Minnesota Twins Post-Draft Top-20 Prospects: 6-10
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports10. Gilberto Celestino, OF
2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): .277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 28 2B, 85 K, 50 BB, 125 G
Celestino came to the Twins along with Jorge Alcala as part of the Ryan Pressly trade. He played almost the entire 2019 campaign in Cedar Rapids with a handful of games in Fort Myers at season’s end. He destroyed the ball in July by hitting .369/.430/.563 with 12 extra-base hits in 26 games. Things didn’t slow down much from there as he posted a .896 OPS in August and this included his promotion to a higher level.
While he showed strong offensive ability last season, Celestino might be one of the best outfield defenders in the entire Twins organization. He’s played all three outfield positions, but his defense in centerfield will be his ticket to the big leagues. If he can continue to make offensive improvements, he could move quickly through the system in the years ahead.
9. Aaron Sabato, 1B
2019 NCAA Stats: .343/.453/.696, 18 HR, 25 2B, 56 K, 39 BB, 64 G
Minnesota just took Sabato with their first-round draft pick last week and he has the power potential to slide into their top-10 prospects. He could be higher on the list, but many don’t see him as having much defensive value, so the Twins must hope his bat is what powers him throughout his professional career. His 2019 season was his lone full season at the collegiate level, because he was a draft eligible sophomore. He posted a 1.149 OPS that year and he might have been on track for an even better season in 2019.
In 19 games during the 2020 season, Sabato had a .478 OBP and a .708 SLG with seven home runs and six doubles. This year’s draft certainly had some quirks with only five rounds and the first round saw a lot of teams select college players because they have a longer track record. Sabato is going to hit no matter what level he plays at and the Twins took him as a safe pick with plenty of upside.
8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP
2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): 5-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 119 K, 25 BB, 96.1 IP
2019 MLB Stats: 3-2, 6.18 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 31 K, 10 BB, 27.2 IP
It might seem like Thorpe has been around the Twins organization for ages, especially since Minnesota signed him all the way back in 2012. He put up strong numbers in his first two professional seasons but missed all of 2015 and 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Luckily, Thorpe was young enough where he was still back on the mound by his age-21 season and he spent the last two seasons moving through the upper levels of the minors. Across 114 innings at Double-A, he posted a 3.71 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 10.9 K/9. His WHIP is over four points lower in 118 innings and his strikeout rate is higher (11.1 K/9).
Thorpe was primed for a breakout season in 2020 with many in spring training were discussing the club’s high hopes for the southpaw. While his ERA and WHIP were high last season, he continued to strikeout batters and that’s something Twins fans can be excited about. He could be part of the Twins pitching staff for most of the next decade.
7. Keoni Cavaco, SS
2019 MiLB Stats (RK): .172/.217/.253, 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K, 4 BB, 25 G
One year ago, the Twins took Cavaco with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He was seen as a player that rose on team’s draft boards in the months and weeks leading into the draft. A player like him might not have even been taken in 2020 because of the limitations on scouting and the shortened high school season. He didn’t see the same type of competition as other top high school players because he wasn’t invited to a lot of the showcase events leading into his senior season. Still, his tool set was hard for the Twins to ignore.
His arm strength and speed are currently his two best tools. There were some obvious struggles at the plate last season, but he has plenty of power potential. As he continues getting experience against tougher competition, many believe he will be able to showcase the skills that put him on team’s draft radars. The Twins will give him every opportunity to stick at shortstop, but he has shown the ability to play third base during his amateur career.
6. Ryan Jeffers, C
2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA): .264/.341/.421, 14 HR, 16 2B, 83 K, 37 BB, 103 G
Mitch Garver might not want to look too closely in his rearview mirror because Jeffers might be closer to the big leagues than most would think. Minnesota took Jeffers in the second round back in 2018 and many viewed him as a bat-only player. He has refined his defense behind the plate since joining the Twins and his bat has certainly lived up to the hype he was receiving going into the draft.
In his pro debut, Jeffers hit .344/.444/.502 with 24 extra-base hits in 64 games between the E-Twins and Cedar Rapids. Last season he spent almost 80 games in Fort Myers and hit double digits in home runs and doubles. He finished the year with 24 games in the Southern League and saw his OPS rise 124 points over what he compiled in the Florida State League. At 23-years old, he is the Twins catcher of the future and that future might not be that far away.
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— Prospects 16-20
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