Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

2023 Prospect Previews: Connor Prielipp


Jamie Cameron
 Share

The Twins selected Connor Prielipp with the 48th pick in the 2022 draft. A pitching prospect with the tools to become a front-of-the-rotation arm, 2023 will be a pivotal season for Prielipp. What can Twins fans expect as he works his way back from injury?

A Prospective Ace?
As the Minnesota Twins prepared to make their second selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, Twins fandom held its collective breath. A fanbase rarely coalesces around a prospect so uniformly. It’s rarer still that said prospect is still available to be selected by the team whose fan base is obsessing over them. Rarest of all is the team selecting said player. With the 48th overall selection in the draft, the Twins selected Connor Prielipp, and the universe momentarily moved into perfect alignment.

Prielipp is a left-handed pitcher from Tomah, Wisconsin, a town famous for existing on the I-90 corridor between the Twin Cities and Madison, where there are a lot of gas stations and not much else. The Twins drafted Prielipp in the second round and signed him to a $1.825 million bonus resulting in the rare actualization of many fans' draft fantasies. Most thought he would go in the middle to the end of the first round.

Here's a quick video overview of Prielipp from Tom Froemming:

Scouting and Signing
Fastball: 60 Slider: 70 Changeup: 55 Control: 55 (scouting grades courtesy of Baseball America)

Suppose our timeline had skewed into a different tangent, like Marty McFly's in Back to the Future 2. In that timeline Prielipp, a 6’0, 210 pound pitcher out of the University of Alabama, would have been a top ten draft pick. He posted a 0.98 ERA in 28 innings of work in 2020 pre-COVID, racking up an eye-watering 45.6 K%, with an 11.7 BB% against good competition. That is an incredible stat line. Prielipp’s 2021 season was cruelly ended by Tommy John surgery. Suddenly, the best left-handed pitching prospect in the draft was shrouded in uncertainty.

Prielipp had to rely on pre-draft bullpen showcases to convince MLB scouts he was on the road to recovery. The Twins jumped at the chance, recognizing that a pitcher of his caliber would only be available to them with the 48th pick. Pitchers are generally a high-variance bunch, and Prielipp is an extreme example. The floor is never fully recovering from his arm injury. The ceiling? Well, let’s examine.

To date, Prielipp has relied on three pitches. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can reach as high as 95 mph. He has a changeup that sits 82-85 mph that had a good whiff percentage early in his college career but had less usage than his fastball or slider because he didn’t need to use it. The pitch to write home to mama about is his slider. It’s immediately in contention to be the best in the Twins system (with Raya and anyone else you’d care to mention). Pre-injury it was one of the best pitches in the entire 2022 draft class and generated a 50% whiff rate that scouts placed between a 65-70 grade pitch with an extremely high spin rate.

Likely to Start At: Extended Spring Training
During his pre-draft bullpens, Prielipp showed solid stuff but spotty command of his pitches, to be expected when a pitcher is recovering from a major injury. Talent evaluators seemed interested, as over 100 attended one of his bullpen sessions in the run-up to the draft. I’d expect the Twins to be extremely cautious with Prielipp (who's already working out in Fort Myers). Some extended time in Fort Myers followed by an assignment to low A to continue to build him up and monitor his arm seems likely. Prielipp is a challenging prospect to project because he has no track record. With an injury-free, effective season, I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in top 100 prospect lists by the beginning of the 2024 season. If you want a pitcher to dream on, Prielipp is it. Injuries may not allow him to get there, but he has the tools to become a front-line starting pitcher.

How excited are you by Connor Prielipp? What was your reaction to the Twins drafting him? What would constitute a successful 2023 season? Add your thoughts in the comments.


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

I wanted the Twins to draft Prielipp but the Twins were in a bit of tough spot picking at number 8 where the top hitters were projected.  My thoughts at the time on Prielipp were that he had an elite slider with solid FB and Changeup.  So he had the pitches to be elite. He had TJ surgery out of the way already so he could be a fairly fast mover with a bit less risk to reinjure the arm.

I was tempted to say the Twins should take him at number 8.  Still you never know with TJ surgery and it looks like most all teams backed off on their projections for him.  Have to assume the industry felt he would more than likely end up a bullpen arm or he would have been taken sooner.  Even as a bullpen arm he has a very high ceiling so he was a great pick for the second round IMO.

If, and I know these are always big ifs, he returns to form, that 2022 draft will go down as one of the best ever.  There is a long way to go but I love that he is a lefty with that crazy good slider.  Hoping he does fulfill that ace potential he seems to have. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really, really interesting prospect. If he comes back well from TJ, he's got the stuff to be an ace. The fastball plays, the slider is excellent, and the changeup already looks functional with upside and there just aren't that many starters that walk in with a 3 pitch mix that you feel confidence in. He's far enough removed from his surgery that his outings this season should actually matter; this isn't a guy who is 9 months to a year removed from his surgery. He should be ready to go, even if he's going to have rust and command challenges from not having pitched games in a long time.

I think he'll spend most if not all of the year in Ft. Myers, in part because it's where the team's whole complex is and they'll have all the resources to keep a good watch on him, provide appropriate therapy etc while still letting him pitch a full season of games. If he gets through this season with no major set-backs, I think he's going to move up quickly.

of course, I'm Mr. Positivity. But he does that the tools to be great, and would have been a no-doubt top-10 pick if not for the TJ. I think it was a great pick and signing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have to buy lotto tickets to win!  By all accounts he has ace stuff and I like the fact that he has already had TJ surgery and has rehabbed at a big university and now the MLB clock starts.  
 

I hope the twins and keep him healthy going forward and can have a good productive year in the minors.  At 22 and if healthy he can be a fast mover through the system.  Will be my favorite follow in the minors this year.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Priellip is far from a lotto ticket.  However, he had limited innings success and basically 2 years of not competing.  He looks like a #1 or #2 from the left side.    We still have to wait and see what he looks like in getting the rust off, however I really think this is going to pay off, and was the reason the twins were willing to trade off our 2 lefty prospects from the 2021 draft. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Twins did really well (lucky) to get two prospects in Lee and Prielipp who had the talent to go higher - much higher in Prielipp's case - in the same draft. Has the potential to be an all-timer of a draft class if both realize their potential  Possible all-star infielder and top rotation starter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can Prielipp meet my expectations?  Unlikely.  Why?  Because I believe he will be the next Chris Sale, who joined the White Sox late in the year following his draft.  And the rest is history.  Considering Prielipp is returning from TJ, will give him until May of 2024 to pitch for the Twins.

You obviously don't know much about Tomah, Jamie.  It is in the middle of one of the most productive areas in the country for growing cranberries.  It is the home of the Army's Fort McCoy.  Another base, Camp Douglas, the home of the Wisconsin Air Guard and a State Trooper training center is also only a few miles away.  Don't know if it still there, but there used to be a local steak place that served huge steaks for well under $10...but that was 50 years ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, growing up in the western Minneapolis suburbs via an early childhood in the western Chicago suburbs, we rode down 94 countless times. Yes Tomah was considered the halfway point, but a mear eleven miles down the road?

tb21.jpg.3770d53729b77abfbbf07b53c0236791.jpg

Target Bluff German Haus 

I'm guessing Mr Prielipp got that slider spin from the sauerbraten. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

I too am hopeful but I wonder why he fell to 48. There have been other promising pitchers with TJ surgery that haven’t fallen that far. Teams knew that Giolito was shut down due to elbow trouble and TJ was likely. He fell to 16. Last year Lesko fell to 15. Why was he there at 48?

Lack of college stats would be my guess. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Fatbat said:

Lack of college stats would be my guess. 

He had like 48 innings of elite production now almost 3 years ago.  Now he purposefully did not pitch last year,  to hurt his draft stock (it may have done so anyway).  Even with the workout,  his 3 major pitches are still there.  The control was a tad off last June but still rusty.  I fully expect him to be very strong at A and A+ ball this year.  I have no doubt he will be the ace on each team.   His talent is that good.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premier Twins community on the internet.

×
×
  • Create New...