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  • Top 20 Minnesota Twins Assets of 2022: Part 1 (16-20)


    Nick Nelson

    With the arrival of a new year, it's time to update my annual rankings of the most valuable player assets in the Minnesota Twins organization. 

    This list attempts to answer a simple question: Which 20 players and prospects are most indispensable in the team's quest to win a championship?

    Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (Simeon Woods Richardson)

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    Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules:

    • Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally).
    • Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors.
    • The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor.
    • This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021.

    Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion?

    Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline:

    With that out of the way, let's get started.

    Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20

    20. Matt Canterino, RHP
    2021 Ranking: NR

    The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. 

    I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. 

    If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022."

    19. Josh Winder, RHP
    2021 Ranking: NR

    Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. 

    Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

    Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 

    18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
    2021 Ranking: NR

    Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. 

    He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. 

    Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability.

    17. Gilberto Celestino, CF
    2021 Ranking: NR

    A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. 

    I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. 

    Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 

    16. Chase Petty, RHP
    2021 Ranking: NR

    All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. 

    Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022.

    Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments.

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    I would like to see Canterino fast tracked to the big club.  He's 24 years old and my plan for him would be to use him as a BP piece to effectively manage his innings and workload with the idea that if he can maintain his health, he could always be ramped up to eventually be a SP.  The Twins did this with Johann Santana and it worked well.  I think Canterino is a prime candidate for this approach.  Winder is also a guy that Twins fans should see up this year, sooner, rather than later.  I hopeful that Petty is a future staff Ace, but as a high school draft last year best case scenario is to see him for a cup of coffee in 3-years.  Wood-Richardson is also very intriguing.  I think his Baseball Trade Value at 9.6 is pretty LOW so I'd not want to trade him under most circumstances unless I was getting back a Montas or Sixto Sanchez type pitcher either of whom would immediately be IN the Twins rotation.  

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    I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see both Canterino and Winder make multiple trips back and forth between the big club and the minors this year. I think there's a real strong chance the Twins use a number of rookies as piggy-back starters throughout the year to both limit their innings and service time (who knows what the service time rules will be in the new CBA, though). I think they shuttle a number of them back and forth until some of them (hopefully) start to establish themselves and can claim a few more innings. 40-man management will be really interesting to watch this year.

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    I am also down on Celestino. I think one of the reasons for being negative is the Twins got nothing in return for Baddoo and Wade, both of whom had better seasons than Celestino. 
     

    Edited to add:  It seems that Nick Gordon played CF as good as or better than Celestino.  Defensively,  both were slightly below league average but Gordon achieved this without any prior experience in CF. 

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    18 hours ago, Minny505 said:

    One of my favorite TD annual series @Nick Nelson!

    Unlike others here, I'm quite high on Celestino. A solid RHB that can play a competent CF. A perfect 4th OF that will compliment our LHB heavy corners.

    I too am high on Celestino. He wasn't ready for MLB, and everyone in the organization knew it, but injuries forced him up early. Despite having a rotten debut, he bounced back and played well when he reached AAA...which was where he probably should have been at that point in the season anyway. The defense needs some adjusting, but he has the tools to be a very solid CF and can play all 3 OF positions. I think he'll compete for the 4th OF spot in training camp this year (assuming there is a season) and could be a really nice fit.

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    On 1/3/2022 at 8:30 AM, Eris said:

    I am also down on Celestino. I think one of the reasons for being negative is the Twins got nothing in return for Baddoo and Wade, both of whom had better seasons than Celestino. 
     

    Edited to add:  It seems that Nick Gordon played CF as good as or better than Celestino.  Defensively,  both were slightly below league average but Gordon achieved this without any prior experience in CF. 

    He wasn't good, but I feel it bears pointing out that he was stuck in a place he wasn't developmentally ready for yet.  So it may not be a fair evaluation.

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    Here's a comparison between two players, both at AAA.  Player 1 turned 22 before the season started, player 2 turned 23 halfway through the season.

     

    Player 1--49 games, 211 PA, .290/.384/.443/.827, 11.3% bb rate, 20.4% k rate.

    Player 2--80 games, 373 PA, .343/.397/.563/.960, 6.7% bb rate, 13.1% k rate.

     

    Player 1 is Celestino, and player 2 is Miranda.  Obviously, Miranda's stats are better on the whole, but Celestino's production compares pretty well to Miranda when you take into account he's a bit younger (about 8 months), and in particular the walk rate is very nice for Celestino.  If he can continue to make strides in AAA this year, Celestino will be nice Buxton insurance/a good 4th outfielder to keep Buxton and Kepler fresh, especially as a bottom third hitter turning the order over.

     

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