2019 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 6-10
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (graphics by Finn Pearson)Make sure to let us know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below. We put a lot of work into compiling these lists, but it is an inexact science. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of disagreement just between the five of us who contributed to these rankings.
10. Blayne Enlow, RHP
2019 Stats (A+/A): 72.2 IP, 3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 3.00 K:BB Ratio
2019 Preseason Ranking: 9
Seth: 11 | Tom: 14 | Cody: 8 | Ted: 10 | Steve: 10
Enlow is on quite a roll right now. Over his final four starts with Cedar Rapids and his first five outings for Fort Myers, Enlow has pitched to a 2.13 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 55 innings. While he’s not posting huge strikeout numbers, Enlow is flashing signs that the potential is there.
Among the pitchers in the system with at least 50 innings, Enlow ranks fourth with a swinging strike rate of 14.0%. The only guys he trails are Austin Schulfer (17.4%), Jhoan Duran (16.2%) and Lewis Thorpe (14.3%). On top of that ability to miss bats, Enlow is also a ground ball machine. His ground ball rate of 55.3% also ranks fourth in the system in that same sample.
9. Jhoan Duran RHP
2019 Stats (A+): 59.1 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 3.26 K:BB Ratio
2019 Presason Ranking: 7
Seth: 8 | Tom: 9 | Cody: 9 | Ted: 8 | Steve: 8
Speaking of Duran and his impressive swinging strike rate, he’s our No. 9 prospect. The thing that really stands out about Duran is his velocity. He sits in the upper 90s, reaching triple-digit heat on a regular basis.
Duran has also been blazing hot of late. Over his last 30 innings he has a 1.80 ERA and 45 strikeouts against 12 walks. Opposing batters are hitting just .158/.265/.198 (.463 OPS) against him over that stretch.
One thing to keep an eye on going forward is how Duran handles opposite-side hitters. Lefties are hitting .316/.396/.468 (.864 OPS) against him so far this year. That being the case, it's impressive he's been effective as he has despite those struggles against southpaws.
8. Brent Rooker, LF
2019 Stats (AAA): .283/.412/.549 (.960 OPS), 13 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 81 K, 32 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 6
Seth: 9 | Tom: 7 | Cody: 10 | Ted: 4 | Steve: 7
A big storyline of this season across the minor league system has been injuries and underperformance, but in Rooker we now have yet another guy who is hitting his stride right now. Since being activated off the IL at the start of this month, Rooker has hit .340/.512/.617 (1.129 OPS).
Prior to that stay on the IL, Rooker was having a difficult time in his first taste of Triple-A. He posted an alarming 44.3 K% and 38.1 K-BB% over his first 97 plate appearances. Since then, however, Rooker has a 29.5 K% and impressive 9.3 K-BB%.
Here are some highlights of the damage he did earlier this month:
7. Keoni Cavaco, SS
2019 Stats (Rk): .143/.143/.143 (.286 OPS), 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 K, 0 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: Unranked
Seth: 6 | Tom: 6 | Cody: 7 | Ted: 11 | Steve: 11
How have so many prospects on our list thus far slid down? To make room for the next two guys on our list. First up is 2019 13th-overall pick Keoni Cavaco. Finding spots for the recent draftees is the most difficult part of doing these midseason updates, but one thing I kept asking myself was “what’s really the difference between Cavaco today and where Royce Lewis was in June of 2017?”
Cavaco shows all the same athletic potential that Lewis did at that time. He has a chance to be a true five-tool player. High school picks always come with a lot of uncertainty, but when it comes down to it, the big difference is familiarity. Cavaco was a huge pop-up prospect in the draft. He was under the radar mainly due to the fact he didn’t play in the majority of showcases.
Being so new to the system, we’re obviously still learning more about Cavaco, but I suspect if anything this ranking is conservative. For more on Cavaco, check out the Q&A Ted did with him shortly after the draft.
6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP
2019 Stats (A+/A): 65.2 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 12.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 4.79 K:BB Ratio
2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention
Seth: 7 | Tom: 10 | Cody: 6 | Ted: 7 | Steve: 5
Balazovic rockets up our list after not just being among the top performers in the system, but all of the minor leagues. Among the 580 pitchers to log 50 innings across the minors this year, Balazovic ranks 13th in K/9, 16th in K-BB%, 25th in FIP and 19th in xFIP.
After a great first four starts with Cedar Rapids, Balazovic moved up to Fort Myers and made quite the first impression. He struck out 22 batters in just 12 innings his first two starts in the Florida State League. He’s had a bit of mixed results since then, and closes out June with a 4.12 ERA and 1.63 WHIP on the month. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Balazovic is still only 20 and made a grand total of 16 appearances with Cedar Rapids before making the jump to High-A. For comparison's sake, Enlow made 28 appearances for the Kernels and Duran tallied 21 outings in the Midwest League prior to moving up. So I think it’s reasonable to expect a bit of an adjustment period from Balazovic.
His overall performance has been outstanding, but another reason to be encouraged is Balazovic has already set a career high in innings pitched this season. Here’s a look back at some highlights from a couple of his starts for Cedar Rapids earlier this season:
Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings
Prospects 1-5 Coming Soon
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