Up next in the Bells in the Bigs series, we will check in with four former Bellingham Bells currently within the Twins system.
Catcher David Bañuelos and pitchers Tyler Palm and Jon Olsen played for the Bells in 2016 and Ernie Yake was a Bell from 2017 to 2018.
Bañuelos appeared in 38 games and 141 at-bats as a Bell in 2016 and batted .248 with 21 RBI. He was drafted the following year in the 5th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. In December of 2017, Bañuelos was traded to the Minnesota Twins for future considerations.
Since the trade, Bañuelos has played 91 games with the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels (2018-2019). He was called up to the Twins three times but has not yet made his Major League Debut. In 2020, Bañuelos was named to the Bells All-Decade team. Last spring, 2021, he was invited to Spring Training with the Twins and then played 30 games with the AAA St. Paul Saints where he batted .211 with 14 RBI and three homers.
RHP Tyler Palm appeared in 10 games and started six on the mound for the Bells in 2016. He posted a 2.01 ERA; a 1-1 record and one save that season. He was signed as a free agent in June of 2018 and has played 50 games with the Kernels since the signing. He has pitched a cumulative 199.1 innings in the minors with a 4.23 ERA. Palm was assigned to the Low-A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels in February of 2021.
As a Bell in 2016, RHP Jonn Olsen also appeared in 10 games and started nine of them. He ended with a similar ERA to Palm at 2.05 over 57 innings pitched, a 7-2 record and 42 strikeouts.
Olsen suffered a season-ending injury his junior year (2018) but was selected 364th overall in the 12th round by the Twins in the 2018 MLB Draft.
It wasn’t until 2021 that Olsen would see action in the minor leagues. He pitched in 16 games, 13 starts, with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and had a 4.03 ERA with 57 strikeouts at the end of the season in 67 innings of work.
Finally, Ernie Yake. For two summers the Bellingham native took Joe Martin Field by storm, batting .297 in 2017 and .304 in 2018. He made the West Coast League North All-Star team in 2017.
After Yake’s junior year at Gonzaga when he batted .333 with 38 runs and 29 RBI, he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 10th round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
Yake saw eight games of minor league action during the 2021 season. He played seven games for the Gulf Coast League Twins and was called up to the AAA St. Paul Saints for one game.
All four Bells will begin the 2022 season within the Twins system and aim to continue climbing the ranks.