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  • TD Top Twins Prospect Rankings (Post Draft and Trade Deadline): 15-11


    Matt Braun

    On Tuesday, we revealed prospects 16-20 in our new, post-deadline update. Today, we will announce our next five prospects in rank.

    Image courtesy of David Youngs

    15. Noah Miller - INF
    Age: 18
    ETA: 2025
    2021 Stats: n/a
    2021 Mid-Season Ranking: n/a

    There is little to say about Noah Miller considering the fact that he is just 18, and has not played a game of professional baseball yet. The Twins decided to select Miller with the final pick in the 1st round of the 2021 MLB Draft as they believe in his immense potential as a switch-hitting, athletic shortstop. Oh, and also because he hit .608 as a high school senior. No, that is not a typo. Miller will certainly require a significant amount of time to develop, but the end result could be a truly dynamic middle-infielder who could anchor the top of a lineup for years. Just make sure to keep his name tucked away for future reference.

    14. Drew Strotman - RHSP
    Age: 24
    ETA: 2021
    2021 Stats: 67 ⅔ IP, 3.59 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 4.14 FIP, 22.8 K%, 13.1 BB%
    2021 Mid-Season Ranking: n/a

    Drew Strotman is perhaps the most polarizing prospect the Twins received at the trade deadline. Fangraphs has him placed optimistically as the team’s 7th best prospect (and on the edge of the top 100 prospect list), while MLB.com ranked him as the franchise's 15th best prospect-a number much closer to what we decided. At any rate, Strotman is an exciting combination of talent and seasoning. A brand new cutter has deepened what was already an intriguing repertoire of major league quality. He has already been added to the 40-man roster so his promotion to the major league club is simply a formality at this point. The walks are high, but Eric Longenhagen wrote that Strotman is “likely a big league starter”. Lord knows that the Twins need as many of those as they can get.

    13. Gilberto Celestino - OF
    Age: 22
    ETA: 2021
    2021 Stats: (MLB): .136 AVG, .177 OBP, .288 SLG, 23 wRC+ (AA/AAA): .259 AVG, .338 OBP, .431 SLG, 107 WRC+
    2021 Mid-Season Ranking: 7

    Gilberto Celestino is the only player from this part of the list to play at the major league level and, well, he certainly seemed overwhelmed. The young outfielder was acquired by the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade three years ago (holy bleep, it’s been three years already?), and it is quite clear that, while Celestino possesses quality tools, he needs more seasoning before he can succeed in the show. But fear not. Celestino is still just 22 years old and, as we all have seen over the past few years, toolsy center fielders often require an extended amount of time to realize their full potential. Celestino will play out the rest of 2021 at AAA (where he owns a 130 wRC+ in a small sample) and will be better prepared to potentially etch out a role on the 2022 Twins. 

    12. Matt Wallner - OF
    Age: 23
    ETA: 2022
    2021 Stats (A+): .281 AVG, .338 OBP, .548 SLG, 135 wRC+
    2021 Mid-Season Ranking: 10

    Matt Wallner was plucked from the backwoods of Minnesota by the Twins with the 39th overall pick of the 2019 draft. Well, that is not entirely accurate as the Twins neither physically plucked him, like one would with an apple, nor was he taken directly from the state (he played college ball at the University of Southern Mississippi), but the sentence sounds cool so it shall stay. (Editor's Note: Ummmm....) Anyways, Wallner was drafted as a high-strikeout guy with “light tower power,” and so far in his minor league career he has played… like a high strikeout guy with light tower power. He has been frustratingly limited to just over 30 games in 2021 due to a pesky wrist injury that proved to be more serious than previously believed. He had surgery on his hamate bone. But in the time he has played, Wallner has mashed. His nine homers over 148 plate appearances gives him about a 36 home run pace over 600 plate appearances (a typical full season), while his .548 slugging percentage would make him the 11th best qualified major leaguer by that stat. Simply put, a healthy Wallner can absolutely crush. 

    11. Josh Winder - RHSP
    Age: 24
    ETA: 2022
    2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 72 IP, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 3.41 FIP, 29.1 K%, 4.7 BB%
    2021 Mid-Season Ranking: 8

    Perhaps no prospect throughout the Twins’ system has seen his stock rise higher in 2021 than Josh Winder. Even the noted, uh, “strong opinion-holder”, Keith Law, admitted that he was anticipating watching Winder pitch in 2021. So far, Winder has not disappointed. He saw a tangible uptick in velocity while working out in 2020, and the upgrade has rippled throughout his entire pitch mix. The result was an utterly dominant stint at AA Wichita that saw him strike out more than 30% of the hitters he faced, walk less than 5% of them, and earn a trip to the MLB Futures Game. Batters hit a paltry .207 against him, and I can only imagine that hitters in the AA-Central North division threw an absolute rager of a party to celebrate his promotion to AAA. A shoulder injury has cut Winder’s playtime in AAA to just four meager starts, and it appears that the team is in no rush to bring Winder back in 2021; a mix of injuries and a desire to limit his innings total is the culprit here. In any case, Winder should be on everyone's radar as a starter who will make an impact in 2022. 

     

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    I understand the excitement over Noah Miller, but as I have posted in the pass I want to see him perform in the minors before handing him such a high rank.  

    I will be interested in the top ten since Celestino and Winder could not crack it.

    Final thought - I like Wallner, he seems to be what the team wanted Sabato to be. 

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    That is a heck of a nice list.  The Twins really liked Miller and hopefully he reaches his potential.  Seems to have Rock solid tools just need to see if some of those will be plus or not.

    I like the write up on Strotman and I know very little about him since the Twins just got him but so far I haven't been overly impressed by his outings.  Feels like he needs more time.  Not saying he isn't good I just don't feel like he has been overly dominant and it takes that to make the jump to the big leagues.  It is late in the season and no one pitched normally last year so I am sure fatigue is part of it but just sayin he has looked OK not great to me.

    Celestino has looked horrible at the plate in MLB but pretty darn good at AAA.  He and Rortvedt are tearing up AAA ball.  Once he can hit at the MLB level he looks like a lock in center.  He is no Buxton but still a solid defensive player.

    I have been hard on Wallner in the past mainly because of the K rate being high and walk rate being fairly low.  Yet he does seem to barrel the ball well and has a 383 BABIP to show for it.  Still seems like there is likely regression but I have been saying that all year and he is still at a nice 886 OPS.  I can see now what the Twins saw and it is tantalizing but I think there is a fair bit of work to be done for that power to show up at the MLB level or else they will have Rooker II on their hands.

    I don't have much to say about Winder other than he has dominated since A ball.  I do think he could start for the Twins right now.  Probably be an adjustment period but I think will be a good pitcher for them in the future.  Honestly I think he could be higher than this but I do like Duran, Balazovich, Canterino, and Ryan a lot as well and I assume those names will soon appear.

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    Will second most of Dman's comments, especially those about Strotman.  After another so-so start last night, not a good day to announce him at #14.  Personally, I would have him lower along with Wallner.  But again, Wallner was on fire for awhile until having several 0-for-whatever the last few games.  

    On the other hand, I continue to believe that Winder may, I repeat may, be the best pitching prospect in the organization.  It's a shame he isn't pitching, but that was to be expected after not throwing an inning last year.  Speaking of last year, if memory serves he was not at the Alternate Site as you indicated...although I could be mistaken about that.

    Won't lobby for Miller to be any higher than #15.  Well I think he should be ahead of Strotman, so maybe #14.  There is nothing I don't like about this kid and the Twins picking him where they did.  Considering he was a first round pick out of high school and his brother was a lower pick out of a small college, one would assume he is a much better prospect.  Yet, his brother progressed rather quickly to his big league debut with the Indians this year.  The genes appear to be there and I expect the Twins got the good one.  

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    19 minutes ago, roger said:

    On the other hand, I continue to believe that Winder may, I repeat may, be the best pitching prospect in the organization.  It's a shame he isn't pitching, but that was to be expected after not throwing an inning last year.  Speaking of last year, if memory serves he was not at the Alternate Site as you indicated...although I could be mistaken about that.

    Won't lobby for Miller to be any higher than #15.  Well I think he should be ahead of Strotman, so maybe #14.  There is nothing I don't like about this kid and the Twins picking him where they did.  Considering he was a first round pick out of high school and his brother was a lower pick out of a small college, one would assume he is a much better prospect.  Yet, his brother progressed rather quickly to his big league debut with the Indians this year.  The genes appear to be there and I expect the Twins got the good one.  

    Winder has struggled with the Saints, and a lot of that may be tiring down after, as you say, he did NOT participate in the alternate site last year. 

    Owen Miller was drafted out of college though, not high school, so his advancement should be faster. 

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    Felt Winder should be higher.  Of all the Twins up and coming pitchers, I feel he and Ryan will be here first.  Ryan to possibly start next year and Winder shortly thereafter.  Winder may have to rotate between the Twins and Saints to keep his innings down, ramping the pitchers up after two short years is proving to be an issue.

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    I buy the "Winder is tired" argument, because his initial showing with the Saints was strong.

    Then he pitched went to the Futures Game and struggled after that before being shut down. I think that fatigue played a role, after throwing so regularly with Wichita. I hope he can rest a bit and come back healthy, whether that's at the end of this season or the next, where I think there's a spot that he can win with the Twins if he has a good Spring Training.

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    It's an interesting group. I'm interested in knowing more about why the wide range between where FanGraphs is ranking Strotman vs MLB/Twins Daily; is it based on the assessment of talent in the system or on Strotman himself? I think Strotman is a really interesting prospect, but he probably has the widest range of outcomes of anyone on this list,

    Celestino got called up way too early, but I still like his potential. Hopefully he finishes strong in AAA (which is where he should have been all along) and gets his confidence back up as a hitter. He's a solid defender and should be a factor soon. (Really interesting that he bats right and throws left?)

    Winder is a guy I just want healthy and pitching. I know they're being cautious with him, and they should since he didn't pitch last year, but everything looks to be heading in the right direction if he stays healthy. He needs innings. But the results look great, and if he's the 11th prospect on your list...that's a pretty exciting top 10.

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    I was initially surprised that Winder didn't rank higher but upon further review I can see 11 making sense. I assume the top 10 includes Balazovic, Canterino, Cavaco, Duran, Lewis, Martin, Miranda, Petty, Ryan and Woods-Richardson in some order. I think you could easily justify ranking Winder as high as 5th in that group or as low as 11th, all depends on taste. Just an exciting group in general. 

    Now that we're 2/3 through the list and the makeup of the top 10 is pretty clear I'm surprised Emmanuel Rodriguez didn't make the top 30. Pedigree as a top Intl FA signing is similar to Urbina, both are outfielders with lots of tools to dream on and a long ways away. Urbina put up impressive numbers in the DSL in 2019 and overall has been disappointing in Low-A. Rodriguez skipped the DSL and has been fairly impressive so far in the FCL. Did he get any consideration toward the back end of the top 30?

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    Miller may be the solid mid-west find from high school that got passed over.  Time will tell, but some scouts overlook players in mid-west due to lack of playing or lower competition.  It makes sense, but that leads to some guys getting passed on, from time to time.  

    Here is to hoping he falls into that category and comes out next year turning heads, but he does not need to rush it either if he will take a lot of time. 

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    Wallner's 23 years old with a BB rate of only 7.3% K rate at A+ of 35%. Wallner shouldn't be in the top 30. Compared to Daniel Palka, same age, same level.

    • D. Palka: .280/.352/.532 wRC+ 135 9.7% BB, 28.5% K
    • Wallner: .277/.338/.555 wRC+ 137 7.3% BB, 34.4% K

    I wouldn't say Wallner is absolutely a bust at this point, but he needs to make an enormous change in his plate approach.

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    I think it's perfectly fine to have Noah Miller at 15. He's projected as a shortstop and given high grades for his smoothness at the position. I honestly don't think there's a lot of difference between 15-30 in the Twins system. There's a lot of medium quality depth and it's hard to judge a lot of these players as significantly better or more likely to contribute than another.

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    I like Winder, don't like that he has pitched 72 innings and the talk is he is tired or fatigued. He turns 25 in less than two months.

    How much do you take age into consideration for the rankings? Sadly if for some reason he would be done pitching for the year, it would be hard for me to consider him a top prospect since it is likely his age 25 season would also be about limiting innings, and wouldn't be until he is 26 that the expectations are he could go a whole season, seems very old for a prospect.

    Also Strotman turns 25 in less than a month, if he isn't up real soon, he also seems a little old for to be considered a top prospect, doesn't mean he won't be a good major league pitcher, IMO just means he isn't a top prospect.

    I guess one of the good things having your pitching prospects been on the old side is you probably never really have to pay them a ton of money, they will be 31 or older before they are due for free agency and it is super easy to explain why you aren't going to pay a boatload of money to a guy on the downside of their career.

     

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    Strotman really intrigues me. Has a good frame, good velocity and the makings of solid secondary pitches. He misses all but a handful of rehab games at the end of 2019 due to surgery, then misses allnof 2020, and skips over AA to head straight to AAA. 

    He could be a real gem with just a little more time and patience. 

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    3 hours ago, Squirrel said:

    Perhaps this was stated in one of the previous articles, but I was wondering how these rankings were done? How many of you weighed in on this?

    Fair question... In total, it was the votes of 10 Twins Daily Minor League Writers... those that do the minor league reports or who have written several minor league-related articles/videos... 

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    1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    I like Winder, don't like that he has pitched 72 innings and the talk is he is tired or fatigued. He turns 25 in less than two months.

    How much do you take age into consideration for the rankings? Sadly if for some reason he would be done pitching for the year, it would be hard for me to consider him a top prospect since it is likely his age 25 season would also be about limiting innings, and wouldn't be until he is 26 that the expectations are he could go a whole season, seems very old for a prospect.

    Also Strotman turns 25 in less than a month, if he isn't up real soon, he also seems a little old for to be considered a top prospect, doesn't mean he won't be a good major league pitcher, IMO just means he isn't a top prospect.

    I guess one of the good things having your pitching prospects been on the old side is you probably never really have to pay them a ton of money, they will be 31 or older before they are due for free agency and it is super easy to explain why you aren't going to pay a boatload of money to a guy on the downside of their career.

     

    As noted in the previous message, we have ten voters included here, and I'm guessing we all have our own opinions and criteria. So, I can really only speak to mine... 

    Age-to-level-of-competition is a factor in prospect rankings. That said, this year I don't know how much that factors. There was a full missed year. Winder didn't pitch at all last year. Strotman had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and has been working his way back. I'd also add that age-to-level may be a slightly lesser criteria for me this year than normal years, and certainly less now that a few years ago. Guys are ready when they're ready. Guys that go to college for 3 or 4 years are naturally going to be a little older. 

    And frankly, if they come up at 26 and stay up, the Twins have control of them (if they're good or great) through their Age 31 or 32 season)... and frankly, the risk over 31-32 is high anyway.  But, that doesn't play into it as much as much wanting them to be ready when they get up there. 

    So many other factors or circumstances come into play for me. Tools. Somewhat performance. Injuries... and now a missed season. 

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    1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

    Strotman really intrigues me. Has a good frame, good velocity and the makings of solid secondary pitches. He misses all but a handful of rehab games at the end of 2019 due to surgery, then misses allnof 2020, and skips over AA to head straight to AAA. 

    He could be a real gem with just a little more time and patience. 

    And the Rays still put him on their 40-man roster... I think that says a lot too. 

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    9 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

    As noted in the previous message, we have ten voters included here, and I'm guessing we all have our own opinions and criteria. So, I can really only speak to mine... 

    Age-to-level-of-competition is a factor in prospect rankings. That said, this year I don't know how much that factors. There was a full missed year. Winder didn't pitch at all last year. Strotman had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and has been working his way back. I'd also add that age-to-level may be a slightly lesser criteria for me this year than normal years, and certainly less now that a few years ago. Guys are ready when they're ready. Guys that go to college for 3 or 4 years are naturally going to be a little older. 

    And frankly, if they come up at 26 and stay up, the Twins have control of them (if they're good or great) through their Age 31 or 32 season)... and frankly, the risk over 31-32 is high anyway.  But, that doesn't play into it as much as much wanting them to be ready when they get up there. 

    So many other factors or circumstances come into play for me. Tools. Somewhat performance. Injuries... and now a missed season. 

    The Fangraphs' prospect guys have said that looking at age this year is really off.....Covid messed up, in effect, two years, for many players (last and this). I expect we'll be back to some kind of normal in 3 years, assuming they play full seasons during that time.

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    LOL at Miller being 15 and Strotman being 14.  Strotman has never shown much, but Miller hasn't shown the slightest, and he was generally ranked pretty low for where the Twins took him.  I wouldn't even put Chase Petty this high, not that he has any better resume.

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