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Top 30 Prospects - Summer 2021 Update


Danchat

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Continuing from my Top 30 Prospect Rankings in the winter, I have updated my standings in accordance to how well things have gone for the individual players. I'll try to keep this brief, but I can promise nothing!

Format
#Num - Pos Player (Winter Rating)

Current Level - Quick Summary

Graduated
#1 OF Trevor Larnach
#2 C Ryan Jeffers
#3 OF Alex Kirilloff

DFA'd
#18 2B Travis Blankenhorn
#35 SP Dakota Chalmers

 

Top 30 Prospects

#30 - 2B Edouard Julien (Not Ranked)

A - A former 18th round pick, Julien is raking at Fort Myers. Has a long way to go, but he's on my radar now.
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#29 - CF Gabriel Maciel (#24)

A+ - Maciel got off to a rough start and has shown zero pop in his bat. He profiles as a Ben Revere type.
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#28 - 3B Seth Gray (#32)

A+ - Gray has shown improvement at the plate and has a high .368 OBP. Part of that is because of 9 HBPs (hit by pitches).
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#27 - 2B Will Holland (#26)

A - Got a late start and has been a bit shaky in a small sample size.
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#26 - SP Luis Rijo (#23)

A+ - Got a late start, pitched in one game, and hit the IL with a forearm strain. This reeks of a lost season.
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#25 - SS Jermaine Palacios (NR)

AA - Palacios is quite the story. He was the only prospect in the Odorizzi trade with the Rays, but he completely flopped in AA Montgomery. He signed back with the Twins in free agency and is hitting up a storm (.850 OPS with great OBP and some power) and he already profiles well as a defender. He always had a high ceiling, which earns him a spot in the top 30.
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#24 - OF Emmanuel Rodriguez (#29)
Not playing yet.
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#23 - OF Alerick Soularie (#28)
Not playing yet / injured.
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#22 - RP Yennier Cano (NR)

AAA - Cano crushed AA with a 13.7 K/9 ratio and doesn't hand out too many walks. The 27 year old Cuban is now pitching at AAA and should debut in August/September for the Twins as a reliever.
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#21 - RP Edwar Colina (#15)

On the 60 day IL after having bone spurs removed from his elbow. Still the organization's best reliever prospect, Colina missing a year of development is awful for both him and the Twins.
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#20 - C Ben Rortvedt (#20)

MLB - He's filling in as the backup catcher, and as I speculated before, he's a strong defender who can't hit. He'll do better than .140, but he's always going to be a liability at the plate.
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#19 - SS Danny De Andrade (#25)
Not playing yet
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#18 - 2B/CF Nick Gordon (#22)

MLB - Gordon went from potential DFA candidate to a quality bench player. Even with almost 2 years off, his swing looks good and his speed gives him SB opportunities and can fill in as a CF. This is likely his ceiling, though.
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#17 - SS Wander Javier (#19)

AA - Javier is looking better at the plate, but is still only hitting .692 OPS. His future may be as a backup SS who can field better than most, but can't hit.
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#16 - 2B Spencer Steer (#21)

A+ - Steer is absolutely raking at Cedar Rapids with a .915 OPS, 10 HRs, and .405 OBP. He may earn a late promotion to AA and has potential to climb higher if he keeps hitting.
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#15 - SP Blayne Enlow (#16)

A+ - Looked great in 3 starts, but then needed Tommy John surgery. The first of a bundle of quality starting pitcher prospects, this injury sets him back at least a year.
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#14 - 1B/DH Brent Rooker (#7)

AAA - Rooker plummets down the rankings after looking terrible in his short MLB stint and getting passed up by the likes of Garlick, Refsnyder, Gordon (for MLB ABs, not outfield play). He's hit well in St. Paul (.925 OPS 11 HRs), but he turns 27 soon, and if he can't hit MLB pitching, he has no place on any roster.
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#13 - CF Misael Urbina (#14)

A - Urbina has struggled at Fort Myers, but he's only 19. It's too early to be concerned.
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#12 - 3B Keoni Cavaco (#13)

A - Cavaco is hitting better, though with no power and too many Ks. At just 20, he has a long ways to go.
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#11 - SP Bailey Ober (#33)

MLB - Ober takes a massive leap up as I originally projected him as a reliever. He's looked better than expected in the Twins' rotation, and while he has been hittable and given a strict inning limit, he's been able to strike out some of the league's best hitters. If he get more innings under his belt, he could solidify himself as a decent MLB starter.
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#10 - SP Josh Winder (#27)

AA - I initially rated Winder too low, as he's now dominating AA with a WHIP under 1.0, 10.7 K/9, and 5.4 innings per start. At this rate he will be able to graduate in 2022 and he profiles as a mid-rotation starter, not just a back-end guy.
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#9 - 1B Aaron Sabato (#9)

A - Many thought Sabato might start at A+, but instead he starts at the bottom and he's been bad at the plate. A 33 K% in the minors is a big red flag. It is early, but like Rooker you have to wonder if his power-first approach will sink him at the plate.
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#8 - CF Gilberto Celestino (#10)

MLB - Celestino went from AA to MLB in the span of two days, and unsurprisingly looked shaky at the plate. He needs more time to work on his bat, but 2022 will be his final option year (had to be protected from Rule 5 draft). It'd be nice to use Celestino as a Buxton substitute.
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#7 - SP Cole Sands (#12)

AA - Like Winder, Sands looked very good at AA, albeit with a few too many walks. Unfortunately, he's on the IL with an undisclosed injury.
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#6 - OF/1B Matt Wallner (#8)

A+ - Wallner was hitting at a ridiculous 1.005 OPS (.333/.384) before hitting the IL with a hamate bone injury. He did have a 38% K rate in that small sample size.
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#5 - 3B Jose Miranda (#17)

AA - I mentioned last time that Miranda needed to take a big step forward, and that's exactly what he did. With an insane 1.0006 OPS (.348/.415), 12 HRs, and a microscopic 10% K rate, Miranda looks like the real deal despite his struggles in the lower minors. It's fair to debate if he can stay at 3B full-time, but his bat looks like it has MLB staying power.
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#4 - SP Matt Canterino (#11)

A+ - Canterino looked flat-out unhittable until hitting the IL with elbow issues. Hope for the best, everyone.
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#3 - SP Jhoan Duran (#5)

AAA - Duran has struggled with injuries and command so far, and has now been shut down with an elbow problem. This is looking like a lost season.
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#2 - SP Jordan Balazovic (#6)

AA - After missing time with a back problem, Balazovic is ramping up and has been a bit shaky. He has nasty stuff, but needs to get more innings under his belt.
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#1 - SS/CF Royce Lewis (#4)

Torn ACL - With my top three graduated, Lewis took over the top spot, but of course blew his ACL in Spring Training. He should be ready for the 2022 season where he will likely start in AAA. 

 


Rule 5 Eligible Prospects for Winter 2021:

Royce Lewis
Jermaine Palacios
Jose Miranda
Josh Winder
Cole Sands
Wander Javier
Gabriel Maciel
Blayne Enlow

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Good list! Personally, I would move Julien to ~20.

Should be some interesting discussions when deciding who to add to the 40 man. It looks like there are at least 5 that NEED to be added.

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Nice list. I really like the bite-sized snippets and length of the list to catch up on these guys mid-season.

A tip, though… if you include a feature image on each blog post, you’re more likely to get clicks from users browsing the site. The featured image field is just below the content field on the editing page, I believe. 

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Nice list as always.  IMO you have Julien way to low. If you like Steer at 16 Julien is his Twin and possibly the better hitter. You mention Steer's 400 OBP and Julien's is nearly 500.  Either you need to like Steer less or Julien more or it doesn't make sense for me.

I thought I was the high man on Sands but you have him even higher than I do. I would Swap Sands for Winder.  Winder is just as good and has been more durable.  Also I admit I have a bias, but the K rate for Wallner is too large and his BABIP (500) too high to consider his numbers anything but a mirage at this point.  I think you have him too high especially for the SSS he has.  No one likes Sano's K rate and Wallner is at that rate in high A ball.  Not a good sign.

I don't love Sabato at number 9 but his eye at the plate is good and have to believe he can fix some of that swing and miss eventually.  He has kept his OBP high so that is good.  I expected harder contact from him as well but his weeny 676 OPS means he has been mostly a singles hitter so far.  He has a long ways to go but his underlying numbers look better than Wallner's with the exception of power to this point.  I can live with him at 9 I was just hoping for more from him this year.

We have a few difference of opinion but not many.  Thanks for the list.

 

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I also see 5 - 6 to be protected.  Though 5 seems to me the number most of us can agree on.  Nice list. As stated above Moran is an interesting case.  Do not know where he ranks.  A few other pitchers doing well like Vallimont, what is his position and does he need to be protected. 

One grip I have with the FO is that they gave up on some pitchers too soon, and some of them are doing well. (Wells for example).

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5 hours ago, Dman said:

Nice list as always.  IMO you have Julien way to low. If you like Steer at 16 Julien is his Twin and possibly the better hitter. You mention Steer's 400 OBP and Julien's is nearly 500.  Either you need to like Steer less or Julien more or it doesn't make sense for me.

 

(Both moved up a level today by the way) Julien and Steer are an interesting comparison/contrast.  Both have great W/K rates and such.  The differences seem to be in power, favoring Steer, and speed, favoring Julien.  But also:

Julien's stats are odd in a way that makes me a bit apprehensive. He has a really high BABIP .451 that is not sustainable and has more walks/HBP (27% of PA) than hits (22%),  I imagine that walk rate likely won't last either.  He's also struck out a lot (26% of PA) considering his relatively low power totals.

Steer on the other hand has a much lower BABIP (.283)  lower K rate (15%) and higher slugging %. 

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8 hours ago, annismark said:

I'm curious, Is Moran considered a prospect or not.   His results seem pretty good compared to some on the list. 

He's #32 on my board, his Tool Grades from Fangraphs is keeping him lower on the list than the others, but he probably shouldn't be 10 spots behind Cano.

8 hours ago, Dman said:

Also I admit I have a bias, but the K rate for Wallner is too large and his BABIP (500) too high to consider his numbers anything but a mirage at this point

Wallner was my 8th prospect originally and the top 3 graduated, so it's hard to knock him down much lower after just 75 PAs. I don't think you'll see any of the others rate Miranda over Wallner like I did, at least this high.

8 hours ago, Dman said:

I don't love Sabato at number 9 but his eye at the plate is good and have to believe he can fix some of that swing and miss eventually.  He has kept his OBP high so that is good.

Sabato was originally ranked #9 and was essentially knocked down 3 spots as I explained above. I'm also being more lenient on guys who are in their first season - Rooker, on the other hand, has had plenty of time, hence him dropping like a stone.

On 6/26/2021 at 9:54 PM, SteelDodo said:

Good list! Personally, I would move Julien to ~20.

I guess I'm not feeling the hype quite as much on him. His .490 OBP is insane.

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16 hours ago, annismark said:

(Both moved up a level today by the way) Julien and Steer are an interesting comparison/contrast.  Both have great W/K rates and such.  The differences seem to be in power, favoring Steer, and speed, favoring Julien.  But also:

Julien's stats are odd in a way that makes me a bit apprehensive. He has a really high BABIP .451 that is not sustainable and has more walks/HBP (27% of PA) than hits (22%),  I imagine that walk rate likely won't last either.  He's also struck out a lot (26% of PA) considering his relatively low power totals.

Steer on the other hand has a much lower BABIP (.283)  lower K rate (15%) and higher slugging %. 

By saying they are Twins I was stretching a bit.  As you pointed out they have their differences.  The main thing they had in common to me was they both walk about as much as they strike out and that has led both of them to 900 OPS's.  Like you I like Steer's line better as it looks stronger.  He strikes out less and his BABIP is normalized in fact it looks like it could improve some. His approach looks sustainable.

While I agree Julien has some swing and miss I think he improves that as he gets more comfortable attacking breaking stuff.  HIs 26% K rate while not ideal is not over the the dreaded 30% mark and his walks essentially offset his K rate right now so his K rate seems more like a solution in search of a problem than a problem in search of a solution to me. There are not a lot of hitters in MiLB with K rates lower than 20% and Twins top prospects Wallner and Sabato have essentially 40% rates so I assume you would be low on or have deep concerns about them then?  

I don't see how his walk rate is sustainable but he really has a good eye and that is what makes me think he will be a good to elite prospect.  When players don't chase or swing at bad pitches they force pitchers to pitch more in the zone.  That leads him to get better pitch's to hit which should help him have a higher BABIP because balls over the plate are in general more likely to lead to hits. I agree with you that his BABIP is high and not sustainable it is going to drop.  I am not too worried about that though as once he comes into more power (He hit for Power in college) even if his BABIP comes down his OPS can still be high.  It might take a year or two for his power to show but I believe it will be there.  I like his current approach of having a good eye and just focusing on making contact.  The power will come but he needs to be able to handle the tougher stuff pitchers are throwing at him first. 

You can say there are concerns about pretty much every player but I think with all the data points and things he has going for him he looks like a very good bet to make it IMO and yes I still believe that in time he can be as good or better than Steer.  I get that the current numbers don't show it but if you look at what Steer did in 2019 at A ball it was far less than Julien did in his first try.  So there will be room for improvement.

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Lewis, Miranda, Sands, Winder and Enlow all need to be protected.  

Palacios could be on either side of the 40 line when it's all settled.  His fate may lie in what the return looks like with the assumed deadline deals.

Barring a second-half explosion, gambles can probably be made with Maciel and Javier.

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3 hours ago, MMMordabito said:

Lewis, Miranda, Sands, Winder and Enlow all need to be protected.  

Palacios could be on either side of the 40 line when it's all settled.  His fate may lie in what the return looks like with the assumed deadline deals.

Barring a second-half explosion, gambles can probably be made with Maciel and Javier.

Agreed, right now I would add Palacios simply because we don't have many pure SS prospects. I would be OK losing Javier, since I have my doubts that he'll ever hit well in the majors.

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On 6/29/2021 at 10:35 AM, Dman said:

By saying they are Twins I was stretching a bit.  As you pointed out they have their differences.  The main thing they had in common to me was they both walk about as much as they strike out and that has led both of them to 900 OPS's.  Like you I like Steer's line better as it looks stronger.  He strikes out less and his BABIP is normalized in fact it looks like it could improve some. His approach looks sustainable.

While I agree Julien has some swing and miss I think he improves that as he gets more comfortable attacking breaking stuff.  HIs 26% K rate while not ideal is not over the the dreaded 30% mark and his walks essentially offset his K rate right now so his K rate seems more like a solution in search of a problem than a problem in search of a solution to me. There are not a lot of hitters in MiLB with K rates lower than 20% and Twins top prospects Wallner and Sabato have essentially 40% rates so I assume you would be low on or have deep concerns about them then?  

I don't see how his walk rate is sustainable but he really has a good eye and that is what makes me think he will be a good to elite prospect.  When players don't chase or swing at bad pitches they force pitchers to pitch more in the zone.  That leads him to get better pitch's to hit which should help him have a higher BABIP because balls over the plate are in general more likely to lead to hits. I agree with you that his BABIP is high and not sustainable it is going to drop.  I am not too worried about that though as once he comes into more power (He hit for Power in college) even if his BABIP comes down his OPS can still be high.  It might take a year or two for his power to show but I believe it will be there.  I like his current approach of having a good eye and just focusing on making contact.  The power will come but he needs to be able to handle the tougher stuff pitchers are throwing at him first. 

You can say there are concerns about pretty much every player but I think with all the data points and things he has going for him he looks like a very good bet to make it IMO and yes I still believe that in time he can be as good or better than Steer.  I get that the current numbers don't show it but if you look at what Steer did in 2019 at A ball it was far less than Julien did in his first try.  So there will be room for improvement.

On Julien: He also leads the entire organization in Stolen Bases (at a 91% success rate), which is the development of a tool he wasn't necessarily considered to have.

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