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  • Estimating the Time of Arrival for the Top 10 Twins Prospects

    Cody Christie

    The Twins had a trio of terrific rookie debuts in 2023, and other top prospects are getting closer to the big-league level. Here’s a timeline of when to expect the team’s top prospects to debut.

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints (photo of Austin Martin)

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    Baseball player development is a non-linear path, with players facing different obstacles on their way to the big-league level. Organizations can be aggressive with some top prospects and move them through the farm system quicker than expected. Other prospects might suffer injuries or poor play and be forced to repeat a level for multiple years. Every prospect follows a different journey, making it intriguing for fans to follow. 

    Below is a look at the top 10 prospects in the Twins organization according to Twins Daily’s end-of-the-season voting. Not every outlet updates its ranking multiple times per year, but Twins Daily updates the player rankings and scouting reports monthly so there is a live view of each prospect's progress. Multiple names below are on pace to impact the Twins roster next season. 

    1. Walker Jenkins, OF
    ETA: 2026

    The Twins took Jenkins with the fifth overall pick in the 2023 draft. He was promoted relatively aggressively during his professional debut by ending the year at Low-A. In 26 games, he hit .362/.417/.571 (.989) with five doubles, four triples, and three home runs. It’s expected that he will start the year in Fort Myers with a chance to play in Cedar Rapids at the end of 2024. That should put him on pace to reach the big leagues in the second half of 2026, at which point he'll be 21 years old. 

    2. Brooks Lee, SS/3B
    ETA: 2024

    The 2023 campaign was Lee’s first full season as a professional after the Twins took him with the eighth overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. He started the year at Double-A, posting an .841 OPS in 87 games. Minnesota promoted him to St. Paul in the season’s second half, and his OPS dipped to .731 at a level where he was over four years younger than the average age of the competition. Lee will start the year in St. Paul and be one injury away from making his big-league debut. 

    3. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF
    ETA: 2025

    Rodriguez will have an advantage over other names on this list due to being added to the 40-man roster this winter. These roster spots are valuable, and it gives him a better chance at making his debut because the team might need to dig into their depth if there are multiple big-league injuries. Rodriguez played the 2023 season at High-A, hitting .240/.400/.463 (.863) with 38 extra-base hits in 99 games. The Twins will plan for him to spend the 2024 campaign at Double-A, which puts him on pace to debut in 2025. 

    4. Marco Raya, SP
    ETA: 2025

    The Twins have taken a unique development path with Raya by aggressively promoting him while limiting his innings pitched. He ended last season at Double-A in his age-20 season. Between two levels, Raya posted a 4.02 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP in 62 2/3 innings spread across 22 starts. He never pitched more than four innings in an appearance and never threw more than 54 pitches. It seems likely for Raya to spend all of 2024 at Double-A unless the team continues to be aggressive with him.  

    5. David Festa, SP
    ETA: 2024

    Festa emerged as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects last season after being taken in the 13th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. He pitched at Double-A and Triple-A with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He posted an 11.6 K/9 in 92 1/3 innings across 24 appearances (22 starts). Minnesota faces a self-imposed payroll crunch next season, which may leave the team relying on internal options for added depth. Festa will be at Triple-A, waiting for his opportunity to join the Twins’ rotation at some point next season. 

    6. Charlee Soto, SP
    ETA: 2027

    Soto has yet to make his professional debut after being drafted by the Twins with the 34th overall selection last June. He didn’t turn 18 until after the draft, so he has a lot of time to develop in the organization’s farm system. He will likely be the last player on this list to debut, but he has an exciting future with his pitching profile. 

    7. Austin Martin, 2B/OF
    ETA: 2024

    Martin was the top-ranked prospect included in the Jose Berrios trade with Toronto, and he’s seen some ups and downs during his time with the Twins organization. He struggled during the 2022 season with a .683 OPS at Double-A before heading to the AFL and being one of the league’s best hitters. Last season, he injured his elbow during spring training, and there was some discussion that he’d need surgery. Martin rehabbed the elbow and posted a .791 OPS in 59 Triple-A games. The Twins have an opening in center field, and Martin might be able to take over that role at some point in 2024. 


    8. Brandon Winokur, OF
    ETA: 2027

    Minnesota went well over-slot to sign Winokur for $1.5 million as a third-round pick. Winokur played 17 games during his professional debut and hit .288/.338/.546 (.884) with five doubles and four home runs. He has shown flashes of being a potential five-tool outfielder, but he is far from Target Field. Like Soto, he won’t debut for multiple seasons, and many things can go wrong with development along the way.  

    9. Luke Keaschall, 2B
    ETA: 2026

    The Twins love to draft college bats, so the club targeted Keaschall with their second-round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. Minnesota was aggressive after signing him by having him play at three different levels and finishing the year with Cedar Rapids. In 31 games, he hit .288/.414/.478 (.892) with 14 extra-base hits. The Twins will likely have him return to High-A to begin 2024, which puts him on pace to debut during his age-23 season. 

    10. Tanner Schobel, 2B/3B
    ETA: 2025

    Schobel was selected in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, so his development path shows what the Twins might follow with Keaschall. He split time in 2023 between High- and Double-A while posting a .776 OPS in 126 games. Minnesota continues to play him at second and third base, and this defensive flexibility might help him reach the big leagues even sooner. 

    Do you agree with the ETAs listed for each prospect? Which player will have the most significant impact on the Twins next season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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    We have a great crop of young talent in the MLB & about to break into. IMO some of these ETAs are aggressive because of lack of openings. For some of these ETAs to come true there has to be some injuries (I hope not) or a few cases that they are breaking down the doors, the FO will try to hold them back a little or if they are really breaking down the doors a trade will happen.

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    I decided to look up what Fangraphs said for ETAs on the same players.  (Some of them were updated in June, so not as recent.)
    The only one that stuck out was Tanner Schobel where they had a 2 year difference.  Otherwise, most were the same or similar with the draft picks from this year typically being 1 year after the ETAs by Cody.  (Plus Martin did not make it to MLB level this year.)

    Either way, I'm excited about these players.  I'm also hopeful (similar to @chpettit19) that Jenkins pushes up this timeline by a year.
    The screenshot below again emphasizes how many top prospects made it to MLB this year too.  Such a fun year!


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    The two guys that I am most excited about are Soto because he was a SS with a cannon and physically outgrew it and throws 100mph heat at 18. Mind blowing.  2nd …. Winokar with his 5 tools on a lanky physical frame. Im gonna patiently wait until 2027 for them. 
    The other list to watch is all the 2023 college pitcher draft picks. It is a deep pile of talent.  
    I believe we have 3 draft picks in ‘24 in the top 45 picks or so if Gray signs for over $50M. Don’t sleep on 1 or 3 of the ‘24 draft class showing up in ‘27/28.  

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    13 hours ago, FlyingFinn said:

    Not from our top ten but there are some pieces at AAA that could be ready to fill in for the Twins in 2024 - Prato, Helman, Kiersey to name a few (they do have to make it past the Rule 5 draft which I am predicting that they all will do that).


    We just had a major wave of quality prospects hit with Lewis, Julien, Wallner, and I still include Kiriilloff in that group. Ryan and Ober hit a year or so earlier.

    I do believe Martin is now riding a nice trajectory that began late in 2022 and will be up at some point. How soon, and how permanent is TBD. Same with Lee. It's just a matter of when, and figuring out he and Lewis at 3B/2B. 

    Camargo will get his first opportunity at some point. Jeffers and  Vazquez are well built, tough dudes, but to expect both to be 100% in back to back years is probably unrealistic.

    It's my hope that Severino will continue to adapt to AAA, hit the ball hard, maintain a .270 ish AVG, but lower the K rate some, raise his BB a little bit, and prove to be a keeper. But I'm OK if he spends most of 2024 at St Paul working on those things. He's only 24yo and lack of opportunity this coming season would mean AK is healthy.

    But if the likes of Helman, Prato and Kiersey are NOT selected...or returned...they are the kind of roster fills that can be important. I think Helman and Prato are more ready for a shot than Kiersey, but I'm not dismissing any of these three.

    Helman and Prato are similar that they can play all over and have shown they might have a sound, all around game. Prato might be a little better hitter and OB guy, Helman a little more power and speed. Keirsey is a true OF, and a fine one defensively, who might be a 4th OF type who is a legitimate  CF option.

    I'm not expecting anything special from any of them. But then again, look at the development of Castro as an important role player last season. And I've been pretty overt in my HOPE for Helman to step forward as a late bloomer who can find a role. But he has literally improved each of the past 3yrs, can fill in at 7 spots, and has speed and power. And he's also a RH bat. If his HIT ability can play at the ML level, he's an inexpensive addition to Castro across the field and in the lineup. And that's not to diminish the potential of Prato as a Farmer type replacement.

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    I briefly mentioned Martin, along with the non-listed Camargo and Severino, in my previous post, but I wanted to address the actual OP for a moment:

    JENKINS had about the best debut you could hope for. Personally, there is this little voice in my head that keeps asking, "could the 5th pick in the draft really be this good"? And I think that's just me trying to accept the fact that the 2023 draft was so top heavy with outstanding prospects that it's difficult to accept he might have been the #1 or #2 pick almost any other year. Our current FO has been far more aggressive with promotions, but they seem very calculated as well. I wouldn't be shocked if he went directly to Cedar Rapids to begin 2024, but a return to Ft Myers seems logical. Right now, I'd expect a mid year promotion, and a chance for AA Wichita for a few weeks just to get acclimated. Majors at 21yo in 2025? Hurray! But I'd be ecstatic if he was there at 22yo in 2026. I'm just being practical, not pessimistic. 

    LEE will be up in 2024 at some point. IDEALLY, EVERYONE would be healthy and producing and we'd be screaming as to why he isn't being brought up NOW when he's raking at AAA. The whole 2B/3B issue with Lewis will resolve itself, no worries. 

    RODRIGUEZ, well, other than staying healthy, the only thing I want to see is a better HIT TOOL taking place. With a good eye, and great power, it's my belief that his biggest "adjustment" will be being more aggressive in his AB's. It's one thing to lay off pitches and get BB, which he does a ton. As he gets to AA and above, he's going to see pitchers who fill the zone better. He actually reminds me a lot of Julien: the ability to work a count, look for a pitch, take the BB when it's there. It's a passive-aggressive approach. But he's going to have to adjust his ability to "trigger" his swing more often as he faces those better arms going forward. If he can do that, he's going to be special, even with a mix of K's and BB.

    RAYA has been a focus of mine since the day he was drafted. He was my favorite selection in the weird 2020 draft. SOMETHING about attitude, stuff, level of competition, mindset, etc, told me we got a steal! For various reasons, his career got off to a slow start. His development this past season has me confused and enthralled at the same time. With missed time to a delay in his debut, and how young he is, why in hell is he at AA already, throwing 3-4 innings at a time? And then you see box scores and look at video of his stuff and your jaw almost drops. It's somewhat reminiscent of how the Twins nurtured Ober in his rookie season. They believe in him so much, and his stuff, that they are challenging him. At the same time, they are building his arm and experience slowly. I would be more than happy, at his age, if he spent the entire year at AA to just build up his arm, gain experience, deal with a couple bumps in the road, and hopefully be ready for AAA in 2025.

    FESTA is one of my favorite prospects. And maybe I'm misguided in my hopes. He's long...which leads to some deception and added velocity...and has some good stuff, gets knocked around here and there, and just keeps getting better as he adjusts. I just never have believed in hyping pitching prospects as #1 or ACE arms unless you are lucky enough to draft a Clemmons or Strasburg type of arm. I've seen way too many hyped arms never turn out, and too many mid round arms turn out to be All Stars to buy in to the hype. And while Festa could stand to add some muscle/bulk, and like any young pitcher he needs to continue to harness his stuff, he just keeps getting better. Really hoping he doesn't appear at all in 2024 because the rotation is so healthy, OR, he doesn't have to appear until later in the season to just give him a little more development time. He's almost a "no trade" prospect for me.

    SOTO is exciting! He impressed the hell out of me in his draft day interviews. The kid actually attended the draft the previous year just to get a feel for what the future might hold for him. He's so very young, but mature, intelligent, grounded in family, faith, and community. A class kid. And he's already got a perfect frame at 18yo and throws high 90's. And I fully understand he's got a LONG WAY to go before he might reach MLB. But could you ask for a better HS draft choice to mold and work with? He doesn't have injuries, he's still 5yrs away unless he just rocks his development. So 2028 sounds right, with a possible debut late in '27.

    WINOKER is a freak athlete. How can you be that large of a human being and still be athletic enough to play SS? Of course, he's not going to stay there. Don't take this the wrong way, but he reminds me a bit of Gallo, BUT also reminds me some of Judge. He's going to eventually end up at one of the 4 corner spots, though I'm doubting 3B. He's got speed and power and the kind of athleticism you don't normally see in a HS kid, which is why the Twins spent over slot for him. Even IF he ends up at 1B at some point...only because there might be even better corner OF on the roster because this kid can actually run well...he could be special in the way Jenkins is. What?! How can I say that and compare the two? Because athletically they are very similar. But Winoker has more bust than Jenkins, even with a lot of boom potential. IMO, it's ALL ABOUT bat to ball. If Winoker can take all of his potential and just put the bat on the ball constantly, with his power, allowing for K's, he could be a very good ballplayer. IMO, it's ALL about bat to ball.

    KEASCHALL and SCHOBEL, IMO, are the same player. Both drafted in similar rounds, and similar profiles. I've heard reports/ideas that Keaschall might have more speed, and MIGHT be a CF option in the future. Regardless, both are "ballplayers" who would seem to have the ability to hit, get OB, provide some power and speed, and play almost anywhere. And depending on how good they actually DO hit and produce, either could be a quality ML starter, or quality utility player. I think both of these guys could be the next Spencer Steer. And I think that's what the Twins see in them. I think a 2025 ML appearance is probably about right. But is that as a utility or fill in? Or is it a "too good" to not give a full time job and allow the trade of someone else? It's a couple of years away, but it's sure nice to see the depth.

    IMO, what's missing here is the development of Rosario? 

    How great is it that we're actually trying to figure out what to do with all of this talent over the next couple of seasons. 

    If we want to worry about pitching beyond Raya and Festa, just wait until 2024 is done and we are looking at what the 2022 draft has provided.

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    18 hours ago, weitz41 said:

    Maybe Canterino and Prielipp get past the injuries and become what we had hoped they would be. I

    It would sure be wonderful if one, or both, or those pitchers are capable of pitching a bunch of healthy innings this year.

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    21 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    Does it matter that they have allowed Raya to only throw 4 innings?  Is it frequency, pitch selection, physiology, or innings that harm their rotators and ulners?

    I'm still curious about this approach that the Twins are using with Raya, limiting the number of pitches and innings that he throws each time. Obviously he is still considered a starting pitcher, but he isn't being allowed to go deep into games. Will that change this year? Is the innings limit due to a fear of injuring his arm, or the fact that he is a smaller pitcher? What do others think about keeping him on a pitch limit this coming season?

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    Next list - who is most likely to be traded?  As the comments show we will have some logjams, as well as injuries,  some inability to adjust and other issues, but with a constant need for arms - who is most likely to be traded?  I cannot predict - after trading Petty last year I am still in shock.

    Then the question is - the Bullpen - which prospects end up in the BP (and succeed)?

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    8 hours ago, Doctor Wu said:

    I'm still curious about this approach that the Twins are using with Raya, limiting the number of pitches and innings that he throws each time. Obviously he is still considered a starting pitcher, but he isn't being allowed to go deep into games. Will that change this year? Is the innings limit due to a fear of injuring his arm, or the fact that he is a smaller pitcher? What do others think about keeping him on a pitch limit this coming season?

    He averaged not quite 3 innings per start last year. I think his age might be part of the issue, he might not be done growing yet. An X-Ray should be able to tell if his growth plates have fused or not.

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    @Doctor WuIve heard that Raya is a bulldog like Gray. He doesn’t hold back and smart enough to communicate with mgmnt  when he is gassed so he doesn’t blow the UCL. I believe when he was drafted there was talk about him not being physically mature yet so the whole limited pitches/innings plan fits with what what we have seen. So far he has developed well and is still really young so he could be super special.  
    @DocBauer about the only prospects you didn't touch on are the home grown pitchers that have just got their feet wet in MLB.   As they mature, I believe they will all stick around for a few years.  A few years from now we may do a look back and be amazed at the success rate we have had from 2017-2023 drafted players vs. Who is in the show.  

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