Joe Ryan, RH SP
Ryan was one of the key pieces as part of the Nelson Cruz trade and he made his organizational debut last week after returning from the Olympics. His Saints debut was ridiculous as he struck out nine batters in four innings. Ryan, a former water polo player, is known for the life on his fastball and his command of the strike zone. He led the minor-league baseball in strikeout rate in 2019 by fanning 183 batters in 123 2/3 innings. As a 25-year-old, he has already found success in the high minors, and the Twins may want to give him a September audition for the 2022 rotation.
Jose Miranda, INF
Miranda is having one of the best offensive seasons in team history among players in the high minors, and he is a lock to be the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. There are multiple ways to get him to Minneapolis before the season’s end. Entering 2021, he had struggled with working counts in his favor, which led to a lot of weak contact. Minnesota worked on his approach last season, and the results speak for themselves. St. Paul has been a remarkably better team with Miranda in the line-up, and the team has taken over first place in the division.
Jovani Moran, LHRP
Moran was left unprotected during this past season’s Rule 5 Draft (and the year before), but he went unselected, which looks like a mistake by MLB’s other organizations. Moran’s stock rose significantly this season as he has compiled strong numbers at Double- and Triple-A. He’s held opponents to hitting .115/.213/.230 (.443) as he has collected 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. His dominant change-up is how he misses bats, as MLB Pipeline calls it a double-plus pitch. Moran is big-league ready, but the Saints are fighting for a division title so the Twins may want to keep him in St. Paul.
Austin Martin, SS/CF
Martin, one of the pieces of the Jose Berrios trade, is the only player on this list not at Triple-A. He has been playing well at Double-A, and the argument can be made for him as the organization’s top prospect. He is an on-base machine, but there have been some questions raised this year about his power. Defensively, he can play multiple infield positions and centerfield, so this flexibility can allow him to reach the big leagues more quickly. Minnesota has two series against the Blue Jays near the end of September, and that might make for an intriguing big-league debut for Martin.
There are a few things to consider when looking at the names above. Three of the players are currently at Triple-A, and St. Paul is in the playoff hunt. Also, none of the players are currently on the 40-man roster, but all but Martin will need to be added this winter. There will be plenty of 40-man roster clean-up to do during the off-season, so the team might not want to add another wrinkle to that equation.
All four of these players look more than ready to help the big-league squad. Now the question remains, who will be the first to make it to the show?
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