This is the kind of thing that happens when a farm system is loaded with talent that is truly developing: The Twins minor league affiliates— at least the full-season ones — are sporting some impressive records in 2013.
Triple A: The Rochester Red Wings (60-51) won Monday and are now in first place in the North Division of the International League. It's the weakest of the three first-place records, but the Wings are certainly surging — 19-7 in July, and they were 11 games out of first place on July 2.
Double A: The New Britain RockCats (49-59) are the exception to this brag. They were off Monday. On Sunday they broke a long losing streak that included the controversial Miguel Sano homer run pimping and benching.
High A: The Fort Myers Miracle (65-38 for the full season, 20-16 in the second half) beat former Twins pitcher Scott Baker 5-0 on Monday. (Baker's on a rehab assignment; I think it's safe to say his return from Tommy John surgery has not gone as well as he or the Cubs had hoped). Miracle manager Doug Mientkiewicz earlier this season compared his squad (which at the time included Sano and Eddie Rosario) to a Ferrari; now he has Byron Buxton on his team, and the consensus top prospect in baseball was just named player of the week in the Florida State League.
Low A: The Cedar Rapids Kernels (65-39 for full season, 25-11 in second half) have a reshuffled roster from the team I saw play back in May. No Buxton, no D.J. Hicks, no J.D Williams now — but the Kernels,who finished second in their division in the first half, now have the best overall record in the Midwest League. I expect to see them again next week, and I'll (of course) file reports.
Rookie: The Elizabethton Twins (18-19 after a loss Monday) generally dominate the Appalachian League, partly because they tend to have older players than many of their rivals. (While every franchise has one Triple A, Double A, high A and low A affiliate, there are diverse setups in the lower levels between the short-season A leagues, the rookie leagues and the complex leagues. The Twins have no short-season A team.) In that context, records and stats lose much of their meaning, but it's safe to say that this is not one of the better collections of talent the Twins have had in E-town.
Complex: If the numbers generated by games in the Appy League mean little, multiply that for the Gulf Coast League, an assemblage of players just entering professional ball leavened with established major-leaguers beginning rehab assignments. The GCL Twins — who have had both Nick Blackburn and Kohl Stewart pitch for them — are 15-17.