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Three Twins Prospects Most Hurt Without a Minor League Season

Minor League Baseball announced the cancellation of their 2020 season on Tuesday. Outside of the top prospects included in the team’s 60-man roster, there are plenty of players who fans and scouts won’t get to see for all of 2020. Here are three Twins prospects that are most hurt by there not being a 2020 campaign.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Wander Javier)
Keoni Cavaco, SS
Cavaco was the Twins first round draft pick in 2019 and he struggled in his first professional season. Over the course of 25 games, he hit .172/.217/.253 with five extra-base hits and 35 strikeouts. Entering the draft, he was seen as a player on the rise because of his toolset, but it’s hard to gauge a player after less than 92 professional plate appearances.

The 2020 campaign would have allowed for Cavaco to repeat with the GCL Twins or take the jump up to Elizabethton. His age-19 season is going to be a wash so the Twins are going to have to hope he makes significant progress in the years ahead to live up to his status as a top-10 prospect in the Twins loaded farm system.

Jordan Balazovic, RHP
This was the year for Jordan Balazovic to make his mark and it could have provided him the opportunity to move all the way to the big-league level. Instead, he isn’t even included on the Twins current 60-man roster and he will be left wondering what could have been in 2020. For those that don’t know, Balazovic is widely considered the Twins best pitching prospect and Baseball America and MLB.com included him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2020 season.

Last season, Balazovic dominated with most of his starts coming at Fort Myers where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. He struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings and his WHIP was an unheard of 0.98 over 93 2/3 innings. The 2020 season could have catapulted him into the upper echelon of pitching prospects and that might have put him on track to be a September call-up.

Wander Javier, SS/2B
Javier had 50 professional games under his belt entering last season and there was little he did to improve his stock in 2019. As a 20-year old at Cedar Rapids, he hit .177/.278/.323 with 11 home runs and nine doubles in 80 games. It was his first season at a full-season affiliate, and he was coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him miss the entire year due to shoulder surgery. If there was any prospect that needed to show his potential in 2020, it was certainly Javier.

Even with all his struggles, he is still considered one of the Twins top prospects because of the tools he showed as an amateur. He’s only played 110 games during his professional career and that has amounted to fewer than 500 at-bats. Minnesota left him off their 60-man roster and maybe this will be motivation for him to comeback and be an even stronger player in 2021.

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15 Comments

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Tom Froemming
Jun 30 2020 09:11 PM

I feel really bad for the guys who missed all or most of last season. Tyler Wells and Akil Baddoo come to mind, but I'm sure there are a few others I'm forgetting. What a bummer.

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

Yeah, those are the three I thought of too. I hope we can get these kids back in baseball in 2021 and get things back to normal.

You nailed the three guys I'm most concerned about.I was really surprised Balazovic was left off the 60-man.This guy has a chance to someday be our Ace.I think he should be there.Cavaco I just don't know enough about, but he was a first round pick and I trust the Twins new FO guys knew what they were doing when they picked him.Javier has been a favorite of mine since we first signed him as a teenager.He's had nothing but bad luck, and this was a year I was really looking forward to seeing him healthy and productive, making him a part of the Twins future.Heck, he's still only 20-years old.I hope he can put things back together.  

    • AdoreAdorno likes this

Not disagreeing, Cody, that Javier is one of the Twins minor leaguers who will be hurt by not having this season. I question, however, whether he is or should still be considered a top prospect.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Javier left unprotected in last year's Rule 5 draft? I understand there are restraints related to selecting anyone in the Rule 5. However, no one selecting Javier would indicate that the other 29 teams no longer consider him a top prospect.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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Doctor Gast
Jul 01 2020 07:30 AM

My understanding is players can be added to the 60 man pool. Hopefully at least Balazovic will be added after the others have been reevaluated 

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Javier left unprotected in last year's Rule 5 draft? I understand there are restraints related to selecting anyone in the Rule 5. However, no one selecting Javier would indicate that the other 29 teams no longer consider him a top prospect.

Being a top prospect and being major league ready are 2 different things. Javier has a ways to go to be considered for a MLB roster which is why I think he cleared the Rule 5 draft.

    • birdwatcher, Danchat, DocBauer and 3 others like this

Good call on Cavaco and Javier, guys with great tools who really need to learn how to transition that raw talent to in-game situations.

 

On the pitching front, I hope Landon Leach can get going at some point. Second round pick in 2017, great frame, Canadian player, think he transitioned from catcher to pitcher his junior or senior year of HS and hasn't pitched much since then. Dude needs to play. 

    • birdwatcher and DocBauer like this
Agree on the hitters. But, I’m not sure it hurts Balazovic as much (aside from financially, possibly). I could be wrong, but I feel like it’s different for hitters, having to stay in the razor’s edge in terms of vision/hand-eye/timing.

He’ll still be working and developing, not sitting on his rear end. This will give him a chance to keep some mileage off his arm. Maybe save some of the bullets in that arm and apply towards a longer major league career. He can take the opportunity to dedicate more time to his body (strength, flexibility, conditioning). The stress and toll on the body of travel, bus rides, plane rides, hotels, etc is eliminated. Try new things with mechanics if desired. Work more on underdeveloped pitches.

I’ve long been very confused by allowing a pitcher with electric stuff that would play at the major league level, to toil for years in the minor leagues, anyway. If there are massive control issues, it’s understandable, but that’s not the case here. Get him mentally and physically dialed in this year, turn him loose in AA/AAA next year to get back into game action, and have him ready for the majors by July.

I’m not especially surprised by leaving him off, either. It just tells you he was never in their plans for this year. They were not breaking that service time seal this year no matter what. If they really thought there was a chance he could end up being a rotation piece come playoff time, he’d be on the squad.
Agree fully on Cavaco and Javier. Both so young and full of promise and need a chance to play, and stay healthy in Javier's case.

Good calls on Wells and Badoo coming back from injury as well as Leach. Top prospects/draft choices and one well regarded pitching prospect that all lose a crucial year.

Balazovic makes no sense to me. In a normal year, he's probably in Rochester by the end of the year and knocking on the ML door early 2021 at the latest. So because it's not a normal year they would just give up a year to their top pitching prospect? I don't buy it. There's still a spot left. If I understand things, guys can still be cut/waived and replaced.

Don't know why he hasn't been added yet but can only speculate he's being told to stand by until a cut comes, or perhaps he's ill and the Twins are keeping it under wraps and waiting for him to recover.
    • Doctor Gast likes this

Yeah, I'm also one who suspects we haven't seen the last of Balazovic, in terms of the 60 man list. Hard for me to imagine they won't want to be getting hands-on development time with him, even if he never sets foot on a mound during a game in 2020.

    • DocBauer likes this
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Doctor Gast
Jul 01 2020 12:37 PM

 

or perhaps he's ill and the Twins are keeping it under wraps and waiting for him to recover.

 

 

Very insightful possibility

 

    • DocBauer likes this
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twinstalker
Jul 01 2020 04:02 PM

Balazovic is not on the 40-man, and all the starting pitchers kept, except Chacin, are on the 40-man.

 

Whether we're talking Balazovic, Sands, or other prospects not on the 40, I'm sure each is being handled and worked with and on a program. It's not perfect, but I doubt there's a ton of difference between whatever program they're on and being at CHS field. In fact, expect him and others at Ft. Myers.

    • birdwatcher likes this
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jorgenswest
Jul 01 2020 05:40 PM

I don’t think we know the names of the prospects who will be the most hurt. It will be the player who missed an opportunity to take a major step forward.

 

Where is Randy Dobnak if this were last year? Going into last season he was an undrafted 24 year old with no experience above low A. His 2018 season there was an uninspiring 129 innings with only 84 strike outs as a player old for the league. The only way he gets noticed is by playing ball and dominating.

 

Had we given up on Lewis Diaz? He doesn’t make a 60 man roster if this were last season.

 

Prospects like Balazovic won’t be the ones hurt the most. It will be the players that would have taken this season by storm but instead are at home. They may not get another chance. We won’t know who they are.

 

 

    • birdwatcher and DocBauer like this

I don’t think we know the names of the prospects who will be the most hurt. It will be the player who missed an opportunity to take a major step forward.

Where is Randy Dobnak if this were last year? Going into last season he was an undrafted 24 year old with no experience above low A. His 2018 season there was an uninspiring 129 innings with only 84 strike outs as a player old for the league. The only way he gets noticed is by playing ball and dominating.

Had we given up on Lewis Diaz? He doesn’t make a 60 man roster if this were last season.

Prospects like Balazovic won’t be the ones hurt the most. It will be the players that would have taken this season by storm but instead are at home. They may not get another chance. We won’t know who they are.


All the more reason we have to hope there will be some sort of fall league or the Twins...being so forward thinking these days...will find a way to adapt and lengthen and deepen the competition for some sort of EST after the season.
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birdwatcher
Jul 02 2020 09:59 AM

 

Balazovic is not on the 40-man, and all the starting pitchers kept, except Chacin, are on the 40-man.

 

Whether we're talking Balazovic, Sands, or other prospects not on the 40, I'm sure each is being handled and worked with and on a program. It's not perfect, but I doubt there's a ton of difference between whatever program they're on and being at CHS field. In fact, expect him and others at Ft. Myers.

 

Yeah, I wonder if the plans they have on tap down in Ft. Myers won't be more efficacious than we're imagining.


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