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  • One Twins Prospect to Watch at Each Minor League Level


    Cody Christie

    It’s been a long time since there has been real minor league action to follow and Twins fans might feel a little disconnected from the team’s prospects. Here are four names to keep an eye on during the season’s early action.

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Gilberto Celestino)

    Triple-A: Trevor Larnach, OF

    Larnach sometimes feels like the forgotten prospect with names like Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis in the organization. He projects to be a very good big-league regular and his timetable made have changed over the last couple days with news that Kirilloff might miss time due to a wrist injury. The Twins have been getting very little production from their corner outfield spots and fans have started to get frustrated watching Jake Cave take uncompetitive at-bats. Larnach was likely on pace to debut in 2021 and now he might be needed in Minnesota sooner rather than later.

    Double-A: Gilberto Celestino, OF

    Celestino was originally acquired by the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade along with Jorge Alcala. He was part of the team’s 60-man player pool last season, which meant he spent of the bulk of the year at the team’s alternate training site. Back in 2019, he spent nearly the entire the year at Cedar Rapids, and he finished by hitting .277/.349/.410 (.759) with 41 extra-base hits in 125 games. He’s a very strong defender in the outfield, so it will be interesting to see if his bat can continue to develop. Byron Buxton is only under contract through next season and Celestino might be his heir apparent.

    High-A: Matt Canterino, RHP

    Even amidst a pandemic, Canterino was able to see his prospect stock rise significantly because of reports that came out throughout last year. The velocity on his fastball rose more than a couple miles per hour as he can now hit in the mid-90s on a consistent basis. He should easily be able to stick as a starter when you add in a slider and a changeup that both project to be plus pitches. He was a second round pick out of college in 2019, but he’s only pitched 25 innings as a profession due to last year’s minor league cancellation. Now, he needs to prove his rising stock is legitimate and that might be dangerous for opposing batters in the Midwest League.

    Low-A: Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH

    Sabato was Minnesota’s first round pick in 2020, so he will be making his professional debut in 2021. There’s one reason the Twins drafted Sabato and that’s because of his powerful bat. Entering the season, he projected as one of the team’s top power prospects. In two seasons at North Carolina, he hit .332/.459/.698 with 25 home runs and 31 doubles in 83 games. He is going to need to show he can adjust to professional baseball, but he is expected to be a quick riser if he can continue to show plus power at the plate.

    What are your thoughts on these players? Are there others you will keep an eye on? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    Larnach seems like a player that could be ready.  He appears to have decent eye at the plate and hits the ball hard.  He is not on the 40 man though so they would literally need to get rid of Cave to add him IMO.  I don't think the Twins are ready to do that yet though. 

     

    Celestino still has contact problems.  While he  might be worth watching he looks lost to start the season.  7 K's in 12 at bats tells the story.  He can't tell a strike from a ball and is getting a lot of air.  Plenty of time for things to change but he doesn't look good right now.

     

    Sabato for a guy touted as a contact bat first player he has been anything but.  All spring he couldn't hit and in low A ball he has 7 K's in 12 at bats.  That is just tremendously abysmal for a bat first player.  If I were the Twins I would want my money back for that 1st round pick.  Not saying he can't get better but he has been crazy overmatched even at a lower level.  I don't know what the problem is but I hope he makes contact soon or he looks like Rooker part 2 and that is not a story anybody wants to watch.

     

    Canterino looks like he could be good but I thought he was supposed to be pitcher with good control and this spring that didn't appear to be the case.  He has some interesting stuff but a ways to go IMO.

     

    I get that all these guys are likely to improve and we should keep an eye on them, but several of them don't look that good right now to me.  I sure hope they improve and in a hurry because if they are the best we've got then we are in trouble.

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    Larnach seems like a player that could be ready.  He appears to have decent eye at the plate and hits the ball hard.  He is not on the 40 man though so they would literally need to get rid of Cave to add him IMO.  I don't think the Twins are ready to do that yet though. 

     

    Celestino still has contact problems.  While he  might be worth watching he looks lost to start the season.  7 K's in 12 at bats tells the story.  He can't tell a strike from a ball and is getting a lot of air.  Plenty of time for things to change but he doesn't look good right now.

     

    Sabato for a guy touted as a contact bat first player he has been anything but.  All spring he couldn't hit and in low A ball he has 7 K's in 12 at bats.  That is just tremendously abysmal for a bat first player.  If I were the Twins I would want my money back for that 1st round pick.  Not saying he can't get better but he has been crazy overmatched even at a lower level.  I don't know what the problem is but I hope he makes contact soon or he looks like Rooker part 2 and that is not a story anybody wants to watch.

     

    Canterino looks like he could be good but I thought he was supposed to be pitcher with good control and this spring that didn't appear to be the case.  He has some interesting stuff but a ways to go IMO.

     

    I get that all these guys are likely to improve and we should keep an eye on them, but several of them don't look that good right now to me.  I sure hope they improve and in a hurry because if they are the best we've got then we are in trouble.

    Answer to this is give it a month.  It is a small sample size.

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    What I do not know is the Twins team strategy.  In ST Larnach hit, Wallner did not.  In regular season Jake Cave has not hit and Rooker seems streaky and K prone like Sano who is quickly falling out of fan favor.  

     

    I want to see Larnach in LF, Buxton CF, Rooker/Kepler platoon in RF, Kiriloff at 1B.  

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    Dman, I agree with your picks but do you have any sleeper picks or under the radar guys that may surprise this year.

     

    Baseball America just picked Seth Gray as one to watch. I looked back at some earlier TD articles and our folks mentioned him as well. Fourth round pick in 2019. Playing 3B for Cedar Rapids. He seems to be a ball magnet. He already has 3 HBP this year! I am not all that familiar with him but I thought I'd pass his name to you because I'm watching him. 

     

    Cole Sands is my personal pick.

     

     

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