Souhan: Roundabout route leads prospect Kvasnicka back to Twins

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 9, 2013 - 11:47 PM

Mike Kvasnicka, of Lakeville and the U, finds a trade from the Astros’ system to his benefit.

Mike Kvasnicka, since traded to the Twins’ organization got some pointers from Astros hitting coach Mike Barnett during spring training in 2011.

Photo: File photo by Margaret Bowles • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Mike Kvasnicka grew up in Lake- ville and married one of his classmates from Lakeville North High School.

He became a Twins fan when he was young, and remembers watching Doug Mientkiewicz play at the Metrodome.

Mike’s father, Jay, played in the Twins organization. The Twins selected Mike in the 31st round of the 2007 draft, knowing he planned to play for the University of Minnesota, and he later became a first-round draft pick.

This summer, Mike is playing for the Twins’ Class A affiliate at Fort Myers, Fla., the team Mientkiewicz manages, and rooming with the Twins’ best prospect, Byron Buxton, on the road. He is having his best season as a pro while trying to reach the majors with a team that just sent two Minnesota-born players, Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins, to the All-Star Game.

Kvasnicka’s career could be described as Minnesota storybook. But only if you ripped out a few chapters.

It was the Houston Astros, not the Twins, who selected him in the 2010 draft. In three seasons at Class A for the Astros, he hit .234, .260 and .232, flashing power with 15 homers in 367 plate appearances last year.

After a difficult first half last year, he was named the South Atlantic League player of the week. Shortly after that he dived for a ball in the outfield and strained ligaments in his left arm, ending his season.

On March 26, the Twins traded minor-leaguer Gonzalo Sanudo for Kvasnicka. On the last day of minor-league camp, while scrimmaging the Twins’ Class A team headed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kvasnicka broke the hamate bone in his left hand.

The injury delayed but did not prevent Kvasnicka from displaying the qualities that made him a first-round pick. Entering Tuesday’s game, he was batting .298. His slugging percentages his first three seasons were .337, .368 and .412. This year, it’s .619. His on-base-plus-slugging-percentage is a gaudy .981, even though the Florida State League is known for big ballparks and heavy air.

It’s as if joining the organization he cheered for as a child has provided inspiration. “Playing in the Astros organization, that was not always the best of times,’’ he said. “It was nice to have a fresh start. I’m in love with the organization here.’’

Kvasnicka’s first experience with the Twins came when he was a senior catcher at Lakeville North. A Twins scout showed up and asked if Kvasnicka had lowered his demand for a signing bonus that would keep him from attending Minnesota.

“He handed me a business card, and that was the extent of it,’’ Kvasnicka said. “I wanted to go to college. I started switch-hitting. I learned to play right field. I wanted the total college experience, and that’s what I got. Four of my groomsmen, I met in college. Overall, it was a great decision, partly because of John Anderson.

“I know this is a cliché, but you never hear a bad word about the guy. As far as integrity goes, he’s at the top of the list, and that’s not always what you run into in his profession. As a coach, he cares a lot more about the student-athlete than wins and losses.’’

Joining the Twins organization has meant playing for one of the players he cheered, in Mientkiewicz, and rooming with the kid who might be the next great Twin, in Buxton.

“I really like playing for Doug,’’ Kvasnicka said. “There aren’t many guys who played 10, 11 years in the big leagues, who were in the majors not too long ago, who are managing in Class A. He’s a pretty great resource.

“Byron is unbelievable. There’s not anything on the field he can’t do. But easily the most impressive thing to me is how mature he is, all the way around. On the field he’s so calm, and off the field, let’s say he’s not how I would picture myself at 19.’’

At 24, Kvasnicka pictures himself someday wearing a Twins uniform, fulfilling a once-and-present dream.

  • related content

  • Kvasnicka

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:05 PM ET123456789RHE
MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-10)000
BaltimoreC. Tillman (11-5)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 13 3rd Qtr 5:51
Massachusetts 0
West Virginia 17 2nd Qtr 0:40
(2) Alabama 17
Rice 10 2nd Qtr 0:37
(17) Notre Dame 21
(10) South Dakota St 10 3rd Qtr
(24) Missouri 21
Fla Atlantic 7 2nd Qtr 2:30
(22) Nebraska 31
California 24 3rd Qtr
Northwestern 7
Marshall 28 2nd Qtr 0:57
Miami-Ohio 3
UC Davis 0 2nd Qtr 8:44
(11) Stanford 21
Arkansas 14 2nd Qtr 9:20
(6) Auburn 21
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 2nd Half
Seattle 0
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close