Ryan Costello, a prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization, was found dead in New Zealand at age 23.
Costello arrived in Auckland last week to play his first season with the Auckland Tuatara, a team in the Australian Baseball League. In a news release, the Tuatara said “preliminary indications suggest he died of natural causes.”
“The Tuatara would like to express their deepest condolences to Ryan’s family back home in the United States and to the whole Minnesota Twins organisation,” the release said.
“Support is being offered to the Tuatara players, who are naturally devastated at the moment.”
Costello, from Wethersfield, Connecticut, was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 31st round of the 2017 MLB draft after playing at Central Connecticut State University. He was traded to the Twins in July 2018.
“The Minnesota Twins are deeply saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Ryan Costello yesterday in New Zealand,” the Twins said in a statement Monday. “On behalf of the entire organization, the Twins send their most sincere condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, coaches and teammates.”
Costello split the 2019 season between the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle and Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos in Florida, playing in 108 games.
“We were very sad to learn the news about the passing of former Miracle infielder Ryan Costello this morning,” the Fort Myers organization tweeted. “His home run helped lift the Miracle to the FSL Championship in 2018. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the entire Twins organization.”
Said the Blue Wahoos in a Twitter post: “With great sadness, we remember a ballplayer whose talent on the field was only exceeded by his kindness off of it.”
Minnesota Twins minor league outfielder Mark Contreras has set up a GoFundMe site for Costello’s family to help with funeral expenses. The page has been verified by GoFundMe.
“With the donations we hope to help the family of Ryan through this hard time and hope it helps in anyway shape or form,” Contreras wrote on the GoFundMe page.