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Game Thread Twins @ Cubs 9 /20/2020 6:00 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:50 PM
The Twins conclude their week in Chicago with a Sunday night game against the Cubs. The Twins have won two of the first six games against...
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Gardy announces retirement

Other Baseball Today, 03:39 PM
This is an AP article lifted from the StarTribune web site.DETROIT — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his immediate retirement bar...
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The Defense And Reality of Dobnak

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:43 PM
I almost posted this in a front page thread but decided it needed it's own. I know we are in a playoff push with mixtures of optimism and...
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LT contracts for current star position players

Other Baseball Today, 09:13 AM
I see that Yelich is still effected by a broken kneecap from last year and has a longterm contract now through 2028. It always raised an...
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How does this scoring get the win?

Other Baseball Today, 09:35 AM
Here is the pitching box Grateral 1.1 innings one run Kolarek 0.2 innings no runs Dodgers take lead May 5.1 innings 3 runs Gonzalez 1 inn...
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Recent Blogs

Will Good Teams Play Top Prospects?

Which top prospects will we see this year? With Jo Adell's MLB debut, the Angels are the lens into this broader question. The Angels are supposed to be competitive. They’ll need to pitch better this year, with or without Shohei Ohtani on the mound. And the preseason PECOTA projections considered the Angels just outside a top-two spot in the AL West, front runners for an A.L. Wild Card spot. Will more good teams do what the Angels did and call up their top prospects?
Image courtesy of Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Angels top prospect Jo Adell made his MLB debut Tuesday and *ripped* an infield single in his first plate appearance. Adell, 21, was the 10th pick in the 2017 first-year player draft (alternately referred to as The Royce Lewis Draft), and one day soon Adell could push Baseball’s Best Player to a corner outfield role.

His first step onto the stage brings to light a question that has been on the mind of a lot of baseball fans this year. Just how, exactly, will competitive teams handle their top prospects?

In a more typical year, we’d have the customary shouting match about service time manipulation and the like. We’re pretty used to it by now. This isn’t a typical year, we’ll agree, and if we all can check our cynicism for just one moment, I’m willing to admit a genuine curiosity over how clubs will handle development without the benefit of a minor league season. (Side note: How would Kris Bryant have “polished his third base defense” in 2015 with only 12 days at an Alternate Site?)

The Angels are the lens into this broader question, since many consider Adell to be a top-10 prospect, and with the exception of first base, the Angels' third outfield spot is projected to be the area most ripe for immediate improvement. Also, they’re supposed to be competitive. Preseason PECOTA projections considered the Angels to be just outside a top-two spot in the AL West, and the front runner for an A.L. Wild Card spot.

Since we don’t know how the Twins will react, we can merely ask the questions: What do you think is the relative likelihood that they’ll call up and use studs like Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Royce Lewis? How about Brent Rooker? Jhoan Duran is on the 40-man roster and just a call away and Jordan Balazovic is waiting in the wings if needed. How would those guys handle a call-up? Which prospect is most likely to help the Twins achieve their goal this year?

Here are a few other top prospects around the league that had my attention:

From the 2017 Adell/Royce Lewis Draft:

The Guys Who Already Made It

Kyle Wright, Braves – The advanced college pitcher (Vanderbilt) that some Twins fans wanted at the top of the ‘17 Draft, Wright went 5th and is wearing a Braves uniform. Wright, 24, debuted in 2018 with Atlanta and in two starts this season he’s yet to finish the 4th inning. Track his career for a single data point in the debate between advanced college pitcher and athletic high school baseball player.

Keston Hiura, Brewers – Burst onto the scene last year in Milwaukee and hit .303/.368/.570 with 19 home runs in just more than half a season.

Evan White, Mariners – The man who signed the $24 million deal this winter to spend the next 6 years with the Mariners. The first baseman is off to a slow start at the plate (.204/.205/.409) in his first taste of the big leagues with 5th-place Seattle.

The Prospects:

Hunter Greene, Reds – Strongly linked with Lewis in the minds of many Twins fans. He missed last year because of Tommy John surgery and has been added to Cincinnati’s player pool, even though he’s yet to pitch in Double-A.

MacKenzie Gore, Padres – I know the Padres might not be great but Gore checks the box of top prospect and 2017 draftee. In 20 starts covering 101 minor league innings last year (High-A and Double-A), the lefty ran a 1.69 ERA, with a 135:28 strikeout-to-walk ratio (35.7% strikeout rate).

Note: San Diego just called up Luis Patiño, and plan to use him in the bullpen, according to reports.

From MLB.com's Top-25 List:

Gavin Lux & Dustin May, Dodgers – Last year May was a popular prospect in part because of his looks, and this year he just looks unfair. Lux is a consensus top prospect and is "getting closer," Dave Roberts said. Lux was taken off the big-league roster two weeks ago.

Casey Mize, Tigers – I don’t know that all 15 pitchers on Detroit’s Major League roster are better than Mize right now. But again, we’re more concerned with more competitive teams here.

Luis Robert & Nick Madrigal, White Sox – Robert is a full go with the White Sox. You saw him during the series in Chicago. In scouting terms, he looks like he’s “got a chance” to be a very good ballplayer. And Madrigal made it to the big leagues -- with his all-contact, low-power profile -- only to separate his shoulder while running the bases 5 games into his stint.

Jesus Luzardo, A’s – Broke into Oakland’s bullpen last September and drew strong reviews this week after his first start of 2020.

Forrest Whitley, Astros – When we all got the bad news about Justin Verlander’s forearm, some wondered how Houston might handle Whitley, the team's top pitching prospect. Now, he’s been shut down for the time being with arm soreness at the team’s alternate training site.

Which top prospects will make the greatest impact in 2020?

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I would think the most likely would be Rooker if they find a need for some right-handed power.


Next up, maybe Duran? If the Odo, Hill, Homer injuries turn out to be more than blips on the radar, they may need high upside arms to serve as reinforcements. Either for the pen or rotation. 

    • Dman and JoshDungan1 like this
Good teams play prospects when the prospects are better than the available veterans. Don’t see that being much different in 2020. That means the Twins won’t play prospects as long as health holds out, they’ve established the position they covet in the postseason tournament, or trades are made. Meanwhile, it might be fair to say that OUR center fielder “has a chance to be pretty good”. But, I’m not sure it’s fair to say that of the White Sox new center fielder. Luis Robert shows every indication that he left “pretty good” in the dust probably a couple of years ago. He’s currently batting leadoff for a very good batting order, and accumulating WAR at an astonishing rate.
    • mikelink45, DocBauer, bighat and 1 other like this

Hitting seems to be lagging behind pitching this season, so Duran and Balazovic might make more sense than one of the position players. So much depends on guys getting healthy off the IL...

The only prospects I see having a chance of playing this year are those who would be Rule 5 eligible come November. If they aren't, they aren't going to be activated this year.


Considering Balazovic isn't with the group in St. Paul, it is highly unlikely we will see him.

    • DocBauer likes this

Is Balazovic now on the 60 man list?I thought he had not been added.Personally I would prefer Kiriloff or Larnach to Cave.  


I pitching staff is really doing well and it has carried the team so far. I would like to know the true story on Hill and Bailey and Odorizzi.We need at least one of them to join the Berrios, Maeda, Dobnak rotation. 


Only a few bats seem alive - We have only five players batting 250 or better - one is Gonzalez who is supposed to be the utility man and a second is Avila our second string catcher.  


Welcome Derek!!!


When I wrote about the possibilities for what Twins prospects could make their MLB debut this year, when getting around to their top prospects I made the comment: "I think the Twins would be ecstatic to not have to reach down to them at any point, and simply continue their development in this short season."


I think that's the type of MLB team they've built. If all are healthy and playing like they have, they're not going to need them.


Is Balazovic now on the 60 man list?I thought he had not been added.Personally I would prefer Kiriloff or Larnach to Cave.  


Balazovic is not currently. They just added reliever Juan Minaya to it with Rich Hill hitting the IL.

    • DocBauer and Derek Wetmore like this
Aug 06 2020 08:50 AM
The Twins are very deep - position players, as well as starting and relief pitching. Barring injuries, multiple bad performances, or a Covid problem, the Twins should go with the great team they have. Someone is considering replacing Cave with a prospect - have you been watching Cave so far in 2020?????
    • Steve Lein, DocBauer and Derek Wetmore like this

I do not expect any top team to bring up a prospect unless there is injury or a hole in the lineup that they fit into.If they were slotted in this season to not need them, as long as that continues no point in bringing up.Twins for example will have no need to bring up any of top prospects unless there is injury, most likely.Maybe if there is major slump that is hurting the team, but right now the depth at the MLB level is too deep to break in absent injury.  


For teams on the fringe that have a hole in the lineup I can see it happening if the team believes they give them a better chance to win.Why send out a lessor player?

    • Steve Lein likes this
I don’t foresee the Twins doing this, outside of Duran in the bullpen. They’ve got enough depth to not need to.
    • Steve Lein, DocBauer and Derek Wetmore like this
There's 3 categories to consider:

1] Non contending teams: They have some of their top prospects on the 60 man already so they can still continue to work and progress. No doubt a few of them will make their debut at some point. Detroit and Mize is a great example.

2] Contending teams: Other than injury or covid-19 issues, a contending team is not going to want to mess with their 40 man, if at all possible, as it means a mess at the end of the year and potential loss of a player or two they might have to leave off in preparation for 2021 and beyond.

Now, if a guy looks ready, then his addition is just following the normal path of addition and subtraction.

But part of the problem remains roster size and end of season call ups. As of now, the reduction to 28 and then 26 man rosters is in effect. But with so many injuries and various outbreaks, I believe roster sizes might end of up being changed on the fly and moved back up to 28 or 30. But even then, you still have 40 man issues to potentially deal with.

3] Twins: Everything stated above concerning contending teams applies here. The "negative" of being a contending "going for it" is the large number of AAAA players on the 60 man for depth rather than additional milb prospects getting developmental work. And that's a good problem to endure, of course! But if injury or illness requires those guys to come up, you play a 40 man game with guys you don't regret having to waive later.

Bringing up and playing non 40 man guys that are top prospects really messes with the 40 man going forward. So barring disaster, there will be no Lewis, Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, etc. They will continue to work out and gain development time. Though I am still utterly confused and lost why Balazovic isn't in St Paul.

Let me state for the umpteenth time, yet again, just how ridiculous and short-sighted the entire September call up situation is! Regardless, this where you could see a couple of Duran, Chalmers, Gordon, Celestino or Blankenhorn get a shot. Perhaps Rooker or Celestino get added over someone "disposable".

The long and short is the Twins, and any contending team, will only promote via business as usual to replace a lesser player. Only the lesser teams, BAU again, will be promoting top prospects.
    • Steve Lein and Derek Wetmore like this
Derek Wetmore
Aug 12 2020 07:27 PM


Welcome Derek!!!



Thanks, Steve. Yep, agreed that in a perfect world you would just leave it alone. we'll see if they get that luxury.

    • Steve Lein likes this
Derek Wetmore
Aug 12 2020 07:29 PM


I don’t foresee the Twins doing this, outside of Duran in the bullpen. They’ve got enough depth to not need to.


Think I agree, and either way I'm only guessing. I'll just be fascinated to see how each team in these categories responds. Trade deadline coming in hot!