This week we go into the Minnesota Twins minor league organization to find the shining talent that we name the Minor League Stars of the Week. Read on to see who we have named for this week's stars and take a moment to answer the poll and comment on any other players you feel that should have been named.
- Cedar Rapids Kernels (A - Low) - Nick Gordon (SS) - Our star for the Kernels this week is Nick Gordon, shortstop for Cedar Rapids. All eyes have been on the first round draft pick in 2015, hoping to see the future of the Minnesota Twins at shortstop. 2015 hasn't been exactly the season that the Twins hoped for from Gordon at Cedar Rapids but Nick's bat has started to heat up in recent weeks giving hope to the Minnesota front office that he still is the future at the position. In his last 10 games, Gordon is hitting .308 with 8 RBI, 4 R, and 3 SB showing his ability to get on base and to get himself into scoring position via the stolen base. For the season Nick is hitting .264 with a .330 OBP to go with 14 2B, 3 3B, 39 RBI, 50 R, and 22 SB. The promise is starting to show and the stolen base numbers definitely give an insight to the speed that Gordon has. He needs to continue to work on his defense at that has been a rough spot for Nick in Cedar Rapids in 2015. If he cleans up the defense and can increase the batting average by 20 points, the Twins may yet have one of their top of the lineup players for the future.
- Fort Myers Miracle (A - High) - Alex Swim (C) - This week's star from the Fort Myers Miracle is Alex Swim, catcher for the Miracle. Swim has made our list previously in 2015 and with his continued offensive success he may make it again before the end of 2015. Alex's bat has stayed very consistent during the season and he has been solid defensively behind the plate as well. In his last 10 games, Swim is hitting .343 with 4 RBI, and 3 R. While not a serious power threat in 2015, Alex has been a top of the line hitter for the Miracle hitting .318 for the 2015 season. Swim also has a .357 OBP along with 13 2B, 2 3B, 37 RBI, 36 R, and 5 SB. The Twins are still looking for that future starting catcher once Kurt Suzuki is gone and if Swim continues his level of play, he should be in Chattanooga in 2016 at least if not being elevated to Rochester although it may benefit Swim to get to work with the organization's pitchers at all levels. Twins fans should definitely keep an eye on Alex Swim.
- Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) - Heiker Meneses (SS) - Our star from the Chattanooga Lookouts this week is Heiker Meneses, shortstop for the Lookouts. Meneses is the second shortstop to make the list this week and since the Twins are still trying to find their future middle infield, there can never be enough candidates to look at. With Jorge Polanco being promoted to Rochester, Meneses is getting most of the playing time at shortstop and is starting to take advantage of that opportunity. In his last 10 games, Meneses is hitting .343 with 5 RBI, 5 R, and 4 SB. Heiker is giving the Twins another option to keep in mind for shortstop or second base for the future as Meneses has played both positions and only has five errors on the season so fielding has not been an issue. For the season, Meneses is hitting .257 so there is room for improvement in terms of his game at the plate. Heiker is a rough prospect still at this point but with some work from the Chattanooga coaching staff and a full 2016 season as the Lookouts shortstop, he could be a player to watch in 2017.
- Rochester Red Wings (AAA) - Tyler Duffey (P) - This week's star from the Rochester Red Wings is Tyler Duffey, starting pitcher for Rochester. Duffey has been the best starting arm from the start of the 2015 season for the Red Wings and he continues to impress the Twins front office. In his last two starts, Duffey pitched 12.1 innings and had a 1-1 record with a 1.46 ERA. Duffey struck out 11 batters over those two starts, padding his impressive strikeout total for the season. In 2015, Duffey has pitched 123.1 innings and is 6-7 with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Tyler has been stingy on hitters in the International League with a .227 batting average against and a 109 SO/29 BB ratio. It will be interesting to see if the Twins make any moves to get Duffey on the 40-man roster for a possible call up in September or if they are going to let him finish the season in Rochester and audition for a starting spot at Spring Training in 2016. Duffey has shown that his stuff is as good as or better than AAA quality so I project that 2016 is the latest that Twins fans will get to see him at Target Field.
There you have it for this week, our Minor League Stars of the Week. Catch next week's article to see who cracks the list from Cedar Rapids to Rochester and shines from within the Minnesota Twins organization. Check out the poll to vote for your favorite star and use the comments section to let us know who else you think has been deserving of being named a star!