While the 2021 season will begin late, we are excited about our minor league coverage plans for the upcoming season. We will again have daily minor league reports. In addition, we hope to have a strong presence at CHS Field throughout the season and provide even more coverage.
With that in mind, today I just wanted to start getting people thinking about the minor leagues. Today I'll remind you of the 2021 Twins affiliates.
Minor League Spring Training Update
But first, here are some quick notes on Twins minor league spring training:
- Players reported to Ft. Myers for spring training on April 1st. They had to go through the intake process, COVID protocols and more.
- April 5th was the first official practice.
- There are 134 players in Ft. Myers (73 pitchers, 14 catchers, 28 infielders, 17 outfielders, and two rehabbing)
- April 16th (Friday), the minor leaguers will play their first spring training games against other teams. Like big league spring games, the Twins affiliates will play only Boston, Atlanta and Tampa Bay affiliates.
- April 29th - Minor League camp breaks.
- May 4th - Minor League Opening Day.
The Elizabethton Twins are no longer an affiliate of the Twins. In fact, that team is now longer the Twins. They are now the River Riders and will play in a summer college wood bat league.
The Rochester Red Wings became the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals (managed by former Twins catcher/DH Matthew LeCroy), and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are now the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins.
With that, let's take a look at the four full-season Twins affiliates, provide some background on the team and their stadium. We have also included links to the team's websites, team stores, and social media platforms. Find links to how you can watch the Twins players at the alternate site, and a couple of the affiliates have started podcasts.
St. Paul Saints
After nearly 30 years as a leader in independent baseball, the St. Paul Saints became the Twins Triple-A affiliate. The two sides became close last summer when the Twins were able to use CHS Field as their alternate site, a role they are playing again this month.
The Twins new Triple-A affiliate resides just 12 miles from Target Field. CHS Field is where the team will play. In fact, leading up to the start of the minor league season, CHS Field is the site of the Twins alternate site again. You can watch the workouts and simulated games in person for just $5. Find the schedule here, and how you can order tickets. And there are concessions.
When the team takes the field, they will be managed by Toby Gardenhire. Matt Borgschulte will be the hitting coach. Cibney Bello and Mike McCarthy will be the pitching coaches. Tyler Smarslok will be the fourth coach.
Saints on Twitter
Saints on Facebook
Saints on Instagram
Saints on YouTube
Wichita Wind Surge
The Twins new Double-A affiliate is in Wichita, Kansas, and it might be fair to say There’s No Place Like Home. Riverfront Stadium is new, and it is stunning (See here. It’s incredible!). Last Saturday, the first game ever was played in the stadium and over 7,500 fans watched Wichita State play Houston. While the new stadium is 635 miles from Target Field, the ten-hour drive down I-35 could be part of a longer vacation, or even a long weekend.
Ramon Borrego will again be the Twins Double-A manager, maintaining the same role he had in Pensacola. Luis Ramirez and Virgil Vasquez will be the team’s pitching coaches. Ryan Smith will be the hitting coach. Joe Mangiameli will be the fourth coach and work with the catchers.
Wind Surge on Twitter
Wind Surge on Facebook
Wind Surge on Instagram
Wind Surge on YouTube
Surge Cast: Episode 1
Cedar Rapids Kernels
The Twins moved their Low-A, Midwest League affiliate from Beloit to Cedar Rapids in 2013. With the minor league realignment this offseason, the Kernels got a promotion and are now the Twins High-A affiliate. Veterans Memorial Stadium is just 278 miles from Target Field. It’s a great trip. In addition, the Field of Dreams movie location is in nearby Dyersville.
Brian Dinkelman gets his managerial promotion to High-A without having to move! His pitching coaches will be Mark Moriarity and Richard Salazar. Bryce Berg will be the hitting coach. Jairo Rodriguez will be the team’s fourth coach and work with the catchers.
Kernels on Twitter
Kernels on Facebook
Kernels on Instagram
Kernels on YouTube
All Ears podcast
Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
Ft. Myers has been the home to the Twins High-A, Florida State League affiliate for a long time. Before the 2020 season, it was announced that the team would no longer be the Miracle. Instead, they are now the Mighty Mussels. This past offseason, there was another change. The Mighty Mussels will now be the Low-A affiliate of the Twins.
OK, it’s a 1700 mile drive from Target Field to Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers. It’ll be 25 hours worth of driving, so unless you’ve got an epic vacation planned, flying would be the best way to get there. And if you plan it for later in the summer, you can catch a few GCL Twins games on the back fields as well.
In recent weeks, Aaron Sutton resigned as the Mighty Mussels manager to return home for personal reasons, leaving the coaching industry. Brian Meyer was going to be the team’s hitting coach, but he will now be the team’s manager. Peter Larson and Carlos Hernandez are the two pitching coaches. The Twins hired Derek Shomon who had been the hitting coach of the Schaumburg Boomers of the independent Frontier League. Rayden Ogando was recently brought in and will be the team’s fourth coach.
Mighty Mussels on Twitter
Mighty Mussels on Facebook
Mighty Mussels on Instagram
Again, we will have much more content on all four of these affiliates in coming weeks and throughout the season. But feel free to ask any questions you may have.
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