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2021 Prospect Rankings: 17-24


Danchat

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Continuing on from part 1:

 

#24 - Gabriel Maciel CF (International from Brazil, acquired in 2018 trade)

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The second best prospect acquired in the Escobar trade, Maciel is a speedy outfielder who loves to spray singles all around the field. He's a frequent base stealer who's capable of swiping 20+ a year, but gets caught more often than he should. He has a career .288 average in the minors and will rarely strike out, but the downside is that he has little power. Not just a lack of HRs, but also 2Bs and 3Bs. He profiles as a 4th OF who will be useful as a pinch hitter, defensive replacement, and pinch runner.

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#23 - Luis Rijo RHP (Acquired in 2018 trade)

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Rijo jumped onto the scene after a great 2019 season as he posted a 2.86 ERA over 19 starts at single A Cedar Rapids. Sporting a WHIP of nearly 1.0 and a healthy 8.3 K/9, Rijo's fastball touches 95 and his secondary pitches are rated well. Scouts have critisized the 'hitability' of his fastball and deemed his curveball to be too predictable, which probably factors into why he was passed up in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. He's still got time to improve his pitches and build more innings in the minors to try and become a #4/5 starter. Unlike other pitching prospects, he doesn't strike me as a future reliever, unless he becomes a long reliever.

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#22 - Nick Gordon SS/2B (1st Round 2014, HS)

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Gordon has had a long and drawn out minor league career, but seemed to be heading towards the majors in 2019 once being added to the 40 man roster, but a leg injury prevented that (he was a near lock to at least be called up in September). He then had a long bout with COVID in 2020 and never even made it to the alternate site. He's now 25 and has just one option left, but remains on the roster. His minor league track record isn't bad, as he's been a decent pure hitter (.276 average), but he never developed any power and will likely end up like his older brother Dee - a sub .700 OPS hitter. To provide value he'll need to become a strong defensive player, but he's also got a shaky track record as a fielder and might end up as a second baseman. All in all, Gordon will likely settle into a utility role if he can crack the majors.

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#21 - Spencer Steer 2B (3rd Round 2019, Oregon)

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Steer had a quality debut in 2019, hitting .949 OPS at Elizabethton and went to single A Cedar Rapids and hit for .358 OPS (.745 OPS). He handled 3B and 2B primarily, and doesn't seem likely to play SS. The Twins will need to figure out how to develop his power, after hitting just 12 HRs in 3 years at Oregon (and 4 in the minors so far). The scouts seem to believe that there is potential for more pop in his bat, and that would elevate him into a top 15 spot if he could.

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#20 - Ben Rortvedt C (2nd Round 2016, HS)

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Ben seems destined to be a long-term backup catcher in the big leagues. Scouts rave about his defensive capabilities behind the plate, consistently blocking balls in the dirt, pitching frame, and throwing out runners. He's also go the potential to hit a few HRs and will take plenty of walks. The main problem is that he's a mediocre hitter, likely doomed to be a .210-.230 hitter in the majors. MLB teams will put up with that if he's as good defensively as the scouts say.

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#19 - Wander Javier SS (International from Dominican Republic, 2016)

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The Twins poured $4M into Javier in 2016, and the returns don't look good so far. After hitting well in Elizabethton in 2017, Javier missed 2018 with an injury, and turned in a very poor 2019 season at Cedar Rapids. Javier needed a rebound year in 2020 to get back on track, and now he's already Rule 5 eligible despite having just 552 professional PAs. Javier should be better than a .177 hitter, and has a skillset that should play at SS, but his time is running out. He needs several years in the minors just to get back on track, but if he could, he's got the potential to be a top 5 prospect. Everyone below him on the rankings doesn't have close to the ceiling Javier does.

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#18 - Travis Blankenhorn 2B/3B (3rd Round 2015, HS)

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Like many other prospects in this system, Blankenhorn's strength is hitting the ball hard, and is a bit on the chunky side. Splitting most of his time between 2B, 3B, and LF (he stopped playing 3B at AA, though), Travis took a step forward in 2019 at AA and crushed 19 HRs with a nice .278 average. He doesn't take a lot of walks, and his strikeout rate isn't a big concern. He's on the slower side, and would likely be a liability at 3B and LF. He's got the bat to play 2B, and he's probably ready to get his first big chance (he got into 1 game with the Twins in 2020). Expect to see him on the bench and play a bit in Marwin Gonzalez's old role when injuries inevitably hit.

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#17 - Jose Miranda 3B (2nd Round 2016, HS)

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Miranda is the last player on this list to have been passed over in the Rule 5 Draft. He boasts a solid set of tools but nothing splashy - he looks the part to handle 3B, but his bat has never quite developed. In almost 600 PAs at Fort Myers, he hit just .659 OPS. Scouts think there's potential for more power (just 8 HRs in 2019) and multiple sources lauded his bat speed and swing, but so far he's been unable to realize his potential. He needs to take a big step forward if he's going to want to become a starter in the big leagues.

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