Welcome to the Twins prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.
The 21-year-old has collected a hit in each of his first three pro games, but he finally broke out in a big way when he started his three-hit effort with a double to right to lead off the game. He grounded out in his next two at-bats before rattling off two RBI singles in a row, one to center and one to left.
In the 2022 college season, the shortstop hit .357/.462/.664 with 15 homers, 25 doubles and 55 RBIs for Cal Poly. -- Stephanie Sheehan
2022 first-rounder Lee: "I'm the most sophisticated and well-off player in this Draft" (Aug. 1)
When the Twins selected Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee with the No. 8 selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, many Draft analysts predicted that the switch-hitter would be a quick riser through the Minnesota organization -- and he seems to agree. After signing for an above-slot $5.675 million, per MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Lee took in pregame warmups at Target Field on Aug. 1, saying hi to Carlos Correa and other Twins before he addressed the media for the first time.
"It’s been a fantasy," Lee said. "I was down in Fort Myers [at the Twins' Minor League complex] last week, and ever since I’ve been there, it’s felt like home, really. It’s been amazing. Hopefully I’m going out and playing baseball soon."
So, what does he think of the notion that his polished approach from both sides of the plate could have him in Minneapolis sooner rather than later?
"I would say just arm strength, foot speed, those are probably the two main things [to work on]," Lee said. "The rest, I think I do at a Major League level already."
After playing in college under his father, longtime Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee, the newest first-rounder in the organization said that it would be "awesome" to remain a shortstop, but would do what the team asked of him. He wasn't yet sure at which level he would start, but he expressed plenty of confidence in his advanced skillset.
"I’ll never be where I really want to be," Lee said. "Hopefully by the end of my career, I’ve done exactly what I want to do, but I know there’s areas to improve in. I think I’m the most sophisticated and well-off player in this Draft." -- Do-Hyoung Park
Sabato rakes in 5 RBIs in 2-HR game (July 31)
Aaron Sabato continues to flex his power at the plate.
n the first inning, Sabato crushed a two-run drive to left field. He followed that up with an RBI double to center in the third. The extra-base hits wouldn't stop there, as Sabato mashed another two-run drive to left-center in the fifth inning
The 23-year-old raised his season home run total to 16, making him sixth on the Midwest League leaderboard. He ended the month of July with a .226/.347/.453 line on the season. -- Alyssa Gomez
Encarnacion-Strand achieves Wind Surge's first cycle (July 17)
For only being four days into his Double-A tenure, Christian Encarnacion-Strand is holding himself to a high standard.
“Today, honestly, the focus was just honestly to have a better day than I did yesterday,” Encarnacion-Strand said. “Yesterday, I didn’t have really good day, didn’t have any hits yesterday, so today I just tried to focus on making solid contact.”
Mission accomplished, times four.
Encarnacion-Strand notches two-homer game (July 15)
Most players need an adjustment period when being promoted in professional baseball. That hasn't been the case for Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
The fourth-round (128th overall) pick in the 2021 Draft began the evening with back-to-back walks before launching a solo shot to left-center field in the fifth inning. In his very next at-bat in the sixth, the third baseman cracked a three-run homer to center.
After being activated from the 7-day injured list on July 6 and being promoted eight days later, the 22-year-old will only hope to continue his success. -- Ethan Sands
Twins promote Wallner, Encarnacion-Strand (July 14)
The two most prominent sluggers in the Twins' organization are moving on up.
The Twins promoted No. 8 prospect Matt Wallner to Triple-A St. Paul on Thursday after the Forest Lake, Minn., native had crushed the Double-A Texas League to the tune of a .299/.436/.597 slash line with 21 homers and 15 doubles in 78 games. Wallner leads the Twins' entire Minor League system in homers and will be one of the Twins' two representatives in Saturday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
"Just trying to be more selective at the plate," Wallner said. "Obviously, I still have some swing and miss that I need to get rid of. Would love to. Just trying to take my walks when I can and just try to be more selective on pitches to drive the ball more and hit for more power. I think it's helped the average as well."
To take Wallner's slot with Double-A Wichita, the Twins promoted infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand, the organization's No. 24 prospect, from High-A Cedar Rapids. The Twins' fourth-round selection in the '21 MLB Draft, Encarnacion-Strand has continued his slugging tear from his half-season of pro ball last year, hitting .296/.370/.599 with 20 homers and 23 doubles in 74 games. -- Do-Hyoung Park
Wallner parks two to reach 20 homers (July 4)
Matt Wallner wasn't staying in the yard.
He ignited the fireworks of the Fourth of July immediately for the Wind Surge with a first-inning leadoff homer to right field that led to a three-run inning in the first. In his third at-bat, the 24-year-old launched another homer, this time a two-run blast to center that was the decisive run in the team's victory.
The right fielder ended the night 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs, accounting for every run scored by the Wind Surge. This was Wallner's sixth career multi-homer game, and he's currently ranked second in homers (20) in the Texas League behind Springfield's Moisés Gómez (23). -- Ethan Sands
Wallner collects third multi-homer game in 2022 (June 30)
It's been Matt Wallner's month. The Twins' No. 8 prospect has gone off in June.
Over 84 at-bats, the left-handed hitter slashed .345/.500/.714 with eight homers in the third month of the season. In Double-A Wichita's 7-6 win over Springfield, the right fielder continued his success.
His first knock of the night was a two-run big fly to left-center field in the third inning to retake the lead for the Wind Surge. His second hit gave his squad the lead for good: a solo shot to right-center in the eighth was all the momentum his team needed. He ended the night going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs; it was also Wallner's third multi-homer game of the season and fifth of his career. He's slashing .286/.423/.584 after his latest standout performance, and is second in the Texas League in RBIs (53) to Springfield's Moises Gomez, who has since been promoted. --Ethan Sands
Julien sets Wichita record with 7-RBI night (June 30)
On certain nights, there's a guy who can basically beat an entire team by himself.
Edouard Julien had one of those nights in his latest outing.
"It was pretty fun to be a part of that," Julien said. "I have to give credit to my teammates. They were getting on base every time before me. I was just lucky every time I hit my home runs, they were on bases." Full story »
The 24-year-old got the Wind Surge offense going with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first, snapped a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the third and added his 15th long ball of the season in the eighth. It was the second multihomer game of the season for Wallner, who has 11 roundtrippers and 35 RBIs in his previous 42 games since May 6.
After batting .188 with a .699 OPS through his first 20 games, Wallner has caught fire. The Minnesota native has put together a .313/.450/.625 slash line since going hitless on May 1. Overall, Wallner is batting .278 with a .973 OPS, 27 extra-base hits and 47 RBIs in 60 games. -- Michael Avallone