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  1. The Minnesota Twins are barreling towards the end of their 2022 regular season. With postseason hopes all but dwindling, the clock on Carlos Correa’s decision to opt out of his three-year contract now comes front and center. Minnesota has to get to work. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Last winter, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine hammered out a deal with Carlos Correa’s agent Scott Boras. Having previously assumed Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be their Opening Day shortstop, the Twins pivoted after dealing Josh Donaldson and freeing up substantial money for the payroll. Correa was never the expected plan for Minnesota, and he probably didn’t see himself here either. When a $300 million mega-deal didn’t materialize, the opportunity to secure a Major League-record deal for an infielder arose and he had to take it. Boras and the Twins structured the deal in a way that Correa could once again explore the open market this winter. That had to always be his plan and is why he’ll opt out. Sure, the Twins could’ve made more aggressive actions towards an extension (and maybe they have), but this front office would’ve been negotiating against itself. Knowing that Correa’s true intentions are a long-term pact, it behooves the organization to throw out a number and see where it lands amongst the competition. Maybe the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers are more interested this time around. Maybe the San Francisco Giants or Chicago Cubs bite. Maybe Correa decides to return for a longer period of time in the Twins Cities. No matter what, Minnesota needs (and likely has already started) thinking about succession plans. It’s pretty hard to replace a player the caliber of Correa, and internally there are few options. Royce Lewis won’t be ready on Opening Day as he returns from a second season in which he underwent surgery for a torn ACL. Noah Miller has been heralded as an MLB-ready defender, but he’s hardly handled that bat at the Low-A level for Fort Myers. 2022 top pick Brooks Lee is finishing this season at Double-A, but it’d be beyond aggressive for him to start at the Major Leagues in 2023. The developmental staff and front office will have to blueprint a game plan as to what the timeline of succession looks like. Do they want a long-term shortstop brought in from outside? Is Lewis the man waiting in the wings, or is there a different position he’s more suited for? How about Lee? Is he the shortstop of the future, and will that future begin in the season ahead? Much of what the front office has done from a talent acquisition perspective this season has been with a focus on more than just one season. As they enter into 2023, they’ll be positioned to start kicking in their window with the developed youth. Jose Miranda is a big-leaguer. Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff will hopefully be healthy. Josh Winder, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan have now all seen how the highest level works. Punting on the shortstop position with a roster on the brink doesn’t seem like the way they’ll go about things. It’d be great if Correa was back manning the middle for Minnesota next season, but if and when he’s not, the blueprint to surviving his absence must be ironclad. View full article
  2. Last winter, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine hammered out a deal with Carlos Correa’s agent Scott Boras. Having previously assumed Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be their Opening Day shortstop, the Twins pivoted after dealing Josh Donaldson and freeing up substantial money for the payroll. Correa was never the expected plan for Minnesota, and he probably didn’t see himself here either. When a $300 million mega-deal didn’t materialize, the opportunity to secure a Major League-record deal for an infielder arose and he had to take it. Boras and the Twins structured the deal in a way that Correa could once again explore the open market this winter. That had to always be his plan and is why he’ll opt out. Sure, the Twins could’ve made more aggressive actions towards an extension (and maybe they have), but this front office would’ve been negotiating against itself. Knowing that Correa’s true intentions are a long-term pact, it behooves the organization to throw out a number and see where it lands amongst the competition. Maybe the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers are more interested this time around. Maybe the San Francisco Giants or Chicago Cubs bite. Maybe Correa decides to return for a longer period of time in the Twins Cities. No matter what, Minnesota needs (and likely has already started) thinking about succession plans. It’s pretty hard to replace a player the caliber of Correa, and internally there are few options. Royce Lewis won’t be ready on Opening Day as he returns from a second season in which he underwent surgery for a torn ACL. Noah Miller has been heralded as an MLB-ready defender, but he’s hardly handled that bat at the Low-A level for Fort Myers. 2022 top pick Brooks Lee is finishing this season at Double-A, but it’d be beyond aggressive for him to start at the Major Leagues in 2023. The developmental staff and front office will have to blueprint a game plan as to what the timeline of succession looks like. Do they want a long-term shortstop brought in from outside? Is Lewis the man waiting in the wings, or is there a different position he’s more suited for? How about Lee? Is he the shortstop of the future, and will that future begin in the season ahead? Much of what the front office has done from a talent acquisition perspective this season has been with a focus on more than just one season. As they enter into 2023, they’ll be positioned to start kicking in their window with the developed youth. Jose Miranda is a big-leaguer. Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff will hopefully be healthy. Josh Winder, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan have now all seen how the highest level works. Punting on the shortstop position with a roster on the brink doesn’t seem like the way they’ll go about things. It’d be great if Correa was back manning the middle for Minnesota next season, but if and when he’s not, the blueprint to surviving his absence must be ironclad.
  3. Minnesota may have fallen out of playoff contention over the last week, but many of the club’s affiliated teams will be vying for postseason championships. Here are some of the prospects to watch in the days ahead. Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily On Sunday, the High- and Low-A regular seasons came to a close. Luckily, both of Minnesota’s affiliates qualified for the postseason, and they will begin play on Tuesday. In the Midwest League, the Cedar Rapids Kernels face the South Bend Cubs in a semifinal round. For the Florida State League, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels square off against the Dunedin Blue Jays. Multiple names below will be getting their first taste of postseason action. Cedar Rapids Prospects To Watch Brooks Lee, SS (TD No. 2) Lee has already impressed during his professional career after being taken as a top-10 pick in June. The Twins had him skip Low-A and head directly to High-A. In 25 games, he posted a .848 OPS with four doubles and four home runs. An argument can be made that he is the organization’s best prospect, and now he has a chance to prove it on a big stage. David Festa, RHP (TD No. 13) Festa was a 13th-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, but his stock has risen significantly over the last year. Between Low- and High-A, he has a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and a 108-to-34 strikeout to walk ratio. Festa is a year younger than the average age of the competition in the Midwest League, and the team will ask him to get some big outs if they make a September run. Kernels Expected Starters Game 1: David Festa Game 2: Travis Adams Game 3: Jaylen Nowlin Fort Myers Prospects To Watch Noah Miller, SS (TD No. 7) Minnesota took Miller with the 36th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of high school in Wisconsin. During the 2022 season, he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the FSL. Miller lacked power production during his first full professional season, but the playoffs offer a new opportunity. He has the potential to be one of the team’s top prospects by 2024. Marco Raya, RHP (TD No. 8) Raya was Minnesota’s first draft pick from high school in 2020 as the team took him in the fourth round. As a teenager in the FSL, over 82% of his plate appearances have come against older batters. In 19 appearances (65 innings), he has a 3.05 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. He missed time at the beginning of August, so he has averaged less than four innings per start in September. Tanner Schobel, SS (TD No. 18) Schobel was Minnesota’s second-round pick in 2022 from Virginia Tech, where he had a .980 OPS in three seasons. He hit 18 doubles and 19 home runs during his final collegiate season. As a professional, he has been limited to a .651 OPS with five extra-base hits in 32 games. Hopefully, his college experience shines through in the postseason. Kala’i Rosario, OF (TD No. 20) Like Raya, the Twins took Rosario out of high school in the 2020 MLB Draft. As a regular in the Mussels line-up, he has hit .239/.320/.408 (.727) with 21 doubles, three triples, and 12 home runs. His numbers are even more impressive, considering that nearly 90% of his plate appearances have come against older pitchers. Mighty Mussels Expected Starters Game 1: Pierson Ohl Game 2: Marco Raya Game 3: Jordan Carr Obviously, any player can shine under the postseason spotlight, but big players step up in critical games. Will any of the names above lead their teams to championships? Who are you looking forward to watching? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. On Sunday, the High- and Low-A regular seasons came to a close. Luckily, both of Minnesota’s affiliates qualified for the postseason, and they will begin play on Tuesday. In the Midwest League, the Cedar Rapids Kernels face the South Bend Cubs in a semifinal round. For the Florida State League, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels square off against the Dunedin Blue Jays. Multiple names below will be getting their first taste of postseason action. Cedar Rapids Prospects To Watch Brooks Lee, SS (TD No. 2) Lee has already impressed during his professional career after being taken as a top-10 pick in June. The Twins had him skip Low-A and head directly to High-A. In 25 games, he posted a .848 OPS with four doubles and four home runs. An argument can be made that he is the organization’s best prospect, and now he has a chance to prove it on a big stage. David Festa, RHP (TD No. 13) Festa was a 13th-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, but his stock has risen significantly over the last year. Between Low- and High-A, he has a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and a 108-to-34 strikeout to walk ratio. Festa is a year younger than the average age of the competition in the Midwest League, and the team will ask him to get some big outs if they make a September run. Kernels Expected Starters Game 1: David Festa Game 2: Travis Adams Game 3: Jaylen Nowlin Fort Myers Prospects To Watch Noah Miller, SS (TD No. 7) Minnesota took Miller with the 36th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of high school in Wisconsin. During the 2022 season, he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the FSL. Miller lacked power production during his first full professional season, but the playoffs offer a new opportunity. He has the potential to be one of the team’s top prospects by 2024. Marco Raya, RHP (TD No. 8) Raya was Minnesota’s first draft pick from high school in 2020 as the team took him in the fourth round. As a teenager in the FSL, over 82% of his plate appearances have come against older batters. In 19 appearances (65 innings), he has a 3.05 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. He missed time at the beginning of August, so he has averaged less than four innings per start in September. Tanner Schobel, SS (TD No. 18) Schobel was Minnesota’s second-round pick in 2022 from Virginia Tech, where he had a .980 OPS in three seasons. He hit 18 doubles and 19 home runs during his final collegiate season. As a professional, he has been limited to a .651 OPS with five extra-base hits in 32 games. Hopefully, his college experience shines through in the postseason. Kala’i Rosario, OF (TD No. 20) Like Raya, the Twins took Rosario out of high school in the 2020 MLB Draft. As a regular in the Mussels line-up, he has hit .239/.320/.408 (.727) with 21 doubles, three triples, and 12 home runs. His numbers are even more impressive, considering that nearly 90% of his plate appearances have come against older pitchers. Mighty Mussels Expected Starters Game 1: Pierson Ohl Game 2: Marco Raya Game 3: Jordan Carr Obviously, any player can shine under the postseason spotlight, but big players step up in critical games. Will any of the names above lead their teams to championships? Who are you looking forward to watching? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Before hopping into the list, I wanted to say a few things about this process: I started these writeups to kill time, but I’ve found them fun to write, and the community has responded with great support. My system lacks the professionalism of scouts, but I want to strive toward respectability; this edition is the one I’m most proud of. Previous write-ups lacked consistency, and I failed to consider crucial aspects of a player’s performance. Reminder: tier matters more than specific ranking. Royce Lewis (Prev: 1) I think Royce Lewis is a legitimate franchise-altering player with a greater potential influence than any other prospect. He still has questions—his ability at shortstop remains in flux—but no one can deny his aura, a baseball and personal sense innate in his spirit. He also hit like a machine before suffering his injury in 2022. Brooks Lee (Prev: 2) Brooks Lee could fall out of bed and hit. Since the last writeup, the 2022 1st round pick packed his bags for Cedar Rapids and—while still being younger than the average hitter at the level—has continued to hit. The switch-hitter is walking 9.3% of the time while striking out in just 17.3% of plate appearances. Is Lee a shortstop long-term? Probably not; his clumsiness at the position has already shown, but the bat is such a lock that his position barely matters. Lee could legitimately start at 3rd base for the Twins in 2023 if they desire to push him. ------------------------- Noah Miller (Prev: 3) Noah Miller’s numbers have declined since his white-hot start, but I remain high on the 19-year-old for two reasons: he’s a virtual lock to play shortstop, which is rare and vital, and his hitting peripherals remain solid. The extra-base authority isn’t there, but his elite 15.8% walk rate and stomachable 23.5% strikeout rate reflect a deep understanding of the strike zone. The power should come later, but even if it doesn’t, Miller could stick around for a while as a glove-first shortstop; that’s a piece many teams could use. Emmanuel Rodriguez (Prev: 4) You could flip-flop Emmanuel Rodriguez and Miller without hearing a peep from me; the young outfielder steamrolled low-A with an athletic force unique amongst Twins prospects at that level. Naturally, he suffered a brutal knee injury that curtailed his season, but I don’t anticipate a drop-off for Rodriguez when he returns in 2023. Expect big things from him once he’s healthy. Connor Prielipp (Prev: 5) Professional baseball has still not yet seen Connor Prielipp on the mound, but that barely affects his prospect stock; the college lefty possesses immense “boom” ability if he can return from Tommy John surgery. He owns arguably the best slider of anyone drafted in 2022; his fastball is a plus pitch as well. There have been whispers—a tweet here and there—about Prielipp pitching before the season ends, but nothing is official yet. He will be a name to remember for 2023. Simeon Woods Richardson (Prev: 7) This is where I admit a past error in these lists: I failed to consider Simeon Woods Richardson’s league while evaluating him. The Texas League tilts towards hitters, so while Woods Richardson’s numbers looked fine, they reflected an impressive ability to thrive in a competitive context built to suffocate him. His play with St. Paul since his promotion proves this; the young righty made two excellent starts, showcasing an elevated strikeout rate of 34.3%. Woods Richardson should impact the Twins soon, and he may become a rotation staple for years. Edouard Julien (Prev: 10) The lack of support for Edouard Julien as a genuine top prospect is baffling to me; the French-Canadian is a walking machine with pop; do people understand how rare that is? August was another dominant month, as he slashed .290/.426/.473 with three stolen bases (and three caught attempts). Sure, he’s a defender in name only, but the Twins could stomach merely passable defense at 2nd base to go with a tremendous bat—they’re already doing that with Jorge Polanco. I earnestly think Julien could be the starting 2nd baseman sooner than later—or at least he should be. ------------------------- Marco Raya (Prev: 9) Marco Raya only pitched twice in August—probably due to injury, but I couldn’t confirm this—yet, he remains a marvel through his raw stuff. “Electric” is the only word that can accurately describe him; his slider, curveball, and fastball possess desirable traits; whether he can put it all together is the big question. The Twins treated the youngster with kid gloves, so he will end 2022 with fewer innings than other, older prospects. Still, Raya remains a talented and intriguing arm. Matt Wallner (Prev: 11) I was low on Matt Wallner to start the season—even while he crushed the ball, his strikeouts always caused me to hesitate when considering his prospect status. What changed? Wallner has shaved points of his strikeout rate—it now sits at 26.9% in August, which I can live with. He’s still an on-base wizard and owns a bazooka out in right field; these tools add up to a volatile player, but one with more impact than I gave him credit for earlier in the season. If it all clicks, we’re looking at a consistent ~3-win player who could crack a few All-Star games. Louie Varland (Prev: 13) Like Woods Richardson, my failure to consider the context of Louie Varland’s league caused me to rank him far too low on these lists. Varland isn’t just a cute hometown kid story; the righty owns a deadly fastball that overpowers hitters and sets a strong foundation from which his other pitches can grow. Those secondary offerings remain iffy, but Joe Ryan has proved that a great fastball can lead to success early in one’s major league career while other pitches develop in the background. Varland has struck out 27.5% of hitters at AAA. Yasser Mercedes (Prev: 19) Of all the young players on this list, Yasser Mercedes possess the best chance of becoming a dynamic star; the 17-year-old—yes, he still needs an adult in the car while driving in the United States—lit the DSL on fire, stealing 30 bags while slashing .355/.420/.555. He played 41 games. If that’s a sign of things to come—and that’s a major “if” given his age—the Twins could have a future superstar. Misael Urbina (Prev: 23) Misael Urbina is growing into some power and looks like a much finer prospect because of it. In 2021, the athletic outfielder couldn’t find a double if someone pointed it out on a map, but he’s now slugging .506 with a slightly worse BB/K rate; I think both he and the Twins are ok with that. There’s still a lot of development in front of Urbina, but 2022 is an excellent step in the right direction. Austin Martin (Prev: 6) I’ve been downright mean to Austin Martin on these lists, and I think that needs a slight correction. He’s not a shortstop, and his lack of power still scares me, but you don’t see guys who walk about as often as they strike out every day, and he could carve out a niche as a super-utility guy in the mold of Nick Gordon. Such a role represents a step-down from his potential when coming out of Vanderbilt, but that type of player is still valuable for a major-league team. His drop on my list results from other players rising, not necessarily him falling. ------------------------- Brent Headrick (Prev: 15) Brent Headrick spent all of August at AA and posted impressive numbers; he struck out 36.8% of batters against just a 6.3% walk rate. The lefty is creeping up on 100 innings pitched in 2022, and I imagine the Twins will strongly consider protecting him from the rule 5 draft after the season. Jordan Balazovic (Prev: 8 ) Jordan Balazovic might be the hardest player to rank in the system; the righty crushed his competition in previous years, but AAA batters have taken him to town, and I have no clue what to make of it. August was another rough month for Balazovic, and I’m left wondering if his stuff fell off a cliff or if the team is forcing him to pitch through an obviously debilitating injury; batters have hit 16 homers against him in just 49 ⅔ innings. Cole Sands (Prev: 16) I have a soft spot for Cole Sands; the righty commands one of the finest sweeping breaking balls in the system, and his new split-change could aid him against left-handed batters. Unfortunately, a right elbow contusion halted his great run in the majors, but he’s set to start a rehab assignment soon. The timing of his injury could not have been worse as Sands had pitched seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts since re-joining the Twins in August. Ronny Henriquez (Prev: 17) On the surface, Ronny Henriquez’s 2022 season looks like a disaster; the righty owns a 5.79 ERA after all, but promising signs are hiding underneath the surface; he’s a 22-year-old with very little professional experience coming off a month where he punched out 28% of batters. I think the Twins will sit on him for a while, instead choosing to let Henriquez develop at AAA for most of 2023 before giving him the call. Noah Cardenas (Prev: 21) Much like his Noah brethren—the one with “Miller” as his surname—Noah Cardenas represents my favorite kind of position-playing prospect: a lock at a demanding defensive position with a chance to provide above-average value through their bat. Cardenas is smoking A ball as an old-for-the-level hitter—he’s walking more than he’s striking out—so the real challenge will begin once he sees more advanced pitching. For now, he’s a great piece to dream on. Jose Rodriguez (Prev: Unranked) As a 17-year-old, Jose Rodriguez bashed 13 homers in 55 games in the DSL. Yes, we should all be wary of hyping up literal teenagers, but that total led the league, and Rodriguez did it as a well-touted prospect who also batted .289 with a palatable strikeout rate of 23.7%. Like Mercedes, Rodriguez’s development will be a slow burn, but his initial impression has been excellent. David Festa (Prev: 12) David Festa has cooled significantly since his excellent start to the season, enough, in fact, that it raises questions about whether he was playing over his head. The college arm had a great ERA in August (1.15), but a dreadful FIP (5.27) thanks to a mediocre strikeout rate and an inflated walk rate (20.6% and 11.8%, respectively). I believe he can turn it around—he’s younger than the average A+ pitcher—but September will be crucial for Festa. Blayne Enlow (Prev: 14) August was a fine month for Blayne Enlow; he worked almost entirely in relief, striking out 20.5% of hitters against a high but still palatable 9.5% walk rate. The move to the pen raises some eyebrows—is this a long-term move or perhaps a play to shuffle him upwards towards the majors quickly? I believe in the latter, so Enlow remains a well-regarded prospect. Chris Williams (Prev: 20) Hiding behind the word “interesting” is a soft move, but I’m not sure any other word can more precisely describe what Chris Williams is. The 25-year-old popped out of his bed one day earlier in the season, started mashing, and hasn’t slowed down since. A promotion to AAA has only fueled his fire as he’s slashing .241/.368/.667 since joining the Saints and has hit seven homers in 17 games. ------------------------- Cody Laweryson (Prev: Unranked) There’s something irresistibly intriguing about Cody Laweryson; the righty doesn’t throw hard and has never impacted major prospect lists, but his equal parts graceful and aggressive delivery has befuddled AA hitters. Laweryson carried a 2.13 FIP in August, buoyed by a monstrous 31.9% K rate; he split time as a starter and a reliever. It’s low-hanging fruit, but one is reminded of Joe Ryan when Laweryson is at his best. Alex Isola (Prev: Unranked) 29th-round picks don’t usually stick around as Alex Isola has; the righty has more than held his own at AA and could find himself in promotion conversations soon. You don’t see catchers with a 12.3% walk rate and a sub-20% K rate too often. Yunior Severino (Prev: 25) Yunior Severino brewed as a prospect for years before annihilating A+ ball to start 2022; the Twins were so impressed that they promoted him to AA a few days after the start of August. The higher competition level has stifled Severino—the walks and strikeouts have each trended in directions hitters don’t like—but the sample is so small that I’m willing to overlook it for now. September will be an important month for Severino. Alerick Soularie (Prev: 24) Alerick Soularie was in the process of melting A+ ball pitchers in August before the Kernels suddenly stopped playing him halfway through the month. If he’s injured—and I don’t see another answer—then I hope it doesn’t steal too much playing time; Soularie is already an old-for-his-level hitter with serious strikeout problems; he needs at-bats. Tanner Schobel (Prev: Unranked) The Twins drafted Tanner Schobel in the 2nd round of the 2022 draft. He has all of 81 plate appearances, so judging him off his stats is unwise; he’ll need more time to marinate before his prospect picture becomes clearer. Cesar Lares (Prev: 22) Cesar Lares is a DSL statistical outlier to whom I attached myself and will refuse to ignore. He led the DSL in K% amongst pitchers with at least 40 innings (37.6%) and, I mean, that’s an impressive number! Lares just turned 19, so his early dominance is an encouraging sign; next season will be important for the lefty. Aaron Sabato (Prev: 26) I’ve been harsh on Sabato—perhaps unfairly; maybe justified—but I may need to change my tune; he has now twice bounced back from dreadful starts at a level to match expectations drawn from his 1st round pedigree. It’s been no different at Wichita; the righty’s slash line is unsightly, but he’s walked a hearty amount since his promotion (11.3%), and his BABIP is dirt-low. There’s a good chance he turns it around in September. Jair Camargo (Prev: Unranked) A number of players could have claimed this spot, but I chose Jair Camargo, the hitting machine. Camargo has slashed a lopsided .275/.320/.514 throughout a few levels of the minors in 2022, perhaps revealing legitimate power from the catching position. He’s still younger than the average AA hitter.
  6. Identifying a team's top prospect can be challenging, but looking forward can provide even more excitement for a franchise's future. Here are the names that will be in consideration for the team's top prospect in 2024. Image courtesy of William Parmeter Currently, one can make an argument for both Royce Lewis and Brooks Lee being Minnesota's top prospect. By 2024, both will have graduated from prospect lists and should be helping the Twins at the big-league level. In recent years, Minnesota's farm system has dropped in national rankings, but it's hard not to get excited about the talent level of the players listed below. 1. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF ETA: 2024 Rodriguez's stock has significantly risen this season as many national outlets included him in their updated top-100 rankings. As a 19-year-old, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with five doubles, three triples, and nine home runs in 47 games. He only faced younger pitchers in four plate appearances during the 2022 campaign. Unfortunately, a knee injury ended his season prematurely. Minnesota can have him repeat Fort Myers to start 2023, and he has plenty of development to do before he reaches Target Field. 2. Connor Prielipp, LHP ETA: 2025 The Twins took Prielipp with their second-round pick in 2022 from the University of Alabama. He was initially projected as a top-10 pick but missed the 2022 collegiate season due to Tommy John surgery. Minnesota will likely hold off on his professional debut until 2023, but he is already in the conversation as one of the team's top pitching prospects. By 2024, Prielipp has the potential to be the team's top prospect if he can return to his pre-injury form. 3. Marco Raya, RHP ETA: 2024 Like Rodriguez, Raya is another player that has put himself on the prospect map as a teenager in the Florida State League. In 61 innings, he has posted a 3.25 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and a 69-to-22 strikeout to walk ratio. Over 81% of his at-bats have come against older batters who Raya has held to a .592 OPS. He has three terrific secondary pitches that should allow him to continue as a starter as he moves up the organizational ladder. 4. David Festa, RHP ETA: 2024 The Twins drafted Festa in the 13th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. It's exciting when a team can find value late in the draft and develop a prospect in the organization. His velocity has significantly jumped since joining the Twins organization, as he can consistently hit in the upper-90s. In 100 2/3 innings, he has a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and a 108-to-34 strikeout to walk ratio. In 2023, he should get a chance to pitch in the upper minors with a chance to prove he is part of the team's long-term plans. 5. Noah Miller, SS ETA: 2025 Minnesota has traded away much of their 2021 draft class, and Miller is the highest pick still with the organization. The Twins sent him to Fort Myers this season, where he has hit .212/.347/.281 (.628) with 108 strikeouts in 106 games. As a 19-year-old, he still has offensive development to accomplish, especially as he adds weight to his body. His baseball instincts should allow him to stick at shortstop, a position the Twins have previously struggled to fill. Which player will be the team's top prospect in 2024? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  7. Currently, one can make an argument for both Royce Lewis and Brooks Lee being Minnesota's top prospect. By 2024, both will have graduated from prospect lists and should be helping the Twins at the big-league level. In recent years, Minnesota's farm system has dropped in national rankings, but it's hard not to get excited about the talent level of the players listed below. 1. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF ETA: 2024 Rodriguez's stock has significantly risen this season as many national outlets included him in their updated top-100 rankings. As a 19-year-old, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with five doubles, three triples, and nine home runs in 47 games. He only faced younger pitchers in four plate appearances during the 2022 campaign. Unfortunately, a knee injury ended his season prematurely. Minnesota can have him repeat Fort Myers to start 2023, and he has plenty of development to do before he reaches Target Field. 2. Connor Prielipp, LHP ETA: 2025 The Twins took Prielipp with their second-round pick in 2022 from the University of Alabama. He was initially projected as a top-10 pick but missed the 2022 collegiate season due to Tommy John surgery. Minnesota will likely hold off on his professional debut until 2023, but he is already in the conversation as one of the team's top pitching prospects. By 2024, Prielipp has the potential to be the team's top prospect if he can return to his pre-injury form. 3. Marco Raya, RHP ETA: 2024 Like Rodriguez, Raya is another player that has put himself on the prospect map as a teenager in the Florida State League. In 61 innings, he has posted a 3.25 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and a 69-to-22 strikeout to walk ratio. Over 81% of his at-bats have come against older batters who Raya has held to a .592 OPS. He has three terrific secondary pitches that should allow him to continue as a starter as he moves up the organizational ladder. 4. David Festa, RHP ETA: 2024 The Twins drafted Festa in the 13th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. It's exciting when a team can find value late in the draft and develop a prospect in the organization. His velocity has significantly jumped since joining the Twins organization, as he can consistently hit in the upper-90s. In 100 2/3 innings, he has a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and a 108-to-34 strikeout to walk ratio. In 2023, he should get a chance to pitch in the upper minors with a chance to prove he is part of the team's long-term plans. 5. Noah Miller, SS ETA: 2025 Minnesota has traded away much of their 2021 draft class, and Miller is the highest pick still with the organization. The Twins sent him to Fort Myers this season, where he has hit .212/.347/.281 (.628) with 108 strikeouts in 106 games. As a 19-year-old, he still has offensive development to accomplish, especially as he adds weight to his body. His baseball instincts should allow him to stick at shortstop, a position the Twins have previously struggled to fill. Which player will be the team's top prospect in 2024? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. The Minnesota Twins scored 10 runs against the Red Sox en route to their fifth straight victory. Nick Gordon had a special night, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs. Also featured in tonight's recap are Josh Winder, Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Jair Camargo, Aaron Sabato, Jake Rucker and more.
  9. The Minnesota Twins scored 10 runs against the Red Sox en route to their fifth straight victory. Nick Gordon had a special night, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs. Also featured in tonight's recap are Josh Winder, Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Jair Camargo, Aaron Sabato, Jake Rucker and more. View full video
  10. Studs: Royce Lewis Nothing has changed here; Royce Lewis is a phenomenally talented shortstop on the mend with his second ACL tear. All we can do is hope he’ll return quickly enough next season to impact the team meaningfully. Brooks Lee It’s a miracle that Brooks Lee fell to the Twins at 8. We should thank the Cubs and Mets every day—the former for reaching on a pop-up college arm; the latter for turning their noses at Kumar Rocker in 2021, allowing the Rangers to snag him, re-creating the Vanderbilt 1-2 punch. Lee is a great prospect, checking all the offensive boxes with a pedigree as a coach’s son. Sure, he may not stick at shortstop, but people have said that about every infielder ever drafted; only time will prove whether he will have to switch positions. Until then, we can cherish having a guy who slashed .357/.462/.664 in 2022. ------------------------- Guys I love: Noah Miller I don’t like placing Noah Miller this high; either Austin Martin or Jordan Balazovic should be here, but they have underperformed so drastically that I can’t, in good conscience, continue to act like nothing is wrong with them. Miller’s defense remains elite, but his bat has lost its early-season thunder; he slugged .270 in July. I don’t know when I saw a slugging percent that low. Nick Punto slugged .323 over his career. Miller cut down on the Ks, but he’ll need to re-find his power before this placement reflects his ability instead of needing someone to be here. Emmanuel Rodriguez Emmanuel Rodriguez hasn’t played since his brutal injury, but not playing means he couldn’t tank his value by performing poorly. It’s funny how prospect evaluation can work like that; he’s like Schrödinger's baseball player. His strikeouts were still high, but we’re talking about a 19-year-old who walked 28.6% of the time while slugging .551 during his first stint at A-ball; beggars can’t be choosers. Connor Prielipp The pessimist would point out that a freshly-drafted pitcher being the best pitching prospect in the Twins system is a bad sign, but I choose to look at it in another way: Connor Prielipp had a legitimate claim to go first overall before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The procedure is still a severe setback, but modern health advancements have prettied up its boogeyman face, and all reports point towards his stuff returning to previous levels. I’m incredibly excited to see what Prielipp can do in the Twins organization. ------------------------- Guys I like with reservations: Austin Martin Checking Austin Martin’s slash line is like learning that a childhood hero is a scumbag; it’s depressing, and a harsh reminder that the world sucks. Martin’s strikeout rate has plummeted to an impressive rate (13.8%), but he has 11 extra-base hits on the year. 11. It’s August. Martin hasn’t played since the month’s opening game—perhaps the Twins have him locked away deep in the chasms of Fort Myers until he builds more than Jamey Carrollian power—but maybe the reset helps him find his old groove. Until that happens, I have to drop him down the list. Simeon Woods Richardson Simeon Woods Richardson quietly slid to the IL in June—the Wind Surge never announced the move, which I thought was odd—but has finally returned. I remain a skeptic; his high walk rate, low BABIP, and low home run rate all scream vicious regression, but Woods Richardson has avoided that trap, and given that every other top pitching arm has capitulated, he’ll remain here by default. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team calls him up out of desperation for somebody, anybody who can save this pitching staff. Jordan Balazovic Jordan Balazovic’s AAA numbers don’t even make sense, and not in a good way; he’s walking a batter every two innings, and his HR/FB rate is a cartoonish 38.9%. Let me put it in another way: over 34 ⅔ innings, Balazovic has allowed 14 home runs. It’s clear that he isn’t healthy, and I have little clue as to why the team continues to let him die on the mound when he can’t net outs in his current state. I’ll keep Balazovic at this spot because he has dominated hitters in a way I have not seen in a post-José Berríos landscape. Marco Raya The Twins still refuse to let Marco Raya pitch longer than four innings in a game—yes, I know that’s how teams deal with young pitchers these days, but it still feels ridiculous, especially since no research exists that proves this strategy works—but he has crushed his competition. Raya struck out 24.3% of batters he faced in July, and he has been almost untouchable since mid-June. I don’t anticipate a promotion soon, but Raya is well-positioned for a big 2023 if he can stay healthy. Edouard Julien Edouard Julien keeps chugging, taking walks, and putting up impressive slash lines. Julien hit .287/.443/.517 in July, a healthy line that will play in any environment. He also walked as much as he struck out. The worry with Julien is still this: where is his position, and will he have enough power to sustain production there? If he’s a second baseman, that answer becomes more straightforward, but we will have to wait and see. He should be in St. Paul soon. Matt Wallner I previously said that a player needs to have legendary power to offset a strikeout rate like Matt Wallner’s, and he may have that jolt. Wallner’s homer in the Future Games was comical, and it’s easy to imagine his exit velocities translating well in the major leagues. AAA has not been kind to Wallner, but he struggled during his first taste of AA also, so that could just be how the big guy operates. Is he Joey Gallo 2.0? Is that something the Twins want? We shall see. David Festa David Festa is holding his own at A+ ball; the righty is 3rd in the system in innings and owns an ERA/FIP/xFIP slash line of 2.24/2.83/3.39. He struggled with command in July, walking 11.8% of batters, but I believe that to be a blip, not a worrisome trend. He also picked off three straight baserunners during a game in July, which I’ve never seen before in a baseball match. ------------------------- Guys I’m intrigued by: Louie Varland I’ve been one of the low-men on Louie Varland for a while. His peripherals weren’t great last season, and he’s continued that trend at AA ball in 2022. Varland’s July was good (3.91 ERA, 18.6 K-BB%), but those numbers are inflated by an eight-strikeout performance at the end of the month; the rest of his starts were inconsistent and a little sloppy. Blayne Enlow I’m still cutting Blayne Enlow an enormous amount of slack. The righty is trying to pitch his first mostly-full season since 2019, and getting him accustomed to pitching again is the goal for 2022. July was remarkable for his ERA—he allowed two runs over 13 innings—but the walk rate was elevated, and, well, it was just a 13-inning sample. Hopefully, we can see more dominant performances, like his three-inning, five strikeout relief outing to conclude the month. Brent Headrick Brent Headrick crushed A+ ball and earned a promotion to AAin July. He made one disastrous outing—seriously, don’t look it up—but I can chalk that up to jitters around making his first AA appearance. Headrick has the potential to fly up this list even further as the season continues, and he’s now undoubtedly the best left-handed pitching prospect in the system after Cade Povich and Steve Hajjar found new homes. Cole Sands Given the Twins’ inability to pitch at even a watchable level, I’m surprised that Cole Sands hasn’t earned an extended leash in the majors. He sometimes struggles with command, but his sweeper is deadly enough to coax an extra strikeout or two when he really needs it. Sands struck out 30.4% of batters at AAA in July; I think the team could use that. Ronny Henriquez In July, Ronny Henriquez secretly turned a corner; the newly acquired ex-Ranger farmhand put up an ERA of 3.05 with a healthy K-BB% of 20.9. Henriquez had struggled—and I mean struggled—at AAA to begin the season, but this great month could prove to be the launching point for the 22-year-old. Add him to the list of arms the team could look to in their pursuit of pitching. Matt Canterino Matt Canterino is a reliever who can’t stay healthy. I don’t care about stuff or anything else; a pitcher with a James Paxton-level of durability should not rank highly on any prospect list. If Canterino returns to AA and throws strikes, the team should move him to the major league bullpen before August ends. ------------------------- Possible diamonds in the rough: Yasser Mercedes It’s typically unwise to rank DSL players, but Yasser Mercedes commanded a signing bonus of $1.7 million; we aren’t dealing with a random Joe here. As a 17-year-old, Mercedes is hitting well during his first stint in professional baseball; he’s currently good for a .324/.394/.532 slash line. Chris Williams Missing Chris Williams was the most glaring mistake in my previous ranking. I’ve had my eye on Williams since he put together some powerful stretches in 2019, but his play has been dreadfully inconsistent. The 25-year-old slumped during an injury-plagued 2021 season, but he’s evolved into the Terminator recently, slugging a truly absurd .708 in July. He may be somewhat positionless, but you’ll move heaven and earth to find a place for that bat. Noah Cardenas Noah Cardenas is walking 18.2% of the time at A ball, and I feel like no one has mentioned it. Cardenas can already field the position well, so the newfound offensive boost could give his game a new, exciting wrinkle. I would suggest keeping your eye on him. Cesar Lares Cesar Lares is striking out 44.2% of hitters faced at the DSL. This concludes fun facts with Cesar Lares. Misael Urbina Misael Urbina had a late start to the season—visa issues limited his movement—but it seems like that problem is far behind Urbina. The talented outfielder slugged .589 at A ball in July, a good sign considering that power was his most prominent issue in 2021. Urbina could quickly move up a tier or two if he continues to smoke the ball well. Alerick Soularie Alerick Soularie shed the strike-out problems that clouded his prospect status; he punched out in just 19.8% of plate appearances in July while hitting for a solid 123 wRC+. His power output is still low, but that feels like a nitpick in an otherwise excellent hitting package. Yunior Severino Post-post-hype can still exist for a ballplayer; a statement never more true than with Yunior Severino. After the Twins snagged the infielder when the Braves got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, it seemed that Severino had greatness in his future. That timeline branched off into a far more boring story, but Severino did slug .690 in July, so he may still have a chance. ------------------------- Guys: Aaron Sabato The first spot in my “guys” list goes to one of the more frustrating prospects in the Twins’ system. Aaron Sabato has not yet put together an extended period of excellent performance–at least not in my eyes—but he did slug .709 in July while bringing home a Midwest League Hitter of the Week award. Is this a hot streak or a sign of things to come? I’m pessimistic, but we will see. Keoni Cavaco Keoni Cavaco remaining on this list is the baseball equivalent of the lifetime achievement award; he hasn’t impressed since the team took him in the 1st round in 2019, and he’s only here because of that pedigree. He did crawl above a league-average hitting line in July (110 wRC+), but his strikeout problem is still critical. Michael Helman Is Michael Helman just a feel-good story? Maybe. He’s 26 and is just holding his own at AAA, not dominating. No one attribute sticks out about Helman, but there’s a slight chance he’s called up in a pinch and proves enough to stick around. Kala’i Rosario Kala’i Rosario’s hitting peripherals—walks and strikeouts especially—look gross and not in a good way: a 5.8% walk rate compared to a 35.8% K rate. Still, the young, athletic outfielder has serious power potential, which could lead him to future success. Brayan Medina I still don’t know what to make of Brayan Medina, and he’s walking a small village in the low minors. He has almost no professional innings to his name, though, so I’m willing to wait before critically analyzing him. This group of names looked a lot better a few days ago when I started this writeup; of course, the team was always going to lose crucial players if they wanted to buy enough to offset their major league weaknesses. Still, I don’t feel like they lost major foundational pieces; Spencer Steer hurts, but he had no immediate fit on the Twins’ roster; Cade Povich is the primary, painful loss in my eyes. I think Povich will continue to evolve and become a valuable starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. I’m lower than a lot on Christian Encarnacion-Strand—he’s a butcher on the field, and that’s difficult for a major league team to hide—Steve Hajjar has command and shoulder issues, and Sawyer Gipson-Long feels replaceable. This system still isn’t great, but I think it’s in a better spot than it was last month—and that’s while considering the players they lost at the deadline.
  11. Ahead of the draft, which starts on Sunday night, let's check in with the Twins 2021 draft to see how last year's draft class is shaking out. 2022 Prospect PreviewToo often, as the draft approaches, we focus on the first-round pick and nothing else. That’s a mistake we’re doomed to repeat over and over again. It’s also true retrospectively, and it clouds our analysis and judgment. For example, thinking about the 2020 draft, folks immediately think about Aaron Sabato and less about Marco Raya. With that in mind ahead of draft kickoff on Sunday night, let’s check in with the Minnesota Twins draft class of 2021. It’s shaping up to be incredibly impressive. Round 1: Chase Petty, RHP (A-Ball) Petty was an exciting pick for the Twins, bucking a trend of not selecting prep pitchers in early rounds. A 102 mph fastball also added to the excitement (let’s hope they stick with the high-velocity trend). Petty was traded in the off-season to the Reds for Sonny Gray. So far in 2022, Petty has struck out 58 in 61 innings of work to go along with a 3.39 ERA in A ball, a solid start for a 19-year-old. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Preseason #9 Prospect) Competitive Balance A: Noah Miller, SS (Fort Myers) Miller is still just 19 and has spent all of 2022 at Fort Myers. A legitimate shortstop prospect, he has the defensive chops, movement, and range to stay at the position long-term. While Miller’s hitting is still a work in progress (.238 average) he has incredible strike zone control and has worked 50 walks in 73 games in 2022 (.365 OBP). Patience is key with Miller, but things are ticking over nicely in Fort Myers. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Sire of Ft. Myers Consideration) 2: Steven Hajjar, LHP (Fort Myers) The first of a pair of talented left-handed starters drafted by the Twins, Hajjar has battled injuries in 2022 but has been completely dominant when on the mound. Despite walks being an issue (23 in 37 innings), Hajjar has struck out 61 batters and limited opposing offenses to a .160 batting average. (2022 Prospect Preview) 3: Cade Povich, LHP (Cedar Rapids) Povich is another exciting talent from the early rounds of the 2021 draft that is proving abundant for the organization. Povich has a 3.62 ERA at Cedar Rapids in 69 2/3 innings of work in 2022. He’s also managed an eye-popping 97 strikeouts in that time. Povich has added velocity as he has filled out and has a ton more projectability in his frame. He’s one to watch for the Twins. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 4: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B/3B (Wichita) Encarnacion Strand is another incredible success story in 2022, with a Jose Miranda-like breakout. He’s already crushed 26 home runs in his first 98 minor league games across three levels. After putting up a .370 OBP at Cedar Rapids he was promoted to Wichita. In his second Double-A game on Friday night, he clobbered two home runs. In 76 games this season across two levels, he’s managed a .616 SLG, 22 home runs, and 74 RBIs. Based purely on performance, Encarnacion-Strand would be a first-round pick in a redraft of 2021 selections. 5: Christian MacLeod, LHP (Rookie Ball) MacLeod has pitched just 1 2/3 innings so far in his pro career. His career with the Twins is yet to get off the ground because he had Tommy John surgery during spring training. 6: Travis Adams, RHP (Fort Myers) Adams has been in the rotation for Fort Myers all season, accumulating 14 starts. He’s pitched well overall, striking out 64 batters in 64 2/3 innings to go along with a 3.62 ERA and pinpoint control (15 walks). 7: Jake Rucker, 3B (Cedar Rapids) A 22-year-old third baseman, Rucker has played at two levels in 2022, recently being promoted to Cedar Rapids. In his first 12 games in Iowa, he has a .367 OBP. 8: Noah Cardenas, C (Fort Myers) The Twins eighth-round pick out of UCLA has been at Fort Myers all season after getting his feet wet in rookie ball at the end of 2021. Cardenas has shown excellent strike zone control, racking up 50 walks in 63 games, contributing to a gaudy .409 OBP. 9: Pat Winkel, C (Cedar Rapids) A college teammate of Kyler Fedko, Winkel is currently at Cedar Rapids. His season was delayed by almost two months on the Injured List. The Twins 9th round pick has a .726 OPS through his first 25 games at High A. 10: Ernie Yake, SS (St. Paul) Yake has played at four levels in 2022, mostly to plug holes for other promotions. He began the season in Ft. Myers but was called up to St. Paul when needed. He then spent time in Wichita. Currently, he is rehabbing in the FCL. Speaks to the confidence the organization has in his makeup, and his defense. 11: Brandon Birdsell, RHP (did not sign) Birdsell was a pitcher who fell in the draft due to injury concerns and opted to return to school at Texas Tech. He struck out 106 in 85 innings of work in college in 2022 and promises to be a top 150 pick this July. 12: Kyler Fedko, OF (Cedar Rapids) An outfielder selected out of UConn, Fedko lit up Fort Myers early in the 2022 season to the tune of a .422 OBP through 26 games. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids, where the on-base numbers still look good (.340). (Three Questions With... Interview) 13: David Festa, RHP (Cedar Rapids) Festa is one of the greatest early success stories of the 2021 draft. A weekend starter for Seton Hall, he checks in at 6’6, 185 pounds (so plenty of projectability left). Festa struck out 33 batters in just 24 innings at Fort Myers, sporting a 1.50 ERA. He was the starter in the Mussels first no-hitter of the season. After being promoted to Cedar Rapids, he’s kept at it. In 48-plus innings at High A, he has a 1.86 ERA with 51 punch outs. Festa sports an upper 90s fastball and is a rising star in the Twins system. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 14: Pierson Ohl, RHP (Fort Myers) Ohl was a pitcher Seth interviewed and we wrote up prior to the 2022 season. Drafted as a control pitcher, Ohl has put up impressive strikeout numbers so far at Fort Myers. In 55 innings, he’s struck out 65 batters. His great challenge is lower velocity. He’s surrendering a .282 batting average against in his 12 starts so far this season. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 15: Mikey Perez, SS (Fort Myers) The 22-year-old infielder already has 240 at-bats at Fort Myers in 2022. He’s hitting .222/.327/.396 through 70 games so far this season. 16: Jonathan Lavallee, RHP Lavallee has pitched very limited innings in 2022. After starting at rookie ball, he was moved up to Fort Myers. The 22-year-old is yet to give up a run in five innings of work in A ball, striking out six batters. 17: Dylan Neuse, SS (Cedar Rapids) An older prospect at 23, Neuse started the season at Fort Myers but was moved up to Cedar Rapids. He’s struggled in his first 26 games with the bat, hitting just .198, but is on base plenty (.343). His brother Sheldon plays for the Oakland A's. 18: Mike Paredes, RHP (Fort Myers) A 21-year-old right-handed pitcher, Paredes is at Fort Myers in 2022. In 54 plus innings pitched this season, he surrendered just a 2.15 ERA, striking out 44, and walking just 10. His highlight may be throwing the first six innings of one of the Mighty Mussels no-hitters. 19: Jaylen Nowlin, LHP (Fort Myers) Nowlin is a developmental arm to watch. Pitching for Fort Myers, largely in a starting role in 2022, he’s racked up 68 strikeouts in just 41.2 innings pitched. Walks have been a problem (25 so far in 2022), but he’s giving up a .226 average to opposing hitters. Keep an eye out for his development. 20: Dillon Tatum, C (Fort Myers) The 22 year old catcher drafted out of UC-Irvine is currently at Fort Myers. In 145 at-bats, he’s hitting just .166 with five home runs. He has also been the catcher for both of the Mussels no-hitters this season. How do you think the Twins 2021 draft class is shaping up? Who are the prospects you are most excited about? View full article
  12. 2022 Prospect PreviewToo often, as the draft approaches, we focus on the first-round pick and nothing else. That’s a mistake we’re doomed to repeat over and over again. It’s also true retrospectively, and it clouds our analysis and judgment. For example, thinking about the 2020 draft, folks immediately think about Aaron Sabato and less about Marco Raya. With that in mind ahead of draft kickoff on Sunday night, let’s check in with the Minnesota Twins draft class of 2021. It’s shaping up to be incredibly impressive. Round 1: Chase Petty, RHP (A-Ball) Petty was an exciting pick for the Twins, bucking a trend of not selecting prep pitchers in early rounds. A 102 mph fastball also added to the excitement (let’s hope they stick with the high-velocity trend). Petty was traded in the off-season to the Reds for Sonny Gray. So far in 2022, Petty has struck out 58 in 61 innings of work to go along with a 3.39 ERA in A ball, a solid start for a 19-year-old. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Preseason #9 Prospect) Competitive Balance A: Noah Miller, SS (Fort Myers) Miller is still just 19 and has spent all of 2022 at Fort Myers. A legitimate shortstop prospect, he has the defensive chops, movement, and range to stay at the position long-term. While Miller’s hitting is still a work in progress (.238 average) he has incredible strike zone control and has worked 50 walks in 73 games in 2022 (.365 OBP). Patience is key with Miller, but things are ticking over nicely in Fort Myers. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Sire of Ft. Myers Consideration) 2: Steven Hajjar, LHP (Fort Myers) The first of a pair of talented left-handed starters drafted by the Twins, Hajjar has battled injuries in 2022 but has been completely dominant when on the mound. Despite walks being an issue (23 in 37 innings), Hajjar has struck out 61 batters and limited opposing offenses to a .160 batting average. (2022 Prospect Preview) 3: Cade Povich, LHP (Cedar Rapids) Povich is another exciting talent from the early rounds of the 2021 draft that is proving abundant for the organization. Povich has a 3.62 ERA at Cedar Rapids in 69 2/3 innings of work in 2022. He’s also managed an eye-popping 97 strikeouts in that time. Povich has added velocity as he has filled out and has a ton more projectability in his frame. He’s one to watch for the Twins. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 4: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B/3B (Wichita) Encarnacion Strand is another incredible success story in 2022, with a Jose Miranda-like breakout. He’s already crushed 26 home runs in his first 98 minor league games across three levels. After putting up a .370 OBP at Cedar Rapids he was promoted to Wichita. In his second Double-A game on Friday night, he clobbered two home runs. In 76 games this season across two levels, he’s managed a .616 SLG, 22 home runs, and 74 RBIs. Based purely on performance, Encarnacion-Strand would be a first-round pick in a redraft of 2021 selections. 5: Christian MacLeod, LHP (Rookie Ball) MacLeod has pitched just 1 2/3 innings so far in his pro career. His career with the Twins is yet to get off the ground because he had Tommy John surgery during spring training. 6: Travis Adams, RHP (Fort Myers) Adams has been in the rotation for Fort Myers all season, accumulating 14 starts. He’s pitched well overall, striking out 64 batters in 64 2/3 innings to go along with a 3.62 ERA and pinpoint control (15 walks). 7: Jake Rucker, 3B (Cedar Rapids) A 22-year-old third baseman, Rucker has played at two levels in 2022, recently being promoted to Cedar Rapids. In his first 12 games in Iowa, he has a .367 OBP. 8: Noah Cardenas, C (Fort Myers) The Twins eighth-round pick out of UCLA has been at Fort Myers all season after getting his feet wet in rookie ball at the end of 2021. Cardenas has shown excellent strike zone control, racking up 50 walks in 63 games, contributing to a gaudy .409 OBP. 9: Pat Winkel, C (Cedar Rapids) A college teammate of Kyler Fedko, Winkel is currently at Cedar Rapids. His season was delayed by almost two months on the Injured List. The Twins 9th round pick has a .726 OPS through his first 25 games at High A. 10: Ernie Yake, SS (St. Paul) Yake has played at four levels in 2022, mostly to plug holes for other promotions. He began the season in Ft. Myers but was called up to St. Paul when needed. He then spent time in Wichita. Currently, he is rehabbing in the FCL. Speaks to the confidence the organization has in his makeup, and his defense. 11: Brandon Birdsell, RHP (did not sign) Birdsell was a pitcher who fell in the draft due to injury concerns and opted to return to school at Texas Tech. He struck out 106 in 85 innings of work in college in 2022 and promises to be a top 150 pick this July. 12: Kyler Fedko, OF (Cedar Rapids) An outfielder selected out of UConn, Fedko lit up Fort Myers early in the 2022 season to the tune of a .422 OBP through 26 games. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids, where the on-base numbers still look good (.340). (Three Questions With... Interview) 13: David Festa, RHP (Cedar Rapids) Festa is one of the greatest early success stories of the 2021 draft. A weekend starter for Seton Hall, he checks in at 6’6, 185 pounds (so plenty of projectability left). Festa struck out 33 batters in just 24 innings at Fort Myers, sporting a 1.50 ERA. He was the starter in the Mussels first no-hitter of the season. After being promoted to Cedar Rapids, he’s kept at it. In 48-plus innings at High A, he has a 1.86 ERA with 51 punch outs. Festa sports an upper 90s fastball and is a rising star in the Twins system. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 14: Pierson Ohl, RHP (Fort Myers) Ohl was a pitcher Seth interviewed and we wrote up prior to the 2022 season. Drafted as a control pitcher, Ohl has put up impressive strikeout numbers so far at Fort Myers. In 55 innings, he’s struck out 65 batters. His great challenge is lower velocity. He’s surrendering a .282 batting average against in his 12 starts so far this season. (2022 Prospect Preview) (Twins Spotlight Interview) 15: Mikey Perez, SS (Fort Myers) The 22-year-old infielder already has 240 at-bats at Fort Myers in 2022. He’s hitting .222/.327/.396 through 70 games so far this season. 16: Jonathan Lavallee, RHP Lavallee has pitched very limited innings in 2022. After starting at rookie ball, he was moved up to Fort Myers. The 22-year-old is yet to give up a run in five innings of work in A ball, striking out six batters. 17: Dylan Neuse, SS (Cedar Rapids) An older prospect at 23, Neuse started the season at Fort Myers but was moved up to Cedar Rapids. He’s struggled in his first 26 games with the bat, hitting just .198, but is on base plenty (.343). His brother Sheldon plays for the Oakland A's. 18: Mike Paredes, RHP (Fort Myers) A 21-year-old right-handed pitcher, Paredes is at Fort Myers in 2022. In 54 plus innings pitched this season, he surrendered just a 2.15 ERA, striking out 44, and walking just 10. His highlight may be throwing the first six innings of one of the Mighty Mussels no-hitters. 19: Jaylen Nowlin, LHP (Fort Myers) Nowlin is a developmental arm to watch. Pitching for Fort Myers, largely in a starting role in 2022, he’s racked up 68 strikeouts in just 41.2 innings pitched. Walks have been a problem (25 so far in 2022), but he’s giving up a .226 average to opposing hitters. Keep an eye out for his development. 20: Dillon Tatum, C (Fort Myers) The 22 year old catcher drafted out of UC-Irvine is currently at Fort Myers. In 145 at-bats, he’s hitting just .166 with five home runs. He has also been the catcher for both of the Mussels no-hitters this season. How do you think the Twins 2021 draft class is shaping up? Who are the prospects you are most excited about?
  13. Royce Lewis Royce Lewis is still the best prospect in the Twins’ system, but the soul refuses to accept that truth. Lewis will now miss extended time with another ACL surgery, and it’s impossible to feel anything but grief and sympathy for the man; he’s an elite talent that life continues to deal poor hands to maniacally. His major league performance proved that he’s capable of great things, and all we can do is hope that he’ll come back without missing a beat as he did before. ------------------------- Austin Martin .311. That number represents a crappy rock band from the 90s and Austin Martin’s season slugging percentage as of June 29th. It will be impossible for Martin to fulfill his destiny as a high-level number 2 hitter unless he—at the very least—finds his .380s slugging mark from last season. I’m not sure why he’s suddenly trying to put the ball in play with no regard for extra-base damage, but it is failing; he has 11 extra-base hits in 60 games. We knew Martin would never become Sammy Sosa at the plate, but he desperately needs a buoyant power level from which his excellent OBP skills can consistently launch upwards. Martin is also not a shortstop. Noah Miller Now we get to the messy part of the system. I like Noah Miller, but he has cooled off tremendously since his blistering May; this is the danger in trying to rank recently-drafted high school players. I’ll stick with my guns and say that he’s a future star—his defense and on-base abilities are still undeniably elite—but that statement carries less oomph than it did just a month ago. I believe he’ll grow into some power, but he probably will never be Fernando Tatís Jr. out there; instead, I see him as a jack-of-all-trades type of quality shortstop. Emmanuel Rodriguez Have you ever heard about the tragedy of Emmanuel Rodriguez the wise? Rodriguez was laying waste to low-A pitchers before he tore up his knee, costing him at least the rest of this season. Knee injuries for athletic marvels like Rodriguez are still scary, but Lewis’ success in returning from one proved that it might not be worrisome. It’s a shame, Rodriguez’s play was cartoonishly dominant, but we’ll have to wait a while before seeing him on the field again. The long-term outlook remains sturdy, but the short-term playing time loss hurts. Jordan Balazovic Aaron Gleeman recently noted that Jordan Balazovic is dealing with a knee issue that has curtailed his effectiveness this season. Maybe it’s weird to say this, but knowing that fact improves my opinion on Balazovic; his under-performance has to do with injury, not a sudden loss in ability. Still, he’s walking far too many hitters at AAA and gives up contact loud enough to break the sound barrier. I’ve knocked him down a few spots already, and the slide will continue unless he changes something quick. Spencer Steer Is Spencer Steer the only top name here with an unimpeachable performance in 2022? The Oregon product is slaying the ball, slashing .277/.360/.577 between AA and AAA with only a slight drop-off in production since his promotion; a low BABIP may be the culprit. He’s no defensive whizz, but he doesn’t need to be with that bat, and he should be firmly implanted in the Twins’ future infield plans. I debated placing him above Balazovic, but since Steer has less overall time as an elite player, I gave the nod to the pitcher for now. ------------------------- Simeon Woods Richardson Simeon Woods Richardson was pitching well, and then he got injured because of course he did. I was still deeply suspicious of his performance—4.87 xFIP and all—but he at least had a nice ERA, and that’s better than nothing. I don’t think he has unquestionably shed the narrative that he can’t pitch at AA; Woods Richardson is striking out fewer batters than he did at every other level in the minors before this season. Yet, he’s still just 21 years old, so it would be foolish to write him off yet. It’s strange that that team placed him on the IL with no explanation or announcement. Edouard Julien I’m uncomfortable placing Edouard Julien this high on the list, but I also don’t know who would reasonably overtake him. Julien is positionless, but who cares about that when you walk 20% of the time. He has had a suspicious drop-off in power (.138 ISO this season), which could be an ominous sign of future disappointment; until that shoe drops, he’ll remain a top-10 prospect on my list. Cade Povich Cade Povich is probably my new favorite Twins pitching prospect. The lefty has been dominant, striking out hitters at a 32.7% clip with an average walk rate and few homers; that’s a great combination, by the way. Povich has little left to prove at A+ and will be pitching in Wichita sooner than later. Just pray that his arm doesn’t fall off. Marco Raya I think the hype train on Marco Raya has accelerated a touch too quickly, but I can understand why. Raya combines the top-dog mentality needed in an ace with top-tier stuff; that’s an excellent combination for a pitching prospect. The drawback remains: Raya has 36 innings over 10 appearances and just recently left a start after netting two outs. Are the Twins using kid gloves to handle him? Probably, but I need a nice, unquestionably dominant run from Raya before I move him up any further; TINSTAAP and all that jazz. Cole Sands Yeah, I’m still too high on Cole Sands. His command needs tweaks that may be beyond his abilities—how many players suddenly drastically improve in their fourth year with a team—but that sweeper is what keeps Sands up here. His breaking ball is ridiculous, mimicking the great American migration of the early 1900s in how it moves from East to West with great efficiency. The rest of his profile is meh, but he’ll always have potential thanks to his vicious breaking ball. David Festa David Festa is the most pop-up-y pitching prospect in the system; as a 13th-round pick, he’s punching out hitters at a 30.4% mark over 54 ⅔ innings split between A and A+ ball. His status as an “un-prospect” may benefit him, as the team is less likely to baby him, instead throwing him to the wolves where he can prove his ability. Festa may reach AA this season—he’s pitched that well—and we should know more about him once he does. Christian Encarnacion-Strand It’s been a while since CES went berserk in April to the tune of a billion RBIs (at least that’s what it felt like). No, he’s not that good, but he is a solid hitter. Encarnacion-Strand’s beautiful slash line is .291/.357/.567, which will play in any league, which is good because he cannot field even a little bit. Errors are far from the end-all stat they used to be, but he has 21 of them in just over 400 innings at 3rd base this season; that’s bad. Being a future 1st base/DH type player curtails his upside, so his entire prospect pedigree rests on the power of his bat. ------------------------- Matt Wallner I think I was too harsh on Matt Wallner last month. I emphatically stated that a player with his strikeout numbers would need to be otherworldly in other aspects to offset the K. His response? Walk a lot. I still hold those reservations, but if his new monstrous walk rate (21.4% in June) is even slightly sticky, he has a solid shot at becoming a major league contributor. Also, he owns an absolute cannon in right field. Blayne Enlow Blayne Enlow is dipping his toes into the minor league waters after a missed year, so I find it difficult to evaluate him too harshly. The numbers aren’t great, but that barely matters; him just being on the mound is good enough for the moment. At some point, slack will no longer exist, but I’m okay with punting on criticizing him for now. Louie Varland In a season that has been chaotic for so many players, Louie Varland chugs along like nothing is wrong. The Minnesota native’s under-the-hood stats aren’t the best—he’s walking more batters than he did in his stellar 2021 campaign—but the rest of his profile appears solid. His 68 ⅓ innings leads the entire Twins minor league system. Brent Headrick Brent Headrick might be the biggest under-the-radar name in the Twins system. As a late-blooming 24-year-old in A+ ball, Headrick has utterly dominated with a 2.40 ERA and a strikeout rate above 30%. It’s hard to scout prospects in this vein; I give Headrick the benefit of the doubt until/if his numbers reverse. Ronny Henriquez What do we make of Ronny Henriquez? Sure, he’s still just 22 years old, but there’s little to latch onto regarding his AAA play so far. It seems that the Twins are okay with letting him die at that level, given that his ERA is 6.95 and his FIP isn’t far behind (6.07). At some point, I need performance to outweigh pedigree; that needs to change soon for Henriquez. Matt Canterino I’ll try to be as diplomatic as possible: Matt Canterino has not yet shown the ability to be a consistent, innings-eating top-level arm. He recently set his single-season record for innings pitched as a professional (34 ⅓) before another elbow injury sidelined him for a significant time. I don’t see real reasons for optimism; the Rice background combined with these injuries leaves little faith in him ever becoming the big front-of-the-rotation starter we expected of him. Steve Hajjar Steve Hajjar was following in the Cade Povich breakout mold until a shoulder injury in the middle of June stopped him in his tracks. Shoulder problems are not the death sentence they once were, but that ailment is still something to keep an eye on for the future. Sawyer Gipson-Long Sawyer Gipon-Long is shockingly similar to Brent Headrick; he is also an old-for-his-level breakout prospect looking to prove that he isn’t a fluke. The process is farther along for Gipson-Long as he recently enjoyed a promotion to AA Wichita; he has one clunker and two solid starts. The rest of the season will be essential to understand Gipson-Long more as a prospect. ------------------------- Kala’i Rosario Kala’i Rosario dropped three points off his strikeout rate since I last wrote about him, but that still leaves him at 36.0%. My view on players with a penchant for whiffing is well known; you must do something extraordinary to offset the Ks. Rosario has good power (.204 ISO) and is still just a teenager, so he still possesses the rare chance to evolve into an elite power threat. Michael Helman Not mentioning Michael Helman was probably my last ranking’s worst mistake. The 26-year-old has quietly hit well at every level in the minors and is now knocking on the Major’s door thanks to his 125 wRC+ at AAA. Is this just Brian Dinkelman 2.0? Maybe, and that’s not just because of how similar their last names are. Helman could debut soon if the Twins desperately smash the “break in case of emergency” glass if a few too many infielders suffer injuries. Brayan Medina Brayan Medina finally pitched in the Twins system for the first time this month. He’s thrown fewer than 10 innings, so who knows where he’s at in his development, but the stuff descriptions are good, so he’ll stay here until further notice. Aaron Sabato Aaron Sabato’s slash line is still not optimal for a great 1st base prospect. The walks are good (14.2%), but he doesn’t neutralize his strikeout tendencies with overwhelming power (.171 ISO). I remain skeptical that Sabato will develop into the type of player the Twins expected when they drafted him. Alerick Soularie I didn’t rank Alerick Soularie in my last write-up, but the guy put up a 144 wRC+ in June, and now here he is. His play rounded more into form; he struck out a little less, walked a little more, and ballooned his ISO from .114 to .167. If he’s genuinely backing his elite athletic ability with a more sound game, Soularie could rocket up this list. Misael Urbina Misael Urbina just recently popped back up in the Twins system after dealing with visa issues earlier in the year. He’s played a few games in the DSL; he’ll likely rejoin Fort Myers when he’s back in the groove. Keoni Cavaco Keoni Cavaco rebounded a little bit in June (101 wRC+), but his walk and strikeout rates remain heavily lopsided, and his power does not make up for it (.151 ISO). Maybe the play improvement will aid his confidence; he needs to improve his performance before people buy back into his prospect stock. Jake Rucker Jake Rucker recently earned a promotion to A+ ball after holding his own with Fort Myers (100 wRC+). He’s 22 years old, so the Twins might accelerate his movement through the system; keep an eye on him in the Michael Helman under-the-radar vein. Travis Adams All Travis Adams has done this season is pitch well for Fort Myers. The former 6th-round pick is crushing with a 3.10 ERA and peripherals to match. There’s still an unknown factor to his game that will only clear once he plays in A+ ball and beyond, which should be soon.
  14. There were close games that went both ways for Minnesota Twins affiliates in their series openers on Tuesday, but it was a slugger in double-A that stole the show with a pair of home runs. This continued a torrid stretch that you need to start paying attention to, if you haven’t been already. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the system heading into Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Buffalo 8 Box Score The Saints jumped out to a big lead with a five-run third inning, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold it late as they fell back to .500 on the season in their series opener with the Bisons. On the mound for St. Paul was right-hander Ronny Henriquez, and he pitched into the sixth inning. As has been the knock on him in his minor league career, the home run ball was an issue, as he allowed two in his 5 1/3 innings. Luckily for him, they were both of the solo variety and were the only runs given up. In total he allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out five in his outing. In their big third inning, the Saints got a bases-clearing double from Tim Beckham, then later a two-run double from Jermaine Palacios to go out front. Palacios was robbed of a grand slam in the fifth, and instead had to settle for a sac fly that made the score 6-1, before he learned his lesson and muscled one further out in the seventh for a solo homer that made it 7-2. The bottom of the seventh is where it started to fall apart. Tyler Viza had come on in relief of Henriquez in the sixth after he walked two consecutive batters and escaped the jam, but very quickly got himself into one in the seventh. Two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases, then a sac fly and single scored two runs before St. Paul had anyone warmed up. Hunter Wood prevented any further damage that inning, but the lead was now 7-4. In the eighth it was Jovani Moran’s turn to shut the Bisons down and he got the first two hitters he faced, but a pair of walks around an RBI double ended his outing in favor of Yennier Cano. Who promptly allowed a go-ahead three-run homer to complete the Buffalo comeback. The Saints went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, and will look to get back on track with Josh Winder on the mound tomorrow, continuing his rehab assignment. Beckham (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K) and Palacios (2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K) led the way for the offense with multiple hits, and Spencer Steer finished 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and run scored out of the leadoff spot. WIND SURGE WISDOM San Antonio 2, Wichita 9 Box Score We need to talk about Matt Wallner. The slugger out of Southern Mississippi got off to a slow start this year, hitting just .200 in the season's first month. But as the weather has warmed up down in the Texas League, so has he. In the month of May he posted a .287/.410/.575 batting line, and after his two home run game tonight, is hitting .345(!)/.500(!!!)/.690(!!!!!) in the month of June. He’s been so good, and getting on-base so often, that he’s been batting in the leadoff spot for the Wind Surge in the last week. That was the case again tonight in the series opener with the San Antonio Missions, and it didn’t take long for him to show up. It was the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first inning to be exact. That blast tied the game at one, and in his second at-bat in the third inning, he put the Wind Surge in the lead with an RBI single. He later scored on a single from Edouard Julien and the home team took a 3-1 lead. The offense broke the game open in the fifth with four-run inning, though Wallner didn’t factor into the outburst this time. A three-run homer from Cole Sturgeon did most of the damage, but Julien tacked on another RBI single and their lead was now 7-2. Wallner was back at it in the eighth, delivering his third hit and a second home run, when he demolished the first pitch of his at-bat for a two-run blast. I’d imagine he’ll be up with St. Paul soon. Making the start for Wichita was Sawyer Gipson-Long, and he picked up his first win in double-A with a five-inning effort. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked zero, and struck out three. Relievers Melvi Acosta (2 IP, H, BB, K), Steven Cruz (1 IP, H, K), and Osiris German (1 IP, 2 H) finished off the final four scoreless innings in the 9-2 win. Joining Wallner in the multi-hit parade for the Wind Surge were Julien (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Anthony Prato (2-for-4, R), and Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B). KERNELS NUGGETS West Michigan 1, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score The Kernels matchup with the Whitecaps on Tuesday was a good old-fashioned pitchers duel, as the starting pitchers battled each other for the first half of the game, allowing only two hits each in their time on the mound. There were just seven hits total in the game between both teams, and the Kernels did not have a runner advance past second base until the eighth inning. But they finally made it count when they did. Right-hander David Festa got the start and while he didn’t rack up strikeouts like he has been known to this season, kept the Whitecaps off balance in his six innings. He allowed two hits, walked four, and struck out three in allowing just one run. He was sitting mid-90’s all game and topped out at 97 MPH while I was listening to the broadcast. Bradley Hanner delivered two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit, and gets credited with his fourth win of the season, as the lineup came through late. They finally got a runner in scoring position after a one-out single from Kennie Taylor was followed by a walk from Alerick Soularie, bringing up Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who has proven to be born for these situations. He delivered an RBI double down the first base line that tied the game at one, and put the go-ahead runner 90-feet away. After an intentional walk to Aaron Sabato, Seth Gray drove a fly ball deep enough into right field to give the Kernels the lead with a sac fly. Derek Molina came on for the bottom of the ninth, and retired the Whitecaps one-two-three, picking up his third save of the season, and punctuating the comeback with a strikeout to end it. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels got a solid start from left-hander Jordan Carr, and the bullpen finished off the battle of pitching staffs to collect their 40th win of the season against the Flying Tigers. Carr picked up his second win with five innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits, two walks, and struck out five. His lone run allowed came in the fifth inning, which made the score 3-1 in favor of Fort Myers. The lineup had put single runs on the scoreboard in each of the second, fourth, and fifth innings to that point. In the second it was a triple from Keoni Cavaco to score Rubel Cespedes, who had led off the inning with a double. In the fourth, a groundout from Cespedes scored Noah Miller from third, who had led off the inning with a walk. Their run in the fifth came courtesy of an errant throw from the catcher that allowed Mikey Perez to score from second. Those three runs would hold up as the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (1 IP, H, BB, K), Anthony Escobar (1 IP, 2 H, 2 K), and Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, ER, BB, K) kept Lakeland at bay over the final four innings. McMahon’s run allowed came on a solo home run in the eighth, but he set the opposition down in order in the bottom of the ninth for his fifth save. The Mighty Mussels were outhit 9-to-6 and drew only one walk as a team, but got enough to steal a win behind their pitching. They were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and left only one man on base for the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Orioles 3, FCL Twins 15 Box Score The FCL Twins knocked out twelve hits and drew ten walks in blowing out the FCL Orioles. They scored multiple runs in each of the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings, led by three hits, including a home run, and five RBI from Yonardy Soto. Andres Centeno also drove in five with a pair of singles and two sacrifice flies. Brayan Medina got the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks in four innings pitched. He struck out two. Miguelangel Boadas added three innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out four. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Angels 4, DSL Twins 5 Box Score The DSL Twins held off a comeback attempt from the DSL Angels to even their record at 6-6 on the season. Shortstop Yilber Herrera led the way on offense with a 2-for-3 effort, including a double and a triple, and drove in three runs. Rafael Cruz and Denyerbe Gervis also added triples to the effort. Miguel Olivares made the start and went the first four innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out six. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Cedar Rapids Kernels (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-2 #5 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #9 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #13 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Buffalo (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 6.75 ERA) San Antonio @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (6-2, 2.41 ERA) West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - LHP Brent Headrick (6-2, 2.55 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (4-2, 2.94 ERA) DSL Braves @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  15. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the system heading into Tuesday’s games. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Buffalo 8 Box Score The Saints jumped out to a big lead with a five-run third inning, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold it late as they fell back to .500 on the season in their series opener with the Bisons. On the mound for St. Paul was right-hander Ronny Henriquez, and he pitched into the sixth inning. As has been the knock on him in his minor league career, the home run ball was an issue, as he allowed two in his 5 1/3 innings. Luckily for him, they were both of the solo variety and were the only runs given up. In total he allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out five in his outing. In their big third inning, the Saints got a bases-clearing double from Tim Beckham, then later a two-run double from Jermaine Palacios to go out front. Palacios was robbed of a grand slam in the fifth, and instead had to settle for a sac fly that made the score 6-1, before he learned his lesson and muscled one further out in the seventh for a solo homer that made it 7-2. The bottom of the seventh is where it started to fall apart. Tyler Viza had come on in relief of Henriquez in the sixth after he walked two consecutive batters and escaped the jam, but very quickly got himself into one in the seventh. Two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases, then a sac fly and single scored two runs before St. Paul had anyone warmed up. Hunter Wood prevented any further damage that inning, but the lead was now 7-4. In the eighth it was Jovani Moran’s turn to shut the Bisons down and he got the first two hitters he faced, but a pair of walks around an RBI double ended his outing in favor of Yennier Cano. Who promptly allowed a go-ahead three-run homer to complete the Buffalo comeback. The Saints went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, and will look to get back on track with Josh Winder on the mound tomorrow, continuing his rehab assignment. Beckham (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K) and Palacios (2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K) led the way for the offense with multiple hits, and Spencer Steer finished 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and run scored out of the leadoff spot. WIND SURGE WISDOM San Antonio 2, Wichita 9 Box Score We need to talk about Matt Wallner. The slugger out of Southern Mississippi got off to a slow start this year, hitting just .200 in the season's first month. But as the weather has warmed up down in the Texas League, so has he. In the month of May he posted a .287/.410/.575 batting line, and after his two home run game tonight, is hitting .345(!)/.500(!!!)/.690(!!!!!) in the month of June. He’s been so good, and getting on-base so often, that he’s been batting in the leadoff spot for the Wind Surge in the last week. That was the case again tonight in the series opener with the San Antonio Missions, and it didn’t take long for him to show up. It was the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first inning to be exact. That blast tied the game at one, and in his second at-bat in the third inning, he put the Wind Surge in the lead with an RBI single. He later scored on a single from Edouard Julien and the home team took a 3-1 lead. The offense broke the game open in the fifth with four-run inning, though Wallner didn’t factor into the outburst this time. A three-run homer from Cole Sturgeon did most of the damage, but Julien tacked on another RBI single and their lead was now 7-2. Wallner was back at it in the eighth, delivering his third hit and a second home run, when he demolished the first pitch of his at-bat for a two-run blast. I’d imagine he’ll be up with St. Paul soon. Making the start for Wichita was Sawyer Gipson-Long, and he picked up his first win in double-A with a five-inning effort. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked zero, and struck out three. Relievers Melvi Acosta (2 IP, H, BB, K), Steven Cruz (1 IP, H, K), and Osiris German (1 IP, 2 H) finished off the final four scoreless innings in the 9-2 win. Joining Wallner in the multi-hit parade for the Wind Surge were Julien (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Anthony Prato (2-for-4, R), and Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B). KERNELS NUGGETS West Michigan 1, Cedar Rapids 2 Box Score The Kernels matchup with the Whitecaps on Tuesday was a good old-fashioned pitchers duel, as the starting pitchers battled each other for the first half of the game, allowing only two hits each in their time on the mound. There were just seven hits total in the game between both teams, and the Kernels did not have a runner advance past second base until the eighth inning. But they finally made it count when they did. Right-hander David Festa got the start and while he didn’t rack up strikeouts like he has been known to this season, kept the Whitecaps off balance in his six innings. He allowed two hits, walked four, and struck out three in allowing just one run. He was sitting mid-90’s all game and topped out at 97 MPH while I was listening to the broadcast. Bradley Hanner delivered two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit, and gets credited with his fourth win of the season, as the lineup came through late. They finally got a runner in scoring position after a one-out single from Kennie Taylor was followed by a walk from Alerick Soularie, bringing up Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who has proven to be born for these situations. He delivered an RBI double down the first base line that tied the game at one, and put the go-ahead runner 90-feet away. After an intentional walk to Aaron Sabato, Seth Gray drove a fly ball deep enough into right field to give the Kernels the lead with a sac fly. Derek Molina came on for the bottom of the ninth, and retired the Whitecaps one-two-three, picking up his third save of the season, and punctuating the comeback with a strikeout to end it. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels got a solid start from left-hander Jordan Carr, and the bullpen finished off the battle of pitching staffs to collect their 40th win of the season against the Flying Tigers. Carr picked up his second win with five innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits, two walks, and struck out five. His lone run allowed came in the fifth inning, which made the score 3-1 in favor of Fort Myers. The lineup had put single runs on the scoreboard in each of the second, fourth, and fifth innings to that point. In the second it was a triple from Keoni Cavaco to score Rubel Cespedes, who had led off the inning with a double. In the fourth, a groundout from Cespedes scored Noah Miller from third, who had led off the inning with a walk. Their run in the fifth came courtesy of an errant throw from the catcher that allowed Mikey Perez to score from second. Those three runs would hold up as the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (1 IP, H, BB, K), Anthony Escobar (1 IP, 2 H, 2 K), and Hunter McMahon (2 IP, H, ER, BB, K) kept Lakeland at bay over the final four innings. McMahon’s run allowed came on a solo home run in the eighth, but he set the opposition down in order in the bottom of the ninth for his fifth save. The Mighty Mussels were outhit 9-to-6 and drew only one walk as a team, but got enough to steal a win behind their pitching. They were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and left only one man on base for the game. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Orioles 3, FCL Twins 15 Box Score The FCL Twins knocked out twelve hits and drew ten walks in blowing out the FCL Orioles. They scored multiple runs in each of the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings, led by three hits, including a home run, and five RBI from Yonardy Soto. Andres Centeno also drove in five with a pair of singles and two sacrifice flies. Brayan Medina got the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks in four innings pitched. He struck out two. Miguelangel Boadas added three innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out four. DOMINICAN DAILIES DSL Angels 4, DSL Twins 5 Box Score The DSL Twins held off a comeback attempt from the DSL Angels to even their record at 6-6 on the season. Shortstop Yilber Herrera led the way on offense with a 2-for-3 effort, including a double and a triple, and drove in three runs. Rafael Cruz and Denyerbe Gervis also added triples to the effort. Miguel Olivares made the start and went the first four innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out six. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - David Festa, Cedar Rapids Kernels (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K) Hitter of the Day - Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-2 #5 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #9 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 K #13 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Buffalo (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Josh Winder (0-0, 6.75 ERA) San Antonio @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (6-2, 2.41 ERA) West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - LHP Brent Headrick (6-2, 2.55 ERA) Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP Travis Adams (4-2, 2.94 ERA) DSL Braves @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  16. Drafting and developing young shortstops can be an exercise in futility. Few can stay at the position long-term, but the Twins may be developing a future star. The Twins selected Noah Miller with the 36th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of high school in Wisconsin. Minnesota's current front office prefers to draft college bats, but Miller didn't fit that mold. The switch-hitting infielder had all the necessary skills as scouting reports projected praised his offensive and defensive approaches. Now, in his second professional season, some of those positive signs have translated onto the field. A couple of questions surrounded Miller when he was drafted, including his age and skill level coming from a cold-weather state. He was already 19 years old, which is old for a high school player. Miller played his high school career in Wisconsin, which can put players at a disadvantage because the weather can impact their playing time as an amateur. Minnesota has tried to work through these issues since he signed with the organization. During his first two professional seasons, Minnesota has pushed Miller to play at levels where he has been at least two years younger than the average age of the competition. Miller has played the 2022 season in the Florida State League and only faced younger pitchers in 13 at-bats. Against older pitchers, he has a 57-to-40 strikeout to walk ratio as he has gotten on base in nearly 37% of his at-bats. The Twins organization is challenging Miller, and he is responding even though he is young for his level. Because of his cold-weather background, Miller's swing projected to need time to develop as a professional. As a right-handed hitter, he has hit .229/.359/.320 (.679) with nine extra-base hits in 184 plate appearances this year. His left side was more powerful when he was drafted, which has proven to be true this season. In 44 at-bats, his OPS is over 100 points higher from the left side, and two of his 12 hits have been for extra bases. Entering the season, Miller had mixed opinions about his defense, but he started strongly in his first full professional season. FanGraphs graded him on the 80 scouting scale as currently being a 30 with a potential future value of 45. MLB Pipeline has his fielding and his arm graded as a 55. He has started every game at shortstop and has only committed two errors in over 427 innings. Errors can be a fluky way to evaluate prospect talent, but even the Fort Myer's broadcaster has been impressed with the 19-year-old's FSL debut. Everything hasn't gone perfectly for Miller this season, but it's clear to see why the Twins were interested in drafting him. He has excellent bat control and can make consistent contact from both sides of the plate. As he continues to add muscle and fill out his frame, more power will come. There is a decent chance he can stick at shortstop, a position the Twins have struggled to develop in recent years. Miller is multiple years away from making his Target Field debut, but there are positive signs as he continues to thrive in his first full professional season. What stands out to you about Miller? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  17. The Twins selected Noah Miller with the 36th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of high school in Wisconsin. Minnesota's current front office prefers to draft college bats, but Miller didn't fit that mold. The switch-hitting infielder had all the necessary skills as scouting reports projected praised his offensive and defensive approaches. Now, in his second professional season, some of those positive signs have translated onto the field. A couple of questions surrounded Miller when he was drafted, including his age and skill level coming from a cold-weather state. He was already 19 years old, which is old for a high school player. Miller played his high school career in Wisconsin, which can put players at a disadvantage because the weather can impact their playing time as an amateur. Minnesota has tried to work through these issues since he signed with the organization. During his first two professional seasons, Minnesota has pushed Miller to play at levels where he has been at least two years younger than the average age of the competition. Miller has played the 2022 season in the Florida State League and only faced younger pitchers in 13 at-bats. Against older pitchers, he has a 57-to-40 strikeout to walk ratio as he has gotten on base in nearly 37% of his at-bats. The Twins organization is challenging Miller, and he is responding even though he is young for his level. Because of his cold-weather background, Miller's swing projected to need time to develop as a professional. As a right-handed hitter, he has hit .229/.359/.320 (.679) with nine extra-base hits in 184 plate appearances this year. His left side was more powerful when he was drafted, which has proven to be true this season. In 44 at-bats, his OPS is over 100 points higher from the left side, and two of his 12 hits have been for extra bases. Entering the season, Miller had mixed opinions about his defense, but he started strongly in his first full professional season. FanGraphs graded him on the 80 scouting scale as currently being a 30 with a potential future value of 45. MLB Pipeline has his fielding and his arm graded as a 55. He has started every game at shortstop and has only committed two errors in over 427 innings. Errors can be a fluky way to evaluate prospect talent, but even the Fort Myer's broadcaster has been impressed with the 19-year-old's FSL debut. Everything hasn't gone perfectly for Miller this season, but it's clear to see why the Twins were interested in drafting him. He has excellent bat control and can make consistent contact from both sides of the plate. As he continues to add muscle and fill out his frame, more power will come. There is a decent chance he can stick at shortstop, a position the Twins have struggled to develop in recent years. Miller is multiple years away from making his Target Field debut, but there are positive signs as he continues to thrive in his first full professional season. What stands out to you about Miller? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  18. Previous 2022 Hitters of the Month - April: Christian Encarnacion-Strand We’ll take a look at the top five hitters of the month, but before diving into it, let’s start with an honorable mention. Honorable Mention - Will Holland - Cedar Rapids Kernels 19-71, .268/.350/.507 (.857), two doubles, three triples, and three home runs Holland was a 5th round pick from Auburn by the Twins during the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. This has been one of his better months as a professional, and he now has an .800 OPS for Cedar Rapids.. It would be good for Holland to parlay a hot start into an eventual promotion to Double-A Wichita. Top Five Hitters Number 5 - Wichita Wind Surge - C Alex Isola - 22-68, .324/.425/.500 (.925), three doubles, three home runs Isola was a late-round selection in 2019, grabbed by Minnesota in the 29th round. Making his Double-A debut after a solid 2021 playing at High-A Cedar Rapids, Isola got hot in May. He’s never been a high batting average guy, but the .297 batting average this season is more than nice to see. Isola has a good amount of power and strong plate discipline. With Minnesota needing catching depth at the highest levels, his emergence early this season could afford more opportunity as the season rolls on. Number 4 - Fort Myers Miracle - SS Noah Miller - 30-87, .345/.457/.517 (1.006), five doubles, two triples, two home runs A first-round pick for the Twins last season, Miller looks the part of a true shortstop. He’s held down the position well thus far during his professional career, and his bat broke out in a big way during May. Speed is part of Miller’s game and that was evidenced by the pair of triples. He’s probably not going to hit a ton of homers, but he draws a lot of walks and already has 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts this season. Number 3 - Fort Myers Miracle - INF Mikey Perez - 21-82, .256/.361/.524 (.885), seven doubles, five home runs Minnesota grabbed Perez in the 15th round of last year’s draft out of UCLA. His pro debut was a good one, but it consisted of just 10 games last season. After a slow start in April, Perez turned it on in a big way last month. The 12 extra-base hits in just 23 games are impressive, and for a guy that never really hit for power in college, a month with five home runs is a development the Twins have to be excited about. Number 2 - Wichita Wind Surge - OF Matt Wallner - 25-84, .298/.422/.595 (1.017) seven doubles, six home runs Wallner was a first-round pick for the Twins in 2019 after he had been a 32nd-round selection out of high school (as a pitcher) three years prior. Spending three years at Southern Mississippi was the smart route for him. He improved his stock immensely, and Wallner has flashed big tools. He’s got one of the best arms in the system and hits for some of the most power. There’s always been a considerable amount of swing-and-miss in his game, but Wallner is now showing a stronger sense of plate discipline as well. He’ll have plenty of months where he hits lots of dingers. If he has a June that looks like his May, he could push a ticket to St. Paul. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - INF Spencer Steer - 28-90, .311/.388/.678 (1.066), six doubles, nine home runs At one point it, could’ve been argued that Steer was among the most underrated prospects in the Twins system, but I think we’ve blitzed by that point. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A St. Paul recently and has continued to crush the ball there. Steer was a third-round pick in 2019 and has hit at every stop of the farm. The 24 dingers last season showed the work he put in while minor league baseball was canceled in 2020. He’s already got ten homers this season and two of them have come in his week with the Saints. Steer has an exceptional approach at the plate and is a well-balanced hitter. He has quickly become someone that the Twins can look at as a future fixture in their lineup. The Twins current middle infield is a bit crowded with superstars and top prospects, but at some of the most impactful positions on the diamond, that’s a great problem to have. Steer will be tested plenty at Triple-A, but being 24-years-old, he could factor in as part of the next wave. Minnesota has to be impressed with the career trajectory thus far, and a strong May has made 2022 an exciting start. We’d like to congratulate Spencer Steer, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2022. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions below.
  19. As May comes to a close we’ve seen some Minor League hitters really make their mark on the 2022 season, and promotions have begun to take place. Minnesota has already utilized their depth at the highest level this season, and more strong performances could bring new names to the top. Previous 2022 Hitters of the Month - April: Christian Encarnacion-Strand We’ll take a look at the top five hitters of the month, but before diving into it, let’s start with an honorable mention. Honorable Mention - Will Holland - Cedar Rapids Kernels 19-69, .275/.359/.522 (.881), two doubles, three triples, and three home runs Holland was a 5th round pick from Auburn by the Twins during the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. This has been one of his better months as a professional, and he now has an .800 OPS for Cedar Rapids.. It would be good for Holland to parlay a hot start into an eventual promotion to Double-A Wichita. Top Five Hitters Number 5 - Wichita Wind Surge - C Alex Isola - 22-68, .324/.425/.500 (.925), three doubles, three home runs Isola was a late-round selection in 2019, grabbed by Minnesota in the 29th round. Making his Double-A debut after a solid 2021 playing at High-A Cedar Rapids, Isola got hot in May. He’s never been a high batting average guy, but the .297 batting average this season is more than nice to see. Isola has a good amount of power and strong plate discipline. With Minnesota needing catching depth at the highest levels, his emergence early this season could afford more opportunity as the season rolls on. Number 4 - Fort Myers Miracle - SS Noah Miller - 30-84, .357/.471/.536 (1.006), five doubles, two triples, two home runs A first-round pick for the Twins last season, Miller looks the part of a true shortstop. He’s held down the position well thus far during his professional career, and his bat broke out in a big way during May. Speed is part of Miller’s game and that was evidenced by the pair of triples. He’s probably not going to hit a ton of homers, but he draws a lot of walks and already has 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts this season. Number 3 - Fort Myers Miracle - INF Mikey Perez - 21-79, .266/.372/.544 (.917), seven doubles, five home runs Minnesota grabbed Perez in the 15th round of last year’s draft out of UCLA. His pro debut was a good one, but it consisted of just 10 games last season. After a slow start in April, Perez turned it on in a big way last month. The 12 extra-base hits in just 23 games are impressive, and for a guy that never really hit for power in college, a month with five home runs is a development the Twins have to be excited about. Number 2 - Wichita Wind Surge - OF Matt Wallner - 25-83, .301/.426/.602 (1.028) seven doubles, six home runs Wallner was a first-round pick for the Twins in 2019 after he had been a 32nd-round selection out of high school (as a pitcher) three years prior. Spending three years at Southern Mississippi was the smart route for him. He improved his stock immensely, and Wallner has flashed big tools. He’s got one of the best arms in the system and hits for some of the most power. There’s always been a considerable amount of swing-and-miss in his game, but Wallner is now showing a stronger sense of plate discipline as well. He’ll have plenty of months where he hits lots of dingers. If he has a June that looks like his May, he could push a ticket to St. Paul. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Wichita Wind Surge/St. Paul Saints - INF Spencer Steer - 25-85, .294/.371/.659 (1.030), four doubles, nine home runs At one point it, could’ve been argued that Steer was among the most underrated prospects in the Twins system, but I think we’ve blitzed by that point. He was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A St. Paul recently and has continued to crush the ball there. Steer was a third-round pick in 2019 and has hit at every stop of the farm. The 24 dingers last season showed the work he put in while minor league baseball was canceled in 2020. He’s already got ten homers this season and two of them have come in his week with the Saints. Steer has an exceptional approach at the plate and is a well-balanced hitter. He has quickly become someone that the Twins can look at as a future fixture in their lineup. The Twins current middle infield is a bit crowded with superstars and top prospects, but at some of the most impactful positions on the diamond, that’s a great problem to have. Steer will be tested plenty at Triple-A, but being 24-years-old, he could factor in as part of the next wave. Minnesota has to be impressed with the career trajectory thus far, and a strong May has made 2022 an exciting start. We’d like to congratulate Spencer Steer, Twins Daily’s choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month for May 2022. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions below. View full article
  20. Royce Lewis I have been conservative about Lewis for a while, and it is time to admit that he is the best prospect in the Twins system. His hit tool looks real, at least much better than before, and the eye test shows that he can currently play a passable shortstop, a significant point in his development. The Twins are lowering him into a super-utility role, which is fine given his athleticism, but I would prefer to have him challenged at shortstop every day. There is no real easy answer to that conundrum until Carlos Correa no longer calls that position home. For now, we shall appreciate watching a unique talent perform at the highest level for years to come. Austin Martin 2022 has not been the best season for Martin. He is striking out at a lower rate but is somehow hitting for less power than before; his season wRC+ sits at 95. While I have supreme confidence in his bat turning around eventually, his glove is a different story. He is not a shortstop; that is clear now. I’m not sure what position he can play, but the Twins will have to find one, and his value is now much lower as a super-utility guy unable to cover such a crucial position. He also has a ridiculous 20 steals, perhaps hinting at a skillset philosophy leaning closer towards a traditional, scrappy type of player. I think he’ll figure it out and become a useful major league player, but his future is far hazier than one prefers from one of their best prospects. Jose Miranda Although not because of his performance, Miranda moves up one spot in my ranking. He hasn’t hit during his time in the majors, owning terrible batted ball data during his brief stint that ended with Lewis’ re-appearance on the Twins. One should never overreact to 70 plate appearances, and Miranda’s 2021 was so legendary that I tend to believe this to be a fad and not an indictment of his hitting ability. He owns a rare batting average/power combo that few in baseball can claim, and that alone is what keeps Miranda sitting near the top of this list. Time shall tell whether Miranda can find his groove again. ------------------------- Jordan Balazovic I’m still a firm believer in Balazovic as the team’s best pitching prospect, but it has been an extended period since he last unquestionably dominated hitters for a significant stretch, and it’s fair to lean into doubts. Early returns at AAA have been ugly, although the eye doesn’t catch exactly what the problem for him seems to be. He’s avoided major injury, but the nicks and dings are starting to add up, holding him back from being the “set-it-and-forget-it” ace that many thought he would become after his excellent 2018 and 2019 performances. Again, let’s not overreact, but it’s time for a correction of sorts for Balazovic. Noah Miller Miller is good, and people should recognize this as soon as possible. 19-year-old shortstops are not supposed to dominate A-ball like this, and the ones that do tend to become exceptional players. He’s hitting for a 146 wRC+ with reportedly silky smooth defense that could play if the team called him up tomorrow. He isn’t hitting for much power (ISO of .113), but that feels like an extreme nitpick for an otherwise otherworldly performance this far into the season. Get used to his name this high on prospect lists. Emmanuel Rodriguez Rodriguez could have easily claimed the five spot, but Miller’s shortstop potential broke the tie, and Rodriguez ends up here. He’s also just 19, which is ridiculous, and he’s walking at a 27.3% clip while slugging .475. If one wanted to nitpick, he’s also striking out 28.5% of the time, a number digestible given his age, but one to keep an eye on given how sticky strikeout numbers tend to be as a player changes levels. His profile will clear up with time (mainly whether he owns discipline or is plain passive against wild pitchers), but things are exciting for the former international big shot signing. Spencer Steer I don’t think that Steer is legitimately a 147 wRC+ batter, but it is apparent that he is a well-rounded player with a potentially rare batting average/OBP/power combination. His best comp is probably Jose Miranda’s 2021 season which was equally impressive in how he didn’t have to sacrifice batting average for power. We’ve seen that combo struggle in the majors over a short sample with Miranda, but a player like Ty France proves that it can work with refinement. He can pass at both 3rd and 2nd base, giving the team options if they ever decide to clean out their gutter at 3rd or trade Jorge Polanco. ------------------------- Simeon Woods Richardson I originally had Woods Richardson above the previous three hitters, but I kept questioning whether I was more excited about him or the other batters, and you can see the answer I came to. Woods Richardson’s ERA is excellent, but his FIP is merely passable, and his xFIP is dreadful; combine that with a suspicious BABIP, and I’m not sold that he has improved significantly since struggling at AA all of last season. He’s still just 21, which feels impossible, but his stock remains stagnant in my eyes. Matt Canterino Canterino is a reliever. Usually, I don’t consider relievers prospects, but his stuff is so otherworldly that it’s not out of the question that he becomes a 2-3 inning fire-breathing dragon, which can be extremely valuable to every team in MLB. He has already bested his innings total from last season, and he should be up with the team down the stretch if he can remain healthy. Walks are up this year, but I believe that to be a mirage and not a loss of command for a pitcher who has otherwise thrown strikes during his time in the minors. Cole Sands I like Sands more than I probably should. He flashed an incredible sweeper during his cup of coffee, a pitch that I believe can carry him to some sort of helpful niche in the team’s pitching staff. The rest of his profile is pretty vanilla, and he’s currently on the IL, a statement often too true about Sands, but the power of his breaker keeps him elevated on my list. Ronny Henriquez Henriquez is still a somewhat mysterious prospect. He came over as an afterthought in the Mitch Garver deal and has flashed some major league playable stuff but has yet to play enough for me to get as good of a read on him. It’s been a rough go at AAA so far, but he’s not even 22-years-old yet, and his development feels like it will be more of a slow burn a la Woods Richardson rather than a fiery explosion like Jhoan Duran. Edouard Julien Julien is unfortunately injured at the moment, but his profile is far too intriguing to ignore. It’s not every day that one comes across a player practically guaranteed to get on base at a .400 clip, but Julien is precisely that kind of player. His OBP is true, a sign of patience over passivity, which will carry him across all levels of baseball. He’s more positionless than one would like, but his bat projects so well that the Twins will find a way to make it work. Marco Raya Raya was a popular pop-up pick in the pre-season, and he’s impressed so far with an 18.8 K-BB%. His stuff is electric, the classic mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider combo that fans can dream on with a curve and change that will need refinement as he elevates through the minors. It has been less than 30 innings into Raya’s professional debut, but it’s easy to see why the Twins were so high on him in the 2020 draft. David Festa The Twins system has lost top-end credibility due to some graduations and players in that tier struggling, but their middle area has beefed up considerably thanks to arms like Festa. Festa came out of nowhere in 2022, dominating hitters with Fort Myers before enjoying a promotion to Cedar Rapids. His K-BB% sits at 28.9%, the highest in the system amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings. Christian Encarnacion-Strand Encarnacion-Strand went supernova to begin the season, netting all the RBIs before gently cooling off and settling in as a merely great, not Bondsian hitter. Evaluators are still baffled by Encarnacion-Strand; he fits into the scary right/first baseman/college bucket from which hitters go to die (or become Pete Alonso), and it’s unclear if he’s made proper adjustments since joining the Twins organization. For now, it’s best to shrug your shoulders and continue to ride the wave. Cade Povich Povich, like Raya, was also a popular breakout pick for 2022. He’s responded with an eye-catching 27.4 K-BB%, a total bested only by Shane McClanahan amongst qualified MLB pitchers this year. It’s not a 1:1 comp, but his success should not be understated, and he could find himself at AA sooner rather than later at this rate. ------------------------- Blayne Enlow I remain a firm believer in Enlow. Tommy John surgery derailed his path to AA in 2021, but he recently returned from the procedure, and his performance the rest of the season will help illuminate his prospect status; it says a lot that the Twins protected him in the rule 5 draft despite his injuries and underperformance. Brayan Medina Medina has yet to pitch in an organized game for the Twins, so this ranking is an aggregate of other publications rather than a personal evaluation. Louie Varland Varland is not having as fine a season like 2020, but he has still settled in as a consistent, reliable arm at AA. The walks have crept up while his home run rate has ballooned, perhaps an ominous sign of regression waiting in the wings. Back-sliding has not hit yet, so he remains solidly in the mid-tier of prospects until otherwise. Steve Hajjar Hajjar, like Povich, was an intriguing breakout arm to keep an eye on in 2022. He’s punched out a small army but has also walked far too many batters for his good; less than 50% of plate appearances against him have ended with a ball put into play. It has been less than 30 innings, but I’m far leerier of his skillset translating unless he tames his walks. Brent Headrick Like Gipson-Long in the next spot, Headrick is an old-for-his-level starter who has easily crushed his competition. His command is much improved in 2022, and hitters are now overwhelmed by stuff that they can no longer just wait out for the inevitable walk. He’s so similar to Gipson-Long in this regard that I gave him the one-spot nod for better peripherals (28.3 K-BB %). Sawyer Gipson-Long Gipson-Long is an old-for-the-level starter but should not be ignored when looking at this system. He has picked up right where he left off in 2021, owning the 9th best K-BB% rate amongst all pitchers with 30 innings in the system this year (22.4%). He should get a taste of AA soon, which will help illuminate his prospect status more than feasting on A+ hitters. ------------------------- Kala’i Rosario Rosario is a raw, toolsy prospect dipping into the full-season waters for the first time. His 94 wRC+ is far from disastrous, but his 39.2% strikeout rate is ghastly, perhaps a sign that he’s still too green. As a 19-year-old, he exists in that frustrating “potential” sphere of prospect evaluation where his struggles are summed up as him “learning,” and no actual analysis is gleaned from his performance. In summary: early returns are not favorable but not indictable yet. Matt Wallner To be blunt, I have little faith in Wallner becoming a valuable major league player. Hitters who strike out 34% of the time need legendary power to negate their whiffs, and Wallner seems to have merely great, not jaw-dropping power. He can still walk and bop homers, but I remain skeptical of his skillset translating at the major league level; Brent Rooker soured any ability I have to overlook one’s strikeout rate. Aaron Sabato Speaking of hitters striking out too much, Sabato has been disappointing since the Twins took him in the 1st round in 2020. He can take a walk, but his ISO is far lower than one wants from a pure 1st baseman (.163). At this point, I don’t expect Sabato to become a useful contributor for the Twins, and he can join Keoni Cavaco in the club of “Falvey and Levine’s unwise 1st round picks.” Speaking of which… Keoni Cavaco Cavaco has never shown any consistent ability to hit at any level during any extended period of play. His career minor league OBP begins with a .2, which should tell you everything you need to know. Yes, injuries have played a role in his poor performance, but injuries can’t excuse his immense strikeout problems, and his ranking on any prospect list is honorary at this point. I’m holding on to his draft pedigree, but he will be dropped soon unless his performance turns around. John Stankiewicz I have no idea what to make of Stankiewicz. He was an undrafted free agent in 2020 and has performed very well during his time in the Twins system. Time will tell if it’s a lower-level mirage, but he should still be a name to remember throughout the remainder of the season. Jake Rucker I just wanted to get Rucker a mention on one of these lists. Since the Twins drafted him in 2021, he's held his own and has improved his ISO (.059 to .111) despite the rest of his stat-line not falling in line. He feels like the kind of prospect who can suddenly be in AAA despite flying under the radar for the entirety of his professional career. Misael Urbina Urbina showed great peripherals in 2021 (12.3% walk rate, 18.7% K rate), which lost out overall to his otherwise poor slash line. Visa issues have delayed the start of his season, which is both a shame and a detriment to his development. Hopefully, he’ll be playing baseball in the Twins system soon. Drew Strotman The clickbait 30 spot goes to Strotman out of deference towards teams far wiser than I. The Rays added Strotman to the 40-man roster, and the Twins targeted him in a trade now overshadowed by Joe Ryan’s success, showing that there are franchises that believe in him. He is now a reliever, limiting his upside, but I’ll wait to give up on him when the Twins do.
  21. Highlights from the Minnesota Twins game against the Royals Sunday plus minor league highlights of the Saints, Wind Surge, Kernels and Mighty Mussels. Royce Lewis and Sonny Gray were forced to exit today due to injuries but Gio Urshela, Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach provided the power for the Twins. Down on the farm, Austin Schulfer, Jake Cave, Chris Williams, DaShawn Keirsey, Evan Sisk, Anthony Prato, Noah Miller, Noah Cardenas and Travis Adams are all featured.
  22. Highlights from the Minnesota Twins game against the Royals Sunday plus minor league highlights of the Saints, Wind Surge, Kernels and Mighty Mussels. Royce Lewis and Sonny Gray were forced to exit today due to injuries but Gio Urshela, Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach provided the power for the Twins. Down on the farm, Austin Schulfer, Jake Cave, Chris Williams, DaShawn Keirsey, Evan Sisk, Anthony Prato, Noah Miller, Noah Cardenas and Travis Adams are all featured. View full video
  23. St. Paul and Wichita each played extra-inning games. Fort Myers played a double-header. A top-seven pitcher made a start and was very solid. One player who desperately needed to show some power broke out of a slump in a significant way. A top-20 prospect delivered a walk-off homer. Read all about them and more in tonight’s Minor League Report. A couple of Twins affiliates played extra-inning games. Alex Kirilloff had his best game of the year. Louie Varland was outstanding once again. Noah Miller had a multi extra-base-hit day. And Spencer Steer has ice in his veins. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to transition to his role as a starter masterfully. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization without further ado. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated Carlos Correa from the 10-day IL and optioned Royce Lewis to St. Paul. SS Ernie Yake was assigned to Wichita from St. Paul. Wichita placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day IL SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 7, Omaha 8 Box Score On Wednesday, the St. Paul Saints fell to the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 7, but Alex Kirilloff showed some very encouraging signs. After an extra-base-hit hiatus of 73 plate appearances to begin his 2022 season, Kirilloff recorded two extra-base hits on Wednesday to show some signs of power that many thought he lost due to a lingering wrist injury. Jake Faria made his seventh start of the 2022 season for the Saints and struggled again, only going three innings of work. Faria allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in those three innings while striking out two batters. His season ERA increased to 7.77 in the lackluster performance. The Saints stranded Kirilloff at second base in the first inning after his double, and Faria struggled. Faria gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in the first, but he stranded two runners thanks to a clutch 5-4-3 double play. In the third inning, the Storm Chasers scored another run thanks to a two-out homer from Brewer Hicklen. The Saints responded in the top half of the fourth with the Kirilloff homer and got another run when Jake Cave scored on a Jermaine Palacios single, but the Saints left runs on the table and stranded the bases loaded. Daniel Gossett came on to relieve Faria in the fourth and immediately gave up a homer to JaCoby Jones. Gossett settled in and worked three innings of relief while allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Cave scored again in the top of the sixth, this time on a single from David Banuelos to pull the game within two runs. The Storm Chasers responded with one in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead back to three. In the seventh, the Cave show continued when he clubbed his first homer of the year to pull the game back within two runs. Drew Strotman came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and threw one and ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out two batters. In the top of the eighth, the Saints put together an incredible rally when Elliot Soto and Mark Contreras led off with back-to-back singles, and Curtis Terry drew a walk to give Kirilloff bases loaded with no outs. Kirilloff responded by hitting a two-run single to knot the game up at six, followed by Terry scoring on a balk to give the Saints a 7 to 6 lead. Strotman gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Hicklen before being replaced by Jordan Gore. The first batter Gore faced hit an RBI single, and the Cardinals tied the game again. After an uneventful ninth, the Saints couldn’t get anything going offensively in the tenth inning. Jake Petricka came on in relief in the bottom half, and the first batter he faced singled, ending the game due to a runner starting on second base. The Saints fell to 15-20 with the loss. Kirilloff was 4-for-6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Cave went 2-for-6 with a homer and three runs scored. Roy Morales went 2-for-5, and Soto reached base four times due to two hits and two walks. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 7, Springfield 6 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge were victorious over the Springfield Cardinals on Wednesday by a score of 7-6. Twins Daily #12 prospect Louie Varland made a start for the Wind Surge, and he pitched well, throwing six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. He decreased his season ERA to 3.58 and continued to be an excellent minor league pitcher. The Wind Surge took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning behind four straight singles from Austin Martin, Alex Isola, Andrew Bechtold, and Matt Wallner. Martin scored on Bechtold’s single, while Isola came in to score on a double play later in the inning. Varland gave up a homer to MLB.com’s #27 overall prospect Jordan Walker to tie the game at two in the third inning. The game remained a stalemate for a couple more innings until the bottom of the fifth when Wallner came up clutch with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to give the Wind Surge a 4-2 lead. In the top of the seventh, reliever Osiris German wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the score at 4-2. The Wind Surge couldn’t muster anything offensively in the seventh or eighth innings, so the Wind Surge turned to Alex Scherff to close the game down. Thanks to three walks, an error, and a hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals tied the game in the ninth. Austin Schulfer came in the ninth to clean up the mess and continued working into the tenth, as he recorded a 1-2-3 frame in the tenth. Wallner was intentionally walked to set up the double play in the bottom half of the inning, and it worked, as Michael Helman bunted into a fielder's choice. DaShawn Keirsey struck out with runners on the corners and two outs to send the game into the eleventh. Ben Gross came in to work the eleventh inning, and the first batter he faced singled, setting up runners on the corners and nobody out. The next batter hit into a double play, but the go-ahead run came in to score. The Cardinals hit a homer with two outs to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eleventh, Chris Williams worked a leadoff walk. The Wind Surge then called on their best hitter, Spencer Steer, who had the night off. Steer got the count to 2-2, then unloaded on a fastball to left field for a three-run, walk-off homer, his seventh homer. The Wind Surge improved their record to 21-12 on the season thanks to heroics from their star player. Isola went 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Wallner was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, and a stolen base. Williams was 2-for-3 with two walks. And the hero, Steer, was 1-for-1 with a homer and three RBI. Gross picked up his third win as his record improved to 3-0. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Lake County 4 Box Score On Wednesday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels fell to the Lake County Captains 4 to 2. Aaron Rozek toed the rubber for the Kernels as he went three and ⅓ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters. He took his first loss as his record went to 4 and 1. He now has a 5.1 ERA. The Captains started the game quickly, getting a home run from the game's second batter. Twins Daily #18 prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand roped a double in the bottom half of the first but was stranded at third base. Rozek allowed two runs after a walk, single, RBI double, and sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Kernels faced a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the third, but they responded. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a walk, and Will Holland tripled on the first pitch of his at-bat; driving in Garry Jr., Anthony Prato hit a sacrifice fly to score Holland, and the Kernels deficit was down to one run after the third inning. Bradley Hanner came on in relief of Rozek and threw one and ⅔ innings of scoreless relief while striking out three batters. Hanner’s ERA is down to a minuscule 0.54 on the year. In the bottom of the fifth, Holland hit a double for his second extra-base hit of the game but was stranded at second base. Ryan Shreve came in to relieve Hanner and let up a home run in the top of the sixth to increase the Kernel deficit to two runs. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Kernels threatened after a leadoff double from Prato and a single from Aaron Sabato. Still, they failed to capitalize, leaving these runners stranded at first and third. In the ninth inning, the Kernels got the tying run to the plate, but Holland struck out to end the game, and the Kernels lost 4 to 2. With the loss, the Kernels fall to 24-11. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, which ultimately decided the game. Holland was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, and Encarnacion-Strand was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Cody Laweryson threw two innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts, and Miguel Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) GAME 1: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 10 Box Score The Mighty Mussels dropped game one of the double-header with Clearwater. Right-hander Pierson Ohl made his sixth start of the year for Fort Myers. Ohl went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three batters. Clearwater started the scoring at the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits to take a 1-0 lead. The Mighty Mussels responded with a run in the top of the second when a pitch hit Dylan Neuse, Neuse stole second base, and Luis Baez had a clutch two-out single to drive in Neuse. However, Clearwater retook the lead in the bottom half of the second when Ohl allowed a two-out solo home run. In the top of the third, the Mighty Mussels got a one-out walk from Twins Daily #10 prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez walked, stole second, and scored on a Mikey Perez double. When the Mighty Mussels needed a shutdown inning in response, Ohl could not deliver as he allowed three hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch which led to three runs, and the Mighty Mussels trailed 5-2 after three innings. After an uneventful fourth inning, Jake Rucker led off the top of the fifth with a single and stole second base. After Rucker moved up to third on a groundout, Rodriguez drew another walk and promptly stole second base for the second time of the game. Former first-round pick Keoni Cavaco singled with two outs to score Rucker and put the Mighty Mussels within two runs of the lead. Jackson Hicks replaced Ohl on the mound in the bottom of the fifth. After an error, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a single, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch, Hicks had given up five runs and was pulled from the game after only collecting two outs. The score was 10-3 when Hicks came out, and the game was all but over. John Wilson replaced Hicks and pitched one and ⅓ innings of perfect baseball to finish off the game for the Mighty Mussels. In the top of the seventh, Rucker walked, followed by a two-run home run by 2021 first-round pick Noah Miller, his second of the year. The game ended after seven innings, and the Mighty Mussels lost game one of the double-header, 10-5. Miller went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI, and Rucker went 2-for-3 with a walk. GAME 2: Fort Myers 2, Clearwater 0 Box Score Game two was a much different story for the boys in Fort Myers. The Mighty Mussels turned to right-hander Mike Paredes to try to salvage a split in the double-header. Paredes turned in an excellent outing for the Mighty Mussels, going four shutout innings while striking out three batters. The only baserunner Paredes allowed was a single in the first inning, and he only threw 45 pitches. Paredes was primarily used in a relief role to start the season, but his last two appearances have been starts, and that is a role Paredes seems to thrive in, as he has only allowed one hit through seven innings as a starter. The game was deadlocked at zero until the fourth inning. Fresh off a multi-hit performance, Miller was in an 0-2 count with one out in the fourth when he hit his second triple of the year to get the first runner in scoring position of the game. After a strikeout of Noah Cardenas, Perez came up in another RBI spot, and he delivered, cranking his fourth home run of the season to give the Mighty Mussels a 2-0 lead. After the Perez homer, the Mussels couldn’t manage any more hits and relied on their defense and pitching to win them the game. In the top of the fifth, Niklas Rimmel replaced Paredes and threw two great innings of relief, holding the opposition scoreless and striking out three. Fort Myers turned to Regi Grace in the top of the seventh to close the game out, and he pitched phenomenally, striking out all three batters he faced on only 12 pitches to earn his second save of the season. After the double-header split, the Mighty Mussels record is 22-12. Mikey Perez finished the game 2-for-3 with the game-winning homer, and Noah Miller went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. These were the only three hits of the game for Fort Myers, but they proved to be enough. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Fort Myers) - 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI 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: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, HBP #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-1, HBP #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (9) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-7, HR (2), 3B (2), 2 R, 2 RBI #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-1, HR (7), 3 RBI, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2B (7), BB THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1, 2.20 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (2-2, 4.03 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  24. A couple of Twins affiliates played extra-inning games. Alex Kirilloff had his best game of the year. Louie Varland was outstanding once again. Noah Miller had a multi extra-base-hit day. And Spencer Steer has ice in his veins. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to transition to his role as a starter masterfully. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization without further ado. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated Carlos Correa from the 10-day IL and optioned Royce Lewis to St. Paul. SS Ernie Yake was assigned to Wichita from St. Paul. Wichita placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day IL SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 7, Omaha 8 Box Score On Wednesday, the St. Paul Saints fell to the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 7, but Alex Kirilloff showed some very encouraging signs. After an extra-base-hit hiatus of 73 plate appearances to begin his 2022 season, Kirilloff recorded two extra-base hits on Wednesday to show some signs of power that many thought he lost due to a lingering wrist injury. Jake Faria made his seventh start of the 2022 season for the Saints and struggled again, only going three innings of work. Faria allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in those three innings while striking out two batters. His season ERA increased to 7.77 in the lackluster performance. The Saints stranded Kirilloff at second base in the first inning after his double, and Faria struggled. Faria gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in the first, but he stranded two runners thanks to a clutch 5-4-3 double play. In the third inning, the Storm Chasers scored another run thanks to a two-out homer from Brewer Hicklen. The Saints responded in the top half of the fourth with the Kirilloff homer and got another run when Jake Cave scored on a Jermaine Palacios single, but the Saints left runs on the table and stranded the bases loaded. Daniel Gossett came on to relieve Faria in the fourth and immediately gave up a homer to JaCoby Jones. Gossett settled in and worked three innings of relief while allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Cave scored again in the top of the sixth, this time on a single from David Banuelos to pull the game within two runs. The Storm Chasers responded with one in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead back to three. In the seventh, the Cave show continued when he clubbed his first homer of the year to pull the game back within two runs. Drew Strotman came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and threw one and ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out two batters. In the top of the eighth, the Saints put together an incredible rally when Elliot Soto and Mark Contreras led off with back-to-back singles, and Curtis Terry drew a walk to give Kirilloff bases loaded with no outs. Kirilloff responded by hitting a two-run single to knot the game up at six, followed by Terry scoring on a balk to give the Saints a 7 to 6 lead. Strotman gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Hicklen before being replaced by Jordan Gore. The first batter Gore faced hit an RBI single, and the Cardinals tied the game again. After an uneventful ninth, the Saints couldn’t get anything going offensively in the tenth inning. Jake Petricka came on in relief in the bottom half, and the first batter he faced singled, ending the game due to a runner starting on second base. The Saints fell to 15-20 with the loss. Kirilloff was 4-for-6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Cave went 2-for-6 with a homer and three runs scored. Roy Morales went 2-for-5, and Soto reached base four times due to two hits and two walks. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 7, Springfield 6 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge were victorious over the Springfield Cardinals on Wednesday by a score of 7-6. Twins Daily #12 prospect Louie Varland made a start for the Wind Surge, and he pitched well, throwing six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. He decreased his season ERA to 3.58 and continued to be an excellent minor league pitcher. The Wind Surge took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning behind four straight singles from Austin Martin, Alex Isola, Andrew Bechtold, and Matt Wallner. Martin scored on Bechtold’s single, while Isola came in to score on a double play later in the inning. Varland gave up a homer to MLB.com’s #27 overall prospect Jordan Walker to tie the game at two in the third inning. The game remained a stalemate for a couple more innings until the bottom of the fifth when Wallner came up clutch with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to give the Wind Surge a 4-2 lead. In the top of the seventh, reliever Osiris German wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the score at 4-2. The Wind Surge couldn’t muster anything offensively in the seventh or eighth innings, so the Wind Surge turned to Alex Scherff to close the game down. Thanks to three walks, an error, and a hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals tied the game in the ninth. Austin Schulfer came in the ninth to clean up the mess and continued working into the tenth, as he recorded a 1-2-3 frame in the tenth. Wallner was intentionally walked to set up the double play in the bottom half of the inning, and it worked, as Michael Helman bunted into a fielder's choice. DaShawn Keirsey struck out with runners on the corners and two outs to send the game into the eleventh. Ben Gross came in to work the eleventh inning, and the first batter he faced singled, setting up runners on the corners and nobody out. The next batter hit into a double play, but the go-ahead run came in to score. The Cardinals hit a homer with two outs to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eleventh, Chris Williams worked a leadoff walk. The Wind Surge then called on their best hitter, Spencer Steer, who had the night off. Steer got the count to 2-2, then unloaded on a fastball to left field for a three-run, walk-off homer, his seventh homer. The Wind Surge improved their record to 21-12 on the season thanks to heroics from their star player. Isola went 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Wallner was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, and a stolen base. Williams was 2-for-3 with two walks. And the hero, Steer, was 1-for-1 with a homer and three RBI. Gross picked up his third win as his record improved to 3-0. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Lake County 4 Box Score On Wednesday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels fell to the Lake County Captains 4 to 2. Aaron Rozek toed the rubber for the Kernels as he went three and ⅓ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters. He took his first loss as his record went to 4 and 1. He now has a 5.1 ERA. The Captains started the game quickly, getting a home run from the game's second batter. Twins Daily #18 prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand roped a double in the bottom half of the first but was stranded at third base. Rozek allowed two runs after a walk, single, RBI double, and sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Kernels faced a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the third, but they responded. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a walk, and Will Holland tripled on the first pitch of his at-bat; driving in Garry Jr., Anthony Prato hit a sacrifice fly to score Holland, and the Kernels deficit was down to one run after the third inning. Bradley Hanner came on in relief of Rozek and threw one and ⅔ innings of scoreless relief while striking out three batters. Hanner’s ERA is down to a minuscule 0.54 on the year. In the bottom of the fifth, Holland hit a double for his second extra-base hit of the game but was stranded at second base. Ryan Shreve came in to relieve Hanner and let up a home run in the top of the sixth to increase the Kernel deficit to two runs. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Kernels threatened after a leadoff double from Prato and a single from Aaron Sabato. Still, they failed to capitalize, leaving these runners stranded at first and third. In the ninth inning, the Kernels got the tying run to the plate, but Holland struck out to end the game, and the Kernels lost 4 to 2. With the loss, the Kernels fall to 24-11. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, which ultimately decided the game. Holland was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, and Encarnacion-Strand was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Cody Laweryson threw two innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts, and Miguel Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) GAME 1: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 10 Box Score The Mighty Mussels dropped game one of the double-header with Clearwater. Right-hander Pierson Ohl made his sixth start of the year for Fort Myers. Ohl went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three batters. Clearwater started the scoring at the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits to take a 1-0 lead. The Mighty Mussels responded with a run in the top of the second when a pitch hit Dylan Neuse, Neuse stole second base, and Luis Baez had a clutch two-out single to drive in Neuse. However, Clearwater retook the lead in the bottom half of the second when Ohl allowed a two-out solo home run. In the top of the third, the Mighty Mussels got a one-out walk from Twins Daily #10 prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez walked, stole second, and scored on a Mikey Perez double. When the Mighty Mussels needed a shutdown inning in response, Ohl could not deliver as he allowed three hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch which led to three runs, and the Mighty Mussels trailed 5-2 after three innings. After an uneventful fourth inning, Jake Rucker led off the top of the fifth with a single and stole second base. After Rucker moved up to third on a groundout, Rodriguez drew another walk and promptly stole second base for the second time of the game. Former first-round pick Keoni Cavaco singled with two outs to score Rucker and put the Mighty Mussels within two runs of the lead. Jackson Hicks replaced Ohl on the mound in the bottom of the fifth. After an error, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a single, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch, Hicks had given up five runs and was pulled from the game after only collecting two outs. The score was 10-3 when Hicks came out, and the game was all but over. John Wilson replaced Hicks and pitched one and ⅓ innings of perfect baseball to finish off the game for the Mighty Mussels. In the top of the seventh, Rucker walked, followed by a two-run home run by 2021 first-round pick Noah Miller, his second of the year. The game ended after seven innings, and the Mighty Mussels lost game one of the double-header, 10-5. Miller went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI, and Rucker went 2-for-3 with a walk. GAME 2: Fort Myers 2, Clearwater 0 Box Score Game two was a much different story for the boys in Fort Myers. The Mighty Mussels turned to right-hander Mike Paredes to try to salvage a split in the double-header. Paredes turned in an excellent outing for the Mighty Mussels, going four shutout innings while striking out three batters. The only baserunner Paredes allowed was a single in the first inning, and he only threw 45 pitches. Paredes was primarily used in a relief role to start the season, but his last two appearances have been starts, and that is a role Paredes seems to thrive in, as he has only allowed one hit through seven innings as a starter. The game was deadlocked at zero until the fourth inning. Fresh off a multi-hit performance, Miller was in an 0-2 count with one out in the fourth when he hit his second triple of the year to get the first runner in scoring position of the game. After a strikeout of Noah Cardenas, Perez came up in another RBI spot, and he delivered, cranking his fourth home run of the season to give the Mighty Mussels a 2-0 lead. After the Perez homer, the Mussels couldn’t manage any more hits and relied on their defense and pitching to win them the game. In the top of the fifth, Niklas Rimmel replaced Paredes and threw two great innings of relief, holding the opposition scoreless and striking out three. Fort Myers turned to Regi Grace in the top of the seventh to close the game out, and he pitched phenomenally, striking out all three batters he faced on only 12 pitches to earn his second save of the season. After the double-header split, the Mighty Mussels record is 22-12. Mikey Perez finished the game 2-for-3 with the game-winning homer, and Noah Miller went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. These were the only three hits of the game for Fort Myers, but they proved to be enough. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Fort Myers) - 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI 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: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, HBP #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-1, HBP #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (9) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-7, HR (2), 3B (2), 2 R, 2 RBI #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-1, HR (7), 3 RBI, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2B (7), BB THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1, 2.20 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (2-2, 4.03 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  25. Bailey Ober was supposed to make his first rehab start, but rain stopped him from ever taking the mound on Saturday. However, the three teams that did play all won their games. Read all about that and more in this edition of the Minor League Report. TRANSACTIONS RHP Bailey Ober assigned to AAA St. Paul on Major League Rehab. OF Alex Kirilloff optioned to AAA St. Paul. LHP Devin Smeltzer contract selected by Minnesota Twins. IF Miguel Sano placed on 60-Day IL. RHP Blayne Enlow added to AA Wichita Saints Sentinel The Saints were rained out on Saturday. They will play a double-header against Columbus tomorrow with Bailey Ober taking the mound in game one. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 7, Arkansas 6 Box Score Blayne Enlow: 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: Spencer Steer (6), Chris Williams (1) Multi-hit games: Austin Martin (2-for-5, R, RBI), Spencer Steer (3-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI), Andrew Bechtold (2-for-4, 2B, R, BB, 2 K) The Wind Surge kept rolling on Saturday. Blayne Enlow made his Wind Surge debut and his first non-rehab assignment start since undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s back. The start wasn’t the best, but six strikeouts is nothing to sneeze at. It’s just great to see him healthy and back on a pitching mound this summer. While the game ended up close, Wichita’s offense took off quickly in this game, scoring pairs of runs in the first three innings. Spencer Steer was the main culprit, hitting a two-run homer in the first to go with an RBI infield hit in the second. That may be the biggest difference feet-wise between RBI hits in baseball. Arkansas would steal a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning, but Chris Williams belted a hearty laugh, and blasted a two-run homer to right-center field. The Naturals came scratching back, though. Chris Vallimont had a tough outing in relief, allowing two earned runs and walking four batters in 1 2/3 innings of work. Defense didn’t help either, as both Andrew Bechtold and Austin Martin made errors that allowed un-earned runs to score. That Martin error was especially deadly, as Arkansas rode their extra out to three runs and a tied game. In dramatic fashion, Martin then made good and gave Wichita the lead in the 8th with an RBI single. The Naturals could not recover from that deficit. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 1 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K HR: Anthony Prato (5) Multi-hit games: Aaron Sabato (2-for-4, 2B, R), Alerick Soularie (2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI), Will Holland (2-for-3, R, RBI) The Kernels won on Saturday. Water is wet. These were the two sentences used last time, and they are still appropriate. Sawyer Gipson-Long Did the Darn Thing and completely silenced the Chiefs’ bats. It took the righty just 62 pitches to run through 15 outs with seven of those being strikeouts. Gipson-Long has been a surprising revelation since joining the Twins organization, and Saturday was another day in a line of impressive starts from him. Credit news to be given to Derek Molina, Tyler Palm, and Denny Bentley, as they combined for four clutch innings of work and just a single earned run allowed. Although the game ended up handily won by Cedar Rapids, the game flow was not always so simple. The score was 2-1 after eight innings with an Alerick Soularie little-league homer (triple with an error allowing him to score), and a Jair Camargo RBI single representing their only offense of the game. But the Kernels broke it open in the 9th inning, plating five runs off a few base knocks, and an Anthony Prato three-run bomb. Peoria had no response in their half of the inning. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 10, Palm Beach 4 Box Score Steve Hajjar: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 K HR: Mikey Perez (3), Dillon Tatum (2) Multi-hit games: Emmanuel Rodriguez (3-for-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI, BB), Mikey Perez (3-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB) The Mighty Mussels won handily on Saturday. Is it a good thing to have four players reach base three times in one game? Asking for a friend. Fort Myers dominated with an equal attack amongst their offense—no one batter should own the means of run production after all. Noah Miller and Emmanuel Rodriguez continued to be on-base machines, which isn’t surprising. Mikey Perez was the big story though, as he doubled, homered, and reached base four times in the game. Eight hitters reached base at least once. Steve Hajjar took the mound, and while he allowed just one run, command eluded him. Hajjar walked five batters while throwing just 46 of his 80 pitches for strikes. Although, it appears he was “effectively wild” given that the Cardinals could only knock one hit off of him. Walks proved to be the name of the game overall. The Mighty Mussels walked more than they struck out (nine to eight) while the Cardinals weren’t far behind (seven to 10). One could refer to this game as “leisurely.” TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, RBI #2 – Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-for-4 #3 – Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-5, 2 K #4 – Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #5 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #6 – Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Did not pitch #7 – Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, K #8 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #9 – Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #10 – Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB #11 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, 2 K #12 – Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-3, 2 BB, K #13 – Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #14 – Louie Varland (Wichita) - Did not pitch #15 – Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 3-for-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI, BB, K #16 – Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #17 – Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K #18 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR, 2B #19 – Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K #20 – Steve Hajjar (Fort Myers) - 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Columbus (12:05 PM) - RHP Bailey Ober St. Paul @ Columbus (Game Two) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Wichita @ NW Arkansas (1:35 PM) - RHP Casey Legumina Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (1:35 PM) - RHP John Stankiewicz Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - RHP Marco Raya View full article
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