Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Adrift in a sea of advanced stats

Other Baseball Today, 01:36 PM
Hey all,    I see a lot of advanced stats flashed at Twins Daily.    I was a wondering which among them you all saw a...
Full topic ›

2020 draft class

MLB Draft Today, 10:42 AM
Obviously, it's never too early to get excited about the upcoming draft. Pipeline has a top 100 up already. http://m.mlb.com/pro...020/?l...
Full topic ›

Josh Donaldson’s swing.... again

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:37 AM
Ok, I know, tired..... but dang that’s pretty! I can’t wait to see that with a TC on the cap. https://m.youtube.co...eature=youtu.be
Full topic ›

Baby Blues Are Back!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:23 AM
I'm so happy!       Here is the press release:     TWINS RETURN TO HISTORY, UNVEIL BABY BLUE ALTERNATE UNIFORM...
Full topic ›

How the internal (back-end) pitching options stack up for...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:32 AM
There seems to be a general consensus that the Twins are in desperate need of at least one additional starting pitcher for their rotation...
Full topic ›

Twins Organization Depth Chart: Starting Pitchers

Should the Twins focus their July trade deadline attention on the bullpen, or should they also consider adding a starting pitcher? Either way, potential trade partners have certainly been scouting the Twins minor league system. No doubt they have studied and viewed each of the Twins minor league starting pitchers. In the paragraphs that follow, we take a look at the Twins starting pitchers throughout the organization and think about which players these teams might target.

Minnesota Twins: Jose Berrios (25), Jake Odorizzi (29), Kyle Gibson (31), Martin Perez (28), Michael Pineda (30)

That is the Twins current starting rotation. To be honest, it has been pretty strong. Jose Berrios has taken another step forward and was an All-Star for the second straight season. Jake Odorizzi had a very strong first half, at one time winning ten straight games, on his way to his first All-Star Game. Kyle Gibson has had some ups and downs throughout the season. Martin Perez was shockingly good through the first six to eight weeks of the season. Then after a few rough starts, he has been solid again the last couple of outings. And, Michael Pineda has been really consistent. Almost every game, you can rely him him giving up two of three runs in about six innings.

That’s a pretty reliable starting five. The Twins have also had five or six spot-starts from Triple-A guys who have performed admirably as well.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Brusdar Graterol)
Rochester Red Wings: Drew Hutchison (28), Sean Poppen (25), Devin Smeltzer (23), Kohl Stewart (24), Lewis Thorpe (23), Stephen Gonsalves (24-IL)

The AAA depth has now all seen time in the big leagues. Hutchison spent a few years with the Blue Jays and recently signed with the Twins. Stewart and Gonsalves debuted in 2018. Gonsalves has been hurt but recently started throwing again and hopes to be able to pitch by season’s end. Smeltzer, Poppen and Thorpe have debuted in 2019.

The front office could use one or two of these pitchers in trades. However, they have had time to evaluate them and consider whether they could be starters or relievers for the Twins for the next four to six years. Remember that as many as four of the Twins five starting pitchers could be free agents after this season. Having MLB ready starting options will be important. So while any of these guys could be second or third pieces in a big deal, it’s nice to have the depth for 2020.

Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Jorge Alcala (23), Charlie Barnes (23), Edwar Colina (22), Randy Dobnak (24), Griffin Jax (24), Bryan Sammons (24), Tyler Wells (24-IL), Randy LeBlanc (27-IL), Andro Cutura (25-IL), Brusdar Graterol (20-IL)

Tyler Wells was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018, but he had Tommy John surgery in May. Randy LeBlanc had Tommy John surgery last year. Andro Cutura returned from missing nearly two years due to Tommy John, so they have limited his innings. But Brusdar Graterol is the top prospect here, and the hard-throwing righty is on the IL with shoulder impingement.

Jorge Alcala has struggled at times, but he works in the upper-90s and has three pitches. His future may be in the bullpen (most likely). Edwar Colina is another upper-90s guy who was just promoted to Double-A. He is a pitcher as well, not just a hard thrower. Jax and Dobnak have both been good this season despite not having the same overpowering fastballs, but they are both very smart pitchers. Lefties Barnes and Sammons have both come up from Ft. Myers and done well. They both rely on command and control and mixing their pitches.

Ft. Myers Miracle: Jordan Balazovic (20), Jhoan Duran (21), Blayne Enlow (20), Bailey Ober (23), Cole Sands (21), Tyler Watson (22), Lachlan Wells (22)

The current Miracle starting staff is really exciting in terms of prospects. There have been several reports of scouts in the seats at Hammond Stadium. Jordan Balazovic has risen up quickly on prospect rankings. Keith Law was ahead of the game on this, but Balazovic has earned his ranking by combining his great stuff with projectability and great numbers too. He represented the Twins in the Futures Game. Duran is another who is pitching much better than his 1-8 record might indicate. He’s another guy who hits triple digits multiple times each game. Enlow started out slowly but since joining the Miracle, he has been fantastic. His velocity is up and his breaking pitches remain very good. Ober has just returned from another injury, but when he has been healthy, he has been really good. Sands has done well in his pro debut after being the Twins fifth-round pick a year ago.. He began in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Ft. Myers a month ago.Tyler Watson came to the organization from the Nationals and has continued to develop each of his pitches. And Lachlan Wells, a former Top 30 Twins prospect, returned to the Miracle last week after missing the last season-and-a-half due to Tommy John. And the Australian is still just 22!

Cedar Rapids Kernels: Andrew Cabezas (22), Tyler Palm (24), Luis Rijo (20), Austin Schulfer (23), Kai-Wei Teng (20), Josh Winder (22), Kody Funderburk (22-IL)

Often in the lower levels you can figure out prospect status by age-to-level-of-competition, and that is likely the case with this group. Rijo came to the Twins a year ago in the Lance Lynn deal and has been really good the last month. Teng was signed out of Taiwan, and at 20, he has been very impressive since joining the Kernels. In his most recent start, he was hitting 96 with a good pitch mix. But Winder was a seventh-round pick a year ago and has been very good too. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in June. Schulfer has probably been the Kernels most reliable, consistent pitcher all season. He began the year in the bullpen in long relief, but gradually moved into the rotation. Cabezas was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018. He’s had some ups and downs but when he’s been on, he’s had some really strong games. Palm has bounced around a bit. He signed a year ago out of the independent leagues, but he’s very tall and touches the mid-90s. Funderburk was drafted a year ago out of college where he was a very good two-way player. He doesn’t throw real hard, but when healthy, he has provided quality innings.

Elizabethton Twins: Prelander Berroa (19), Sawyer Gipson (21), Ben Gross (22), Andriu Marin (20), Ryley Widell (22), Tyler Benninghoff (21) Tanner Brubaker (21-IL), Brent Headrick (21-IL), Casey Legumina (22-IL),

Much of this group was drafted in 2019 and are looking to just make a good first impression in limited innings in their pro debuts. Benninghoff was the Twins 11th- round pick in 2016 and signed for well over slot. Immediately, he had Tommy John surgery and returned briefly at the end of last year in the GCL. He’s moved up this year and is one to watch. Prelander Berroa is not a big kid, but he is likely the top prospect in this group. He throws hard and has some pitches to work with. Widell was their 7th round pick in 2017, but he missed 2018 season due to a couple of bouts with mono.

GCL Twins: Donny Breek (19), Matt Canterino (21), Niklas Rimmel (19), Michael Montero (19-IL), Jon Olsen (22-IL), Regi Grace (19-IL).

This is another intriguing group, even with the injuries. We knew that the Twins probably wouldn't have second-round pick Canterino pitch too much this year, so he could stay in the GCL or potentially move up a level. Breek was signed out of The Netherlands and Rimmel grew up in Germany. Both were well known prospects in Europe and intriguing as prospects. Montero is also one to watch, but he just had Tommy John surgery last week. Olsen had Tommy John last year while at UCLA and is still recovering this season. Grace has the size and projectability to be really good, but he is young and will be taken care of.

Twins Daily Top 40 Midseason Prospects
#3 - Brusdar Graterol
#6 - Jordan Balazovic
#9 - Jhoan Duran
#10 - Blayne Enlow
#11 - Lewis Thorpe
#18 - Jorge Alcala
#21 - Stephen Gonsalves
#24 - Edwar Colina
#28 - Matt Canterino
#29 - Devin Smeltzer
#32 - Griffin Jax
#33 - Tyler Wells
#34 - Cole Sands
#37 - Kohl Stewart
#38 - Bailey Ober
#40 - Sean Poppen

Have Hit 100 mph in 2019:
Brusdar Graterol, Jhoan Duran, Jorge Alcala, Edwar Colina

Outside Top 40, but Teams May Ask:
Charlie Barnes, Lachlan Wells, Luis Rijo, Kai-Wei Teng, Josh Winder, Prelander Berroa.

Teams in contact with the Twins will certainly ask for Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic, and while neither might be completely untouchable, the Twins would be wise to only deal them if completely overwhelmed. Duran is just behind those two but should also only be available if the return package is strong and multi-year. He and Enlow could be available. Personally, I would put Edwar Colina in that same category as well. Beyond that, one would think that the other starting pitchers are available. However, this is why depth in prospects, not only in pitching but also at all positions, is so important for the Twins to acquire and maintain.

  • mikelink45, dbminn, nclahammer and 3 others like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email


Very nice summary.I am impressed overall, but have to say that AAA rotation seems to be of lower quality than Fort Myers. 

Interesting that you didn't include 18-year old Anthony Escobar with the GCL group, Seth.He was a starter last year in the DSL and started a couple games for the GCL Twins before doing long relief his last two times out.His 1.84 ERA is second best among the five starters with 2 or more starts and his 0.61 WHIP is the best...and yes, this is a small sample size.


Personally, I would put him amongst the better prospects in the organization, although knowing he is very young and a long ways off.But that's just me.

Lots of talent in that pipeline! Hopefully some of it pans out at the big league level. Velocity will always play, but a secondary pitch is mandatory to have the type of success most of these guys will hope for.


Interesting that you didn't include 18-year old Anthony Escobar with the GCL group, Seth.He was a starter last year in the DSL and started a couple games for the GCL Twins before doing long relief his last two times out.His 1.84 ERA is second best among the five starters with 2 or more starts and his 0.61 WHIP is the best...and yes, this is a small sample size.


Personally, I would put him amongst the better prospects in the organization, although knowing he is very young and a long ways off.But that's just me.


Fair enough. Knowing who is a starter or a reliever in the GCL can be toughbecause they''re all just getting their work in. You're right that he should have been included and certainly is a prospect. I had him with relievers.

    • MN_ExPat and rdehring like this

Lordy, just don't let Jordan Balazovic get away! Stud horse in the making!

    • Major League Ready, AceWrigley and rdehring like this

Looking at a strong bullpen from prospects in the future. The rub, you can't protect them all. And the chances of acquiring an arm (or two) in free agency limits the number of these guys that will advance.


Fernando Romero is somewhere. Should he become a starter? Is he a bullpen arm? Did the Twins miss the ball on using him as a tradable prospect?


Interesting how the names have changed since the start of the season. No more Littell (now a bullpen arm). No more DeJong or Mejia. Goncalves is still in the mix...maybe. Will he be, perhaps, the next J.D. Durbin or Alex Wimmers?

Patrick Wozniak
Jul 17 2019 10:01 PM

Cole Sands and Kai-Wei Teng have really seemed to emerge.Do you see either of them as future big league starters?

Jul 18 2019 04:21 AM

Lordy, just don't let Jordan Balazovic get away! Stud horse in the making!

Agree 100%.

To me, Brusdar, Duran and Balazovic should all be untouchable.
    • jimbo92107 likes this


Agree 100%.

To me, Brusdar, Duran and Balazovic should all be untouchable.

I don't know about "untouchable," depending just how blown away the Twins were by a specific deal. Of those three guys, my gut says the ranking is Balazovic, Duran, and then Graterol, who seems to have a bit of trouble with command and with staying healthy. Duran could be the flame throwing starter we wish Graterol could become. Balazovic just looks like a big, lanky diesel of a pitcher. He may not break 100 mph much, but he'll chug along for a decade throwing mid-90s for seven innings per start, with command of three good pitches. 


Tradewise, I can see swapping Graterol plus a couple position prospects for Thor. Duran plus one prospect for Thor. I'd have to think a long time before swapping Balazovic straight up for Thor. Probably no on that deal. Syndergaard won't be around ten years from now. His game depends on a power heater and a power slider. Most guys like that flame out after a handful of years. Even today Thor's heater has lost a few mph. His value is sinking, while these three prospects are on the rise. 

Similar Articles

by Nick Nelson , 21 Jan 2020

by Seth Stohs , 17 Jan 2020

by Seth Stohs , 16 Jan 2020

by Cooper Carlson , 15 Jan 2020

by Cody Christie , 13 Jan 2020