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  1. Minor league divisions across the country are finishing up their first-half schedules. If you didn’t know, teams outside of AAA can win their division during the first half of the season and clinch a seed in the playoffs; a handy link to the breakdown can be found here. If you still don’t fully understand, we’ll go over that and more in the following week in review. With short-season teams starting play recently, player names and teams can be somewhat overwhelming. When writing about Rookie Ball and the DSL, I can admit to having to click on a player’s name in the box score to remember their first name; you know you’re digging deep when the players don’t have a photo on MiLB.com. But those games are just as important; the Twins of the future have to start humbly, and they’ll make their way to the upper levels with hard work. TRANSACTIONS The Twins traded veteran infielder Daniel Robertson to the Phillies for Cash considerations. He has been rehabbing with the FCL Twins for the past two-plus weeks. RESULTS Previous Week in Review (6/7-6/13): Saints Sweep Red Wings Tuesday: Alex Kirilloff Does It Again Wednesday: Rucker walks it off, Varland Double-Header Split Highlight Wednesday in the Twins System Thursday: Wallner Blasts on Tough Night for Twins Farm Friday: Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout Saturday: Kernels Clinch Division Title, Playoff Berth Sunday: Walk-off in Cedar Rapids, Saints Blister Bats MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT Minnesota Twins 2014 Draft Retrospective: Swings and Misses TwinsDaily 2022 Draft Coverage, June 16 This season, MLB Fining Parent Clubs for Minor-League Brawls MONDAY’S SHORT SEASON RESULTS FCL Twins 11, FCL Orioles 9 (10 innings) Box Score Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) Multi-Hit Games: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K), Yonardy Soto (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K), Jefferson De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBI, K, SB), Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, RBI) 2B: Alexander Pena (5), Ricardo Olivar (2) HR: Alexander Pena (2), Yonardy Soto 2 (2), Gregory Duran (1) Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K) Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (0-for-6, R, 4 K). Summary: What a wild and wacky game! Going into the 9th inning, the Twins held a 4-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the 9th to go ahead 5-0, but the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Twins scored six runs in the top of the inning to take a big league. They gave up four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning and barely held on. DSL Twins 6, DSL Guardians Blue 14 Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jose Betancourt (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) Multi-Hit Games: Isaac Pena (2-for-3, 2 BB. 2 R, 2 SB), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4) XBH: None WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints Week: 3-3, playing in Columbus Season: 33-32 overall The Saints treaded water this week, but sometimes that’s all a team needs to do. The Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Guardians, are no pushovers either; they ended the week with a 38-28 season record. These were close affairs; just one run was the difference in five of the six games, including Sunday’s 11-10 thrilling win by the Saints. Manager Toby Gardenhire remained on paternity leave, but the team still gifted him a fine Father’s Day present with his 100th win as St. Paul’s skipper. Alex Kirilloff earned his promotion to the Twins on Friday after collecting four more hits this week. Kyle Garlick began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. The outfielder is hitting .300 over 21 plate appearances but has also struck out eight times. Josh Winder continued his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 3 innings with a strikeout. Curtis Terry hit a blistering .368/.429/.842 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout the entire week. Michael Helman slashed .400/.455/.600 and captured the most hits on the week for the Saints. Spencer Steer returned to orbit as he slashed .179/.200/.321 with 10 strikeouts. Hopefully, this is just a blip on his otherwise outstanding season. Recent signee, Aaron Sanchez, struck out six over 7 1/3 IP but also allowed five earned runs, including a pair of homers. Jordan Balazovic worked in relief this week, allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings. What’s Next? The Saints are off to Buffalo to play in what was technically a major league ballpark for a year and some change. Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, TBD) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge Week: 1-6, @ Tulsa Season: 33-29 overall Things could have gone better for Wichita. The team has cooled off tremendously, and the result was an ugly 1-6 week, although five of those losses were by one run, so things may not be as bad as they seem. Matt Wallner obliterated the ball and walked away with a hilarious .313/.621/.750 slash line. Even more impressive, he walked more than he struck out (11 to eight). Edouard Julien did well also, hitting .280/.400/.560 with a pair of homers. Casey Legumina carried the torch on the mound, allowing only three earned runs over 10 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts. Daniel Gossett impressed in his first start with Wichita, tossing five shutout innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long finally earned a promotion to AA but was touched up for five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Let’s hope he can brush that off and find his footing with the Wind Surge. Andrew Cabezas threw four shutout innings in relief this week, striking out six while allowing just one hit. What’s Next? Wichita returns home to host the San Antonio Missions. Hopefully, some home cooking will help get them back on track. Pitching Probables (RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Kody Funderburk, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Louie Varland, TBD) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels Week: 4-2, hosting Dayton Season: 41-22 overall The Kernels were one of the teams that clinched a playoff spot this week. The team’s win on Saturday secured the first-half division crown, and the team can rest easy knowing that they will have a spot reserved for them in the post-season. In the meantime, there are ballgames to win. Yunior Severino smoked the ball all week, picking up seven hits, including two homers with eight RBIs. Alerick Soularie continued his season turn-around, hitting .368/.478/.632 with a pair of stolen bases. Cody Laweryson spearheaded the pitching effort with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an incredible 11 strikeouts. Cade Povich wasn’t far behind, as he punched out 11 over 5 innings in his lone start of the week. Aaron Rozek walked away from this week unscathed, as he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as part of Cedar Rapids’ shutout on Friday. What’s Next? The Kernels will remain at home and host the West Michigan Whitecaps. Pitching Probables (RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP John Stankiewicz) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Week: 4-1 Season: 39-22 overall The Mighty Mussels were the other team that clinched a playoff spot this week. Their win on Wednesday ensured that no team in their division could catch them, and their spot in the post-season is now set in stone. Rubel Cespedes burst out of nowhere and dropped nine hits in just 17 at-bats. Kala’i Rosario launched a pair of homers while slugging .857 overall for the week. Luis Baez hit a scorching .500/.579/.563 while striking out as often as he walked (three to three) Noah Miller had just two hits but also walked five times Matt Mullenbach was elite in relief, punching out eight over 5 ⅓ innings devoid of an earned run Malik Barrington followed suit as he tossed 3 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Jordan Carr allowed one earned run in his 5-inning start What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head out to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers Pitching Probables (RHP Jordan Carr, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, TBD, LHP Jaylen Nowlin) PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Hitter of the Week: OF Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge Matt Wallner might be turning a corner. The hometown talent has always been a slugger—power was never a question—but this week, he showed off an incredible talent for OBP on top of his already legendary ball-crushing ability. His eight strikeouts were still a touch high, but it feels nitpicky to call out when he walked 11 times while slugging .750. His OBP for the week starts with a .6. Enough said. At 24 years old, Wallner appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The lefty battled an assortment of injuries over his first few years in the minors—a bruise here and a nick there—and they added up to sap Wallner of consistency. His power kept him afloat, despite many (including I) questioning whether he could offset the large strikeout totals he racked up. Those strikeouts may never go away, but figuring out how to walk a bunch is an excellent way to even them out. His OBP on the year sits at a massive .408, thanks partly to a (probably) surprising batting average of .270. And, in case you weren’t convinced that his game is more well-rounded than before, he’s even stolen eight bases. It’s hard to see Wallner staying at AA for much longer. Pitcher of the Week: RHP Cody Laweryson, Cedar Rapids Kernels It’s rare to see a reliever win this distinction, but when you have the kind of week Cody Laweryson had, it’s easy to hand it to him. Laweryson made two relief outings; on June 14th, he struck out six over 3 ⅓ scoreless innings, while on June 17th, he struck out five over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. That’ll play. Laweryson is under the radar, if not entirely off the grid, but that might not be fair to his ability. The righty made noise in 2019 by dominating Rookie-Ball as a 20-year-old, culminating in a monster 15 strikeout performance on August 26th of that season. His road has been bumpier since that breakout, but he could have a nice niche as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Given the breakdown of pitching barriers, that role can be valuable to a team. For a scouting report, Eric Longenhagen described him as a “How the hell is this guy doing this?” style of pitcher, sitting 89 MPH and crushing his competition with it. We’ve seen that work for Joe Ryan; perhaps it will serve Laweryson also. View full article
  2. With short-season teams starting play recently, player names and teams can be somewhat overwhelming. When writing about Rookie Ball and the DSL, I can admit to having to click on a player’s name in the box score to remember their first name; you know you’re digging deep when the players don’t have a photo on MiLB.com. But those games are just as important; the Twins of the future have to start humbly, and they’ll make their way to the upper levels with hard work. TRANSACTIONS The Twins traded veteran infielder Daniel Robertson to the Phillies for Cash considerations. He has been rehabbing with the FCL Twins for the past two-plus weeks. RESULTS Previous Week in Review (6/7-6/13): Saints Sweep Red Wings Tuesday: Alex Kirilloff Does It Again Wednesday: Rucker walks it off, Varland Double-Header Split Highlight Wednesday in the Twins System Thursday: Wallner Blasts on Tough Night for Twins Farm Friday: Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout Saturday: Kernels Clinch Division Title, Playoff Berth Sunday: Walk-off in Cedar Rapids, Saints Blister Bats MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT Minnesota Twins 2014 Draft Retrospective: Swings and Misses TwinsDaily 2022 Draft Coverage, June 16 This season, MLB Fining Parent Clubs for Minor-League Brawls MONDAY’S SHORT SEASON RESULTS FCL Twins 11, FCL Orioles 9 (10 innings) Box Score Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) Multi-Hit Games: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K), Yonardy Soto (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K), Jefferson De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBI, K, SB), Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, RBI) 2B: Alexander Pena (5), Ricardo Olivar (2) HR: Alexander Pena (2), Yonardy Soto 2 (2), Gregory Duran (1) Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K) Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (0-for-6, R, 4 K). Summary: What a wild and wacky game! Going into the 9th inning, the Twins held a 4-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the 9th to go ahead 5-0, but the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Twins scored six runs in the top of the inning to take a big league. They gave up four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning and barely held on. DSL Twins 6, DSL Guardians Blue 14 Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jose Betancourt (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) Multi-Hit Games: Isaac Pena (2-for-3, 2 BB. 2 R, 2 SB), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4) XBH: None WEEK IN REVIEW Triple-A: St. Paul Saints Week: 3-3, playing in Columbus Season: 33-32 overall The Saints treaded water this week, but sometimes that’s all a team needs to do. The Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Guardians, are no pushovers either; they ended the week with a 38-28 season record. These were close affairs; just one run was the difference in five of the six games, including Sunday’s 11-10 thrilling win by the Saints. Manager Toby Gardenhire remained on paternity leave, but the team still gifted him a fine Father’s Day present with his 100th win as St. Paul’s skipper. Alex Kirilloff earned his promotion to the Twins on Friday after collecting four more hits this week. Kyle Garlick began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. The outfielder is hitting .300 over 21 plate appearances but has also struck out eight times. Josh Winder continued his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 3 innings with a strikeout. Curtis Terry hit a blistering .368/.429/.842 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout the entire week. Michael Helman slashed .400/.455/.600 and captured the most hits on the week for the Saints. Spencer Steer returned to orbit as he slashed .179/.200/.321 with 10 strikeouts. Hopefully, this is just a blip on his otherwise outstanding season. Recent signee, Aaron Sanchez, struck out six over 7 1/3 IP but also allowed five earned runs, including a pair of homers. Jordan Balazovic worked in relief this week, allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings. What’s Next? The Saints are off to Buffalo to play in what was technically a major league ballpark for a year and some change. Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, TBD) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge Week: 1-6, @ Tulsa Season: 33-29 overall Things could have gone better for Wichita. The team has cooled off tremendously, and the result was an ugly 1-6 week, although five of those losses were by one run, so things may not be as bad as they seem. Matt Wallner obliterated the ball and walked away with a hilarious .313/.621/.750 slash line. Even more impressive, he walked more than he struck out (11 to eight). Edouard Julien did well also, hitting .280/.400/.560 with a pair of homers. Casey Legumina carried the torch on the mound, allowing only three earned runs over 10 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts. Daniel Gossett impressed in his first start with Wichita, tossing five shutout innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long finally earned a promotion to AA but was touched up for five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Let’s hope he can brush that off and find his footing with the Wind Surge. Andrew Cabezas threw four shutout innings in relief this week, striking out six while allowing just one hit. What’s Next? Wichita returns home to host the San Antonio Missions. Hopefully, some home cooking will help get them back on track. Pitching Probables (RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Kody Funderburk, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Louie Varland, TBD) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels Week: 4-2, hosting Dayton Season: 41-22 overall The Kernels were one of the teams that clinched a playoff spot this week. The team’s win on Saturday secured the first-half division crown, and the team can rest easy knowing that they will have a spot reserved for them in the post-season. In the meantime, there are ballgames to win. Yunior Severino smoked the ball all week, picking up seven hits, including two homers with eight RBIs. Alerick Soularie continued his season turn-around, hitting .368/.478/.632 with a pair of stolen bases. Cody Laweryson spearheaded the pitching effort with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an incredible 11 strikeouts. Cade Povich wasn’t far behind, as he punched out 11 over 5 innings in his lone start of the week. Aaron Rozek walked away from this week unscathed, as he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as part of Cedar Rapids’ shutout on Friday. What’s Next? The Kernels will remain at home and host the West Michigan Whitecaps. Pitching Probables (RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP John Stankiewicz) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Week: 4-1 Season: 39-22 overall The Mighty Mussels were the other team that clinched a playoff spot this week. Their win on Wednesday ensured that no team in their division could catch them, and their spot in the post-season is now set in stone. Rubel Cespedes burst out of nowhere and dropped nine hits in just 17 at-bats. Kala’i Rosario launched a pair of homers while slugging .857 overall for the week. Luis Baez hit a scorching .500/.579/.563 while striking out as often as he walked (three to three) Noah Miller had just two hits but also walked five times Matt Mullenbach was elite in relief, punching out eight over 5 ⅓ innings devoid of an earned run Malik Barrington followed suit as he tossed 3 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Jordan Carr allowed one earned run in his 5-inning start What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head out to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers Pitching Probables (RHP Jordan Carr, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, TBD, LHP Jaylen Nowlin) PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Hitter of the Week: OF Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge Matt Wallner might be turning a corner. The hometown talent has always been a slugger—power was never a question—but this week, he showed off an incredible talent for OBP on top of his already legendary ball-crushing ability. His eight strikeouts were still a touch high, but it feels nitpicky to call out when he walked 11 times while slugging .750. His OBP for the week starts with a .6. Enough said. At 24 years old, Wallner appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The lefty battled an assortment of injuries over his first few years in the minors—a bruise here and a nick there—and they added up to sap Wallner of consistency. His power kept him afloat, despite many (including I) questioning whether he could offset the large strikeout totals he racked up. Those strikeouts may never go away, but figuring out how to walk a bunch is an excellent way to even them out. His OBP on the year sits at a massive .408, thanks partly to a (probably) surprising batting average of .270. And, in case you weren’t convinced that his game is more well-rounded than before, he’s even stolen eight bases. It’s hard to see Wallner staying at AA for much longer. Pitcher of the Week: RHP Cody Laweryson, Cedar Rapids Kernels It’s rare to see a reliever win this distinction, but when you have the kind of week Cody Laweryson had, it’s easy to hand it to him. Laweryson made two relief outings; on June 14th, he struck out six over 3 ⅓ scoreless innings, while on June 17th, he struck out five over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. That’ll play. Laweryson is under the radar, if not entirely off the grid, but that might not be fair to his ability. The righty made noise in 2019 by dominating Rookie-Ball as a 20-year-old, culminating in a monster 15 strikeout performance on August 26th of that season. His road has been bumpier since that breakout, but he could have a nice niche as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Given the breakdown of pitching barriers, that role can be valuable to a team. For a scouting report, Eric Longenhagen described him as a “How the hell is this guy doing this?” style of pitcher, sitting 89 MPH and crushing his competition with it. We’ve seen that work for Joe Ryan; perhaps it will serve Laweryson also.
  3. Previous 2019 Hitters of the Month: April - Trey Cabbage May - Lewin Diaz June - Brent Rooker July – Jaylin Davis Let’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters for the month of August, but first here are some of the players deserving of honorable mention. HONORABLE MENTION Gilberto Celestino – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle, 32-98, .327/.396/.500 with three home runs and eight doubles. Rhodery Diaz – DSL Twins, 13-36, .361/.477/.444 with one home run and one double. Ramon Flores – Rochester Red Wings, 29-98, .296/.434/.449 with three home runs, four doubles and one triple. Trevor Larnach – Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 30-98, .306/.395/.510 with six home runs and two doubles. Anthony Prato – Elizabethton Twins, 24-71, .338/.410/.451 with one home run, three doubles and one triple. Gabe Snyder – Cedar Rapids Kernels, 21-90, .233/.300/.478 with six home runs, two doubles and one triple. Tomas Telis – Rochester Red Wings, 31-76, .408/.439/.553 with two home runs and five doubles. Tyler Webb – Cedar Rapids Kernels, 24-75, /320/.370/.400 with one home run, one double and one triple. THE TOP FIVE HITTERS Number 5 – Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 1B/3B/OF Ryan Costello – 21-85, .247/.369/.529 with six home runs, four doubles and one triple. Costello, Seattle's 31st-round pick in 2017 (came to Twins in July 2018 trade from the Mariners (Zach Duke)), continues to show his value as he moves through the Twins system. August was his first full month at Double-A and he made sure to leave his mark. He had hits in 10 of his first 12 games of the month and that included a stretch of three straight games with a home run. He ended the month with hits in eight of his final 11 games to be one of the organization’s top five hitters for the month. Number 4 – DSL Twins – 3B/1B Rubel Cespedes – 16-46, .348/.423/.630 with one home run, four doubles, and three triples. The Dominican Summer League Twins can be forgotten about with the plethora of other affiliated minor league squads. Cespedes made sure that hitters in this league wouldn’t be forgotten. In his first taste of professional ball, the teenager finished the season on a hot streak. He collected multiple hits in five of his 12 August contests and he only failed to reach base in one August game. Through the month’s first seven games, he was hitting .423/.516/.731 with six extra-base hits and one strike out compared to four walks. Number 3 – Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels – OF/3B Seth Gray – 24-92, .261/.361/.533 with five home runs and 10 doubles Gray, a 2019 fourth-round pick, ended the month with a promotion from E-Town to Cedar Rapids. He hit safely in his final six Appy League game and he had multiple hits in three of his final games with that club. Even after the promotion, he ended the month on an eight-game hitting streak which included five extra-base hits and a .977 OPS. He was only hitting .231 through the first 12 games of the month but he finished August going 15-53 (.283) with eight extra-base hits. Number 2 – Rochester Red Wings – OF Alejandro De Aza – 28-71, .394/.469/.676 with thee home runs, seven doubles and two triples De Aza is 35-years old, but he made it clear in August why the Twins picked him up in the middle of July. He ended the month on an 11-game hitting streak and there were actually only two games in the entire month where he was held without a hit. Apparently, the guy knows how to hit because he was only failed to collect a hit in six games so far in the Twins organization. He had multiple hits in nine of his 19 games. What makes it even more impressive is the fact the Red Wings were fighting for their playoff lives for a good portion of the month. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – OF/1B Zander Wiel – 30-105, .286/.350/.600 with six home runs, 11 doubles and two triples. Someone had to step up and fill the offensive void left by Jaylin Davis and Zander Wiel did his best to fit this role with the Red Wings. Wiel, a 12th-round pick back in 2015, has spent the entire season in Rochester. Much like De Aza, Wiel ended the month on an 11-game hitting streak that included three multi-hit games. Overall, Wiel collected seven multi-hit efforts throughout the month. Wiel was coming off a rough July where he struggled by hitting .200/.243/.484 (.727). All of those totals were season lows for him. Something switched in August as he had a season high in OPS, SLG and extra base hits. As a 26-year old, he has also been facing older pitchers in roughly have of his plate appearances. A study was done at the University of Rochester after the Red Wings broke their franchise home run record. It was a simple experiment to see if the new Triple-A baseballs were bouncier and could be one of the reasons for the power hitting surge. Wiel was interviewed for the story and said, “These balls this year…they’ve been going and that’s why you see the rise in numbers. All the production, extra-base hits and stuff we’re seeing.” Even with a bouncier ball, Wiel still must do one of the hardest things in sports by making solid contact between a round bat and a round ball. He did it better than anyone else in the Twins system this past month so congratulations to him. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions in the comments below.
  4. Season’s end can separate the star prospects from the rest of the roster. Many affiliated teams are fighting for a playoff spot and batters can make the difference between a playoff team and one that is sending players home in the weeks ahead. A winning culture starts in the minor leagues and Minnesota will need to rely on some of the players left in their minor league system. There are few top prospects on this list, but that’s further evidence of how deep the Twins farm system has become in recent years. From veteran cast-offs to DSL teenagers, this list has a wide array of players.Previous 2019 Hitters of the Month: April - Trey Cabbage May - Lewin Diaz June - Brent Rooker July – Jaylin Davis Let’s take a look at the Top 5 hitters for the month of August, but first here are some of the players deserving of honorable mention. HONORABLE MENTION Gilberto Celestino – Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle, 32-98, .327/.396/.500 with three home runs and eight doubles.Rhodery Diaz – DSL Twins, 13-36, .361/.477/.444 with one home run and one double.Ramon Flores – Rochester Red Wings, 29-98, .296/.434/.449 with three home runs, four doubles and one triple.Trevor Larnach – Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 30-98, .306/.395/.510 with six home runs and two doubles.Anthony Prato – Elizabethton Twins, 24-71, .338/.410/.451 with one home run, three doubles and one triple.Gabe Snyder – Cedar Rapids Kernels, 21-90, .233/.300/.478 with six home runs, two doubles and one triple.Tomas Telis – Rochester Red Wings, 31-76, .408/.439/.553 with two home runs and five doubles.Tyler Webb – Cedar Rapids Kernels, 24-75, /320/.370/.400 with one home run, one double and one triple.THE TOP FIVE HITTERS Number 5 – Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 1B/3B/OF Ryan Costello – 21-85, .247/.369/.529 with six home runs, four doubles and one triple. Costello, Seattle's 31st-round pick in 2017 (came to Twins in July 2018 trade from the Mariners (Zach Duke)), continues to show his value as he moves through the Twins system. August was his first full month at Double-A and he made sure to leave his mark. He had hits in 10 of his first 12 games of the month and that included a stretch of three straight games with a home run. He ended the month with hits in eight of his final 11 games to be one of the organization’s top five hitters for the month. Number 4 – DSL Twins – 3B/1B Rubel Cespedes – 16-46, .348/.423/.630 with one home run, four doubles, and three triples. The Dominican Summer League Twins can be forgotten about with the plethora of other affiliated minor league squads. Cespedes made sure that hitters in this league wouldn’t be forgotten. In his first taste of professional ball, the teenager finished the season on a hot streak. He collected multiple hits in five of his 12 August contests and he only failed to reach base in one August game. Through the month’s first seven games, he was hitting .423/.516/.731 with six extra-base hits and one strike out compared to four walks. Number 3 – Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels – OF/3B Seth Gray – 24-92, .261/.361/.533 with five home runs and 10 doubles Gray, a 2019 fourth-round pick, ended the month with a promotion from E-Town to Cedar Rapids. He hit safely in his final six Appy League game and he had multiple hits in three of his final games with that club. Even after the promotion, he ended the month on an eight-game hitting streak which included five extra-base hits and a .977 OPS. He was only hitting .231 through the first 12 games of the month but he finished August going 15-53 (.283) with eight extra-base hits. Number 2 – Rochester Red Wings – OF Alejandro De Aza – 28-71, .394/.469/.676 with thee home runs, seven doubles and two triples De Aza is 35-years old, but he made it clear in August why the Twins picked him up in the middle of July. He ended the month on an 11-game hitting streak and there were actually only two games in the entire month where he was held without a hit. Apparently, the guy knows how to hit because he was only failed to collect a hit in six games so far in the Twins organization. He had multiple hits in nine of his 19 games. What makes it even more impressive is the fact the Red Wings were fighting for their playoff lives for a good portion of the month. And the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – OF/1B Zander Wiel – 30-105, .286/.350/.600 with six home runs, 11 doubles and two triples. Someone had to step up and fill the offensive void left by Jaylin Davis and Zander Wiel did his best to fit this role with the Red Wings. Wiel, a 12th-round pick back in 2015, has spent the entire season in Rochester. Much like De Aza, Wiel ended the month on an 11-game hitting streak that included three multi-hit games. Overall, Wiel collected seven multi-hit efforts throughout the month. Wiel was coming off a rough July where he struggled by hitting .200/.243/.484 (.727). All of those totals were season lows for him. Something switched in August as he had a season high in OPS, SLG and extra base hits. As a 26-year old, he has also been facing older pitchers in roughly have of his plate appearances. A study was done at the University of Rochester after the Red Wings broke their franchise home run record. It was a simple experiment to see if the new Triple-A baseballs were bouncier and could be one of the reasons for the power hitting surge. Wiel was interviewed for the story and said, “These balls this year…they’ve been going and that’s why you see the rise in numbers. All the production, extra-base hits and stuff we’re seeing.” Even with a bouncier ball, Wiel still must do one of the hardest things in sports by making solid contact between a round bat and a round ball. He did it better than anyone else in the Twins system this past month so congratulations to him. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions in the comments below. Click here to view the article
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