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Fresh draft picks and international signings rule over this next segment of our 2020 Minnesota Twins top prospect rankings, which are brimming with dynamic talents of all kinds.Find more on these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback and as an ebook.


15. Matt Canterino, RHP

Age: 22 (DOB: 12/14/1997)

2019 Stats (Rookie/A): 25 IP, 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9

ETA: 2021

2019 Ranking: NR


Of the many things this rebuilt front office has done well, drafting ranks near the top. And while it's early, the returns thus far on their third pick from last summer have been exceedingly good.


After an outstanding collegiate career at Rice University (alma mater of current Twins reliever Tyler Duffey), Canterino went to Minnesota in the second round, with the 54th overall pick. He quickly got to work against pro hitters, posting the marks you see above against overwhelmed – and generally younger – competition.



The right-hander was as dominant as can be in his first minor-league stint, which was kept in check at 25 innings after he totaled nearly 100 during the college season. Such a small sample is hardly decisive, but we can at least lean positive on his pre-draft scouting reports; per Baseball America, he was "one of the funkier pitchers in this year’s draft class," and also "one of the better high-floor options among the college arms." So far, so good.



14. Matt Wallner, OF

Age: 22 (DOB: 12/12/97)

2018 Stats (Rookie/A): 291 PA, .258/.357/.452, 8 HR, 34 RBI

ETA: 2022

2019 Ranking: NR


Did I mention the Twins have drafted well lately? Wallner's contiguity to Canterino doesn't stop with landing next to him in these rankings; they were born two days apart, and drafted within 15 picks of one another last June, both out of southern colleges in the same conference.


But unlike the Texas-native Canterino, Wallner is a local product, born and raised in Forest Lake. As a high schooler he was anointed Minnesota's Mr. Baseball in 2016.



After passing up the Twins as a 32nd-round pick that year, opting instead for Southern Miss, Wallner straight-up raked over three years in Conference USA. He amassed a .337/.461/.652 slash line over 189 games, earning his way up to the 39th overall pick in 2019.


And unlike Canterino, Wallner wasn't held back by the constraints of a pitching workload post-draft. He got in a healthy 291 plate appearances as a pro at age 21. The results weren't necessarily amazing, but they're almost eerily similar to those Alex Kirilloff put up in his own Elizabethton debut, as a first-round pick in 2016. I think we all recall what followed in the (delayed) encore.


13. Wander Javier, SS

Age: 21 (DOB: 12/29/98)

2019 Stats (A): 342 PA .177/.278/.323, 11 HR, 37 RBI

ETA: 2023

2019 Ranking: 5


There's no positive spin to be placed on Javier's 2019 season. After losing his entire 2018 to shoulder surgery, the highly touted shortstop returned with a thud, posting a .601 OPS in Low-A ball while striking out at a hideous 34% rate. Most distressingly, there was no real showing of improvement throughout of the year – he was bad at the start, bad in the middle, bad at the end. He was such a complete void the plate that his somewhat refined work in the field barely registered.


But Javier did not rank fifth on this list a year ago, even coming off a lost season, for no reason. His $4 million signing bonus from the Twins in 2015 remains the largest they've ever doled out for an international prospect. His performance as a teenager in 2017 and 2018 reinforced the investment. And for all he's been through, Javier is still only 21 – almost exactly a year younger than Wallner, who has followed such a very different path.


Javier is still a young and raw player, whose immense talents and abilities are not negated by one undeniably futile season at age 20 in the unfamiliar American Midwest. Patience is warranted and luckily the Twins can afford it.


12. Gilberto Celestino, OF

Age: 20 (DOB: 2/13/99)

2019 Stats (A/A+): 536 PA, 277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 54 RBI

ETA: 2022

2019 Ranking: 16


Celestino came at a cost. The Twins also received a hard-throwing, volatile reliever named Jorge Alcala when they sent Ryan Pressly to the Astros in 2018, but there was always a sense Celestino was the centerpiece. Minnesota's front office clearly saw something in the teenage center fielder out of the Dominican Republic. Good on 'em.


In the 2015 international signing period, Celestino was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 11 talent, exactly one spot ahead of fellow Dominican Wander Javier. (The kismet in this section of the rankings is something, ain't it?) He signed with Houston for $2.5 million, and was coming along nicely when the Twins plucked him away at the trade deadline.


His 2019 campaign got off to a brutal start, as Celestino hit .219/.299/.290 through the end of May at Cedar Rapids. Then, as summer set in, he took flight. From June 1st onward, the 20-year-old slashed .313/.380/.485, including a successful closing stint at High-A. With excellent plate discipline, he produced consistently, doing so as an athletic and rangy center fielder. The Twins might just have a gem on their hands here.


Also he once did this, which was awesome:



11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP

Age: 24 (DOB: 11/23/95)

2019 Stats (AA/AAA): 129.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9

ETA: 2020

2018 Ranking: 8


Here's the way prospect analysis and the minor leagues almost inevitably tend to work: Uber-talented young ballplayers garner heavy praise and underground notoriety by dominating the lower tiers of the profession. Then, as they rise and the competition elevates, reality sets in. Their numbers come down to Earth. Their rankings slide. For example, it isn't like Nick Gordon's failures last year caused him to fall from No. 11 in 2019 to outside the top 20 in this year's rankings – he had a fine season at Triple-A – but the limitations of his skill set became clearer than ever at the highest level. And at age 24, the upside is getting harder to see.


The same cannot be said for Thorpe. No, his surface numbers at Triple-A were not spectacular, much less his 6.18 ERA in a brief big-league run. But he was also a 23-year-old whose early development was derailed by health issues, and amidst the unspectacular results, his proclivity for missing bats was relentless.


In 450 innings between the minors and majors, Thorpe has compiled 542 strikeouts, equating to a 10.8 K/9 rate, and he's done so while generally staying in the strike zone and keeping the ball in the park. That's the right recipe. A critical year lies ahead of him, standing at the front of the line for opportunities to impact a championship-caliber team.


Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects

Honorable Mentions

20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B

19. Cole Sands, RHP

18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF

17. Misael Urbina, OF

16. Edwar Colina, RP

15. Matt Canterino, RHP

14. Matt Wallner, OF

13. Wander Javier, SS

12. Gilberto Celestino, OF

11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP

Stop by tomorrow for prospect #10!




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Alright, I was kind to you folks for one day of rankings.


I can't put Colina behind Canterino, Wallner and Javier. I can't put Canterino behind Wallner and Javier. So there (ha)! 


On a serious note, I think Celestino is an untradeable prospect at this point. He's a true CF with hitting potential. He's the only one in the organization unless they move Lewis.

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Wander Javier in no way deserves this ranking.  I questioned last year, I found the debates all season to be enlightening and I look at his futility and say he has to earn his way back into the top 20.  Lewis belongs, but is an even greater disappointment.  I keep watching the national ranking top prospects moving to MLB and often shining while Lewis keeps slipping.  I hope for a reversal, but I no longer have delusions about him as a star.


Overall I have to say I like the previous five better than this five.   So thanks for starting some fun controversy.

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I think Vallimont has significantly more chance to start than does Canterino long-term, and if I'm reworking the list I put out in November for Prospects Live with video viewed over the offseason, Vallimont is #10/11.


FWIW, I added in Luis Rijo at the back end of my top 30 to replace Graterol.

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Hard to get too excited about Canterino and Wallner just yet because they haven't even played a full season in pro ball, but I agree they had decent debuts.  Also hard to rank them but given their draft postion this seems about right.


I know Javier is young and has a lot of potential high end tools but after watching him I really don't think he belongs in the top 20.  I didn't see anything that led me to believe he looked better than the worst guy on the Cedar Rapids team.  He really needs to up his game this year or I predict he will fall off the prospect map. 


I like Thorpe and I think he is the best Left handed pitching prospect we have had in a long time.  Right now the results don't match the stuff though.  He has a tendency to walk guys and allow the big hit far too often.  Better control would probably go a long ways toward him reaching his potential. I still like him a lot and have no problem with where he is ranked.


Celestino should be higher IMO.  After he warmd up last year he was arguably one of the best hitters in the system and for a center fielder he looks like he has all the tools to be a good one.  Arm might be a little light but not Ben Revere noodle arm either.  I am really excited about this kid.  Still needs to continue to do well at the higher levels but I agree with the other poster who said he should be close to untradable as he is starting to realize much of his projected potential. 


It's another good list just not quite as exciting as the list before it because of Javier and the two players that are so new it is hard to pin down how good they are.

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The write of up prospects that peaks my interest the most is Celestino.  He is young, fast, can field, and seems to be able to hit.  He started off slow, and one question I have is, was this his first full season ball in the states?  That may explain the slow start to have to play in early spring in the north.  It may have been colder there than he ever dealt with.  Also, the adjustment to full season ball.  Like the bounce back later season performance.

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Nice article, Nick. I would put Javier down the list more. Hard to justify with such a poor season last year. Prospects hard to rank, everyone gets excited when a prospect does well at lower levels, where over half the players will never see AAA. But they don't always progress as expected when moved up and playing against equally talented players.

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He started off slow, and one question I have is, was this his first full season ball in the states?  That may explain the slow start to have to play in early spring in the north.  It may have been colder there than he ever dealt with.  Also, the adjustment to full season ball.  Like the bounce back later season performance.

Looks like it. He only played in 64 games in 2018 and 57 in 2017. 

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Yes, Cavaco is already a bust and will show that to a greater degree this year. What a waste of a pick...he likely can’t even be packaged to be traded for an arm that we need. Great job, FO!

Let's let him play more than 25 games in the Rookie League before we label him a bust.  You posted at 1:02 am.  Maybe lay off the sauce next time.

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"(Wallner) got in a healthy 291 plate appearances as a pro at age 21. The results weren't necessarily amazing, but they're almost eerily similar to those Alex Kirilloff put up in his own Elizabethton debut, as a first-round pick in 2016. I think we all recall what followed in the (delayed) encore."


Granted, he's 'only' coming in at 14th, but let's not go there. Apples and oranges. Wallner was 21 coming off 3 years of D1 competition in a very good conference. Kirilloff, 18, coming in off of facing high-school competition...in Pennsylvania no less. Kirilloff's debut performance was vastly more impressive than Wallner's.


I agree with keeping Javier in this neighborhood...for now.

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