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  1. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2015 season was a compelling time in Twins Territory as the club finished in second place in the AL Central after four straight 90-loss seasons. An improved record meant Minnesota drafted in the middle of the 2016 MLB Draft instead of near the top. Because the team had the 15th overall pick, it can make it tougher to project which players will be available and how the team can get as much value as possible for their picks. Minnesota selected outfielder Alex Kirilloff out of high school in Pittsburgh, PA. He was known for his advanced hitting approach, which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. Out of players selected in the first round, Kirilloff (0.4 WAR) currently ranks 13th according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR. Eight players selected behind him rank higher in career WAR, including Will Smith (8.1 WAR), Dakota Hudson (4.5 WAR), Gavin Lux (4.3 WAR), and Eric Lauer (3.8 WAR). Many of these names played in college, so they were expected to debut before Kirilloff. Only three high school players taken in the first round have accumulated more WAR than Kirilloff (Lux, Ian Anderson, and Dylan Carlson). During the second round, the Twins had three different picks, and all three have made their debuts over the last two seasons. Minnesota selected Ben Rortvedt with the 56th overall pick, and he has been worth -0.1 WAR in 39 career games. He was included as part of the Josh Donaldson trade and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Rortvedt may never hit well enough to be an everyday catcher, but he is a solid backup with strong defensive skills. Later in the second round, the Twins had back-to-back picks and took Jose Miranda and Akil Baddoo. Miranda won the team’s minor league player of the year last year after dominating in the minor’s upper levels. His big-league career started slowly, but his bat is showing signs of the hitter he was last season. Over his last 16 games, Miranda has a 1.012 OPS with six doubles and three home runs. The Tigers selected Baddoo in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, and he posted a 111 OPS+ in 124 games last season. He started the 2022 season by going 7-for-50 (.140 BA), and he is currently in the minors trying to rediscover his swing. Minnesota’s third-round pick was Griffin Jax from the United State Air Force Academy. During his rookie campaign, the Twins used Jax as a starter, and he posted a 6.37 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP. There were some positive signs in his numbers as he did very well the first time through a line-up, so the team moved him to the bullpen for 2022. His transition to reliever has been outstanding as the team has relied on him to get some crucial outs this season. Jordan Balazovic ranks as one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, and the team took him with their fifth-round pick. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. His season started late as he dealt with a left knee strain, and he has made six starts at Triple-A this season, and he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.33 WHIP. If he can put together some more consistent outings, there will be an opportunity for him to debut in 2022. Tyler Wells is developing into a solid late-round pick by the Twins (453rd overall). Unfortunately, the Orioles selected him in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, so his value has been earned in a Baltimore jersey. His 1.8 WAR is the highest total of any Twins player taken in the 2016 Draft. Last season, he pitched out of the bullpen and posted a 109 ERA+ with a 0.91 WHIP. The Orioles moved him to the rotation this season, and he has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 12 starts. Kirilloff still has a long career ahead of him to accumulate value for the Twins, but there were other strong players in the first round that Minnesota passed over. Overall, the Twins found talent that is emerging at the big-league level, and the total value won’t be known for multiple more years. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Kirilloff? Should the team have left Baddoo and Wells unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2012 MLB Draft Retrospective
  2. Six years ago, the Twins had one of their strongest drafts in recent memory. All five of their top picks from that draft have debuted, so let’s look at how this draft unfolded. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2015 season was a compelling time in Twins Territory as the club finished in second place in the AL Central after four straight 90-loss seasons. An improved record meant Minnesota drafted in the middle of the 2016 MLB Draft instead of near the top. Because the team had the 15th overall pick, it can make it tougher to project which players will be available and how the team can get as much value as possible for their picks. Minnesota selected outfielder Alex Kirilloff out of high school in Pittsburgh, PA. He was known for his advanced hitting approach, which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. Out of players selected in the first round, Kirilloff (0.4 WAR) currently ranks 13th according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR. Eight players selected behind him rank higher in career WAR, including Will Smith (8.1 WAR), Dakota Hudson (4.5 WAR), Gavin Lux (4.3 WAR), and Eric Lauer (3.8 WAR). Many of these names played in college, so they were expected to debut before Kirilloff. Only three high school players taken in the first round have accumulated more WAR than Kirilloff (Lux, Ian Anderson, and Dylan Carlson). During the second round, the Twins had three different picks, and all three have made their debuts over the last two seasons. Minnesota selected Ben Rortvedt with the 56th overall pick, and he has been worth -0.1 WAR in 39 career games. He was included as part of the Josh Donaldson trade and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Rortvedt may never hit well enough to be an everyday catcher, but he is a solid backup with strong defensive skills. Later in the second round, the Twins had back-to-back picks and took Jose Miranda and Akil Baddoo. Miranda won the team’s minor league player of the year last year after dominating in the minor’s upper levels. His big-league career started slowly, but his bat is showing signs of the hitter he was last season. Over his last 16 games, Miranda has a 1.012 OPS with six doubles and three home runs. The Tigers selected Baddoo in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, and he posted a 111 OPS+ in 124 games last season. He started the 2022 season by going 7-for-50 (.140 BA), and he is currently in the minors trying to rediscover his swing. Minnesota’s third-round pick was Griffin Jax from the United State Air Force Academy. During his rookie campaign, the Twins used Jax as a starter, and he posted a 6.37 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP. There were some positive signs in his numbers as he did very well the first time through a line-up, so the team moved him to the bullpen for 2022. His transition to reliever has been outstanding as the team has relied on him to get some crucial outs this season. Jordan Balazovic ranks as one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, and the team took him with their fifth-round pick. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. His season started late as he dealt with a left knee strain, and he has made six starts at Triple-A this season, and he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.33 WHIP. If he can put together some more consistent outings, there will be an opportunity for him to debut in 2022. Tyler Wells is developing into a solid late-round pick by the Twins (453rd overall). Unfortunately, the Orioles selected him in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, so his value has been earned in a Baltimore jersey. His 1.8 WAR is the highest total of any Twins player taken in the 2016 Draft. Last season, he pitched out of the bullpen and posted a 109 ERA+ with a 0.91 WHIP. The Orioles moved him to the rotation this season, and he has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 12 starts. Kirilloff still has a long career ahead of him to accumulate value for the Twins, but there were other strong players in the first round that Minnesota passed over. Overall, the Twins found talent that is emerging at the big-league level, and the total value won’t be known for multiple more years. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Kirilloff? Should the team have left Baddoo and Wells unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2012 MLB Draft Retrospective View full article
  3. Every November, teams determine which minor leaguers they will add to their 40-man roster and hence, protect from losing in December’s Rule 5 draft. The decisions sometimes are difficult. Who might be selected? Who would be able to stick on the big-league roster throughout the season if they were selected? Twins Daily's Nash Walker breaks it down in the following video: Those decisions were made even more difficult last offseason by the lost minor league season due to the global pandemic. There weren’t as many data points for teams to evaluate, and in some cases, players had been away from team activities for six to eight months. Let’s just jump into it. AKIL BADDOO The Tigers selected outfielder Akil Baddoo with the second pick of the Rule 5 draft. Baddoo was an immensely talented prospect selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft. In 2018 at Cedar Rapids, he hit .243/.351/.419 (.770) with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers and 24 stolen bases. The season showed his skill set. He had a combination of speed and power, and while he didn’t hit for average, he knows the strike zone and took his walks. Unfortunately after just 29 games in Ft. Myers in 2019, in which he hit .214/.290/.393 with three doubles, three triples, four homers and six steals, Baddoo needed Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season. As the 2020 season approached, I talked to Baddoo in spring training. He felt great, but he would have started the season DHing and gradually getting more time in the outfield. With outfielders such as Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino ahead of him on the depth chart, the Twins took a chance by leaving him off the 40-man roster. There’s no doubt the team knew he could be taken, but could he make an opening day roster and stick in the big leagues for a full season after so much missed time, and limited production in A-ball. Baddoo had a big spring training, showing a lot of power, and he made the Tigers Opening Day roster. As important, he got off to a fast start. In his first nine games, he hit .370/.379/.963 (1.342) with two doubles, a triple and four home runs. Of course, Twins fans will recall that he had some huge moments early against his former organization. In his first game against his former teammates, he hit a grand slam. In his second game, he had a walk off single. In his third game, he had a big, RBI triple. The Twins played the Tigers going into the All Star break and then coming out of the break. In the pre-break game, he had a homer and three RBI. In the first game back from the break, he had a triple and three RBI. To say that he has performed well against the Twins might just be an understatement. In 14 games against the Twins, he has hit .327/.340/.673 (1.013) with five doubles, two triples, three homers and 14 RBI. In 97 games against all other teams, he has hit .244/.322/.410 (732) with 29 extra base hits. In 111 total games, Baddoo has hit .255/.324/.448 (.772) with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 49 RBI. He has 14 steals and leads the league with seven triples. At age 23, he has made himself into a key cog in a Tigers team that has a lot of young players and appears ready to start contending in the AL Central in the coming years. TYLER WELLS Baddoo got all of the fanfare early in the season, and understandably so, but the Twins lost a second player in the Rule 5 draft too. With their second pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Tyler Wells. Wells had been the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. At 6-8, Wells stands out on the mound but also has really good stuff. In 2018, he went 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 16 starts at High-A Ft. Myers before making six appearances in Double-A Pensacola where he posted a 1.65 ERA. In 119 1/3 innings, he struck out 121 batters. He was chosen the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018 as well as the Harmon Killebrew Award winner for the Miracle. Unfortunately, in spring training 2019, Wells hurt his elbow. After trying to rehab, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the 2019 season. Based on his rehab from surgery, he may have been able to make a few appearances late in the 2020 season, but obviously was unable to do so. So again, the Twins took a chance, leaving him unprotected, and the Orioles took a shot. While Wells started out slowly, getting irregular innings, he has become a bright spot in the Orioles 2021 roster. In 40 games, he is 2-3 with two saves. He has a 4.17 ERA and a 0.93 ERA. In 54 innings, he has given up just 38 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 64 batters. In the past two weeks, Wells has become the Orioles’ closer. He recorded two saves before having two blown saves in his past two outings. However, in a 25 game stretch before those two games, he has a 1.74 ERA, a 0.52 WHIP and opponents hit just .132 against him. In that time, he gave up just 14 hits, walked two and struck out 36 batters in 31 innings. Wells has a mid-90s fastball to go with a changeup, a slider and a slow curveball. With that pitch mix, could he return to being a starter moving forward, or will he remain a potentially-dominant reliever. BAILEY OBER Adding Jordan Balazovic to the Twins 40-man roster last November was the easy decision, to be sure. Ben Rortvedt, as a top catching prospect, was also an easy addition as well. However, I would assume many (or most) Twins fans were probably surprised when they learned that Bailey Ober had been added to the 40-man roster. Like others, Ober missed the 2020 season completely. He was not at the team’s alternate site. He did not participate in the Instructional League. In 2019, he went 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA between High-A Ft. Myers, Double-A Pensacola. In 78 2/3 innings, he walked nine batters and struck out 100 batters. Ober pitched little during spring training and made just four starts at St. Paul before getting called up to the big leagues in mid-May. Since then, he has been terrific. In 18 starts, he is 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 83 innings, he has walked 17 and struck out 87 batters. As impressive as he has been, the Twins have found a way to keep him healthy following a missed season. He is currently at 99 innings and should make two or three more starts before the end of the season. I’d say that the Twins front office was right in adding Ober to the 40-man roster. JOSE MIRANDA In 2016, the Twins took prep hitters Alex Kirilloff, Ben Rortvedt, Akil Baddoo and Jose Miranda all within the first 74 picks of the draft. Kirilloff and Rortvedt had been added to the 40-man roster. Baddoo was lost in the Rule 5 draft to the Tigers. And, the Twins also left infielder Jose Miranda unprotected. Like others, Miranda was not invited to big league spring training in 2020. He was not a participant at the alternate site last year. He went to Instructional League, and then he put up some big numbers playing winter ball in Puerto Rico last offseason including playing in the Caribbean Series. As the Rule 5 draft was approaching, there were definitely indications that Miranda could be selected. Fortunately, when the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft concluded, Miranda’s name had not been called. Can you imagine if the Twins had lost Jose Miranda in the Rule 5 draft too? Scouting reports always indicated that Miranda had immense power potential. In 2018, he had 27 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he had 26 doubles and eight homers. This season, the power has come together. He began the season with 47 games at Double-A Wichita. He hit .345/.408/.588 (.996) with eight doubles and 13 homers. In 67 games since joining the St. Paul Saints, he has hit .341/.395/.564 (.959) with 19 doubles and 15 home runs. Speaking of putting it all together, Miranda has hit .343/.400/.574 (.974) with 27 doubles, 28 homers and 86 RBI in 114 games. Miranda’s prospect stock has increased as much as any hitter in the Twins system in 2021, and he finds himself on the edge of the big leagues. If it doesn’t happen by the end of the season, he is a given to be protected this November. OTHERS I thought it might be fun to take a look at my rankings from last November when I ranked (guessed) which players the Twins would add. Here is how I ranked them: RHP Jordan Balazovic - Easy decision, he pitched at Double-A this year. OF Akil Baddoo - see above C Ben Rortvedt - has split the season between Triple-A and the Twins. SS Wander Javier - had ups and downs in High-A Cedar Rapids. Free agent at the end of the season. RHP Luis Rijo - Had visa issues, and soon after his return had Tommy John surgery. 3B Jose Miranda - see above. RHP Griffin Jax - has made his MLB debut in 2021. 2B Yunior Severino - Started season in Ft. Myers, but has crushed the ball since moving up to Cedar Rapids. OF Gabriel Maciel - Spent the full season in Cedar Rapids. LHP Charlie Barnes - has made his MLB debut in 2021. RHP Bailey Ober - see above. LHP Jovani Moran - recently made his MLB debut. RHP Tyler Wells - see above. LHP Bryan Sammons - has split the season between AA and AAA. 1B/OF Trey Cabbage - has hit 27 homers between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Free agent at season’s end. I’m sure the Twins would want to bring him back. 1B Zander Wiel - Recently Released SUMMARY Most years, only a handful of Rule 5 picks actually make their team’s Opening Day roster and stick through the season. In an unprecedented 2020, 40-man roster decisions were more difficult than usual. Unfortunately, the Twins lost two players who have been impactful for their new organizations. They were lucky not to lose Jose Miranda or Jovani Moran too. However, they did well in recognizing the need to protect Bailey Ober. As we start the process of thinking about who might be added to the team’s 40-man roster this coming November, it should be a bit easier since there has been a season to evaluate players again!
  4. The Rule 5 Draft has given the Twins several key players including Shane Mack and Johan Santana. Most years, however, the actual impact to teams isn’t huge. Last year’s Rule 5 draft gave the Twins office some tough decisions. Let’s take a quick look at how it went for the Twins. Every November, teams determine which minor leaguers they will add to their 40-man roster and hence, protect from losing in December’s Rule 5 draft. The decisions sometimes are difficult. Who might be selected? Who would be able to stick on the big-league roster throughout the season if they were selected? Twins Daily's Nash Walker breaks it down in the following video: Those decisions were made even more difficult last offseason by the lost minor league season due to the global pandemic. There weren’t as many data points for teams to evaluate, and in some cases, players had been away from team activities for six to eight months. Let’s just jump into it. AKIL BADDOO The Tigers selected outfielder Akil Baddoo with the second pick of the Rule 5 draft. Baddoo was an immensely talented prospect selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft. In 2018 at Cedar Rapids, he hit .243/.351/.419 (.770) with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers and 24 stolen bases. The season showed his skill set. He had a combination of speed and power, and while he didn’t hit for average, he knows the strike zone and took his walks. Unfortunately after just 29 games in Ft. Myers in 2019, in which he hit .214/.290/.393 with three doubles, three triples, four homers and six steals, Baddoo needed Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season. As the 2020 season approached, I talked to Baddoo in spring training. He felt great, but he would have started the season DHing and gradually getting more time in the outfield. With outfielders such as Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino ahead of him on the depth chart, the Twins took a chance by leaving him off the 40-man roster. There’s no doubt the team knew he could be taken, but could he make an opening day roster and stick in the big leagues for a full season after so much missed time, and limited production in A-ball. Baddoo had a big spring training, showing a lot of power, and he made the Tigers Opening Day roster. As important, he got off to a fast start. In his first nine games, he hit .370/.379/.963 (1.342) with two doubles, a triple and four home runs. Of course, Twins fans will recall that he had some huge moments early against his former organization. In his first game against his former teammates, he hit a grand slam. In his second game, he had a walk off single. In his third game, he had a big, RBI triple. The Twins played the Tigers going into the All Star break and then coming out of the break. In the pre-break game, he had a homer and three RBI. In the first game back from the break, he had a triple and three RBI. To say that he has performed well against the Twins might just be an understatement. In 14 games against the Twins, he has hit .327/.340/.673 (1.013) with five doubles, two triples, three homers and 14 RBI. In 97 games against all other teams, he has hit .244/.322/.410 (732) with 29 extra base hits. In 111 total games, Baddoo has hit .255/.324/.448 (.772) with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 49 RBI. He has 14 steals and leads the league with seven triples. At age 23, he has made himself into a key cog in a Tigers team that has a lot of young players and appears ready to start contending in the AL Central in the coming years. TYLER WELLS Baddoo got all of the fanfare early in the season, and understandably so, but the Twins lost a second player in the Rule 5 draft too. With their second pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Tyler Wells. Wells had been the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. At 6-8, Wells stands out on the mound but also has really good stuff. In 2018, he went 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 16 starts at High-A Ft. Myers before making six appearances in Double-A Pensacola where he posted a 1.65 ERA. In 119 1/3 innings, he struck out 121 batters. He was chosen the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018 as well as the Harmon Killebrew Award winner for the Miracle. Unfortunately, in spring training 2019, Wells hurt his elbow. After trying to rehab, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the 2019 season. Based on his rehab from surgery, he may have been able to make a few appearances late in the 2020 season, but obviously was unable to do so. So again, the Twins took a chance, leaving him unprotected, and the Orioles took a shot. While Wells started out slowly, getting irregular innings, he has become a bright spot in the Orioles 2021 roster. In 40 games, he is 2-3 with two saves. He has a 4.17 ERA and a 0.93 ERA. In 54 innings, he has given up just 38 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 64 batters. In the past two weeks, Wells has become the Orioles’ closer. He recorded two saves before having two blown saves in his past two outings. However, in a 25 game stretch before those two games, he has a 1.74 ERA, a 0.52 WHIP and opponents hit just .132 against him. In that time, he gave up just 14 hits, walked two and struck out 36 batters in 31 innings. Wells has a mid-90s fastball to go with a changeup, a slider and a slow curveball. With that pitch mix, could he return to being a starter moving forward, or will he remain a potentially-dominant reliever. BAILEY OBER Adding Jordan Balazovic to the Twins 40-man roster last November was the easy decision, to be sure. Ben Rortvedt, as a top catching prospect, was also an easy addition as well. However, I would assume many (or most) Twins fans were probably surprised when they learned that Bailey Ober had been added to the 40-man roster. Like others, Ober missed the 2020 season completely. He was not at the team’s alternate site. He did not participate in the Instructional League. In 2019, he went 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA between High-A Ft. Myers, Double-A Pensacola. In 78 2/3 innings, he walked nine batters and struck out 100 batters. Ober pitched little during spring training and made just four starts at St. Paul before getting called up to the big leagues in mid-May. Since then, he has been terrific. In 18 starts, he is 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 83 innings, he has walked 17 and struck out 87 batters. As impressive as he has been, the Twins have found a way to keep him healthy following a missed season. He is currently at 99 innings and should make two or three more starts before the end of the season. I’d say that the Twins front office was right in adding Ober to the 40-man roster. JOSE MIRANDA In 2016, the Twins took prep hitters Alex Kirilloff, Ben Rortvedt, Akil Baddoo and Jose Miranda all within the first 74 picks of the draft. Kirilloff and Rortvedt had been added to the 40-man roster. Baddoo was lost in the Rule 5 draft to the Tigers. And, the Twins also left infielder Jose Miranda unprotected. Like others, Miranda was not invited to big league spring training in 2020. He was not a participant at the alternate site last year. He went to Instructional League, and then he put up some big numbers playing winter ball in Puerto Rico last offseason including playing in the Caribbean Series. As the Rule 5 draft was approaching, there were definitely indications that Miranda could be selected. Fortunately, when the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft concluded, Miranda’s name had not been called. Can you imagine if the Twins had lost Jose Miranda in the Rule 5 draft too? Scouting reports always indicated that Miranda had immense power potential. In 2018, he had 27 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he had 26 doubles and eight homers. This season, the power has come together. He began the season with 47 games at Double-A Wichita. He hit .345/.408/.588 (.996) with eight doubles and 13 homers. In 67 games since joining the St. Paul Saints, he has hit .341/.395/.564 (.959) with 19 doubles and 15 home runs. Speaking of putting it all together, Miranda has hit .343/.400/.574 (.974) with 27 doubles, 28 homers and 86 RBI in 114 games. Miranda’s prospect stock has increased as much as any hitter in the Twins system in 2021, and he finds himself on the edge of the big leagues. If it doesn’t happen by the end of the season, he is a given to be protected this November. OTHERS I thought it might be fun to take a look at my rankings from last November when I ranked (guessed) which players the Twins would add. Here is how I ranked them: RHP Jordan Balazovic - Easy decision, he pitched at Double-A this year. OF Akil Baddoo - see above C Ben Rortvedt - has split the season between Triple-A and the Twins. SS Wander Javier - had ups and downs in High-A Cedar Rapids. Free agent at the end of the season. RHP Luis Rijo - Had visa issues, and soon after his return had Tommy John surgery. 3B Jose Miranda - see above. RHP Griffin Jax - has made his MLB debut in 2021. 2B Yunior Severino - Started season in Ft. Myers, but has crushed the ball since moving up to Cedar Rapids. OF Gabriel Maciel - Spent the full season in Cedar Rapids. LHP Charlie Barnes - has made his MLB debut in 2021. RHP Bailey Ober - see above. LHP Jovani Moran - recently made his MLB debut. RHP Tyler Wells - see above. LHP Bryan Sammons - has split the season between AA and AAA. 1B/OF Trey Cabbage - has hit 27 homers between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Free agent at season’s end. I’m sure the Twins would want to bring him back. 1B Zander Wiel - Recently Released SUMMARY Most years, only a handful of Rule 5 picks actually make their team’s Opening Day roster and stick through the season. In an unprecedented 2020, 40-man roster decisions were more difficult than usual. Unfortunately, the Twins lost two players who have been impactful for their new organizations. They were lucky not to lose Jose Miranda or Jovani Moran too. However, they did well in recognizing the need to protect Bailey Ober. As we start the process of thinking about who might be added to the team’s 40-man roster this coming November, it should be a bit easier since there has been a season to evaluate players again! View full article
  5. The Twins made a wise choice in protecting Bailey Ober last offseason. It looks like they made two key mistakes in the same area by not adding Tyler Wells or Akil Baddoo to the 40-man roster. Let’s check in on these former Twins prospects.
  6. The Twins made a wise choice in protecting Bailey Ober last offseason. It looks like they made two key mistakes in the same area by not adding Tyler Wells or Akil Baddoo to the 40-man roster. Let’s check in on these former Twins prospects. View full video
  7. Following a series against the Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles flew to Minnesota where they will take on the Twins in a three game series starting tonight. The teams enter the series with an identical 17-29 record. For one member of the Orioles bullpen, the experience will be very special. Right-hander Tyler Wells said this afternoon, “I’m looking forward to moving forward. Even right now, playing the Twins, it’s kind of like a homecoming. It’s a bittersweet thing because I have a lot of friends over there. It’s going to be great to see them, but I’m also looking forward to competing against them.” The Twins drafted Tyler Wells in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State-San Bernadino. The Twins scouts saw him and determined they definitely wanted to draft him. Deron Johnson, who was the Twins Scouting Director in 2016, told Twins Daily that he had traveled with Twins area scout and now West Coast Supervisor Elliot Strankman. “Elliot and I were going to see a junior college kid at another college. He said, ‘Hey, I like this reliever at Sonoma State. Let’s go see him on the way there.’ So we go there and they’re playing Cal State-San Bernadino. We see this big giant on the mound throwing up to 94 with a nice breaking ball. John Leavitt, our area scout, had him in (his reports), but he wasn’t a guy for me to see. We just stopped in there on a whim. John had seen him, but he hadn’t seen him throwing that hard. We just kind of had him on our radar after that. We didn’t hide him out, but we didn’t show a lot of interest. We knew there were two other clubs that had interest in him. We targeted him in the draft and thought, let’s not lose this guy.” Wells was the 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Between High-A Ft. Myers and Double-A Chattanooga, he went 10-6 with a 2.56 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He also had 121 strikeouts and just 31 walks over 119 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, the next spring training, he felt a pop in his elbow and ultimately had Tommy John surgery which cost him the 2019 season. He would have likely been rehab to come back sometime during the 2020 season, but as we all know, there was no 2020 season. And most likely, that is why the Twins decided not to add him to their 40 man roster in November. The Orioles took Wells with their second round Rule 5 pick. But even then, it didn’t necessarily mean that the Twins would lose him long term. Wells had to make the Orioles big-league roster out of spring training and still has to stay on the big-league roster throughout the entire 2021 season or be offered back to the Twins. Earlier in the Rule 5 draft, Wells’ good friend and fellow 2016 draft pick Akil Baddoo was selected by the Tigers. “We went through Tommy John surgery together and through that whole rehab process. We got pretty close. I was unbelievably happy for him. I hope he continues to absolutely rake and hope to see him up in Detroit.” Wells reported to Sarasota for his first major-league spring training. Wells pitched nine innings over five appearances. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out 12 batters. He pitched well. Wells said this afternoon, “It was a lot of fun. A lot of the guys were super nice. It took a little time to get my feet wet, to understand how everything is going, how to go about my business. A lot of learning experiences. Got acquainted with a lot of the guys. As I continued to pitch, I learned more about myself and how my arm was feeling. I had an uptick in stuff from before I had Tommy John surgery. Everything went really, really well.” The Orioles decided to keep him on their roster for Opening Day. Getting the news was something that Wells will never forget. “I got called into the manager’s office on the last day of cuts. The GM and the manager are there. The first thing they said to me was ‘You ever been to Boston?’ Wells responded, “Nope.” They said, ‘Would you like to go?” Wells noted, “Obviously right then, I knew I made the team. It was an incredible moment.” On April 4th, the Orioles had an 11-3 lead over the Red Sox heading to the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Wells found himself jogging in from the Fenway Park bullpen to make his big-league debut. He gave up one hit, and he walked one, but he got three outs without allowing a run to end the game. “We were winning by a substantial amount, so they brought me in for the ninth and I got to finish the game. I ran out there and about halfway to the mound, I lost feeling in my feet. I started thinking I’ve got to remember how to do this pitching thing real quick.” In addition, he noted that the Red Sox fans in the right field corner were chanting his name. When he was warming up, fans were razzing him. “Wells… why are you not playing basketball? You should be playing tight end for the Patriots. Why are you even here?” Wells thought those aren’t even insults. “They were compliments. I appreciate that. I was keeping a straight face the whole time, and they liked that I didn’t even blink an eye. So they started chanting ‘Ty-Ler-Wells! Ty-Ler-Wells!’ as I was entering the game.” Since then, he has pitched in four more games against the Red Sox. His second MLB appearance came at Yankees Stadium. Primarily, he has pitched in low-leverage situations. He has completed two innings in seven of his 12 outings. Wells said, “The coaches have been pretty open about my situation. As a rookie, it’s low-leverage situations. I’m starting to get more comfortable in going in and hold games, certainly building more confidence in myself to be able to do that. I think that getting more innings as of late is really helping with that. I’m mostly a two-inning game. They try to bring me in and hold the game. I think they do have a lot of confidence in me doing that. I’m trying to help the team out as much as I can. Trying to help the bullpen as much as I can. Right now, they just want me to get more comfortable.” Overall, he has pitched in 12 games. He has a 5.14 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. In 21 innings, he has given up 16 hits, walked seven and struck out 26 batters (11.1 K/9). One issue he has had is giving up home runs. He has already given up six homers (to Enrique Hernandez, JD Martinez, Jed Lowrie, Clint Frazier, Xander Bogaerts and Mike Zunino). This will not be Wells' first trip to Target Field. He’s been there one other time, but “not for the reasons I wanted to be. With my injury, I had to see the team doctor and got to attend a game.” On Monday night, the Twins will face left-hander John Means. As a rookie in 2019, he was the Orioles representative at the All Star game. In 2021, he has become a legitimate star. To this point, he is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA and a 0.75 ERA. Means is a guy that Wells has talked to and learned from already. “He’s been a guy that I’ve looked up to a lot. Very level headed. That is really what makes him so go. He’s level headed because of the experiences he’s been through. He considered retiring in 2018. He ended up making his major-league debut that year. Baseball is already difficult enough, and when he got the opportunity, he didn’t waste it. He’s a great leader in the clubhouse. For me, personally, I talked to him a lot in spring training. I’ve talked to him throughout the course of the season so far. He provides a lot of insights to the pitching, the lifestyle, how to take care of yourself. He’s been a huge help for, but he takes the stuff that he tells me and he applies it. Everything he tells me, he does. He doesn’t get too up or too down. He’s just cruising.” Another teammate that Wells really admires is Trey Mancini. As you know, the O’s first baseman first baseman missed the 2020 season fighting colon cancer. He has returned this year, and through 46 games, he is hitting .280/.352/.520 (.872) with 12 doubles, ten homers and a league-leading 41 RBI. Wells says, “You aren’t going to find a lot of better people in baseball than him. He’s such a down-to-earth guy. He’s another leader in our clubhouse. The word to describe him is ‘Incredible!’ He’s pushed. He’s fought. And I think you see a lot of that in his game. He’s continued to push himself and I’m so happy for him. He’s a phenomenal human being. He does everything with a purpose. He’s so resilient. It’s very inspiring, not just for me, but for the entire team, the entire league.” Hopefully Tyler Wells will be able to make an appearance this week on the Target Field mound. One of his best friends from the Twins organization is Twins star rookie Alex Kirilloff. “AK and I have the same type of conversation every week or two. We’ll see what’s going on in our lives. I keep up with him on how his daughter is doing, and see how his wife and the rest of his family are doing. We don’t really talk a lot about baseball, just about life and how things are going. It’s cool to take a step back and realize this game has brought a lot of great people into your life. It’s such a cool thing to see him grow into a bigger person, beyond just baseball. I’m looking forward to reconnecting to him.” He pointed out the the Orioles just finished a series with the Washington Nationals. He had forgotten that another former Twins minor leaguer Sam Clay is working out of the Nationals bullpen this season. He said it was nice to reconnect with him as well. Wells has been teammates with Luis Arraez, Cody Stashak and others. Wells is good friends with Travis Blankenhorn and Aaron Whitefield who are close to Trevor Larnach so he has had a chance to get to know him as well. “It’s going to be hard, with Arraez and AK, as soon as I see them walking into the box, it’ll be hard not to smile at them. It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun. It’s going to up the ante. It’s going to make you want to perform better, and I think it’s going to do the same for those guys. It’s a lot of friendly competition.” Wells noted, “It’s awesome to be able to come back and see everybody. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most. Baseball is still baseball. I have a job to do. I still compete. It doesn’t matter what stadium it’s in. It’s game time. You lock it in. You go out there and do your thing. I don’t think it’s so much the place as it is the people.” Wells’ goal for the rest of the 2021 season may seem simple, but it’s important. “Stay healthy! That’s the big one because after not pitching for two years and coming from AA straight to the big leagues, it’s certainly a jump, but at the same time, you’re getting more intense innings. You have 162 games a year. You want to stay healthy, and that’s my #1 goal this year. I’d like to avoid any IL stints. And, on top of that, Win some ball games. I want to compete for the team and help the team win. If they ever need a guy, I want to be that guy.” Akil Baddoo understandably caught our attention early in the season when he got off to a fast start, and hit a grand slam, and a triple, and had a walkoff single against the Twins in the season’s first week. But the Twins lost two players in this past Rule 5 draft and both are finding means of success in their rookie big league seasons.
  8. Since Opening Day, Twins fans have spent a lot of time agonizing over the loss of Akil Baddoo in the Rule 5 draft. However, the Twins lost two players in December’s Rule 5 draft, and when the Baltimore Orioles come to Target Field today, reliever Tyler Wells will be a part of their bullpen. Following a series against the Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles flew to Minnesota where they will take on the Twins in a three game series starting tonight. The teams enter the series with an identical 17-29 record. For one member of the Orioles bullpen, the experience will be very special. Right-hander Tyler Wells said this afternoon, “I’m looking forward to moving forward. Even right now, playing the Twins, it’s kind of like a homecoming. It’s a bittersweet thing because I have a lot of friends over there. It’s going to be great to see them, but I’m also looking forward to competing against them.” The Twins drafted Tyler Wells in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State-San Bernadino. The Twins scouts saw him and determined they definitely wanted to draft him. Deron Johnson, who was the Twins Scouting Director in 2016, told Twins Daily that he had traveled with Twins area scout and now West Coast Supervisor Elliot Strankman. “Elliot and I were going to see a junior college kid at another college. He said, ‘Hey, I like this reliever at Sonoma State. Let’s go see him on the way there.’ So we go there and they’re playing Cal State-San Bernadino. We see this big giant on the mound throwing up to 94 with a nice breaking ball. John Leavitt, our area scout, had him in (his reports), but he wasn’t a guy for me to see. We just stopped in there on a whim. John had seen him, but he hadn’t seen him throwing that hard. We just kind of had him on our radar after that. We didn’t hide him out, but we didn’t show a lot of interest. We knew there were two other clubs that had interest in him. We targeted him in the draft and thought, let’s not lose this guy.” Wells was the 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Between High-A Ft. Myers and Double-A Chattanooga, he went 10-6 with a 2.56 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He also had 121 strikeouts and just 31 walks over 119 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, the next spring training, he felt a pop in his elbow and ultimately had Tommy John surgery which cost him the 2019 season. He would have likely been rehab to come back sometime during the 2020 season, but as we all know, there was no 2020 season. And most likely, that is why the Twins decided not to add him to their 40 man roster in November. The Orioles took Wells with their second round Rule 5 pick. But even then, it didn’t necessarily mean that the Twins would lose him long term. Wells had to make the Orioles big-league roster out of spring training and still has to stay on the big-league roster throughout the entire 2021 season or be offered back to the Twins. Earlier in the Rule 5 draft, Wells’ good friend and fellow 2016 draft pick Akil Baddoo was selected by the Tigers. “We went through Tommy John surgery together and through that whole rehab process. We got pretty close. I was unbelievably happy for him. I hope he continues to absolutely rake and hope to see him up in Detroit.” Wells reported to Sarasota for his first major-league spring training. Wells pitched nine innings over five appearances. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out 12 batters. He pitched well. Wells said this afternoon, “It was a lot of fun. A lot of the guys were super nice. It took a little time to get my feet wet, to understand how everything is going, how to go about my business. A lot of learning experiences. Got acquainted with a lot of the guys. As I continued to pitch, I learned more about myself and how my arm was feeling. I had an uptick in stuff from before I had Tommy John surgery. Everything went really, really well.” The Orioles decided to keep him on their roster for Opening Day. Getting the news was something that Wells will never forget. “I got called into the manager’s office on the last day of cuts. The GM and the manager are there. The first thing they said to me was ‘You ever been to Boston?’ Wells responded, “Nope.” They said, ‘Would you like to go?” Wells noted, “Obviously right then, I knew I made the team. It was an incredible moment.” On April 4th, the Orioles had an 11-3 lead over the Red Sox heading to the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Wells found himself jogging in from the Fenway Park bullpen to make his big-league debut. He gave up one hit, and he walked one, but he got three outs without allowing a run to end the game. “We were winning by a substantial amount, so they brought me in for the ninth and I got to finish the game. I ran out there and about halfway to the mound, I lost feeling in my feet. I started thinking I’ve got to remember how to do this pitching thing real quick.” In addition, he noted that the Red Sox fans in the right field corner were chanting his name. When he was warming up, fans were razzing him. “Wells… why are you not playing basketball? You should be playing tight end for the Patriots. Why are you even here?” Wells thought those aren’t even insults. “They were compliments. I appreciate that. I was keeping a straight face the whole time, and they liked that I didn’t even blink an eye. So they started chanting ‘Ty-Ler-Wells! Ty-Ler-Wells!’ as I was entering the game.” Since then, he has pitched in four more games against the Red Sox. His second MLB appearance came at Yankees Stadium. Primarily, he has pitched in low-leverage situations. He has completed two innings in seven of his 12 outings. Wells said, “The coaches have been pretty open about my situation. As a rookie, it’s low-leverage situations. I’m starting to get more comfortable in going in and hold games, certainly building more confidence in myself to be able to do that. I think that getting more innings as of late is really helping with that. I’m mostly a two-inning game. They try to bring me in and hold the game. I think they do have a lot of confidence in me doing that. I’m trying to help the team out as much as I can. Trying to help the bullpen as much as I can. Right now, they just want me to get more comfortable.” Overall, he has pitched in 12 games. He has a 5.14 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. In 21 innings, he has given up 16 hits, walked seven and struck out 26 batters (11.1 K/9). One issue he has had is giving up home runs. He has already given up six homers (to Enrique Hernandez, JD Martinez, Jed Lowrie, Clint Frazier, Xander Bogaerts and Mike Zunino). This will not be Wells' first trip to Target Field. He’s been there one other time, but “not for the reasons I wanted to be. With my injury, I had to see the team doctor and got to attend a game.” On Monday night, the Twins will face left-hander John Means. As a rookie in 2019, he was the Orioles representative at the All Star game. In 2021, he has become a legitimate star. To this point, he is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA and a 0.75 ERA. Means is a guy that Wells has talked to and learned from already. “He’s been a guy that I’ve looked up to a lot. Very level headed. That is really what makes him so go. He’s level headed because of the experiences he’s been through. He considered retiring in 2018. He ended up making his major-league debut that year. Baseball is already difficult enough, and when he got the opportunity, he didn’t waste it. He’s a great leader in the clubhouse. For me, personally, I talked to him a lot in spring training. I’ve talked to him throughout the course of the season so far. He provides a lot of insights to the pitching, the lifestyle, how to take care of yourself. He’s been a huge help for, but he takes the stuff that he tells me and he applies it. Everything he tells me, he does. He doesn’t get too up or too down. He’s just cruising.” Another teammate that Wells really admires is Trey Mancini. As you know, the O’s first baseman first baseman missed the 2020 season fighting colon cancer. He has returned this year, and through 46 games, he is hitting .280/.352/.520 (.872) with 12 doubles, ten homers and a league-leading 41 RBI. Wells says, “You aren’t going to find a lot of better people in baseball than him. He’s such a down-to-earth guy. He’s another leader in our clubhouse. The word to describe him is ‘Incredible!’ He’s pushed. He’s fought. And I think you see a lot of that in his game. He’s continued to push himself and I’m so happy for him. He’s a phenomenal human being. He does everything with a purpose. He’s so resilient. It’s very inspiring, not just for me, but for the entire team, the entire league.” Hopefully Tyler Wells will be able to make an appearance this week on the Target Field mound. One of his best friends from the Twins organization is Twins star rookie Alex Kirilloff. “AK and I have the same type of conversation every week or two. We’ll see what’s going on in our lives. I keep up with him on how his daughter is doing, and see how his wife and the rest of his family are doing. We don’t really talk a lot about baseball, just about life and how things are going. It’s cool to take a step back and realize this game has brought a lot of great people into your life. It’s such a cool thing to see him grow into a bigger person, beyond just baseball. I’m looking forward to reconnecting to him.” He pointed out the the Orioles just finished a series with the Washington Nationals. He had forgotten that another former Twins minor leaguer Sam Clay is working out of the Nationals bullpen this season. He said it was nice to reconnect with him as well. Wells has been teammates with Luis Arraez, Cody Stashak and others. Wells is good friends with Travis Blankenhorn and Aaron Whitefield who are close to Trevor Larnach so he has had a chance to get to know him as well. “It’s going to be hard, with Arraez and AK, as soon as I see them walking into the box, it’ll be hard not to smile at them. It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun. It’s going to up the ante. It’s going to make you want to perform better, and I think it’s going to do the same for those guys. It’s a lot of friendly competition.” Wells noted, “It’s awesome to be able to come back and see everybody. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most. Baseball is still baseball. I have a job to do. I still compete. It doesn’t matter what stadium it’s in. It’s game time. You lock it in. You go out there and do your thing. I don’t think it’s so much the place as it is the people.” Wells’ goal for the rest of the 2021 season may seem simple, but it’s important. “Stay healthy! That’s the big one because after not pitching for two years and coming from AA straight to the big leagues, it’s certainly a jump, but at the same time, you’re getting more intense innings. You have 162 games a year. You want to stay healthy, and that’s my #1 goal this year. I’d like to avoid any IL stints. And, on top of that, Win some ball games. I want to compete for the team and help the team win. If they ever need a guy, I want to be that guy.” Akil Baddoo understandably caught our attention early in the season when he got off to a fast start, and hit a grand slam, and a triple, and had a walkoff single against the Twins in the season’s first week. But the Twins lost two players in this past Rule 5 draft and both are finding means of success in their rookie big league seasons. View full article
  9. On Friday at noon (central time), Seth will be chatting with Twins Orioles RHP Tyler Wells on a new episode of Twins (Orioles?) Spotlight just a day after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft. The discussion was live on the Twins Daily social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages. Tyler Wells has been a guest on several of my podcasts in the past, always willing to talk about his journey or baseball in general. Today, we will chat with him about being selected in the Rule 5 draft, get updated on his rehab from Tommy John surgery and much more. Wells was the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. He immediately began pitching well. In 2018, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year when he went 10-6 with a 2.49 ERA between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga. In 119 1/3 innings, he walked just 31 and struck out 121 batters. Unfortunately in the spring of 2019, he felt the pop that no pitcher wants to hear. A few months later, he underwent Tommy John surgery and rehabbed through that season and into the 2020 season. On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles made him a Rule 5 draft pick so he will now head to Orioles spring training hoping to make their big-league roster. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at noon (central time) today on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. More on Tyler Wells : Twins 2018 Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year (Sept 2018) Episode 5: Get to Know RHP Tyler Wells, OF Jaylin Davis (Oct 2020) Follow Tyler on Twitter at @tylerw13. Follow Tyler on Instagram at @twells_34. Previous Episodes Episode 1: Tom Hackimer Episode 2: Matt Canterino Episode 3: Aaron Whitefield Episode 4: Spencer Steer Episode 5: Travis Blankenhorn Episode 6: Cody Laweryson Episode 7: Matt Wallner Episode 8: Brent Rooker Episode 9: Bailey Ober Episode 10: Talkin' Torii (with Jacque Jones, Royce Lewis, Niko Guardado) Episode 11: Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota Episode 12: Charlie Mack Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells View full article
  10. Tyler Wells has been a guest on several of my podcasts in the past, always willing to talk about his journey or baseball in general. Today, we will chat with him about being selected in the Rule 5 draft, get updated on his rehab from Tommy John surgery and much more. Wells was the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 out of Cal State-San Bernadino. He immediately began pitching well. In 2018, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year when he went 10-6 with a 2.49 ERA between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga. In 119 1/3 innings, he walked just 31 and struck out 121 batters. Unfortunately in the spring of 2019, he felt the pop that no pitcher wants to hear. A few months later, he underwent Tommy John surgery and rehabbed through that season and into the 2020 season. On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles made him a Rule 5 draft pick so he will now head to Orioles spring training hoping to make their big-league roster. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at noon (central time) today on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. More on Tyler Wells : Twins 2018 Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year (Sept 2018) Episode 5: Get to Know RHP Tyler Wells, OF Jaylin Davis (Oct 2020) Follow Tyler on Twitter at @tylerw13. Follow Tyler on Instagram at @twells_34. Previous Episodes Episode 1: Tom Hackimer Episode 2: Matt Canterino Episode 3: Aaron Whitefield Episode 4: Spencer Steer Episode 5: Travis Blankenhorn Episode 6: Cody Laweryson Episode 7: Matt Wallner Episode 8: Brent Rooker Episode 9: Bailey Ober Episode 10: Talkin' Torii (with Jacque Jones, Royce Lewis, Niko Guardado) Episode 11: Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota Episode 12: Charlie Mack Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells
  11. Twins Territory covers a huge area. It's obviously all of Minnesota, but it's parts of western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and beyond. Our first guest this week grew up in West Fargo. He became a star on the baseball field and has taken a circuitous route through college and the minor leagues to a point where he was just added to the Arizona Diamondbacks 40-man roster after a season in which he hit a combined 29 home runs between AA and AAA. Get to know, infielder Andy Young. Follow him on Twitter at AndyJYoung15. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_9.mp3 Ten Minutes with Tyler this week only lasted about 15 minutes, our shortest conversation since he's joined the podcast every couple of episodes. Tyler discusses topics such as the Twins minor league coaching changes, new leadership, 40-man roster moves, his rehab from Tommy John surgery and more. This week, we also discussed the passing of Ryan Costello, a dear friend to so many throughout the Twins organization. Follow Tyler Wells on Twitter. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_9.mp3 Finally, our third conversation in this week's podcast is with Twins minor league infield and base-running coordinator Billy Boyer. He joined the organization about a year ago. We discuss his role and what he tries to accomplish throughout the system with players. He talked about the collaboration and communication that is prevalent throughout the organization. We also find out more about his background in the game, from minor league player, to college coaching duties to his time with the Twins. Follow Billy Boyer on Twitter. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_9.mp3 Please leave some comments in the the forum below. Ask questions. Let me know who you would like to see interviewed and even what you would like me to ask them. Your feedback is very helpful. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
  12. In this week's episode, we get to know a Twins minor league coordinator and a West Fargo native who was recently added to the 40-man roster of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Get to know infielder Andy Young and Twins minor league infield and baserunning coordinator Billy Boyer. And spend Ten Minutes with Tyler too.Twins Territory covers a huge area. It's obviously all of Minnesota, but it's parts of western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and beyond. Our first guest this week grew up in West Fargo. He became a star on the baseball field and has taken a circuitous route through college and the minor leagues to a point where he was just added to the Arizona Diamondbacks 40-man roster after a season in which he hit a combined 29 home runs between AA and AAA. Get to know, infielder Andy Young. Follow him on Twitter at AndyJYoung15. Ten Minutes with Tyler this week only lasted about 15 minutes, our shortest conversation since he's joined the podcast every couple of episodes. Tyler discusses topics such as the Twins minor league coaching changes, new leadership, 40-man roster moves, his rehab from Tommy John surgery and more. This week, we also discussed the passing of Ryan Costello, a dear friend to so many throughout the Twins organization. Follow Tyler Wells on Twitter. Finally, our third conversation in this week's podcast is with Twins minor league infield and base-running coordinator Billy Boyer. He joined the organization about a year ago. We discuss his role and what he tries to accomplish throughout the system with players. He talked about the collaboration and communication that is prevalent throughout the organization. We also find out more about his background in the game, from minor league player, to college coaching duties to his time with the Twins. Follow Billy Boyeron Twitter. Please leave some comments in the the forum below. Ask questions. Let me know who you would like to see interviewed and even what you would like me to ask them. Your feedback is very helpful. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
  13. Matt Wallner was the Twins Competitive Balance pick in 2019, the 39th overall pick in the 2019 draft. In 2016, the Forest Lake, MN, native was the Twins 32nd round pick but instead of signing, he went to Southern Mississippi where he became a three-time All American. We discussed several topics with him including his high school playing days, being Mr. Baseball in 2016, the draft(s) and beginning his professional career. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_7.mp3 We need a good name for our bi-weekly segment with Twins RHP prospect Tyler Wells. We went with Ten Minutes with Tyler. Well, we went about 15 minutes, but that's OK. We discussed several topics including losing minor league coordinators, what's going on at the Twins academy in the offseason, the 40-man roster, his status and rehab updates and more. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_7.mp3 7:00 - Ten Minutes with Tyler 25:40 - Matt Wallner interview Leave questions or comments below on this podcast. Send me names of people you would like to see interviewed in the future. And send your questions for Tyler Wells as well, as he will return to the show in two weeks to answer your questions. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
  14. In this week's Get to Know 'Em podcast, Seth talked to Twins outfield prospect Matt Wallner about playing in Minnesota, at Southern Mississippi, being drafted by the Twins (twice) and more. Also, we had out Ten Minutes with Tyler (Wells) segment, which actually went about 15 minutes.Matt Wallner was the Twins Competitive Balance pick in 2019, the 39th overall pick in the 2019 draft. In 2016, the Forest Lake, MN, native was the Twins 32nd round pick but instead of signing, he went to Southern Mississippi where he became a three-time All American. We discussed several topics with him including his high school playing days, being Mr. Baseball in 2016, the draft(s) and beginning his professional career. We need a good name for our bi-weekly segment with Twins RHP prospect Tyler Wells. We went with Ten Minutes with Tyler. Well, we went about 15 minutes, but that's OK. We discussed several topics including losing minor league coordinators, what's going on at the Twins academy in the offseason, the 40-man roster, his status and rehab updates and more. 7:00 - Ten Minutes with Tyler 25:40 - Matt Wallner interview Leave questions or comments below on this podcast. Send me names of people you would like to see interviewed in the future. And send your questions for Tyler Wells as well, as he will return to the show in two weeks to answer your questions. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
  15. With the offseason upon us, the Get To Know 'Em podcast returns. Tonight, we talk about Tommy John surgery with RHP Tyler Wells, and then talk about home runs, getting traded and getting The Call with OF Jaylin Davis.In 2018, RHP Tyler Wells was selected the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year. Unfortunately, his 2019 season was over before it began. He felt some elbow pain before spring training, tried to rehab, but in late May he had Tommy John surgery. We discussed the entire process from initial pain, to "the pop," the surgery and early stages of his rehab. Wells will be a frequent (bi-weekly) guest of the show, and we will keep updated with his progress. But he is also open to answering any questions you may have about Tommy John, pitching, and really anything you may want to know about the minor league life and experiences. The second guest of the podcast was OF Jaylin Davis. It's likely that Davis wasn't a household name to Twins fans, and maybe even Twins prospect fans, but his career trajectory took off in 2019. He began at AA Pensacola, jumped up to AAA Rochester and hit a combined 25 homers before the July 31st trade deadline. He was sent to the San Francisco Giants as part of the Sam Dyson trade. He reported to AAA Sacramento where he added another 10 home runs before being called up to the Giants in early September. We discussed his season, the power outburst, getting traded, getting called up and much, much more. Leave questions or comments below on this podcast. Send me names of people you would like to see interviewed. And send your questions for Tyler Wells as well. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
  16. In 2018, RHP Tyler Wells was selected the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year. Unfortunately, his 2019 season was over before it began. He felt some elbow pain before spring training, tried to rehab, but in late May he had Tommy John surgery. We discussed the entire process from initial pain, to "the pop," the surgery and early stages of his rehab. Wells will be a frequent (bi-weekly) guest of the show, and we will keep updated with his progress. But he is also open to answering any questions you may have about Tommy John, pitching, and really anything you may want to know about the minor league life and experiences. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_5.mp3 The second guest of the podcast was OF Jaylin Davis. It's likely that Davis wasn't a household name to Twins fans, and maybe even Twins prospect fans, but his career trajectory took off in 2019. He began at AA Pensacola, jumped up to AAA Rochester and hit a combined 25 homers before the July 31st trade deadline. He was sent to the San Francisco Giants as part of the Sam Dyson trade. He reported to AAA Sacramento where he added another 10 home runs before being called up to the Giants in early September. We discussed his season, the power outburst, getting traded, getting called up and much, much more. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep_5.mp3 Leave questions or comments below on this podcast. Send me names of people you would like to see interviewed. And send your questions for Tyler Wells as well. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
  17. Over the next two weeks, Twins Daily will be revealing the Twins Daily Midseason Top 40 Prospects rankings. Our preseason Top Prospect rankings go 20 deep. Our midseason rankings double that output and give some recognition to twice as many players. Several of our minor league writers provided player rankings. They were consolidated Continue reading, and then discussing, the Twins Daily choices for 35th through 31st prospects of the Minnesota Twins below. 35. Jaylin Davis – RF Age: 24 ETA: 2020 2019 Stats (AA): .274/.382/.458 (.840 OPS), 9 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 64 K, 36 BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: NR Seth: 38 | Tom: 36 | Cody: 34 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR Davis was taken by the Twins in the 24th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Appalachian State University. Davis got a brief taste of rookie ball that season, but the Twins have steadily moved him through the system over the last four years. In Pensacola this year, he is slightly older than the competition, but his OPS is higher than the last two years. After knocking 11 home runs in 120 games in 2018, he has already hit double-digit home runs this season. He’s played all three outfield positions, but the vast majority of his innings have come in right field. .34. Cole Sands - RHP Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (A+/A-): 52.2 IP, 3.08 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 5.17 K/BB 2019 Ranking: NR Seth: 33 | Tom: 24 | Cody: 40 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR Sands, a fifth-round pick in 2018, is making his professional debut this season. The Twins felt he had pitched enough in college last season, so he didn’t make any appearances in rookie ball. He started the year in Cedar Rapids and posted a 3.05 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 11 walks in 41 1/3 innings. At the beginning of June, he was moved to Fort Myers and made two starts. He allowed four earned runs and struck out 13 in 11 1/3 innings. Since then, he was placed on the IL with a blister on the third digit of his right hand. His fast ball usually sits in the low 90s, but he can reach the mid-90s when needed. His curveball and his change-up are his best secondary pitches. 33. Tyler Wells - RHP Age: 24 ETA: 2022 2019 Stats: Out for the Year (Tommy John Surgery) 2019 Ranking: HM Seth: 35 | Tom: 33 | Cody: 23 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR Wells found out near the end of May that he would need Tommy John surgery and he will miss all of 2019. He split time between High-A and Double-A last year and he was almost a year and a half younger than the competition in the Southern League. Wells posted a 2.49 ERA and a 121 to 31 strikeout to walk ratio in 119 1/3 innings during the 2018 campaign. He was named the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year and he won the Harmon Killebrew Award for the Miracle. It was a breakout season for him and it’s tough to lose a year of development. However, he should be back at some point in the second half of 2020. Wells was originally a 15th round pick back in 2016. 32. Griffin Jax - RHP Age: 24 ETA: 2021 2019 Stats (AA): 51.2 IP, 1.92 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 5.9 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 3.09 K/BB 2019 Preseason Ranking: HM Seth: 26 | Tom: 34 | Cody: 31 | Ted: 28 | Steve: 24 Jax was the highest player ever taken from the United States Air Force Academy and that’s just part of his story. In order to pitch in the Twins system, he is taking part in the military’s World Class Athlete Program which allows active-duty military personnel to make training for the Olympics their full-time responsibility. Jax is taking full advantage of the opportunity as he is off to a tremendous start at Double-A. In eight of his ten appearances, he has allowed one earned run or less. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters (5.9 K/9), but he’s been efficient at getting outs. Jax pitched in last year’s Arizona Fall League and allowed nine earned runs on 21 hits in 21 innings (3.86 ERA). His fastball sits in the low 90s and he has a great change-up and an improving slider. 31. LaMonte Wade - OF ETA: 2019 Age: 25 2019 Stats (AAA): .232/.374/.332 (.706 OPS), 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 38 K, 42 BB. 2019 Ranking: NR Seth: 29 | Tom: 32 | Cody: 29 | Ted: 23 | Steve: 25 Wade was the Twins 9th-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Maryland. He’s worked his way through the Twins system over the last five seasons and he’s spent parts of the last two seasons in Rochester. Wade doesn’t strikeout. Well, that might not be completely true. Throughout his professional career, he has 283 walks compared to 263 strikeouts. He has a great approach at the plate and he has the ability to attack the strike zone. He can play all three outfield positions, but he probably fits better in a corner outfield spot. Wade could make his way to Minnesota at some point this season, even if it comes as a September call-up. Who’s ranked too high? Who’s ranked too low? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Also, check back next week to see who made the top-30 prospects. Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings Prospects 36-40 Prospects 31-35 (Today) Prospects 26-30 Coming Soon
  18. Ten years ago, I got the idea of taking my knowledge of the Twins minor league system and turning it into a coffee table book for Twins fans. Think about how often during a Twins game Dick Bremer will mention a minor league player and someone wonders aloud who that player is and when we might see him in the big leagues. Reach down to your coffee table, grab the Prospect Handbook and sound like a genius when you tell him all about that player, his background, his stats and a scouting report on him. That was the original purpose of the book, but now it’s even more than that. First, my “knowledge of the Twins minor league system” wasn’t real high in 2008 relative to now. Second, it’s constantly evolving and I still know only a percentage of all there is to know. We have seen the evolution of the game on and off the field. The Twins have made many changes in their minor leagues. They’ve switched affiliates. They’ve added technology. They’ve added more coaches and coordinators. The goal is to make the players the best they can be and use whatever they can to get them to the big leagues and contribute. Third, and really probably #1 on this point, is the saying that has been included in every single Twins Prospect Handbook since that first edition and will again be in the 11th annual Twins Prospect Handbook as well. Minor league baseball players are doing all the same work that the big leaguers do. They are just doing it with far less fanfare, smaller per diems, less luxurious travel and hotel arrangements, and noticeably lighter wallets due to pay checks with far fewer zeroes. These players deserve to be recognized too. It’s about the players. They deserve the recognition. They work hard, and they earn what they get. Sometimes that means a big league career, and sometimes it means peaking in A-ball. So, here is a quick look at what you will find if you order a copy of the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (which will again be available in paperback and PDF). THE COVER Finn Pearson, who has done a lot of really good graphic work for Twins Daily since earlier this year, did a very nice job on the cover It would be hard for me to explain if we had gone with anyone other than Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis on the 2019 handbook cover. You will also notice that the beautiful stadium in Pensacola is in the background. The home of the new Twins Double-A affiliate sits right along the Gulf of Mexico. THE AUTHORS Seth Stohs - As mentioned above, this is my 11th Twins Prospect Handbook. Hard to believe. I wrote three articles for the handbook this year. I wrote the three Twins Daily Minor League Award winner articles. I had 30+ minute phone interviews with our three winners, Alex Kirilloff, Tyler Wells and Andrew Vasquez and penned an in-depth article on each. There are a lot of similarities in the stories and their are a couple of very solid relationships among these players. And as you saw the other day, they have a lot of respect for each other. Cody Christie - Cody was first a Co-Author on the Prospect Handbook in 2013. He wrote an interesting article looking into the first few seasons of Joe Mauer’s professional career and compared it to whatt Royce Lewis has done. Has there been a passing of the torch? Tom Froemming - This is Tom’s second Prospect Handbook. He wrote an article about how the Twins have brought in so much young talent over the last couple of years since Derek Falvey took the reigns. They have really used every potential means. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dan Hayes - Hayes joined The Athletic as the Twins beat writer almost a year ago, and he has been a terrific writer and a great follow on Twitter this offseason. We are thrilled that he wrote an article for this year’s Prospect Handbook. He wrote about a lot of the changes that happened over the last year or so in the Twins minor league system on and off the field. Chris Blessing - Chris writes about prospects for BaseballHQ.com and several other sites including USA Today Sports Weekly and the Minor League Baseball Analyst. In his scouting, he has seen many Chattanooga Lookouts games in recent years, and he noticed some things about Twins prospects in 2018 that are encouraging. Ted Schwerzler - Ted has contributed an article the last few years in which he projects which prospects will make their debuts with the Twins in 2019 and when. For the first time we have enlisted the help of the Twins minor league affiliates and have an article from each of the affiliates (with the exception of the GCL Twins). Rochester Red Wings media relations director Nate Rowan wrote a great article on the rich history of the Red Wings and baseball in Rochester. Includes some remarkable stories including one from a game the Red Wings played in Cuba in 1959 that got more than a little scary. Daniel Venn did a Q&A for Twins Daily recently. He is the media relations director for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Daniel shared with us the relatively short, but interesting history of the Blue Wahoos. Marshall Kelner is the media relations director for the Ft. Myers Miracle. He wrote an article on the team’s history and the 2018 Miracle Florida State League championship team. A long-time contributor at Twins Daily and of the Prospect Handbook, Steve Buhr met with the Cedar Rapids Kernels front office for a very interesting article on how much winning matters to a minor league affiliate. Mike Gallagher was the play-by-play man of the Elizabethton Twins. He wrote about the E-Twins long history with the Twins organization and recent legislation that hopefully will keep that relationship intact moving forward. Mariana Guzman writes at Twins Latinos. She wrote a good article about the 2018 season in the Dominican Summer League including who some of the better prospects might be on that team. Who could be the guys moving up to the Gulf Coast League in 2019? We admittedly have not covered the Twins Dominican Summer League in the book or on Twins Daily as much as we should, so this is a great addition to the book. THE PROFILES We like to call the prospect profiles the meat and potatoes of the Prospect Handbook. There are over 160 profiles of Twins minor leaguers in the book. I might give you an exact number, but we will update the book after Thursday’s Rule 5 draft to add any players that the Twins select. So, that number is subject to change between now and the book’s release. For those that have purchased Prospect Handbooks in the past, you have an idea of what the profiles look like and the information in each. For those of you who have not purchased previous Prospect Handbooks, well, you can buy previous Prospect Handbooks here. Ha! However, we wanted to include a profile here just to give you an idea of what you are getting. Here is a quick snip of a player profile. The header information includes height, weight, how they were acquired and their 2018 statistics. The 2018 Recaps were written by Tom Froemming and they, well, recap the player’s 2018 season. I (Seth) wrote up the Background section and the Scouting Report. The Background covers their amateur days and previous seasons. The Scouting Report provides, well, a scouting report on the player. We also include a Forecast for ‘19 in which we try to give a good idea of where each player could spend the 2019 season. We have pictures of a lot of the players in the bios. I wish we had all, but we definitely want to thank all the photographers that were willing to let us use their photos. So there you have it. The 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is coming very soon. Keep checking back to Twins Daily and we will let you know when it is available. It’s something that Tom, Cody and I are really proud of. It just keeps getting bigger and better, and we hope that you will enjoy it too!
  19. UPDATE- The 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is now available! Paperback versions of the 161 page book will cost $17.99 this year. Electronic version will be available for $12.99. It is a PDF that will be available to download immediately. For more information on the handbook,, please read below. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think even the Twins’ harshest critics would have to admit that the Twins minor league system is stronger and deeper than it was just two years ago, or even just last year. Very soon, the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook will be available. Check back to Twins Daily later this week to find out how you can purchase the book. Below, find out more about what you will be able to find in the 2019 edition.Ten years ago, I got the idea of taking my knowledge of the Twins minor league system and turning it into a coffee table book for Twins fans. Think about how often during a Twins game Dick Bremer will mention a minor league player and someone wonders aloud who that player is and when we might see him in the big leagues. Reach down to your coffee table, grab the Prospect Handbook and sound like a genius when you tell him all about that player, his background, his stats and a scouting report on him. That was the original purpose of the book, but now it’s even more than that. First, my “knowledge of the Twins minor league system” wasn’t real high in 2008 relative to now. Second, it’s constantly evolving and I still know only a percentage of all there is to know. We have seen the evolution of the game on and off the field. The Twins have made many changes in their minor leagues. They’ve switched affiliates. They’ve added technology. They’ve added more coaches and coordinators. The goal is to make the players the best they can be and use whatever they can to get them to the big leagues and contribute. Third, and really probably #1 on this point, is the saying that has been included in every single Twins Prospect Handbook since that first edition and will again be in the 11th annual Twins Prospect Handbook as well. Minor league baseball players are doing all the same work that the big leaguers do. They are just doing it with far less fanfare, smaller per diems, less luxurious travel and hotel arrangements, and noticeably lighter wallets due to pay checks with far fewer zeroes. These players deserve to be recognized too. It’s about the players. They deserve the recognition. They work hard, and they earn what they get. Sometimes that means a big league career, and sometimes it means peaking in A-ball. So, here is a quick look at what you will find if you order a copy of the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (which will again be available in paperback and PDF). THE COVER Finn Pearson, who has done a lot of really good graphic work for Twins Daily since earlier this year, did a very nice job on the cover It would be hard for me to explain if we had gone with anyone other than Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis on the 2019 handbook cover. You will also notice that the beautiful stadium in Pensacola is in the background. The home of the new Twins Double-A affiliate sits right along the Gulf of Mexico. THE AUTHORS Seth Stohs - As mentioned above, this is my 11th Twins Prospect Handbook. Hard to believe. I wrote three articles for the handbook this year. I wrote the three Twins Daily Minor League Award winner articles. I had 30+ minute phone interviews with our three winners, Alex Kirilloff, Tyler Wells and Andrew Vasquez and penned an in-depth article on each. There are a lot of similarities in the stories and their are a couple of very solid relationships among these players. And as you saw the other day, they have a lot of respect for each other. Cody Christie - Cody was first a Co-Author on the Prospect Handbook in 2013. He wrote an interesting article looking into the first few seasons of Joe Mauer’s professional career and compared it to whatt Royce Lewis has done. Has there been a passing of the torch? Tom Froemming - This is Tom’s second Prospect Handbook. He wrote an article about how the Twins have brought in so much young talent over the last couple of years since Derek Falvey took the reigns. They have really used every potential means. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dan Hayes - Hayes joined The Athletic as the Twins beat writer almost a year ago, and he has been a terrific writer and a great follow on Twitter this offseason. We are thrilled that he wrote an article for this year’s Prospect Handbook. He wrote about a lot of the changes that happened over the last year or so in the Twins minor league system on and off the field. Chris Blessing - Chris writes about prospects for BaseballHQ.com and several other sites including USA Today Sports Weekly and the Minor League Baseball Analyst. In his scouting, he has seen many Chattanooga Lookouts games in recent years, and he noticed some things about Twins prospects in 2018 that are encouraging. Ted Schwerzler - Ted has contributed an article the last few years in which he projects which prospects will make their debuts with the Twins in 2019 and when. For the first time we have enlisted the help of the Twins minor league affiliates and have an article from each of the affiliates (with the exception of the GCL Twins). Rochester Red Wings media relations director Nate Rowan wrote a great article on the rich history of the Red Wings and baseball in Rochester. Includes some remarkable stories including one from a game the Red Wings played in Cuba in 1959 that got more than a little scary.Daniel Venn did a Q&A for Twins Daily recently. He is the media relations director for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Daniel shared with us the relatively short, but interesting history of the Blue Wahoos.Marshall Kelner is the media relations director for the Ft. Myers Miracle. He wrote an article on the team’s history and the 2018 Miracle Florida State League championship team.A long-time contributor at Twins Daily and of the Prospect Handbook, Steve Buhr met with the Cedar Rapids Kernelsfront office for a very interesting article on how much winning matters to a minor league affiliate.Mike Gallagher was the play-by-play man of the Elizabethton Twins. He wrote about the E-Twins long history with the Twins organization and recent legislation that hopefully will keep that relationship intact moving forward.Mariana Guzman writes at Twins Latinos. She wrote a good article about the 2018 season in the Dominican Summer League including who some of the better prospects might be on that team. Who could be the guys moving up to the Gulf Coast League in 2019? We admittedly have not covered the Twins Dominican Summer League in the book or on Twins Daily as much as we should, so this is a great addition to the book.THE PROFILES We like to call the prospect profiles the meat and potatoes of the Prospect Handbook. There are over 160 profiles of Twins minor leaguers in the book. I might give you an exact number, but we will update the book after Thursday’s Rule 5 draft to add any players that the Twins select. So, that number is subject to change between now and the book’s release. For those that have purchased Prospect Handbooks in the past, you have an idea of what the profiles look like and the information in each. For those of you who have not purchased previous Prospect Handbooks, well, you can buy previous Prospect Handbooks here. Ha! However, we wanted to include a profile here just to give you an idea of what you are getting. Here is a quick snip of a player profile. The header information includes height, weight, how they were acquired and their 2018 statistics. The 2018 Recaps were written by Tom Froemming and they, well, recap the player’s 2018 season. I (Seth) wrote up the Background section and the Scouting Report. The Background covers their amateur days and previous seasons. The Scouting Report provides, well, a scouting report on the player. We also include a Forecast for ‘19 in which we try to give a good idea of where each player could spend the 2019 season. We have pictures of a lot of the players in the bios. I wish we had all, but we definitely want to thank all the photographers that were willing to let us use their photos. So there you have it. The 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is coming very soon. Keep checking back to Twins Daily and we will let you know when it is available. It’s something that Tom, Cody and I are really proud of. It just keeps getting bigger and better, and we hope that you will enjoy it too! 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  20. In coming days, you will see much more information about the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Tom Froemming, Cody Christie and I have been putting far too many hours in over the last couple of months to put together a quality product that can recognize the efforts of so many talented young Twins prospects. Below, you will see some excerpts from the soon-to-be-released Twins Prospect Handbook. Each year, we write feature articles on the three Twins Daily minor league full-season award winners. I had the chance to have phone interviews with the three winners recently. One question that I asked each of them was their thoughts on each other.As you recall, following the minor league season, Twins Daily announced the minor league awards: Hitter of the Year: Alex KirilloffStarting Pitcher of the Year: Tyler WellsRelief Pitcher of the Year: Andrew VasquezIn a minor league system, the players get to know each other and develop relationships and many friendships. Even in this small group of three, there are some interesting connections. So, I thought it would be fun to see what each had to say about the others’ seasons. Tyler Wells on Andrew Vasquez In the offseason, Vasquez works out with fellow Twins Daily 2018 award winner Tyler Wells at Performance Fitness for Athletes. Wells was really happy for Vasquez. “He’s improved every year. I was extremely happy for him. I was really proud. He’s one of my best friends. It’s good to see someone get rewarded for all the hard work and adversity. Seeing him in The Show made me want to work my butt off even more.” Tyler Wells on Alex Kirilloff The Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year, Tyler Wells, is also close with Kirilloff. The two were drafted in 2016, played together in Elizabethton and have remained close. Of Kirilloff, Wells said, “Alex and I are really really close. We have gone through quite a bit as far as just being friends. Seeing what he did was unbelievable. Truly was unbelievable. Being around him, he always makes you want to be a better baseball player, in general. It makes you want to work harder. He’s always finding a way to get better, always thinking about it. From rooming with him in E-Town, that’s something I inherited from him that summer. Now it’s like, don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Stay consistent. What can you do to refine this little thing? We all know, Alex is one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. He never stops trying to get better and that rubs off on his teammates.” Andrew Vasquez on Alex Kirilloff Vasquez said of Kirilloff, "I played with him for a brief time in Elizabethton when he first got drafted. I just remembered that he was a very good hitter. It was very noticeable. You could tell he had an approach and knew what he was doing. A high school guy, he was really impressive. He was always putting good swings on the ball." Andrew Vasquez on Tyler Wells Vasquez spoke of Wells. “He had a great year. He took what he needed to improve on and focus on and it really showed this year. He lost a little weight. I was kind of worried because sometimes when guys lose weight, they can lose velo, but he kept his velo and his stamina increased. I distinctly remember in 2017 that he would have trouble going late into games, pitch count would get high and he’d get tired. This year, he made these changes and was able to sustain it. He threw really well.” Alex Kirilloff on Tyler Wells Fellow 2018 Twins Daily award winner Alex Kirilloff is a close friend of Wells since they were drafted in 2016 and played together in Elizabethton. “I think he had a great season. He did a great job last offseason. He started a new diet. He really stuck with his workout regimen and his offseason goal and plan. He lost all that weight. I’m impressed with that. He pitched well in spring training and backed it up on the field all year. I think that he has a lot of potential and hope he will have another big year.” Kirilloff continued, “Off the field, fun guy to be around, a lot of energy. Just a good guy to get behind every five days and know he’s going to battle out there on the mound. That’s always nice to have. I hope he puts together another good season next year and we’ll see what happens.” Alex Kirilloff on Andrew Vasquez Hitter of the Year, Alex Kirilloff saw Vasquez’s 2018 progression from the Florida State League to the big leagues. “It definitely is motivational for everyone, really. You don’t see that too often, but when we do see it, you keep yourself in check and realize that you are not too far away from it. Sometimes you feel like you are a million years away, but when you see a guy like Andrew do it all in one year, you push yourself to work harder and work toward that goal as well. So it was definitely pretty cool to see. I was extremely happy for him.” Later this week, we will announce more about the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Be sure to stop back and order your copies when it becomes available. For now, you can order discounted copies of the previous Twins Prospect Handbooks here. Click here to view the article
  21. As you recall, following the minor league season, Twins Daily announced the minor league awards: Hitter of the Year: Alex Kirilloff Starting Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Wells Relief Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Vasquez In a minor league system, the players get to know each other and develop relationships and many friendships. Even in this small group of three, there are some interesting connections. So, I thought it would be fun to see what each had to say about the others’ seasons. Tyler Wells on Andrew Vasquez In the offseason, Vasquez works out with fellow Twins Daily 2018 award winner Tyler Wells at Performance Fitness for Athletes. Wells was really happy for Vasquez. “He’s improved every year. I was extremely happy for him. I was really proud. He’s one of my best friends. It’s good to see someone get rewarded for all the hard work and adversity. Seeing him in The Show made me want to work my butt off even more.” Tyler Wells on Alex Kirilloff The Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year, Tyler Wells, is also close with Kirilloff. The two were drafted in 2016, played together in Elizabethton and have remained close. Of Kirilloff, Wells said, “Alex and I are really really close. We have gone through quite a bit as far as just being friends. Seeing what he did was unbelievable. Truly was unbelievable. Being around him, he always makes you want to be a better baseball player, in general. It makes you want to work harder. He’s always finding a way to get better, always thinking about it. From rooming with him in E-Town, that’s something I inherited from him that summer. Now it’s like, don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Stay consistent. What can you do to refine this little thing? We all know, Alex is one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. He never stops trying to get better and that rubs off on his teammates.” Andrew Vasquez on Alex Kirilloff Vasquez said of Kirilloff, "I played with him for a brief time in Elizabethton when he first got drafted. I just remembered that he was a very good hitter. It was very noticeable. You could tell he had an approach and knew what he was doing. A high school guy, he was really impressive. He was always putting good swings on the ball." Andrew Vasquez on Tyler Wells Vasquez spoke of Wells. “He had a great year. He took what he needed to improve on and focus on and it really showed this year. He lost a little weight. I was kind of worried because sometimes when guys lose weight, they can lose velo, but he kept his velo and his stamina increased. I distinctly remember in 2017 that he would have trouble going late into games, pitch count would get high and he’d get tired. This year, he made these changes and was able to sustain it. He threw really well.” Alex Kirilloff on Tyler Wells Fellow 2018 Twins Daily award winner Alex Kirilloff is a close friend of Wells since they were drafted in 2016 and played together in Elizabethton. “I think he had a great season. He did a great job last offseason. He started a new diet. He really stuck with his workout regimen and his offseason goal and plan. He lost all that weight. I’m impressed with that. He pitched well in spring training and backed it up on the field all year. I think that he has a lot of potential and hope he will have another big year.” Kirilloff continued, “Off the field, fun guy to be around, a lot of energy. Just a good guy to get behind every five days and know he’s going to battle out there on the mound. That’s always nice to have. I hope he puts together another good season next year and we’ll see what happens.” Alex Kirilloff on Andrew Vasquez Hitter of the Year, Alex Kirilloff saw Vasquez’s 2018 progression from the Florida State League to the big leagues. “It definitely is motivational for everyone, really. You don’t see that too often, but when we do see it, you keep yourself in check and realize that you are not too far away from it. Sometimes you feel like you are a million years away, but when you see a guy like Andrew do it all in one year, you push yourself to work harder and work toward that goal as well. So it was definitely pretty cool to see. I was extremely happy for him.” Later this week, we will announce more about the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Be sure to stop back and order your copies when it becomes available. For now, you can order discounted copies of the previous Twins Prospect Handbooks here.
  22. On Tuesday night at Target Field, Joe Mauer singled in the first inning to pass Harmon Killebrew for number of Times on Base in his Twins career. If you were to look at the Twins record books, you would find Harmon Killebrew’s name at or near the top of most career and single-season lists. On the field, Killebrew was a Hall of Famer. Ask most of his contemporaries or those who got to know him and they will likely tell you that he was a Hall of Famer off the field too. Following his death, the Minnesota Twins announced that they would hand out a Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service to one player at each of the Twins four, full-season minor league affiliates. Over the past week, we have announced three of the four recipients. Tonight, we announce the fourth Killebrew Award winner.Following the conclusion of the Twins minor league season, Twins Daily announced our choice for the 2018 Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Right-hander Tyler Wells split the season, making 16 starts for Ft. Myers and six games in Chattanooga. Combined, he went 10-6 with a 2.49 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He struck out 121 batters in 119 1/3 innings. It was a terrific season on the field for Wells. Wells was terrific in the community throughout the season as well and earned the Miracle choice for the Harmon Killebrew Award. The Miracle do a lot throughout their season in the community, and Wells stayed busy with it throughout his time in southwest Florida. Wells shared a list of some of the activities that he participated in. “During my time in Fort Myers, I participated in multiple camps, a special needs camp, a hospital visit to see kids with cancer, and helped promote and participated in a fundraiser with the VS. Cancer Foundation. I also participated in a kids camp up in Chattanooga.” The VS. Cancer event and fundraiser was something that meant a lot personally to Wells. Wells made several trips to Ft. Myers area hospitals with teammates throughout the season, and even in the offseason when he was there for various camps. Being community-minded is something that is very important to Tyler Wells, and having his name associated with an award named for the great Harmon Killebrew. “It’s a huge honor for me, as it would be for anyone to associated with the Minnesota Twins legend. Baseball is only part of the job for us, and Harmon Killebrew was the best example you could have for being so much more than a baseball player. And I’m hoping, as I continue my career, that I can set an example like Killebrew did! ” Previous Ft. Myers Miracle Killebrew Award winners: 2011 - Reggie Williams 2012 - Andy Leer 2013 - Stephen Wickens 2014 - Tim Shibuya 2015 - Tanner Vavra 2016 - Trey Vavra 2017 - Kevin Garcia 2018 - Tyler Wells Other 2018 Killebrew Award Recipients Rochester Red Wings - Jake Reed Chattanooga Lookouts - Chris Paul Fort Myers Miracle - Tyler Wells Cedar Rapids Kernels - David Banuelos Congratulations to Tyler Wells on earning the 2018 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Fort Myers Miracle. Click here to view the article
  23. Following the conclusion of the Twins minor league season, Twins Daily announced our choice for the 2018 Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Right-hander Tyler Wells split the season, making 16 starts for Ft. Myers and six games in Chattanooga. Combined, he went 10-6 with a 2.49 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He struck out 121 batters in 119 1/3 innings. It was a terrific season on the field for Wells. Wells was terrific in the community throughout the season as well and earned the Miracle choice for the Harmon Killebrew Award. The Miracle do a lot throughout their season in the community, and Wells stayed busy with it throughout his time in southwest Florida. Wells shared a list of some of the activities that he participated in. “During my time in Fort Myers, I participated in multiple camps, a special needs camp, a hospital visit to see kids with cancer, and helped promote and participated in a fundraiser with the VS. Cancer Foundation. I also participated in a kids camp up in Chattanooga.” The VS. Cancer event and fundraiser was something that meant a lot personally to Wells. https://twitter.com/TylerW13/status/1014211682732838914 Wells and some teammates raised money to fight cancer, and following a game at Hammond Stadium on a Friday night in late July, they got pied. https://twitter.com/TylerW13/status/1020757714052567041 Wells made several trips to Ft. Myers area hospitals with teammates throughout the season, and even in the offseason when he was there for various camps. Being community-minded is something that is very important to Tyler Wells, and having his name associated with an award named for the great Harmon Killebrew. “It’s a huge honor for me, as it would be for anyone to associated with the Minnesota Twins legend. Baseball is only part of the job for us, and Harmon Killebrew was the best example you could have for being so much more than a baseball player. And I’m hoping, as I continue my career, that I can set an example like Killebrew did! ” Previous Ft. Myers Miracle Killebrew Award winners: 2011 - Reggie Williams 2012 - Andy Leer 2013 - Stephen Wickens 2014 - Tim Shibuya 2015 - Tanner Vavra 2016 - Trey Vavra 2017 - Kevin Garcia 2018 - Tyler Wells Other 2018 Killebrew Award Recipients Rochester Red Wings - Jake Reed Chattanooga Lookouts - Chris Paul Fort Myers Miracle - Tyler Wells Cedar Rapids Kernels - David Banuelos Congratulations to Tyler Wells on earning the 2018 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Fort Myers Miracle.
  24. The Twins, and probably every organization in baseball, need and want more pitching. Even with the “opener” concept starting to take root in the game, development of starting pitchers will always be a top priority for baseball executives and coaches. Today, we announce the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. There were some good choices again in 2018. Previous 2018 Awards Short-Season Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Cabezas Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year: Chris Williams Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Vasquez Today: Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Wells Coming Soon: Minor League Hitter of the Year: Previous Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitchers of the Year: 2012 - BJ Hermsen 2013 - Taylor Rogers 2014 - Jose Berrios 2015 - Jose Berrios 2016 - Stephen Gonsalves 2017 - Stephen Gonsalves 2018 - Keep ReadingBefore we get to the Top Five, and the eventual winner, it's worth noting a few honorable mentions. While Rochester and Chattanooga struggled in 2018, Cedar Rapids made the playoffs and Ft. Myers and Elizabethton won championships, largely on their pitching. Here are some of those candidates that also received votes: Honorable Mention Sean Poppen - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 26 G, 20 GS, 6-9, 3.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 127.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.7 K/9Randy Dobnak - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 24 G, 20 GS, 10-5, 3.14 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 129.0 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 5.9 K/9Bailey Ober - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 14 GS, 7-1, 3.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 75.0 IP, 1.1 BB/9, 10.6 K/9Starting Pitcher of the Year Here are the top five picks for the 2018 Minnesota Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. #5- Edwar Colina - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 21 G, 20 GS, 7-5, 2.63 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 109.1 IP, 4.4 BB/9, 8.7 K/9 Colina signed with the Twins in September of 2015. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2016. Last year in Elizabethton, he was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. While his walk total was high, Colina was often able to work out of situations with strikeouts. Colina is stocky and strong. While he isn’t tall, he uses has legs to drive the ball. He sits 93 to 94 mph, but he can hit 96 regularly. He’s got good secondary pitches as well. He spent the majority of the season in Cedar Rapids, where he started a no-hitter. He ended the season with a start for the Miracle and then was the winning pitcher in the Miracle’s championship game. #4- Lewis Thorpe - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings - 26 G, 25 GS, 8-7, 3.54 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 129.2 iP, 2.5 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 Thorpe was added to the Twins 40-man roster last November. After missing two full seasons with Tommy John surgery (and mono), Thorpe showed enough in Ft. Myers to earn the roster spot. This year, he began in Chattanooga where he struggled early. But he started pitching well and was named to the Future Game where he represented the Twins and Australia. He took off from there, throwing more and more strikes and getting a lot of strikeouts. He ended the season with four starts in Rochester. #3- Stephen Gonsalves - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings - 23 G, 22 GS, 12-3, 2.76 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 120.2 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9 Gonsalves was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He was the runner up to Jose Berrios in 2015. After being added to the 40-man roster last November, Gonsalves came to his second big league spring training. He struggled early and was sent to Chattanooga where he issued too many walks but dominated in four starts. He was promoted to Rochester where he went 9-3 with a 2.96 ERA. When you consider he has starts in which he gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings, five runs in 2/3 inning, and nine earned runs in four innings, he was incredible in the rest of his innings. He followed the nine-run outing with a stretch of seven starts in which he gave up just two runs over 40 1/3 innings. In mid-August, the 24-year-old received the call to the big leagues. #2- Brusdar Graterol - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle - 19 GS, 8-4, 2.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 102.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 The Twins signed Graterol way back in late August of 2014. The Venezuelan right-hander pitched just 11 innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2015 before coming to the Twin Cities and having Tommy John surgery. He continued to rehab until early in the 2017 season when he returned to pitching, this time for the GCL Twins. He split 2018 between the GCL and Elizabethton. He began the 2018 season in extended spring training, though he got to Cedar Rapids before the end of April. With the Kernels, he went 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 41 1/3 innings (9 BB, 51 K) before being promoted to the Miracle shortly after the Midwest League All-Star Game. With the Miracle, he went 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 starts and 60 2/3 innings (19 BB, 56 K). Blessed with a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and frequently hits triple digits, Graterol also has the makings of a quality slider and changeup. #1- Tyler Wells - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 22 G, 21 GS, 10-6, 2.49 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 119.1 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 9.2 K/9 The Twins used their 15th-round draft pick in the 2016 draft to select a tall, right-hander from Cal State-San Bernadino. He was an interesting draft story. Recently Senior Advisor to Scouting, Deron Johnson, who was the Twins Scouting Director in 2016, told Twins Daily that he had traveled with Twins area scout and now West Coast Supervisor Elliot Strankman. “Elliot and I were going to see a junior college kid at another college. He said, ‘Hey, I like this reliever at Sonoma State. Let’s go see him on the way there.’ So we go there and they’re playing Cal State-San Bernadino. We see this big giant on the mound throwing up to 94 with a nice breaking ball. John Leavitt, our area scout had him in, but he wasn’t a guy for me to see. We just stopped in there on a whim. John had seen him, but he hadn’t seen him throwing that hard. We just kind of had him on our radar after that. We didn’t hide him out, but we didn’t show a lot of interest. We knew there were two other clubs that had interest in him. We targeted him in the draft and thought, let’s not lose this guy.” Johnson noted that Wells reminded him of a former Twins pitching prospect (and former minor league pitcher of the year) who reached Triple-A Rochester. “Remember David Bromberg? (Wells) was a lot like David. When we draft-and-followed David, he weighed 290 pounds out of high school. He went to junior college and lost a ton of weight.” That was the carrying story for Wells as he came into the 2018 season. This past offseason, Wells worked really hard at Performance Fitness for Athletes as well as greatly improved his diet. It was noticed, and it paid off. Since being drafted, he has lost about 50 pounds. Twins minor league director Jeremy Zoll noted, “Tyler does seem to fly under the radar a little bit for whatever reason. We’ve been really proud of him this year. He came into spring training and had really transformed his body, lost about 25 pounds. Really changed his diet working with his mom and a few other people in California. To dial that in this offseason. Felt it was the area he needed to improve the most. Thought it would help him sustain success through a long, full season. He did just that. He stayed committed to that all year.” Wells acknowledged that it was very important to him, but not only did he lose the weight, but he got results on the mound. He said, “It was extremely fulfilling knowing that the hard work I’ve put in is showing out on the field. It helped me gain confidence in myself and my ability to go out there every day and compete.” The weight loss is part of Tyler Wells’ 2018 story, but at the end of the day, he is the choice for Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year because of the numbers and because of the results, and frankly, because he is a really good pitcher. For his part, Wells likes to just keep it simple. “I don’t really try to follow my stats too much. I like to keep it simple and just try to put up as many zeroes as possible every time I go out there. If anything, I was extremely blessed and thankful to have a completely healthy season.” His pitching coach at Ft. Myers, Henry Bonilla, noted that staying healthy was part of the key for Wells. “One of the main things for Tyler was staying healthy. He always had good numbers, but seemed to find little injuries that kept him off the field. He also learned how to use his pitches better, what works well off each other and so forth.” Jeremy Zoll credits that pitching coaches working with Wells, but also Wells himself for working on things. “I know he was working with both pitching coaches, Henry Bonilla, Ivan Arteaga and JP Martinez, our assistant pitching coordinator, throughout the season with various grips on his curveball. He tried an adjustment early that ultimately didn’t go the way he wanted it to. He made some tweaks in the middle of the year and it seemed like from there, it started to really help. It played off his fastball well. Increased comfort with the slider and ability to use it early in the count, late in the count, and just continue to be comfortable pitching inside. So a lot of it is just continued innings, continued reps, continued development, and some minor tweaks along the way.” From Johnson, “Tyler’s got that good fastball carry. He’s got a nice down-action curveball. He can pitch. He’s got a changeup too. He’s got good makeup. He’s turned himself into a good prospect.” According to Zoll, “He’s got four pitches. He continued to hone ways to use all four and have them play off each other. He fills up the strike zone and generates weak contact. All those things put together equal a pretty good starting pitcher. It helped him earn his promotion to AA and he just step on the gas pedal from there. ” Wells made 16 starts for Ft. Myers to start the season and was named a Florida State League All Star. He went 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. In 86 2/3 innings, he walked 17 and struck out 82 batters. He was the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Month in June. He was promoted to Chattanooga where he made six more starts and went 2-2 with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In 32 2/3 innings, he walked 14 but struck out 39 batters. Asked about the continued success upon his promotion to Double-A, Wells said, “Honestly, my transitions were very easy for one reason. It’s the same game all the way through. I have to go out and throw strikes, execute pitches, and give my team a chance to win every single time.” The makeup and the mental aspect of the game is often forgotten, but Tyler Wells has it in spades. “I cannot say that there was one pitch or sequence (that led to his success) because every hitter is different. My success, I believe, came from my mental side of the game. I was able to learn how to use my pitches, read hitters’ swings, and keep my approach to pitching simple and aggressive.” Deron Johnson says it well when he says of Wells. “He was a pleasant surprise. You’ve got to get lucky and get guys down there in the draft. You never know what’s going to happen with your top picks, so it’s always a pleasant surprise to get a guy or two, like Hildenberger, down there. You’ve got to get lucky.” Who knows? The Twins just may have got lucky in the 2016 15th round with Tyler Wells. The Ballots Votes came in from the Twins Daily minor league writers, making six ballots in total. Striving for transparency, here is how each individual voted: Seth Stohs - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Brusdar Graterol, 3) Stephen Gonsalves, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Sean PoppenJeremy Nygaard - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Stephen Gonsalves, 3) Lewis Thorpe, 4) Brusdar Graterol, 5) Bailey OberCody Christie - 1) Stephen Gonsalves, 2) Tyler Wells, 3) Brusdar Graterol, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Sean PoppenTed Schwerzler - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Brusdar Graterol, 3) Stephen Gonsalves, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Randy DobnakTom Froemming - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Lewis Thorpe, 3) Brusdar Graterol, 4) Sean Poppen, 5) Stephen GonsalvesSteve Lein - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Brusdar Graterol, 3) Lewis Thorpe, 4) Stephen Gonsalves, 5) Randy DobnakFeel free to discuss below in the comments. Share your ballot! Click here to view the article
  25. Before we get to the Top Five, and the eventual winner, it's worth noting a few honorable mentions. While Rochester and Chattanooga struggled in 2018, Cedar Rapids made the playoffs and Ft. Myers and Elizabethton won championships, largely on their pitching. Here are some of those candidates that also received votes: Honorable Mention Sean Poppen - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 26 G, 20 GS, 6-9, 3.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 127.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.7 K/9 Randy Dobnak - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 24 G, 20 GS, 10-5, 3.14 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 129.0 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 5.9 K/9 Bailey Ober - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 14 GS, 7-1, 3.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 75.0 IP, 1.1 BB/9, 10.6 K/9 Starting Pitcher of the Year Here are the top five picks for the 2018 Minnesota Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. #5- Edwar Colina - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 21 G, 20 GS, 7-5, 2.63 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 109.1 IP, 4.4 BB/9, 8.7 K/9 Colina signed with the Twins in September of 2015. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2016. Last year in Elizabethton, he was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. While his walk total was high, Colina was often able to work out of situations with strikeouts. Colina is stocky and strong. While he isn’t tall, he uses has legs to drive the ball. He sits 93 to 94 mph, but he can hit 96 regularly. He’s got good secondary pitches as well. He spent the majority of the season in Cedar Rapids, where he started a no-hitter. He ended the season with a start for the Miracle and then was the winning pitcher in the Miracle’s championship game. #4- Lewis Thorpe - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings - 26 G, 25 GS, 8-7, 3.54 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 129.2 iP, 2.5 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 Thorpe was added to the Twins 40-man roster last November. After missing two full seasons with Tommy John surgery (and mono), Thorpe showed enough in Ft. Myers to earn the roster spot. This year, he began in Chattanooga where he struggled early. But he started pitching well and was named to the Future Game where he represented the Twins and Australia. He took off from there, throwing more and more strikes and getting a lot of strikeouts. He ended the season with four starts in Rochester. #3- Stephen Gonsalves - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings - 23 G, 22 GS, 12-3, 2.76 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 120.2 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9 Gonsalves was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He was the runner up to Jose Berrios in 2015. After being added to the 40-man roster last November, Gonsalves came to his second big league spring training. He struggled early and was sent to Chattanooga where he issued too many walks but dominated in four starts. He was promoted to Rochester where he went 9-3 with a 2.96 ERA. When you consider he has starts in which he gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings, five runs in 2/3 inning, and nine earned runs in four innings, he was incredible in the rest of his innings. He followed the nine-run outing with a stretch of seven starts in which he gave up just two runs over 40 1/3 innings. In mid-August, the 24-year-old received the call to the big leagues. #2- Brusdar Graterol - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle - 19 GS, 8-4, 2.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 102.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 The Twins signed Graterol way back in late August of 2014. The Venezuelan right-hander pitched just 11 innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2015 before coming to the Twin Cities and having Tommy John surgery. He continued to rehab until early in the 2017 season when he returned to pitching, this time for the GCL Twins. He split 2018 between the GCL and Elizabethton. He began the 2018 season in extended spring training, though he got to Cedar Rapids before the end of April. With the Kernels, he went 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 41 1/3 innings (9 BB, 51 K) before being promoted to the Miracle shortly after the Midwest League All-Star Game. With the Miracle, he went 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 starts and 60 2/3 innings (19 BB, 56 K). Blessed with a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and frequently hits triple digits, Graterol also has the makings of a quality slider and changeup. #1- Tyler Wells - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 22 G, 21 GS, 10-6, 2.49 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 119.1 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 9.2 K/9 The Twins used their 15th-round draft pick in the 2016 draft to select a tall, right-hander from Cal State-San Bernadino. He was an interesting draft story. Recently Senior Advisor to Scouting, Deron Johnson, who was the Twins Scouting Director in 2016, told Twins Daily that he had traveled with Twins area scout and now West Coast Supervisor Elliot Strankman. “Elliot and I were going to see a junior college kid at another college. He said, ‘Hey, I like this reliever at Sonoma State. Let’s go see him on the way there.’ So we go there and they’re playing Cal State-San Bernadino. We see this big giant on the mound throwing up to 94 with a nice breaking ball. John Leavitt, our area scout had him in, but he wasn’t a guy for me to see. We just stopped in there on a whim. John had seen him, but he hadn’t seen him throwing that hard. We just kind of had him on our radar after that. We didn’t hide him out, but we didn’t show a lot of interest. We knew there were two other clubs that had interest in him. We targeted him in the draft and thought, let’s not lose this guy.” Johnson noted that Wells reminded him of a former Twins pitching prospect (and former minor league pitcher of the year) who reached Triple-A Rochester. “Remember David Bromberg? (Wells) was a lot like David. When we draft-and-followed David, he weighed 290 pounds out of high school. He went to junior college and lost a ton of weight.” That was the carrying story for Wells as he came into the 2018 season. This past offseason, Wells worked really hard at Performance Fitness for Athletes as well as greatly improved his diet. It was noticed, and it paid off. Since being drafted, he has lost about 50 pounds. Twins minor league director Jeremy Zoll noted, “Tyler does seem to fly under the radar a little bit for whatever reason. We’ve been really proud of him this year. He came into spring training and had really transformed his body, lost about 25 pounds. Really changed his diet working with his mom and a few other people in California. To dial that in this offseason. Felt it was the area he needed to improve the most. Thought it would help him sustain success through a long, full season. He did just that. He stayed committed to that all year.” Wells acknowledged that it was very important to him, but not only did he lose the weight, but he got results on the mound. He said, “It was extremely fulfilling knowing that the hard work I’ve put in is showing out on the field. It helped me gain confidence in myself and my ability to go out there every day and compete.” The weight loss is part of Tyler Wells’ 2018 story, but at the end of the day, he is the choice for Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year because of the numbers and because of the results, and frankly, because he is a really good pitcher. For his part, Wells likes to just keep it simple. “I don’t really try to follow my stats too much. I like to keep it simple and just try to put up as many zeroes as possible every time I go out there. If anything, I was extremely blessed and thankful to have a completely healthy season.” His pitching coach at Ft. Myers, Henry Bonilla, noted that staying healthy was part of the key for Wells. “One of the main things for Tyler was staying healthy. He always had good numbers, but seemed to find little injuries that kept him off the field. He also learned how to use his pitches better, what works well off each other and so forth.” Jeremy Zoll credits that pitching coaches working with Wells, but also Wells himself for working on things. “I know he was working with both pitching coaches, Henry Bonilla, Ivan Arteaga and JP Martinez, our assistant pitching coordinator, throughout the season with various grips on his curveball. He tried an adjustment early that ultimately didn’t go the way he wanted it to. He made some tweaks in the middle of the year and it seemed like from there, it started to really help. It played off his fastball well. Increased comfort with the slider and ability to use it early in the count, late in the count, and just continue to be comfortable pitching inside. So a lot of it is just continued innings, continued reps, continued development, and some minor tweaks along the way.” From Johnson, “Tyler’s got that good fastball carry. He’s got a nice down-action curveball. He can pitch. He’s got a changeup too. He’s got good makeup. He’s turned himself into a good prospect.” According to Zoll, “He’s got four pitches. He continued to hone ways to use all four and have them play off each other. He fills up the strike zone and generates weak contact. All those things put together equal a pretty good starting pitcher. It helped him earn his promotion to AA and he just step on the gas pedal from there. ” Wells made 16 starts for Ft. Myers to start the season and was named a Florida State League All Star. He went 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. In 86 2/3 innings, he walked 17 and struck out 82 batters. He was the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Month in June. He was promoted to Chattanooga where he made six more starts and went 2-2 with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In 32 2/3 innings, he walked 14 but struck out 39 batters. Asked about the continued success upon his promotion to Double-A, Wells said, “Honestly, my transitions were very easy for one reason. It’s the same game all the way through. I have to go out and throw strikes, execute pitches, and give my team a chance to win every single time.” The makeup and the mental aspect of the game is often forgotten, but Tyler Wells has it in spades. “I cannot say that there was one pitch or sequence (that led to his success) because every hitter is different. My success, I believe, came from my mental side of the game. I was able to learn how to use my pitches, read hitters’ swings, and keep my approach to pitching simple and aggressive.” Deron Johnson says it well when he says of Wells. “He was a pleasant surprise. You’ve got to get lucky and get guys down there in the draft. You never know what’s going to happen with your top picks, so it’s always a pleasant surprise to get a guy or two, like Hildenberger, down there. You’ve got to get lucky.” Who knows? The Twins just may have got lucky in the 2016 15th round with Tyler Wells. The Ballots Votes came in from the Twins Daily minor league writers, making six ballots in total. Striving for transparency, here is how each individual voted: Seth Stohs - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Brusdar Graterol, 3) Stephen Gonsalves, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Sean Poppen Jeremy Nygaard - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Stephen Gonsalves, 3) Lewis Thorpe, 4) Brusdar Graterol, 5) Bailey Ober Cody Christie - 1) Stephen Gonsalves, 2) Tyler Wells, 3) Brusdar Graterol, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Sean Poppen Ted Schwerzler - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Brusdar Graterol, 3) Stephen Gonsalves, 4) Edwar Colina, 5) Randy Dobnak Tom Froemming - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Lewis Thorpe, 3) Brusdar Graterol, 4) Sean Poppen, 5) Stephen Gonsalves Steve Lein - 1) Tyler Wells, 2) Brusdar Graterol, 3) Lewis Thorpe, 4) Stephen Gonsalves, 5) Randy Dobnak Feel free to discuss below in the comments. Share your ballot!
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