Twins Arizona Fall League updates

October 26th, 2019

Six Twins prospects are playing for the Salt River Rafters in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Shortstop Royce Lewis (No. 1, MLB No. 9), outfielder Luke Raley, right-hander Dakota Chalmers, right-hander Moises Gomez, left-hander Jovani Moran and left-hander Zach Neff.

Here’s a day-by-day look at how Minnesota's AFL contingent is faring:

Oct. 26: Salt River 5, Surprise 1
Royce Lewis, who was named the 2019 Arizona Fall League MVP prior to Saturday’s championship game, helped lead the Rafters to a title with a 2-for-5 performance in Salt River’s 5-1 win over Surprise. The Twins’ top prospect (MLB No. 9) paced all the AFL in both hits (30) and runs scored (21) and finished third in batting (.353) and OPS (.975) while appearing in 22 regular-season games. Luke Raley was held hitless, going 0-for-2, though he reach via a walk and a hit-by-pitch and scored one run. The 25-year-old outfielder finished the Fall League on a high note, batting .333 with three homers and eight RBIs over his final 10 contests.

Dakota Chalmers started the Fall League title game for Salt River and lasted 2 1/3 innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. The 23-year-old struck out the side swinging in the first inning, recording a pair of punchouts using his changeup and the other on a 94-mph fastball. A leadoff walk in the third came back to bite him as Surprise manufactured the first run of the contest without the ball leaving the infield. The right-hander’s command was suspect during his final fall start, tossing just 25 of 50 pitches for strikes. Including the regular season, he wraps up his time in Arizona having tossed 28 strikeouts in 20 innings with a 3.86 ERA. 

Zach Neff came out of the Rafters’ bullpen to record the final out in the eighth inning. It was the sixth straight scoreless appearance by the 23-year-old lefty, who posted a 1.38 ERA with 12 strikeouts over 13 innings during the Fall League’s regular season.

Oct. 25: Salt River 6, Peoria 1
Twins top prospect Royce Lewis recorded the hardest-hit ball in Salt River’s win over Peoria -- an RBI single in the fifth inning that had an exit velocity of 104.9 mph. He finished 1-for-3, and he carries a .353 average into Saturday’s championship game against Surprise. Luke Raley, who’s been red hot for the Rafters down the stretch, went 1-for-3 with a second-inning single off Javelinas starter Forrest Whitley (100.9 mph exit velo).

Oct. 24: Salt River 0, Mesa 0
Royce Lewis singled in a 1-for-4 performance for the Rafters, and Luke Raley ended up 0-for-3. Zach Neff induced three pop outs on five pitches to record a spotless eighth inning.

Oct. 23: Glendale 5, Salt River 4
Jovani Moran struck out a pair of batters during a perfect eighth inning out of Salt River’s bullpen. More important, Moran, a 22-year-old lefty, did not issue a walk for the first time in nine Fall League outings on Wednesday. Overall, he’s compiled 14 strikeouts and 12 walks in nine innings while pitching to a 7.00 ERA.

Oct. 22: Scheduled off day for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 21: Salt River 11, Glendale 7
Salt River pushed across five runs in the third inning and six in the ninth on Monday as they rallied to defeat Glendale, 11-7. Royce Lewis and Luke Raley were at the center of both of the Rafters’ scoring outbursts, and together they finished 4-for-9 with seven RBIs and three runs scored. Lewis, Minnesota’s top prospect, tallied an RBI single in the third and then added an RBI double in the ninth before scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. He finished 2-for-5, and sports a .359 average with 12 extra-base hits, 21 runs scored and 19 RBIs through 20 games.

As for Raley, he continued his recent hot streak at the plate with a 2-for-5, five-RBI game that was highlighted by a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. The homer was the 25-year-old outfielder’s third in as many games after he went deep twice in a 4-for-4 performance on Saturday. He’s batting .250 in the Fall League overall, with 14 RBIs in 20 games. More »

Dakota Chalmers allowed three runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings in his sixth start for Salt River. He threw 42 of 71 pitches for strikes, walking two and striking out four. While the 23-year-old right-hander has shown this fall that he can miss bats, racking up 25 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings and recording at least four strikeouts in each of his six starts, he’s also issued 12 walks and owns a 5.09 ERA. Right-hander Moises Gomez struggled in relief of Chalmers, allowing two runs on four walks and zero hits in one inning. Entering the day, Gomez had permitted just five walks over his first eight outings. Zach Neff followed Gomez and delivered 1 1/3 scoreless frames to lower his Fall League ERA to 1.50, though he did allow a pair of inherited baserunners to score.

Oct. 20: Salt River 2, Surprise 1
Royce Lewis started at third base on Sunday and hit out of the No. 2 spot in the order. He reached base via only a walk in four trips to the plate. His 0-for-3 line lowered his average to a still-very-impressive .356. Luke Raley couldn’t follow up his two-homer performance from Saturday with another dinger, but he did reach base safely and score one of the Rafters’ two runs, finishing 1-for-3.

Oct. 19: Salt River 8, Surprise 1
Salt River recorded three extra-base hits on Saturday … and Luke Raley was responsible for all of them. The 25-year-old outfielder erupted to hit two home runs and a double and went 4-for-4 at the plate, with three RBIs and three runs scored. After hitting a single in his first at-bat, Raley connected on a two-run homer in the second inning, hit a solo shot in the fifth and added a double off the right-center-field wall in the seventh. He’s hit safely in five straight games and owns a .232 average through 19 contests. Royce Lewis wasn't quite as good as Raley on Saturday, but the Twins’ top prospect still went 1-for-4 with an RBI, a walk and one run scored. He’s batting .371 overall, with hits in 14 of his last 15 contests. More »

Oct. 18: Peoria 9, Salt River 0
Luke Raley extended his hitting streak to four games with a 1-for-4 performance for Salt River. Jovani Moran gave up two runs on one hit, two walks and a wild pitch during an inning of relief out of Salt River’s bullpen. The left-hander threw 16 of 27 pitches for strikes, notching one strikeout.

Oct. 17: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 16: Salt River 4, Peoria 2
A day removed from having his 12-game hitting streak snapped, Royce Lewis started a new one by going 2-for-4 with his eighth Fall League double in Salt River’s win over Peoria. He also picked up his fourth stolen base. The multihit performance pushed former No. 1 overall pick’s (2017) average up to .379, one of the top marks in the AFL. Luke Raley also doubled before finishing 1-for-4. Moises Gomez tossed a scoreless seventh inning to earn his third hold, and Zach Neff racked up three strikeouts over two hitless frames to record his first AFL save.

Oct. 15: Scottsdale 2, Salt River 1
Dakota Chalmers cruised through three innings and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. He gave up two hits and a run -- finishing with two runs on three hits over four innings -- in the fourth inning, but it was still a solid start overall. The right-hander, acquired via a trade from the A’s, struck out four utilizing a fastball that sat in the mid-90s along with a curveball and slider, both of which eclipsed 3,000 rpm -- curveball: 3,076 rpm; slider: 3,115 rpm -- in the outing. For context, of all curveballs tracked by Statcast during the Major League season, only 4.6 percent had spin rates of 3,000-plus rpm.

Royce Lewis’ hitting streak ended at 12 games as the Twins’ No. 1 prospect went 0-for-4 at the plate. He was however, robbed of a base hit in the ninth inning as Mickey Moniak (Phillies) made a sliding catch in right field. Luke Raley picked up a hit (1-for-4), but is still struggling offensively and is batting .175.

Oct. 14: Scottsdale 6, Salt River 5
Royce Lewis kept doing Royce Lewis things on Monday night. His opposite-field single in the third inning drove in D-backs outfielder Jake McCarthy. The 106.5-mph screamer extended his hit streak to 12 games and brought in the first earned run of the fall against Mets lefty David Peterson. It opened the floodgates as Salt River scored five times in the frame, though Lewis ended up 1-for-4 for the night, bringing his average down to .397. Luke Raley was the designated hitter for the Rafters and also went 1-for-4.

Lefty Jovani Moran pitched the eighth inning and entered with a 5-3 lead. Two walks, two hits and three earned runs later, he was saddled with the loss. His ERA has ballooned to 6.43 as a result.

Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »

Oct. 11: Mesa 3, Salt River 2
Twins’ top prospect Royce Lewis (MLB No. 9) extended his AFL hitting streak to 11 games with an opposite-field single in the sixth inning. Lewis, who started Friday’s game at the hot corner, finished 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. He’s having a monster campaign in the desert, batting .407 with a 1.163 OPS, 22 hits (10 XBH) and 14 RBIs through 14 games.

Oct. 10: Mesa 9, Salt River 3
Top prospect Royce Lewis (MLB No. 9) collected half of Salt River’s hits against Mesa on Thursday. Batting fifth and making his first AFL start at second base, Lewis pushed across the Rafters’ first run via a fourth-inning double and finished 3-for-4 with one run scored from the five-spot in the lineup. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2017 extended his AFL hitting streak to 10 games with his second three-hit performance in five games, and overall, he’s batting .404 through 13 games in the Fall League. Luke Raley’s average fell to .163 after an 0-for-3 game.

Oct. 9: Salt River 6, Glendale 2
Dakota Chalmers struggled with his control, issuing five walks and throwing 24 of 55 pitches for strikes in 1 2/3 innings, but he also struck out four batters while flashing impressive stuff in his fourth start for Salt River. Jovani Moran and Zach Neff both tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in relief as they lowered their respective ERAs to 3.00 and 2.08. Luke Raley, who started in left field and batted seventh on Wednesday, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Oct. 8: Salt River 11, Glendale 10
Royce Lewis is the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball and has very much looked the part in the Arizona Fall League. The Twins’ top prospect extended his hitting streak to nine games, and he’s batting .375 after his 2-for-4, two-RBI night at the plate. The shortstop, who is playing multiple positions this fall, picked up an outfield assist from center field as he threw out a runner trying to go from first to third on a base hit. He also stole third base and scored twice. Luke Raley drove in two runs with a double in the first inning. He was later hit by a pitch and drew a walk, but the double was his lone hit as he ended the night 1-for-3. Moises Gomez allowed a leadoff double that led to a run on a fielder’s choice in his seventh-inning appearance.

Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 6: Salt River 6, Surprise 4
Royce Lewis extended his hitting streak to eight games with a base hit in the fourth inning. The Twins’ top prospect, who is hitting .364 in the AFL, went 1-for-4 and also scored a run. Luke Raley boosted his average to .175 with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. The outfielder came through with an RBI double in the second and then singled and scored in the seventh.

Jovani Moran **gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning. Zach Neff** lowered his ERA to 2.35 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. The lefty gave up two runs in his last outing, but he has held opponents scoreless in four of his five appearances.

Oct. 5: Peoria 9, Salt River 7
Royce Lewis continued his domination of the Arizona Fall League with another multihit effort for Salt River, collecting a single in the sixth and a double in the eighth, raising his OPS to 1.134 through 10 games, the second-highest mark in the AFL. He once again started at third base, where he has yet to make an error with the Rafters.

Oct. 4: Salt River 10, Peoria 9
Top prospect Royce Lewis (MLB No. 9) added to his already impressive AFL campaign with a 3-for-5 performance that included his fourth double. His third-inning single, meanwhile, was the third-hardest-hit ball in Salt River’s 10-9 win over Peoria, checking in at 106.7 mph. Overall, Lewis is batting .361 with a 1.122 OPS and 11 RBIs through nine games. Luke Raley recorded the game’s second hardest-hit ball, a 107.4-mph single in the second.Zach Neff was scored upon for the first time this fall in his fourth appearance. He allowed two run on three hits without recorded a strikeout in 1 2/3 frames. Moises Gomez pitched around a single to strike out the side en route to a scoreless eighth inning.

Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams

Oct. 2: Salt River 4, Scottsdale 2
After recording only four outs last time out, Dakota Chalmers settled in for a scoreless four-inning start for Salt River. The 22-year-old right-hander struck out five batters -- his most in the AFL -- while allowing two hits and two walks. Jovani Moran matched a walk with a strikeout in a scoreless sixth inning. Jake Raley continued to struggle this fall, finishing 0-for-3 with two strikeouts as DH.

Oct. 1: Salt River 5, Scottsdale 2
Royce Lewis singled and scored as part of his 1-for-5 night. The Twins’ No. 1 prospect, a shortstop, also got another start out in center field and held his own. Luke Raley went 0-for-4.

Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 29: Salt River 4, Glendale 3
Royce Lewis picked up his third double of the Fall League as part of a 1-for-4 day at the plate. He scored a run and struck out twice. Moises Gomez came on in relief and pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but returned to start the ninth and struggled, allowing a pair of runs and leaving runners on first and third with one out. The Rafters would get a pair of clutch outs from Alex Vesia to close out the win, but Gomez finished with two earned runs over 1 1/3 innings on his box score. He allowed four hits and issued a walk while striking out two batters.

Sept. 28: Salt River 10, Mesa 3
Royce Lewis had only one hit on Saturday, but it was a loud one. The Twins’ top prospect launched a two-run homer to left field in the seventh inning, placing him second in the AFL in dingers with three. The first of Lewis’ three RBIs in the game came on a sac fly in the fifth inning, and he also earned a walk and swiped his second bag this fall. The infielder is slashing .364/.423/.864 in six games.

Luke Raley scored twice in his 1-for-3 performance, and he was also hit by a pitch. Zach Neff pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings with a strikeout for his second hold, and he’s yet to allow a run in the AFL.

Sept. 27: Salt River 6, Mesa 1
Luke Raley went 0-for-3 and is now batting .130 on the Fall League season, but he did reach base on a walk and came around to score. Ben Rortvedt went 1-for-2 and was hit by a pitch. Jovani Moran tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out three of the four batters he faced while only allowing one walk and no hits.

Sept. 26: Glendale 5, Salt River 4
Royce Lewis, the organization’s top prospect, continued to impress early in the Fall League season. He notched two hits for Salt River, with an RBI single in the fifth inning and a double in the eighth inning to set up a run scored. His 70-grade speed came into play in the first inning, when he swiped his first bag in the Fall League.

Dakota Chalmers started for the Rafters but struggled mightily with his command, hitting a batter, issuing a pair of walks and throwing two wild pitches in 1 1/3 innings. He did strike out four batters, but allowed three hits and five runs, four of which were earned. Moises Gomez had a solid outing, striking out two batters while allowing just a hit over an inning of work.

Sept. 25: Salt River 8, Glendale 4, postponed due to lightning
Top prospect Royce Lewis (MLB No. 9) walked and scored in the first inning to put Salt River on the board, and he hit the ball hard in his two subsequent trips to the plate, producing exit velocities of 98 mph (flyout to center field) and 99 mph (lineout to right), per TrackMan. Both he and Luke Railey were 0-for-2 for the Rafters before their game was postponed after completing four innings.

Sept. 24: Salt River 4, Hermosillo 1
Zach Neff gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, but that was the extent of the damage as the 2018 Draft pick (31st round) promptly retired six in a row to cruise through two innings. Neff threw 16 of his 20 pitches for strikes and struck out three. Luke Raley was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Ben Rortvedt struck out twice and finished 0-for-4.

Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 22: Salt River 11, Scottsdale 4
Royce Lewis got things started with a two-run homer in the first inning, his second homer of the Fall League. Lewis crushed the fifth pitch he saw out to left field and the no-doubter left his bat at 106.9 mph. Lewis, who ended up reaching three times and scoring twice, singled in the second inning and drew a walk in the ninth to complete his 2-for-4 performance. The Twins’ top prospect is hitting .333 in the AFL, but it’s his defensive positioning that's garnering attention. The shortstop has already played a game in center field and two at third base. Luke Raley singled and tripled to boost his average to .176. Raley also tacked on a sacrifice fly in his final at-bat, concluding his night 2-for-4.

Jovani Moran gave up two runs on one hit in one inning of work.

Sept. 21: Surprise 12, Salt River 0
Royce Lewis was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts while making his second AFL start at third base.

Sept. 20: Surprise 4, Salt River 1
Dakota Chalmers impressed in his Fall League debut. The 22-year-old cruised through three scoreless innings, notching four strikeouts and yielding just a single hit. Chalmers threw 30 of his 43 pitches for strikes and a couple of errors loaded the bases in the second inning, but he induced a ground-ball double play to easily escape the jam. Zach Neff gave up one hit and struck out two over 1 1/3 innings.

Luke Raley came through with an RBI double in the sixth inning of what was an otherwise uneventful night at the plate. He finished 1-for-4. Ben Rortvedt finished 0-for-3 with a trio of groundouts, each to second base. Bret Boswell drew a walk and reached on an error, but finished 0-for-2.

Sept. 19: Salt River 4, Mesa 1
Royce Lewis, the Twins’ top prospect because of his skills demonstrated at shortstop, has played at third base and now center field in the Fall League. He put his skills in the outfield on display on Thursday, tracking down a ball at the wall and holding on after crashing into the barrier to deny a hit to Zack Short. He came to bat during the bottom half of the frame and smacked a 404-foot home run, driving in a pair of runs in the process. It would prove to be his only hit of the game in three at-bats. Jovani Moran, who spent the bulk of the season with Double-A Pensacola, pitched just one inning, but it was an eventful one. Moran struck out three, walked two, gave up a hit and allowed one unearned run. Luke Raley served as the DH but went 0-for-4 with a trio of strikeouts.

Sept. 18: Peoria 10, Salt River 6
Royce Lewis entered Wednesday's game having played all of one game at third base, spanning four innings. He added nine more at the hot corner for the Salt River Rafters. Hitting seventh, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick went 2-for-4 with a two-run double. His single was the second-hardest hit ball of the night, with an exit velocity of 106.3 mph, while his double “only” registered at 98.3 mph. Outfielder Luke Raley went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts as the Rafters’ No. 5 hitter. Catcher Ben Rortvedt, the team’s No. 30 prospect, entered the game behind the plate in the eighth inning and threw out Mariners prospect Jose Caballero trying to steal. He did that with fellow Twin Moises Gomez on the mound. The right-hander allowed an unearned run one one hit and two walks, while he struck out three in 1 2/3 IP.