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Trading for Price and Betts

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Twins Daily 2019 Top Prospects: Honorable Mentions

Starting tomorrow, Twins Daily will begin unveiling our choices for the Minnesota Twins Top 20 prospects. Today, we wanted to discuss several other players that fell just outside the Top 20. Call them Honorable Mentions, if you will, but I think this group will help illustrate the depth of the Twins organization right now. In fact, you can all likely name another dozen Twins prospects beyond this list who have big-league potential.

Be sure to stop by every day as we count down (or up) the Twins Daily Top 20 Minnesota Twins Prospect Rankings. Prospect rankings are far from an exact science. We encourage questions. We encourage respectful debate.
In the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, Tom Froemming penned an article about all of the different methods in which the Twins have added prospects over the past two years. There is the draft. There are international signings. There have been several players added via trade especially over the final days of July. In addition, there are waiver claims and minor league signings. Today’s list of “Others Receiving Votes” illustrate several of those methods.

For your information, as several of the Twins Daily writers submitted their personal prospect rankings and the ensuing conversation about the rankings, there was a clear cutoff between our #20 prospect at the #21 prospect. Today, we won’t put rankings on these players, only discuss those who also received votes. There are 12 players we will mention, which does show some depth. What is important to also note is there are several more prospects in the system who did not receive votes that have a legitimate chance to play in the big leagues in the future.

Let’s discuss the other players who received votes yet finished just outside of the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects.


OH CANADA!

Two hard-throwing right-handed pitchers were mentioned. Jordan Balazovic was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2016. Landon Leach was the team’s second-round pick in 2017. Both were selected out of secondary schools in the Toronto area. Leach remained in the GCL in 2018. He is a hard thrower who is still quite raw as a pitcher after growing up primarily catching. He’s a big kid. Balazovic split time between the GCL and extended spring training. He has added velocity since being drafted and really stepped forward in 2018, matching his pitchability with his improved stuff. If you missed it, Keith Law ranked Balazovic as his 102nd prospect in baseball, with Brusdar Graterol at number 108.


ALREADY DEBUTED

It was a bit surprising when the Twins called up Kohl Stewart in August last year, but the former first-round pick made a good impression during the final six weeks. He has good velocity and gets a lot of movement. Not a lot of swing-and-miss, but the talent is clear. It was that talent that had him as a top ten Twins prospect for several years, and it is what we saw in his debut in 2018.

Chase De Jong had pitched in the big leagues for Seattle in 2017. He was acquired in the Zack Duke trade. He made four starts for the Twins in September and showed that he can be a back-end of the rotation starter. He’s got good command and a good curveball. His smooth delivery helps allow pitches to jump on hitters at times.


HIT MACHINE

Luis Arraez gets his own category. While he isn’t a great athlete, doesn’t have great speed or power and profiles as maybe a second baseman, Arraez can flat-out hit. He has hit at every level. Even after missing most of the 2017 season with a knee injury, he raked in Ft. Myers before moving up to the Chattanooga Lookouts. The organization clearly likes him as he was added to the 40-man roster following the season.


ATHLETES

There are several great athletes in the Twins organization. Obviously you have heard a lot about Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis.When you talk to people in the organization, or you watch him play, you will be told that Travis Blankenhorn is right up there with the best athletes in the organization. He’s got good speed and power, and a lot more power potential. He has ranked as high as #9 in previous Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings and he continues to rise up the ranks including a nice showing in the Arizona Fall League last year.

Gabriel Maciel came to the Twins in July from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. The outfielder has tremendous speed and a really good swing. He ended the season with the Kernels, usually leading off.
Jacob Pearson was acquired last offseason from the Angels in exchange for international money which was used to sign Shohei Ohtani. While he was expected to spend the season in Elizabethton, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids in late May and spent the rest of the year there and more than held his own.


PITCHER OF THE YEAR

What does a guy have to do to get into the Top 20 prospect rankings at Twins Daily? Tyler Wells was the Twins 15th round draft pick in 2016. He’s been really good since signing. He began 2018 in Ft. Myers before ending the season in Chattanooga. He was very good and was named the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He was also the Harmon Killebrew Award winner for the Miracle. He’s big, tall, and has exhibited a great work ethic. More than a strikeout an inning is always good too.


STORY OF THE YEAR

When the Twins drafted Griffin Jax in the third round of the 2016 draft out of the Air Force Academy, the thought was that he would be able to pitch soon. That didn’t happen, but when baseball was named an Olympic sport again, Jax applied for the military’s World Class Athlete Program. That allows him to play baseball full time in preparation for Olympic tryouts. Details were figured out and by April he was in Ft. Myers preparing for a season. He pitched well for the Miracle and worked some more innings in the Arizona Fall League. He impressed people with his stuff as well.


TOUGH TO RANK

On July 2nd, the Twins officially signed outfielder Misael Urbina. It’s always difficult to know where to rank a player who won’t even make his professional debut until this summer in the Dominican Summer League. The Twins signed Urbina for $2.75 million which alone makes him intriguing to Twins fans. But he has all of the tools that you look for in a prospect, speed, baseball instincts, arm, defense and room to grow. He will be one to watch. A year from now, he could be a Top 10 Twins prospect.




POWER POTENTIAL
Luke Raley came to the Twins in the Brian Dozier trade with the Dodgers. He finished the season in Chattanooga and ended the year with 20 home runs in AA. He was recently announced as a non-roster invite to spring training. Raley, like Brent Rooker, has a ton of power potential.

AND MORE…

The Twins system is very deep right now. There are several outside our top 20 who could reach the big leagues, many more than even just these honorable mentions.

As I mentioned above, I really like Edwar Colina who spent most of the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. DaShawn Keirsey was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2018. He and other draft picks from just last June could move up this list in 2019. Relievers such as Tyler Jay and Jake Reed still have upside. And I bet you could list a few of your own choices as guys that we missed in our Top 20 (or in his list of honorable mentions).


Feel free to discuss below and ask questions.

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47 Comments

 

Let's hope the Twins team does well enough this season that allows the front office to use some of this depth to improve the major league team.

Kind of along where I've been thinking. It's terrific to have a deep system and IMO any system where Balazovic is on the outside of your Top 20 looking in has to be awfully deep! 

 

But you only have room to promote so many guys each year. Eventually, even if a large percentage of these guys pan out, you're going to end up losing them to Rule 5 drafts and/or as minor league free agents. You can't control them on the farm forever.

 

Obviously, would be a great problem to have, of course! But ideally, the FO will be able to roll a few of them for assets the team can control longer and/or MLB players to fill an immediate need.

    • Mike Sixel, big dog, KGB and 3 others like this

DeJong DFA to make room for Perez. One heck of a trade.....

With all these seemingly good prospects, we shouldn't be afraid of trading a few for an established MLer if the right opportunity arises.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this
The sooner the leash on the Buxton/Sano farce is pulled the better. Start not planning around them.
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The Mask of Zoilo
Jan 30 2019 11:26 PM

DeJong DFA to make room for Perez. One heck of a trade.....


I keep waiting for one of the 7 outfielders to be dfa'd. Twins only have 20 pitchers on their 40 man, lowest in the American League.
    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, caninatl04 and 1 other like this

The Twins could use a vacation from the injury bug this season. Wouldn't it be great to see just normal aches and pains, and nothing catastrophic for a while? 

 

Throw with your legs, beeches!

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The Mask of Zoilo
Jan 30 2019 11:43 PM
Now that de Jong has been dfa'd let's replace him on the honorable mention with Zander Weil who's going to get a cup of coffee someday with somebody and may surprise as a Cron type 1st base/DH bat. Go Zander.
    • Seth Stohs, Mike Sixel and Dman like this

 

I keep waiting for one of the 7 outfielders to be dfa'd. Twins only have 20 pitchers on their 40 man, lowest in the American League.

I have been thinking the same thing.Kept expecting Granite to be the one gone.

 

After carrying only 14 position players much of last year, are they going to try to stay around 20/20 this year?  

I have been thinking the same thing.Kept expecting Granite to be the one gone.

 

After carrying only 14 position players much of last year, are they going to try to stay around 20/20 this year?  

26 pitchers bugged me last year - they were evidently having trouble deciding wheat from chaff, not that I'm a better guesser. 20 now may be too low by a smidgen. Can we not swing to the extremes, please?

 

I think I can see the logic behind all the outfielders, as they individually seem like they could contribute, and none of the ones at the bottom of the totem pole have trade value at the moment.

    • birdwatcher likes this
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birdwatcher
Jan 31 2019 09:09 AM

 

DeJong DFA to make room for Perez. One heck of a trade.....

 

 

For a couple months of Zach Friggin' Duke I thought a team would give up a heckuva lot more than a B grade starter like De Jong and a C grade guy like Costello. Stupid Twins.;)

    • Ben Noble likes this

 

For a couple months of Zach Friggin' Duke I thought a team would give up a heckuva lot more than a B grade starter like De Jong and a C grade guy like Costello. Stupid Twins.;)

 

Weren't there more logical choices to DFA ahead of De Jong though?I'll just leave these first couple comments from the mlbtr post here:

 

nmendoza7
Tyler Duffey is absolutely blackmailing someone

hrbekrules
He has got some sketchy pictures Falvey for sure!

 

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

Weren't there more logical choices to DFA ahead of De Jong though?I'll just leave these first couple comments from the mlbtr post here:

 

nmendoza7
Tyler Duffey is absolutely blackmailing someone

hrbekrules
He has got some sketchy pictures Falvey for sure!

Do you remember watching Duffey pitch the first month or so he was with the Twins a couple years ago?I recall a game he started in Houston where he was unhittable.Remember thinking he could tell the hitter he was throwing his 12-6 curve and they still couldn't handle it.Maybe some within the organization are thinking this new staff just may help him find what he once had?

 

Do you remember watching Duffey pitch the first month or so he was with the Twins a couple years ago?I recall a game he started in Houston where he was unhittable.Remember thinking he could tell the hitter he was throwing his 12-6 curve and they still couldn't handle it.Maybe some within the organization are thinking this new staff just may help him find what he once had?

 

I remember that... was 2015... But, he does have an option remaining and the spin rate (I assume). 

More on the voting... remember that the Top 30 rankings for Seth, Tom and Cody are in the prospect handbook whereas Nick provides a Top 20 list. The honorable mentions were others who received votes. For this, that includes those in the Top 30 for Tom,, Cody and I. Here are the votes for the players mentioned (in order mentioned in the article):

 

Balazovic: Seth (29), Tom (28), Cody (25)

Leach: Tom (27), Cody (28)

Stewart: Seth (26), Nick (16), Tom (23), Cody (22)

De Jong: Seth (27)

Arraez: Seth (22), Tom (25), Cody (21)

Blankenhorn: Seth (30), Tom (24)

Maciel: Seth (23), Cody (18)

Pearson: Cody (23)

T Wells: Seth (20), Nick (20), Tom (22), Cody (27)

Jax: Seth (25), Tom (26), Cody (29)

Urbina: Seth (17), Cody (16)

Raley: Seth (28), Tom (20)

    • Mike Sixel and caninatl04 like this

Speaking of the athlete that Blankenhorn is - wasn't he a really good basketball player at Pottsville, PA? Trying to recall whether he also had a basketball scholarship offer or just the baseball one to Kentucky?Have to think he could have played some D2 hoops at the very least.Not too shabby at football either.

 

More on the voting... remember that the Top 30 rankings for Seth, Tom and Cody are in the prospect handbook whereas Nick provides a Top 20 list. The honorable mentions were others who received votes. For this, that includes those in the Top 30 for Tom,, Cody and I. Here are the votes for the players mentioned (in order mentioned in the article):

 

Balazovic: Seth (29), Tom (28), Cody (25)

Leach: Tom (27), Cody (28)

Stewart: Seth (26), Nick (16), Tom (23), Cody (22)

De Jong: Seth (27)

Arraez: Seth (22), Tom (25), Cody (21)

Blankenhorn: Seth (30), Tom (24)

Maciel: Seth (23), Cody (18)

Pearson: Cody (23)

T Wells: Seth (20), Nick (20), Tom (22), Cody (27)

Jax: Seth (25), Tom (26), Cody (29)

Urbina: Seth (17), Cody (16)

Raley: Seth (28), Tom (20)

I really like the above group of players, Seth.Wouldn't shock me if well more than half got at least a cup of coffee with a third or more having nice major league careers.If these guys are all outside the Top 20, this has to be the deepest the system has been...at least in my memory.

 

Expect a lot of this is due to last summers trades.How many guys in the Top 20 were added last July?

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

Do you remember watching Duffey pitch the first month or so he was with the Twins a couple years ago?I recall a game he started in Houston where he was unhittable.Remember thinking he could tell the hitter he was throwing his 12-6 curve and they still couldn't handle it.Maybe some within the organization are thinking this new staff just may help him find what he once had?

 

Yes, in 2015 Duffey was the Twins best starter down the stretch.I mean, he had a 1.6 bWAR in only 10 starts. Minnesota was in the wildcard race so they needed him, but I wonder if pushing him to 200 innings (combined minors and majors)that year was too much, too soon.

 

Agree that Josh Kalk, Wes Johnson or somebody in the org must see something in Duffey and has an idea how to develop his off-speed pitch.That's always been his main weakness on the mound.Has plenty giddy-up on the FB and, of course, the plus curve. 

    • caninatl04 likes this

Still like 3B/2B Andrew Bechtold.Had an off year with the Kernels last season after a promising Elizabethton campaign in '17.But I think he has a chance to rebound.

 

Speaking of the athlete that Blankenhorn is - wasn't he a really good basketball player at Pottsville, PA? Trying to recall whether he also had a basketball scholarship offer or just the baseball one to Kentucky?Have to think he could have played some D2 hoops at the very least.Not too shabby at football either.

 

He was an incredible defensive back in high school ,all-american type, but then he focused on baseball as a senior, after committing to Kentucky. Yes,, he also was a very good basketball player. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

Yes, in 2015 Duffey was the Twins best starter down the stretch.I mean, he had a 1.6 bWAR in only 10 starts. Minnesota was in the wildcard race so they needed him, but I wonder if pushing him to 200 innings (combined minors and majors)that year was too much, too soon.

 

Agree that Josh Kalk, Wes Johnson or somebody in the org must see something in Duffey and has an idea how to develop his off-speed pitch.That's always been his main weakness on the mound.Has plenty giddy-up on the FB and, of course, the plus curve. 

About that, a couple of years ago I was at a game where the Twins played the Atlanta Braves. Duffy started against Mike Foltynewicz. I was in the left field stands, and both pitchers warmed up in the outfield right in front of me before they moved on to the bullpens. I can tell you that there was no comparison in the velocity those 2 exhibited there in front of me. It was before Foltynewicz really took off, but I could tell then that I would take him 10 times before I would think about Duffy. Until Duffy can develop a good changeup, or maybe a cutter to keep hitters off his fastball, they will lay off that curveball and hammer his fastball all day long, just like they did that day.

 

    • ashbury and Hosken Bombo Disco like this

About that, a couple of years ago I was at a game where the Twins played the Atlanta Braves. Duffy started against Mike Foltynewicz. I was in the left field stands, and both pitchers warmed up in the outfield right in front of me before they moved on to the bullpens. I can tell you that there was no comparison in the velocity those 2 exhibited there in front of me. It was before Foltynewicz really took off, but I could tell then that I would take him 10 times before I would think about Duffy. Until Duffy can develop a good changeup, or maybe a cutter to keep hitters off his fastball, they will lay off that curveball and hammer his fastball all day long, just like they did that day.

That was my impression too, watching Duffey in a game at Pawtucket August 3. Unless his curveball is perfect, it is not of use, and hitters can sit on the fastball. And that day, his curveball was far from perfect. It was easy to forecast the game going down the drain as his stint proceeded, and that's indeed what happened. As the PawSox enjoyed a walk-off win on a homer during his second inning of work (after a tying solo shot off him in the eighth), the ever-tolerant Mrs Ash was subjected to my grumbling and I-told-you-soing. :)

Jordan Balazovic seems too low on this list.Given what we are seeing from other sites, is that just a miss, or has he improved so much that he rose that far.


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