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  • Part 2: Seth's Top 30 Twins Pitching Prospects (21-25)


    Seth Stohs

    We continue our Twins prospect series today with my choices for the Twins pitching prospects 21 through 25. It is another interesting and unique group, so get to know these pitchers and then discuss them in the comments. 

    Image courtesy of Jean Pfiefer (aka go4twinkies on Instagram), Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (Yennier Cano photo, bottom right)

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    We jump into the Top 25 pitching prospects today and find a couple of relievers with unique stories, a couple of intriguing 2019 draft prospects and a 2021 College World Series champion. 

    Get to know these five prospects and then discuss them in the Comments below. 
     

    #25 - RHP Jordan Gore 
    2021 STATS: 8-2, 2.39 ERA, 39/0 G/GS, 0.95 WHIP, 88/28 K/BB, 67.2 IP

    Drafted as a shortstop in 2017 from Coastal Carolina, Jordan Gore worked all the way up to Double-A in 2019 at that position. But then late in the year, the transition began. Gore was blessed with a strong arm, and because of it got an opportunity on the mound. Unfortunately, there was no 2020 season, so no one knew what to expect from him. He began at Cedar Rapids and pitched well. He earned a second-half promotion to Double-A Wichita where he continued to pitch great through the end of the season. While he threw 95 mph, he also had developed a solid change up and slider over the previous year and used all of his pitches. In addition, listen to his Twins Spotlight interview after the season, and he has a great mentality for working late innings. Gore will spend most of the 2022 season at the age of 27. 

    #24 - RHP Cody Laweryson 
    2021 STATS: 2-5, 4.91 ERA, 15/14 G/GS 1.33 WHIP, 73/19 K/BB, 58.2 IP

    Cody Laweryson was the Twins 14th round pick in 2019 out of the University of Maine. That summer, he pitched at Elizabethton and was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year. After the missed 2020 season, Laweryson was slowed in spring training by a minor injury. In early June, he joined the Kernels starting rotation. He had ups and downs but ended the season strong. He was able to get extra innings in the Arizona Fall League. He struck out 18 batters in 14 innings. He also represented the Twins in the Fall Stars game. He will turn 23 in May.

    #23 - RHP Yennier Cano 
    2021 STATS: 5-3, 3.23 ERA, 42/1 G/GS, 1.38 WHIP, 86/34 K/BB, 69.2 IP

    After defecting from Cuba, Yennier Cano became an international free agent, and in June 2019, the Twins were able to sign him. That year, he got some time in the GCL and then for the Miracle. He began the 2021 season in Double-A Wichita and went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. He had 28 strikeouts and just five walks. He moved up to St. Paul and posted a 3.86 ERA. In 51 1/3 innings, he struck out 58 batters, but he also walked 29. Cano has a rubber arm and wants to pitch all the time. He has a mid-to-upper ‘90s fastball as well as a good slider. He will turn 28 in March and should debut in 2022. 

    #22 - RHP Sean Mooney 
    2021 STATS: 0-2, 2.79 ERA, 13/12 G/GS, 1.07 WHIP, 71/23 K/BB, 42.0 IP

    The New Jersey native headed to St. Johns where he went 19-5 with ERAs of 1.71 and 2.56 over his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a junior in 2019, he went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA, but after nine starts, he hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. The Twins really liked him and took him with their 12th round pick in 2019. He rehabbed in 2019 and may not have pitched much in 2020 either. So 2021 was his professional debut. In 10 games (9 starts) with Ft. Myers, he went 0-1 with a 1.24 ERA. In 29 innings, he struck out 52 batters! He moved up to Cedar Rapids and made three starts. He had 19 strikeouts in 13 innings. Mooney has an advanced pitching makeup and four pitches. He profiles as a starter at least for now. 2022 could be a big year if he can stay healthy throughout the season and really get to develop. Mooney will be 23 throughout the 2022 season. 

    #21 - LHP Christian MacLeod 
    2021 STATS: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1/0 G/GS, 1.80 WHIP, 2/5 K/BB, 1.2 IP 

    2021 was a big season for MacLeod. He became a weekend starter at Mississippi State. He went to the College World Series and helped the Bulldogs to their first national championship. The Twins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. He signed, took some time away from pitching in games and ended the season with one outing in the FCL And after Instructional League, he was a guest on Twins Spotlight. OK, that last one may not be on the same level as the rest, but I know Twins Daily readers enjoyed it. Again, he will get a chance to start the 2022 season, probably in Ft. Myers, and have the opportunity to move up to Cedar Rapids by midseason. MacLeod will turn 22 in April. He’s got a good fastball, has typically shown good control and has secondary pitches that have potential. 

    This is an interesting group. You’ve got a couple of older relief pitchers, though both have circumstances that make it understandable, and both showed well in 2021. There were two 2019 draft picks, both of whom have missed some time with injury, but both have had success to note when healthy. Finally, there is a 2021 draft pick who helped his team to the College World Series championship and is just beginning his career. 

    Discuss... and keep coming back every day throughout the holiday season as we continue to discuss these prospects. 

    Previous Rankings
    Hitters Part 1: 26-30
    Hitters Part 2: 21-25
    Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 

     

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    Gore could be a guy that breaks out.  He would not be the first SS turned pitcher, some make it some do not.  The fact that he is older means not much prospect left in him, but it also means his arm has not had thousands of pitches thrown over his career and maybe could hold up later.  Not saying I am expecting much, but you never know. 

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    I read some of this and think wow! The young pitching the Twins have is crazy. I believe I must be an optimist because I think some of these young pitchers are going to have a great year. Might start out slow but ramp up midsummer. I also believe it’s very important that the front office gets this season right. They have to figure out who to keep and who to trade. (Maybe not this year) I remember watching Johan pitching out of the bullpen his first year and everyone who was watching the Twins were saying, let this kid start. You could just see it in him. With this young pitching, I believe the biggest hole on the Twins is SS. I think the pitching is going to step up! 

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    Some intriguing guys in this group with along with a few more guys I expect in the next group as well.

    This is where I think the new front office is starting to really show a difference from the last in terms of player development.  There are starting to be a lot of second and even third day draft picks with low perceived ceilings dominating in the lower to mid minors.  Some will probably have a tougher time against tougher competition, but I expect some will continue to develop into good upper level prospects as well.

    We have yet to see a lot in terms of major league impact, and I'm still not sure whether they are really developing any front line starters.  But I do think we will at least see a steady stream of solid and cheap mid-rotation guys be developed over the next few years.  Hopefully they can turn the surplus money and talent into something for the top of the rotation as well.  This current offseason has not been promising in that aspect yet.

     

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    Thanks, Seth.  Nice summaries.  I am especially intrigued by Cano.  He can be lights out one night and walk the bases full the next.  I imagine the team has tried everything to harness his control, but if only they could, he could be a big part of the bullpen.  Otherwise, I fear major league hitters will tee off on him when he keeps falling behind in counts.  He is one of those "if only" guys.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your daughter.

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    Thanks Seth for the analysis of this group.  Will be keeping tabs on Mooney, Lawyerson and MacLeod as they develop this season.  Time "seems"to be running out on Cano (age), but he could be a nice piece in our bullpen, especially if the likes of Stashak and Garza struggle.  I'm most intrigued to see how Gore progresses in 2022.  Watched your Spotlight interview with Gore and was impressed with his moxie/mental game.  He has what I would call on an "old school" mentality (ala Brad Radke) with more velocity.  Missed seeing him in Cedar Rapids last summer as he had been promoted to Wichita.  Keep up the great work and wishing all of the TD writers and their families a safe and blessed Christmas.

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    I'm a little late to the post but really like the arms here. (Also like some of the arms in the previous list, but again, a little busy and late here).

    I am crossing my fingers on Gore not being snagged and kept by someone. I'm thinking AA ball and newly transitioned and not a "kid" any linger age wise he will be left alone. Boy I sure hope so. I think he makes an appearance the second half of 2022.

    Cano is also not young, but he is in regard to being stateside. Obviously he's not a polished product, but I don't think age really hurts him when we're talking a pen arm vs a SP. A little more experience and a little more refinement, and he also is a 2nd half contributor, IMO. The basic stuff is there.

    Full confession, I had forgotten about Mooney and his path thus far. I could easily see him, Laweryson, Gipson-Long and Gross following the same path that Winder and Varland blazed in 2021 and that Enlow appeared to be following. That is, an introduction, and then refinement and development that leads to a semblance of "breakout" potential. 

    I think a pipeline of solid/quality arms is being firmly established. I ignore the ACE/#1 conversation because those kind of arms develop at the ML level and aren't just developed.

    Having a pipeline of intriguing arms is the key. Some won't make it. Some will go to the pen. Some will be quality SP. And a couple will be true front of the rotation SP. Having a depth of options is key.

     

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    I don’t have much information at my fingertips, but was such a list made last year? If so, where was Ober rated? My point is that pitchers seem to be more unpredictable than position players and anyone on this list could boom or bust. What is needed is volume and depth and I think the Twins are in pretty good shape in that regard. 

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