AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Wethersfield native Ryan Costello, a prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization, was found dead in New Zealand at age 23.
Costello had 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 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.
CCSU put out a statement regarding Costello's death:
The entire Central Connecticut State University community is saddened to hear of the sudden passing of former CCSU baseball student-athlete Ryan Costello. Ryan’s time as a Blue Devil was highlighted by tremendous individual success and a memorable team championship. Just as notable was his infectious personality, drive to succeed and his positive outlook – for which we will remember him the most. Our thoughts are with Ryan’s family, friends and teammates during this difficult time.
"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 said in a tweet. "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."
Minnesota Twins minor league outfielder Mark Contreras has set up a GoFundMe for Costello's family to help with funeral expenses. The page has been verified by GoFundMe