Jump to content

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

The Forums

Game Thread: Twins @ Kansas City, 7/20/18 @ 5:15 PM PT (7...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:58 PM
The home town nine went into All Star break on a roll, having gone 9-2 on this home stand. The Twins going 9-2 was enough, that it made t...
Full topic ›

Austin Hedges

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:03 PM
Is Hedges a possible solution to catcher? It will be Mejia’s job soon. Would one of the Rochester starters be a good match? How about Kep...
Full topic ›

Article: Miguel Sano Promoted to Triple-A Rochester

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:59 PM
Miguel Sano’s time in Fort Myers is over and he is being promoted directly to Triple-A Rochester. Sano had left the Miracle to tend to so...
Full topic ›

Twins, Brewers Talking Trades

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:42 PM
Got any favorites in Milwaukee's system?
Full topic ›

Article: Dozier Hasn't Changed and Could Pay Big For...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:08 PM
The trade deadline is fast approaching, and with the Dodgers recent acquisition of Manny Machado, the best up-the-middle player on the ma...
Full topic ›

Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow

Trouble with the curve: An old baseball phrase as trite and cliché as the Clint Eastwood movie titled after it. But as the game has evolved, that cliché has never lost its relevance. The curveball remains a mystical entity, difficult for pitchers to master and even more so for hitters to solve.

Blayne Enlow, still just 18 years old, has no trouble with the curve. His special ability to spin the baseball helps him hook a spot among our Top 10 Twins prospects fresh off his pro debut.
Age: 18 (DOB: 3/21/99)
2017 Stats (Rookie): 20.1 IP, 1.33 ERA, 19/4 K/BB, 0.69 WHIP
ETA: 2021
2017 Ranking: NR

National Top 100 Rankings
BA: NR | MLB: NR | ESPN: NR | BP: NR

What's To Like
"He can spin the ball, which is hard to teach."

Those were the words of Twins scouting director Sean Johnson when first explaining Minnesota's third-round selection in the 2017 draft. And it's very true. Last summer, Tom Verducci penned a big feature for Sports Illustrated on the resurgence of the curveball as a premier pitch in MLB. "Organizations have learned," he wrote, "that if someone does not show an aptitude to spin the baseball as an amateur, it’s foolish to expect him to acquire the skill."

Enlow is ahead of all peers in this regard. Prior to last June's draft, MLB.com's Jim Callis dubbed his curveball the best in the entire class, which included plenty of vaunted college arms. The Twins followed the Louisiana prep closely all spring, and basically framed their entire draft strategy around landing him. (Maybe they wanted Royce Lewis no matter what, but signing him below-slot at No. 1 gave them the flexibility to lure Enlow away from an LSU commitment with a gaudy $2 million bonus.)

It is, of course, still very early, but so far Minnesota's scouting department looks to have hit the bullseye and added one hell of a pitcher.

Enlow made only six appearances in the Gulf Coast League after signing, totaling just 20 1/3 innings, but his performance was almost spotless. The projectible 6-foot-4, 180 lb right-hander turned in a 1.33 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks, allowing just 10 hits and one home run with a 55% grounder rate. As a high school senior at St. Amant, he had fanned 101 over 76 frames with a 0.92 ERA.

His signature curve is already making waves in the pros. Baseball America recently ranked it as the best in the Twins system. GCL hitters were overmatched and couldn't do much with it. The pitch breaks so hard that some see it as more of a slurve, and TD community member Bob Sacamento went so far as to say in September that "[Enlow] showed me the grip and it's a slider."

Regardless of what you want to call it, it's a phenomenal pitch, and Enlow's ability to combine it with a power fastball with stellar command at the age of 18 is beyond promising.

What's Left to Work On
You might be asking yourself: If this kid's so good, why did he slip to the third round of the draft? Well, that's a little misleading, because he signed for late-first-round money. It is quite likely that other teams were aware of his arrangement with Minnesota.

But there were legitimate concerns cropping up around Enlow that caused his draft stock to drop a bit. Namely: a dip in fastball velocity, from 94 MPH during his junior year to the upper-80s early in his senior season. That can be a very troubling sign, but the velo rebounded as the draft approached (likely alleviating any reservations for the Twins), and he was reportedly back to touching 94 in the GCL.

Of course, the problem with dominating so thoroughly on the strength of two pitches is that he's never had much need to work on a third. Enlow's changeup lags behind his heater and breaking ball, but that's not rare for a pitcher at this stage, and most believe he can develop his third offering into something at least usable.

That question mark, and all others that generally apply to a teenage pitcher who hasn't yet played above rookie ball, keep Enlow's prospect standing in check... for now.

What's Next
The temporary decline in arm strength late in his prep career might help explain why the Twins took it quite easy on Enlow during his first foray into the pro ranks, using him almost exclusively in relief and always with big breaks in between outings. They'll probably continue to exercise caution in the next couple of years, but as he fills out, there's little reason to doubt his ability to stay healthy and maintain velo.

Turning 19 next month, Enlow will likely start the season at the next step of rookie ball in Elizabethton, but it would surprise no one if he surfaced quickly in Cedar Rapids. Any level of success there, as a teenager, would put him on track to beat out our (fairly aggressive) estimate of an MLB arrival in 2021.


Catch Up on the Rest of Twins Daily's Top Prospect Countdown:

TD Top Prospects: 16-20
TD Top Prospects: 11-15
TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil Baddoo, OF
TD Top Prospects: #9 Brusdar Graterol, RHP
TD Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow, RHP
TD Top Prospects: #7 - Coming Tuesday!

  • Cory Engelhardt, h2oface, gagu and 1 other like this

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

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

57 Comments

To that Eastwood movie wasn't any good?

 

Enlow looks legit.  Solid move; much more difficult to pull off than throwing cash a 32 year olds.

Photo
birdwatcher
Feb 12 2018 02:04 PM

 

I think you are greatly overstating the odds of those three producing in the big leagues. There have been numerous studies (example: http://www.thepointo...pdated-edition/) that have shown that even prospects ranked as high as 25-50 nationally have only slightly better than 50-50 odds of above replacement level careers. I like Badoo a ton, but I still think he probably only has a 25% chance at being a big league contributor. Graterol and Enlow are both intriguing, but as super young pitchers their odds are still extremely daunting.

 

I'd guess, markos, that someone has produced data forlater time periods that would educate me better, but I just glanced at the 2011 draft, a notoriously week class, and BA's 2011 Top 100. From a cursory look, I think about two-thirds of the tp 60 players selected in that draf have made it onto a big league roster. I'd say somewhere round 50-60% of the Top 100 also have logged some MLB innings.

I'm impressed but he almost reminds me of Duffey.Guy has a fantastic curve but that's about it.

Photo
Parker Hageman
Feb 12 2018 02:17 PM
Whether that translates into a job in the majors where batters can hit (or lay off of) the good curve, is of course what will decide things for him.

 

 

Major league hitters do not hit or lay off of good curves. They hit or lay off mediocre ones.

    • Carole Keller and ashburyjohn like this
Photo
Nick Nelson
Feb 12 2018 02:39 PM

 

To that Eastwood movie wasn't any good?

Your mileage may vary. Aging baseball scout spots flaw in a young player that goes undetected by hotshot young stat-head. He's proven right in a laughably predictable and contrived climactic scene. Every character is a complete stereotype. Yada yada.

Photo
Parker Hageman
Feb 12 2018 02:40 PM
I'm impressed but he almost reminds me of Duffey.Guy has a fantastic curve but that's about it.

 

 

Prefacing this by saying super loud that THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A PITCHING PROSPECT. Especially at 18 years old. Enlow has two plus pitches but ultimately needs a third and some seasoning before you can say he's got it. 

 

It might seem easy to take a right-handed curveball specialist and say he's a Tyler Duffey type but that's doing a disservice to where Enlow's curveball is at right now. In his senior year, his curveball's spin rate was the highest in the draft class, measuring over 2700 RPMs on average. That puts him in some elite territory immediately. MLB's average curveball spin is 2490 in 2017. By comparison, Tyler Duffey's curveball spins at a 2475 rate. It's not as sharp, it's not a late-breaking. It's a good pitch, to be sure, but we're talking two different types of curveballs. 

 

Again -- TNSTAAPP -- but we're talking an 18-year-old with two plus tools. 

 

 

 

 

Photo
FormerMinnasotan
Feb 12 2018 02:43 PM

I'm impressed but he almost reminds me of Duffey. Guy has a fantastic curve but that's about it.

From what the scouting report says Enlow’s velocity came back between 90-94 while he pitched for the GCL Twins so that’s better than Duffey’s upper 80’s fastball, plus Enlow is younger...I have more confidence now that Enlow can develop a change rather than Duffey IMO.
    • Twins33 and beckmt like this

 

Prefacing this by saying super loud that THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A PITCHING PROSPECT. Especially at 18 years old. Enlow has two plus pitches but ultimately needs a third and some seasoning before you can say he's got it. 

 

It might seem easy to take a right-handed curveball specialist and say he's a Tyler Duffey type but that's doing a disservice to where Enlow's curveball is at right now. In his senior year, his curveball's spin rate was the highest in the draft class, measuring over 2700 RPMs on average. That puts him in some elite territory immediately. MLB's average curveball spin is 2490 in 2017. By comparison, Tyler Duffey's curveball spins at a 2475 rate. It's not as sharp, it's not a late-breaking. It's a good pitch, to be sure, but we're talking two different types of curveballs. 

 

Again -- TNSTAAPP -- but we're talking an 18-year-old with two plus tools. 

 

I'm impressed at what he can do at 18 no doubt.My only concern is that once he reaches the upper minors and majors he will essentially be a one trick pony like Duffey.Bert dominated for many years because he could vary the spin on his curve keeping it in strike territory or drop out of the zone keeping hitters off balance.

It's kinda like adjusting the spin on your bowling ball to control the amount of hook depending on oil lane conditions.Not every pitcher has that finesse control of their out pitch. Duffey is a perfect example and that's why he's failed as a starter IMO (besides his average fastball).Hopefully Enlow can develop a third pitch changeup.

Photo
Deduno Abides
Feb 12 2018 05:01 PM
If he’s good like Frankie V. he should be known as Blayne “Sweet” Enlow.
    • Seth Stohs, birdwatcher and 70charger like this
Photo
ashburyjohn
Feb 12 2018 05:58 PM

If he’s good like Frankie V. he should be known as Blayne “Sweet” Enlow.

giphy.gif

    • Mr. Brooks and Deduno Abides like this
Photo
Carole Keller
Feb 12 2018 06:52 PM

 

Our individual rankings:

 

Seth (9), Nick (7), Cody (12), Tom (12). 

You should work those into the original articles ... I find it interesting how much you all agree/disagree and I think is interesting information to include.

 

I'm impressed at what he can do at 18 no doubt.My only concern is that once he reaches the upper minors and majors he will essentially be a one trick pony like Duffey.Bert dominated for many years because he could vary the spin on his curve keeping it in strike territory or drop out of the zone keeping hitters off balance.

It's kinda like adjusting the spin on your bowling ball to control the amount of hook depending on oil lane conditions.Not every pitcher has that finesse control of their out pitch. Duffey is a perfect example and that's why he's failed as a starter IMO (besides his average fastball).Hopefully Enlow can develop a third pitch changeup.

So you are saying you can be a one trick pony like Bert if you do it well?Might not be what you meant but I agree with it anyway. Duffey did quite well as a starter when he had good command of both his fastball and curveball in 2015. He mixed big breaking sweepers with sharp biting 12-6 pitches. He had command of neither in 2016 quite possibly because of trying to develop a third pitch which I don't think he needed. There are a lot of variations in arm angle, speed and break with curve balls that essentially give you enough different looks from that same pitch.Heck, a slow curve ball IS a change up. Then even a mediocre fast ball placed well can be very effective.Duffey lost the well placed part, a little downward plane and a little bite from what he had in 2015..It looks to me that Enlow has enough stuff right now to do well. If he can get the pin point control down I think his future is very bright.

Definitely one of the more interesting prospects in the system, however, I don't believe there was a master plan to land him specifically.They could have taken him at #35 or #37 and signed him for right around slot.Any other team could have taken him in that range as well.To not take him at #37 and rather take Leach tells me while high on him, they couldn't have had him that high otherwise they don't risk losing him.I'm hoping they push him to Cedar Rapids for at least a good chunk of the season.  

    • birdwatcher and markos like this

Definitely one of the more interesting prospects in the system, however, I don't believe there was a master plan to land him specifically. They could have taken him at #35 or #37 and signed him for right around slot. Any other team could have taken him in that range as well. To not take him at #37 and rather take Leach tells me while high on him, they couldn't have had him that high otherwise they don't risk losing him. I'm hoping they push him to Cedar Rapids for at least a good chunk of the season.

I dunno. From what I heard other teams knew not to pick him or he'd have gone to LSU. Twins were basically the only team that could offer him enough money by undersigning on Lewis.

I love Enlow. I'd have him as my number 1 pitching prospect in the org. I think he needs to be fast tracked before that spin rate causes his arm to detach at the Enlow.. I mean elbow.
    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, Bob Sacamento and 2 others like this

I love this and I hope the Twins are really aggressive with him, Rooker, and Lewis.Remember the Kid?Griffey at 19 in mlb.I love it.move fast, get the talent to the bigs and soar with it. 

 

He's going to cost a lot of minor league batters their jobs. "Can't hit the good curve."

 

Whether that translates into a job in the majors where batters can hit (or lay off of) the good curve, is of course what will decide things for him.

Don't know if this is true, didn'tI hear Cuellers for the Astros threw 24 consecutive curve balls to the Yankees in game 7 and they did nothing with them. 

    • Dantes929 likes this

Don't know if this is true, didn'tI hear Cuellers for the Astros threw 24 consecutive curve balls to the Yankees in game 7 and they did nothing with them.


All 24 in all their glory:

https://youtu.be/QjngPW6XVvI

 

I love this and I hope the Twins are really aggressive with him, Rooker, and Lewis.Remember the Kid?Griffey at 19 in mlb.I love it.move fast, get the talent to the bigs and soar with it. 

 

You mean Ken Griffey Jr.? One of the most phenomenal players in the history of the game? I don't think there is a current prospect in all of baseball with Ken Griffey Jr. upside. Lets let them develop at an appropriate curve and time frame. 

    • gunnarthor likes this
Photo
ashburyjohn
Feb 13 2018 08:04 AM

Don't know if this is true, didn'tI hear Cuellers for the Astros threw 24 consecutive curve balls to the Yankees in game 7 and they did nothing with them. 

Since my comment garnered two dissents, I guess I should walk it back a little because I wasn't trying to say curveballs aren't good. It really was meant as almost a nothing-conclusion - I might have said, "looks deadly at this point, which is great to see. Time will tell." Which is not much different than any good prospect.

Since my comment garnered two dissents, I guess I should walk it back a little because I wasn't trying to say curveballs aren't good. It really was meant as almost a nothing-conclusion - I might have said, "looks deadly at this point, which is great to see. Time will tell." Which is not much different than any good prospect.


I got your point and I agree with you. I watched McCullers throw those 24 again and posted the YouTube link above. The Yankees couldn't do squat with it. ZERO solid contact and at least 5 or 6 K's in 3 innings (I think). He completely shut them down with 1 pitch for multiple innings. If a pitch is that good (Mariano Rivera anyone?) it can serve to shut down some of the best hitters and lineups in the game. I think your point is well taken and most of us are very optimistic about Enlow's development and rise through the Twins' system.
Photo
birdwatcher
Feb 13 2018 08:53 AM

 

No one can argue that. IMO I would turn a few of those coin flips into players that can help us now, before those coin flips come up tails.

 

Enlow and other prospects like him are usually worth much more to the Twins than anything they would be offered for them. Any buyer will demand an exaggerated discount to cover perceived risks that the Twins see as overstated. I know that people think we overvalue prospects, but it works both ways, and when the mistake is made by the seller of the prospect, it can create a problem that won't go away for years. Wilson Ramos and Matt Garza come to mind.

 

What makes those prospect for MLB'ers even more dangerous is that you give up multiple prospects, which increases the odds that one of them hits their ceiling while the single MLB player received in return faces his own odds of injury and early decline.

 

Call me crazy, but I value the combination of Enlow, Badoo, and Graterol more than Archer, for example.

    • gunnarthor and Dantes929 like this

 

I dunno. From what I heard other teams knew not to pick him or he'd have gone to LSU. Twins were basically the only team that could offer him enough money by undersigning on Lewis.

Five players (including 3 other high school pitchers) received as large or larger bonuses than Enlow's $2 million despite being drafted between the Twins pick of Leach at #37 and the Enlow pick at #76. It is certainly possible that Enlow really was dead-set on the Twins and scared away other teams with outrageous fake bonus demands, but I think he would have taken their $2.5 million at the #54 pick had the Yankees picked him there (and offered 25% more than what he signed for with the Twins). Instead, I think the Yankees just liked Matt Sauer better. The Rays probably just like Michael Mercado at #40 better, and the Mariners liked Sam Carlson at #55 better.

    • birdwatcher, Oxtung and sftwinsfan like this

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Twins had a list of guys that they were going to offer overslot money to at the start of Day 2. Enlow was a good one to nab, and I'm glad we have him, but I doubt the Twins planned to have that specific player there as opposed to knowing they'd have a handful of solid draft prospects available.

 

*And maybe Enlow was #1 on their wish list of those guys.

    • birdwatcher, beckmt, markos and 3 others like this

I dunno. From what I heard other teams knew not to pick him or he'd have gone to LSU. Twins were basically the only team that could offer him enough money by undersigning on Lewis.

I love Enlow. I'd have him as my number 1 pitching prospect in the org. I think he needs to be fast tracked before that spin rate causes his arm to detach at the Enlow.. I mean elbow.

yeah, I think he will be an upper end of the rotation type. Im not sure there is another starting pitching prospect in our minor league system that I have higher expectations of.

 

All 24 in all their glory: https://youtu.be/QjngPW6XVvI

Says he threw 24 straight curve balls. They didn't look straight. Ok bad joke. They actually didn't look like they were great curve balls either. His best and his average for those curve balls did not look as nasty as the best and average of the clip of Enlow.Just more evidence that a guy with a curve ball and fast ball can do just fine without a third pitch if the two pitches are good enough and used in different ways.I think I could have watched a game pitched by Duffey in 2015 and one in 2016 and concluded that it wasn't the batters adjusting to the fact Duffey had only two pitches but simply that Duffey did not throw those two pitches as well. 

    • beckmt likes this