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Who's a more valuable trade asset, Buxton or Kepler?

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At the deadline, it was reported that the Mets asked for Byron Buxton (plus more players) for Noah Syndergaard. With the Twins are least...
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Astros assistant GM outburst

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Front Page: The Defensive Future of Royce Lewis

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CJ Cron Has Thumb Surgery

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What Kind of Trade Package Can Get Syndergaard?

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I've been having this discussion in my email, so I might as well throw it out to the group of learned Twins fans:   At the trade dea...
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2019 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 6-10

We continue to roll along with our midseason prospect list, and this next group of five includes both the biggest new arrival and the highest climber from our preseason list. This quintet of prospects features pitching, power and potential. Come find out who landed in our Nos. 6-10 spots.
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
Age: 20
ETA: 2022
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
Age: 21
ETA: 2021
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
Age: 24
ETA: 2019
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
Age: 18
ETA: 2024
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
Age: 20
ETA: 2022
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 36-40
Prospects 31-35
Prospects 26-30
Prospects 21-25
Prospects 16-20
Prospects 11-15

Prospects 1-5 Coming Soon

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25 Comments

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AlwaysinModeration
Jun 30 2019 08:29 PM
Between Duran, Cavaco and Balazovic, some serious upside. No idea what the future holds for any of them, but hopefully a) it is with the Twins and B) all three of them reach close to their potential.
    • Mike Frasier Law, mikelink45, DocBauer and 2 others like this

Man was it frustrating listening to SKOR North talk to an ESPN analyst about trade targets, and NO ONE knew how to pronounce Balazovic.Balazovic is going to be sought after.I'd rather trade Brusdar than Balazovic.Balazovic just profiles better as a long term mainstay in the rotation vs. Graterol.That strikeout rate is punishing.Plus his control is phenomenal.He did give up like 2-3 bombs to G. Stanton during a rehab stint, but I'm sure he learned from that.

 

Lastly, again, where is Landon Leach?Two years years in the GCL?Injury plagued?I know he doesn't belong on any of these lists, I'm just curious.

    • Twins33, milldam and rdehring like this

Reading thesepicks and looking at the stats, I think it is reasonable to take a spectators view of their results.We cheer the good games and jeer the bad ones, and at the end of the year we reevaluate their progress. 

However, it is unfair to the players to project too high an expectation of them.They may excel at one level and stumble at the next, and we get the pleasure of watching their progress.

Wherever they rank, Luis Arraez, Austudillo, Zach Littel & Lewis Thorpe are the top rookies in our system because they are the ones that are currently playing for the Twins.:)

    • brvama, goulik and rdehring like this
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The Billy Goat
Jun 30 2019 09:12 PM

Balazovic and Duran are the two prospects that I really want to survive the upcoming month of trades.After all the pitching prospects that rise through the ranks with the asterisk that there is an elevated chance that they become relievers (recently Romero and now Graterol), it feels like they are going to stick as starters with swing-and-miss stuff.We're going to need cheap controllable starting pitching after our current core of players start to get their raises.

 

Also, is it just me or did Sano make an appearance in the video highlights of Balazovic?With all the swing and missing, I'm just assuming that they fit Sano into a different jersey and had him take live batting practice against Jordan.

    • Twins33 likes this

 

Reading thesepicks and looking at the stats, I think it is reasonable to take a spectators view of their results.We cheer the good games and jeer the bad ones, and at the end of the year we reevaluate their progress. 

However, it is unfair to the players to project too high an expectation of them.They may excel at one level and stumble at the next, and we get the pleasure of watching their progress.

Wherever they rank, Luis Arraez, Austudillo, Zach Littel & Lewis Thorpe are the top rookies in our system because they are the ones that are currently playing for the Twins.:)

 

Maybe sometime in the future we will do a Twins Top 30 Rookies ranking... Most years there aren't as many of them as there have been this year:

 

Arraez, Astudillo, Littell, Thorpe, Wade, Stewart, Eades, Poppen, Of course to do that ranking, we'd just need like fWAR or something... 

 

I guess we do that at the end of the year when we do our Rookie of the Year voting. 

 

Obviously Prospect Status is much different than Rookie Status and they have pretty much nothing to do with each other. 

    • tarheeltwinsfan, gagu and MN_ExPat like this

 

Balazovic and Duran are the two prospects that I really want to survive the upcoming month

of trades.After all the pitching prospects that rise through the ranks with the asterisk that there is an elevated chance that they become relievers (recently Romero and now Graterol), it feels like they are going to stick as starters with swing-and-miss stuff.We're going to need cheap controllable starting pitching after our current core of players start to get their raises.

 

Also, is it just me or did Sano make an appearance in the video highlights of Balazovic?With all the swing and missing, I'm just assuming that they fit Sano into a different jersey and had him take live batting practice against Jordan.

 

Sano was with the Miracle for a week or whatever when he was rehabbing.

    • bighat likes this

I like how quiet Rooker is as he's waiting for the pitch, and how simple the footwork is. Reminds me a bit of Molitor, except for the uppercut swing.

Good to see we have more pitching is the wings.Just too bad it is a ways away.Positive note, even the ones they brought up have been good.Stewart, Littell and Thorpe give hope for next year, as it is certain that not all of Gibson, Oderizzi, and Pineda will be back.

    • DocBauer likes this

Nice to see three young pitchers with front of the rotation stuff so high on this list.They still have a ways to go but they have the traits to continue the climb.Here's to hoping we have wave of pitchers to follow these guys and that none of those guys get traded.

 

Rooker has been outstanding this month.I love the walks he is getting\taking.That should help the K rate by getting better pitches to hit and offsetting the K rate.That seemed to be the only thing standing in his way to be MLB ready.Needs to prove he can be consistent with that approach and if he is able to then it will be hard to keep him down on the farm.

 

That is a really nice 6-10 with 1-5 yet to come.

    • gman likes this
Duran is likely a bullpen arm. I want him with the big club this season. Righties like Stanton, Judge, Springer and Altuve await. Our best reliever is a lefty. We need the level of dominance he may have.
    • Tomj14 likes this

At first glace, I thought Enlow at #10, hmmm?But I understood as soon as I finished reading your comments.

 

Since returning from the IL, Rooker has been better than I expected.Heck, even the K's are getting down to a reasonable number.Still don't know what his future is with the Twins...if any?There are no starting outfield jobs, perhaps a spot as #4 with time at first and some DH at bats.But there is also Raley, Kirilloff and Larnach right on his heels with all able to fill those same three slots.Gotta believe one of that group will be gone come August 1.My hope is that it isn't Kirilloff!

 

As for Cavaco.These guys are so young.He could end up being a star, maybe better than Lewis.Or he could end up being a AAAA player.I guess that's why there are six levels in the minor leagues for them to work their way thru.

    • jokin likes this

Tom/Seth/Anybody?

How does Enlow compare to Stewart at the same time in their development?

Thanks in advance

I guess you have to highly rank a prospect recently drafted as early as Cavaco was. But, I really don't see the Lewis parallels. Cavaco popped late, and based primarily on the power tool. He didn't even play SS on his high school team...and it's really hard to even find a scouting report on him that even mentions anything other than 3rd base. Nobody's saying he has Lewis's speed, or even that his speed is sure to be an outstanding tool at the major-league level. He seems to be a lottery ticket type of pick...albeit, where the jackpot is Kris Bryant. I'd have him a bit lower out of the gate.

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

Ba-la-ZOE-vich. I can remember that. We should all remember that, 'cause he's gonna be in a Twins uniform for a long time. Hope he's learning a change up.

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Tom Froemming
Jul 01 2019 09:31 AM

 

I guess you have to highly rank a prospect recently drafted as early as Cavaco was. But, I really don't see the Lewis parallels. Cavaco popped late, and based primarily on the power tool. He didn't even play SS on his high school team...and it's really hard to even find a scouting report on him that even mentions anything other than 3rd base.

IIRC Royce Lewis didn't play shortstop for his high school team either. At least one of his final two years he was in center, right?

    • Dman, bighat and jkcarew like this

 

Tom/Seth/Anybody?

How does Enlow compare to Stewart at the same time in their development?

Thanks in advance

 

I'll let Tom or Anyone answer that one... 

 

Different pitchers. Different era. Different front office with different philosophies.

 

Stewart started his second full season in Ft. Myers. Enlow went back to Cedar Rapids for 2 months in his second full season. Enlow has been terrific since joining the Miracle. 

 

I guess you have to highly rank a prospect recently drafted as early as Cavaco was. But, I really don't see the Lewis parallels. Cavaco popped late, and based primarily on the power tool. He didn't even play SS on his high school team...and it's really hard to even find a scouting report on him that even mentions anything other than 3rd base. Nobody's saying he has Lewis's speed, or even that his speed is sure to be an outstanding tool at the major-league level. He seems to be a lottery ticket type of pick...albeit, where the jackpot is Kris Bryant. I'd have him a bit lower out of the gate.

 

They are different prospects, for sure. They just are. The Twins are going to let Cavaco play SS early in his career, but I don't think most think he'll stay there. They still believe that Lewis can be. Then again, Lewis played three years of 3B in HS before moving to SS.

 

But I haven't heard Twins scouts talk about how excited they are Cavaco in a long time. But, they also note that we'll likely have to be more patient with him too. 

I would have ranked Balazovic ahead of Graterol right now... Gonna be interesting to see how y'all rank them at the end of the season.
    • Twins33 likes this

 

I'll let Tom or Anyone answer that one... 

 

Different pitchers. Different era. Different front office with different philosophies.

 

Stewart started his second full season in Ft. Myers. Enlow went back to Cedar Rapids for 2 months in his second full season. Enlow has been terrific since joining the Miracle. 

Thanks, I guess I was talking more in lines of their stuff, fastball, curve, etc..

 

IIRC Royce Lewis didn't play shortstop for his high school team either. At least one of his final two years he was in center, right?

 

I believe that was his Junior year if I remember correctly. I thought he switched to SS his Senior year.

    • DocBauer likes this

 

I would have ranked Balazovic ahead of Graterol right now... Gonna be interesting to see how y'all rank them at the end of the season.

 

All depends on the shoulder of Graterol... 

    • DocBauer likes this

 

IIRC Royce Lewis didn't play shortstop for his high school team either. At least one of his final two years he was in center, right?

 

No... he played 3B his first three years ... Chase Strumpf was JSerra's shortstop. 

    • Tom Froemming and MN_ExPat like this

 

IIRC Royce Lewis didn't play shortstop for his high school team either. At least one of his final two years he was in center, right?

Lewis played SS his senior year. Meanwhile, Cavaco played multiple positions, primarily 3rd...and, by all reports, rarely if ever SS. Not that I am trying to represent any of that as definitive. But the point stands...based on what people (scouts) who saw them play at the same stage had to say, the prospect of Cavaco sticking at SS seems materially lower than what the information available at the time had to say about Lewis's chances.

    • DocBauer likes this

Lewis played SS his senior year. Meanwhile, Cavaco played multiple positions, primarily 3rd...and, by all reports, rarely if ever SS. Not that I am trying to represent any of that as definitive. But the point stands...based on what people (scouts) who saw them play at the same stage had to say, the prospect of Cavaco sticking at SS seems materially lower than what the information available at the time had to say about Lewis's chances.


By no means am I comparing Lewis and Cavaco by saying they are the same athlete, or have identical skill sets, or anything of that nature. But I've always thought it was interesting/fascinating how someone so supremely talented as Lewis, considered a legitimate future ML SS didn't even play the spot until his senior year. The answer appears to be an upperclassmen who was pretty good.

So now, you have another really good athlete who reportedly has the arm, range and quick reaction skill set to be fine 3B. Why the neck not just try him at SS to see what you have. May end up with a surprise, you never know.

Man, just a couple years ago we had Dozier and that was about it. Depth may change with trades, but man do we have some good looking options from the ML club on down!
    • Dman, gman, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

So now, you have another really good athlete who reportedly has the arm, range and quick reaction skill set to be fine 3B. Why the neck not just try him at SS to see what you have.


Absolutely!

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