Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: Recap
Image courtesy of Brock BeauchampTwins Daily's Top 20 Twins Prospects of 2020
20. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B: Strong infield D and contact swing keep him on Top 20 radar.
19. Cole Sands, RHP: Tremendous pro debut in 2019 with 5-to-1 K/BB ratio in A-ball.
18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF: The innate power is finally starting to show up in games.
17. Misael Urbina, OF: Standout athlete flashing every tool as an unrefined teenager.
16. Edwar Colina, RHP: Big arm, wicked slider. If he keeps sharpening control, watch out.
15. Matt Canterino, RHP: Freshly drafted righty shows big potential with funky delivery.
14. Matt Wallner, OF: Former MN prep star fared well during first exposure to pro ranks.
13. Wander Javier, SS: Disastrous 2019 season doesn't fully diminish shortstop's shine.
12. Gilberto Celestino, OF: Skills came together during spectacular second half in A-ball.
11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP: Keeps missing bats at the highest levels. His upside endures.
10. Blayne Enlow, RHP: Progression has been gradual, but steady. Could turn a corner.
9. Brent Rooker, OF: Immense power just might offset K's and lack of defensive value.
8. Keoni Cavaco, SS: All projection at this point, but toolsy teen offers plenty to dream on.
7. Ryan Jeffers, C: Two-way standout at catcher has impressed at every stop through AA.
6. Jhoan Duran, RHP: Hard-throwing whiff machine could impact 2020 Twins as a reliever.
5. Jordan Balazovic, RHP: Sturdily built sterling performer has makings of a long-term SP.
4: Brusdar Graterol, RHP: The now-departed young flamethrower was an ultra-rare talent.
3. Trevor Larnach, OF: Hits for average and power, shaping up as prototypical star RF.
2. Alex Kirilloff, OF: Remains one of the best pure hitters in the minors. Handled AA at 21.
1. Royce Lewis, SS: Pure ability too blinding to look past, but there is work to be done.
Two obvious areas of deficiency in the breakdown above: catcher and left-handed pitching. That's not by coincidence – they are notoriously tough spots to amass impact talent – but I don't see these scarcities as particularly alarming for the Twins.
Pitching is pitching. Yeah, it might be nice to have a few more southpaws in the mix, but a righty-heavy staff isn't such a detriment right now for the Twins, and the MLB-ready Thorpe looms large as a lefty threat.
As for the catcher position, Ben Rortvedt is right on the fringe of this list in our honorable mentions, and in the Graterol trade, the Twins acquired a 20-year-old catcher named Jair Camargo who is at least kind of intriguing.
Oh, yeah... Graterol.
THE LOSS OF GRATEROL
After tabulating votes two weeks ago, we had our Top 20 list fully compiled and finalized. Rollout on the site was already underway when news of the Kenta Maeda trade surfaced. At that point, our options were to reset on the fly, or just run the rankings as planned. We chose the latter, because it seemed valuable to provide context as to what the Twins gave up for Maeda. Graterol was, from our panel's view, the organization's No. 1 pitching prospect before departing.
But those rankings didn't necessarily reflect a future in the bullpen, which now seems firmer than ever. And even with all the noise filtered out, Graterol wasn't separated from Balazovic or Duran by much. The Twins have developed three upper-echelon – albeit not quite elite – pitching prospects, giving them the luxury to part with an undeniably stellar talent like Graterol.
And, if you're wondering which player now slides into our Top 20, with everyone else bumping up a spot in his absence? It's Rortvedt, who was just mentioned.
FEELING THE DRAFT
Graterol wasn't the only valuable asset Minnesota lost in the Maeda trade. The Twins also forfeited their Comp B pick in the coming MLB Draft (67th overall), and based on how they've drafted as of late, this could deprive them of a pretty special player. Scouting director Sean Johnson is running a ridiculously effective unit for Minnesota.
The top three players on our prospect list (Lewis, Kirilloff, Larnach) are first-round picks from successive years (2016-2018). All are consensus Top 100 guys. That says a lot. The Twins have also shown some ability to unearth gems beyond the first wave, like prospect No. 10 Enlow (76th overall), No. 9 Rooker (39th), and No. 7 Jeffers (59th).
Add in the fact that signing Josh Donaldson cost the Twins their third-round pick (99th overall), and the toll taken on this year's draft class by these win-now moves is considerable. You won't find me complaining, but it's something to keep in mind.
WATCH THE THRONE
The top two spots on our list remain unchanged from last year, but Lewis and Kirilloff have definitely loosened their grips – especially Lewis at No. 1.
His youth, athleticism, pedigree, and makeup were enough to keep the shortstop locked in as the leader and our list, and he's still in a healthy position on most national rankings. But between the scant production last year – .236/.290/.371 with poor plate discipline – and the echoing questions concerning defense and swing mechanics, there's vulnerability here.
Any number of players from the list could plausibly take over that top billing a year from now. Kirilloff, Larnach, Balazovic, and Jeffers feel most viable to me, if Lewis were to slip. Of course, there's also a plenty good chance Lewis rebounds in a huge way to re-stake his claim among the game's elite young talents.
WHERE THEY STAND
Baseball America released its ranking of MLB farm systems last week and had the Twins eighth. Bleacher Report has them sixth. By just about any measure, Minnesota boasts a top-10 system in the game, with a majority of its best talents rapidly approaching MLB-readiness. With the Twins bursting through their contention window, the timing could not be better.
Strap in folks. Fun times are ahead.
On a final note, I'd like to say that while I was researching and compiling entries for this series, two of my most invaluable resources were Tom Froemming's YouTube channel and Twitter page. If you enjoy Twins minor-league coverage and aren't following both, I highly recommend doing so. Tom puts together so much awesome video content and analysis.
PAST TWINS DAILY TOP PROSPECT LISTS:
TD 2019 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects
TD 2018 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects
TD 2017 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects
TD 2016 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects
TD 2015 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- birdwatcher, Dman, ToddlerHarmon and 3 others like this