A lefty starter from Tomah, Wisconsin, Connor Prielipp was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019 and tabbed as the state’s top draft prospect. As the Crimson Tide staff ace, Prielipp dominated to the tune of 21 scoreless innings with 35 strikeouts before the pandemic ended the 2020 season. He underwent Tommy John surgery last May, but showed well during the Major League Baseball draft combine. Prielipp has a devastating slider and can touch 95 mph on his fastball.
He’s agreed to an over-slot deal with the Twins. His professional career will soon be underway, I caught up with him in the days following the selection.
Twins Daily: Your draft status was talked about as an early pick, but having not pitched after surgery you had to have some uncertainty as to how things would go. What was the experience surrounding the draft and workouts for you?
Connor Prielipp: Yeah, not pitching for a long time was really tough on me, but I never lost the confidence that I had while I was playing, and I always believed in myself. I was able to do the bullpen in Hoover and the [MLB] Combine and to be fortunate enough to give myself the opportunity to play professional baseball.
TD: Your stuff was some of the best in the country prior to Tommy John surgery. How have you rebuilt following surgery and where do you feel like you’re at now?
CP: My Tommy John surgery rehab has gone very well throughout the whole process, and I feel like I am just about back to my old self at the moment.
TD: With such an impressive slider and the Twins being notable for loving the pitch, what are you most excited about developing with your offerings and repertoire?
CP: I am very excited to start working with a professional staff, and I am not working on anything, in particular, to add to my repertoire at the moment.
TD: Coming into professional baseball, what do you think is the thing that you as a pitcher can take the biggest leap? How do you feel about the pitch clock in the minors?
CP: The biggest leap that I can take as a pitcher coming into professional baseball is to just become more polished and to be more consistent with all my pitches. The pitch clock doesn’t really bother me, and I don’t really have too big of an opinion on it.
TD: What do you know about the Minnesota Twins? Have you ever been to Target Field?
CP: Growing up close to the Twins and Target Field, I know a lot about who their best players were and some of their history, but I, unfortunately, grew up a Brewers fan and never made the trip to Target Field.
TD: As a person or player, what is something you want Twins Territory to know about you?
CP: Something that I would want Twins Territory to know about me is that I am going to do everything in my power to try and bring a World Series to Minneapolis.