considered one of the team’s top-rated prospects, but the Twins needed outfield depth this season. He has struggled offensively in limited big-league action, including a 20-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Next season, he will be 28 years old, and the outfielder may have limited upside left to provide to the club beyond depth. There is a chance the team designated him for assignment as part of the season’s annual 40-man roster clean-up. MLB Debut (May 11): 0-for-2, RBI, R Jermaine Palacios 2022 Stats (30 G): .143/.184/.229 (.413), 19 OPS+, 0 2B, 2 HR Palacios’ calling card is his strong defense, which is why the Twins brought him back to the organization on a minor-league contract in 2021 and again in 2022. He was needed at the big-league level when Correa went on the COVID restricted list and Lewis headed to the IL. Palacios had an .803 OPS at Triple-A in 102 games, so his bat isn’t as bad as his big-league performance might indicate. If Correa opts out, the Twins may need Palacios as infield depth for the 2023 season. MLB Debut (May 31): 0-for-3, BB, R, K Caleb Hamilton 2022 Stats (22 G): .056/.227/.222 (.449), 31 OPS+, 1 HR Hamilton has hung around on the Twins roster much of the second half, but he has been given limited playing time. He seemed to put things together at Triple-A to start the 2022 campaign. In 62 games, he hit .233/.367/.442 (.808) with ten doubles and 11 home runs. Hamilton also seemed to be controlling the strike zone better with a 67-to-43 strikeout to walk ratio. It’s hard to know if that performance was legitimate with how little playing time he has received for the Twins. Will the Twins trust Hamilton in a backup role next season, or will the club look for a veteran? MLB Debut (July 17): 0-for-1 Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (18 G): .228/.323/.386 (.709), 105 OPS+, 3 2B, 2 HR Wallner was the easy choice for the TD Minor League Hitter of the Year, and he has shown some of his power potential since being called up. Unfortunately, the club waited a confusing amount of time to call him up as the team’s division lead slipped away. Wallner may have surpassed Minnesota’s other young outfielders with his performance this season, especially if he can stay healthy in the future. He can join Miranda in the middle of the Twins line-up over the majority of the next decade. MLB Debut (September 17): 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI, K Which rookie performance stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  9. Minnesota’s injury woes forced the team to utilize more rookies than the club had planned. Some rookies were impressive in their debuts, while others will need more time to showcase their future value. Frankly, some of these guys debuted because there were so many injuries, not necessarily because they were ready or part of future planning. Overall, there are some bright futures for the names described below. Jose Miranda 2022 Stats (125 G): .268/.325/.426 (.751), 116 OPS+, 25 2B, 15 HR Miranda was one of Minnesota’s highest-rated prospects entering the season because of a massive 2021 campaign. His big-league career started slowly when he posted a .512 OPS through his first 22 games. Things finally clicked for him at the beginning of June. He has an .807 OPS over his last 99 games, which is well above the league average this season. Miranda’s debut makes it easy to project him being a middle-of-the-order bat for multiple seasons. MLB Debut (May 2): 0-for-4 Royce Lewis 2022 Stats (12 G): .300/.317/.550 (.867), 144 OPS+, 4 2B, 2 HR Everything was going great. Lewis returned from his torn ACL that cost him the 2021 season. He posted a .940 OPS at Triple-A after not appearing in a competitive game since the 2019 Arizona Fall League. After a pitch hit Carlos Correa, it looked like Lewis might get an extended look at the big-league level. Instead, Correa returned, and the Twins started using Lewis around the diamond including in the outfield. In his first game back to the big leagues, he smashed into the wall and tore his ACL for a second time. It was a tragic end to a tremendous debut. MLB Debut (May 6): 1-for-4 Mark Contreras 2022 Stats (28 G): .121/.148/.293 (.441), 23 OPS+, 1 2B, 3 HR Contreras was never considered one of the team’s top-rated prospects, but the Twins needed outfield depth this season. He has struggled offensively in limited big-league action, including a 20-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Next season, he will be 28 years old, and the outfielder may have limited upside left to provide to the club beyond depth. There is a chance the team designated him for assignment as part of the season’s annual 40-man roster clean-up. MLB Debut (May 11): 0-for-2, RBI, R Jermaine Palacios 2022 Stats (30 G): .143/.184/.229 (.413), 19 OPS+, 0 2B, 2 HR Palacios’ calling card is his strong defense, which is why the Twins brought him back to the organization on a minor-league contract in 2021 and again in 2022. He was needed at the big-league level when Correa went on the COVID restricted list and Lewis headed to the IL. Palacios had an .803 OPS at Triple-A in 102 games, so his bat isn’t as bad as his big-league performance might indicate. If Correa opts out, the Twins may need Palacios as infield depth for the 2023 season. MLB Debut (May 31): 0-for-3, BB, R, K Caleb Hamilton 2022 Stats (22 G): .056/.227/.222 (.449), 31 OPS+, 1 HR Hamilton has hung around on the Twins roster much of the second half, but he has been given limited playing time. He seemed to put things together at Triple-A to start the 2022 campaign. In 62 games, he hit .233/.367/.442 (.808) with ten doubles and 11 home runs. Hamilton also seemed to be controlling the strike zone better with a 67-to-43 strikeout to walk ratio. It’s hard to know if that performance was legitimate with how little playing time he has received for the Twins. Will the Twins trust Hamilton in a backup role next season, or will the club look for a veteran? MLB Debut (July 17): 0-for-1 Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (18 G): .228/.323/.386 (.709), 105 OPS+, 3 2B, 2 HR Wallner was the easy choice for the TD Minor League Hitter of the Year, and he has shown some of his power potential since being called up. Unfortunately, the club waited a confusing amount of time to call him up as the team’s division lead slipped away. Wallner may have surpassed Minnesota’s other young outfielders with his performance this season, especially if he can stay healthy in the future. He can join Miranda in the middle of the Twins line-up over the majority of the next decade. MLB Debut (September 17): 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI, K Which rookie performance stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  10. With the dog days of the 2022 season upon us, the Twins play their last home game tomorrow against the White Sox. Baseball is a complex game...far from black and white, and calling this season a wash would be ignorant. Image courtesy of Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Call this a cupcake article. Call it a blanket frosting over reality. Perhaps an escape from the truth. Part of the beauty of being a fan is riding the emotional roller coaster that comes along with the everyday affairs of your team. The wins foster jubilance and joy. The losses lament pain and vitriol. Yet emotions aside, there's an obligation to look at the reality. The 2022 Minnesota Twins will not make the MLB playoffs. Despite holding serve in the American League Central for a bulk of the season, injuries and lackluster play plagued one of the youngest teams in the league in a way that will most likely result in a bronze medal in what many consider baseball's weakest division. Disappointing? Absolutely. An utter failure? Far from it. Professional sports and baseball in particular are often viewed through a black and white, championship or bust lens. The fact the Twins won't be playing in October is certainly a shame...yet it would be foolish to not address the number of overwhelming successes that took place for the 2022 Twins, many of which were far from expected. Don't disseminate your disappointment, but acknowledge the good that took place. 1. Jose Miranda is Everything We Hoped For Jose Miranda had one of, if not the best season in Twins minor league history last year, slashing .344/.401/.572 (.973) between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. After 21 games with the Saints this year, Miranda was called up to Target Field. Each transition up the minor league ladder is an added layer of difficulty; it's no secret that the jump from Triple-A to the bigs is the most difficult, separating big leaguers from Four-A players. Miranda has shown that he belongs in the MLB, and that he can serve as a valuable asset for the Twins for years to come. After a slow month of May, Miranda shunned the doubters with 22 hits, 13 RBI, and a .306 batting average in the month of June. The power-packed corner infielder pumped up the noise in July with a .353/.405/.603 slash line. Miranda has slashed .273/.327/.764 through the season and has cemented himself as a leader in the Twins' offensive lineup. Just 24 years old, imagine what consistent middle of the lineup would like like with Buxton, (hopefully) Correa, and Miranda. The future is bright. 2. The Veteran the Twins Needed The Twins have struck out with veteran pitching acquisitions in years past. Not with Sonny Gray. Acquired prior to the season in exchange for 2021 top draft pick Chase Petty, Gray has served as the anchor for a young and often injury-ridden staff. Slated to start today's game, Gray is 8-5 on the season with a 3.08 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 24 starts. Like most other pieces of the pitching staff, Gray too has struggled with injuries throughout the course of the year. Still, the 32-year-old has remained quite consistent. Gray's May was especially dominant, going 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in five starts. With Joe Ryan finding his groove and Bailey Ober returning to health (not to mention the return of Kenta Maeda and Chris Paddock), Gray has the potential to be a cornerstone of a rock-solid starting pitching staff in 2022. Whether he's the ace or three/four man, Gray's consistency has and will continue to bolster a fairly inexperienced staff. 3. Smiles-a-Plenty...at Last You can't help but smile when you see Nick Gordon smile...and after the incredible 2022 season that he's had. Drafted as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 Draft by the Twins, Nick Gordon was expected by many to make a splash as a marquee player early on in his career. Yet for various reasons, Gordon didn't hit his stride early on. It's a tough league and amounting to the expectations of the front office, fans, and media is hard, especially as a first round pick. Perhaps it made Gordon's 2022 season that much sweeter. Gordon has slashed .276/.323./.761 so far this season with 9 homers and 45 RBI. He's been a staple 'yes man' in the field, playing all over the place when his number is called. As at matter of fact, the same can be said at the plate. Flash G has batted everywhere from cleanup to the nine-hole in the order and has consistently produced results. Yes, there's room for improvement on the base paths, that will come with time. Yet at the end of the day, Gordon's story is one that all fans should appreciate alongside the fact that he's amounted into about as good of a utility-man as an organization can ask for. 4. An Ace in the Making People knew Joe Ryan was good when the Twins acquired him in the Nelson Cruz trade last season. The entire league now knows that Ryan can become one of the league's elite pitchers with a few tune ups in years to come. Ryan is sitting at 12-8 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through 26 starts in 2022. He's proven to be the guy with the 'it factor' in the Twins' rotation; a rock-solid fastball, sneaky good breaking pitches, the ability to go long, and a swagger that cannot be underappreciated. Yes, one can bring up the fact that six of Ryan's losses have come against likely playoff teams and ten of his 12 wins have come against teams that won't be playing in October. Don't read into it too much. Yes, the bar has been set high...but it's because everyone sees the talent in the west-coast arm. And while high expectations can be great, let's remember that Joe Ryan is a rookie. He's got all the time in the world to develop and it will be fascinating to see what the 26-year-old amounts to in his hopefully storied career. 5. Hometown Products Shine in Fourth Quarter...and all Season Everyone loves a good hometown kid story...the Twins have seen three of them this season. Former North St. Paul RHP and Concordia-St. Paul alum Louie Varland was called up on September 7 to pitch against the Yankees in the Bronx. He was electric, allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings. Varland squared off against MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani in his Target Field debut on September 23, pitching a respectable 5 2/3 innings of seven-hit, three-run ball while striking out three. Forest Lake's Matt Wallner has been outstanding since being called up on September 17. The power hitter has nine hits (including two homers and two doubles) and six RBI in his first 37 at bats and crushed his first Target Field homer last night off of "old friend" Lance Lynn. Yes, Wallner will strikeout a lot, but that's still pretty impressive for a power hitter in his first 11 games. What's most impressive is the Wallner started last season at High-A Cedar Rapids and Varland started at Low-A Fort Myers...talk about progress! On top of all of that, Randolph, Minnesota native Caleb Thielbar has has an outstanding season in the bullpen. Set to start coaching Division II baseball for Augustana less than three years ago, Thielbar has tallied just 0.79 HR/9 and 2.86 BB/9 through 2022. His fastball is consistently touching 94 and 95 MPH and is still complemented by a picture-esque curveball that can go as low as the high 60's. What's your favorite moment from the 2022 Minnesota Twins season? Drop a comment below! View full article
  11. The Twins won’t be in the playoffs, but in their final series at home, they made sure to show their appreciation to fans attending the game at Target Field by securing a series win against the White Sox. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 4 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.236), Matt Wallner (.185), Gio Urshela (.158) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Facing mathematical elimination from playoff contention in case of a loss (or a Seattle Mariners win), the Twins got off on the wrong foot, but they put on some fight. After a quick, scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped to a quick two-run lead on three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. It was the first time in the series Chicago was ahead – or even scored a run, for that matter. But that wouldn’t last long. Right in the bottom of that same inning, Minnesota rallied back to snatch the lead, manufacturing three runs. The Twins' response was quick, with the three runs coming on four consecutive hits off Johnny Cueto. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single, and he scored after a Gio Urshela double and a Jake Cave single. Cueto got a mound visit, but it didn't stop Matt Wallner from hitting a long double that pushed both Urshela and Cave across, making it 3-2 Minnesota. Josh Winder settled in after a rough second inning and delivered two scoreless after that. Then, the offense came through for him once agai, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cueto got ambushed again by the heart of the Twins’ order: Urshela, Cave, and Wallner hit three consecutive off him, enough to score Urshela and leave two men on with no outs. Ryan Jeffers grounded into a double play, and Cave scored Minnesota’s fifth run. Winder pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, and he was pulled before he could complete the inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a single, and Winder hit Romy Gonzalez on the next at-bat. The Twins' rookie managed to retire the following two batters, but before he could close out the inning, Jose Abreu hit an RBI single to score Chicago's third run, prompting a pitching change by Rocco Baldelli. Caleb Thielbar came in to close out the fifth, and he also delivered a scoreless sixth. It was time the offense showed up again, and the middle of the lineup got to Cueto again. Urshela (single) and Cava (double) got back-to-back one-out hits, and Cueto decided to intentionally walk Wallner next, loading the bases. He got the second out, but Chicago made a pitching change, and with reliever Jake Diekman pitching, Gilberto Celestino drew a walk to bring home another run, making it once again a three-run game. Michael Fulmer nearly allowed the Sox to rally in the seventh, but he barely escaped, limiting the damage to just one run. Harrison and Gonzalez opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and Andrew Vaughn hit a one-out single to score Harrison. Fulmer then hit Abreu next to load the bases, but after a mound visit, he managed to get an inning-ending double-play. But once again, the Chicago run was useless, as Miranda doubled in the bottom of the inning to score Carlos Correa, who drew a leadoff walk moments earlier. Arráez drives in a run, ties Judge for the AL batting title lead We’re following Luis Arraez’s chase of Aaron Judge for the Rod Carew American League Batting Title on our social media with the Luis Arráez Watch”. Coming into tonight, Arráez had a .313 batting average, with Judge leading the league with .314. The Twins’ infielder saw his average drop to .312 after starting the game going 0-for-2, but he got a single in the fifth. Then, after Ryan Jeffers drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton stole second, Arráez got his second hit of the night and drove in Minnesota’s eighth and final run. With that hit, Arráez drove his batting average back up to .313, and with Judge going 1-for-4 in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, the two players are now tied for the AL batting average lead, both sitting at .313. Make sure to check Twins Daily’s Twitter and Instagram daily to get all the updates on the AL Batting Title race, as Arráez can become the first Twin to win the title since Joe Mauer did in 2009. Postgame interview What’s Next? The two division foes close out the series on Thursday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will try to complete the sweep of the South Siders with Louie Varland (5.06 ERA) on the mound, while Chicago will try to avoid it with Lucas Giolito ( 5.05 ERA) starting. After the game, the Twins get on the road for a six-game road trip, three against the Tigers in Detroit and three more against these same White Sox in Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Henriquez 0 68 0 0 0 68 Duran 24 0 0 15 0 39 Jax 27 0 0 10 0 37 Megill 0 32 0 0 0 32 Fulmer 9 0 0 0 22 31 Thielbar 13 0 0 0 15 28 López 11 0 0 0 16 27 Moran 0 6 0 0 12 18 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  12. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach both made top-100 prospect lists on their way to the big leagues. Minnesota expected both players to be in the middle of the order for the next decade. Over the last 12 months, Matt Wallner has put himself on the prospect map, and he may have altered the team’s future outfield outlook. Alex Kirilloff 2022 Stats (45 G): .250/.290/.361 (.651), 7 2B, 3 HR, 36 K, 5 BB Kirilloff’s 2022 season was plagued by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. Each of his first two seasons has been cut short because of a wrist injury. His wrist surgery this season is unique in the fact that they are shortening his ulna, which is something that few MLB players have had done. Kirilloff showed signs of being able to play through the injury as he dominated at Triple-A with a 1.106 OPS in 35 games. Eventually, he wasn’t able to play through the injury. "Any time you're talking about shaving a bone down or shortening a bone, I mean that's a substantial procedure," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But we're hopeful that by getting it done now gives us a chance to use the offseason to get right, to start swinging the bat again, to feel good and to start getting ready for next year." Minnesota hopes Kirilloff is ready for the start of spring training, but there is no guarantee with this type of surgery. Out of these players, Kirilloff was seen as the best prospect, because Baseball America and MLB.com had him in their top-15 prospects leading into the 2019 campaign. Entering his age-25 season, questions will continue to follow him regarding his wrist and whether or not he can get his career back on track. Trevor Larnach 2022 Stats (51 G): .231/.306/.406 (.712), 13 2B, 5 HR, 57 K, 18 BB Like Kirilloff, injuries have impacted Larnach’s first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he posted an .806 OPS through his first 50 games, but things went south. His OPS dropped to .672 before the team eventually demoted him to Triple-A. He eventually revealed that a hand injury had bothered him through part of the season. Larnach started the 2022 season well and was one of the team’s best hitters during May as he posted a 1.077 OPS. By the end of June, his performance had suffered and the team announced he’d undergo a bilateral surgical repair to treat the core muscle strain. At the time, the team announced that he’d need about 6-8 weeks before returning, but he learned that he needed more time to recover. “You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it." During his rehab with the Saints, Larnach suffered a wrist injury that will end his season. He seemed close to returning, so this is likely a frustrating end for the 24-year-old. He has been limited to 130 games in his first two seasons, and injuries have stopped him from producing like he did in the minors. Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (AA/AAA 128 G): .277/.412/.542 (.953), 32 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 170 K, 97 BB Unlike Larnach and Kirilloff, Wallner is coming off a tremendous season where he played well in the upper minors and made his big-league debut. In 128 minor league games, Wallner posted a .953 OPS on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kirilloff (2018) and Larnach (2019) were both previous winners of this award, but Wallner’s stock is on the rise. He’s seen limited action at the big-league level, but he has been on base over 30% of the time and three of his eight hits have been for extra bases. Wallner used last year’s Arizona Fall League to make adjustments for the 2022 season. “It’s just cool to bounce ideas off different guys and strategies that they have going into the game, at the plate, in the field, whatever,” Wallner said during last year’s AFL. “I’ve definitely learned a lot since I’ve been out here, even in a short six weeks. So, it’s definitely been good for me.” All three outfielders will be entering their age-25 season in 2023. Kirilloff and Larnach were seen as better prospects in the minors with both making top-100 lists before debuting. Now, Wallner may have passed them by, especially with the injury concerns facing the other two outfielders. There's no question that Minnesota’s future line-up is better with all three bats being healthy and hitting in the middle of the order. Do you think Wallner has passed Kirilloff and Larnach this season? Will all three players be able to stay healthy in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 4 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jake Cave (.236), Matt Wallner (.185), Gio Urshela (.158) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Facing mathematical elimination from playoff contention in case of a loss (or a Seattle Mariners win), the Twins got off on the wrong foot, but they put on some fight. After a quick, scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped to a quick two-run lead on three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. It was the first time in the series Chicago was ahead – or even scored a run, for that matter. But that wouldn’t last long. Right in the bottom of that same inning, Minnesota rallied back to snatch the lead, manufacturing three runs. The Twins' response was quick, with the three runs coming on four consecutive hits off Johnny Cueto. Jose Miranda led off the inning with a single, and he scored after a Gio Urshela double and a Jake Cave single. Cueto got a mound visit, but it didn't stop Matt Wallner from hitting a long double that pushed both Urshela and Cave across, making it 3-2 Minnesota. Josh Winder settled in after a rough second inning and delivered two scoreless after that. Then, the offense came through for him once agai, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cueto got ambushed again by the heart of the Twins’ order: Urshela, Cave, and Wallner hit three consecutive off him, enough to score Urshela and leave two men on with no outs. Ryan Jeffers grounded into a double play, and Cave scored Minnesota’s fifth run. Winder pitched himself into a jam in the fifth, and he was pulled before he could complete the inning. Josh Harrison led off the inning with a single, and Winder hit Romy Gonzalez on the next at-bat. The Twins' rookie managed to retire the following two batters, but before he could close out the inning, Jose Abreu hit an RBI single to score Chicago's third run, prompting a pitching change by Rocco Baldelli. Caleb Thielbar came in to close out the fifth, and he also delivered a scoreless sixth. It was time the offense showed up again, and the middle of the lineup got to Cueto again. Urshela (single) and Cava (double) got back-to-back one-out hits, and Cueto decided to intentionally walk Wallner next, loading the bases. He got the second out, but Chicago made a pitching change, and with reliever Jake Diekman pitching, Gilberto Celestino drew a walk to bring home another run, making it once again a three-run game. Michael Fulmer nearly allowed the Sox to rally in the seventh, but he barely escaped, limiting the damage to just one run. Harrison and Gonzalez opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and Andrew Vaughn hit a one-out single to score Harrison. Fulmer then hit Abreu next to load the bases, but after a mound visit, he managed to get an inning-ending double-play. But once again, the Chicago run was useless, as Miranda doubled in the bottom of the inning to score Carlos Correa, who drew a leadoff walk moments earlier. Arráez drives in a run, ties Judge for the AL batting title lead We’re following Luis Arraez’s chase of Aaron Judge for the Rod Carew American League Batting Title on our social media with the Luis Arráez Watch”. Coming into tonight, Arráez had a .313 batting average, with Judge leading the league with .314. The Twins’ infielder saw his average drop to .312 after starting the game going 0-for-2, but he got a single in the fifth. Then, after Ryan Jeffers drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton stole second, Arráez got his second hit of the night and drove in Minnesota’s eighth and final run. With that hit, Arráez drove his batting average back up to .313, and with Judge going 1-for-4 in the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, the two players are now tied for the AL batting average lead, both sitting at .313. Make sure to check Twins Daily’s Twitter and Instagram daily to get all the updates on the AL Batting Title race, as Arráez can become the first Twin to win the title since Joe Mauer did in 2009. Postgame interview What’s Next? The two division foes close out the series on Thursday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm CDT. Minnesota will try to complete the sweep of the South Siders with Louie Varland (5.06 ERA) on the mound, while Chicago will try to avoid it with Lucas Giolito ( 5.05 ERA) starting. After the game, the Twins get on the road for a six-game road trip, three against the Tigers in Detroit and three more against these same White Sox in Chicago. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Henriquez 0 68 0 0 0 68 Duran 24 0 0 15 0 39 Jax 27 0 0 10 0 37 Megill 0 32 0 0 0 32 Fulmer 9 0 0 0 22 31 Thielbar 13 0 0 0 15 28 López 11 0 0 0 16 27 Moran 0 6 0 0 12 18 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0
  14. Call this a cupcake article. Call it a blanket frosting over reality. Perhaps an escape from the truth. Part of the beauty of being a fan is riding the emotional roller coaster that comes along with the everyday affairs of your team. The wins foster jubilance and joy. The losses lament pain and vitriol. Yet emotions aside, there's an obligation to look at the reality. The 2022 Minnesota Twins will not make the MLB playoffs. Despite holding serve in the American League Central for a bulk of the season, injuries and lackluster play plagued one of the youngest teams in the league in a way that will most likely result in a bronze medal in what many consider baseball's weakest division. Disappointing? Absolutely. An utter failure? Far from it. Professional sports and baseball in particular are often viewed through a black and white, championship or bust lens. The fact the Twins won't be playing in October is certainly a shame...yet it would be foolish to not address the number of overwhelming successes that took place for the 2022 Twins, many of which were far from expected. Don't disseminate your disappointment, but acknowledge the good that took place. 1. Jose Miranda is Everything We Hoped For Jose Miranda had one of, if not the best season in Twins minor league history last year, slashing .344/.401/.572 (.973) between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. After 21 games with the Saints this year, Miranda was called up to Target Field. Each transition up the minor league ladder is an added layer of difficulty; it's no secret that the jump from Triple-A to the bigs is the most difficult, separating big leaguers from Four-A players. Miranda has shown that he belongs in the MLB, and that he can serve as a valuable asset for the Twins for years to come. After a slow month of May, Miranda shunned the doubters with 22 hits, 13 RBI, and a .306 batting average in the month of June. The power-packed corner infielder pumped up the noise in July with a .353/.405/.603 slash line. Miranda has slashed .273/.327/.764 through the season and has cemented himself as a leader in the Twins' offensive lineup. Just 24 years old, imagine what consistent middle of the lineup would like like with Buxton, (hopefully) Correa, and Miranda. The future is bright. 2. The Veteran the Twins Needed The Twins have struck out with veteran pitching acquisitions in years past. Not with Sonny Gray. Acquired prior to the season in exchange for 2021 top draft pick Chase Petty, Gray has served as the anchor for a young and often injury-ridden staff. Slated to start today's game, Gray is 8-5 on the season with a 3.08 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 24 starts. Like most other pieces of the pitching staff, Gray too has struggled with injuries throughout the course of the year. Still, the 32-year-old has remained quite consistent. Gray's May was especially dominant, going 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in five starts. With Joe Ryan finding his groove and Bailey Ober returning to health (not to mention the return of Kenta Maeda and Chris Paddock), Gray has the potential to be a cornerstone of a rock-solid starting pitching staff in 2022. Whether he's the ace or three/four man, Gray's consistency has and will continue to bolster a fairly inexperienced staff. 3. Smiles-a-Plenty...at Last You can't help but smile when you see Nick Gordon smile...and after the incredible 2022 season that he's had. Drafted as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 Draft by the Twins, Nick Gordon was expected by many to make a splash as a marquee player early on in his career. Yet for various reasons, Gordon didn't hit his stride early on. It's a tough league and amounting to the expectations of the front office, fans, and media is hard, especially as a first round pick. Perhaps it made Gordon's 2022 season that much sweeter. Gordon has slashed .276/.323./.761 so far this season with 9 homers and 45 RBI. He's been a staple 'yes man' in the field, playing all over the place when his number is called. As at matter of fact, the same can be said at the plate. Flash G has batted everywhere from cleanup to the nine-hole in the order and has consistently produced results. Yes, there's room for improvement on the base paths, that will come with time. Yet at the end of the day, Gordon's story is one that all fans should appreciate alongside the fact that he's amounted into about as good of a utility-man as an organization can ask for. 4. An Ace in the Making People knew Joe Ryan was good when the Twins acquired him in the Nelson Cruz trade last season. The entire league now knows that Ryan can become one of the league's elite pitchers with a few tune ups in years to come. Ryan is sitting at 12-8 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through 26 starts in 2022. He's proven to be the guy with the 'it factor' in the Twins' rotation; a rock-solid fastball, sneaky good breaking pitches, the ability to go long, and a swagger that cannot be underappreciated. Yes, one can bring up the fact that six of Ryan's losses have come against likely playoff teams and ten of his 12 wins have come against teams that won't be playing in October. Don't read into it too much. Yes, the bar has been set high...but it's because everyone sees the talent in the west-coast arm. And while high expectations can be great, let's remember that Joe Ryan is a rookie. He's got all the time in the world to develop and it will be fascinating to see what the 26-year-old amounts to in his hopefully storied career. 5. Hometown Products Shine in Fourth Quarter...and all Season Everyone loves a good hometown kid story...the Twins have seen three of them this season. Former North St. Paul RHP and Concordia-St. Paul alum Louie Varland was called up on September 7 to pitch against the Yankees in the Bronx. He was electric, allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings. Varland squared off against MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani in his Target Field debut on September 23, pitching a respectable 5 2/3 innings of seven-hit, three-run ball while striking out three. Forest Lake's Matt Wallner has been outstanding since being called up on September 17. The power hitter has nine hits (including two homers and two doubles) and six RBI in his first 37 at bats and crushed his first Target Field homer last night off of "old friend" Lance Lynn. Yes, Wallner will strikeout a lot, but that's still pretty impressive for a power hitter in his first 11 games. What's most impressive is the Wallner started last season at High-A Cedar Rapids and Varland started at Low-A Fort Myers...talk about progress! On top of all of that, Randolph, Minnesota native Caleb Thielbar has has an outstanding season in the bullpen. Set to start coaching Division II baseball for Augustana less than three years ago, Thielbar has tallied just 0.79 HR/9 and 2.86 BB/9 through 2022. His fastball is consistently touching 94 and 95 MPH and is still complemented by a picture-esque curveball that can go as low as the high 60's. What's your favorite moment from the 2022 Minnesota Twins season? Drop a comment below!
  15. Bailey Ober dominated the White Sox on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander struck out ten in seven innings of one-hit baseball, inducing twenty swings and misses. Matt Wallner hit his first home run at Target Field in the win. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K Homeruns: Matt Wallner (2) Top 3 WPA: Bailey Ober .348, Jose Miranda .169, Jake Cave .029 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Here’s how the Twins lined up to face the White Sox in the opening game of a three game series at Target Field on Tuesday night, their final home series of the 2022 season. Ober and Out With nine games remaining at the end of a 2022 season that has come to a sputtering halt, the Twins are left to look for positives. Bailey Ober stepped up in a big way on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander dominated a feeble White Sox lineup. Ober worked quickly, efficiently, and had pinpoint control. Over seven one-hit innings, he threw 73% strikes, struck out ten hitters, and induced twenty swings and misses. Ober is one of many Twins whose season has been derailed by injuries. Furthermore, Ober’s timeline for return consistently shifted throughout the season as he spent significant portions of the season on the IL with groin problems. He reminded Twins fans what he is capable of on Tuesday and adds his name is a stable of possible starting pitching options for 2023, albeit one in which almost every name is also accompanied by health-related questions. Plenty of Offense, Just Enough Runs The Twins had plenty of traffic on the base paths on Tuesday night, with few early returns. Three consecutive singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Jake Cave gave Minnesota a one run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Doubles from Luis Arraez and Miranda added another run to the lead in the bottom of the third. The Twins had tallied nine hits, producing just two runs, when Matt Wallner stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wallner hit his second home run of the season and first at Target Field. The moon shoot cleared the right field wall, giving Twins fans another exciting glimpse of a promising 2023 season storyline. After surrendering his second hit in the top of the eighth inning, Ober was relieved by Griffin Jax, who made short work of the rest of the inning, striking out both hitters he faced on just ten pitches. Jhoan Duran closed the game for the Twins in the ninth inning, striking out two and bringing the total tally to 14 on the night for the Twins pitching staff. On a brisk, 56 degree night at Target Field, seeing the Twins put together an efficient, excellent performance in all phases of the game will be heartening for fans enjoying the dying embers of the 2022 season. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Henriquez 0 0 68 0 0 68 Megill 28 0 32 0 0 60 Duran 0 24 0 0 15 39 Jax 0 27 0 0 10 37 Thielbar 10 13 0 0 0 23 Pagán 23 0 0 0 0 23 López 0 11 0 0 0 11 Fulmer 0 9 0 0 0 9 Moran 0 0 6 0 0 6 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the White Sox. Josh Winder starts for Minnesota, against Johnny Cueto for the White Sox. First pitch is a 6:40 CT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  16. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K Homeruns: Matt Wallner (2) Top 3 WPA: Bailey Ober .348, Jose Miranda .169, Jake Cave .029 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Here’s how the Twins lined up to face the White Sox in the opening game of a three game series at Target Field on Tuesday night, their final home series of the 2022 season. Ober and Out With nine games remaining at the end of a 2022 season that has come to a sputtering halt, the Twins are left to look for positives. Bailey Ober stepped up in a big way on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander dominated a feeble White Sox lineup. Ober worked quickly, efficiently, and had pinpoint control. Over seven one-hit innings, he threw 73% strikes, struck out ten hitters, and induced twenty swings and misses. Ober is one of many Twins whose season has been derailed by injuries. Furthermore, Ober’s timeline for return consistently shifted throughout the season as he spent significant portions of the season on the IL with groin problems. He reminded Twins fans what he is capable of on Tuesday and adds his name is a stable of possible starting pitching options for 2023, albeit one in which almost every name is also accompanied by health-related questions. Plenty of Offense, Just Enough Runs The Twins had plenty of traffic on the base paths on Tuesday night, with few early returns. Three consecutive singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Jake Cave gave Minnesota a one run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Doubles from Luis Arraez and Miranda added another run to the lead in the bottom of the third. The Twins had tallied nine hits, producing just two runs, when Matt Wallner stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wallner hit his second home run of the season and first at Target Field. The moon shoot cleared the right field wall, giving Twins fans another exciting glimpse of a promising 2023 season storyline. After surrendering his second hit in the top of the eighth inning, Ober was relieved by Griffin Jax, who made short work of the rest of the inning, striking out both hitters he faced on just ten pitches. Jhoan Duran closed the game for the Twins in the ninth inning, striking out two and bringing the total tally to 14 on the night for the Twins pitching staff. On a brisk, 56 degree night at Target Field, seeing the Twins put together an efficient, excellent performance in all phases of the game will be heartening for fans enjoying the dying embers of the 2022 season. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Henriquez 0 0 68 0 0 68 Megill 28 0 32 0 0 60 Duran 0 24 0 0 15 39 Jax 0 27 0 0 10 37 Thielbar 10 13 0 0 0 23 Pagán 23 0 0 0 0 23 López 0 11 0 0 0 11 Fulmer 0 9 0 0 0 9 Moran 0 0 6 0 0 6 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the White Sox. Josh Winder starts for Minnesota, against Johnny Cueto for the White Sox. First pitch is a 6:40 CT. Postgame Interviews
  17. The book is closed on Minnesota's 2022 postseason chances, and the Twins are sure playing like it. This past week saw an injury-ravaged, undermanned, seemingly disinterested team going through the motions to play out a soul-crushing second half of a sunken season. Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/19 through Sun, 9/25 *** Record Last Week: 1-6 (Overall: 74-79) Run Differential Last Week: -19 (Overall: -1) Standing: 3rd Place in AL Central (12.0 GB) Last Week's Game Results: Game 147 | CLE 11, MIN 4: Guardians Humiliate Twins in Final Match-up Game 148 | KC 5, MIN 4: Bundy Bad, Bats Fizzle After Strong Start Game 149 | KC 5, MIN 2: Offense Lifeless Outside of Wallner's 2 RBIs Game 150 | KC 4, MIN 1: Lifeless Twins Swept by Lowly Royals Game 151 | LAA 4, MIN 2: Twins Can't Overcome Ohtani, Fall to Angels Game 152 | MIN 8, LAA 4: Losing Streak Snapped Behind Bats, Bullpen Game 153 | LAA 10, MiN 3: Halos Pull Away Late to Take Series NEWS & NOTES With contention now firmly out of the picture following a dozen-game slide in the standings over the past three weeks – from tied for first on September 4th to 12 games out on September 25th – the Twins are starting to pack it in and make preparations for the offseason and beyond. Step 1: taking action on Byron Buxton's broken-down body. The team announced on Friday that Buxton will undergo arthroscopic surgery to clean up scar tissue in the right knee that's bothered him for nearly the entire season. The hope is that this procedure, along with several months to rest his ailing hip, will put Buxton in a solid place physically heading into next spring, so he can take another shot at getting through a full season. He finishes 2022 with 92 games played and 382 plate appearances, both the second-highest totals of his career. He also posted 4+ Wins Above Replacement for a second straight year. Another solid yet ultimately unfulfilling campaign. Elsewhere... Sonny Gray went on the injured list with a hamstring strain, which drained his velocity in a brutal Monday start against Cleveland where he allowed four runs in two innings. Very reminiscent to the final start in Chicago from Tyler Mahle (also now confirmed out for the season). Louie Varland was recalled to join the rotation again, probably for the rest of the year. Trevor Megill was activated from COVID IL. Drew Strotman, designated for assignment last weekend, was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers. Dereck Rodriguez was outrighted to the Saints. Aaron Sanchez was also DFA'ed. HIGHLIGHTS The only real highlight of this miserable stretch of play was Matt Wallner, who is taking advantage of his late-season audition by showing what he can do with the stick. The 24-year-old found himself in the starting lineup for five of six games and delivered four hits with two doubles, two RBIs, and two walks. On Tuesday in Kansas City, Wallner provided the totality of Minnesota's meager offensive output, driving in two runs with three hits on the way to a 5-2 loss. He's making hard contact and showing the pop that helped produce 27 homers and a .542 slugging percentage between Double-A and Triple-A this season. An especially impressive aspect of Wallner's initial play was how he was keeping the whiffs in check, with only eight strikeouts in his first seven games, but on Friday and Saturday against Los Angeles he went 0-for-7 with six Ks. Growing pains for the young lefty slugger – but that's what these meaningless final games are for. LOWLIGHTS No, the pitching has not been especially good. Losing Gray from an already depleted staff only further diminishes a group that's been doing little to help the cause. Jorge López's complete meltdown on Monday (0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 ER) was beyond discouraging and concerning. But let's be real: the offense is primarily responsible for dragging this team into a humiliating abyss. They scored more than four runs in a game just once all all week, and have done so five times in the entire month of September. Yeah, it hurts to be forced to use Jermaine Palacios – who is 0-for-33 with 15 strikeouts in the month of September – semi-regularly. And obviously it hurts to be without the likes of Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco. But there are also key players who had been productive and now are just fading away completely. José Miranda went 6-for-25, all of his hits singles, with no RBIs. He is slashing just .261/.328/.384 with five homers in 52 games since the start of August. When Miranda first arrived on the scene, he was an ignitor and catalyst for the Twins offense, mashing homers with frequency and driving in runs reliably. That has since gone completely amiss, though he's continued to bat third or fourth almost everyday (and leadoff on Sunday!). Another underrated culprit in the team's demise, unfortunately: Luis Arraez. His once-firm grasp on the AL batting race has given way and he's now fallen to third, paving way for an Aaron Judge triple crown bid. The hits just continue to not fall for Arraez, who has only two multi-hit games in his past 12 and is batting .237/.256/.237 during this span. That can be how it goes when you don't have any power – his hard-hit rate ranks in the bottom 7% of all MLB hitters – and, as of late, no patience. Arraez has drawn only one walk in the entire month of September, where he has a .302 on-base percentage. His All-Star first half has been followed by a sub-mediocre second half – since the break, Arraez has been worth 0.3 fWAR in 54 games. Although, again, it should be noted that he's clearly playing nowhere near 100% as a hamstring issue hobbles him continuously. He has the second-worst WPA on the team since the start of August. (Miranda is fourth-worst, with Palacios and Mark Contreras occupying the other two spots. Two of those names you'd probably expect.) TRENDING STORYLINE With several players in the late stages of rehab here as this lost season draws to a close, the team must try to balance the value of getting them back on the field to finish on a positive note, versus the value of simply shutting them down and letting them get early starts on their offseasons. They've already chosen the latter path with Buxton and it seems they're inclined to take the same route with Polanco, although he hasn't officially been ruled out. Max Kepler, Ryan Jeffers and Trevor Larnach all have a decent chance to return in the coming week, for whatever that is worth. LOOKING AHEAD There is not an ounce of competitive drama left to extract from this season – even the White Sox, who Twins might have been motivated to spoil in six remaining match-ups, have already taken themselves out of contention. With that said, this is our last full week of Twins baseball until 2023, so try to enjoy these remaining moments. I know I'll be getting out to Target Field one last time for during the final home series against the White Sox, which will feature a trio of internally developed Twins starters who figure to be key parts of next year's plan. TUESDAY, 9/27: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lance Lynn v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 9/28: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Johnny Cueto v. RHP Josh Winder THURSDAY, 9/29: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito vs RHP Louie Varland FRIDAY, 9/30: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Drew Hutchison SATURDAY, 10/1: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Tyler Alexander SUNDAY, 10/2: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Joey Wentz View full article
  18. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/19 through Sun, 9/25 *** Record Last Week: 1-6 (Overall: 74-79) Run Differential Last Week: -19 (Overall: -1) Standing: 3rd Place in AL Central (12.0 GB) Last Week's Game Results: Game 147 | CLE 11, MIN 4: Guardians Humiliate Twins in Final Match-up Game 148 | KC 5, MIN 4: Bundy Bad, Bats Fizzle After Strong Start Game 149 | KC 5, MIN 2: Offense Lifeless Outside of Wallner's 2 RBIs Game 150 | KC 4, MIN 1: Lifeless Twins Swept by Lowly Royals Game 151 | LAA 4, MIN 2: Twins Can't Overcome Ohtani, Fall to Angels Game 152 | MIN 8, LAA 4: Losing Streak Snapped Behind Bats, Bullpen Game 153 | LAA 10, MiN 3: Halos Pull Away Late to Take Series NEWS & NOTES With contention now firmly out of the picture following a dozen-game slide in the standings over the past three weeks – from tied for first on September 4th to 12 games out on September 25th – the Twins are starting to pack it in and make preparations for the offseason and beyond. Step 1: taking action on Byron Buxton's broken-down body. The team announced on Friday that Buxton will undergo arthroscopic surgery to clean up scar tissue in the right knee that's bothered him for nearly the entire season. The hope is that this procedure, along with several months to rest his ailing hip, will put Buxton in a solid place physically heading into next spring, so he can take another shot at getting through a full season. He finishes 2022 with 92 games played and 382 plate appearances, both the second-highest totals of his career. He also posted 4+ Wins Above Replacement for a second straight year. Another solid yet ultimately unfulfilling campaign. Elsewhere... Sonny Gray went on the injured list with a hamstring strain, which drained his velocity in a brutal Monday start against Cleveland where he allowed four runs in two innings. Very reminiscent to the final start in Chicago from Tyler Mahle (also now confirmed out for the season). Louie Varland was recalled to join the rotation again, probably for the rest of the year. Trevor Megill was activated from COVID IL. Drew Strotman, designated for assignment last weekend, was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers. Dereck Rodriguez was outrighted to the Saints. Aaron Sanchez was also DFA'ed. HIGHLIGHTS The only real highlight of this miserable stretch of play was Matt Wallner, who is taking advantage of his late-season audition by showing what he can do with the stick. The 24-year-old found himself in the starting lineup for five of six games and delivered four hits with two doubles, two RBIs, and two walks. On Tuesday in Kansas City, Wallner provided the totality of Minnesota's meager offensive output, driving in two runs with three hits on the way to a 5-2 loss. He's making hard contact and showing the pop that helped produce 27 homers and a .542 slugging percentage between Double-A and Triple-A this season. An especially impressive aspect of Wallner's initial play was how he was keeping the whiffs in check, with only eight strikeouts in his first seven games, but on Friday and Saturday against Los Angeles he went 0-for-7 with six Ks. Growing pains for the young lefty slugger – but that's what these meaningless final games are for. LOWLIGHTS No, the pitching has not been especially good. Losing Gray from an already depleted staff only further diminishes a group that's been doing little to help the cause. Jorge López's complete meltdown on Monday (0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 ER) was beyond discouraging and concerning. But let's be real: the offense is primarily responsible for dragging this team into a humiliating abyss. They scored more than four runs in a game just once all all week, and have done so five times in the entire month of September. Yeah, it hurts to be forced to use Jermaine Palacios – who is 0-for-33 with 15 strikeouts in the month of September – semi-regularly. And obviously it hurts to be without the likes of Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco. But there are also key players who had been productive and now are just fading away completely. José Miranda went 6-for-25, all of his hits singles, with no RBIs. He is slashing just .261/.328/.384 with five homers in 52 games since the start of August. When Miranda first arrived on the scene, he was an ignitor and catalyst for the Twins offense, mashing homers with frequency and driving in runs reliably. That has since gone completely amiss, though he's continued to bat third or fourth almost everyday (and leadoff on Sunday!). Another underrated culprit in the team's demise, unfortunately: Luis Arraez. His once-firm grasp on the AL batting race has given way and he's now fallen to third, paving way for an Aaron Judge triple crown bid. The hits just continue to not fall for Arraez, who has only two multi-hit games in his past 12 and is batting .237/.256/.237 during this span. That can be how it goes when you don't have any power – his hard-hit rate ranks in the bottom 7% of all MLB hitters – and, as of late, no patience. Arraez has drawn only one walk in the entire month of September, where he has a .302 on-base percentage. His All-Star first half has been followed by a sub-mediocre second half – since the break, Arraez has been worth 0.3 fWAR in 54 games. Although, again, it should be noted that he's clearly playing nowhere near 100% as a hamstring issue hobbles him continuously. He has the second-worst WPA on the team since the start of August. (Miranda is fourth-worst, with Palacios and Mark Contreras occupying the other two spots. Two of those names you'd probably expect.) TRENDING STORYLINE With several players in the late stages of rehab here as this lost season draws to a close, the team must try to balance the value of getting them back on the field to finish on a positive note, versus the value of simply shutting them down and letting them get early starts on their offseasons. They've already chosen the latter path with Buxton and it seems they're inclined to take the same route with Polanco, although he hasn't officially been ruled out. Max Kepler, Ryan Jeffers and Trevor Larnach all have a decent chance to return in the coming week, for whatever that is worth. LOOKING AHEAD There is not an ounce of competitive drama left to extract from this season – even the White Sox, who Twins might have been motivated to spoil in six remaining match-ups, have already taken themselves out of contention. With that said, this is our last full week of Twins baseball until 2023, so try to enjoy these remaining moments. I know I'll be getting out to Target Field one last time for during the final home series against the White Sox, which will feature a trio of internally developed Twins starters who figure to be key parts of next year's plan. TUESDAY, 9/27: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lance Lynn v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 9/28: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Johnny Cueto v. RHP Josh Winder THURSDAY, 9/29: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito vs RHP Louie Varland FRIDAY, 9/30: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Drew Hutchison SATURDAY, 10/1: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Tyler Alexander SUNDAY, 10/2: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Joey Wentz
  19. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS Starting Pitcher of the Year Relief Pitcher of the Year Hitter of the Year SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 1 Box Score The Saints were able to come away with a win Friday night in Indiana behind a stellar pitching performance by Dereck Rodriguez. Rodriguez tossed five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit while walking three and striking out four. At the plate, third baseman Andrew Bechtold led the way, going 2-for-4 with a home run. Michael Helman (1-for-5, RBI) and John Andreoli (1-for-3, 2 RBI) also hit home runs. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado (2-2, 3.54 ERA)
  20. St. Paul was the lone team in action on Friday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS Starting Pitcher of the Year Relief Pitcher of the Year Hitter of the Year SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 1 Box Score The Saints were able to come away with a win Friday night in Indiana behind a stellar pitching performance by Dereck Rodriguez. Rodriguez tossed five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit while walking three and striking out four. At the plate, third baseman Andrew Bechtold led the way, going 2-for-4 with a home run. Michael Helman (1-for-5, RBI) and John Andreoli (1-for-3, 2 RBI) also hit home runs. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado (2-2, 3.54 ERA) View full article
  21. Matt Wallner smashed his way through the upper minors on the way to making his big league debut. Here's why Wallner was the unanimous choice for Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints (graphics by Thieres Rabelo) Last season, Jose Miranda compiled one of the best minor league seasons in Twins' history. He was named the Twins Daily 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year, and fans have seen how he has translated that into a successful rookie campaign. For the second consecutive season, there was a clear choice for the organization's Minor League Hitter of the Year, with Matt Wallner cementing himself into the team's long-term plans. Wallner grew up in Forest Lake, MN, and was impressive as a high school slugger. Minnesota took him in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft (as a pitcher), but Wallner was committed to playing at the University of Southern Mississippi. He became a three-year starter at the school while averaging over 19 home runs per season with a 1.113 OPS. He helped his draft stock significantly, and the Twins took him with the 39th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, this time as a three-time All-American outfielder. Wallner showed some power in the lower minors as his OPS was .810 or higher in 2019 and 2021. For the most part, he was slightly older than the average age of the competition at each level, so it would have been nice to see him post even better offensive numbers. He missed over two months of the 2021 season with a broken hamate bone, so the Twins decided to find him some extra at-bats after the minor league season concluded. His performance in the 2021 Arizona Fall League might have been what pushed him to a tremendous 2022 campaign. In 18 games, he went 20-for-66 (.303 BA) with two doubles and six home runs, which resulted in a 1.011 OPS. Minnesota sent Wallner to Double-A to start the 2022 campaign, where he was younger than the average age of the competition at his level for the first time since 2019. His season started slowly as he posted a .200 BA and a .741 OPS in April. His bat started to heat up in May when he hit seven doubles and six homers in 24 games (.984 OPS). However, the month of June is where he solidified his prospect status. As the calendar flipped to June, Pitchers couldn't find a way to retire Wallner. He got on base in 50% of his plate appearances for the month. In 27 games that month, he only failed to reach base in three contests. He had two multi-homer games and seven games where he walked twice or more. Wallner ended the month hitting .345/.500/.714 (1.214) with five doubles, one triple, and eight home runs. July saw Wallner's bat cool off a bit, but the month also saw some other impressive feats. He represented the Twins at the 2022 Futures Game in Los Angeles and hit a two-run homer in a tie game. Minnesota also promoted him to Triple-A, where he was four years younger than the average age of the competition. After adjusting to St. Paul, Wallner posted a .978 OPS with 17 doubles, three triples, and six home runs in 39 games from August 2- September 15. With the big-league club struggling, there was some question about why the team wasn't promoting Wallner for the team's playoff push. He quickly made his mark with the Twins as his first big-league hit was a home run with his family in attendance. It was a perfect way to cap a tremendous 2022 season, and there is little doubt that Wallner's powerful bat will be part of the Twins line-up for most of the next decade. Runner-Up: Edouard Julien, IF AA Stats (113 G): .300/.441/.490 (.931), 19 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 67 RBI Like Wallner, Julien was drafted out of college in 2019 but was taken in the 18th round. In his first two professional seasons, he has combined for a .922 OPS while moving from Low-A to Double-A. He was a staple in the Wind Surge line-up this season and faced older pitchers in over 87% of his plate appearances. Defensively, Minnesota had him focus on second base in 2022, so that's his most likely path to the big leagues. Second Runner-Up: Chris Williams, 1B/C AA/AAA Stats (109 G): .255/.352/.528 (.880), 21 2B, 1 3B, 28 HR, 88 RBI Williams posted impressive power numbers, including double-digit home runs at Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota took him in the 8th round of the 2018 MLB Draft from Clemson. The 2022 season was the first where most of his plate appearances came as a first baseman instead of a catcher. This may have helped his power numbers increase, as he could keep his legs stronger throughout the season. Honorable Mention: Noah Cardenas, C/1B Low-A Stats (99 G): .261/.421/.413 (.834), 18 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 43 RBI Minnesota took Cardenas with their 8th-round pick in 2021 from UCLA. He impressed in his first full professional season as he caught over 460 innings and played time at first base. Cardenas led the team in many offensive categories. His prospect stock will continue to rise if he can hit for power while continuing to catch. What impressed you the most about the names mentioned above? Should a different player have made the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS WINNERS: 2012 - Oswaldo Arcia 2013 - Miguel Sano 2014 - Mitch Garver 2015 - Max Kepler 2016 - Daniel Palka 2017 - Mitch Garver 2018 - Alex Kirilloff 2019 - Trevor Larnach 2021 - Jose Miranda View full article
  22. Bailey Ober and the Twins took on the Kansas City Royals tonight in game two of the three-game series. The Royals hosted not only the Twins, but Bark in the Park night, and needless to say, the Twins had another “ruff” night in Kansas City. Image courtesy of Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (85 pitches, 55 strikes (66%) Home Runs: Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.220), Gio Urshela (-.098), Jermaine Palacios (-0.095) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pitching Coach Pete Maki had to come out early in the first inning after Ober had thrown 21 pitches and given up two runs. After the mound visit, Ober calmed down and got the next three hitters out, but not without running his pitch count up to 28. This was Ober’s second game back since coming off the 60-day IL with a groin injury that put him on the shelf on June 1st. Ober has been on restrictions since returning from the IL, but went five innings on September 16th and only allowed one hit and 70 pitches. This game was a little different for the starting pitcher. By the time he hit the third inning, he was up to 62 pitches and three runs allowed. Ober ended up with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. He retired the remaining seven batters he faced before handing the game over to the bullpen. Aaron Sanchez came for Ober and kept things tight until the wind picked up. The Royals took advantage of mother nature and got another two runs in the seventh inning. Sanchez stayed in through the eighth inning, meaning it was a day off for the remainder of the bullpen. The Twins' offense showed up just as soon as the Royals did, but fell flat as soon as they fired up. In the 2nd inning, Gilberto Celestino got on base on an error which advanced Gary Sanchez to third base. Matt Wallner singled to left, scoring Sanchez and putting the Twins on the board. Wallner was also credited with driving in Nick Gordon in the fourth inning. Wallner has had a hit in all but one of his six games since joining the team and was responsible for two RBI in this game. Wallner has had a lot of fans since coming up. When he got his single to score Sanchez, in the dugout, Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez cheered on the rookie with goofy hand signs and smiles. Correa has been on fire lately at the plate. He has continually boosted his teammates, been a part of mound visits, and ensured that his teammates knew that he was there to help them grow. There have been many endearing moments of him with teammates, but the best relationship has been with fellow 2012 draftee, Byron Buxton. The top two picks that year had time to talk during the Midwest League All-Star Game in Dayton, Ohio in 2013. They played on the same Western Division squad and had time to share the same experiences bonding them for what would be ten years later. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off. The Twins continued to try and rally every inning getting guys on base, but getting outs just as quickly. The club remained scoreless the remainder of the game unable to overcome mother nature and goofy defensive plays that weren’t errors. The Twins had an opportunity and the upper hand through the fourth with Wallner’s double, but the bats fell asleep after that. Pitching for tomorrow’s game: Thursday 1:10pm CST: RHP Josh Winder (4-4, 4.17 ERA) v. RHP Jonathan Heasley (3-8, 5.09 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sanchez 0 49 0 0 0 41 90 Henriquez 0 0 0 73 0 0 73 López 0 32 0 34 0 0 66 Moran 40 15 5 0 0 0 60 Pagán 0 31 0 15 0 0 46 Fulmer 0 17 0 0 23 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 23 0 23 Jax 0 13 0 0 4 0 17 Duran 0 0 17 0 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 0 17 0 17 View full article
  23. Last season, Jose Miranda compiled one of the best minor league seasons in Twins' history. He was named the Twins Daily 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year, and fans have seen how he has translated that into a successful rookie campaign. For the second consecutive season, there was a clear choice for the organization's Minor League Hitter of the Year, with Matt Wallner cementing himself into the team's long-term plans. Wallner grew up in Forest Lake, MN, and was impressive as a high school slugger. Minnesota took him in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft (as a pitcher), but Wallner was committed to playing at the University of Southern Mississippi. He became a three-year starter at the school while averaging over 19 home runs per season with a 1.113 OPS. He helped his draft stock significantly, and the Twins took him with the 39th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, this time as a three-time All-American outfielder. Wallner showed some power in the lower minors as his OPS was .810 or higher in 2019 and 2021. For the most part, he was slightly older than the average age of the competition at each level, so it would have been nice to see him post even better offensive numbers. He missed over two months of the 2021 season with a broken hamate bone, so the Twins decided to find him some extra at-bats after the minor league season concluded. His performance in the 2021 Arizona Fall League might have been what pushed him to a tremendous 2022 campaign. In 18 games, he went 20-for-66 (.303 BA) with two doubles and six home runs, which resulted in a 1.011 OPS. Minnesota sent Wallner to Double-A to start the 2022 campaign, where he was younger than the average age of the competition at his level for the first time since 2019. His season started slowly as he posted a .200 BA and a .741 OPS in April. His bat started to heat up in May when he hit seven doubles and six homers in 24 games (.984 OPS). However, the month of June is where he solidified his prospect status. As the calendar flipped to June, Pitchers couldn't find a way to retire Wallner. He got on base in 50% of his plate appearances for the month. In 27 games that month, he only failed to reach base in three contests. He had two multi-homer games and seven games where he walked twice or more. Wallner ended the month hitting .345/.500/.714 (1.214) with five doubles, one triple, and eight home runs. July saw Wallner's bat cool off a bit, but the month also saw some other impressive feats. He represented the Twins at the 2022 Futures Game in Los Angeles and hit a two-run homer in a tie game. Minnesota also promoted him to Triple-A, where he was four years younger than the average age of the competition. After adjusting to St. Paul, Wallner posted a .978 OPS with 17 doubles, three triples, and six home runs in 39 games from August 2- September 15. With the big-league club struggling, there was some question about why the team wasn't promoting Wallner for the team's playoff push. He quickly made his mark with the Twins as his first big-league hit was a home run with his family in attendance. It was a perfect way to cap a tremendous 2022 season, and there is little doubt that Wallner's powerful bat will be part of the Twins line-up for most of the next decade. Runner-Up: Edouard Julien, IF AA Stats (113 G): .300/.441/.490 (.931), 19 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 67 RBI Like Wallner, Julien was drafted out of college in 2019 but was taken in the 18th round. In his first two professional seasons, he has combined for a .922 OPS while moving from Low-A to Double-A. He was a staple in the Wind Surge line-up this season and faced older pitchers in over 87% of his plate appearances. Defensively, Minnesota had him focus on second base in 2022, so that's his most likely path to the big leagues. Second Runner-Up: Chris Williams, 1B/C AA/AAA Stats (109 G): .255/.352/.528 (.880), 21 2B, 1 3B, 28 HR, 88 RBI Williams posted impressive power numbers, including double-digit home runs at Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota took him in the 8th round of the 2018 MLB Draft from Clemson. The 2022 season was the first where most of his plate appearances came as a first baseman instead of a catcher. This may have helped his power numbers increase, as he could keep his legs stronger throughout the season. Honorable Mention: Noah Cardenas, C/1B Low-A Stats (99 G): .261/.421/.413 (.834), 18 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 43 RBI Minnesota took Cardenas with their 8th-round pick in 2021 from UCLA. He impressed in his first full professional season as he caught over 460 innings and played time at first base. Cardenas led the team in many offensive categories. His prospect stock will continue to rise if he can hit for power while continuing to catch. What impressed you the most about the names mentioned above? Should a different player have made the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS WINNERS: 2012 - Oswaldo Arcia 2013 - Miguel Sano 2014 - Mitch Garver 2015 - Max Kepler 2016 - Daniel Palka 2017 - Mitch Garver 2018 - Alex Kirilloff 2019 - Trevor Larnach 2021 - Jose Miranda
  24. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (85 pitches, 55 strikes (66%) Home Runs: Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.220), Gio Urshela (-.098), Jermaine Palacios (-0.095) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pitching Coach Pete Maki had to come out early in the first inning after Ober had thrown 21 pitches and given up two runs. After the mound visit, Ober calmed down and got the next three hitters out, but not without running his pitch count up to 28. This was Ober’s second game back since coming off the 60-day IL with a groin injury that put him on the shelf on June 1st. Ober has been on restrictions since returning from the IL, but went five innings on September 16th and only allowed one hit and 70 pitches. This game was a little different for the starting pitcher. By the time he hit the third inning, he was up to 62 pitches and three runs allowed. Ober ended up with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. He retired the remaining seven batters he faced before handing the game over to the bullpen. Aaron Sanchez came for Ober and kept things tight until the wind picked up. The Royals took advantage of mother nature and got another two runs in the seventh inning. Sanchez stayed in through the eighth inning, meaning it was a day off for the remainder of the bullpen. The Twins' offense showed up just as soon as the Royals did, but fell flat as soon as they fired up. In the 2nd inning, Gilberto Celestino got on base on an error which advanced Gary Sanchez to third base. Matt Wallner singled to left, scoring Sanchez and putting the Twins on the board. Wallner was also credited with driving in Nick Gordon in the fourth inning. Wallner has had a hit in all but one of his six games since joining the team and was responsible for two RBI in this game. Wallner has had a lot of fans since coming up. When he got his single to score Sanchez, in the dugout, Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez cheered on the rookie with goofy hand signs and smiles. Correa has been on fire lately at the plate. He has continually boosted his teammates, been a part of mound visits, and ensured that his teammates knew that he was there to help them grow. There have been many endearing moments of him with teammates, but the best relationship has been with fellow 2012 draftee, Byron Buxton. The top two picks that year had time to talk during the Midwest League All-Star Game in Dayton, Ohio in 2013. They played on the same Western Division squad and had time to share the same experiences bonding them for what would be ten years later. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off. The Twins continued to try and rally every inning getting guys on base, but getting outs just as quickly. The club remained scoreless the remainder of the game unable to overcome mother nature and goofy defensive plays that weren’t errors. The Twins had an opportunity and the upper hand through the fourth with Wallner’s double, but the bats fell asleep after that. Pitching for tomorrow’s game: Thursday 1:10pm CST: RHP Josh Winder (4-4, 4.17 ERA) v. RHP Jonathan Heasley (3-8, 5.09 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sanchez 0 49 0 0 0 41 90 Henriquez 0 0 0 73 0 0 73 López 0 32 0 34 0 0 66 Moran 40 15 5 0 0 0 60 Pagán 0 31 0 15 0 0 46 Fulmer 0 17 0 0 23 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 23 0 23 Jax 0 13 0 0 4 0 17 Duran 0 0 17 0 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 0 17 0 17
  25. Matt Wallner is having one of the best seasons in the Twins farm system. Now firmly entrenched in the team’s long-term plans, he is getting his first chance at the big leagues. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints The Twins went in two different routes for their first two picks in the 2019 MLB Draft. With the 13th overall pick, the club selected Keoni Cavaco, a high school shortstop that saw his stock rise significantly leading into the draft. Later in the first round, Minnesota selected Matt Wallner, a strong bat with plenty of college experience. Minnesota had originally drafted Wallner in 2016 as a pitcher, but he stayed true to his college commitment at the University of North Dakota. Unfortunately, he learned the UND was eliminating its baseball program. Fortunately, he found his way to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This decision helped his development as he was a three-year starter at the University of Southern Mississippi. In each college season, he posted an OPS of 1.093 or higher, and he set the school’s career home run mark when he hit 23 homers as a junior. His arm was so good in college that the team used him as a reliever with a fastball in the mid-90s. The Twins followed his progress in college and took him in the Competitive Balance Round in 2019. After signing, the Twins sent Wallner to the Appalachian League. In 53 games, he hit .269/.361/.452 (.813) with 18 doubles, one triple, and six home runs. Minnesota promoted him to Low-A for 12 games to end the year, and he compiled six extra-base hits in limited action. As a power hitter, his swing and miss tendency was evident as he struck out 80 times in 65 games. Twins Daily named him the 2019 Short Season Hitter of the Year after his powerful professional debut. Coming out of the COVID season, Minnesota sent Wallner to High-A, a level he had yet to experience. He was limited to 66 games with Cedar Rapids because he broke his hamate bone. Even in limited action, his power was evident as he hit .264/.350/.508 (.858) with 14 doubles, two triples, and 15 home runs. To compensate for lost time, the Twins decided to send Wallner to the Arizona Fall League following the 2021 season. The AFL is an excellent showcase for some of baseball’s top prospects, but it’s a small sample size of games. That being said, Wallner made the most of his time in Arizona. In nearly 80 plate appearances, he hit .303/.405/.606 (1.011) with two doubles and six home runs. He struck out in 42% of his at-bats, but he still got on base over 40% of the time. Wallner had set himself up for a breakout 2022 campaign. Wallner began the year at Double-A Wichita, where he continued his hot hitting from the fall. In 78 games, he hit .299/.436/.597 (1.033) with 15 doubles, a triple, and 21 home runs. He was selected for the 2022 Futures Game, where he hit a home run on the national stage. Shortly after returning from Los Angeles, the Twins promoted him to St. Paul. Initially, he struggled, but he posted a .907 OPS in August and a 1.043 OPS in September. It was clear that Wallner was ready for his first taste of the big leagues. For the Twins, Wallner has helped his prospect stock significantly this year. His ceiling compares very similarly to Joey Gallo, a powerful slugger with high strikeout rates. Wallner’s strong arm will play well in right field even if he can’t get to every ball because of his size. He has one of the most powerful bats to come through the Twins system in quite some time. If he can cut down on strikeouts, he may become an even more dangerous hitter at baseball’s highest level. Do you think Wallner can reach his ceiling? What impresses you the most about his minor league career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
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