The Minnesota Twins actually won their series this weekend vs the Cleveland Indians and going into Monday night, they’ve won three of their last four games. Take a moment to soak that in before you keep reading. As a fan, you deserve it.
Unfortunately, the 2021 Bambi Squad has been mostly terrible for nearly two months now. It’s still early, but barring a historic turnaround, this is a team that’ll be selling at the trade deadline. That means veterans will be transplanted elsewhere and replaced with farm system talent primed for their big league break.
But no matter how cloudy the future is, one objective should be clear as they start to look forward. The starting rotation needs an injection of young talent. Kenta Maeda might not be in a Minnesota uniform when the trade deadline comes to pass and Jose Berrios, who’s been bullish in contract talks for years, is set to hit free agency after the 2022 season.
It’s Falvey Time
Have no fear, though. Twins general manager, Derek Falvey, is known around the league as THE guy who finds THE hidden pitching talent of Major League Baseball. Hell, he’s widely seen as responsible for building Cleveland into a puppy-mill of MLB aces. Now, five seasons into his Minnesota tenure, it’s about time we see Falvey pump out some top-tier starters here too. We’ve waited long enough. The young fans out there don’t even know who Johan Santana is…
Remember, former and current Cleveland aces like Corey Kluber (20th – Padres), Mike Clevinger (4th – Angels) and Shane Bieber (4th) all started as middle to deep round draft picks. Some weren’t even taken by the Indians, instead sniped in trades that later looked lopsided.
There are a lot of prospect pitchers in the Twins organization who fit the bill as Falvey’s next project turned ace. But I’d recommend starting your search at double-A Wichita with 24-year-old, Josh Winder. Josh has a <1.00 ERA through four starts this season and touts very impressive career MiLB numbers to go with it.
Wichita Wind Surge’s Josh Winder has been VERY good to start the year.
.93 ERA, 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings.
He shares how he was able to add to his velocity last year. @WindSurgeICT | #SurgeUp | #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/euzp9jm1bJ— Chris Lilly KAKE (@ChrisLillyKAKE) May 21, 2021
From last night, #MNTwins 14th ranked prospect Josh Winder was dominant on the mound for @WindSurgeICT in the 4-0 win🔥📈— Sully Engels (@sullyengels) May 15, 2021
5.2 IP, 8 Ks, 3 hits, 0 runs. Fastball consistently at 96 and touched 97 in his last inning. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/VCcM2GmG46
|Josh Winder MiLB Stats||G||IP||ERA||SO||WHIP||K9||HR9||AVG|
More on Josh Winder
Taken in the 7th round of the 2018 draft, Winder has climbed quicker through the Twins organization than what his prospect ranking (#14) has ever reflected. That’s because his rise has been so astronomical. According to Seth Stohs of TwinsDaily.com, nobody in the organization has increased their prospect value more over the last year than Josh Winder.
The last time we saw the Virginia Military Institute alum, it was 2019 and he was throwing 92 MPH at (mid-A) Cedar Rapids. Fast forward to 2021, Josh is regularly pumping 97 MPH for the (AA) Wichita Wind Surge and was named their Opening Day starter to kick off the season.
If the Twins keep losing, we could see Winder very soon. MLB.com projects Josh to reach the big leagues sometime this season and his standing at the top of the AA pitching rotation could mean he’s just one call away from The Show.
No matter when we first see him on a major league mound, Josh Winder is clearly a name to watch if you’re a Minnesota Twins fan looking for hope.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan