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  • 3 Twins Prospects that Need Healthy 2023 Seasons


    Cody Christie

    Every year, injuries impact the development timeline of multiple top prospects. Here are three Twins prospects looking to have a healthier 2023 campaign.

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints

    Last season, three notable names returned from injury at the top of the Twins' prospect rankings. Royce Lewis was returning from a torn ACL, while Matt Canterino and Jhoan Duran were recovering from strained elbows. Lewis had a tremendous season before tearing his ACL for the second straight season. Canterino was limited to 37 innings before requiring Tommy John surgery. Thankfully, during his rookie campaign, Jhoan Duran became one of baseball's most dominant relievers. Entering the 2023 season, the Twins hope these three prospects can get back on track to prove they are healthy. 

    Royce Lewis, SS
    2022 Injury: Torn ACL

    Lewis didn't want to be on this list in two consecutive off-seasons. However, he has already proven that he can return from this injury and not lose a beat. There was some question last year if Lewis would need time to adjust to the Triple-A level after not appearing in a competitive game since 2019. It certainly didn't look like he missed a beat. He posted a .993 OPS in 24 games before being called up for his big-league debut.

    Then Lewis went 12-for-39 (.308) with six extra-base hits in his first 11 MLB games with the Twins. With Carlos Correa signed, Lewis doesn't need to be rushed back in 2023. He can take his time to prove he is healthy again at Triple-A before being being called up. Still, the Twins need Lewis to become a player that impacts both sides of the ball for the next decade. 

    Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF
    2022 Injury: Torn Meniscus

    Last season, Rodriguez showed why the Twins were so high on him when they signed him in July 2019. He was considered a top-10 international prospect in the class. Unfortunately, the pandemic postponed his professional debut to 2021, where he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with five doubles, two triples, and ten home runs.

    Rodriguez spent the 2022 season in Fort Myers, where he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition. In 47 games, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with more walks (57) than strikeouts (52). His season ended in June after he tore his meniscus and needed surgery. Minnesota can start Rodriguez in Fort Myers while the weather is colder, but he should spend most of the season in Cedar Rapids. He's out to prove that his breakout season wasn't a fluke. 

    Jordan Balazovic, SP
    2022 Injury: Left Knee Strain

    Balazovic's 2022 season was delayed until mid-May due to a left knee strain, and he went on to have the worst season of his professional career. In 72 2/3 innings, he posted a 7.68 ERA with a 1.97 WHIP with a 77-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lucas wrote extensively on ways to fix Jordan Balazovic, saying, "It's possible that the lingering pain caused him to diminish his knee extension after foot plant, impacting his velocity and command."

    The Twins don't need to rush Balazovic to the big leagues with other pitchers ahead of him on the team's depth chart, including Louie Varland and Simeon Woods Richardson. Balazovic can spend the beginning of the season proving he is healthy at Triple-A before a potential mid-season call-up.

    Which has the most to prove this season? Can all three stay healthy? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

     

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    I think Rodriguez has the longest road to walk, so probably the least to prove, although it would be great to see him have a complete breakout season. Lewis needs to prove he can be healthy and the skills are real, I don't want him following in Buxton's footsteps. Balazovic, I think, has the most to prove. The Twins really need top end starters and it would be great for the team if he proves he is one of those.

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    37 minutes ago, gman said:

    Lewis needs to prove he can be healthy and the skills are real, I don't want him following in Buxton's footsteps

    Exactly why we cannot trade either Lewis or Lee.  If both turn out to be super players, there will be room for both of them on the diamond. But we cannot afford to trade Lee and then have Lewis turn into 80 Game Buxton or worse.

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    Emmanuel has a chance to be special, as in superstar player. I agree that this year is big for him because he totally dominated FSL. I hope he gets a half year at Wichita which is very aggressive.

    Balazovic looked lost on the mound and one can only hope that a complete recovery from any ailments and a fresh year can reset his approach to pitching because his stuff is still decent.

    Lewis will fit in as soon as the rust is off. His talent, confidence, and experiences last year should make him a big contributor to the Twins this coming season. Hopefully he can avoid further injuries and build his career.

    I guess Alex Kirilloff is not a prospect any longer but he sure needs to prove he can rip like we saw in St. Paul last summer for a brief spell. 

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    I agree that the young AAAA need to stay healthy first and just be awesome MLB talent.  Then for depths sake the next crop like Lee , Martin and co need to cont their development to step in if needed. Most of all, no more Tommy Johns for a few years on any of the pitchers. Throw strikes and get outs.  No blown out arms!!!

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    When speaking of coming back from injury, I would like to include Enlow. I am ecstatic that he cleared waivers and is still a Twin.  He just might return to the prospect we thought in his first full season following TJ.

    Will disagree on ERod.  Do not want him spending most his season with the Kernels.  Rather want to see him ripping the cover off the ball and ending his year with the Twins.  If teams like Atlanta and others can have 20 year old Latin players making the big club, why can’t the Twins?

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    No doubt the Pitchers are the most important. Remember we already had poor pitching down the stretch and now with the shift change even more hits will get through!!

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