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Timeline for Top Prospects: 2021 Edition

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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 09:31 PM

The Minnesota Twins will enter 2021 as one of the best teams in baseball, and whether they’re projected to win the AL Central or not, a few top prospects should be expected to help them along the way.In recent years, this piece has been a mainstay in the Twins Prospect Handbook. With only Alternate Site action in 2020 however, Seth decided to shelve the project for 2021. Although development is rarely linear, it also wasn’t as accessible or visible a season ago. There are some guys that should still be expected to claw their way onto the 26-man at some point during the upcoming season. Full disclosure, Royce Lewis would’ve appeared on this list had he not torn his ACL.

April- Alex Kirilloff

I considered making Kirilloff ineligible for this list as he technically debuted already. However, the Postseason appearance doesn’t count for regular season production, so he’ll still have a debut happen in 2021. Despite it being logical from a talent standpoint, I don’t think he’ll make the Opening Day roster. Kirilloff will experience a service time related delay and should be up before the season’s first month is over. Here’s to hoping he mashes at Triple-A and the Saints have a bunch of fun with him for a brief stretch.

May- Nick Gordon

Gordon has appeared in this piece previously and never made the leap. I think 2021 is probably the time it has to happen, or it’ll end up happening for another club. The former first round pick hasn’t lived up to his prospect billing but expecting him to be a regular contributor in an infield utility role still remains a good bet. He’s not a shortstop anymore, but he handled the bat well in his second stint of Triple-A. Losing 2020 due to Covid hurt him for sure, but I wouldn’t see a reason he couldn’t overtake someone like Willians Astudillo with a strong start to the year.

June- Jhoan Duran

You’ll have different preferences on the Twins top pitching prospect depending on who you talk to or which list you look at. Jordan Balazovic is on the 40-man roster as well, and Matt Canterino should be knocking on the door soon also. What I think gives Duran and inside track to debut first is the velocity behind his fastball. If Minnesota needs a lift in relief, he could find his first innings coming out of the bullpen. It’d still be the plan to have Jhoan work out as a starter long term, but triple-digit stuff is always going to play in relief and could be a nice addition for a team with deep Postseason aspirations.

July- Gilberto Celestino

Similarly, to a promotion of someone like Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade in recent seasons, Celestino should be viewed as the first guy to get an outfield look if there’s an injury. He’s an excellent defender and can definitely handle centerfield, something only Byron Buxton can truly accomplish among those that will be on the Opening Day roster. I don’t know if the bat is quite ready, and Kyle Garlick as a waiver claim could keep him down a bit longer, but I was somewhat surprised we didn’t see Celestino during the truncated 2020.

August- Trevor Larnach

For the sake of throwing out a guy not currently on the 40-man I think Larnach makes the most sense and this timeframe is logical. He should start at Double-A Wichita and could quickly make his was to Triple-A St. Paul (like, as soon as Kirilloff is promoted). Larnach is a corner guy, but his bat has played at every level and continuing to expect that should allow him to force his way onto the Major League roster. A guy like this isn’t going to come up and sit, so there would need to be an opening, but the talent should be ready.

September- Jordan Balazovic

Roster expansion has changed a bit during recent seasons, and the Twins may not want to start the clock on Balazovic. That said, he is already on the 40-man, and a spot start or two down the stretch could help arms stay fresh for the Postseason. The Canadian-born pitcher has not started above High-A to this point, but he dominated the level during the 2019 campaign. I’d expect him to begin the year at Double-A Wichita, and he could make quick work of his remaining farm tasks. At 22, he’s still got plenty to develop into, but a taste of the big leagues on a Postseason team may serve him well.

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- Ted Schwerzler
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#2 jkcarew

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 11:54 PM

You expected to see Celestino last season? As an emergency to temporarily avoid other undesirable player/roster moves, I guess...(as they had to do with Polanco in 2014 and 2015). But Polanco then, like Celestino now, was only on the 40-man due to the ridiculous rule-5 requirements as it relates to promising international signees.

 

Cave and Kepler in center (whether we like it or not)...as has been the case; numerous options in the corners; road trip to Wichita if we want to see Celestino in the summer.

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#3 Doctor Gast

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 05:50 AM

2 of the most critical positions SS and CF we are very shallow at. And like you I'd like to see a competent back up to these positions. Alas Celestino finished 2019 at high A, I hope that Celestino can make that jump but I doubt it. My hope is in Broxton to be that backup.
I really hurts that Lewis got hurt yet I doubt that Gordon will debut. Like you said he's no longer considered a SS and we have a bunch of 2B. He has always had difficulty in making transitions so even if he does well at AAA (which I believe he will) I think he should be traded to make room on the 40 man.
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#4 miracleb

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 06:21 AM

Unfortunately, Gordon is probably at best a utility guy who can fill in at at a few different positions.I don't think his bat will ever translate to the majors.I am worried that this is also the case for Lewis......and his injury certainly will not help.:(


#5 Major League Ready

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 01:31 PM

I would take an even money bet that 3 from the following list get a shot in 2021. Maybe even 4 with one or two of them being used out of the BP.

 

Duran / Balzovic / Canterino / Enlow / Sands / Winder / Ober.

 

Make it 5 if you don't count Colina's 1/3 of an inning in 2020.

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#6 mikelink45

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 01:37 PM

I liked this - next step - tell us who goes down or gets DFA'd to make room for these roster additions.

 

I do agree no more Kepler/Cave in center.

 

Balazovic is a favorite, but looks more like 2022.

 

Duran starting in the pen is a good idea as long as he does not get stuck in the BP.

 

Nick Gordon seems like he needs a different team.


#7 4twinsJA

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 03:57 PM

What I would like to see- Duran maybe starting in BP but by end of year solidly one of the SPs, Balazovic-maybe given a start or two later in year. Ober and Chalmers given a shot- so far all on 40 man so easy callups. Jax due for a spot start or 2, to fill in when someone on IL, would like to see Hackimer get an opportunity in BP. Barnes is in ST, maybe given a chance. Would like to see Bray finally get an appearance in MLB. Cano had good winter league, maybe longshot for BP. Canterino and Winder at ST, maybe have a shot this year to make an appearance. Also,think Sands has a chance to be called up, surprised he is not at ST. Forgot about Colina-solid BP contributor by end of year.


#8 Darius

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 07:22 AM

That 2014 draft with Nick Gordon was a disaster for the Twins. Not a useful player selected.

It pains me greatly looking back and seeing Nick Gordon selected over Trea Turner or Aaron Nola.

#9 goulik

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 09:12 PM

I really enjoyed this exercise and look forward to seeing how many of these pan out as predicted 


#10 Monkeypaws

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Posted 02 March 2021 - 10:49 PM

 

That 2014 draft with Nick Gordon was a disaster for the Twins. Not a useful player selected.

It pains me greatly looking back and seeing Nick Gordon selected over Trea Turner or Aaron Nola.

And Aaron Judge lasted to supplemental pick 32 in 2013, i.e. everyone could have had him.

 

Looking back at drafts and woulda coulda is an exercise in futility, for baseball, hockey, baskets, etc.

 

Hey, we got Hrbek in the 17th round. It all balances out.