Minnesota Twins prospect Ryan Costello found dead in New Zealand hotel

Ryan Costello, a prospect for the Minnesota Twins who was preparing to debut in the Australian Baseball League, was found dead in a New Zealand hotel Sunday, team officials said. He was 23.

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Costello, a third baseman, died in his sleep at an Auckland hotel, apparently of natural causes, WCCO reported.

“On behalf of the entire organization, the Twins send their most sincere condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, coaches and teammates,” the Twins said in a news release.

Costello was going to play for the Auckland Tuatara, who were opening their season Wednesday. The Tuatara announced Costello's death Monday.

"The Tuatara express their deepest condolences to Ryan's family back home in the United States and to the whole Minnesota Twins organization," team officials said in a statement.

Costello was drafted in the 31st round in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft out of Central Connecticut State University by the Seattle Mariners. He was traded to the Twins organization in July 2018 and played for the Fort Myers Miracle of the Florida State League.

In September 2018, Costello's three-run homer lifted the Miracle to the FSL championship in an 8-5 victory against Daytona, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported.

Costello, a native of Wethersfield, Connecticut, played in 108 games in 2019, splitting time between Class-A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Jeremy Zoll, the Twins' assistant general manager who oversees the team's farm system, tweeted, "Ryan's infectious energy and drive for greatness will never be forgotten. He is the definition of a great teammate and has been taken from us far too soon. Sending thoughts and prayers to the Costello family."

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