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  • Five Overlooked Twins Prospects for 2022


    Ted Schwerzler

    Last season the Minnesota Twins saw Jose Miranda go from being passed over in the Rule 5 draft to having a season worthy of placing him within the organization’s top 10. Not all prospects are built the same, and despite their current ranking, it’s worth taking note of guys who may surprise you in the year ahead.

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    When he blew up, Miranda was outside the top 15 on virtually all Twins prospect lists and barely within the top 30 on others. It’s a bit rare that a meteoric rise occurs, but there are prospects all over the Minnesota system capable of notable 2022 seasons. While their situations may differ, the talent taking over once the games get going seems like a pretty good bet.
     
    Royce Lewis
    Now 22-years-old and playing for the first time in two years, the time has certainly gotten the better part of the former number one overall pick. We last saw Lewis in the Arizona Fall League at the end of 2019, and he tore up the competition. After a disappointing season that resulted in just a .661 OPS between High-A and Double-A, that was nice to see. The leg kick and swing path have been highly discussed, as has his case to stick at shortstop or move into the outfield. Regardless of the talking points, it will be nice to see the Twins top prospect back on the field, and I’d bet on his maturity and talent taking over. Give me a focused Lewis producing in a big way this season to remind pundits why he was raved about for so long.
     
    Simeon Woods-Richardson
    The second piece brought to the Twins in their swap of Jose Berrios, Woods-Richardson was well regarded and a popular trade target. He posted just a 5.91 ERA in 2021 and gave up six earned runs in eight innings within Minnesota’s system. It certainly wasn’t a great debut, but plenty was going against him following the trade. He played for Team USA in the Olympics, but played should be used loosely as he never made an appearance. Shutting down his workload in the middle of a season for that long created a significant road back and ultimately created a less-than-ideal situation. He’s talented and has been ranked highly because of it. The strikeout stuff should be expected to return in 2022, and seeing Woods-Richardson dominate en route to a Major League Debut would be far from unexpected.
     
    Misael Urbina
    Playing in his age-20 season for 2022, Urbina was stateside for the first time in 2021. He posted just a .585 OPS in the Complex League, but the 82/54 K/BB rate is where things get exciting. It’s clear he has a strong sense of plate discipline, and with another year of training as he grows into his body, Urbina’s ceiling continues to be worthy of dreaming on. There’s a substantial speed and power combination here, and playing centerfield is something he looks natural doing. I’d be far from shocked in the upcoming year, isn’t his coming out party.
     
    Spencer Steer
    If you haven’t been keeping tabs on Steer, it’s been time for a while. A third-round pick in 2019, Steer has posted OPS numbers north of .800 each of the past two seasons. Last year he blew up for 24 homers and posted a .409 OBP at High-A Cedar Rapids. Steer is now 24 and likely not going to be a Major League All-Star, but he has shown the makings of a solid regular. Utilizing the 2021 season, Steer could make his start at Double-A in 2022 a short one and be knocking on the door from St. Paul. 
     
    Kala’i Rosario
    A fifth-round pick in 2020, Rosario didn’t get his opportunity to make a pro debut until last season due to Covid. However, he didn’t disappoint and posted a .793 OPS as an 18-year-old in the Complex League. His five homers in just 188 at-bats were nice to see, and there’s plenty of room for the plate discipline to take a step forward. Rosario is a corner outfielder, and his calling card will never be defense, so the bat needs to play, but the exciting part is that it looks the part so early. Getting into full-season ball this year, I’d be far-from-shocked if Rosario doesn’t immediately turn heads and see two promotions over the course of the year.

    What other prospects do you see worthy of keeping a particularly close eye on this season?

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    1 hour ago, RpR said:

    All of them are still a crap shoot like Celestino, Larnach and Rooker.

    Spring training may shed some light of their future.

    That's 97% of all draft picks and amateur signings.

    I don't think ST will shine any magical light on these guys, but like Ted said (hehe... sorry Ted), these 5 have the talent and moxy to make a big statement this season. 

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    I'm watching Yunior Severino. He has been paid 4.5 million (some by Atlanta and some by the Twins) so far and now it is time to show that he was worth it. If I got my hands on that kind of money and I had to go to the office tomorrow  for my job, I might be tempted to cruise, Hopefully that won't happen with Yunior.

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    I would remove Lewis from this list only because I don't think he's been overlooked at all.

    I think there a NUMBER of arms that could be added to this list from Gipson-Long to Gross to Laweryson and a few others that could make a Winder/Varland kind of move in 2022 that make us do a double take and head turn.

    But I have 3 names to add to this list.

    1] Sands. We talk so much about so many arms for various reasons, but Sands always seems to be the "oh yeah, him" part of the conversation. He has very quietly established himself as a legitimate SP option that seems to be "forgotten" about.

    2] Cavaco. He's a small lightening rod in the organization. Personally, I'd say he's a wild card. Kid seems to have a great attitude and just LOVES the game. He's an unrefined 5 tool talent who was selected as a fast riser when the Twins picked him. He seems to have everything you want athletically from range to arm to speed and power. But he's young, missed 2020, looked improved in 2021 early before injury, and then finished poorly. Healthy, a mental, emotional and physical re-set for 2022, does he start to grab hold of his talent and potential and start to become the kind of player he could be?

    3] Julian. Could you ask for a better 1st professional debut? I know there are some questions about how good defensively he could be, and where he should settle. But isn't that true for a lot of young position players with ONE year under their belt? And maybe he's only solid at various spots. I'm fine with that. A great athlete with the ability to play a couple of spots with good/great offensive promise, we'll find a spot for him.

    NOTE:  I am high on Steer. If he can actually be OK at SS on a fill-in basis, I think he LEAPS in regard to future ML projections for the Twins. And I have real hope Howard figures things out his 2nd year.

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    Ben Rortvedt. I think he already used up his rookie status and may not be on any of these lists but he was used on the roster much the same as Celestino, meaning before his time. Rortvedt has shown himself to be a good catcher and has displayed his strength. Now he needs to forge his swing to the ball and not be concerned with power. He could develop quickly as a hitter once he looks to just hit line drives. Last year he gave up quite a few at bats swinging out of his shoes at a pitch that was hittable. MLB pitchers usually only give a batter one pitch and wild swings play into the pitcher's hand. 

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    3 hours ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    I'm watching Yunior Severino. He has been paid 4.5 million (some by Atlanta and some by the Twins) so far and now it is time to show that he was worth it. If I got my hands on that kind of money and I had to go to the office tomorrow  for my job, I might be tempted to cruise, Hopefully that won't happen with Yunior.

    I think there's still steam there but he's 22 and hasn't played above High-A.  He was amazing with Cedar Rapids last year; can he keep it up?

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    2 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I would remove Lewis from this list only because I don't think he's been overlooked at all.

    Royce was added because every article starts with his time missed and the long swing. Those are both fair concerns, but I still think this is a regular All-Star talent even if he debuts later than desired. That's overlooked to me.

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    1 hour ago, tony&rodney said:

    Ben Rortvedt. I think he already used up his rookie status and may not be on any of these lists but he was used on the roster much the same as Celestino, meaning before his time. Rortvedt has shown himself to be a good catcher and has displayed his strength. Now he needs to forge his swing to the ball and not be concerned with power. He could develop quickly as a hitter once he looks to just hit line drives. Last year he gave up quite a few at bats swinging out of his shoes at a pitch that was hittable. MLB pitchers usually only give a batter one pitch and wild swings play into the pitcher's hand. 

    Rortvedt has over 1200 minor league ABs and an OPS of .672. If he becomes a competent hitter it would be an absolute miracle. Drew Butera owned a .644 OPS in the minors, so Ben has a path, but it isn't a noteworthy one.

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    1 hour ago, Ted Schwerzler said:

    Rortvedt has over 1200 minor league ABs and an OPS of .672. If he becomes a competent hitter it would be an absolute miracle. Drew Butera owned a .644 OPS in the minors, so Ben has a path, but it isn't a noteworthy one.

    A miracle like Jose Miranda? Rortvedt did ok in St. Paul; he was competent there. He hasn't projected to hit but the exposure and experience gained last year was eye opening for him and like Miranda and others a simple adjustment applied may bring results. This will be an interesting year for both Rortvedt and Miranda.

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    I like Steer, he has a loud bat. Needs to cut down his Ks a bit and continue the power. Not sure he sticks at SS, though I believe he can be a regular in the Bigs 

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    10 hours ago, Ted Schwerzler said:

    Rortvedt has over 1200 minor league ABs and an OPS of .672. If he becomes a competent hitter it would be an absolute miracle. Drew Butera owned a .644 OPS in the minors, so Ben has a path, but it isn't a noteworthy one.

    Rordtvedt has shown good improvement in his numbers the last few years compared to the first couple. Butera never showed that kind of average hitting consistently. I think you should review their numbers a bit instead of lumping a whole minors career into 1 number.

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    On 1/5/2022 at 12:21 AM, tony&rodney said:

    A miracle like Jose Miranda? Rortvedt did ok in St. Paul; he was competent there. He hasn't projected to hit but the exposure and experience gained last year was eye opening for him and like Miranda and others a simple adjustment applied may bring results. This will be an interesting year for both Rortvedt and Miranda.

    I guess I don’t see Miranda as that much of a miracle? Miranda was Arraez with a little more power before 2021. Now he’s Arraez with a lot more power, which I hope continues. 
     

    It’s easier to teach a guy who has good plate discipline to hit for power, but it is not easy to teach a guy with power to have good plate discipline. Unfortunately for Rortvedt he’s not a power or plate discipline guy. 

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    1 hour ago, Twins33 said:
    On 1/5/2022 at 12:21 AM, tony&rodney said:

     

    I guess I don’t see Miranda as that much of a miracle?

    I don't either, yet he struggled in 2019 because that is what young players often do. I am hopeful that Miranda can take the adjustments he made last season into MLB this year.

    Rortvedt is a catcher though and the bar is significantly lower, especially if they are good with a glove and Rortvedt has a good glove. If he can duplicate his St. Paul numbers or come close, he would be quite useful. Catchers need to be looked at differently. There simply isn't any other position in baseball similar to it.

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    On 1/6/2022 at 11:43 AM, tony&rodney said:

    I don't either, yet he struggled in 2019 because that is what young players often do. I am hopeful that Miranda can take the adjustments he made last season into MLB this year.

    Rortvedt is a catcher though and the bar is significantly lower, especially if they are good with a glove and Rortvedt has a good glove. If he can duplicate his St. Paul numbers or come close, he would be quite useful. Catchers need to be looked at differently. There simply isn't any other position in baseball similar to it.

    I agree with that. For me his bar is Butera. I think he has a better bat than Butera, not enormously better but better. If he becomes a successful backup for 10+ years then he will have at least met that Butera bar. 

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