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Mientkiewicz leads Ft. Myers to title; is he the Twins' miracle worker?


Doug Mientkiewicz has experienced success at all levels of professional baseball.

As a player, Mientkiewicz has gone from a guy who was successful in the minors ... to a player who contributed to the Twins' American League Central titles in 2002 and 2003 ... to catching the final out of the Boston Red Sox first World Series Championship in 85 years.

After leading the Twins' Class A affiliate Ft. Myers to their first Florida State League Championship earlier this week, some are starting to wonder if Mientkiewicz might have what it takes to manage in the big leagues.

"Doug is really good at motivating the players," Twins director of minor league operations Brad Steil told the Pioneer Press. "Obviously he's got a really good baseball mind. He knows how to run a game. But the way he gets those guys ready to play, that toughness Doug had when he was a player, our guys are learning that and feeding off that."

Twins general manager Terry Ryan marveled at the consistency the Miracle showed even after losing some of the organization's top prospects to Double-A affiliate New Britain– including Byron Buxton, J.O. Berrios, Jorge Polanco, Levi Michael and Eddie Rosario – in the second half of the season.

"They were very consistent," Ryan said to the newspaper. "They won 40-plus games in both halves, which is tough to do. They did a nice job. There's a reason they were in the final. They had some power, they had defense, they had some speed. Their bullpen was very impressive."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has another year remaining on a two-year contract he signed after last year. He wouldn't discuss if he will return to the team next year, when he was asked about it. Gardenhire said only that he and Ryan would discuss it after the season.

It doesn't seem likely the Twins will make a change after Ryan's endorsement of Gardenhire, but after what is looking like a fourth straight 90-loss season, anything is possible.

If the Twins made a change, would now be Mientkiewicz's time?

At 40, if he were promoted at the end of the season Mientkiewicz would be the youngest manager in the majors. But Twins Daily notes his path would be very similar to the path taken by Marlins manager and former Twin Mike Redmond.

Twins Daily also says Mientkiewicz has some things going for him:

  • He's familiar, yet fresh – The Twins have a history of promoting from within the organization, so it stands to reason the next manager will be someone who is with the organization.
  • He has already worked with the team's top prospects – Mientkiewicz has managed Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Kennys Vargas, J.O. Berrios, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco.
  • He's got attitude – It's something many believe the Twins clubhouse (minus Gardenhire) lacks. Mientkiewicz even got in a brawl with an opposing manager on the field last year.

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