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  1. It sure has been a while, but holy cow are we glad to be back with your Minnesota Twins Minor League Reports! Plus, so much has changed! The St. Paul Saints are the triple-A affiliate, a new team with a new stadium is on-board in double-A, the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ whole team got a promotion, and the Fort Myers squad has a new name.To find out everything that happened with your favorite Twins prospects on MiLB opening day, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins recalled infielder Nick Gordon to take the place of Luis Arraez who was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list.LHP Lachlan Wells was assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels.SAINTS SENTINELSt. Paul 2, Omaha 8 Box Score The Saints debut as a major league and Twins affiliate didn’t quite go to plan, but count me as one who is super excited they are in the fold instead of an independent. Starter Andrew Albers went the first four innings but was touched up for a single run in three of them, and four in the other as the Saints fell behind 7-0 while he was on the mound. He allowed eight hits total and struck out six. Glenn Sparkman came on for the fifth and allowed a solo home run, Omaha’s fourth of the game, but struck out five in his two innings. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the seventh and flummoxed Omaha hitters with his slider that the broadcaster compared to “those wiffle ball pitches you see in your backyard.” He went 1-2-3 in both his innings, striking out three. Saints hitters were also flummoxed by Storm Chasers pitching throughout the game, striking out 15 times and collecting only five hits and two walks. Zander Wiel and Ryan Jeffers led the way with two hits apiece, and Jeffers delivered the first two runs as an affiliate for St. Paul with a two-run homer in the seventh. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 0 Box Score Another new affiliate for the Twins, Wichita got their season off on the right foot defeating the Springfield Cardinals 2-0. It's fun for me to see this matchup at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO as it is one of the MiLB stadiums I have had the pleasure of attending, and reminds me of their parent club’s Busch Stadium in mini form. As for this game, it was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the teams trading zeroes until the top of the eighth, when the Wind Surge struck for two runs. Singles from Damek Tomscha and Jose Miranda started the inning, then Mark Contreras and Andrew Bechtold finished it with consecutive RBI singles with two outs to account for the scoring. Josh Winder made the start for Wichita and went the first 4 2/3’s, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 81 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes (70.4%), including 14 swinging strikes. Left-hander Jovani Moran got the last out of the fifth with a K, then struck out two more in a scoreless sixth. Sidewinder Tom Hackimer was next out of the bullpen and added two more scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. International signing out of Cuba in 2019, Yennier Cano, came on for the ninth and bookended a single with a pair of strikeouts to close out the victory. Aaron Whitefield, batting ninth, led the Wind Surge offense with two hits including a double and a stolen base. Contreras finished 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in addition to the RBI. Gilberto Celestino led off the game with a single and finished 1-for-5. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 0, Cedar Rapids 7 Box Score In the Kernels first game as a high-A affiliate, they got the job done on opening night in convincing fashion. They chased Chiefs starter Ian Bedell from the game before he could complete one inning, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk in the opening frame. They would add two more in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 7-0 lead that was more than enough. Kernels pitchers cruised throughout the game, allowing just three hits to Peoria hitters and scattering five walks. Kody Funderburk made the start and went the first three innings, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Andrew Cabezas went the next four innings and picked up the win, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished the game with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two. Leadoff man Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB) was the only Kernels batter with multiple hits, while Matt Wallner, Jair Camargo, and Seth Gray each clubbed a double. Gabe Snyder had an RBI triple in the first and was hit by a pitch twice. While the lineup had just seven hits, they also drew eight walks. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3 Box Score Newly minted as the Twins low-A affiliate and renamed the Mighty Mussels before last year’s MiLB season was cancelled, Fort Myers opened their new era with a 6-3 win over Bradenton. Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started three pitches into the game, launching a home run to right-center for the early 1-0 lead. Fort Myers would leave the bases loaded without adding another run in the opening frame and from there until the seventh inning the pitchers were the story. Mussels starter Regi Grace went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Though he struck out the first two hitters of the fifth, he was lifted as his pitch count reached its limit at 75. He was relieved by Louie Varland who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul, and he would finish the game’s final 4 1/3 with some eye-popping numbers. He gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk among his 16 batters faced, but struck out TEN(!) of them. The runs given up came on a two-run home run that gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead after seven, but the bats would pick him up in the ninth to give him the win. Will Holland led off the top of the ninth with a double and a few walks (one intentional to Garry Jr.) around a strikeout kept the bases loaded for the bulk of it. The first two runs would score on wild pitches, then with two outs Edouard Julien delivered the finishing blow with a two-run single. Garry Jr. (1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Holland (1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB), Keoni Cavaco (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB), and Julien (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led the way for the offense in the win. Aaron Sabato was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in his minor league debut. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 10 K) Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Did not play #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, BB, K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-5, 3 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-for-5, 2 K #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, 3 K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, R, 2B, K #14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, R, BB #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (12:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) – TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – RHP Casey Legumina Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! Click here to view the article
  2. To find out everything that happened with your favorite Twins prospects on MiLB opening day, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins recalled infielder Nick Gordon to take the place of Luis Arraez who was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list. LHP Lachlan Wells was assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 2, Omaha 8 Box Score The Saints debut as a major league and Twins affiliate didn’t quite go to plan, but count me as one who is super excited they are in the fold instead of an independent. Starter Andrew Albers went the first four innings but was touched up for a single run in three of them, and four in the other as the Saints fell behind 7-0 while he was on the mound. He allowed eight hits total and struck out six. Glenn Sparkman came on for the fifth and allowed a solo home run, Omaha’s fourth of the game, but struck out five in his two innings. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the seventh and flummoxed Omaha hitters with his slider that the broadcaster compared to “those wiffle ball pitches you see in your backyard.” He went 1-2-3 in both his innings, striking out three. Saints hitters were also flummoxed by Storm Chasers pitching throughout the game, striking out 15 times and collecting only five hits and two walks. Zander Wiel and Ryan Jeffers led the way with two hits apiece, and Jeffers delivered the first two runs as an affiliate for St. Paul with a two-run homer in the seventh. https://twitter.com/KSTPSports/status/1389756806965174275 WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 0 Box Score Another new affiliate for the Twins, Wichita got their season off on the right foot defeating the Springfield Cardinals 2-0. It's fun for me to see this matchup at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO as it is one of the MiLB stadiums I have had the pleasure of attending, and reminds me of their parent club’s Busch Stadium in mini form. As for this game, it was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the teams trading zeroes until the top of the eighth, when the Wind Surge struck for two runs. Singles from Damek Tomscha and Jose Miranda started the inning, then Mark Contreras and Andrew Bechtold finished it with consecutive RBI singles with two outs to account for the scoring. Josh Winder made the start for Wichita and went the first 4 2/3’s, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 81 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes (70.4%), including 14 swinging strikes. Left-hander Jovani Moran got the last out of the fifth with a K, then struck out two more in a scoreless sixth. Sidewinder Tom Hackimer was next out of the bullpen and added two more scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. International signing out of Cuba in 2019, Yennier Cano, came on for the ninth and bookended a single with a pair of strikeouts to close out the victory. Aaron Whitefield, batting ninth, led the Wind Surge offense with two hits including a double and a stolen base. Contreras finished 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in addition to the RBI. Gilberto Celestino led off the game with a single and finished 1-for-5. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 0, Cedar Rapids 7 Box Score In the Kernels first game as a high-A affiliate, they got the job done on opening night in convincing fashion. They chased Chiefs starter Ian Bedell from the game before he could complete one inning, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk in the opening frame. They would add two more in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 7-0 lead that was more than enough. Kernels pitchers cruised throughout the game, allowing just three hits to Peoria hitters and scattering five walks. Kody Funderburk made the start and went the first three innings, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Andrew Cabezas went the next four innings and picked up the win, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished the game with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two. Leadoff man Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB) was the only Kernels batter with multiple hits, while Matt Wallner, Jair Camargo, and Seth Gray each clubbed a double. Gabe Snyder had an RBI triple in the first and was hit by a pitch twice. While the lineup had just seven hits, they also drew eight walks. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3 Box Score Newly minted as the Twins low-A affiliate and renamed the Mighty Mussels before last year’s MiLB season was cancelled, Fort Myers opened their new era with a 6-3 win over Bradenton. Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started three pitches into the game, launching a home run to right-center for the early 1-0 lead. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1389715977990852609 Fort Myers would leave the bases loaded without adding another run in the opening frame and from there until the seventh inning the pitchers were the story. Mussels starter Regi Grace went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Though he struck out the first two hitters of the fifth, he was lifted as his pitch count reached its limit at 75. He was relieved by Louie Varland who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul, and he would finish the game’s final 4 1/3 with some eye-popping numbers. He gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk among his 16 batters faced, but struck out TEN(!) of them. The runs given up came on a two-run home run that gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead after seven, but the bats would pick him up in the ninth to give him the win. Will Holland led off the top of the ninth with a double and a few walks (one intentional to Garry Jr.) around a strikeout kept the bases loaded for the bulk of it. The first two runs would score on wild pitches, then with two outs Edouard Julien delivered the finishing blow with a two-run single. Garry Jr. (1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Holland (1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB), Keoni Cavaco (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB), and Julien (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led the way for the offense in the win. Aaron Sabato was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in his minor league debut. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 10 K) Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Did not play #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, BB, K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-5, 3 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-for-5, 2 K #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, 3 K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, R, 2B, K #14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, R, BB #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (12:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) – TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – RHP Casey Legumina Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  3. Teams were allowed to invite up to 75 players to spring training this year. 40 of the players were on the roster. Approximately 20 more players were official Non-Roster Invites. But as a means to allow teams to ease their players back into their springs and properly prepare for their seasons, another 14 to 15 players were invited to participate in the depth camp. As spring training started in February, a writer asked manager Rocco Baldelli on Zoom about the depth camp and what they would be doing. The Twins manager said, “The players in depth camp are going to be extremely important to what we do.” He continued, “They will be taking part in a lot of our fundamentals when we need them too. They’re going to be getting their work done by themselves otherwise. But, they’re going to be playing in a lot of games as well. So when these games start, I think we’re going to see our depth camp.” The Twins played 28 spring training games. Aaron Sabato, the team’s first-round draft pick last June, played in 22 of those games. He made a start or two, but in general, he came in during the middle or late innings and played first base and maybe got a plate appearance. Especially early in camp, it’s important to have a lot of pitchers to eat innings in games when the pitchers are all going just an inning or so. I recently chatted with a few of the depth camp pitchers about their experiences. Ryan Mason, a 26-year-old right-hander, went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and seven saves at Double-A Pensacola in 2019 before his season ended with an arm injury. Healthy, he was thrilled to be invited to big-league spring training. He said, “First and foremost, the experience was unforgettable. I enjoyed every moment getting the opportunity to spend time with the big-league club. The highlight for myself was obviously being able to throw in a couple of games and experience the nerves of pitching again, which was long overdue due to the circumstances of last season.” Mason finished out two innings for the Twins during spring training. He faced two batters and struck one of them out. He even recorded a Win. Matt Canterino is one of the Twins top pitching prospects. The 23-year-old was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He was able to work 4 2/3 innings over four games. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits. He walked five batters but struck out seven and certainly showed the stuff, including a 98 mph fastball, that makes him so intriguing. Canterino said, “ I really enjoyed my time on the big league side of things. The highlight for me was definitely just being able to get in some games again against really good competition. I hadn’t faced another squad since the summer of 2019, so seeing a big leaguer with a different uniform on in the batter’s box when I was pitching really got my competitive juices flowing again.” Josh Winder has seen his prospect status skyrocket since hitting 96 and 97 mph at Instructional League last October. The 6-5 right-hander was the Twins seventh round draft pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts in Cedar Rapids during his first full professional season. Winder enjoyed being around the big leaguers and observing. “It was awesome to rub shoulders with the established big league guys and see how they went about their business. The commitment and dedication to their routine/craft was the big thing that stood out to me and motivated me to make some adjustments in my approach to the game.” He also worked in four games including making one start. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on five hits, three walks and struck out five batters. For Tom Hackimer, the team’s fourth round pick in 2016 from St. John’s, he enjoyed doing something that a lot of big league pitchers haven’t been able to do. “The highlight of my spring was managing to strike out Luis Arraez during a live BP one day.” Hackimer knows many of the players on the Twins roster and has been teammates at times with several of them, including Miguel Sano. Hackimer shared a fun story from this spring. “Miguel Sanó has been making fun of how long my arms are since 2018 when he was sent down to the Miracle, then again in 2019 in Fort Myers and Pensacola while he was rehabbing. One day we were doing PFPs, and he made me stop so that he could point out to Nelson Cruz how long my arms are.” Spring Training fun! But the opportunity to observe and learn from the big league veterans and coaching staff is immensely valuable. Mason took advantage of the opportunity. “I tried to connect with as many players as possible and just talk about pretty normal stuff to reaffirm what I already knew, which is big-league players are normal and all-around great people with their own stories. Also, there is not one way to make it. Everyone paved their own path to success.” It might surprise you to read which player Winder and Canterino mentioned when asked about their surreal moment of spring. Winder noted, “Facing Josh Donaldson is Live BP was a surreal moment for me. I’ve watched him on TV for so long it was really weird seeing him up close in the box.” Canterino had a similar experience that turned into an opportunity he will never forget. He said, “One of my coolest experiences with some of the veterans came after I threw a live bullpen to some of the big league hitters. After I finished my outing, I approached Josh Donaldson and asked what he saw when I threw to him. Andrelton Simmons joined the conversation too after a little while. So the three of us ended up talking about hitting approaches and how to attack hitters for about a half hour after that.” David Banuelos, a catcher the Twins acquired in a trade with the Mariners before the 2018 season. He is known as a defense-first catcher, but he considered his first big league spring training (as a Non-Roster Invite) a “great experience,” one he learned a lot from. Banuelos also mentioned the Twins third baseman and former AL MVP.. “Listening to Donaldson talk about hitting was really cool. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit.” One of his two spring hits was a long home run on a Donaldsonic swing. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1375611075970875392 Spencer Steer was the Twins third round pick in 2019 from the University of Oregon. He was not on the original spring roster, but when Chris Williams hurt his shoulder in one of the first spring games, Steer was added to the depth group. He said, “The entire experience was incredible. I went from not knowing when I was reporting to minor league camp, to working out alongside big leaguers within a couple of days. It was a lot of fun to be able to watch the best of the best up close. I was able to learn a lot by just watching how they went about their work everyday.” In 11 games played, he had two hits in eight at bats including a long, opposite field home run. Starting pitchers Winder and Canterino are now in Ft. Myers, working to prepare and stretch out for their 2021 minor league seasons. Banuelos and Steer will be playing their first spring training games today in Ft. Myers. Relievers Mason and Hackimer are in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site preparing for their seasons and preparing themselves and others to possibly help the big-league club as we await the start of the season. More Minor League Notes Just a couple quick Twins minor league notes: Royce Lewis on Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander This week, Twins shortstop prospect Royce Lewis was on the FOX Sports Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander show. Lewis talked about a number of topics from the roles that guys like Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz have played in his life and development. He talked some about his recovery from ACL surgery. He also talks about wine, and many other topics. It’s a fun interview. Twins Sign More International Free Agents When the international signing period opened on January 15th, the Twins signed several players including top shortstop prospects Danny De Andrade and Fredy LaFlor. In the past weeks, the Twins have signed a few more players including right-handed pitcher Jose Olivares. Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote this of Oliveres: “For a while, Olivares trained as an outfielder in Venezuela, but he took off once he moved to the mound, with his velocity popping at games in the Dominican Republic last year. Previously eligible to sign in 2019, Olivares is now an 18-year-old righthander with a sturdy, physically mature frame and a fastball that has been up to 96 mph with lively riding life up in the zone. He pairs it with a good curveball that's more advanced than his changeup.” More Twins minor league coverage to come. Keep checking back.
  4. Spring Training 2021 certainly was different than most years, but one of the interesting parts was the implementation of the depth camp. It gave several additional players an opportunity not only to get into a couple of spring games, but get more time with the big-league coaches and players too. Several Twins prospects discussed their first big-league spring training.Teams were allowed to invite up to 75 players to spring training this year. 40 of the players were on the roster. Approximately 20 more players were official Non-Roster Invites. But as a means to allow teams to ease their players back into their springs and properly prepare for their seasons, another 14 to 15 players were invited to participate in the depth camp. As spring training started in February, a writer asked manager Rocco Baldelli on Zoom about the depth camp and what they would be doing. The Twins manager said, “The players in depth camp are going to be extremely important to what we do.” He continued, “They will be taking part in a lot of our fundamentals when we need them too. They’re going to be getting their work done by themselves otherwise. But, they’re going to be playing in a lot of games as well. So when these games start, I think we’re going to see our depth camp.” The Twins played 28 spring training games. Aaron Sabato, the team’s first-round draft pick last June, played in 22 of those games. He made a start or two, but in general, he came in during the middle or late innings and played first base and maybe got a plate appearance. Especially early in camp, it’s important to have a lot of pitchers to eat innings in games when the pitchers are all going just an inning or so. I recently chatted with a few of the depth camp pitchers about their experiences. Ryan Mason, a 26-year-old right-hander, went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and seven saves at Double-A Pensacola in 2019 before his season ended with an arm injury. Healthy, he was thrilled to be invited to big-league spring training. He said, “First and foremost, the experience was unforgettable. I enjoyed every moment getting the opportunity to spend time with the big-league club. The highlight for myself was obviously being able to throw in a couple of games and experience the nerves of pitching again, which was long overdue due to the circumstances of last season.” Mason finished out two innings for the Twins during spring training. He faced two batters and struck one of them out. He even recorded a Win. Matt Canterino is one of the Twins top pitching prospects. The 23-year-old was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He was able to work 4 2/3 innings over four games. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits. He walked five batters but struck out seven and certainly showed the stuff, including a 98 mph fastball, that makes him so intriguing. Canterino said, “ I really enjoyed my time on the big league side of things. The highlight for me was definitely just being able to get in some games again against really good competition. I hadn’t faced another squad since the summer of 2019, so seeing a big leaguer with a different uniform on in the batter’s box when I was pitching really got my competitive juices flowing again.” Josh Winder has seen his prospect status skyrocket since hitting 96 and 97 mph at Instructional League last October. The 6-5 right-hander was the Twins seventh round draft pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts in Cedar Rapids during his first full professional season. Winder enjoyed being around the big leaguers and observing. “It was awesome to rub shoulders with the established big league guys and see how they went about their business. The commitment and dedication to their routine/craft was the big thing that stood out to me and motivated me to make some adjustments in my approach to the game.” He also worked in four games including making one start. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on five hits, three walks and struck out five batters. For Tom Hackimer, the team’s fourth round pick in 2016 from St. John’s, he enjoyed doing something that a lot of big league pitchers haven’t been able to do. “The highlight of my spring was managing to strike out Luis Arraez during a live BP one day.” Hackimer knows many of the players on the Twins roster and has been teammates at times with several of them, including Miguel Sano. Hackimer shared a fun story from this spring. “Miguel Sanó has been making fun of how long my arms are since 2018 when he was sent down to the Miracle, then again in 2019 in Fort Myers and Pensacola while he was rehabbing. One day we were doing PFPs, and he made me stop so that he could point out to Nelson Cruz how long my arms are.” Spring Training fun! But the opportunity to observe and learn from the big league veterans and coaching staff is immensely valuable. Mason took advantage of the opportunity. “I tried to connect with as many players as possible and just talk about pretty normal stuff to reaffirm what I already knew, which is big-league players are normal and all-around great people with their own stories. Also, there is not one way to make it. Everyone paved their own path to success.” It might surprise you to read which player Winder and Canterino mentioned when asked about their surreal moment of spring. Winder noted, “Facing Josh Donaldson is Live BP was a surreal moment for me. I’ve watched him on TV for so long it was really weird seeing him up close in the box.” Canterino had a similar experience that turned into an opportunity he will never forget. He said, “One of my coolest experiences with some of the veterans came after I threw a live bullpen to some of the big league hitters. After I finished my outing, I approached Josh Donaldson and asked what he saw when I threw to him. Andrelton Simmons joined the conversation too after a little while. So the three of us ended up talking about hitting approaches and how to attack hitters for about a half hour after that.” David Banuelos, a catcher the Twins acquired in a trade with the Mariners before the 2018 season. He is known as a defense-first catcher, but he considered his first big league spring training (as a Non-Roster Invite) a “great experience,” one he learned a lot from. Banuelos also mentioned the Twins third baseman and former AL MVP.. “Listening to Donaldson talk about hitting was really cool. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit.” One of his two spring hits was a long home run on a Donaldsonic swing. Spencer Steer was the Twins third round pick in 2019 from the University of Oregon. He was not on the original spring roster, but when Chris Williams hurt his shoulder in one of the first spring games, Steer was added to the depth group. He said, “The entire experience was incredible. I went from not knowing when I was reporting to minor league camp, to working out alongside big leaguers within a couple of days. It was a lot of fun to be able to watch the best of the best up close. I was able to learn a lot by just watching how they went about their work everyday.” In 11 games played, he had two hits in eight at bats including a long, opposite field home run. Starting pitchers Winder and Canterino are now in Ft. Myers, working to prepare and stretch out for their 2021 minor league seasons. Banuelos and Steer will be playing their first spring training games today in Ft. Myers. Relievers Mason and Hackimer are in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site preparing for their seasons and preparing themselves and others to possibly help the big-league club as we await the start of the season. More Minor League Notes Just a couple quick Twins minor league notes: Royce Lewis on Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander This week, Twins shortstop prospect Royce Lewis was on the FOX Sports Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlandershow. Lewis talked about a number of topics from the roles that guys like Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz have played in his life and development. He talked some about his recovery from ACL surgery. He also talks about wine, and many other topics. It’s a fun interview. Twins Sign More International Free Agents When the international signing period opened on January 15th, the Twins signed several players including top shortstop prospects Danny De Andrade and Fredy LaFlor. In the past weeks, the Twins have signed a few more players including right-handed pitcher Jose Olivares. Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote this of Oliveres: “For a while, Olivares trained as an outfielder in Venezuela, but he took off once he moved to the mound, with his velocity popping at games in the Dominican Republic last year. Previously eligible to sign in 2019, Olivares is now an 18-year-old righthander with a sturdy, physically mature frame and a fastball that has been up to 96 mph with lively riding life up in the zone. He pairs it with a good curveball that's more advanced than his changeup.” More Twins minor league coverage to come. Keep checking back. Click here to view the article
  5. Two years ago, our 2019 Honorable Mentions included Luis Arraez who went on to be the team’s top rookie that season. It also included Jordan Balazovic who jumped into the top five the next season. In last year’s Honorable Mentions, you’ll find Jorge Alcala who had just been shifted from starting pitcher to a reliever. We saw his impressive rookie season in 2020. So which players who received votes this year will climb the prospect ladder in 2021 and maybe even contribute to the big league club this year? This year’s prospect rankings are difficult. Because of the pandemic, there wasn’t a 2020 minor league season. Some of the top prospects spent the summer at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Some even made their MLB debuts. The minor leaguers did report to spring training, several had been there for weeks before being sent home. Some players went to Instructional League and there were some reports from there. Before we start, the following players are no longer “prospects” according to Baseball-Reference: Jorge Alcala, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe, Cody Stashak and Devin Smeltzer. HARD-THROWING PITCHERS The Twins’ player development group has done a nice job in recent years developing arms in the minor leagues. The next step will be seeing those pitchers work their way to the big leagues. There are some strong pitchers in the top 20, but there are a few impressive arms in our honorable mentions as well. Josh Winder was the talk of the Twins Instructional League after the missed 2020 season. He is a big, strong kid whose fastball jumped up to 97 mph this past fall. Chris Vallimont throws just as hard. He came to the Twins in the Sergio Romo trade late in 2019. Luis Rijo is the youngest of the group, and he too is reaching into the mid-to-upper 90s with his fastball. When the Twins acquired him from the Yankees in the Lance Lynn deal, he was touted as an advanced pitcher. He still has a good mix, but now with the increased velocity too. Dakota Chalmers came to the Twins in the Fernando Rodney deal with the A’s. He was coming off of Tommy John and completed his rehab in 2019. He was added to the 40 man roster and spent his 2020 summer at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. ALREADY DEBUTED Travis Blankenhorn made his MLB debut in September with one game played. His role will likely be a versatile utility player with some power. We will likely see him some in 2021, but he will see most of his time in St. Paul. COMEBACK KIDS? Wander Javier was once a top ten, and even a top five prospect for many in the Twins system. Unfortunately, he has missed about three of the past five seasons due to injury and then last year’s lost season. He struggled at Cedar Rapids in 2019. Despite that, he is ultra-talented and just turned 22 years old in late December. Yunior Severino was set to return in 2020 after breaking his thumb early in the 2019 season. He was twice a seven-figure international free agent, and he will be just 21 throughout the 2021 season. He likely is a second baseman, but he has a lot of offensive potential. WE HARDLY KNOW YE Spencer Steer was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2019 out of the University of Oregon. He had an impressive pro debut that summer but didn’t get the opportunity to back that up in 2020. That year, the Twins also selected shortstop Will Holland in the fifth round. In 36 games at E-Town, he hit seven homers and stole eight bases. His college teammate at Auburn was Edouard Julien, an infielder that the Twins took in the 18th round. Unfortunately, he was hurt during the Pan Am Games and had Tommy John surgery and hasn’t yet made his pro debut. Seth Gray is a very talented third baseman that was the Twins fourth round pick in 2019. He’s got a lot of power potential. In the 2020 draft, the Twins took right-handed pitcher Marco Raya in the fourth round. He’s got an impressive pitch mix and can throw hard. He’ll need to gain strength, but he’s certainly got some potential to move up this list. Then in the fifth round, the team took outfielder Kala’i Rosario. The Hawaii native has as much power as any prep player in last year’s draft. Emmanuel Rodriguez signed a seven-digit bonus with the Twins in 2019. He was set to begin his professional career in the DSL in 2020, but instead we will begin in 2021. It was just last month that the Twins signed 16-year-old shortstop Danny De Andrade for $2.2 million. The Venezuelan was one of this year’s top international prospects. For each of these players, 2021 will be their first opportunity to make a real impression. Some may move up this list next year. Some may find themselves outside of this list. That is a lot of talent, and those are guys who rank outside of the Twins Daily Top 20 prospects. Check back over the next two weeks to see who our 2021 Top 20 Twins Prospects are.
  6. Today is one of the biggest releases on the calendar in the hobby world. As Topps pumps out the latest Bowman Draft product, collectors feast their eyes on an opportunity to grab autographs and cardboard of the next great stars. For the Minnesota Twins specifically, a Bowman product hasn’t been this exciting in a few years. While collecting sports cards is a hobby, a large contingent of its appeal is monetarily driven and provides an aspect of gambling. Outside of buying specific cards you covet on secondary markets, opening boxes or packs leaves the consumer fully open to chance. With Bowman that reality is heightened given the nature of the product. Up and coming prospects are put in their major league uniforms, and for many, it will be their first professional cards. From a desire perspective it’s the “1st Bowman” card that reigns supreme. Mike Trout’s fetch more than $20,000, and while no one else is on that pedestal, plenty of players routinely top the $1,000 mark on an annual basis. At the most fundamental level, you’re looking for strong prospects with youth and talent on their side, with the understanding that hitters are more desirable than pitchers. In Draft, which features the top picks from the previous amateur cycle, Minnesota has five key subjects. Let’s get into what their potential, cardboard and baseball, may look like. Matt Wallner- OF 1st Round 2019 Age 21 A decent comp within the Twins system would be Brent Rooker, although the Minnesota native has youth on his side. Wallner pitched as Southern Miss as well, but he’s being groomed solely for his bat after being taken in the first round. There’s plenty of power potential here as he set college records, and his eight professional dingers in 65 games was a nice start. Wallner is the type of hobby player that sits in the middle. He’ll hit a boatload of homers, but the position and other abilities leave him with some bust potential. Given his hometown narrative, he could be coveted by Twins collectors, but this should remain an affordable chase player. Keoni Cavaco- SS 1st Round 2019 Age 18 A helium pick for the Twins, Cavaco played in 25 games after being the 13th overall pick. He didn’t show well owning just a .470 OPS in the GCL, but there’s reason to call that expected. He came into his own during the showcase circuit, and pro ball is going to be yet another leap. Minnesota obviously sees all-around promise and continuing his development should only raise his overall ceiling. In the card world he could soon become an expensive get. Youth is in his corner, and talent is through the roof. The minute results follow, there’ll be a clamoring for his cardboard. Anthony Prato- INF 7th Round 2019 Age 21 Taken after his junior season at Uconn, Prato is an up-the-middle player that the Twins see promise in. He played in 45 games for Elizabethton while getting in two at the next level for Cedar Rapids. He’s not a power guy, but he can swipe bases and hit the gaps. That profile is much more beneficial on the diamond than it is in the baseball card realm. He could be a solid utility player at the big-league level, but his cards aren’t going to see much of a jump unless there’s a shift in projection. Matt Canterino- SP 2nd Round Age 21 Another Conference USA product, Canterino was taken in a class with Wallner, who he is very familiar with. Arguably the best projected player of Minnesota’s 2019 class right now, the pitcher posted a 1.44 ERA across his first seven professional starts. He’s got a quirky delivery, but he’ll mow down hitters and has an advanced approach on the mound. There’s middle-of-the-rotation upside here for Minnesota and that’s great news for the big-league club. Pitchers aren’t highly collectible however, and that generally mutes prices significantly. With the volatility of injury or ineffectiveness as well, there should be no reason this is ever more than an entry level purchase. Spencer Steer- INF 3rd Round Age 21 After playing for the Oregon Ducks across three seasons, Steer was selected by the Twins and made quite the impression. His .949 OPS at Elizabethton earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids. In 44 games there he owned a .745 OPS still buoyed by a strong OBP. He’s always controlled the strike zone well, and he should have some potential to grow into power. Steer isn’t going to light the world on fire, but he’s probably got the safest floor of anyone that made it into the product for Minnesota. An affordable autograph with staying power makes this one worthy of looking into. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  7. A list of previous winners of this award is comprised of an interesting trio. In 2016 it was the recently traded Lewin Diaz. Having broken out in a big way during 2019, he became a hot commodity and was the piece Miami coveted in exchange for big league reliever Sergio Romo. For his efforts in 2017 Akil Baddoo took home the honors. He played in just 29 games for High-A Fort Myers before needing season ending elbow surgery. Last year’s winner was Chris Williams who split time between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers this season. The goal with the Short Season Hitter of the Year award is to put a focus on both the GCL and Elizabethton clubs. While promotions are great for players, only their exploits in those respective leagues are to be considered. The seasons are shorter and the stats obviously have less ability to accumulate, but these bats all made an immediate and powerful impact. Previous Winners: 2016: Lewin Diaz 2017: Akil Baddoo 2018: Chris Williams Stay tuned to Twins Daily for the announcements of the rest of the minor league awards in the coming days. Before we profile the top five, here’re the guys that rounded out the Short Season Hitter of the Year ballots. Others Receiving Votes: Jeferson Morales, GCL Twins: 26-110, .236/.373/.436, 7 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI Seth Gray, Elizabethton Twins: 49-218, .225/.336/.445, 15 2B, 11 HR, 36 RBI Parker Phillips, GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins: 54-204, .265/.367/.407, 9 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 26 RBI Short Season Hitter of the Year: Here are the top five players for the Twins Daily Short Season Hitter of the Year 5. Albee Weiss, Elizabethton Twins: 25-96, .260/.295/.604, 4 2B, 3B, 9 HR, 25 RBI Weiss was selected in the 23rd round of the 2018 MLB draft. He played the entire season last year at Elizabethton and mustered just a .610 OPS in 36 games. Repeating the level this year, his power played significantly higher and he parlayed that in to opportunities with both Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. He’s split time between left field and first base during his professional career. 4. Max Smith, Elizabethton Twins: 61-213, .286/.353/.451, 12 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 28 RBI The Twins took Smith in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB draft out of UNLV. The Tucson, Arizona native was a senior sign and turned in a respectable debut season in pro ball. Power isn’t really his game, but seeing seven long balls show up in his first year is a nice development. A left-handed bat, he played primarily in left field for Elizabethton, but can man all three outfield spots. 3. Spencer Steer, Elizabethton Twins: 25-77, .325/.442/.506, 6 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI Minnesota made the former Oregon Ducks shortstop their third-round pick in the most recent amateur draft. It’s not surprising that a talent taken that high would be better than the rookie ball level, but Steer proved it quickly. He hit on a nightly basis and left Elizabethton with a .949 OPS. Moving up to Cedar Rapids, he was an important cog for a team with postseason aspirations. This is definitely a player to watch in the Twins system going forward. 2. Wander Valdez, GCL Twins: 30-93, .323/.382/.516, 6 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI Signed on the July 2 International Free Agent date back in 2016 as a 16-year-old, Valdez spent the past two seasons playing in the Dominican Summer League. In his first season on US soil the Twins got to see plenty of excitement from a talent they doled out a half-million to. Still young, power should be a developing aspect of the corner infielder’s game, but the impressive output during 29 games of GCL action is something to build off of. 1. Matt Wallner, Elizabethton Twins: 56-208, .269/.361/.451, 18 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI A hometown star from Forest Lake, Minnesota, Wallner was grabbed by the Twins with their 39th overall selection in the most recent MLB draft. After three great seasons for Southern Mississippi, and a handful of shattered Conference USA records, it was time to go pro. Wallner has an electric arm, but was drafted as a hitter for Minnesota. The power stroke is something of a calling card for him, and putting him in the same system as 2017 draftee Brent Rooker gives Minnesota two of the most accomplished Division I ballplayers of recent memory. For the Golden Eagles Wallner hit at least 16 homers in each of his collegiate seasons, and topped out with 23 as a junior in 2019. He owned a career 1.113 OPS across 189 games in Conference USA and left his mark all over the program. Talking with Wallner after the draft in June, he mentioned the level of excitement being taken by his hometown team saying, “It’s a dream come true and can’t wait to get started with the Twins organization.” Wallner was actually selected by the Twins out of high school in the 32nd round, but the intention then was always to go to school. He mentioned comparisons of his power-lefty style to Justin Morneau, and Minnesota fans would be elated to see that replicate itself at the highest level. Wallner earned a late season promotion to Cedar Rapids, and has been involved in a postseason run that will no doubt help development and growth down the line through valuable experience. Matt has operated entirely as a right fielder for Minnesota, and continuing to see his power play from that role as he helps teams at different levels throughout his journey to the big leagues will be must-watch excitement. The Ballots In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs- 1) Matt Wallner 2) Max Smith 3) Seth Gray 4) Parker Phillips 5) Wander Valdez Tom Froemming- 1) Matt Wallner 2) Albee Weiss 3) Seth Gray 4) Jeferson Morales 5) Wander Valdez Cody Christie- 1) Wander Valdez 2) Matt Wallner 3) Max Smith 4) Spencer Steer 5) Jeferson Morales Matt Braun- 1) Spencer Steer 2) Wander Valdez 3) Jeferson Morales 4) Albee Weiss 5) Matt Wallner Ted Schwerzler- 1) Spencer Steer 2) Albee Weiss 3) Wander Valdez 4) Matt Wallner 5) Jeferson Morales Steve Lein- 1) Matt Wallner 2) Max Smith 3) Wander Valdez 4) Seth Gray 5) Jeferson Morales Feel free to discuss. What do you think of our rankings? How would you rank them? How would your ballot look?
  8. Following the completion of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, organizations kick off their short season leagues. For the Minnesota Twins, their Gulf Coast team stays at the southern headquarters in Fort Myers, while the Appalachian League Elizabethton Twins head out to Tennessee. Both teams had plenty of intriguing names on them this season, and kicking off the awards swing, it’s the Twins Daily 2019 Short Season Hitter of the Year.A list of previous winners of this award is comprised of an interesting trio. In 2016 it was the recently traded Lewin Diaz. Having broken out in a big way during 2019, he became a hot commodity and was the piece Miami coveted in exchange for big league reliever Sergio Romo. For his efforts in 2017 Akil Baddoo took home the honors. He played in just 29 games for High-A Fort Myers before needing season ending elbow surgery. Last year’s winner was Chris Williams who split time between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers this season. The goal with the Short Season Hitter of the Year award is to put a focus on both the GCL and Elizabethton clubs. While promotions are great for players, only their exploits in those respective leagues are to be considered. The seasons are shorter and the stats obviously have less ability to accumulate, but these bats all made an immediate and powerful impact. Previous Winners: 2016: Lewin Diaz 2017: Akil Baddoo 2018: Chris Williams Stay tuned to Twins Daily for the announcements of the rest of the minor league awards in the coming days. Before we profile the top five, here’re the guys that rounded out the Short Season Hitter of the Year ballots. Others Receiving Votes: Jeferson Morales, GCL Twins: 26-110, .236/.373/.436, 7 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBISeth Gray, Elizabethton Twins: 49-218, .225/.336/.445, 15 2B, 11 HR, 36 RBIParker Phillips, GCL Twins/Elizabethton Twins: 54-204, .265/.367/.407, 9 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 26 RBIShort Season Hitter of the Year: Here are the top five players for the Twins Daily Short Season Hitter of the Year 5. Albee Weiss, Elizabethton Twins: 25-96, .260/.295/.604, 4 2B, 3B, 9 HR, 25 RBI Weiss was selected in the 23rd round of the 2018 MLB draft. He played the entire season last year at Elizabethton and mustered just a .610 OPS in 36 games. Repeating the level this year, his power played significantly higher and he parlayed that in to opportunities with both Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. He’s split time between left field and first base during his professional career. 4. Max Smith, Elizabethton Twins: 61-213, .286/.353/.451, 12 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 28 RBI The Twins took Smith in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB draft out of UNLV. The Tucson, Arizona native was a senior sign and turned in a respectable debut season in pro ball. Power isn’t really his game, but seeing seven long balls show up in his first year is a nice development. A left-handed bat, he played primarily in left field for Elizabethton, but can man all three outfield spots. 3. Spencer Steer, Elizabethton Twins: 25-77, .325/.442/.506, 6 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI Minnesota made the former Oregon Ducks shortstop their third-round pick in the most recent amateur draft. It’s not surprising that a talent taken that high would be better than the rookie ball level, but Steer proved it quickly. He hit on a nightly basis and left Elizabethton with a .949 OPS. Moving up to Cedar Rapids, he was an important cog for a team with postseason aspirations. This is definitely a player to watch in the Twins system going forward. 2. Wander Valdez, GCL Twins: 30-93, .323/.382/.516, 6 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI Signed on the July 2 International Free Agent date back in 2016 as a 16-year-old, Valdez spent the past two seasons playing in the Dominican Summer League. In his first season on US soil the Twins got to see plenty of excitement from a talent they doled out a half-million to. Still young, power should be a developing aspect of the corner infielder’s game, but the impressive output during 29 games of GCL action is something to build off of. 1. Matt Wallner, Elizabethton Twins: 56-208, .269/.361/.451, 18 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI A hometown star from Forest Lake, Minnesota, Wallner was grabbed by the Twins with their 39th overall selection in the most recent MLB draft. After three great seasons for Southern Mississippi, and a handful of shattered Conference USA records, it was time to go pro. Wallner has an electric arm, but was drafted as a hitter for Minnesota. The power stroke is something of a calling card for him, and putting him in the same system as 2017 draftee Brent Rooker gives Minnesota two of the most accomplished Division I ballplayers of recent memory. For the Golden Eagles Wallner hit at least 16 homers in each of his collegiate seasons, and topped out with 23 as a junior in 2019. He owned a career 1.113 OPS across 189 games in Conference USA and left his mark all over the program. Talking with Wallner after the draft in June, he mentioned the level of excitement being taken by his hometown team saying, “It’s a dream come true and can’t wait to get started with the Twins organization.” Wallner was actually selected by the Twins out of high school in the 32nd round, but the intention then was always to go to school. He mentioned comparisons of his power-lefty style to Justin Morneau, and Minnesota fans would be elated to see that replicate itself at the highest level. Wallner earned a late season promotion to Cedar Rapids, and has been involved in a postseason run that will no doubt help development and growth down the line through valuable experience. Matt has operated entirely as a right fielder for Minnesota, and continuing to see his power play from that role as he helps teams at different levels throughout his journey to the big leagues will be must-watch excitement. The Ballots In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs- 1) Matt Wallner 2) Max Smith 3) Seth Gray 4) Parker Phillips 5) Wander ValdezTom Froemming- 1) Matt Wallner 2) Albee Weiss 3) Seth Gray 4) Jeferson Morales 5) Wander ValdezCody Christie- 1) Wander Valdez 2) Matt Wallner 3) Max Smith 4) Spencer Steer 5) Jeferson MoralesMatt Braun- 1) Spencer Steer 2) Wander Valdez 3) Jeferson Morales 4) Albee Weiss 5) Matt WallnerTed Schwerzler- 1) Spencer Steer 2) Albee Weiss 3) Wander Valdez 4) Matt Wallner 5) Jeferson MoralesSteve Lein- 1) Matt Wallner 2) Max Smith 3) Wander Valdez 4) Seth Gray 5) Jeferson MoralesFeel free to discuss. What do you think of our rankings? How would you rank them? How would your ballot look? Click here to view the article
  9. On Friday night in Cedar Rapids, the Kernels won on a walk off hit for the third time in the last week. For the second time, infielder Spencer Steer provided that game-winning hit. The 2019 minor league regular season is running down. It’s been a long year for the players including the 2019 college draft picks whose seasons began in early February. Of the 2019 Twins draft picks, Steer has really been impressive. Recently we caught up with the third-round pick and got to know him.Spencer Steer was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He grew up an Angels fan, rooting for some really good, star-laden teams. Steer said, “I always loved Garrett Anderson, watching him play. Obviously I’ve loved watching Mike Trout the last eight years or so. It’s fun to be able to drive 20 minutes and watch him play.” That’s where he grew to love the game of baseball. He played at MIllikan High School where he starred on the baseball team for four seasons. He played in some Perfect Game events as well. “I got some great experience playing in those Perfect Game tournaments against that kind of competition.” In the offseason, Steer will head back to Eugene, take a few classes and enjoy spending time with his friends. Follow Spencer Steer on Twitter at @spenc__er. Click here to view the article
  10. Spencer Steer was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He grew up an Angels fan, rooting for some really good, star-laden teams. Steer said, “I always loved Garrett Anderson, watching him play. Obviously I’ve loved watching Mike Trout the last eight years or so. It’s fun to be able to drive 20 minutes and watch him play.” That’s where he grew to love the game of baseball. He played at MIllikan High School where he starred on the baseball team for four seasons. He played in some Perfect Game events as well. “I got some great experience playing in those Perfect Game tournaments against that kind of competition.” https://twitter.com/JimCrikket/status/1167631572369125376 Steer had been drafted before. He was selected by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. While he wasn’t against the idea of signing, he had a pretty strong commitment to the University of Oregon. “I was pretty set on going to school. I never took the draft for granted, and I didn’t want to close that door and completely shut it off. I really wanted that college experience. It wasn’t a tough choice given the circumstances.” In his first year with the Ducks, he played well and earned Freshman All-American honors. IT was a good learning season for him, and he took those experiences and when he became the veteran, he returned the favor. “It was a big change. The competition level was much better than what I was seeing in high school. I was playing against guys three or four years older than me. That was definitely a bit of an adjustment. But learning from the older guys when I was a freshman, learning from their experiences and how they’ve grown through their couple of years. Then as a junior, trying to help the freshman out, giving them advice, showing them the ropes, helping them make the adjustment that I had to make as a freshman.” He again played well as a sophomore and was given the opportunity to spend that summer playing in the Cape Cod League. “I played (summer ball) every year. I played three years of summer ball and before my junior year I played in the Cape. It was a great experience. It was a time to work on things, to refine your skills and develop new ones. My experience with summer ball was great.” This spring, he put together a really strong junior season. In 56 games, he hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 13 doubles and six homers. He was named first-time All Pac 12 on the field as well as an Academic All Pac 12 performer. It’s not always easy to balance with the schedules of a Division I athlete, but Steer credits the school for helping make it possible. “They gave us a bunch of resources at Oregon, tutors and support staff from the academic side of things. It’s amazing. They make it easier for us. They are able to help us out. The coaches are also good with scheduling, making sure we have enough time to get home after practice and do our academics.” Steer’s major is General Social Science with an emphasis in business. “I’m going back to Oregon this fall and hopefully getting to just a term away from graduating this offseason.” In talking with Steer, it was very clear that his time at Oregon was meaningful to and for him on and off the field. “The University of Oregon. The experience I had there with the coaching staff. Coach (George) Horton is a really great coach. He really prepared me for more than just baseball, but also for life outside of baseball. How to be a man. The culture we have at Oregon has taught me a lot about what it’s like to be a good teammate, to be a man, to love your family, to treat people with respect and all the lessons I’ve learned there.I just think that the experiences at Oregon have helped me to become the professional that I am.” Steer had already been drafted once, but as the 2019 draft approached, it was a different experience for him. This time, he was ready to begin his professional career and knew he had a chance to be drafted much higher. He began hearing from scouts last fall. He was also appreciative that scouts generally spent more time talking to coaches once the season started so that he could focus on just playing. “It started in the fall. They’d come in and see where your head was at. It was a different experience for me because I knew I wanted to take that next step in my career, and I knew I was ready for it.” One team that he did not talk to at all before the draft was the Minnesota Twins. “I didn’t hear anything from the Twins, surprisingly, until after the draft. I never heard anything from them prior to the draft.” Yet, the Twins obviously liked him enough and made him their third-round draft pick in June, the 90th overall draft pick this year. It isn’t unusual for teams to do this, to try to make it look (to other organizations) like they aren’t really all that interested, so that they have a better chance or some additional hope to draft him.) photo by Steve Buhr During the draft, Steer tried not to stress too much and was just hanging out in Eugene with a few friends and teammates. “It was a pretty special moment to hear my name that early in the draft. It didn’t really sink in until a couple of days later.” Soon after the draft, Steer was on a plane to Minneapolis where he met with the Twins front office, watched a game and signed a professional contract to play in the Minnesota Twins organization. He spent a little time in Ft. Myers and then made the trek north to start his career with the Elizabethton Twins. In 20 games, he hit .325/.442/.506 (.948) with 13 doubles and six home runs. He walked 15 times with just five strikeouts. “Elizabethton is a great place to start. It wasn’t too much adjusting. It was just playing baseball every day instead of every weekend. It was just the toll on your body was a little different, but I was able to experience that in summer ball. So it wasn’t too big of an adjustment.” The Twins felt he was ready to move up and sent him to the Cedar Rapids Kernels where, in 40 games, he has hit .265/.372/.406 (.778) with 13 doubles, two triples and two home runs. “You can notice that the pitching gets a little better. Guys have more control of their off-speed, and those pitches are a little better. Learn from the older guys on the team and seeing what their plan at the plate is and how they attack guys. Try to do as much as you can to learn every day and see what works best for you.” At E-Town, he played mostly shortstop. Since joining the Kernels, he’s mostly played third base though he has also been learning and getting time at second base. “For me defensively, the more defensive positions I can play, the better. I think my versatility is a huge advantage. I’m able to play all the positions in the infield. I’d say I’m probably most comfortable at third base because that’s where I’ve played the majority of my innings the last couple of years. But I’m starting to play a lot more second base here at Cedar Rapids .I played a lot of shortstop at Elizabethton. I think I’ve proved that I can play every spot. That’s a huge advantage to me.” For the most part, Steer has hit first or second. He’s had a couple of games in the middle of the order. “At this level, I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.” https://twitter.com/JimCrikket/status/1166177637812846597 In the offseason, Steer will head back to Eugene, take a few classes and enjoy spending time with his friends. Follow Spencer Steer on Twitter at @spenc__er.
  11. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Friday, starting with the transaction of the day. TRANSACTIONS Seth Gray was promoted from Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids. Albee Weiss was sent from Cedar Rapids to Elizabethton. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 6, Syracuse 1 Box Score The Red Wings utilized a bullpen game on Friday night. Conceivably, it was a bullpen game in which as many as five of the pitchers could be in a Twins uniform on Sunday, or certainly by Tuesday. Devin Smeltzer started and went the first two innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out three batters. Zack Littell struck out two and walked one in his inning. Brusdar Graterol struck out two in his perfect inning. Sam Clay gave up one run on four hits and a walk over two innings. He struck out five. Trevor Hildenberger faced six batters and got all six of them out. Ryne Harper got the ninth inning. With one out, he gave up two hits and a walk to load the bases. He ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts. Brandon Barnes went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs in the game. Ronald Torreyes went 2-for-3. Zander Wiel knocked his 24th home run. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Game 1 - Pensacola 3, Montgomery 2 Box Score Bryan Sammons put together another good start for the Wahoos. The lefty gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Anthony Vizcaya got the final four outs, two on strikeouts, to record the win. Royce Lewis got the scoring going with a solo home run in the top of the first inning. It was his second AA homer. In the fifth inning, Joe Cronin tied the game with his fifth Pensacola homer. In the top of the seventh, Travis Blankenhorn singled in Alex Kirilloff with what proved to be the winning run. Larnach and Ryan Jeffers were each 2-for-3 with a walk. Lewis and Blankenhorn were 2-for-4. Game 2- Pensacola 1, Montgomery 2 Box Score Griffin Jax started for the Wahoos. He gave up two runs on three hits over five innings. He walked on and struck out five batters. Jovani Moran struck out one in a perfect inning. Pensacola’s offense didn’t get much going. Travis Blankenhorn went 1-for-2 with a walk and his 18th home run. He also stole his 11th base. The two teams will not play on Saturday so that the Biscuits can attend the funeral of their teammate Blake Biven’s wife, child and mother-in-law. https://twitter.com/wsfa12news/status/1167462391396929536 MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers season was complete following their game on Thursday because of Hurricane Dorian. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1 Box Score For the second time this week, Spencer Steer has provided the Kernels with a walk- off win at home. It’s the third walk-off win this week for the Kernels. https://twitter.com/JimCrikket/status/1167631572369125376 The Kernels got some strong pitching in this game. Andrew Cabezas started and gave up five hits and three walks but no runs over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three. JT Perez came on and got all four batters he faced out. Nate Hadley gave up a game-tying run, but struck out five batters over the final two innings. DaShawn Keirsey provided the offense early. He had three hits. Gabe Snyder drove in Daniel Ozoria with a triple in the seventh inning to start the scoring. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ozoria reached on an error and ended up at second base. Steer followed with the winner. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Travis Blankenhorn, Pensacola Blue Wahoos PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-4, HR (2), R, RBI), Game 2 (0-2, BB, K, SB (6) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Game 1 (1-4, R), Game 2 (Did Not Play) #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (13 pitches, 10 strikes) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-3, BB, K), Game 2 (0-3, K) #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Play #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Season Complete #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Season Complete #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-3, BB), Game 2 (1-3, K) #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 1-4, BB, 2 R, RBI #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, BB, 2B(2) #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-4, RBI, K), Game 2 (1-2, BB, HR (18), R, RBI, SB(11) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Syracuse @ Rochester (5:05 CST) - TBD Pensacola @ Montgomery - Game moved ahead to a doubleheader on Friday, allowing the Montgomery team to attend the funeral of Blake Biven’s wife, baby and mother-in-law. Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:30 CST) - RHP Josh Winder (7-2, 2.68 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Friday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  12. There are many examples each season that remind us to put baseball games into proper perspective. Occasionally it comes in the form of a hurricane bearing down on Florida, cancelling the remainder of the Gulf Coast League and the Florida State League seasons. Pensacola played a doubleheader on Friday night, allowing their opponent the Montgomery Biscuits, to attend the funeral of their teammate’s wife, baby and mother-in-law. Hopefully we all have baseball in a proper perspective in our lives. These types of stories and events remind us of that too often. With that in mind… The Kernels won in yet another walkoff. Pensacola played two one-run games. Rochester displayed several pitchers we could see as early as tomorrow.Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Friday, starting with the transaction of the day. TRANSACTIONS Seth Gray was promoted from Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids. Albee Weiss was sent from Cedar Rapids to Elizabethton.RED WINGS REPORTRochester 6, Syracuse 1 Box Score The Red Wings utilized a bullpen game on Friday night. Conceivably, it was a bullpen game in which as many as five of the pitchers could be in a Twins uniform on Sunday, or certainly by Tuesday. Devin Smeltzer started and went the first two innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out three batters. Zack Littell struck out two and walked one in his inning. Brusdar Graterol struck out two in his perfect inning. Sam Clay gave up one run on four hits and a walk over two innings. He struck out five. Trevor Hildenberger faced six batters and got all six of them out. Ryne Harper got the ninth inning. With one out, he gave up two hits and a walk to load the bases. He ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts. Brandon Barnes went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs in the game. Ronald Torreyes went 2-for-3. Zander Wiel knocked his 24th home run. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Game 1 - Pensacola 3, Montgomery 2 Box Score Bryan Sammons put together another good start for the Wahoos. The lefty gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Anthony Vizcaya got the final four outs, two on strikeouts, to record the win. Royce Lewis got the scoring going with a solo home run in the top of the first inning. It was his second AA homer. In the fifth inning, Joe Cronin tied the game with his fifth Pensacola homer. In the top of the seventh, Travis Blankenhorn singled in Alex Kirilloff with what proved to be the winning run. Larnach and Ryan Jeffers were each 2-for-3 with a walk. Lewis and Blankenhorn were 2-for-4. Game 2- Pensacola 1, Montgomery 2 Box Score Griffin Jax started for the Wahoos. He gave up two runs on three hits over five innings. He walked on and struck out five batters. Jovani Moran struck out one in a perfect inning. Pensacola’s offense didn’t get much going. Travis Blankenhorn went 1-for-2 with a walk and his 18th home run. He also stole his 11th base. The two teams will not play on Saturday so that the Biscuits can attend the funeral of their teammate Blake Biven’s wife, child and mother-in-law. The Kernels got some strong pitching in this game. Andrew Cabezas started and gave up five hits and three walks but no runs over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three. JT Perez came on and got all four batters he faced out. Nate Hadley gave up a game-tying run, but struck out five batters over the final two innings. DaShawn Keirsey provided the offense early. He had three hits. Gabe Snyder drove in Daniel Ozoria with a triple in the seventh inning to start the scoring. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ozoria reached on an error and ended up at second base. Steer followed with the winner. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Travis Blankenhorn, Pensacola Blue Wahoos PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-4, HR (2), R, RBI), Game 2 (0-2, BB, K, SB (6) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Game 1 (1-4, R), Game 2 (Did Not Play) #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (13 pitches, 10 strikes) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-3, BB, K), Game 2 (0-3, K) #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - Did Not Play #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Season Complete #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Season Complete #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-3, BB), Game 2 (1-3, K) #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 1-4, BB, 2 R, RBI #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, BB, 2B(2) #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - Game 1 (2-4, RBI, K), Game 2 (1-2, BB, HR (18), R, RBI, SB(11) WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Syracuse @ Rochester (5:05 CST) - TBD Pensacola @ Montgomery - Game moved ahead to a doubleheader on Friday, allowing the Montgomery team to attend the funeral of Blake Biven’s wife, baby and mother-in-law. Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:30 CST) - RHP Josh Winder (7-2, 2.68 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Friday games or any other minor league topics you would like. Click here to view the article
  13. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with some awards and the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS The Red Wings announced that LHP Stephen Gonsalves ended his rehab and was transferred to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Also, OF Brent Rooker began a rehab appearance with the GCL Twins. OF Nelson Roberto was promoted from the DSL to the GCL. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Buffalo 5 Box Score Charlie Barnes made the start for the Red Wings. He gave up five runs on nine hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out two. Fernando Romero, Jake Reed and Sam Clay each threw a scoreless inning. Drew Maggi went 2-for-4 with a walk. Mike Miller was 2-for-4. Zander Wiel was also 2-for-4 and added his 38th double of the year. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Pensacola 4, Jackson 2 Box Score The Wahoos used a three-run bottom of the eighth inning to take the 4-2 win. Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade and Mark Contreras each knocked in a run in the inning. It was a bullpen game for Pensacola on Monday. Adam Bray started and gave up two runs on two hits over 2 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three batters. Anthony Vizcaya tossed scoreless 3 1/3 innings. He gave up just two hits, hit a batter and struck out two. Jovani Moran struck out three batters over the next 1 2/3 innings, and Jonathan Cheshire got the final four outs, two on strikeouts. Wade went 1-for-3 with a walk and the ninth-inning ground rule double. Ryan Jeffers added his fifth double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers, Dunedin Box Score A scheduled doubleheader with the Blue Jays was again rained out. They are hoping to play doubleheaders each of the next two days. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Peoria 6 (11 innings) Box Score The Kernels fell behind late, tied it in the bottom of the ninth, then tied it again in the bottom of the tenth. Unfortunately, they did not have an answer in the 11th inning to take the loss. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and down by a run, Spencer Steer doubled in a run, but a runner was thrown out at home to send the game to extra innings. Steer then scored on a ground out in the 10th inning to tie the game and send it to the 11th. Steer led the offense. He went 2-for-5 with his 10th and 11th doubles. Wander Javier went 2-for-3 with two walks and his ninth double. Gabe Snyder also had two hits. Kody Funderburk started. The southpay gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five batters. Nate Hadley came on and gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two. Ricky Ramirez worked one inning and gave up a run on two hits and a walk. Alex Schick worked three innings. He gave up an unearned run in the 10th and another in the 11th. (As you know, that means that the runners that started the inning on second base scored.) UPDATE - I apologize for not providing the Byron Buxton update initially. Here it is. He did not play last night due to wet playing conditions. He is expected to start, and play CF, for the Kernels tonight (Tuesday). E-TWINS E-NOTES E-Twins 1, Greeneville 0 Box Score Right-handed pitcher Cody Laweryson was the Twins 14th-round pick in June out of the University of Maine. On Monday night, he tossed six shutout innings. He gave up just three hits and didn’t issue a walk. He also struck out 15 batters in the game. https://twitter.com/ETwinsBaseball/status/1166155925545267200 Owen Griffith came on and worked the final three innings, keeping the shutout, and recording his first pro save. He gave up just one hit and struck out five batters. The Twins got their lone run when Janigson Villalobos hit his sixth double of the season to drive in Anthony Prato with the game’s only run. Will Holland went 2-for-3 and stole his eighth base. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins, GCL Rays Box Score The game was suspended in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Twins leading 2-0. The full story will come in Tuesday’s minor league report. However, a couple of quick notes from the early innings. First, non-drafted free agent Evan Gillespie tossed four scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out four batters. Luke Raley was 1-for-2 as he continued his rehab. He played center field. Brent Rooker made his first rehab appearance. He was 1-for-2 before the rains came. He played left field. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Cody Laweryson, Elizabethton Twins Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 0-3, R, 2 K, SB(5) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 0-3, BB #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, 2 BB, 2B(9) #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Game suspended #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 1-3, R, 2B(5) #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - No Game Scheduled #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-6, 2 K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 0-4, R, K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:35 CST) - RHP Kohl Stewart (8-5, 5.23) Jackson @ Pensacola (6:35 CST) - RHP Bailey (2-0, 0.64 ERA) Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (DH @ 1:00 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (2-4, 4.15 ERA), TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Luis Rijo (7-2, 2.82 ERA) Greeneville @ Elizabethton (5:30 CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00 CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  14. Generally speaking, players drafted in a given year are just getting adjusted to playing pro baseball, on and off the field. This year, several of their 2019 college draft picks have advanced to Cedar Rapids already. 14th-round pick Cody Laweryson made one start for the Kernels and tossed five scoreless innings. He's back with Elizabethton, and on Monday night he struck out 15 batters in six shutout innings. That kind of performance gets your recognized on Twins Daily, and I have a feeling that the Twins personnel who gets reports from the minor league coaching staff took notice of that performance too!Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with some awards and the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS The Red Wings announced that LHP Stephen Gonsalves ended his rehab and was transferred to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.Also, OF Brent Rooker began a rehab appearance with the GCL Twins.OF Nelson Roberto was promoted from the DSL to the GCL.RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Buffalo 5 Box Score Charlie Barnes made the start for the Red Wings. He gave up five runs on nine hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out two. Fernando Romero, Jake Reed and Sam Clay each threw a scoreless inning. Drew Maggi went 2-for-4 with a walk. Mike Miller was 2-for-4. Zander Wiel was also 2-for-4 and added his 38th double of the year. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Pensacola 4, Jackson 2 Box Score The Wahoos used a three-run bottom of the eighth inning to take the 4-2 win. Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade and Mark Contreras each knocked in a run in the inning. It was a bullpen game for Pensacola on Monday. Adam Bray started and gave up two runs on two hits over 2 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three batters. Anthony Vizcaya tossed scoreless 3 1/3 innings. He gave up just two hits, hit a batter and struck out two. Jovani Moran struck out three batters over the next 1 2/3 innings, and Jonathan Cheshire got the final four outs, two on strikeouts. Wade went 1-for-3 with a walk and the ninth-inning ground rule double. Ryan Jeffers added his fifth double. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers, Dunedin Box Score A scheduled doubleheader with the Blue Jays was again rained out. They are hoping to play doubleheaders each of the next two days. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Peoria 6 (11 innings) Box Score The Kernels fell behind late, tied it in the bottom of the ninth, then tied it again in the bottom of the tenth. Unfortunately, they did not have an answer in the 11th inning to take the loss. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and down by a run, Spencer Steer doubled in a run, but a runner was thrown out at home to send the game to extra innings. Steer then scored on a ground out in the 10th inning to tie the game and send it to the 11th. Steer led the offense. He went 2-for-5 with his 10th and 11th doubles. Wander Javier went 2-for-3 with two walks and his ninth double. Gabe Snyder also had two hits. Kody Funderburk started. The southpay gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five batters. Nate Hadley came on and gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two. Ricky Ramirez worked one inning and gave up a run on two hits and a walk. Alex Schick worked three innings. He gave up an unearned run in the 10th and another in the 11th. (As you know, that means that the runners that started the inning on second base scored.) UPDATE - I apologize for not providing the Byron Buxton update initially. Here it is. He did not play last night due to wet playing conditions. He is expected to start, and play CF, for the Kernels tonight (Tuesday). E-TWINS E-NOTES E-Twins 1, Greeneville 0 Box Score Right-handed pitcher Cody Laweryson was the Twins 14th-round pick in June out of the University of Maine. On Monday night, he tossed six shutout innings. He gave up just three hits and didn’t issue a walk. He also struck out 15 batters in the game. Owen Griffith came on and worked the final three innings, keeping the shutout, and recording his first pro save. He gave up just one hit and struck out five batters. The Twins got their lone run when Janigson Villalobos hit his sixth double of the season to drive in Anthony Prato with the game’s only run. Will Holland went 2-for-3 and stole his eighth base. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins, GCL Rays Box Score The game was suspended in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Twins leading 2-0. The full story will come in Tuesday’s minor league report. However, a couple of quick notes from the early innings. First, non-drafted free agent Evan Gillespie tossed four scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out four batters. Luke Raley was 1-for-2 as he continued his rehab. He played center field. Brent Rooker made his first rehab appearance. He was 1-for-2 before the rains came. He played left field. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Cody Laweryson, Elizabethton Twins Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 0-3, R, 2 K, SB(5) #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 0-3, BB #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2 K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, 2 BB, 2B(9) #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - Game suspended #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Rained Out #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Injured List (lower leg contusion) #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 1-3, R, 2B(5) #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - No Game Scheduled #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-6, 2 K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Injured List #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Injured (Tommy John) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Rochester) - Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - Season Complete #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 0-4, R, K TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Buffalo (6:35 CST) - RHP Kohl Stewart (8-5, 5.23) Jackson @ Pensacola (6:35 CST) - RHP Bailey (2-0, 0.64 ERA) Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (DH @ 1:00 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (2-4, 4.15 ERA), TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) - RHP Luis Rijo (7-2, 2.82 ERA) Greeneville @ Elizabethton (5:30 CST) - TBD GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00 CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like. Click here to view the article
  15. TRANSACTIONS RHP DJ Baxendale reinstated from the IL with Rochester. RHP Kohl Stewart recalled by Minnesota from Rochester. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 9, Norfolk 4 Box Score Rochester’s bottom three batters in the line-up combined for eight hits on the way to a convincing win. Tomas Telis and Jimmy Kerrigan both had two doubles. Ronald Torreyes had three big hits including a three-run home run to seal the deal in the ninth inning. The Red Wings didn’t even take full advantage of their opportunities because the club left 12 men on base and went 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position. In a bullpen game, Preston Guilmet started and allowed three runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. Carlos Torres was the next man up and he held Norfolk to one run over three innings. From there the bullpen went into shutdown mode. D.J. Baxendale, Cody Allen and Cody Stashak combined for 3 1/3 shutout innings to end the game. Allen allowed three walks, but he was able to escape without any damage. Stashak pitched a perfect ninth. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 0, Mississippi 1 Box Score The Blue Wahoos offensive out-hit the Braves 7 to 2, but Mississippi was able to come up with the one big hit in the game. Randy Dobnak pitched a complete game on 90 pitches (65 strikes) and struck out nine. In the bottom of the fifth, he surrendered a lead-off double and that runner would end up being the only score of the game. Pensacola had four opportunities with runners in scoring position, but none of them were successful. The club also failed to record any extra-base hits. Alex Kirilloff went 2-for-4 and he has multiple hits in three of his last five games. Trevor Larnach and Lewin Diaz both went 1-for-4. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 4, Tampa 5 Box Score Jordan Balazovic seemed to be cruising before running into trouble in the fourth inning as Tampa would score five runs with only three of them being earned runs. Ryan Costello committed a fielding error at first base with two outs that allowed another two runs to score. Balazovic struck out four and walked one in 4 2/3 innings. Tyler Watson was impressive as he kept Fort Myers within striking distance. He pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings with two strikeouts and two walks. It was his first appearance all season where he didn’t allow an earned run. Fort Myers had held Tampa scoreless for 20 straight innings in the series before the fourth inning in this one. The Miracle tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fourth as Ryan Jeffers (walk) and Costello (single) both reached to start the inning. After Jose Miranda grounded into a double play, Trey Cabbage hit a triple and he ended up scoring on the play after an error by the center fielder to make the score 5-2. In the bottom of the sixth, some of the same names were involved in a crooked inning. Jeffers was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a Costello double. Miranda drove in Jeffers with a sacrifice fly and Andrew Bechtold added another sacrifice fly later in the inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Lake County 4 Box Score Cedar Rapids scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to improve to 14 games over .500 on the season. The Kernel’s took the lead in a unique way as well. Originally the official scorer gave Spencer Steer a straight steal of home for what turned out to be the winning run. Eventually, it was changed to a run via balk. In the game, Steer went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two doubles. He’s been on fire since being promoted from E-Town going 6-for-16 with three extra-base hits. Gabe Snyder, playing in his second professional game in his home state, also had a good day at the plate. He reached base three times and hit his tenth home run of the season. He is tied with Chris Williams and Jared Akins for the team-lead in homers. Cedar Rapids clinched their eighth straight series victory over Lake County. On the mound, Luis Rijo did just enough to put the Kernels in position to win. He allowed four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk. J.T. Perez and Rickey Ramirez combined for three shutout innings to close the door. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 2, Greeneville 6 Box Score This game started as a pitcher’s duel with neither arm surrendering a run until the fifth inning. However, the wheels came off for Andriu Marin in that inning as he allowed five runs and he wasn't be able to finish the frame. Overall, he allowed five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. He collected 13 total outs and eight of them came via the strikeout. Ryan Shreve gave up one run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings with a couple of strikeouts. Steven Cruz struck out four in two perfect innings. With one out in the seventh, Kidany Salva singled to try to start the rally. After a strikeout, Rueben Santana singled to put a runner in scoring position with two down. Charles Mack knocked in both baserunners with a single of his own and the E-Twins were on the board, but it wouldn’t be enough. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Randy Dobnak, Pensacola (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 9 K, BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Ronald Torreyes, Rochester (3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Fort Myers) – 1-4, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 2-4 #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) – 1-4 #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-4, 3 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 1 BB #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) – No game #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Injured list #9 - Jhoan Duran (Fort Myers) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 1-6, 2 RBI, 3 K #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Fort Myers) – 0-2, 2 R, BB #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) – 1-2, 2B, R, BB #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – Did not play #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) – Did not play #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) – Injured list FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Gwinnett (6:05 CST) – RHP Drew Hutchison (1-1, 6.84 ERA) Pensacola @ Mississippi (6:35 CST) – RHP Charlie Barnes (2-2, 3.40 ERA) Fort Myers @ Florida (5:00 CST) – RHP Blayne Enlow (2-2, 2.80 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Lake County (6:00 CST) – RHP Andrew Cabezas (4-5, 3.66 ERA) Elizabethton @ Greeneville (5:30 CST) – TBD GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox (11:00 AM CST) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games.
  16. With the trade deadline looming, some of the team’s top prospects must wonder if they will have a new address in the next two weeks. No matter the organization, each player is still trying to reach their ultimate goal of being a big leaguer. Few players can say they have reached this goal and it won’t matter what team name is on the front of the jersey when they step on the field for the first time. Did any players get closer to their ultimate goal on Thursday? Read on to find out.TRANSACTIONS RHP DJ Baxendale reinstated from the IL with Rochester. RHP Kohl Stewart recalled by Minnesota from Rochester. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 9, Norfolk 4 Box Score Rochester’s bottom three batters in the line-up combined for eight hits on the way to a convincing win. Tomas Telis and Jimmy Kerrigan both had two doubles. Ronald Torreyes had three big hits including a three-run home run to seal the deal in the ninth inning. The Red Wings didn’t even take full advantage of their opportunities because the club left 12 men on base and went 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position. In a bullpen game, Preston Guilmet started and allowed three runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. Carlos Torres was the next man up and he held Norfolk to one run over three innings. From there the bullpen went into shutdown mode. D.J. Baxendale, Cody Allen and Cody Stashak combined for 3 1/3 shutout innings to end the game. Allen allowed three walks, but he was able to escape without any damage. Stashak pitched a perfect ninth. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 0, Mississippi 1 Box Score The Blue Wahoos offensive out-hit the Braves 7 to 2, but Mississippi was able to come up with the one big hit in the game. Randy Dobnak pitched a complete game on 90 pitches (65 strikes) and struck out nine. In the bottom of the fifth, he surrendered a lead-off double and that runner would end up being the only score of the game. Pensacola had four opportunities with runners in scoring position, but none of them were successful. The club also failed to record any extra-base hits. Alex Kirilloff went 2-for-4 and he has multiple hits in three of his last five games. Trevor Larnach and Lewin Diaz both went 1-for-4. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 4, Tampa 5 Box Score Jordan Balazovic seemed to be cruising before running into trouble in the fourth inning as Tampa would score five runs with only three of them being earned runs. Ryan Costello committed a fielding error at first base with two outs that allowed another two runs to score. Balazovic struck out four and walked one in 4 2/3 innings. Tyler Watson was impressive as he kept Fort Myers within striking distance. He pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings with two strikeouts and two walks. It was his first appearance all season where he didn’t allow an earned run. Fort Myers had held Tampa scoreless for 20 straight innings in the series before the fourth inning in this one. The Miracle tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fourth as Ryan Jeffers (walk) and Costello (single) both reached to start the inning. After Jose Miranda grounded into a double play, Trey Cabbage hit a triple and he ended up scoring on the play after an error by the center fielder to make the score 5-2. In the bottom of the sixth, some of the same names were involved in a crooked inning. Jeffers was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a Costello double. Miranda drove in Jeffers with a sacrifice fly and Andrew Bechtold added another sacrifice fly later in the inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Lake County 4 Box Score Cedar Rapids scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to improve to 14 games over .500 on the season. The Kernel’s took the lead in a unique way as well. Originally the official scorer gave Spencer Steer a straight steal of home for what turned out to be the winning run. Eventually, it was changed to a run via balk. In the game, Steer went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two doubles. He’s been on fire since being promoted from E-Town going 6-for-16 with three extra-base hits. Gabe Snyder, playing in his second professional game in his home state, also had a good day at the plate. He reached base three times and hit his tenth home run of the season. He is tied with Chris Williams and Jared Akins for the team-lead in homers. Cedar Rapids clinched their eighth straight series victory over Lake County. On the mound, Luis Rijo did just enough to put the Kernels in position to win. He allowed four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk. J.T. Perez and Rickey Ramirez combined for three shutout innings to close the door. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 2, Greeneville 6 Box Score This game started as a pitcher’s duel with neither arm surrendering a run until the fifth inning. However, the wheels came off for Andriu Marin in that inning as he allowed five runs and he wasn't be able to finish the frame. Overall, he allowed five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. He collected 13 total outs and eight of them came via the strikeout. Ryan Shreve gave up one run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings with a couple of strikeouts. Steven Cruz struck out four in two perfect innings. With one out in the seventh, Kidany Salva singled to try to start the rally. After a strikeout, Rueben Santana singled to put a runner in scoring position with two down. Charles Mack knocked in both baserunners with a single of his own and the E-Twins were on the board, but it wouldn’t be enough. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Randy Dobnak, Pensacola (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 9 K, BB) TD Hitter of the Day- Ronald Torreyes, Rochester (3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Fort Myers) – 1-4, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 2-4 #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured List (shoulder) #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) – 1-4 #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-4, 3 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 1 BB #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) – No game #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) – Injured list #9 - Jhoan Duran (Fort Myers) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) – 1-6, 2 RBI, 3 K #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Fort Myers) – 0-2, 2 R, BB #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) – 1-2, 2B, R, BB #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – Did not play #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) – Did not play #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) – Injured list FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Gwinnett (6:05 CST) – RHP Drew Hutchison (1-1, 6.84 ERA) Pensacola @ Mississippi (6:35 CST) – RHP Charlie Barnes (2-2, 3.40 ERA) Fort Myers @ Florida (5:00 CST) – RHP Blayne Enlow (2-2, 2.80 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Lake County (6:00 CST) – RHP Andrew Cabezas (4-5, 3.66 ERA) Elizabethton @ Greeneville (5:30 CST) – TBD GCL Twins vs. GCL Red Sox (11:00 AM CST) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Thursday’s games. 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