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  • Part 3: Seth's Top 30 Twins Pitching Prospects (16-20)


    Seth Stohs

    After a little time away, my top prospects series continues. Today we jump into the top 20 pitching prospects with some interesting names. 

    Image courtesy of William Parmeter (Osiris German), Steve Buhr (Chris Vallimont), Seth Stohs (Regi Grace, Osiris German)

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    How do you compare starting pitchers to relievers? It's certainly not easy. For this series, we have separated hitters from pitchers, and yet, maybe in future years we will want the starters and relievers separated too. Who should rank higher? A potential #3 starting pitchers, or a potential late-inning reliever?

    On a real baseball team, both roles are important and complement each other. In prospect rankings, relievers often get overlooked. Why? Because over the past couple of decades, relievers may work 70-80 innings in a season whereas a #4 starter could pitch 150-180 innings. 

    That may change over time as we see the roles a little less defined. Starters are often asked to go through an order twice, which generally will be less than five innings. As we move forward, there may be a few guys that reach 150 innings, but many starters may top out at 130 innings while many relievers could jump closer to 100 innings. We shall see. 

    Today's five prospects include two relievers. Going behind the curtain a bit, this is the range the lefty Charlie Barnes would have fit into. As you know by now, he has signed to play in Korea in 2022. 

    Remember, this is a prospect rankings, and it is significantly different than Nick's Twins Top Assets series that is running now too. 

    Let's get to Twins pitching prospects that I have ranked 16th through 20th. 

    #20 - RHP Osiris German   
    2021 STATS: 2-2, 4 saves, 3.34 ERA, 38/0 G/GS, 1.20 WHIP, 90/24 K/BB, 59.1 IP

    The Twins signed Osiris German from the Dominican Republic in July of 2016. He has slowly worked his way up the Twins’ organizational ladder. He had not pitched for a full-season affiliate before the 2021 season. He split the year between Low-A Ft. Myers and High-A Cedar Rapids. He has good control. While the 23-year-old sits in the low 90s with his fastball, he has a plus-plus changeup. That is the pitch that is intriguing and could keep him moving up the system, hopefully to the big leagues. He will need to continue to improve and gain confidence in all of his pitches, but there is a lot to work with. 

    #19 - RHP Regi Grace 
    2021 STATS: 1-0, 2.59 ERA, 9/8 G/GS, 0.99 WHIP, 35/11 K/BB, 31.1 IP

    He had a scholarship offer to Mississippi State, but when the Twins made him their 10th round pick in the 2018 draft, Regi Grace signed quickly. A terrific athlete, Grace is very strong. While his velocity sat in the upper-80s and topped out around 90-91 in 2019, he was able to increase his fastball velocity, even touching 95 at times. The main thing holding him back to this point has been health. He missed time in 2021 with a shoulder impingement. However, after he came back, he gave up just three hits and struck out 12 batters over nine scoreless innings. He tossed the first three innings of a combined no hitter in his final start. 

    #18 - RHP Chris Vallimont 
    2021 STATS: 5-7, 5.84 ERA, 22/22 G/GS, 1.64 WHIP, 136/61 K/BB, 94.0 IP

    After coming to the Twins from the Marlins in the July 2019 Lewin Diaz trade, Chris Vallimont made four starts for the Miracle. The former fifth-round pick from Mercyhurst didn’t pitch at all in 2020. He began the 2021 season with a few weeks on the Injured List but still made 21 starts. He certainly had his ups and downs. He had one stretch in which he gave up five or more earned runs in five of six starts. He also had 11 starts in which he gave up two runs or less. He was added to the 40-man roster in November because he has really good stuff. Vallimont sits in the mid-90s, and he’s got good (though inconsistent) secondary stuff. In the past, he has shown good control, but he struggled with that part of the game in 2021. That said, he was consistently able to miss bats. That is why he’s on the 40-man roster. 

    #17 - RHP Casey Legumina 
    2021 STATS: 4-2, 3.28 ERA, 15/9 G/GS 1.07 WHIP, 63/16 K/BB, 49.1 IP

    Casey Legumina was drafted out of high school in Arizona but chose to go to Gonzaga instead. As a sophomore, he became a top closer in college baseball. He was set to be a starter for the ‘Zags in 2019, but after four starts, he needed Tommy John surgery. Still, the Twins had seen enough and selected him in the eighth round of the draft that year. He rehabbed the rest of that summer and into the 2020 season. That means 2021 was his professional debut. He worked 44 2/3 innings for Ft. Myers before ending the season with one start in Cedar Rapids before the playoffs. He throws his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and has a really good slider. He’s also continuing to work on his changeup. The Twins want to use him as a starter, but obviously they had to be careful with his innings in 2021. He could be a sleeper in 2022.  

    #16 - LHP Jovani Moran 
    2021 MiLB STATS: 4-2, 2.41 ERA, 35/0 G/GS, 0.89 WHIP, 109/32 K/BB, 67.1 IP
    2021 MLB STATS: 0-0, 7.88 ERA, 5/0 G/GS, 2.00 WHIP, 10/7 K/BB, 8.0 IP 

    It took some time, but lefty Jovani Moran finally reached the big leagues in September of 2021. The southpaw had been the Twins seventh-round pick back in 2015 out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. When healthy, Moran has been quite successful in the minor leagues. He’s got a low-to-mid 90s fastball that touches 95, but it is his changeup that gets people talking. It is a plus-plus pitch and he gets a lot of swings and misses with it. Maybe sacrilege, but many compare it to Johan Santana’s changeup. He also has a slider that can be plus-plus at times. It was wise to get Moran some innings late in the 2021 season to help the nerves which can get to him at times. If he can throw strikes, Moran has a chance to be a long-term, late-inning, dominant relief option.  

    This is another interesting group. There are a couple of relievers with plus-plus changeups, one of whom is ready to shine with the Twins. The other three have development to do, but the potential to be really good if they can stay healthy. 

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

    Pitchers Part 1: 26-30  
    Pitchers Part 2: 21-25

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    Thanks for adding new names to our prospect list.  Nothing on this group stood out - Vallimont still does not seem like a real asset yet and hopefully Moran will fill out a BP role this year.  I hope you give us up dates when the season actually starts this year.

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    Thanks Seth.  Appreciate all the extra work on these lists (loving the separate pitcher/hitter lists).  I like the idea of the subset of starters and relievers, as situational needs and differing priorities can often color where people would "rank" individual players.  Seems like a lot of extra work, but if your willing to write it up, I am more than pleased to read it (and thank you for you work :) ). 

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    I was keeping an eye on Osiris last year especially after dominating in low A.  He slipped a bit in High A as his WHIP went up quite a bit.  I assume due to adjusting to a tougher level.  Not sure what to think just yet as you generally need to wait until AA and AAA to see how pitchers are going to do and the jump to MLB is even tougher.  His A ball numbers give me something to dream on though.

    Reggie's numbers were solid but I have to say I was disappointed that he was hurt so much of the year.  It was a tough year for our pitchers last year.  Hopefully next year is better but just too little info to form any real opinion on Reggie Grace.

    I don't know why but my general impression on Casey Legumina was I questioned whether he had good enough stuff or not but looking at the numbers again it looks like he had a solid debut. I guess I must have seen the shaky starts?  

    Vallimont is crazy inconsistent.  I have seen him walk the bases loaded only to strike out the next two or three guys.  Lots of K's but lot's of Walks.  It was the beef MLB.com's profile had on him early on and it doesn't look like much has changed.  I can see why the Twins added him but once again he has a big year ahead of him.  Needs to harness his stuff if he ever hopes to make it.

    Moran was dominant in the minors last year but he was struggling as the season went on IMO.  Tough debut at the MLB level but at least he has been there done that now.  That change is a hammer but I worry about his Fastball getting hit out of the park.  It was hittable in years past maybe it is better now but if he solves that he could be elite.  His K rate has always been elite but control and and the fastball are the things that have held him back to this point IMO.  I hope he reaches his ceiling I feel like I have been watching and waiting for him to make it forever.

     

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    I also enjoy these lists and think the separation of pitchers from hitters is useful to avoid meaningless comparisons. If you separated starters from relievers, you might think about only doing 15 of each to keep 30 total pitchers. Of course, it's often hard to tell with prospects which ones will end up in the rotation vs. the bullpen.

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    Just impossible for me to comment on Grace or Legumina due to such a SSS. I fully appreciate any prospect list is based on pure stuff and potential and trying to extrapolate that for the future. But missing such time at this point, I just don't know if I'd rank them this high. But I also don't know that I wouldn't rank them this high either. Just really hope for a bigger and more clear picture after the 2022 season is complete.

    Very glad Vallimont was protected and I'm still very hopeful. While he needed to work on control previously, I don't recall it ever being so bad prior to 2021. I'm thinking the lost season just messed with his mechanics. The potential/stuff is obviously there. I could absolutely see a move to the pen in his future if the control and secondary stuff just doesn't come around.

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    Thanks, Seth.  Considering these five were 16-20, really looking forward to the next group(s).

    Will agree with the above comments that I just don't know what to expect from Vallimont.  Excited for the young trio, knowing they are a long way off.  Have my fingers crossed that Moran is the real deal and he confirms that with his play in 2022.

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    I'm a big fan of Moran. He's going to walk more batters than some people will be comfortable with, but that change-up is a real weapon and means that he's not going to be just a lefty specialist. I think he's MLB ready right now, but whether or not he starts the season in the Twins bullpen will depend on whether they sign more arms, I think. Regardless of where he starts, I'd wager money on him being in the bullpen at the end of the season.

    Vallimont is an interesting case. Any pitcher that can hunt Ks like he does is worth watching, but he may not be able to consistently command his pitches well enough to make it as a starter. But for a K-hunter like him, the bullpen is a fine backup plan. He would have 100% been grabbed if left unprotected in the Rule V because even good teams can take a flyer on a bullpen option like him for $100K and seem if they can get him on track consistently, because it's low risk. If you succeed, you've got a weapon for $100K, if you fail you either get $50K back or stash him in your system to keep trying for the rest of the season. Vallimont likely starts back at AA, and I have to wonder if this season if he still struggles as a starter if they'll make the conversion around midyear. The lack of a development year from COVID almost certainly hurt his progress. 

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    Still have questions,  may have preferred Twins protected Gore rather than Vallimont.  Think both are good, but Gore may be more projectable.  Good chance Vallimont never makes it, but if he does will be a real weapon. 

    Rest are lower level pitchers I know little about, but still a great article.

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    On 1/3/2022 at 9:14 AM, MN_ExPat said:

    Thanks Seth.  Appreciate all the extra work on these lists (loving the separate pitcher/hitter lists).  I like the idea of the subset of starters and relievers, as situational needs and differing priorities can often color where people would "rank" individual players.  Seems like a lot of extra work, but if your willing to write it up, I am more than pleased to read it (and thank you for you work :) ). 

    Seth, If you build it, they will come.

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