Kennys Vargas the 24 year-old 1B/DH has been named the Twins Minor League Player of the Year (Sherry Robertson Award) and Jose Berrios a 20 year-old right-handed pitcher has been named as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (Jim Rantz Award).
Vargas was called up by the Twins on July 31 from New Britain and made his major league debut at U.S. Cellular Field on his 24th birthday on August 1 going 1 for 5 with a run scored and two RBI. Vargas has been with the Twins ever since and appears to be a fixture in the Twins line-up for years to come. Between New Britain and his stint in Minnesota Vargas as hit 26 home runs this season. The switch-hitting Vargas is probably going to get some games in at first base but his primary role with the Twins will be at DH.
Berrios is on the fast track to Minnesota, the 20 year-old started the season going 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA for the Ft. Myers Miracle before being bumped up to Double A New Britain where he was 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA. The Triple A Rochester club had an outside shot at making the playoffs late in the season and the Twins sent Berrios to Rochester where he started one game but came up the loser when he lasted just 3 innings and gave up 6 earned run. Berrios had a great season and the only fly in the ointment here is that he was pulled from a game late in the season with a sore arm. Berrios pitched after that episode but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. Berrios has all kinds of potential and I would hate to see some kind of an arm injury slow down his development and delay his arrival in a Twins uniform. I think that Berrios has as much or more potential than any pitcher the Twins have in their minor league system and I can’t wait to see him pitch at Target Field in as a Minnesota Twin.
I sure hope that winning the Jim Rantz award does not jinx Berrios. If Berrios checks out the previous Jim Rantz award winners, he might not show up in Minnesota in January to accept his award. Maybe the Twins should consider renaming the award instead of have it named for Jim Rantz a long time Twins executive but who was a career minor league pitcher from 1960-1964 and never got a taste of pitching in the major leagues.
Previous Jim Rantz award winners2013 – Andrew Albers 2012 – B.J. Hermsen 2011 – Liam Hendriks 2010 – Kyle Gibson 2009 – David Bromberg 2008 – Anthony Slama 2007 – Kevin Slowey 2006 – Matt Garza 2005 – Francisco Liriano 2004 – Scott Baker 2003 – Jesse Crain 2002 – J.D. Durbin
Congratulations to both Kennys Vargas and Jose Berrios on their great season!