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  1. The St. Paul Saints have three of the best hitting prospects for Minnesota at the top of their lineup and each looked the part tonight. Down in Florida, Kyle Schmidt flexed his muscles and pitching was lights out from Steven Hajjar. Transactions: RHP Ben Gross placed on Injured List by Wichita SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 1 Box Score St. Paul gave the ball to Mario Sanchez tonight and he was great. Working six innings, Sanchez allowed just one run on four hits while striking out five and walking none. Even without the offensive explosion, he’d have kept the good guys in it. Getting behind 1-0 on some poor throwing in the 1st inning, St. Paul charged back in the 4th inning. Alex Kirilloff flashed some much-needed power with a two-run homer to right-center that also brought in Royce Lewis. Tonight was Lewis' second game at the hot corner for St. Paul and he quickly saw the opportunity for a web gem. In the 5th inning the Saints continued to add and did so in a big way. First Lewis drove in Derek Fisher with a single. Then Kirilloff singled to right scoring Lewis, and Spencer Steer followed with his first Triple-A home run, a two-run blast plating Kirilloff. The Saints weren’t satisfied with their lead and Jose Godoy drove in a run with Jermaine Palacios scoring on his ground out in the 6th inning before Mark Contreras drove in Kirilloff with a single of his own. Now up by seven runs, St. Paul had seen plenty of production from their 10 hits tonight. Lewis, Kirilloff, and Steer all had multi-hit games tonight for St. Paul. WIND SURGE WISDOM Corpus Christi 9, Wichita 5 Box Score Twins pitching prospect Blayne Enlow was making his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery tonight. It was a rough one as he allowed five runs on five hits in just three innings. Although Enlow struck out three batters, he walked four and his season ERA is up to 7.59. Wichita jumped out to an early lead with Chris Williams launching a three-run blast in the top of the 1st inning. It was his second dinger of the year. Corpus Christi immediately answered with two of their own in the bottom half. Matt Wallner, who’s been going very well at the plate of late, launched his 9th home run in the 3rd inning. With Austin Martin on base, Wallner’s homer was a two-run blast and erased the two earlier Corpus Christi runs. Although Martin is going through it offensively, he did swipe his 19th base of the season tonight. Unfortunately that’s where the momentum shifted as the home team grabbed three runs in the bottom half of the third inning and then a two-run homer in the 5th inning put them on top for their first lead of the game. In the 7th inning Corpus Christi pushed across two more and the Wind Surge were looking at a four-run deficit. Scoring four runs on five hits was nice, but that wasn’t going to get it done for Wichita this evening. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Wisconsin 0 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long worked six innings tonight for the Kernels and he was sharp. Allowing no runs on just two hits, Gipson-Long worked around four walks and punched out seven. His season ERA drops to 2.15 with this performance. Neither team jumped out to an early lead, but Cedar Rapids was able to break the zeroes in the 5th inning. Recently promoted Kyler Fedko reached on a fielder’s choice with Jair Camargo scoring on a throwing error. Wander Javier then roped his 6th double of the season to score Seth Gray and Fedko before an Alerick Soularie ground out brought Javier home. Things again got quiet until the 7th inning when Aaron Sabato stepped in and grounded a single to center, scoring Anthony Prato. Cedar Rapids had a five-run lead and with Wisconsin generating just two hits on the night that seemed like plenty of breathing room. Still not content, the Kernels went back to work in the 8th inning. A Will Holland single plated Fedko again before a Prato single scored Alerick Soularie. Christian Encarnacion-Strand made his presence felt hustling down the line and giving Holland a chance to score on an errant throw. Then with two on, Sabato came through again and his 5th double of the season drove in Prato. Adding four more runs in, this one was over before Wisconsin would even get their last raps. Despite the run production, Prato was the only Cedar Rapids batter with a multi-hit effort on the evening. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Bradenton 0 Box Score Fort Myers turned to prospect Steven Hajjar tonight and he was nothing short of exceptional. Working 5 2/3 innings, Hajjar allowed just two hits and a walk. He punched out a whopping ten hitters and lowered his ERA to 2.17 on the season. Jumping on the board early, Fort Myers tallied their first run when Noah Cardenas put a ball in play to score Mikey Perez. Cardenas was doubled up on the grounder so no RBI was recorded, but it started the cascade in the run column. The 5th inning was highlighted in a big way when Kyle Schmidt went out deep to centerfield for a grand slam. Cardenas, Kala’i Rosario, and Dylan Neuse all touched home plate with him on the big fly. Two more came across in the 7th inning when a botched play at shortstop allowed both Emmanuel Rodriguez and Cardenas to scamper home. Rosario made sure the Mighty Mussels weren’t done when he pushed Keoni Cavaco across the plate on a force out. Following up his earlier grand slam, Schmidt added a solo shot in the 9th inning to push the lead back to seven. Giving up two runs to Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning, the six-run deficit was as close as they’d get. Tonight’s run production was a team effort as the lone batter for Fort Myers with two hits was Schmidt. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day – Kyle Schmidt (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR(4) Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, R, BB, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-5, 2 R, RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 2-4, R, 2B #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Covid-IL #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2 K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-2, RBI #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(9) #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, 3 K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(1) #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Wichita @ Corpus Christi (7:05PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:300PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  2. Devin Smeltzer provided seven shutout innings for the Minnesota Twins Thursday but got little support from his teammates. The Royals prevailed as Tyler Duffey gave up three runs in relief and the bats went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Down on the farm, Steve Hajjar continued to dominate for Fort Myers, striking out 10 more batters, Royce Lewis had a web gem at third base and both Alex Kirilloff and Spencer Steer homered for the Saints. All that and more in tonight’s system recap.
  3. Devin Smeltzer provided seven shutout innings for the Minnesota Twins Thursday but got little support from his teammates. The Royals prevailed as Tyler Duffey gave up three runs in relief and the bats went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Down on the farm, Steve Hajjar continued to dominate for Fort Myers, striking out 10 more batters, Royce Lewis had a web gem at third base and both Alex Kirilloff and Spencer Steer homered for the Saints. All that and more in tonight’s system recap. View full video
  4. Transactions: RHP Ben Gross placed on Injured List by Wichita SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 1 Box Score St. Paul gave the ball to Mario Sanchez tonight and he was great. Working six innings, Sanchez allowed just one run on four hits while striking out five and walking none. Even without the offensive explosion, he’d have kept the good guys in it. Getting behind 1-0 on some poor throwing in the 1st inning, St. Paul charged back in the 4th inning. Alex Kirilloff flashed some much-needed power with a two-run homer to right-center that also brought in Royce Lewis. Tonight was Lewis' second game at the hot corner for St. Paul and he quickly saw the opportunity for a web gem. In the 5th inning the Saints continued to add and did so in a big way. First Lewis drove in Derek Fisher with a single. Then Kirilloff singled to right scoring Lewis, and Spencer Steer followed with his first Triple-A home run, a two-run blast plating Kirilloff. The Saints weren’t satisfied with their lead and Jose Godoy drove in a run with Jermaine Palacios scoring on his ground out in the 6th inning before Mark Contreras drove in Kirilloff with a single of his own. Now up by seven runs, St. Paul had seen plenty of production from their 10 hits tonight. Lewis, Kirilloff, and Steer all had multi-hit games tonight for St. Paul. WIND SURGE WISDOM Corpus Christi 9, Wichita 5 Box Score Twins pitching prospect Blayne Enlow was making his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery tonight. It was a rough one as he allowed five runs on five hits in just three innings. Although Enlow struck out three batters, he walked four and his season ERA is up to 7.59. Wichita jumped out to an early lead with Chris Williams launching a three-run blast in the top of the 1st inning. It was his second dinger of the year. Corpus Christi immediately answered with two of their own in the bottom half. Matt Wallner, who’s been going very well at the plate of late, launched his 9th home run in the 3rd inning. With Austin Martin on base, Wallner’s homer was a two-run blast and erased the two earlier Corpus Christi runs. Although Martin is going through it offensively, he did swipe his 19th base of the season tonight. Unfortunately that’s where the momentum shifted as the home team grabbed three runs in the bottom half of the third inning and then a two-run homer in the 5th inning put them on top for their first lead of the game. In the 7th inning Corpus Christi pushed across two more and the Wind Surge were looking at a four-run deficit. Scoring four runs on five hits was nice, but that wasn’t going to get it done for Wichita this evening. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Wisconsin 0 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long worked six innings tonight for the Kernels and he was sharp. Allowing no runs on just two hits, Gipson-Long worked around four walks and punched out seven. His season ERA drops to 2.15 with this performance. Neither team jumped out to an early lead, but Cedar Rapids was able to break the zeroes in the 5th inning. Recently promoted Kyler Fedko reached on a fielder’s choice with Jair Camargo scoring on a throwing error. Wander Javier then roped his 6th double of the season to score Seth Gray and Fedko before an Alerick Soularie ground out brought Javier home. Things again got quiet until the 7th inning when Aaron Sabato stepped in and grounded a single to center, scoring Anthony Prato. Cedar Rapids had a five-run lead and with Wisconsin generating just two hits on the night that seemed like plenty of breathing room. Still not content, the Kernels went back to work in the 8th inning. A Will Holland single plated Fedko again before a Prato single scored Alerick Soularie. Christian Encarnacion-Strand made his presence felt hustling down the line and giving Holland a chance to score on an errant throw. Then with two on, Sabato came through again and his 5th double of the season drove in Prato. Adding four more runs in, this one was over before Wisconsin would even get their last raps. Despite the run production, Prato was the only Cedar Rapids batter with a multi-hit effort on the evening. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 8, Bradenton 0 Box Score Fort Myers turned to prospect Steven Hajjar tonight and he was nothing short of exceptional. Working 5 2/3 innings, Hajjar allowed just two hits and a walk. He punched out a whopping ten hitters and lowered his ERA to 2.17 on the season. Jumping on the board early, Fort Myers tallied their first run when Noah Cardenas put a ball in play to score Mikey Perez. Cardenas was doubled up on the grounder so no RBI was recorded, but it started the cascade in the run column. The 5th inning was highlighted in a big way when Kyle Schmidt went out deep to centerfield for a grand slam. Cardenas, Kala’i Rosario, and Dylan Neuse all touched home plate with him on the big fly. Two more came across in the 7th inning when a botched play at shortstop allowed both Emmanuel Rodriguez and Cardenas to scamper home. Rosario made sure the Mighty Mussels weren’t done when he pushed Keoni Cavaco across the plate on a force out. Following up his earlier grand slam, Schmidt added a solo shot in the 9th inning to push the lead back to seven. Giving up two runs to Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning, the six-run deficit was as close as they’d get. Tonight’s run production was a team effort as the lone batter for Fort Myers with two hits was Schmidt. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day – Kyle Schmidt (Ft. Myers) - 2-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR(4) Pitcher of the Day – Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, R, BB, K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-5, 2 R, RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 2-4, R, 2B #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Covid-IL #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2 K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 1-2, RBI #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(9) #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - Did Not Pitch #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, 3 K #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - Did Not Pitch #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(1) #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 5.2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez Wichita @ Corpus Christi (7:05PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:300PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  5. Cedar Rapids did not play on Wednesday due to poor weather. The three other Twins affiliates played tight, one-run games. A couple of Top 20 pitchers had big games. A couple of Top 10 hitters have multi-hit games. Read all about them and more in Wednesday's Minor League Report. Weather was a factor in just one of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Cedar Rapids Kernels game was postponed. They hope to play a doubleheader tomorrow. The Wind Surge hosted a whole bunch of students in an afternoon game. They got to see a couple of big innings, an extra inning and plenty of excitement. Ft. Myers saw one of its players knock their first professional home run, and it proved large in a one-run game. In addition, along with being named the Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Week, Mighty Mussels righty John Stankiewicz was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced that RHP Jharel Cotton has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to St. Paul. The Saints placed RHP Ian Hamilton on the 7-Day IL with a right groin strain. Ft. Myers placed RHPs Marco Raya and Niklas Rimmel on the 7-Day IL. Rimmel is out with a right shoulder impingement. Raya is getting his wisdom teeth removed. RHP Logan Campbell joins the Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Toledo 3 Box Score The Saints used one big inning and it was just enough for the pitching staff to hold on for the win. Mario Sanchez started and gave up one run on one hit (a solo homer). He walked two and struck out six batters. Dereck Rodriguez came on and completed three innings. He was charged with two unearned runs on two hits. He struck out five batters without any walks. Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Juan Minaya came on and struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning to record his third save. In the top of the third inning, Elliot Soto walked and advanced to third base on a Jose Miranda double. With Royce Lewis batting, Chase Anderson threw a wild pitch to score Soto. Lewis followed with a single to center to score Miranda. Later in the half-inning, Daniel Robertson singled in Jake Cave and Curtis Terry to give the Saints a 4-1 lead. Royce Lewis went 2-for-3 with a walk and his seventh double. Jose Miranda hit his fifth and sixth doubles. They combined for four of the Saints’ six hits, but they added six walks as well. The Saints are now 9-4. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 9, Midland 8 (10 innings) Box Score Things got a little wild in Wichita on Wednesday. First and foremost, we have to talk about Simeon Woods Richardson. The young right-hander tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six batters. Overall, he is up to 16 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run. Ben Gross came on and tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. The Wind Surge offense came in the third inning. Michael Helman singled in Alex Isola to get the Surge on the board. DaShawn Keirsey then scored on a wild pitch. First baseman Dennis Ortega drilled a triple to right-center which scored Spencer Steer and Helman. Matt Wallner followed by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field. New pitcher came in, and he was greeted by Kevin Merrell who hit his first Wichita homer and gave the team a 7-0 lead. That lead carried to the top of the ninth inning. Steven Cruz came on and was consistently sitting 98-100 mph with his fastball. However, the one issue he has had over his career has been control. He walked the leadoff batter, then hit the next guy. Austin Martin made another diving play at second base to get the first out at first base. But then Cruz walked another guy to load the bases. Then the 21-year-old made a mental error. Logan Davidson (former Twins outfielder Mark Davidson’s son) hit a bounding ball to first base. Dennis Ortego made the play, turned toward the bag, and no one was there. Cruz had forgotten to cover the base. Shutout over. And then a bases-loaded walk made it 7-2. Cruz then got a fly out to left field, which scored the third run, but also gave them two outs. However, another single to left scored a run and now it was 7-4. That was the end for Cruz. He was replaced by Argenis Angulo. He gave up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced. Tie game. He walked another, but then he got a strikeout to end the top of the ninth. The Wind Surge went scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and we had extra innings. Angulo started the 10th. With a runner on second base, a single moved him to third. A walk loaded the bases, and Davidson singled in the go-ahead run. Bases still loaded, just one out, but someone Angulo got out of the inning with a strikeout, a force out and another strikeout to end the threat. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Michael Helman started on second base. Ortega singled him to third. Wallner hit another sacrifice fly, scoring Helman and tying the game. However, the throw to the plate was cut off and a throw was made to first base. It got by and went down the line Ortega hustled to third base. Two batters were intentionally walked to load the bases. Alex Isola came up and on a 1-2 pitch, he drilled a line drive to the left-center field gap. Normally it would have been a double, but as soon as Ortega touched home plate, and Isola touched first base, the Wind Surge won in a walk-off. This was definitely a unique way to pick up the team’s sixth straight win. After starting 0-5, they are now 6-5. Isola and Keirsey each had two hits in the game. Spencer Steer had a double and two walks. Dennis Ortega had four hits. The minor-league veteran catcher (who has also played some at first base) went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs. He had a triple, a double, and a couple of singles in a game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids, Peoria (Postponed) Box Score Wednesday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Thursday, starting at 5:30. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 3 Box Score Down 2-0 heading into the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels got on the board with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Emmanuel Rodriguez. Then in the top of the seventh inning, Mikey Perez doubled in Kyle Schmidt. Later, Dylan Neuse hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot that gave the Mussels a 4-2 lead. They gave up one run in the bottom of the eighth inning but held on to the lead for the win. Kyler Fedko continued to rake. He went 2-for-4 and is hitting .432. Our choice for Minor League Hitter of the Week last week was Emmanuel Rodriguez. Along with three homers, he also had 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. A night after Marco Raya struck out ten batters in his second pro start, Steven Hajjar made his second pro start. He also struck out ten batters. In 4 1/3 innings, he gave up an unearned run. He gave up no hits and walked two batters. Regi Grace came on and got the next five outs, but not before giving up an unearned run on three hits and two walks. Sam Perez was also charged with an unearned run. Matthew Swain recorded his second save with one strikeout in a perfect ninth inning. The Mighty Mussels are now an impressive 9-2 on the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Dennis Ortega (Wichita) - 4-5, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2B (4), K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-3, BB, 2B (7), RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-5, R, 2-2B (6), K #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (65 pitched, 45 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-1, HBP #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 RBI (2-SF), 1 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, SF RBI, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, 2 BB, 2B (5), R. #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K (73 pitches, 47 strikes) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-1, 21.00 ERA) Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (DH @ 5:30 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (1-0, 2.00 ERA), RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 6.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, 15.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! View full article
  6. Weather was a factor in just one of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Cedar Rapids Kernels game was postponed. They hope to play a doubleheader tomorrow. The Wind Surge hosted a whole bunch of students in an afternoon game. They got to see a couple of big innings, an extra inning and plenty of excitement. Ft. Myers saw one of its players knock their first professional home run, and it proved large in a one-run game. In addition, along with being named the Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Week, Mighty Mussels righty John Stankiewicz was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. TRANSACTIONS The Twins announced that RHP Jharel Cotton has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to St. Paul. The Saints placed RHP Ian Hamilton on the 7-Day IL with a right groin strain. Ft. Myers placed RHPs Marco Raya and Niklas Rimmel on the 7-Day IL. Rimmel is out with a right shoulder impingement. Raya is getting his wisdom teeth removed. RHP Logan Campbell joins the Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Toledo 3 Box Score The Saints used one big inning and it was just enough for the pitching staff to hold on for the win. Mario Sanchez started and gave up one run on one hit (a solo homer). He walked two and struck out six batters. Dereck Rodriguez came on and completed three innings. He was charged with two unearned runs on two hits. He struck out five batters without any walks. Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Juan Minaya came on and struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning to record his third save. In the top of the third inning, Elliot Soto walked and advanced to third base on a Jose Miranda double. With Royce Lewis batting, Chase Anderson threw a wild pitch to score Soto. Lewis followed with a single to center to score Miranda. Later in the half-inning, Daniel Robertson singled in Jake Cave and Curtis Terry to give the Saints a 4-1 lead. Royce Lewis went 2-for-3 with a walk and his seventh double. Jose Miranda hit his fifth and sixth doubles. They combined for four of the Saints’ six hits, but they added six walks as well. The Saints are now 9-4. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 9, Midland 8 (10 innings) Box Score Things got a little wild in Wichita on Wednesday. First and foremost, we have to talk about Simeon Woods Richardson. The young right-hander tossed six scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six batters. Overall, he is up to 16 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run. Ben Gross came on and tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. The Wind Surge offense came in the third inning. Michael Helman singled in Alex Isola to get the Surge on the board. DaShawn Keirsey then scored on a wild pitch. First baseman Dennis Ortega drilled a triple to right-center which scored Spencer Steer and Helman. Matt Wallner followed by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field. New pitcher came in, and he was greeted by Kevin Merrell who hit his first Wichita homer and gave the team a 7-0 lead. That lead carried to the top of the ninth inning. Steven Cruz came on and was consistently sitting 98-100 mph with his fastball. However, the one issue he has had over his career has been control. He walked the leadoff batter, then hit the next guy. Austin Martin made another diving play at second base to get the first out at first base. But then Cruz walked another guy to load the bases. Then the 21-year-old made a mental error. Logan Davidson (former Twins outfielder Mark Davidson’s son) hit a bounding ball to first base. Dennis Ortego made the play, turned toward the bag, and no one was there. Cruz had forgotten to cover the base. Shutout over. And then a bases-loaded walk made it 7-2. Cruz then got a fly out to left field, which scored the third run, but also gave them two outs. However, another single to left scored a run and now it was 7-4. That was the end for Cruz. He was replaced by Argenis Angulo. He gave up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced. Tie game. He walked another, but then he got a strikeout to end the top of the ninth. The Wind Surge went scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and we had extra innings. Angulo started the 10th. With a runner on second base, a single moved him to third. A walk loaded the bases, and Davidson singled in the go-ahead run. Bases still loaded, just one out, but someone Angulo got out of the inning with a strikeout, a force out and another strikeout to end the threat. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Michael Helman started on second base. Ortega singled him to third. Wallner hit another sacrifice fly, scoring Helman and tying the game. However, the throw to the plate was cut off and a throw was made to first base. It got by and went down the line Ortega hustled to third base. Two batters were intentionally walked to load the bases. Alex Isola came up and on a 1-2 pitch, he drilled a line drive to the left-center field gap. Normally it would have been a double, but as soon as Ortega touched home plate, and Isola touched first base, the Wind Surge won in a walk-off. This was definitely a unique way to pick up the team’s sixth straight win. After starting 0-5, they are now 6-5. Isola and Keirsey each had two hits in the game. Spencer Steer had a double and two walks. Dennis Ortega had four hits. The minor-league veteran catcher (who has also played some at first base) went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs. He had a triple, a double, and a couple of singles in a game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids, Peoria (Postponed) Box Score Wednesday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Thursday, starting at 5:30. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 3 Box Score Down 2-0 heading into the sixth inning, the Mighty Mussels got on the board with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Emmanuel Rodriguez. Then in the top of the seventh inning, Mikey Perez doubled in Kyle Schmidt. Later, Dylan Neuse hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot that gave the Mussels a 4-2 lead. They gave up one run in the bottom of the eighth inning but held on to the lead for the win. Kyler Fedko continued to rake. He went 2-for-4 and is hitting .432. Our choice for Minor League Hitter of the Week last week was Emmanuel Rodriguez. Along with three homers, he also had 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. A night after Marco Raya struck out ten batters in his second pro start, Steven Hajjar made his second pro start. He also struck out ten batters. In 4 1/3 innings, he gave up an unearned run. He gave up no hits and walked two batters. Regi Grace came on and got the next five outs, but not before giving up an unearned run on three hits and two walks. Sam Perez was also charged with an unearned run. Matthew Swain recorded his second save with one strikeout in a perfect ninth inning. The Mighty Mussels are now an impressive 9-2 on the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Dennis Ortega (Wichita) - 4-5, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI. PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2B (4), K #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 2-3, BB, 2B (7), RBI #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-5, R, 2-2B (6), K #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (65 pitched, 45 strikes) #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-1, HBP #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 RBI (2-SF), 1 K #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, SF RBI, 3 K #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, 2 BB, 2B (5), R. #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K (73 pitches, 47 strikes) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - LHP Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Midland @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (0-1, 21.00 ERA) Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (DH @ 5:30 PM CST) - LHP Brent Headrick (1-0, 2.00 ERA), RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 6.00 ERA) Fort Myers @ Dunedin (5:30 PM CST) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, 15.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!
  7. Johan Santana had the most famous changeup in Twins history, but it took him time to find the pitch. Will any of these players improve their changeup as they get closer to Target Field? When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 5. Steven Hajjar, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55 Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55 Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 3. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup. 1. Jovani Moran, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70 Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Slider Prospects — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects View full article
  8. When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 5. Steven Hajjar, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55 Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55 Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 3. Matt Canterino, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60 Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup. 1. Jovani Moran, RHP Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70 Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Top Slider Prospects — Top Fastball Prospects — Top Power Tool Prospects — Top Hit Tool Prospects — Top Speed Tool Prospects
  9. In a new series at Twins Daily, JD Cameron looks at some of the Twins' early draft picks from 2021, what attracted the Twins to them, and storylines to watch for in 2022. Next up, the 98th overall pick, Cade Povich. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Cade Povich, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Nebraska. Scouting Grades: Unavailable The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Cade Povich with their third-round pick in the 2021 draft (98th overall) out of the University of Nebraska. Povich signed for a $500,000 bonus, slightly shy of the $593,000 slot value. Povich was not ranked in the MLB.com pre-draft process and was ranked #276 by Baseball America. One note on pre-draft rankings as several readers have alluded to them in the comments on previous entries in this series: outside of elite talents, don’t put too much stock in pre-draft rankings. Thirty of the recently released top 100 prospects at Baseball America were not drafted, at all, so take the pre-draft rankings for what they are worth. Povich was the second of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (behind Steven Hajjar in the second round). Povich, similarly to Hajjar, has a solid floor with which to become an MLB starting pitcher and adds another left-handed starting pitching prospect to a system bereft of them until the 2021 draft. Povich is 6’3 and 185 pounds had plenty of success in his time at Nebraska. He managed a 2.82 ERA in his final season, walking 19 and striking out 79 in 73 1/3 innings. Povich’s fastball operated between 89-93 mph in 2021, with questions about the consistency of its velocity similar to those posed by Hajjar’s in his final season at Michigan. Adding velocity for Povich should come easily as he fills out. Early reports from his time with the Twins suggest his fastball was already sitting in the 93-95 mph range. Early Success Povich impressed in his 2021 professional debut. He started three games and pitched in four between rookie ball and low A Fort Myers. When he moved to the Mighty Mussels he was particularly impressive, striking out 16 batters in eight innings of work as a starter and surrendering just a lone earned run. Povich’s impressive debut and added velocity led Baseball America to suggest he could move most quickly through the Twins system if he gets off to a fast start in 2022. In terms of his arsenal, Povich has used up to a five-pitch mix before, including a four-seamer, cutter, changeup, curveball, and slider. Povich’s curveball is his best secondary pitch and has an impressive 12-6 spin. When speaking with Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs, Povich mentioned he modeled his curveball after Clayton Kershaw's. Povich also boasts strong command and the ability to throw strikes, which, in combination with increased velocity will be important as his fastball doesn’t carry a ton of spin. In an additional sneaky skill, Povich has an excellent pickoff move, nabbing six batters in the 2021 college baseball season Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids A+). Conclusion Povich has a similar profile to Hajjar. He is a high-floor left-handed starting pitcher whose growing frame and increased velocity should allow him to move quickie through the Twins system. If Povich rises to meet his ceiling, he profiles as a middle rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the four draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Cade Povich ahead of the 2022 season? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller Twins Prospect Preview: Steven Hajjar View full article
  10. In a new series at Twins Daily, JD Cameron looks at some of the Twins' early draft picks from 2021, what attracted the Twins to them, and storylines to watch for in 2022. Next up, number 61 overall pick, Steven Hajjar. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Steven Hajjar, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Michigan. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45 (grades courtesy of MLB.com) Signing and Scouting The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar with their second-round pick in the 2021 draft (61st overall) out of the University of Michigan. Hajjar signed for the exact slot-bonus of $1.13 million. Coming into the draft, Hajjar was ranked as the #60 overall prospect by Baseball America and #100 overall by MLB.com. Hajjar was the first of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (ahead of Cade Povich in the third round). Hajjar, in line with other early picks outside the Twins first, has a strong all-around skill set and provides a solid floor as a prospect for the organization, who are continuing to add and develop a stable of pitching talent. It’s notable that Hajjar and Povich are the only left-handed starting pitchers who would feature in most evaluators' top Twins prospects lists. At 6’5 and 215 pounds. the 21-year-old southpaw has a prototypical starting-pitcher's body, while still being a little on the lanky side. Interestingly, Hajjar had a significant draft pedigree from his high-school career, when his fastball was already in the low 90s and he had more projectability. Despite not being able to establish his previous velocity (mid-90s fastball) in his final year at Michigan, he had an excellent season. Hajjar put together a 3.09 ERA over 81 innings, striking out 110 and walking 29 batters. In terms of his arsenal, Hajjar has a four-pitch mix led by a fastball that sits around 91 mph. Knowing the tendencies of the Twins, it's likely they feel they can re-up Hajjar’s fastball velocity to the 93-95 mph range, which would be of significant impact. Indeed, reports from Twins instructs in Florida has Hajjar’s fastball clocked at 97 mph when working with the organization coaching staff after he was drafted. If this increase sticks, it will alter Hajjar’s ceiling and possibly his trajectory as a prospect. Hajjar’s fastball does not have a lot of spin but good vertical movement. One would imagine the organization will encourage the establishment of his fastball up in the strike zone when he makes his professional debut. Hajjar has an excellent changeup that sits in the low 80s and falls away late in its plane. He has a slow 12-6 curveball and a slider he used more intermittently. It’s possible the Twins encourage him to ditch one of his breaking pitches in favor of refining the other, particularly given the quality of his changeup. Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids (A+) Hajjar has a strong floor as a rare left-handed starting pitcher in the Twins organization due to his size, excellent college career, and already well-developed pitching arsenal. Ultimately, his end-game will probably depend on the consistency with which he can increase his velocity as he develops, with the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the three draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Steven Hajjar ahead of his professional debut with the Twins? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller View full article
  11. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Cade Povich, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Nebraska. Scouting Grades: Unavailable The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Cade Povich with their third-round pick in the 2021 draft (98th overall) out of the University of Nebraska. Povich signed for a $500,000 bonus, slightly shy of the $593,000 slot value. Povich was not ranked in the MLB.com pre-draft process and was ranked #276 by Baseball America. One note on pre-draft rankings as several readers have alluded to them in the comments on previous entries in this series: outside of elite talents, don’t put too much stock in pre-draft rankings. Thirty of the recently released top 100 prospects at Baseball America were not drafted, at all, so take the pre-draft rankings for what they are worth. Povich was the second of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (behind Steven Hajjar in the second round). Povich, similarly to Hajjar, has a solid floor with which to become an MLB starting pitcher and adds another left-handed starting pitching prospect to a system bereft of them until the 2021 draft. Povich is 6’3 and 185 pounds had plenty of success in his time at Nebraska. He managed a 2.82 ERA in his final season, walking 19 and striking out 79 in 73 1/3 innings. Povich’s fastball operated between 89-93 mph in 2021, with questions about the consistency of its velocity similar to those posed by Hajjar’s in his final season at Michigan. Adding velocity for Povich should come easily as he fills out. Early reports from his time with the Twins suggest his fastball was already sitting in the 93-95 mph range. Early Success Povich impressed in his 2021 professional debut. He started three games and pitched in four between rookie ball and low A Fort Myers. When he moved to the Mighty Mussels he was particularly impressive, striking out 16 batters in eight innings of work as a starter and surrendering just a lone earned run. Povich’s impressive debut and added velocity led Baseball America to suggest he could move most quickly through the Twins system if he gets off to a fast start in 2022. In terms of his arsenal, Povich has used up to a five-pitch mix before, including a four-seamer, cutter, changeup, curveball, and slider. Povich’s curveball is his best secondary pitch and has an impressive 12-6 spin. When speaking with Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs, Povich mentioned he modeled his curveball after Clayton Kershaw's. Povich also boasts strong command and the ability to throw strikes, which, in combination with increased velocity will be important as his fastball doesn’t carry a ton of spin. In an additional sneaky skill, Povich has an excellent pickoff move, nabbing six batters in the 2021 college baseball season Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids A+). Conclusion Povich has a similar profile to Hajjar. He is a high-floor left-handed starting pitcher whose growing frame and increased velocity should allow him to move quickie through the Twins system. If Povich rises to meet his ceiling, he profiles as a middle rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the four draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Cade Povich ahead of the 2022 season? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller Twins Prospect Preview: Steven Hajjar
  12. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Steven Hajjar, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Michigan. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45 (grades courtesy of MLB.com) Signing and Scouting The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar with their second-round pick in the 2021 draft (61st overall) out of the University of Michigan. Hajjar signed for the exact slot-bonus of $1.13 million. Coming into the draft, Hajjar was ranked as the #60 overall prospect by Baseball America and #100 overall by MLB.com. Hajjar was the first of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (ahead of Cade Povich in the third round). Hajjar, in line with other early picks outside the Twins first, has a strong all-around skill set and provides a solid floor as a prospect for the organization, who are continuing to add and develop a stable of pitching talent. It’s notable that Hajjar and Povich are the only left-handed starting pitchers who would feature in most evaluators' top Twins prospects lists. At 6’5 and 215 pounds. the 21-year-old southpaw has a prototypical starting-pitcher's body, while still being a little on the lanky side. Interestingly, Hajjar had a significant draft pedigree from his high-school career, when his fastball was already in the low 90s and he had more projectability. Despite not being able to establish his previous velocity (mid-90s fastball) in his final year at Michigan, he had an excellent season. Hajjar put together a 3.09 ERA over 81 innings, striking out 110 and walking 29 batters. In terms of his arsenal, Hajjar has a four-pitch mix led by a fastball that sits around 91 mph. Knowing the tendencies of the Twins, it's likely they feel they can re-up Hajjar’s fastball velocity to the 93-95 mph range, which would be of significant impact. Indeed, reports from Twins instructs in Florida has Hajjar’s fastball clocked at 97 mph when working with the organization coaching staff after he was drafted. If this increase sticks, it will alter Hajjar’s ceiling and possibly his trajectory as a prospect. Hajjar’s fastball does not have a lot of spin but good vertical movement. One would imagine the organization will encourage the establishment of his fastball up in the strike zone when he makes his professional debut. Hajjar has an excellent changeup that sits in the low 80s and falls away late in its plane. He has a slow 12-6 curveball and a slider he used more intermittently. It’s possible the Twins encourage him to ditch one of his breaking pitches in favor of refining the other, particularly given the quality of his changeup. Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids (A+) Hajjar has a strong floor as a rare left-handed starting pitcher in the Twins organization due to his size, excellent college career, and already well-developed pitching arsenal. Ultimately, his end-game will probably depend on the consistency with which he can increase his velocity as he develops, with the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the three draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Steven Hajjar ahead of his professional debut with the Twins? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller
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