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  • Cody’s Top-20 Twins Prospects: 6-10


    Cody Christie

    Over the years, Minnesota has struggled to develop pitching. Three pitchers crack into this portion of their top-10 prospects and all three can make it to Target Field in 2021.

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Blayne Enlow)

    All but one of the players below was acquired during the current front office regime. This speaks volumes to how the organization’s player development system has evolved. Teams need their high draft picks to

     

    10. Keoni Cavaco- SS/3B (19-years old)

    Acquired: 2019 1st Round Pick

    ETA: 2024

     

    Cavaco was an intriguing prospect from the time the Twins drafted him. He was left off many of the summer showcase rosters entering his senior season because he was undersized, and he wasn’t expected to be a first-round pick. A growth spurt during his senior year saw his draft stock improve immensely and the Twins jumped at the opportunity. His professional debut was a disaster as he posted .172 BA with strikeouts on 38% of his plate appearances. He has the tools and the power projection to make him a player to be excited about.

     

    9. Blayne Enlow- RHP (21-years old)

    Acquired: 2017 3rd Round Pick

    ETA: 2022

     

    Enlow was part of the current front office’s first draft class as the Twins were able to work out an over-slot deal to keep him from going to LSU. His fastball typically sits in the mid- to low-90s, but it has some tremendous spin that can make it tough on hitters. His slider/cutter might be his best pitch when he is able to control it near the zone. He has shown the ability to throw four different pitches, but he continues to work on his secondary pitches. Enlow turns 22-years old in March, and he is a player I expect to have a big 2021 season.

     

    8. Matt Canterino- RHP (23-years old)

    Acquired: 2019 2nd Round Pick

    ETA: 2022

     

    Canterino is a strike thrower and he might have gotten more dangerous in 2020 as he developed a changeup at the team’s alternate site. His slider and curveball were already good pitches so adding a changeup can solidify him as a mid-rotation starter. At 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds, he is stocky on the mound and this can make some believe that he will end up as a reliever. He will get plenty of opportunities to stick as a starter with his college experience and his continued pitch development.

     

    7. Aaron Sabato- 1B (21-years old)

    Acquired: 2020 1st Round Pick

    ETA: 2024

     

    In a draft unlike any other, the Twins went with Sabato, a relatively safe pick. He projects to only be able to play first base or be a DH, but his bat might have been the one of the only sure things in the 2020 Draft. He can control the strike zone even with his powerful swing. MLB.com ranks him as baseball’s seventh best first base prospect and he will move up multiple spots this year as players graduate off the list. It’s hard to get too excited about a player with limited defensive skills, but his bat might be good enough to forget about the other side of the ball.

     

    6. Jordan Balazovic- RHP (22-years old)

    Acquired: 2016 5th Round Pick

    ETA: 2021

     

    Looking back on the 2016 draft and many teams are going to be sorry (say it with a Canadian accent) they passed over Balazovic. He can control the strike zone with four different pitches and all of them can be used to coax strikeouts. Also, the pandemic might have helped his development as he added weight to fill out his 6-foot-5 frame. When the Twins drafted him, he weighed 175 pounds and now he is north of 215 pounds. He was added to the team’s 40-man roster this off-season and that should give him a chance to make his debut in 2021.

     

    Which of these players makes it to Target Field first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

     

    OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES

    Prospects 16-20

    Prospects 11-15

    — Prospects 1-5 Coming Tomorrow

     

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    Keoni Cavaco is one of the players who was hurt by not having a minor league season in 2020. He clearly needs serious development and missing a season like that at his age could really set him back. I hope he gets the playing and development time he needs this year and we can see where he's really at, but right now I wouldn't put him this high on the list. He might have been a reach when drafted and he definitely struggled in his first (limited) exposure to pro ball. I hope this isn't the FO's first big draft pick bust, but I'm a bit worried about this one.

     

    Big big fan of Balazovic (although I keep screwing up pronouncing his last name) and I really think he's going be a nice starter. Will he make his debut in 2021? I guess that depends a little on where he starts the year and what happens with injuries. But I think he's on the path to compete for a spot in the rotation for 2022 for sure. Looking forward to seeing him pitch.

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    Nice to see 3 solid pitchers that appear to have four solid pitches and decent velocity to go with them.  It feels like it has been a long time since I could get excited about so many pitchers in the top 10.  

     

    That being said Enlow has been far from dominant in most of his time with the Twins.  Granted he has been young for every level and bumped his number to respectable in A ball for half the year.  I am a little nervous about him as a starter but since he will only be 22 to start the year he has time to refine things.  Here's to hoping the time off helped him get ready for 2021

     

    Been hearing some good things about Canterino although scouts still don't love his delivery or his body type for starting.  Floor should elite reliever though.  If he can stay healthy he looks like mid rotation starter.  Haven't seen one of those in the system since Berrios so that's nice.

     

    Balazovich has pretty much been a stud the past two years(2018,19).  K rate has been there as he has been a K machine during that time.  He hasn't been all that streched out though so hard to say if he would hold up during a full season or not.  His numbers look absolutely dominant though.  If he keeps this up he has to be a top of the rotation arm just has to be.

     

    Cavaco was a high risk pick.  He is a tooled up player with the possibility to be a 5 tools player, but his hit tool was his weakest tool and that is not a good tool to be weak.  The Twins had to be believers that they can develop him with the coaches they have and the skill Cavaco has.  Time will tell if that was good decision or not.

     

    Sabato was a good pick for where they got him and he has most all the traits the Twins love in hitters.  Hard hit rate, check.  Good eye at the plate, check.  HR in game power, check.  Good swing, check.  The tough thing is he likely is a defensive liability anywhere you play him, check.  He could be a fast mover but to where with Kirilloff and Larnach likely already in the outfield and Sano and Rooker at 1st base someone is going to have get traded to fit him in.

     

    Twins do have a nice top 10 though.

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    I like the list except for Cavaco, as I have stated elsewhere I cannot see players on these lists until they have shown something in the minors.  But the rest is really good and I long to have Balazovic get a number of MLB starts this year.  We have four experienced starters now.  That is enough, time to work with the young guys.  We are not going to sign an Ace - too expensive and I would not do it - so we need to develop one.  You have two nice possibilities here.  I do not think Enlow can be a number 1.

     

    And Sabato in 2024 must be the end of the Sano era unless Miguel figures out a lot. 

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    Don't know what to think about Cavaco. He didn't have much of a high school track record other than a few months before his draft. Could he be a late bloomer that with work develops into a star? Certainly. He could also be the player others had previously seen and we saw his first time in the GCL. Considering he remains a big unknown, I wouldn't have included him in my Top 10, maybe 20 or maybe not even there.

     

    I always cringe a bit when I see comments like you made about Canterino being a mid-rotation starter. Considering what he has accomplished, how quickly the Twins moved him up and the reported progress he made during the last non-season, he may end up being much better than that. Or maybe not. But pigeon holing him this early always strikes me as a mistake. Yes, he may end up being a mid-rotation starter. But he also may win a Cy Young or never pitch in the bigs.

     

    Somewhat like Cavaco, don't know what to think about Sabato. Can certainly understand why you have him where you do. I don't see him as a safe pick, however. Rather someone who could be great or a bust, while providing nothing defensively or on the bases.

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    As we wait for Cody to reveal is 1 - 5 and there has been debate about Kiriloff v Lewis I was fascinated today to see what Keith Law had to say.  Kiriloff is ranked 7 in Law's top 100 and he has this to say about him:

     

    "Kirilloff is now on the very short list of players who made their major-league debuts in the postseason, also known as the Mark Kiger All-Stars, but unlike Kiger, Kirilloff will be back. He’s among the very best hitting prospects in baseball, thanks to a beautiful left-handed swing, an advanced approach to the strike zone, and all-fields power. Kirilloff was a pitcher and outfielder in high school and missed the 2017 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he returned without a trace of rust and has continued to make hard contact at a high rate. His power was down in 2019 after he injured his wrist that spring, so look for a big power spike from him in 2021, whether he does so in Triple A or in the majors."

     

    Lewis who has been at the top of the rating in the past is now number 46:

     

    "Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft but hit a bump in his ascent to the majors in 2019 after some offseason workouts led to a breakdown in his mechanics at the plate. Lewis is a plus-plus runner who projected to hit for average without a ton of power, but before the 2019 season, he adopted a high leg kick and big hand movement, but instead of driving the ball more he would bail out more often and make weak contact on stuff away. The Twins have worked with him to get him more online so he can work toward the middle of the field, making better quality contact and letting him use his legs more often. Lewis is rough at shortstop, with all of the athleticism and speed to play there but well below-average actions and instincts; the Twins have tried Lewis a little in center but plan to continue to work him at shortstop, which I think is smart from a value perspective but an uphill battle on the field. There’s a ton of natural ability here, and just restoring Lewis’ swing from 2018 would go a long way to demonstrating the type of player he can be. I see Lewis as a leadoff hitter with huge speed and plus defense in center, different from the player he was in high school but still a valuable player on both sides of the ball."

     

    Balazovic is number 63!  Great:

     

    "Balazovic has always shown really good feel to pitch, working well to all sides of the plate with advanced command for his age, and his physical projection has started to come out in the last two years, giving him at least mid-rotation potential. Balazovic, the Twins’ fifth-round pick in 2015, now sits 93-95 and can flash better, with an above-average hybrid breaking ball and a solid-average changeup. He’s a strike-thrower who has already shown a willingness to pitch in to hitters, and gets good deception from his delivery thanks to where he holds his glove. There’s still some more projection left here, and he worked in the weight room last summer to continue filling out. If he picks up more velocity or turns either of those secondary pitches into plus offerings, he could end up a No. 2 or better."

     

    Duran is 83:

     

    "Duran is best known for his unusual out pitch, a splitter-sinker hybrid that carries the awkward “splinker” moniker, but he’s got enough of a complete arsenal that he’s more than just a one-pitch guy who’ll have to go to the bullpen. He’s 95-99 with his four-seamer and his curveball can be plus, although he doesn’t land the breaking ball as often as he will probably need to do in the majors. He has starter size, listed at 6-5, 230, and his delivery should allow him to start as long as he maintains his tempo and avoids rushing through it, especially the way he gets on top of the ball to take advantage of his height. He has less probability to start than his Twins teammate Jordan Balazovic, but has the better swing-and-miss pitch in that splinker, and might be closer to helping in the majors because that pitch can carry him as he works on the breaking ball and on improving his control and command."

     

    No Larnach so I guess he is not equivalent to Kiriloff.  Also no Rooker and I suspect that Jeffers played enough to not be a rookie anymore, but if not he should have been on the list.

     

     

     

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    As we wait for Cody to reveal is 1 - 5 and there has been debate about Kiriloff v Lewis I was fascinated today to see what Keith Law had to say.  Kiriloff is ranked 7 in Law's top 100 and he has this to say about him:

     

    "Kirilloff is now on the very short list of players who made their major-league debuts in the postseason, also known as the Mark Kiger All-Stars, but unlike Kiger, Kirilloff will be back. He’s among the very best hitting prospects in baseball, thanks to a beautiful left-handed swing, an advanced approach to the strike zone, and all-fields power. Kirilloff was a pitcher and outfielder in high school and missed the 2017 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he returned without a trace of rust and has continued to make hard contact at a high rate. His power was down in 2019 after he injured his wrist that spring, so look for a big power spike from him in 2021, whether he does so in Triple A or in the majors."

     

    Lewis who has been at the top of the rating in the past is now number 46:

     

    "Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft but hit a bump in his ascent to the majors in 2019 after some offseason workouts led to a breakdown in his mechanics at the plate. Lewis is a plus-plus runner who projected to hit for average without a ton of power, but before the 2019 season, he adopted a high leg kick and big hand movement, but instead of driving the ball more he would bail out more often and make weak contact on stuff away. The Twins have worked with him to get him more online so he can work toward the middle of the field, making better quality contact and letting him use his legs more often. Lewis is rough at shortstop, with all of the athleticism and speed to play there but well below-average actions and instincts; the Twins have tried Lewis a little in center but plan to continue to work him at shortstop, which I think is smart from a value perspective but an uphill battle on the field. There’s a ton of natural ability here, and just restoring Lewis’ swing from 2018 would go a long way to demonstrating the type of player he can be. I see Lewis as a leadoff hitter with huge speed and plus defense in center, different from the player he was in high school but still a valuable player on both sides of the ball."

     

    Balazovic is number 63!  Great:

     

    "Balazovic has always shown really good feel to pitch, working well to all sides of the plate with advanced command for his age, and his physical projection has started to come out in the last two years, giving him at least mid-rotation potential. Balazovic, the Twins’ fifth-round pick in 2015, now sits 93-95 and can flash better, with an above-average hybrid breaking ball and a solid-average changeup. He’s a strike-thrower who has already shown a willingness to pitch in to hitters, and gets good deception from his delivery thanks to where he holds his glove. There’s still some more projection left here, and he worked in the weight room last summer to continue filling out. If he picks up more velocity or turns either of those secondary pitches into plus offerings, he could end up a No. 2 or better."

     

    Duran is 83:

     

    "Duran is best known for his unusual out pitch, a splitter-sinker hybrid that carries the awkward “splinker” moniker, but he’s got enough of a complete arsenal that he’s more than just a one-pitch guy who’ll have to go to the bullpen. He’s 95-99 with his four-seamer and his curveball can be plus, although he doesn’t land the breaking ball as often as he will probably need to do in the majors. He has starter size, listed at 6-5, 230, and his delivery should allow him to start as long as he maintains his tempo and avoids rushing through it, especially the way he gets on top of the ball to take advantage of his height. He has less probability to start than his Twins teammate Jordan Balazovic, but has the better swing-and-miss pitch in that splinker, and might be closer to helping in the majors because that pitch can carry him as he works on the breaking ball and on improving his control and command."

     

    No Larnach so I guess he is not equivalent to Kiriloff.  Also no Rooker and I suspect that Jeffers played enough to not be a rookie anymore, but if not he should have been on the list.

     

    I am surprised he has Lewis that low.  I guess everybody is down on his hit tool.  I bet if Balazovic had pitched more innings he would be even higher on the list.

     

    Law never gave any love to Rooker as he felt he was too old to be a real prospect IIRC.  He also was the low man on Larnach as well.  Fangraphs is the big believer in Larnach. I think Law will be proven wrong there though.  He was also low on Berrios  not coming around until much later than other boards.  He was one of the only guys to come out low on Gonsalves early and it appears he was right on that one.  

     

    He always has an interesting take and is willing to step outside the box on players which is refreshing.

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    Surprised at Balazovic (all the minor league announcers went with "Bala-Zah-Vik") being only no. 6.  I like the pitchers, especially Canterino.  Seems like a guy a bulldog, but has fun.

    don't hate having Rooker, Larnach, Kirilloff, and Sabato, but at some point we're going to have to do something about it.

    Until Cavaco does something, I'm not all too interested in the 1st rounder.  Prove me wrong though.

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    I am surprised he has Lewis that low. I guess everybody is down on his hit tool. I bet if Balazovic had pitched more innings he would be even higher on the list.

     

    Law never gave any love to Rooker as he felt he was too old to be a real prospect IIRC. He also was the low man on Larnach as well. Fangraphs is the big believer in Larnach. I think Law will be proven wrong there though. He was also low on Berrios not coming around until much later than other boards. He was one of the only guys to come out low on Gonsalves early and it appears he was right on that one.

     

    He always has an interesting take and is willing to step outside the box on players which is refreshing.

    I’m not surprised Lewis is this low. KLaw for the last couple of seasons doesn’t think Lewis will stick at short, and he’s been vocal about his leg kick/bad mechanics not working out at the higher levels.

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    I like the list except for Cavaco, as I have stated elsewhere I cannot see players on these lists until they have shown something in the minors.  But the rest is really good and I long to have Balazovic get a number of MLB starts this year.  We have four experienced starters now.  That is enough, time to work with the young guys.  We are not going to sign an Ace - too expensive and I would not do it - so we need to develop one.  You have two nice possibilities here.  I do not think Enlow can be a number 1.

     

    And Sabato in 2024 must be the end of the Sano era unless Miguel figures out a lot. 

     

    The Sano era is going to end a lot sooner than 2024

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    Keoni Cavaco is one of the players who was hurt by not having a minor league season in 2020. He clearly needs serious development and missing a season like that at his age could really set him back. I hope he gets the playing and development time he needs this year and we can see where he's really at, but right now I wouldn't put him this high on the list. He might have been a reach when drafted and he definitely struggled in his first (limited) exposure to pro ball. I hope this isn't the FO's first big draft pick bust, but I'm a bit worried about this one.

     

    Agreed. If there's one prospect I'm worrying about right now, it's Cavaco. Lot of question marks when this guy was drafted, and zero doubts have been silenced after his poor initial season. He's got a lot of ground to make up.

     

    That said, the kid's just 19 still, which is crazy. I think if he's personally the type of guy who is ready to prove people wrong, he could very well jump off the page this year and be back in the top 10 next season. Way to early to consider giving up on this guy, I hope the Twins coaches are focusing on him this upcoming year.
     

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    Agreed. If there's one prospect I'm worrying about right now, it's Cavaco. Lot of question marks when this guy was drafted, and zero doubts have been silenced after his poor initial season. He's got a lot of ground to make up.

     

    That said, the kid's just 19 still, which is crazy. I think if he's personally the type of guy who is ready to prove people wrong, he could very well jump off the page this year and be back in the top 10 next season. Way to early to consider giving up on this guy, I hope the Twins coaches are focusing on him this upcoming year.

     

    If it was possible to simply decide one day to be able to deal with breaking pitches in the dirt, more players would do so.

     

    (No, I haven't scouted Cavaco in person or on video, it's just my guess. Also it's my hope - if he is instead swinging through quality fastballs, the problem is worse.)

     

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    Late bloomer, disappointing first year and no 2020. Just can't put Cavaco this high on a list even though I wish for the best and have a lot of faith in the FO and their scouting department.

     

    Thought I did hear he looked decent at instructs though and had added some good muscle weight to get ready for 2021. Crossing my fingers for him .

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    Everything I keep hearing and reading about Balazovic is he will be a huge steal of a draft and one of those Cleveland type of pitchers that no one was huge on but becomes a top pitcher in the league.  I have high hopes for him. 

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