The Twins minor league affiliates’ season have been over for at least a week now, so it is time to reflect. Specifically, it is time for us, the great people of Twinkie Town, to come together and vote for a Minor League (Position) Player of the Year.
Here are this year’s nominees:
If you’re thinking "a .347 batting average seems high," you’re correct—it is high. High enough to make Luis Arraez not only the best hitter on the Kernels, but the whole dang Midwest League Batting Champion as well. Arraez played in 114 of the Kernels’ 139 games and had 165 total hits, which is pretty impressive. Plus, he is adorable.
Not even his ceiling caving in could stop Mitch Garver this year. Garver’s .257/.334/.419 slash line in 95 games for Chattanooga was enough to get him called up to triple-A, and hopefully into a new room (that commute would be a bitch).
Nick’s .291 batting average for the Miracle was also the 5th highest in the league for everyday players. He was a steady constant for the Miracle line-up throughout the year, and one of the Twins’ top prospects.
This guy is fast. How fast? He stole 56 bases in double-A, which was easily the most in the Southern League. His .295 batting average, third best in the league, also helped give him the opportunities to do that. He also had 8 triples, which is only one off the league leader.
Alright—I think we all know Palka hit an absurd number of home runs in the minors this year. If you want the exact numbers: He hit 21 home runs in 79 games for the Lookouts, and another 13 bombs in 54 games for the Red Wings. That’s 34 total, which would seem more impressive if it weren’t for Brian Dozier, but impressive none-the-less.
Wade split his season between the low-A Kernels and high-A Miracle, and did pretty well in both places. His .280 was the fifth highest batting average for any regular Kernels player and his .318 was the highest for any Miracle who played at least 30 games. He also has the coolest name on this list.
Wiel spent his season with the Kernels, where he launched 19 home runs—most on the team. He also led the team in RBI (86), total bases (230), walks (55), triples (8), and strike-outs (125) (wait—is that bad?).