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It’s that time again.
Really, it’s not exactly a tradition. This is the second year this list has been compiled and it took longer to decide this year than last. So many more minor league players have joined the Twitterverse and tons of players are joining every day. As with last year’s list, independent league players are eligible.
The difference is that instead of running 1-10 and 11-20 separately, it is now the Twitter Twenty.
Not every player on this list spends a lot of time talking about that day’s game, but they all talk about their routines and day to day experiences in a way that allows fans to see into that lifestyle.
The frequency matters, but not more than the other factors. These players genuinely connect in one way or another, whether discussing favorite music or answering fan questions. Others are willing to talk about the bus leagues and inform the masses just what it’s like to spend endless hours up and down highways, sleepless, and aching with hours until game time when they have to be at their best.
The personal stories matter and a good sense of humor, well, I’ve never met a baseball player that couldn’t make me laugh.
These guys have mastered social media in all the ways that count.
The minor league team they play for isn’t included to account for being assigned elsewhere by the time the list publishes and for the future, it won’t matter. The big club they are affiliated with is mentioned. Independent League teams are mentioned.
One more thing. I don’t follow every guy that made the cut. I keep two Minor League Baseball lists that I continously add to and check on a daily basis, several times a day. I read these players Twitter content everyday as they update.
The number one person on this list has shared his moving story with the world, displaying humor and incredible toughness through an excruciatingly winding road. Remaining himself and not always focusing on the difficulties, he’s been a joy and inspiration to follow.
1. Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25 (Red Sox)
2. Michael Schlact @michael_schlact – This Twitter favorite (13,729 followers last check) shares his experiences with daily inspiration & a heavy dose of good humor. (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Atlantic League)
3. JT Watkins @JT_Watkins4 – This Red Sox 2012 draft selection spent the season tweeting about playing for the Lowell Spinners. Then he tipped his cap and reported for military duty at the end of August, where he’ll be for at least two years. A fascinating story to follow as it unfolded.
4. Richard Giannotti @JustMeGee – He’s used Twitter to promote a sportswear business he runs, as he’s continued his career in the indy leagues. Fun fact: Baseball Digest readers made a 2011 interview with him the most read & most shared story for ‘To The Farm’. Proving that baseball fans everywhere just love BASEBALL. (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)
5. Cody Decker @Decker6 – You’ll laugh. A lot. (Padres)
6. Corey Black @CblackCSC13 – What really put him high on this list was his infamous way (perhaps only in certain circles) of sharing all the woes of his struggles on the mound. Honest, funny, and pulled at the heartstrings. (Yankees)
7. Zack Wheeler @Wheelerpro45 – A repeat from last year’s list, is always open and generous with Mets fans
8. Jiwan James @Jiwan23 – Loves Twitter. Brings it daily. (Phillies)
9. Justin Jackson @JaxChillinONE – See above. (Blue Jays)
10. Ian Kadish @TheBearJew_36 – The best Twitter handle, hands down. His self-deprecating humor and kindness to fans is well-known. (Blue Jays)
11.Trevor May @Trevmay54 – His almost daily updates about minor league life are always funny and never boring. He’s embraced the fans with excellent giveaways and always communicates with the diehards that enjoy talking to prospects. (Phillies)
12. Cole Cook @C_M_Cook – He’s been on the ‘Minor League Baseball’ list mentioned earlier for quite awhile. Always social, lots of humor, and willing to put himself out there to the fans. (Indians)
13. Neiko Johnson @ThisIsNJJ – His Twitter feed almost reads like a daily journal (if guys did that sort of thing). (Astros)
14.Justin Fitzgerald @jfitzgerald31 – A long time Twitter favorite, you can find him tweeting about a number of things. Unfortunately, one of them is football. But let’s not digress. (Giants)
15.Kevin Michael Rath @KRath702 – Sometimes it’s not even complete sentences. Random observations make him a fun follow. (White Sox)
16.Tyson Gillies @TysonGillies21 – Gillies has built a big following by being perfect at the social media game: super fan friendly and tweets about team, not just personal, accomplishments. (Phillies)
17.Matt Bywater @byweezie – Keeps it going daily. Always personable. (Orioles)
18.Andrew Berger @ae_berger – He keeps it light for the most part. Also talks about fantasy football. Leaving that alone. (Giants)
19.Kevin Vance @SorryBoutIt10 – Similar to #5, you’ll laugh a lot. His ‘overrated’/'underrated’ entries, in which he dogs or cheers, among other things, musicians and Dunkin Donuts, as well as a recent epic on Chipotle are unique. And a bit nuts. (White Sox)
20. Garen L. Wright @ThatHoustonKat7 – He tweets A LOT. He’s always chatting with fans or teammates. He tweets A LOT. (Astros)
30 Honorable Mentions:
This was part of the list last year. These guys are must-follows (or must-reads, in case you too have a MiLB list) and just missed making the cut.
(if you’re counting this, technically, makes it a Top 50)
1.Saxon Butler @SaxonHolt33 (Yankees)
2. Aaron West @WestAaron14 (Astros)
3. Cody Asche @cody_smache (Phillies)
4.Lane Adams @LAdamsKC (Royals)
5.Jackie Bradley Jr. @JackieBradleyJr (Red Sox)
6.Ryan Verdugo @teachmetodugi11 (Royals)
7.Matt Den Dekker @UpperDekker (Mets)
8.Michael Crouse @_crouse_ (Blue Jays)
9.Tanner Murphy @tmurphy20 (Orioles)
10.Brady Rodgers @Rodgers20 (Astros)
11.Ryan Duke @ryanduke17 (Phillies)
12.Tyler Grimes @Grimer5 (Twins)
13.Evan Rutckyj @erudz (Yankees)
14.Deck McGuire @deckmcguire (Blue Jays)
15.Justice French @Justice_French (Reds)
16.Jake Diekman @JakeDiekman (Phillies)
17.Thomas Neal @TdaddyNeal (Indians)
18.Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks (Red Sox)
19.Taylor Guerrieri @TaylorG1201 (Rays)
20.Matt Gedman @Gedzilla8 (Red Sox)
21.LanceDurham @LanceBullDurham (Rays)
22.Daryl Maday @Daryl_Maday (Giants)
23.Jake Floethe @jfloethe38 (Rays)
24.Taylor Dugas @t_dugas1 (Yankees)
25.Beau Wright @SwagRight35 (Marlins)
26.Tommy Toledo @TommyToledo13 (Brewers)
27.Brandon Nimmo @You_Found_Nimmo (Mets)
28.Wes Wilson @wtwilson5 (Yankees)
29. Xavier Macklin @X_Macklin (Athletics)
30.Mikey O’Brien @OBMikey (Yankees)
Topics: Baseball Player, Daily Basis, Endless Hours, Excruciatingly, Fan Questions, Favorite Music, Game Time, Good Sense Of Humor, Highways, Independent League, inspiration, minor league baseball, Minor League Players, Minor League Team, Moving Story, Sense Of Humor, Several Times, Toughness, twitter, Winding Road