COMMENTARY | As a fan of the Minnesota Twins, it has to be difficult to see the major-league product struggling. While the Twins have surprised with a 12-12 record entering this weekend's series with the Cleveland Indians, they have not looked the part of the team that has dominated the AL Central over the last decade.
However, things can change with the rise of the Twins' minor-league farm system.
Once a mess following the disastrous Bill Smith era, current general manager Terry Ryan has done a solid job of rebuilding the organization. Twins fans aren't able to see it now, but all they have to do is take a four-hour drive to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to see the results.
That's where the new Low-A affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels have dominated the Midwest League with a 18-6 record entering Thursday's (May 2) game against West Michigan.
The Kernels are loaded with newly acquired prospects that are making a quick impact. Byron Buxton, who was the second overall pick in the MLB entry draft last June, is hitting .381 with four home runs and 21 runs batted in.
While Buxton is the main event in Cedar Rapids, the rest of the card isn't anything to scoff at.
Ryan has loaded the team with promising position players such as third baseman Travis Harrison and outfielder Adam Brett Walker. He's paired that with excellent starting pitching, led by Jose Berrios, who represented Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic as an 18-year-old.
If all that success isn't enough for Twins fans, they can always escape the unseasonably snowy weather in Minneapolis to head to Fort Myers where the Miracle are running away with the Florida State League.
Jumping out to a 21-4 record over the first month, the Miracle have been led by a pair of prospects that shined at Low-A Beloit a season ago. Miguel Sano, who is ranked ninth in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, has been abusing baseballs on a daily basis with nine home runs and a .747 slugging percentage.
Meanwhile, Eddie Rosario, who also represented Puerto Rico in the WBC, has had a similar impact in the middle of the lineup with a .346 batting average.
We haven't mentioned catcher Kyle Knudsen and pitcher D.J. Baxendale, who are both having terrific starts to their seasons. But they're also a big reason why a wave of talent is riding through the lower levels of the Twins' minor-league system.
With a publicly funded ballpark that is in its fourth year, Twins fans may want to see improvement in Minneapolis now. But with a road trip south, they can see that the team is in good hands and it will be worth the wait when some of this success travels north.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering them on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has been published on Bleacher Report.
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