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3 Potential Twins Breakout Prospects in 2022


Jose Miranda surprised many with his breakout 2021 campaign as he dominated the upper-levels of the minor leagues. Here are three players set to follow in his footsteps for 2022. 

 

All three of these players currently don't rank in the team's top-10 prospects. Selecting them as a breakout prospect means they have a shot at being ranked in the team's top-10 by the end of next season. 

Drew Strotman, RHP
Current TD Prospect Rank: 14

Minnesota acquired Strotman along with Joe Ryan from Tampa in exchange for two months of Nelson Cruz. Fans saw Ryan's impact in 2021, and now they can hope for Strotman to impact the rotation in 2022. As a 24-year-old, he pitched all of 2021 at the Triple-A level, where he was three years younger than the average age of the competition. After being traded to the Twins, his ERA rose over four runs, but he pitched more than double the number of innings he had thrown in any other professional season as he returned from Tommy John surgery. Scouting reports have him with three-four pitches ready for the big leagues, which is one of the biggest reasons the Twins targeted him. 

Spencer Steer, INF
Current TD Prospect Rank: 20

Minnesota drafted Steer in the third round back in 2019 out of the University of Oregon. During the 2019 season, he hit .280/.385/.424 (.809) with 25 extra-base hits in 64 games. As a 23-year old, he spent time at High- and Double-A this season and a hit combined .254/.348/.484 (.833) with 45 extra-base hits in 110 games. The Twins' front office has focused on college bats in previous drafts. During the 2022 season, projections have him playing at Double- and Triple-A, putting him on the doorstep to the big leagues. Both of those levels are where Miranda found success this season, and Steer will look for a similar jump next season. 

Aaron Sabato, 1B
Current TD Prospect Rank: 22

Sabato, a 2020 first-round pick, struggled at the beginning of 2021 as he got his first taste of professional baseball. In 85 games at Low-A, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 26 extra-base hits. Also, he was over half a year older than the average age of the competition in his league. Based on his college experience, Minnesota wasn't afraid to be aggressive with him in the second half. After being promoted to High-A Cedar Rapids, he posted a 1.015 OPS with 11 extra-base hits in 22 games. Minnesota drafted him because he was known for his powerful swing, and there were signs he was starting to put it together at the end of 2021. Can he carry those changes over to 2022?

Which of these prospects stands out the most to you? Who do you think will have a breakout 2022 campaign? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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I agree with these three.  I think Cole Sands and Louie Varland stick out as other pitchers that could be top 10 by the end of the year if things go well. (Or Vallimont if somehow he controls his walks.)  On the hitting side, Edouard Julien and Misael Urbina are two other names that could move up potentially IMO.  However, three of the four I mentioned already did pretty well this year, not unlike Steer.  In that sense, Strotman, Sabato, and Urbina are my picks for prospects who struggled this year but could be top 10.

On the flip side, based on the mid-season Twins Daily ranks, I only see Keoni Cavaco as likely to drop out of the top 10 in the near future.  And my guess is he already is out of the top 10 for end of season ranks for most people (like Tom's Oct 20th update.)  This definitely seems promising for the quality of top prospects on the way.

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Seem like 3 pretty reasonable picks. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Strotman make his MLB debut next year, and would actually probably be disappointed if he didn't. Not that he's going to be a top 3 arm in a rotation, but I think it's reasonable he can replicate Ober type production and it's never bad to have multiple guys who can make competitive MLB starts at the back end of your rotation. Steer showed more pop than I think anyone was expecting while maintaining his strong strike zone control. That's a pretty good recipe for jumping up prospect rankings. Sabato maintained an elite eye, but had huge contact struggles early. Being a DH only type puts him behind the 8 ball, but if the end of the year was signs of things to come he should reclaim his top prospect shine quickly if he's posting more 1.000 OPS months.

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Is a 25 year old pitcher considered a break out prospect? I hope Strotman turns out great but can a 25 year old in AAA really break out.

Steer it seems like he could be a big break out guy, he seems like a guy that could be the next Jose Miranda, super hot start in AA and continue that right into AAA.

Sabato, if he can figure out how to make better contact, like in college, he seem like he could really good player, or he ends up like ABW or Palka.

 

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2 hours ago, Linus said:

You’re kidding right?  Steer maybe. Strotman was not good after acquisition and Sabato is nearing bust status. 

The article points out struggle of Strotman after coming over, but address why the writer believes he may turn things around, mainly late season fatigue that should hopefully not happen next year.  In terms of Sabato, calling any player a bust after 1 season is rather narrow minded.  The fact that Sabato made huge difference in his short time in high A should give hope that his early issues were long layoff and transition to pro ball related. 

I wrote a couple of comments on Sabato during the year, and although his average was low, his OBP was high, but his slugging was bad.  Without watching him there are questions that those numbers bring up. Specifically, what kind of contact was he making when he was putting ball in play?  Was he missing pitches in the zone or taking pitches he should hit, and can that issue be addressed?  He clearly was walking a lot.  With the fact the FCL is known to be a pitching league was the area and parks sapping his power causing a lot of warning track flies that in other parks are 3 to 4 rows deep?  The fact that he had a huge change in power numbers when he advanced in league suggests that FCL was affecting his power numbers. 

I was down on Sabato all year, and never liked the pick, but I am willing to give the kid another year or two before I say he is a bust.  

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Some of this depends on how you categorize breakout? Are we looking for guys that were mediocre to bad who we think might become legitimately good, or someone who was good becoming great? One of the things that made Miranda's year so amazing was he hadn't done a lot before that. He was decent, but nothing amazing in A-ball, and only had one game in AA before this season's explosion.

Steer hasn't really had any significant struggles to date; there's been a bit of a drop-off after he's gotten the mid-year promotion, but overall he's been pretty good in both of his professional years playing for the Twins. I don't see him as that much of a breakout candidate in that while I think he's going to hit well at AA (and probably get a promotion to AAA midseason) I don't see him as being a guy who is going to take a sudden and big leap forward.

Sabato is a better "fit", since he kinda stunk in low A (a 22 year old college player should not be hitting below the Mendoza line in low A, even if it's the FSL, even if he didn't play competitive ball for a year, no matter how many walks he was taking) but showed something in his move to high A that suggested maybe he could make contact with the ball for something other than the occasional dinger. he's a guy that could put it all together next year and restore his prospect status after deservedly getting knocked down the list. Sabato has huge power and a good eye, but I'll be watching to see how much contact he makes.

Cavaco is a guy I think could have that "a-ha!" moment next year where his tools catch up to the game. As a super young player, missing a year of development time in 2020 probably really hurt him and being 20 in the FSL isn't easy either. He's a guy I think could be that breakout candidate in 2022.

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40 minutes ago, Trov said:

The article points out struggle of Strotman after coming over, but address why the writer believes he may turn things around, mainly late season fatigue that should hopefully not happen next year.  In terms of Sabato, calling any player a bust after 1 season is rather narrow minded.  The fact that Sabato made huge difference in his short time in high A should give hope that his early issues were long layoff and transition to pro ball related. 

I wrote a couple of comments on Sabato during the year, and although his average was low, his OBP was high, but his slugging was bad.  Without watching him there are questions that those numbers bring up. Specifically, what kind of contact was he making when he was putting ball in play?  Was he missing pitches in the zone or taking pitches he should hit, and can that issue be addressed?  He clearly was walking a lot.  With the fact the FCL is known to be a pitching league was the area and parks sapping his power causing a lot of warning track flies that in other parks are 3 to 4 rows deep?  The fact that he had a huge change in power numbers when he advanced in league suggests that FCL was affecting his power numbers. 

I was down on Sabato all year, and never liked the pick, but I am willing to give the kid another year or two before I say he is a bust.  

I said he is nearing a bust. Of course he deserves more chances. But to say he is getting ready to breakout??????

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Here we go....betting on and hoping for the magic dust to hit our prospects. Only 2 since 2012 stand out as winners, Berrios and Buxton.   The rest have yet to really prove themselves,  Glimpses maybe but nothing to get too excited about.

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Miranda's season was flat out unbelievable.  When talking about who to expect to have that type of move next year, my question is that it may be more likely the answer is no one.  Who was the last player to have a break-out year similar to what Miranda had last year?  I don't remember anyone, but then my memory ain't what it used to be.  Have a feeling Miranda's type of break-out are few, very few.

If there is going to be one, my bet would be that jmlease may have hit the best candidate, Cavaco.  He's someone who has all the tools in the world and hasn't gotten it done on the field, yet.  Another similar candidate could be Javier, should he still be in the Twins organization next year.

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12 minutes ago, MABB1959 said:

Here we go....betting on and hoping for the magic dust to hit our prospects. Only 2 since 2012 stand out as winners, Berrios and Buxton.   The rest have yet to really prove themselves,  Glimpses maybe but nothing to get too excited about.

I'd say 2012 did better than that: Duffey & Rogers have been good contributors, and in 2013 Mitch Garver certainly proved himself.

2013-2015 drafts have not yielded much from the top end, which has definitely hurt the franchise...but 2016 is looking like another 2012: Kirilloff is ready for a starting job, Miranda had a breakout year and looks ready to contribute, and Balazovic is developing nicely. Only 20% of the first round picks from 2016 have "proven" themselves (1.0 bWAR or better) so it's really too soon to make any judgments on that class.

but one of the reasons we have a different front office is because we had so many busts at the top end for too many years. The current regime has been in charge of drafting and development essentially from 2017 on and so far their track record looks ok, and there's plenty of players that were drafted in-house to get excited about.

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

Seem like 3 pretty reasonable picks. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Strotman make his MLB debut next year, and would actually probably be disappointed if he didn't. Not that he's going to be a top 3 arm in a rotation, but I think it's reasonable he can replicate Ober type production and it's never bad to have multiple guys who can make competitive MLB starts at the back end of your rotation. Steer showed more pop than I think anyone was expecting while maintaining his strong strike zone control. That's a pretty good recipe for jumping up prospect rankings. Sabato maintained an elite eye, but had huge contact struggles early. Being a DH only type puts him behind the 8 ball, but if the end of the year was signs of things to come he should reclaim his top prospect shine quickly if he's posting more 1.000 OPS months.

I agree with you especially on Strotman.  I got to watch him on MiLB a couple of times and his delivery really looks smooth. He was a little too hittable last year but he looks good out there.  He has the pitches to be a starter the Twins just need to get him over the hump with missing more bats and they could really have something.  I like his chances next year and like you will be disappointed if he duplicates his past season.  He needs be better next year and I believe he will breakout.

Sabato is a good breakout candidate as well.  Guys that control the strike zone and take their walks generally tend to have good odds of making it.  If he can just make more contact I will be able to get behind him.  He is not a player that can put his bat on almost anything and make contact like Miranda or Rosario.  I also worry about Sabato and breaking balls but he was soo bad to start the year last year there is almost no to go but up.  A breakout would bring a sigh of relief for that pick but I am not holding my breath it will happen given the flaws I have seen.

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2 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Is a 25 year old pitcher considered a break out prospect? I hope Strotman turns out great but can a 25 year old in AAA really break out.

Steer it seems like he could be a big break out guy, he seems like a guy that could be the next Jose Miranda, super hot start in AA and continue that right into AAA.

Sabato, if he can figure out how to make better contact, like in college, he seem like he could really good player, or he ends up like ABW or Palka.

 

There are quite a few Pitchers who "break-out" 2 or 3 years after reaching the big leagues so I don't know why a 25 y/o in AAA can't be considered breaking out if they take a big leap forward.  Liam Hendricks is a good example.

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8 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

There are quite a few Pitchers who "break-out" 2 or 3 years after reaching the big leagues so I don't know why a 25 y/o in AAA can't be considered breaking out if they take a big leap forward.  Liam Hendricks is a good example.

Sure, but the article is 3 Potential Twins Breakout Prospects in 2022, if the article was 3 potential minor league players that could figure it out and help the Twins. He would be first on my list.

IMO Strotman is barely as prospect anymore, he is 25 and had an ERA in AAA last year of 5.29.

Plus in Hendricks example he was pitching in the majors at age 22, 23,24,25, and had 50 major leagues games prior to breaking out with Toronto in 2015.

I would love and hope for Strotman to come out of the gate in AAA with an amazing start, and move into the Twins rotation and continue pitching light outs, but that still wouldn't change my mind that he was a prospect that broke out, it would be again IMO a minor league pitcher that finally figured it out.

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2 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Sure, but the article is 3 Potential Twins Breakout Prospects in 2022, if the article was 3 potential minor league players that could figure it out and help the Twins. He would be first on my list.

IMO Strotman is barely as prospect anymore, he is 25 and had an ERA in AAA last year of 5.29.

Plus in Hendricks example he was pitching in the majors at age 22, 23,24,25, and had 50 major leagues games prior to breaking out with Toronto in 2015.

I would love and hope for Strotman to come out of the gate in AAA with an amazing start, and move into the Twins rotation and continue pitching light outs, but that still wouldn't change my mind that he was a prospect that broke out, it would be again IMO a minor league pitcher that finally figured it out.

I fail to see the difference from a practical or functional perspective.  Does the player's unrealized potential result in an important asset to the Twins or not.  Command seems to be what's holding him back to me.  If he had harnessed that command at 22, we would not have him.  I am not a member of the Saints coaching staff so I have little idea if they are seeing something that would suggest he might breakout or not.  It does however happen with pitchers so I see no need to be so pessimistic.

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7 hours ago, Linus said:

You’re kidding right?  Steer maybe. Strotman was not good after acquisition and Sabato is nearing bust status. 

Just because you don't agree with it, doesn't mean it's not possible.

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23 minutes ago, Linus said:

Right. And just because you apparently view it differently doesn’t mean I’m wrong. 

12 starts seems a bit rash to break out the indignation at the thought that just MAYBE it's a little early to write him off?

Your initial over-the-top reaction, not the gist, is what got people questioning your take.

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19 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

12 starts seems a bit rash to break out the indignation at the thought that just MAYBE it's a little early to write him off?

Your initial over-the-top reaction, not the gist, is what got people questioning your take.

Again I never said I’m writing anybody off. I am expressing skepticism (realism) about the prospect of two guys that have struggled being breakout candidates. Hardly over the top. 

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15 hours ago, Linus said:

Again I never said I’m writing anybody off. I am expressing skepticism (realism) about the prospect of two guys that have struggled being breakout candidates. Hardly over the top. 

Oh, it's completely over the top Good Sir.  Like low earth orbit over the top... 😉.

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16 hours ago, Linus said:

Again I never said I’m writing anybody off. I am expressing skepticism (realism) about the prospect of two guys that have struggled being breakout candidates. Hardly over the top. 

Doesn't it take some sort of struggles to be a breakout candidate? The original post clearly states they're looking at prospects who weren't in the top 10 for the Twins who have the chance to jump into the top 10 next year with some improvement. The entire point of this is to find somebody who has had struggles and project them as having a decent chance at jumping up. Like Miranda who had higher expectations when he first got to the org, but struggled, then had a breakout.

This exercise doesn't exist with prospects that haven't struggled. Yes, "realism" says that almost every prospect will fail to ever breakout. It's why so few prospects ever make the majors. But what's the point of saying "hey, I think Martin may be really good in 2022?" He's a top prospect, he's expected to put up numbers. It's not over the top to suggest prospects won't break out. But it's also not fun or productive. The original post laid out some reasonable reasons why one could expect those players to see improved performance next year. At least provide the reasons you think they're wrong as other posters have. Do you think Sabato struggles with breaking balls? Do you think Strotman struggles with his command? Or do you just want to point out that prospects fail at incredibly high rates?

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Cavaco was not a great pick, regardless where he was snagged, 1st round or 40th round. Look at it this way, if the kid was picked, let’s say 10th round, would everyone be thinking that all of the sudden he’s going to show something he hasn’t shown already? There are serious fundamentals missing from his game, both offensively and defensively. He has a big problem hitting the baseball. He was drafted and touted as a power bat - he has shown none of that. He had 24 errors on defense, and he missed a bunch of games due to concussion and whatever else he missed for at the end of the season. His errors likely would have been around 30 without those missed games. He is not a great baseball player, expecting him to suddenly be one is a bad bet. If he can’t field, can’t hit, and apparently can’t keep himself on the active list for a reasonably short season - he is a bust. Not just because of the stats, but because this is not what a first round pick looks like, whether he’s a HS guy or college. Give me a break, someone really screwed this pick up.

Where the hell is he even playing this off season?

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On 11/3/2021 at 4:27 PM, Linus said:

Again I never said I’m writing anybody off. I am expressing skepticism (realism) about the prospect of two guys that have struggled being breakout candidates. Hardly over the top. 

Your claim of realism is not over the top. That stuff you put out only goes down. What anyone sys is opinion.  Players with minimal stat lines or developing pitchers is opinion. You can be skeptical. The only way it is realism is that the the majority of minor league players fail

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On 11/3/2021 at 11:55 AM, jmlease1 said:

I'd say 2012 did better than that: Duffey & Rogers have been good contributors, and in 2013 Mitch Garver certainly proved himself.

2013-2015 drafts have not yielded much from the top end, which has definitely hurt the franchise...but 2016 is looking like another 2012: Kirilloff is ready for a starting job, Miranda had a breakout year and looks ready to contribute, and Balazovic is developing nicely. Only 20% of the first round picks from 2016 have "proven" themselves (1.0 bWAR or better) so it's really too soon to make any judgments on that class.

It is easy to forget about Duffey and Rogers since they are not everyday players but they are okay?  ERA's, etc. do not put them more in the serviceable than upper echelon.  Is 30 getting on the older side for pitcher?

Still waiting for the 2016.  Seems they have a good chance to become MLB quality players, Garver and Kirilloff had quite a few trips to the injured list in 2021?????  I agree it is  a little early.

I feel like we are always "waiting and hoping".  

 

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On 11/5/2021 at 2:44 AM, old nurse said:

Your claim of realism is not over the top. That stuff you put out only goes down. What anyone sys is opinion.  Players with minimal stat lines or developing pitchers is opinion. You can be skeptical. The only way it is realism is that the the majority of minor league players fail

By definition, breakout candidates almost have to be guys who've struggled.

 

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