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  • 4 Twins Prospect Debuts to Be Excited About in 2023


    Cody Christie

    Every season top prospects climb the organizational ladder and reach the big leagues. Here are four Twins prospects that fans can get excited about debuting in 2023.

    Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports

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    Prospect development is not a linear path. Some prospects reach the higher levels of the minor leagues and struggle, while others move quickly to the big-league level. Two of the prospects outlined below had a chance to reach the big leagues in 2022, but their performance didn't warrant a promotion. Injuries and poor performance can hurt a prospect's long-term outlook, but these players have the potential to impact the Twins in 2023.

    Brooks Lee
    TD Top Prospect Rank: 2
    Debut Prediction: September

    Minnesota selected Lee as the team's top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. He flew through three levels in the Twins system and ended the year at Double-A. In 31-games, he hit .303/.389/.451 (.839) with six doubles and four home runs. He likely spends most of 2023 at the Double-A level, but his performance will dictate his ultimate landing spot. There is no need to rush Lee to the big leagues, but his college experience and advanced bat can put him on track to be a late-season call-up. 

    Austin Martin
    TD Top Prospect Rank: 6
    Debut Prediction: July

    Martin entered the 2022 campaign as one of the Twins' top prospects, but his season went differently than planned. There was an opportunity for him to make his big-league debut in 2022 since he was repeating the Double-A level. Unfortunately, he struggled offensively with a .685 OPS while also dealing with a wrist injury. Martin ended September on a strong note and carried his hot hitting into the Arizona Fall League. If healthy, Martin is still part of the team's long-term plans while offering plenty of upside. 

    Edouard Julien
    TD Top Prospect Rank: 10
    Debut Prediction: May

    While Martin struggled in Wichita, Julien was one of the organization's breakout prospects in 2022. In 113 games, he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles, three triples, and 17 home runs. He posted an eye-popping 1.248 OPS this fall on the way to being named the AFL's Breakout Prospect. Julien is close to big-league-ready when it comes to his prospect development. He will play the year in the upper minors waiting for an opportunity to arise at the big-league level. Since he's on the 40-man roster, one injury is all it will take for a call-up.   

    Jordan Balazovic
    TD Top Prospect Rank: 15
    Debut Prediction: June
    Balazovic struggled through much of 2022 but ended the year on a high note. Minnesota needed many starting pitchers last season, but Balazovic never got the call. In 22 appearances (70.2 IP), he posted a 7.39 ERA with a 1.94 WHIP and a 76-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Multiple starting pitchers have passed him on the organizational depth chart, but there have been times when he was considered one of the team's best pitching prospects. His September might signify that he is ready to take the next step, which can set him up for a bounce back year in 2023. 

    Will all of these prospects debut in 2023? Can Martin and Balazovic bounce back? Who are you most excited to see? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

     

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    Julien has a problem in that 2B is occupied and when Lewis comes back it becomes even more crowded.  Yet I would like to see him in Minneapolis.  I know these things eventually work themselves out, but he has a road block for now - if Polanco is traded he will be up.  

    Lee certainly started out his career on a really high note and I would love to see him on the team this year.  If we end up with Correa then his path to the bigs may be blocked this year.  Like Julien, it might take a trade to open up a path.

    Balazovic was my favorite prospect pitcher until AAA happened.  I do not see him with the Twins in 23.  I just hope he does not turn into the next Thorpe.

    Martin?  Where does he play?  OF is too full.  Infield has the Julien and Lee and Lewis ready to move up.  I can see him as part of a trade.  

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    Good points mikelink45, but with Martin being a RH hitter and every OF'er we have not named Buxton being a LH hitter if Martin is playing and hitting well I could see him up by All Star game or before.  He could play IF and OF.  Wherever they need him.   I'm not ready to give up on Balazovic, if he can just stay healthy he could turn a corner rather quickly.  But that's a BIG if.  Canterino wasn't mentioned either, but if HE can stay healthy he certainly has the stuff to be up sometime this year in a BP capacity.  

    I for one wouldn't mind a trade of Polanco and Larnach to Miami to get one or two young pitchers depending on who the Twins prefer.  To me, that kind of move deepens and strengthens the pitching staff while opening a spot for Julien who is the guy I'm most excited to see hitting leadoff or 2nd in our lineup.  I think Julien is ready and I'm not afraid of sticking in there and letting him rake.  

    Let's imagine for a moment that the Twins somehow luck out and reel in Correa.  This would be a GOOD thing no matter what.  Lewis get's all the time he needs to rehab and knock off the rust.  If he's ready he can become the primary backup at SS and play other positions as needed.  Julien is still the primary 2B-man.  Lewis can play some 2B and 3B.  Miranda 3B, 1B and DH.  And if Brooks Lee rakes (and I think he will) he could be up by September.  If all this happens then Farmer becomes depth and we let the kids play and see if any or all of them are up to it.  If Correa ends up with the Mets,  Farmer backs up Lewis who becomes the everyday SS.  

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    Julien has a problem in that 2B is occupied and when Lewis comes back it becomes even more crowded.  Yet I would like to see him in Minneapolis.  I know these things eventually work themselves out, but he has a road block for now - if Polanco is traded he will be up.  

    Lee certainly started out his career on a really high note and I would love to see him on the team this year.  If we end up with Correa then his path to the bigs may be blocked this year.  Like Julien, it might take a trade to open up a path.

    Balazovic was my favorite prospect pitcher until AAA happened.  I do not see him with the Twins in 23.  I just hope he does not turn into the next Thorpe.

    Martin?  Where does he play?  OF is too full.  Infield has the Julien and Lee and Lewis ready to move up.  I can see him as part of a trade.  

    RIght now, trading Martin would be selling low.  I am sure the FO is getting a number of those calls.  I am hoping Kepler and possibly Polonco are traded to open up room for the youngsters.  Biggest issue is that trading Polanco will also be selling low, so am expecting the those will be either late spring training or moves in June and July.

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    Will agree with those thinking a trade is on the horizon with Lee, Julien and Martin all vying for the same spots on the diamond.  But that trade doesn’t need to be now.  Maybe in July.  Maybe next winter.

    will be interesting to see who the one who gets traded is.  Doesn’t make sense to speculate as that decision is beyond us.

     Insofar as Martin is concerned, seems he hit better late last year when he abandoned the changes from when the Twins were tinkering with his swing.  Good chance his bat and status returns in 2023.

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    Frankly, so much depends on trades and Correa's decision, that it is difficult to speculate.  The first three all have a chance of getting some time in the bigs this year if the Twins move some people, someone is injured, or if they tear up the minors like Julien last year and simply can't be denied.  I saw Balazovic several times last year and he looked to be a bit lost, had trouble repeating his delivery, and just wasn't  consistent with location or movement.  The stuff looks good, but I can't see him showing up until he has proved himself for most of the year at St. Paul.

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    Just now, RJA said:

    Frankly, so much depends on trades and Correa's decision, that it is difficult to speculate.  The first three all have a chance of getting some time in the bigs this year if the Twins move some people, someone is injured, or if they tear up the minors like Julien last year and simply can't be denied.  I saw Balazovic several times last year and he looked to be a bit lost, had trouble repeating his delivery, and just wasn't  consistent with location or movement.  The stuff looks good, but I can't see him showing up until he has proved himself for most of the year at St. Paul.

    Agree, the Correa signing does have an impact - not only on the slots directly available, but also on the direction the team takes at the deadline.  With Correa, if the Twins are in any way even remotely (i.e. delusionally) in the hunt for a playoff spot, this FO will be much less likely to pull the trigger on trading players like Polanco, Gallo and Farmer. Those three are the keys for Julien, Lee, and Martin (and Wallner for that matter) getting the ABs and innings they need to be ready for ‘24. In fact, they might even trade some of those young players to go all in on their Gray, Mahle, Maeda, Correa strategy for ‘23.  Who knows - maybe it will be the right call. 

    Without Correa, the FO might be more likely to grasp reality and develop/assess the young talent with meaningful major league experience.

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    I am most bullish on Jullien possibly making a difference this coming season.  He is on the 40 man.  He has a good eye at the plate so if struggling with the bat still has the ability to get on base.  He has power in his profile and works counts.  He does everything you want a good hitter to do.  Defense is not his calling card but if he can just get close to average somewhere his bat will carry him.

    I expect Brooks to have a good year but not being on the 40 man and if the Twins have a bit of stacked infield I find it hard to believe he would be up with the team before September and most likely next year.  If the Twins are out of it at the deadline and they make trades to clear things up maybe he gets a shot but with potential service time implications I just doubt we see much of Lee at the MLB level this year.

    Really hoping to see Martin rebound and if he does he could be the Twins right handed version of Nick Gordon.  He is on the 40 man and he can play 2nd, center and left field and supposedly short if you can live with the errors.  If he gets his Mojo back he too has a good chance to play around the deadline or if injuries mount.

    Jordon is a total wild card.  If he pitches effectively at all in AAA odds are they will use him this year at some point.  If he is just average to bad with the same high WHIP he might be in danger of being removed from the 40 man.  This could be a career defining year for Balazovich.

    It is a nice group of players and I hope they all have great years and make their way to the big leagues.

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    I just hope we can avoid injuries ...

    If not , I hope the prospects earn the right to play in the show and not be rushed ...

    Wallner was rushed because of all the injuries  , his defense  needs a lot of work ...

    Break spring training with the best players and if someone isn't performing at the major league level  , replace them with someone who is performing hot in the minors leagues ...

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    4 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    Good points mikelink45, but with Martin being a RH hitter and every OF'er we have not named Buxton being a LH hitter if Martin is playing and hitting well I could see him up by All Star game or before.  He could play IF and OF.  Wherever they need him.   I'm not ready to give up on Balazovic, if he can just stay healthy he could turn a corner rather quickly.  But that's a BIG if.  Canterino wasn't mentioned either, but if HE can stay healthy he certainly has the stuff to be up sometime this year in a BP capacity.  

    I for one wouldn't mind a trade of Polanco and Larnach to Miami to get one or two young pitchers depending on who the Twins prefer.  To me, that kind of move deepens and strengthens the pitching staff while opening a spot for Julien who is the guy I'm most excited to see hitting leadoff or 2nd in our lineup.  I think Julien is ready and I'm not afraid of sticking in there and letting him rake.  

    Let's imagine for a moment that the Twins somehow luck out and reel in Correa.  This would be a GOOD thing no matter what.  Lewis get's all the time he needs to rehab and knock off the rust.  If he's ready he can become the primary backup at SS and play other positions as needed.  Julien is still the primary 2B-man.  Lewis can play some 2B and 3B.  Miranda 3B, 1B and DH.  And if Brooks Lee rakes (and I think he will) he could be up by September.  If all this happens then Farmer becomes depth and we let the kids play and see if any or all of them are up to it.  If Correa ends up with the Mets,  Farmer backs up Lewis who becomes the everyday SS.  

    Canterino is out for the year due to TJ surgery

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    At this point our quality MLB proven INF depth is in shambles. Farmer & Polanco are above avg. at their respective positions. Hopefully Miranda can play a respectable 3B. If any of these get hurt or heaven forbid trade Polanco & we have to depend on these prospects to rise up from the minors where they haven't even established themselves yet at their positions,  would Celestino all over again & the team would tank like '21. Gordon isn't MLB INF, Arraez isn't either unless they extensively work w/ him at 3B thus together play at 1B.

    It's hard to know when Martin will be called up. If everything are fine hopefully he won't be called up until Sept. with Lee & Julien. Balazovik I don't see being called up this season. 

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    I would trade Araez while his value is high....I know this will be unpopular with fan's but he has no real position. He is below average in the field. Low power and will never have more value. With our dire need for arms I would try and get a pair of arms for him.  With him gone there would be room for Lewis/Gordon/Martin or Julien.

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    I wonder what it would take to get one of the Marlins starters they are shopping??   Araez or Kireloff???  or both plus some $$$$ for two Marlins starters?

    Kepler possibly?

     

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    1 hour ago, HoskenPowell said:

    I wonder what it would take to get one of the Marlins starters they are shopping??   Araez or Kireloff???  or both plus some $$$$ for two Marlins starters?

    Kepler possibly?

     

    Arraez or Miranda, Kirillof or Larnach, and Kepler for Cabrera and Luzardo should work for both teams. Perhaps add a Cavaco or Celestino from our side. That should help the Marlins with offense and strengthen the Twins pitching staff.

    It sure seems like the Twins will not move on anything until the entire Correa saga comes to a definitive end.

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    I've always liked Balazovic, but this is his year to either put up or shut up. 

     

    Love the list though! One thing I think about Julien is where is his defensive home? 2B is kind of deep, so he could be a DH, but that limits how much a guy ends up being worth. 

     

    As for Martin and Lee, both are exciting for different reasons. I hope Martin can continue what he did in the AFL. Lee, even if he doesn't stick at SS can be a valuable guy regardless. I think the September prediction is about right, barring staying healthy and such. 

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    8 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    Julien has a problem in that 2B is occupied and when Lewis comes back it becomes even more crowded.  Yet I would like to see him in Minneapolis.  I know these things eventually work themselves out, but he has a road block for now - if Polanco is traded he will be up.  

    Lee certainly started out his career on a really high note and I would love to see him on the team this year.  If we end up with Correa then his path to the bigs may be blocked this year.  Like Julien, it might take a trade to open up a path.

    Balazovic was my favorite prospect pitcher until AAA happened.  I do not see him with the Twins in 23.  I just hope he does not turn into the next Thorpe.

    Martin?  Where does he play?  OF is too full.  Infield has the Julien and Lee and Lewis ready to move up.  I can see him as part of a trade.  

    ………maybe work Martin into the trade with Kepler & Celestino & set some other franchise up in the OF, for an arm. Or maybe Celestino & López & Pagan & Kepler for an arm?

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    Balazovic has to make an appearance in 2023, or else why keep him on the 40-man. Unfortunately he is behind Woods Richhardson, Varland, Winder, Sands and maybe even Dobnak for that guy you call up if you have a double-header. Probably even see Brent Headrick jump ahead of Balazovic. I wonder if they will try Balazovic in the pen if he blows up in St. Paul. (Any reason to have him start the season in Wichita?)

     

    Julien and Martin in the same lineup, in St. Paul. Let's see some base-running that could translate well to the Twins going into 2024, especially with a healthy Buxton.

     

     

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    2 hours ago, HoskenPowell said:

    I would trade Araez while his value is high....I know this will be unpopular with fan's but he has no real position. He is below average in the field. Low power and will never have more value. With our dire need for arms I would try and get a pair of arms for him.  With him gone there would be room for Lewis/Gordon/Martin or Julien.

    ARAEZ:

    Hits as a slap/on base guy because he bats lead-off. Guarantee he can hit 12-14 HR’s and .305 batting 3rd or 5th. His RBI would go up from 48 to 80. Also, down in the line-up he  protects the guy in front of him. Trading hitting talent is not good……314 lifetime over 4 seasons - managed to find a spot for him in the line-up 144 times in ‘22. Doesn’t matter if he’s loved or hated, can’t trade his bat.

    Sign 2-3 FA arms and we’re good! (Wacha - Cueto - Fulmer - Hand - Chafin) all reasonable options)

    When healthy, Gordon is our starting LF for next 6 years! IMO.

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    Twins were last in MLB in steals last year and Martin had 34 in Wichita and 10 in the Fall League. I sure hope his bat comes around so they can add his speed, especially with the rule changes coming up. Even if there is no obvious position for him right now having Martin and Gordon as your two extra players would give the team a lot of desirable speed and defensive flexibility.

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    On 1/8/2023 at 8:08 AM, mikelink45 said:

    Julien has a problem in that 2B is occupied and when Lewis comes back it becomes even more crowded.  Yet I would like to see him in Minneapolis.  I know these things eventually work themselves out, but he has a road block for now - if Polanco is traded he will be up.  

    Lee certainly started out his career on a really high note and I would love to see him on the team this year.  If we end up with Correa then his path to the bigs may be blocked this year.  Like Julien, it might take a trade to open up a path.

    Balazovic was my favorite prospect pitcher until AAA happened.  I do not see him with the Twins in 23.  I just hope he does not turn into the next Thorpe.

    Martin?  Where does he play?  OF is too full.  Infield has the Julien and Lee and Lewis ready to move up.  I can see him as part of a trade.  

    Julien will not be traded.  His service time will be manipulated until there is an injury this year or next that will get him to the big show and I expect him to stay once he gets here. Lee will be right behind him in 2024. Balazovich and other young pitchers need to step up in 2023.  A deep dive into our young pitchers would be a great article to read. Martin will probably not be up until September. He needs to tear it up with the Saints this year. 

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    On 1/8/2023 at 8:08 AM, mikelink45 said:

    Julien has a problem in that 2B is occupied and when Lewis comes back it becomes even more crowded.  Yet I would like to see him in Minneapolis.  I know these things eventually work themselves out, but he has a road block for now - if Polanco is traded he will be up.  

    Lee certainly started out his career on a really high note and I would love to see him on the team this year.  If we end up with Correa then his path to the bigs may be blocked this year.  Like Julien, it might take a trade to open up a path.

    Balazovic was my favorite prospect pitcher until AAA happened.  I do not see him with the Twins in 23.  I just hope he does not turn into the next Thorpe.

    Martin?  Where does he play?  OF is too full.  Infield has the Julien and Lee and Lewis ready to move up.  I can see him as part of a trade.  

    You need to remember that injuries will happen, and not everyone at the MLB level will live up to expectations.  For 2b, why is it blocked by Lewis?  It is blocked by Polanco, and Arraez right now.  Of course Arraez can move to 1b or 3b, but Lewis would be much better defender at 3b than any other current option we have, if he is not SS, but lets not assume CC gets signed at this point.  As 3b for Lewis, Miranda is not some mega star there that he could not be pushed off by Lewis. 

    If Julien can put up the offense he has shown in minors, he can force is way into line up over what we have out there. Lee is similar, he would need to either get in for injury or force his way, but if his bat is MLB ready, they will find a spot if needed. 

    Martin, similar is based on injury or regression of other guys in OF.  I am pretty sure the article is pointing out when they would likely come up in a normal situation.  If there is regression, or others are forcing playing time of course some will not make debuts. 

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    23 hours ago, JD-TWINS said:

    ARAEZ:

    Hits as a slap/on base guy because he bats lead-off. Guarantee he can hit 12-14 HR’s and .305 batting 3rd or 5th. 

    Arraez:

    Average Exit Velocity - 48th percentile, Max Exit Velocity - 31st percentile, Hard Hit % - 7th percentile, Barrel % - 11th percentile. He doesn't strike out, but he doesn't hit the ball hard either.

    I don't see power in those rates, 8 HR/year is probably about what to expect.

    Julien is 2 years younger, under team control longer, has speed, has pop in his bat and plays the same  positions as Arraez, plus the OF. If/when Arraez is traded, slide the kid right in 

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    12 hours ago, Fatbat said:

    Julien will not be traded.  His service time will be manipulated until there is an injury this year or next that will get him to the big show and I expect him to stay once he gets here. Lee will be right behind him in 2024. Balazovich and other young pitchers need to step up in 2023.  A deep dive into our young pitchers would be a great article to read. Martin will probably not be up until September. He needs to tear it up with the Saints this year. 

    This FO didn't manipulate kiriloff, larnach, Lewis, Miranda, or any pitcher. Why do you think they will with Julien?

    He'll be up when someone is traded or hurt, if they need a 2b, LF, or DH, maybe first base. 

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    3 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

    This FO didn't manipulate kiriloff, larnach, Lewis, Miranda, or any pitcher. Why do you think they will with Julien?

    He'll be up when someone is traded or hurt, if they need a 2b, LF, or DH, maybe first base. 

    That manipulation or lack there of can be debated and has been previously. I believe that service time is manipulated on the regular but thats just my opinion.  If there is a lack of injuries in the bigs, the youngsters always get held back as long as possible even if they are MLB ready. 

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    On 1/8/2023 at 2:38 PM, Wizard11 said:

    Canterino is out for the year due to TJ surgery

    He could be back and throwing (at least in pens) around the All-Star Break,, although a lot will be dictated by how his rebab is going and barring and setbacks.  So while there is a good chance he will miss out on game action for the whole year, we may see him back in the second half sometime.  Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for good health :).

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