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  1. Over the next week leading up to July 17th, Jeremy and I will be writing more in-depth previews of ten players the Twins might take with the eighth overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. On Wednesday night, Jeremy selected for the Twins in the annual Prospects Live Mock Draft, taking Connor Prielipp, a left-handed starting pitcher from the University of Alabama, so let’s start there. Who is He? Connor Prielipp is a 6’2, 210 lb. left-handed starting pitcher out of Tomah, Wisconsin. Prielipp has been on the prospect map for a while. He was the Wisconsin player of the year in 2019 and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 39th round. He fell due to concerns about his signability with a commitment to the University of Alabama in hand. Why the Twins Will Draft Him Prielipp is the lone pitcher the Twins have been publicly connected with in the industry during the pre-draft process, most recently by MLB.com. Make no mistake, prior to his injury in 2021, he was being touted as a lock to be picked in the 5-10 range in the first round of the draft. Prielipp has a serious pedigree and a serious arsenal of pitches. In his freshman season at Alabama, he didn’t allow a run in 21 innings of work (striking out 35) before COVID-19 halted the season. Prielipp’s slider is one of the better pitches in the entire draft (it generated close to a 50% whiff rate in college), and as we know, it’s a slider league. The pitch approaches 90 mph and has a sharp, late break. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s. After throwing a bullpen in front of evaluators in May and at the MLB Draft Combine, many have suggested Prielipp could continue to add velocity to his fastball, with fluid, repeatable mechanics. Prielipp also has a changeup that has not been significantly developed yet, but could be an average pitch. Add 55-grade control to this mix and you have a possible left-handed, front of the rotation starting pitcher. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel calls Prielipp ‘clearly the best college arm in the draft’. Why the Twins Won't Draft Him The Derek Falvey-led front office does not have a track record of drafting college arms early. Drafting prep pitcher Chase Petty in 2021 was an extreme bucking of a trend of taking high floor, corner outfield or corner infield bat first college players. What’s different in 2022, however, is that the Twins have their highest draft selection since they took Royce Lewis number one overall in 2017. There are two primary reasons the Twins might not take Prielipp. Firstly, the way the top of the draft board is stacked. The presumptive top seven players in the draft when looking at trends across evaluators are (in no particular order) Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, Elijah Green, Temarr Johnson, Cam Collier, Brooks Lee and Kevin Parada. If any team throws a wrench in the works and an outstanding bat on that list falls to the Twins at eight, I think they would jump at the chance. Finally, Prielipp’s injury muddies his status significantly. As Keith Law points out ‘he could be a high-end starter, he could easily end up in the bullpen. He’s thrown so little in games that the range of his potential outcomes is huge’. What are your thoughts on the Twins drafting Connor Prielipp? Do you think he’s a good fit for Minnesota? Would you take a chance on a limited track record? Share your thoughts in the comments.
  2. In the fanfare and celebration of signing Carlos Correa, you'd be forgiven if you missed the Twins inking 38-year-old Joe Smith to a one-year pact. Smith, an MLB pitcher since the Bush administration, is precisely the style of reliever favored by Falvey and company. His average fastball hasn’t tickled 90 MPH in years, and much of his effectiveness is rooted in “funkiness,” a pitching trait in the Potter Stewart philosophy of “I know it when I see it.” In the case of Smith, his unique, low arm slot is his special calling card. Smith now joins the likes of Matt Belisle, Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard as an “unusual Twins reliever” acquired during the Falvey regime. That is to say, these bullpeners are (or were) atypical in their archetype—age or poor fastball velocity lowered the industry opinion of them, whether fair or not. But the Twins, perhaps believing in a philosophical blind spot, decided to trust in their past effectiveness and were rewarded with mixed but generally positive results. Belisle caught fire in the second half of 2017 to help lead the team to their first playoff appearance in seven years, Rodney and Duke both performed just well enough to net prospects in 2018, Romo was crucial in cementing a shaky Twins bullpen in 2019, and Clippard was a quality reliever for the Twins during the truncated 2020 season. Of course, the Twins haven’t solely focused on cast-offs from the island of misfit toys; they have signed or acquired more prototypical relievers like Addison Reed, Sam Dyson, and Alex Colomé on top of their usual assortment of unique funkmasters. Funny enough, it seems like they have had better fortune with odd relievers than with your more standard ones, but that isn’t quite the point of this article. Why ignore velocity? The Twins, as pointed out by Tom Froemming, had a velocity problem in May 2021 and had not fixed that issue by October 2021. It is March 2022, and the symptoms still persist. None of the four assumed starters possess an average fastball velocity that tops 93 MPH—a fact entirely at odds with the front office’s implications that velocity would be a top priority when they took over command of decision-making in 2016. Both newly-acquired starters, Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy, are more masters of breaking balls than fireballers. Taylor Rogers and Jorge Alcala are the only true flamethrowers established in the bullpen. When diagnosing the malady, we must remember that there is nuance in team building; teams like the Twins count all their chips to the last penny as their room for error is smaller than other franchises. The team could quickly cash in and deal their top prospects for high-octane arms or sign the fastest-tossing relievers with little care for the long-term implications of those decisions. Still, such moves would not only likely hurt the franchise, but it would also open them up to being dunked on by randoms on Twitter years in the future, and that’s a risk no one wants to take. Why ignore velocity? Velocity is expensive, perhaps too much so. Corey Knebel (96.5 MPH) signed for $10 million, Joe Kelly (98.1 MPH) signed for $17 million over two years, and Kendall Graveman (96.5 MPH), signed for $24 million over three years. With no disrespect, none of those three players have been particularly consistent in their performance (or with health), but teams see their “stuff” and can’t help but imagine a perfect world where it all comes together for such a player. Trading for velocity can also be expensive. The White Sox parted with two young, talented players in Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer to acquire Craig Kimbrel, the Padres gave up their 9th best prospect, Mason Thompson, for half a season of Daniel Hudson, and the fact that the Twins received anyone for Hansel Robles showed that teams are willing to ignore performance in favor of the allure of stuff. The same can be said for prospects. Arms that can sit in the high-90s are valued highly because the upside of that player is tantalizing. We’ve seen the natural sheen of “stuff” blind teams into ignoring risk because they see the next Roger Clemens in an arm that will likely flame out in high-A. The Twins have recognized this and seem to tap their higher-velo arms in deals; Huascar Ynoa, Luis Gil, Brusdar Graterol, and Chase Petty all own big fastballs, but now pitch for other organizations. The guess is that the team is leveraging industry opinions on fastball velocity to acquire major-league talent they otherwise could not have if the pitcher were your average 93-95 MPH Joe. Or, to simplify, they think other teams over-value fastballs and are trying to find value in overlooked arms. Consider the Smith signing; $2.5 million for Joe Smith’s consistency is a bargain if you choose to look at his performance absent velocity implications. The Gray trade looks exquisite as well. Acquiring a great starting pitcher for a pitcher four or so years away from debuting is a masterclass in fleecing. Has it worked? The results are iffy. Twins pitching was undeniably elite in 2019 and 2020 when their team average fastball velocity sat in the bottom five of the league but fell off entirely in 2021. We shall see how 2022 plays out, but the prospects so far do not look good. Shoot, 43-year-old Johan Santana might be an upgrade to the starting rotation. That isn’t to say the team is completely ignoring velocity. Jordan Balazovic is capable of sitting 94-95, Jhoan Duran hits 100 daily, Josh Winder can sit in the mid-90s, and Matt Canterino can do the same. The team is still focusing on velocity, but more on developing said heat, not paying for it upfront. If a pitching prospect can throw hard, great, but their velocity isn’t as prioritized as other aspects of their game. If another team overvalues a prospect’s velocity? Ship him off and receive a more bountiful return than expected. Again, it is unclear if the plan has been successful or not, but the Twins unquestionably believe in their process.
  3. Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though. Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati. Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs. Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with. At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value. What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  4. There’s been no denying that the Twins needed significant help in the starting rotation. Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober are the only current locks, and two of those three have less than an entire season of Major League experience under their belt. Pitching will always come at a substantial cost, and we saw that here in Minnesota needing to part with the 2021 26th overall pick, Chase Petty. Gray has become less of an extreme ground-ball-inducing pitcher than he was early in his career, but he continues to hover right around 50%. He gives up hard contact less than 30% of the time, and his whiff rates are workable. Gray now operates with an average fastball around 93 mph while mixing a slider and curveball. After leaving the Yankees, Gray signed a four-year deal for $38 million with Cincinnati. He’s on the books for 2022 at $10.166 million and has a $12 million team option for 2023. The option is almost certain to be picked up, and he’d pair with Kenta Maeda to form a solid one-two punch once the former staff ace returns from injury. Minnesota also grabbed Francis Peguero in the deal. He’s a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher outside of the Reds top 30 prospects. Peguero had been in their system since he was a teenager and made his stateside debut in 2018 at the age of 20. Last season, Peguero pitched at High-A Dayton and owned a 4.96 ERA. He’s worked 74 games for 103 innings and operated solely as a reliever. Looking at his track record, Peguero has some things Minnesota can work with. A high K/9 is paired with low home run and walk rates. Giving up contact too often has been troublesome, and he presents a project for the Twins development staff. Chase Petty, last season’s 1st round pick for Minnesota, is going to the Reds. He’s a hard thrower and had arguably the best velocity of anyone in the 2021 draft. Debuting in the Florida Complex League, Petty got in just five innings following his prep season. Soon-to-be 19-years-old, Petty has a ton of development ahead of him. Refinement of pitches and continued command adjustments will always be part of the process when selecting a prep arm. For Cincinnati, Petty’s path is not unlike one they may soon be cashing in on. Hunter Greene, taken in the same draft as Royce Lewis, had similar attributes when selected. Greene was praised for his triple-digit fastball, as was Petty, and there may be parallels in how their new prospect is brought along. Knowing how barren the starting pitching market had gotten in free agency, it seemed inevitable Minnesota would acquire an arm via trade. Depth was a need in the rotation, but so too was a top-tier arm. Cautious in what to expect or maybe more, what needed to be given up, this seems like a significant win for Derek Falvey. Petty has a high ceiling, but there’s nothing more volatile than a prep arm. Getting a starter of Gray’s caliber for what likely amounts to two seasons and not dipping into other areas of the farm system is great negotiating. The front office still has work to do, and there’s money to be spent, but this move should be seen as a significant come-up. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  5. Why would you trade your 19-year-old first-round pick from 2021? Well, it is to acquire your Opening Day starter. No, we don't know that officially yet, but Sonny Gray has an excellent track record of success. Gray is a 32-year-old right-hander. Last year with the Reds, he went 7-9 with a 4.19 ERA. In 135 1/3 innings, he had 155 strikeouts. He pitched for the Oakland A's from 2013-2017 before heading to the Yankees at the 2017 trade deadline. He remained in New York through the 2018 season. He signed with the Reds before the 2019 season. Overall, he his 82-72 with a 3.61 ERA over 1,267 1/3 innings in his career. Gray was the 18th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Vanderbilt University. Francis Peguero is a 24-year-old who signed with the Reds from the Dominican Republic back in 2017. He has worked out of the bullpen throughout his career. In 103 innings in his career, he has struck out 116 batters while walking just 21 batters. He spent the full 2021 season at High-A Dayton. To get something, you have to give up someone, right? Well, the Twins traded their top pick from last year's draft, Chase Petty, to the Reds. He pitched in just two games after being drafted last year. He was touted for his triple-digit fastball, and he's got some really good secondary pitches to go with it. The sky is certainly the limit, but that's the price for a quality, top-of-the-rotation arm. For those who say that this is unlike the Twins to trade a top pitching prospect. Recall just a couple of years ago when the team traded a top 5 prospect in Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers in the deal for Kenta Maeda. In addition, Gray's contract was for $30.5 million over three years. However, there is also an option for the 2023 season at $12 million. It would seem a pretty easy decision unless things unravel for a pitcher with a great track record. A quick search of how often Sonny Gray has been tagged in Twins Daily articles shows that he has been on fans' radars for awhile. Share your thoughts on this trade in the COMMENTS below.
  6. [Author's Note: Naturally, MINUTES after I said to myself, "Okay, probably safe to post this, the action has gotta be wrapped up for the weekend," we learned of a major blockbuster trade between the Twins and Yankees. You can learn about it here. And then read on to learn about the state of the roster ... just BEFORE that move.] Twins Send Garver to Texas for Kiner-Falefa Minnesota's front office checked off the "shortstop" box before turning its attention to the pitching staff, acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the Rangers alongside pitching prospect Ronny Henriquez. The cost was extremely high: Mitch Garver is gone. To procure this package from Texas, the Twins had to part with the 31-year-old who they drafted-and-developed, from ninth-round pick into elite slugging catcher and self-made pitch-framing specialist. Garver, under control for two more seasons just like Kiner-Falefa, is one of the biggest difference-making bats in the league as a nearly unrivaled offensive force from the catcher position. Despite his dwindling team control, I ranked Garver this year as the eighth-most valuable asset in the organization, and when sizing up the club's top trade candidates, I didn't see him as one of the top-five most likely to go. "One could theoretically add Mitch Garver or Ryan Jeffers to this list," I wrote, "although I'm not sure I have enough confidence in either one to feel good about trading the other." Therein lies my struggle with this move. Jeffers hasn't shown enough yet to be confident in his status as "The Guy" going forward, and the Twins are woefully short on qualified depth behind him and Ben Rortvedt in the system. The Twins gave up a lot for a light-hitting defensive specialist. Too much, in my opinion. But the team has firmly addressed its need at shortstop with a versatile young player who was highly regarded in Texas. The price they paid says a great deal about their belief in Kiner-Falefa. Frontline Pitching at Last: Twins Get Gray from Reds for Petty The rotation looks a lot more legitimate now than it did coming out of the lockout. There was plenty of buzz indicating the Twins were pursuing high-end pitching on the trade market, and the rumors came to fruition on Sunday with the extraction of right-hander Sonny Gray from the Reds. In this deal, the Twins gave up all future value, sending 2021 first-round draft pick Chase Petty to Cincinnati. I recently wrote the profile on Petty as our #9 Twins prospect, and got myself all jazzed about dreaming on his upside, but even the most optimistic analysis of Petty has to acknowledge his sky-high burnout risk. To exchange such a volatile asset for an established top-of-rotation for starter with two years of reasonably-priced team control remaining ($10.2M in 2022 with a $12M option for '23) should be viewed as a big win. Gray is a two-time All-Star with an extensive pitch mix, a bulldog mentality, and excellent strikeout rates (10.6 K/9 since 2019) who figures to benefit from a move away from Cincinnati's hitter-friendly ballpark. He posted a 3.44 ERA with six home runs allowed in 12 road starts last year, compared to 4.89 with 13 homers in 14 home starts. The addition of Gray certainly makes the Twins a better team in 2022, but between this and the Kiner-Falefa pickup – both players having team control for two more years – one can sense that the front office is primarily focused on building toward 2023, when Kenta Maeda returns to the fold. An Updated Look at the Roster and Payroll With Gray and Kiner-Falefa joining the party, here's how the Twins roster now projects. The payroll (which includes about $15M in new salary for those two, as well as Gray's $1M trade bonus, paid by the Twins) is creeping up on $100M. The team could theoretically fill the DH role with in-house options – rotating guys like Miguel Sanó, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. Same goes for the remaining bullpen openings – Juan Minaya, Lewis Thorpe, Griffin Jax, etc. But I think they need at least one more bat and a couple of back-end caliber arms to call roster complete. They definitely need at least one more starting pitcher. The team is reportedly pursuing some of the top remaining veteran names in the remaining middle tier of free agency, including Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, and old friend Michael Pineda. Spring training has already begun, but the Twins certainly aren't done shopping. Stay tuned into Twins Daily as we cover the moves in real-time. I'll keep these periodic status updates running as the fragmented offseason extends into camp. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. With the draft in July last year, the Twins had their drafted pitchers report to Ft. Myers and then take time away from throwing. In that time, they learned more about nutrition and weight lifting programs. They threw some bullpens, in large part, just to have some baseline analytics using their technology. In doing so, they could learn more about themselves and develop a plan for their offseason. Actual innings pitched were not important. Starting the process of development is the most important thing. Chase Petty threw just five total innings for the FCL games over two starts, but he did a lot of learning. He said, “It was new for sure. It was a lot better competition, obviously, coming from high school baseball, especially from New Jersey baseball. It was definitely a big difference. But it was fun. I really enjoyed it. All the guys here are very supportive of you.” He continued, “Really just being a professional baseball player and cleaning up everything off the field and on the field. Just having the mindset of a big-leaguer because that's the goal, that's the dream, and succeed even there. Really this offseason was developing that mindset that this is going to be a grind, and you really have to prepare yourself for it. I'm ready for it.” Petty ended last season at the Instructional League and went back home to Summer Pointe, New Jersey. He trained in nearby Pleasantville at the Baseball Performance Center with Phillies Triple-A pitcher Mike Adams. He has worked at the facility since his freshman year of high school. Fellow Twins pitching prospect Sean Mooney also works out there. Earlier this week, Minor League Director Alex Hassan noted that they are fully aware of the facility and the coaches and trust their work. He also noted, "Chase really has impressed us with his ability to be routine-oriented for a high school player.” He continued, “Normally on the high school front, you’re really trying to emphasize routine in the training room or weight room or just on the field in terms of catch play and things you’re working on. He had a lot of that coming in, which has really stood out and been impressive.” Hassan says that Petty has been impressive on the field too. “I’ve heard the perception among high school players who throw hard that they just want to go out there and blow it out, and it’s a spectacle to see how hard he can throw, but I think he’s got more touch and more feel than that typical profile. He threw strikes in the very, very brief appearances he had in the FCL. In Instructs, he continued to fill up the zone. We’ll continue to work on that.” When drafted, we read a lot about Petty touching 102 or 103 mph with his fastball at times. That certainly can be a concern, but he and the Twins understand the bigger picture. Petty says that last year in games, he was consistently throwing 94 to 97 mph and touching 99 mph at times, and that’s where he would like to be in 2022. “Around there would still be ideal, but at the end of the day, it's all about getting outs and still performing. So doing what I have to do, whether that's velo up, or kind of dominating with my secondary pitches, that's what I'll have to do to become an all-around better pitcher.” To do that, he is working with the pitching coaches and coordinators to clean up some of his mechanics. He said, “It's really cleaning up things that need to be cleaned up whether that is the arm path, whether that is the arm angle, and kind of making sure things are where they need to be to prevent injuries and stay as healthy as possible.” His spring training roommate can certainly help talk him through that conversation. Marco Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round pick in 2020 out of high school in Texas. He did not pitch in 2021 due to a shoulder injury. However, he arrived at Instructional League healthy and hitting 97-99 mph at times. In my personal Twins prospect rankings, I have Chase Petty at #9 and Marco Raya at #10. Petty also ranked ninth in the Twins Daily rankings, while Raya was listed among the Honorable Mentions. Both understand that big-league hitters can hit a triple-digit fastball, so they know they need to keep working on secondary pitches. When the Twins drafted Petty, he talked about having 4-5 pitches and working on others. The Twins have worked with him and helped him focus his early-career attention on thinking long-term. Petty said, “We worked a lot with analytics here, and we’ve done a lot with perfecting our craft and perfecting the things that play the most. So we really just perfected the sinker, the changeup, and the slider for right now, and once those three are where they need to be, we’ll start working on the fourth, and hopefully, they’re on, and we’ll keep going. Right now, it’s really just perfecting what we need to perfect right now to get to where we need to be long term.” Long-term. It’s a great concept, and Chase Petty won’t even turn 19 years old until April 4th, so he and the Twins need to be patient. Last summer, the Twins made him a multi-millionaire, but let’s not forget that this is his first real job. This is the first time he’s lived away from home for an extended period. It’s the first time he’s lived in a dorm or had a roommate. Asked about Petty, Matt Canterino said, “I mean, the stuff’s electric. It’s really, really cool to watch, and I’m 24 now. What is he, 18 still? It’s just incredible. I can tell you I was nowhere near the stuff that he has, and it’s really impressive. I guess if I had to say like one thing - once again, I’m 24, he’s 18 - and I know that if I look back at that pitcher, I was at 18, where I am now, not just like how I’ve developed, but like what I throw now and my mentality and stuff on the mound, it’s two completely different people. It’s not even just from five years ago to now. It’s like from two years ago, three years ago to now. So I think most of the stuff that I would tell him would just be, ‘Be open to new things. Keep working. Listen to what everybody has to say, not necessarily do everything that everybody tells you to do but be open about that stuff. It will be really cool to see how you evolve as a pitcher and as a person.” Sage advice indeed. Be patient, and yet get to work. Petty arrived with the first group of pitchers in mid-January. He said, “Really just got here to get to work and to get after it. We had early camps, and me and Marco (Raya), and Louie Varland, we really worked heavy together in that camp. We really got after it together there.” Petty noted that he grew up in Millville, New Jersey, and a 10-minute drive north takes you to Vineland, New Jersey. Hispanics comprise about 35% of the town’s population, so Petty got to know a little Spanish in elementary school and Little League from just hanging out with his friends. He feels very fortunate to have Marco Raya, who speaks fluent Spanish, as his roommate for many reasons, including that he teaches him some Spanish. He wants to continue to learn and be able to better communicate with his teammates from Latin America. Well, that and he wants to know what they’re saying when they think he doesn’t understand. As for his 2022 goals, he keeps it pretty simple. He is working as a starter and building up strength and innings. But he noted, “Obviously (I want) to have the best season possible for myself and move up the ranks as much as I possibly can, whether that be finishing the season in Low-A, High-A, wherever that may be. Just pushing myself to have the best season I possibly can.” He doesn’t know where he’s going to start the 2022 season. It certainly wouldn’t hurt him to start the season in Extended Spring Training and continue to build him up, but indications are that he will begin the 2022 season with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. There are a lot of reasons to be excited about right-hander Chase Petty. He has a big arm with velocity and secondary pitches. He’s shown pretty good control. He has a good head on his shoulders and has really taken to instruction. So what are your overall thoughts on the Twins taking Petty with their late, first-round pick in 2021, and what do you hope to see from him in 2022? Share your thoughts below. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  8. Age: 18 (DOB: 4/4/03) 2021 Stats (Rookie): 5 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6 K, 1 BB ETA: 2025 2021 Ranking: NR National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: NR | ATH: NR | BP: NR What's To Like Pure, raw upside. Petty may have a long way to go (as we'll discuss), but he's got plenty to work with. The 18-year-old grew up in Millville, NJ, a city which is now best known as the hometown of Mike Trout. Petty quickly emerged as a special talent on the mound, and committed to the University of Florida as a sophomore in high school. By the time he was done at Mainland Regional High, going to college would barely be a consideration. Petty emerged as a top pitching prospect in the nation during his senior year, returning from the pandemic downtime with newfound velocity. In his first start of 2021, after more than a year off, he reportedly touched 102 MPH multiple times en route to a complete game, one-hit shutout, striking out 13 of the 25 batters he faced. His 89th and final pitch buzzed in at 98. This set the stage for a final prep season that saw Petty go 6-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings pitched, earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors in New Jersey. The fastball is clearly special, rated by Baseball America as the best among all high school pitchers. Not only is its velocity incredible, but Petty's heater has impressive movement, too. "When it’s coming in, it looks like a ping-pong ball coming at you and it moves all over the place,” said one of his high school catchers. His slider is as a legitimate weapon, viewed as having 70-grade potential, and his changeup is more advanced than most for his age. The Twins selected him with their first pick in the 2021 draft, 26th overall, and sent him to a brief debut in rookie ball, where he struck out six of 21 batters (29%) with one walk over two short outings. So far so good. But a long way to go. What's Left To Work On Staying healthy and staying the course. For all his potential, Petty's profile is a cacophony of burnout risk. High school pitchers are inherently a hazardous bunch, as the Twins have learned with their last few high-profile gambles in the category. Third-rounder Blayne Enlow was persuaded to sign with an over-slot bonus instead of going to college in 2017. Five years later he's out for the season with Tommy John surgery and still hasn't pitched above A-ball. Kohl Stewart, the fourth overall pick in 2013, was a total bust. Risk is elevated for prep pitchers who are touching triple-digits. “There’s always a concern that physically guys who throw that hard in high school are not catching up to what their arms are doing,” said one big-league scout in a story for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There’s a concern they may break down at some point and there are concerns about what they’ve done to get to that point.” These concerns are well founded. There haven't been many high school pitchers known to reach 100 MPH, but this small sample hasn't yielded much success. Hunter Greene, the power-pitching phenom selected 2nd overall in 2017 (right after Royce Lewis), endured major arm problems almost immediately, derailing his early prospect progression. He seemingly got back on track in 2021, but he's now 22 with a total of 179 innings logged in the minors. Riley Pint, taken 4th overall by the Rockies a year earlier and likewise lauded for brandishing 100-MPH heat as a teenager, was pretty much a mess from the get-go, plagued by persistent injury and control issues. These guys were both considered much "safer" bets than Petty, who fell to the back of the first round due to concerns about his mechanics and minimal established workload. Injuries limited his time on the field greatly as a sophomore, and COVID-19 wiped out his junior year, so Petty has a stunningly small sample of actual performance to analyze, even within the context of a prep pitcher. Keith Law of the The Athletic describes Petty as having "a high-effort delivery with some head violence, certainly not one you typically see in a starter," and adds that "the Twins may have to decide to tone down the delivery to give him a better chance to start or roll the dice on the pure power of his arm and see if he can get to command in spite of how it all works." What's Next Petty threw only five official innings last year after being drafted, speaking to the caution with which the organization will likely handle him going forward. As Law suggests, they're going to need to make a decision on whether they want to alter or tone down his delivery – possibly while sacrificing some of the pure power that makes him special – and from there it's a matter of building up his workload. I wouldn't be surprised to see Petty spend the early part of the season on the sidelines to work on strength, conditioning, and stylistic refinement, then head to rookie ball or even Low-A as the summer gets going. It'll be interesting to keep an eye on his numbers, but ultimately, the real goal is a smooth and healthy season that sees him establish a workload baseline while acclimating to the pro ranks. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Coming tomorrow!
  9. The Twins opted to draft Noah Miller 36th overall in the 2021 draft after taking right-handed pitcher Chase Petty with their first pick. Petty got a deserved amount of hype for his triple-digit fastball and future upside as a stud pitcher, but Miller appears to have gotten overshadowed just a bit too much. Noah Miller boasts fantastic contact ability with a great eye at the plate, average speed, and developing power. He pairs his raw skills with highly touted athleticism and baseball IQ, all of which adds up to a fantastic floor even for a player drafted out of high school. His lack of standout offensive ability would give him the ceiling of a decent major league player if he has to move to a position like outfield or second base, but there appears to be more and more optimism in his ability to remain at shortstop. Miller falls into the mid-teens across most Twins prospect ranking lists. Keith Law of the Athletic, however, recently released his ranking of the Twins system and bumped Miller all the way up to 10. For those unfamiliar with Law, he’s recognized for being particularly pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) when it comes to ranking prospects. Law essentially believes in Miller’s safe offensive profile and more importantly his ability to play a sufficient shortstop. While Miller doesn’t have the ceiling to be the next Fernando Tatis Jr. or Wander Franco, Law believes Miller has an achievable ceiling as an everyday contributor at the position. An evaluator as highly regarded as Keith Law making such a statement should be exciting, and Twins fans in particular should have an appreciation for this possibility playing out. It seems to be a yearly tradition where the Twins either draft or internationally sign a significant number of shortstops and fans ask “Why?”. Despite the perception of casting a wide net at this position, the Twins have made little progress in developing any players who are anywhere near a lock to be the long-term answer. Typically we see these “shortstops” Make a pivot elsewhere on the diamond shortly thereafter. In regards to the history of the Minnesota Twins, Jorge Polanco was the starting shortstop in consecutive Opening Days in 2019 and 2020. Before him Pedro Florimon earned that honor in 2013 and 2014. Since 2004 however when Christian Guzman made his 6th consecutive Opening Day start, the position has essentially been a revolving door. Miller may be a long way off from Major League action at just 19 years old, but his offensive skillset that made him a first round pick is also one that gives him a relatively good shot at an MLB career. Twins fans saw with Aaron Sabato in 2021 that even in the first round there’s significant risk with prospects that have a feast or famine slugger profile. While prospects are always risky, Miller’s contact ability alone may give him a slightly better chance of overcoming the minor league gauntlet over the next few years. The bar is admittedly set quite low when it comes to shortstops in Twins territory. That being said, if Noah Miller has a full 2022 of proving he can do it at shortstop, his notoriety is going to go through the roof. For as much flak as the Twins get for their pitching development, taking a first-round shortstop who actually pans out would be an incredible development for the organization. There are a lot of MLB-ready prospects to watch in 2022, but none have an opportunity to raise their stock quite as much as Noah Miller. We won’t see him in Minneapolis this summer, but we just may be talking about him as the future franchise shortstop by this time next year. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  10. Players like Austin Martin, Royce Lewis, and Jose Miranda should all have made their debuts before the end of the 2023 season. Minnesota’s pitching pipeline also points to many of their arms debuting over the next two years. There are other exciting players to keep an eye on as these players have a chance to develop into the team’s top prospect. Chase Petty, RHP ETA: 2025 Seth’s Top-30 Pitcher Rank: 6 Minnesota selected Petty with the team’s first-round pick in 2021 out of high school in New Jersey. High school pitchers can be extremely risky, and it was an uncharacteristic pick for the current front office regime. However, Petty checks all the boxes. His fastball can reach triple-digits, and it has movement. His slider has the chance at developing into a plus-pitch, and scouting reports state that his changeup continues to improve. Many of the knocks against Petty are tied to him being just over six feet tall, but Twins fans saw José Berríos find big-league success at that height. Petty won’t turn 19-years-old until April, so there is no need to rush him through the system. Emmanuel Rodriguez, CF ETA: 2024 Seth’s Top-30 Hitter Rank: 5 Rodriguez was Minnesota’s top international signee in the 2019 class, and he has already established himself as one of the team’s top international prospects. Last season, he made his professional debut and hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with 17 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs. Even though he has played just 37 pro games, he is considered an advanced hitter that knows the strike zone well. He showed tremendous power last season even though his listed weight is under 170-pounds. It’s scary to think about what he will be able to do when he adds more muscle to his frame. Right now, he projects to be able to stick in centerfield, but he can be a plus defender in a corner spot if his power continues to develop. Noah Miller, SS ETA: 2025 Seth’s Top-30 Hitter Rank: 4 Miller, like Petty, was taken in the 2021 MLB Draft out of high school. He has many of the skills and athleticism needed to stick at shortstop, making him a valuable prospect in the years ahead. Last season after signing, he played in 22 games and hit .238/.316/.369 (.685) with six extra-base hits and a 26-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio. He turned 19-years-old in November, and he already has a solid frame at 185 pounds. As a switch-hitter, his right-handed swing is considered the better side as he went 6-for-11, including three extra-base hits in his pro debut. Scouting reports already point to his advanced approach at the plate, and the Twins will continue to work to improve his approach. Add that with his above-average defense at a premium defensive position, and signs point to him having one of the highest ceilings in the Twins farm system. Which player do you think will be the team’s top prospect by 2024? Is it a player on this list or someone else? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Steven Hajjar, a left-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Michigan. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45 (grades courtesy of MLB.com) Signing and Scouting The Twins selected left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar with their second-round pick in the 2021 draft (61st overall) out of the University of Michigan. Hajjar signed for the exact slot-bonus of $1.13 million. Coming into the draft, Hajjar was ranked as the #60 overall prospect by Baseball America and #100 overall by MLB.com. Hajjar was the first of two college left-handed pitchers selected by the Twins in the early rounds (ahead of Cade Povich in the third round). Hajjar, in line with other early picks outside the Twins first, has a strong all-around skill set and provides a solid floor as a prospect for the organization, who are continuing to add and develop a stable of pitching talent. It’s notable that Hajjar and Povich are the only left-handed starting pitchers who would feature in most evaluators' top Twins prospects lists. At 6’5 and 215 pounds. the 21-year-old southpaw has a prototypical starting-pitcher's body, while still being a little on the lanky side. Interestingly, Hajjar had a significant draft pedigree from his high-school career, when his fastball was already in the low 90s and he had more projectability. Despite not being able to establish his previous velocity (mid-90s fastball) in his final year at Michigan, he had an excellent season. Hajjar put together a 3.09 ERA over 81 innings, striking out 110 and walking 29 batters. In terms of his arsenal, Hajjar has a four-pitch mix led by a fastball that sits around 91 mph. Knowing the tendencies of the Twins, it's likely they feel they can re-up Hajjar’s fastball velocity to the 93-95 mph range, which would be of significant impact. Indeed, reports from Twins instructs in Florida has Hajjar’s fastball clocked at 97 mph when working with the organization coaching staff after he was drafted. If this increase sticks, it will alter Hajjar’s ceiling and possibly his trajectory as a prospect. Hajjar’s fastball does not have a lot of spin but good vertical movement. One would imagine the organization will encourage the establishment of his fastball up in the strike zone when he makes his professional debut. Hajjar has an excellent changeup that sits in the low 80s and falls away late in its plane. He has a slow 12-6 curveball and a slider he used more intermittently. It’s possible the Twins encourage him to ditch one of his breaking pitches in favor of refining the other, particularly given the quality of his changeup. Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) (with the ability to move quickly to Cedar Rapids (A+) Hajjar has a strong floor as a rare left-handed starting pitcher in the Twins organization due to his size, excellent college career, and already well-developed pitching arsenal. Ultimately, his end-game will probably depend on the consistency with which he can increase his velocity as he develops, with the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. Who is the most intriguing of the three draft picks discussed so far? What are your thoughts on Steven Hajjar ahead of his professional debut with the Twins? Previous Prospect Previews Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty Twins Prospect Preview: Noah Miller
  12. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Noah Miller, a high school shortstop from Wisconsin. Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45 (grades courtesy of MLB.com) Signing and Scouting The Twins selected switch-hitting shortstop Noah Miller with their supplemental first-round pick in the 2021 draft (36th overall) out of Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, WI. He signed for a $1.7 million bonus, convincing him to renege on his commitment to Alabama. Miller was ranked as the #74 overall prospect by Baseball America and #62 overall by MLB.com. Miller is the second high school shortstop the Twins have drafted in the first round in recent seasons, following helium prospect Keoni Cavaco, selected at #13 overall in the 2019 draft. The younger brother of Cleveland Guardians’ infielder Owen Miller, who made his MLB debut in 2021, Noah has a solid floor, due to a strong all-around game. At 6’0 and 180 pounds, Miller is an excellent athlete and infielder. Baseball America described his defense as ‘elite’ heading into the 2021 draft. Miller joins an increasing wealth of high school baseball talent from Wisconsin that has produced players like Gavin Lux, Jared Kelenic, and Twins catcher Ben Rortvedt in recent seasons. Offensively, Miller has a line-drive swing and shows the ability to hit the ball the other way, though with little power currently. He has an effective approach at the plate and good control of the strike zone (drawing nine walks in his first 84 professionals at-bats). Miller is an above-average runner with an above-average arm, which evaluators believe will give him the ability to play shortstop at the major-league level. While Miller doesn’t have one stand-out tool or skill-set, his strong all-around game makes him a lower variance prospect than Chase Petty. His first full season against professional pitching will be telling and a good indicator of whether Miller’s ceiling is every day starting shortstop, or more of a utility role. Quiet Excellence Miller is a prospect who won’t receive much fanfare initially, despite having MLB bloodlines. The absence of a loud tool from his arsenal and the likelihood he will move relatively slowly through the Twins minor league system will see to that. He is, however, not a prospect to sleep on. His overall athleticism was highlighted by Seth Stohs in his excellent piece this summer on the Miller family. Noah Miller finished his high school basketball career by casually breaking the all-time point scoring record. Miller benefited from being in close geographical proximity to the Twins, across the border in Wisconsin. With the 2021 draft delayed, the Twins scouting and development personnel had opportunities to get additional looks at Miller. On draft day, the Twins were attracted to several elements of Miller’s profile; his effortless defense (his favorite player is Brandon Crawford), infield clock, and a smooth compact swing from both sides of the plate. The Twins feel like he has the ability to add power to his swing as he grows and fills out. Ultimately, they believe they took a prospect beyond his years in Noah Miller. Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) Miller has a higher floor than most high school shortstop products. He has the defensive instincts to stick at the big-league level. How he handles his first full season of professional pitching will go a long way to determining if he can reach his ceiling as an everyday MLB shortstop. Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty
  13. While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. In the first piece of the season, we'll look at the Twins first pick in the 2021 draft, RHP Chase Petty. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55 (scouting grades courtesy of Baseball America). Signing and Scouting The Twins selected Chase Petty with their first-round pick in the 2021 draft (26th overall). Petty, out of Mainland Regional HS in New Jersey, signed for a slightly below slot $2.5 million bonus. Petty was ranked the 29th best available prospect by Baseball America and 27th by MLB.com. Despite the consensus around his overall prospect status, he qualifies as an extremely high variance pick due to being a prep pitcher who throws at extreme velocity. The Falvey regime has never drafted a high school pitching prospect in the first round. The Twins, as an organization, haven’t done so since Kohl Stewart in 2013, generally preferring high floor, college power bats. It’s easy to see what drew them to Petty, whose arm talent is elite. Petty was the most famous prep pitcher in his class, thanks to a fastball he can run up to 102 mph and was compared by some evaluators as the best they had seen from a prep-pitcher since Hunter Greene and one of the best in the history of the draft. Petty’s fastball and slider both have 70-grade potential. Petty’s fastball benefits from a ton of arm-side movement. Petty used his changeup infrequently in high school (he didn’t need to) but the Twins believe this can be developed as a plus pitch also. Petty’s upside is incredible, with two caveats. High school prep pitchers are an inherently risky group of players to draft. Some get injured, some don’t live up to their lofty potential. Petty needs to keep his arm slot in the three-quarter range to maintain consistent control of his fastball. What Makes Him Special? So what does all this arm-talent look like close up? Here’s a clip from the summer of 2020, where Petty was already blowing away his competition. Another clip from March of 2021 shows not only the incredible velocity by the arm-side movement generated by his fastball. This tweet from Ben Brewster (a must-follow if you're interested in player mechanics) is a great breakdown of how Petty generates so much velocity and includes a link to a more in-depth YouTube breakdown of why he is a such a special talent. Offseason Additions By all accounts, in addition to having incredible on-field upside, Petty is an incredibly hard worker, charismatic, and has an effervescent personality, as evidenced by his interview shortly after he was drafted by the Twins. Petty has clearly been working hard on his changeup since being drafted by the Twins, as shown by this recently posted video from his training facility in NJ. While Petty will need significant time to develop, the addition of a plus changeup would give him three plus pitches (two at 70-grade) and the type of arsenal capable of being a front-line MLB caliber starting pitcher. Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A) While Petty will need time to develop and carries inherent prospect risk, the talent and stuff are as good as the Twins have ever had in their system. Petty is a starting pitcher to dream on. The next article in the Prospect Preview series will look more closely at Noah Miller, the Twins competitive balance pick at the end of the first round (36 overall). If there's any additional information you would like to see in these 2022 prospect previews, please let me know in the comments.
  14. Sometimes there aren’t a lot of data points or statistics available in scouting or in prospect analysis. That would be the case today. In this group of five prospects, they combined to pitch just 36 innings of pro ball in 2021. Granted, three of them were drafted in 2021 and threw plenty of innings as amateurs. The other two pitchers missed significant time during the season with injury. So for this group to be pitching prospects six through ten means that they have some impressive scouting reports, stuff, big arms and more. So let’s start. Be sure to discuss and ask questions in the comments below. #10 - LHP Steve Hajjar 2021 Stats: Did Not Pitch Back in 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Steve Hajjar in the 21st round out of Central Catholic High School in Massachusetts. He declined and enrolled at the University of Michigan. He tore his ACL in the fall of his freshman season. He put his name on the map in 2020. Due to Covid, he made just four starts, but he went 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Then in 2021, he went 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA over 14 starts. In 81 2/3 innings, he struck out 110 batters while walking just 29 batters. The Twins made him their 2nd round pick. The southpaw works in the low-to-mid 90s, though he has been clocked as high as 97 mph. He’s also an advanced pitcher and has a good breaking ball and changeup as part of his four-pitch mix. The 21-year-old will make his pro debut in 2022 and could be a fast mover through the lower levels of the system. #9 - LHP Cade Povich 2021 STATS: 0-0, 0.90 ERA, 4/3 G/GS, 0.90 WHIP, 19/2 K/BB, 10.0 IP The Twins drafted Cade Povich in the third round of the 2021 draft. In his junior season at Nebraska, he went 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA over 15 starts. He tossed 81 innings and struck out 88 batters while walking 22. After signing, he went to Ft. Myers and got adjusted to the professional game and the Twins organization. He ended the season with two innings in the FCL before pitching in eight innings (over three games) to end the season with the Mighty Mussels. Along with the impressive numbers he showed all season and in his ten pro innings, his name was the one I heard most coming out of the Instructional League after the season. He’s blessed with a very strong arm, pitching into the mid-90s, but he also has solid secondary pitches. Video surfaced of him airing it out in a cage last week, throwing 101.2 mph. He will turn 22 in April. #8 - RHP Jhoan Duran 2021 STATS: 0-3, 5.06 ERA, 5/4 G/GS, 1.81 WHIP, 22/13 K/BB, 16.0 IP 2021 was a lost season for Jhoan Duran. He began the season in the Injured List with some forearm/elbow issues. He returned to the mound about a month into the season. He showed his stuff, often hitting 102 mph for the Saints (probably actually 100 mph). He’s got a good slider. He has the noted “splinker.” He has the ability to miss bats and get strikeouts. Unfortunately, as you can see above, he couldn’t stay on the mound. After just five games, he went back on the IL and was shut down. He didn’t have surgery and reports were good late in the year. That will be the question. It is also possible that he could wind up in the bullpen where he could be a force and his arm could be protected more. He came to the Twins in the July 2018 Eduardo Escobar trade from the Diamondbacks. Duran just turned 24 years old over the weekend, so there should be no rush. #7 - RHP Marco Raya 2021 Stats: Did Not Pitch Along with Povich, the name Marco Raya also came with glowing platitudes about how good he looked at the Instructional League. Raya was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2020. He didn’t pitch during the 2021 season due to a minor injury, but he pitched at Instructs. The 19-year-old from Laredo, Texas, was consistently hitting 97 mph on the radar gun. He also has a lot of pitch-ability. He’s got a changeup. He has a couple of different breaking pitches. He has confidence. Now he just needs some innings. He should start the season with the Mighty Mussels. #6 - RHP Chase Petty 2021 STATS: 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 25/17 G/GS, 1.40 WHIP, 6/1 K/BB, 5.0 IP Chase Petty grew up in Millville, New Jersey. Yes, the hometown of Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. Petty finished out his high school career at Mainland Regional High School, and he actually threw a no-hitter against Trout’s alma mater. In July, the Twins made him the 26th overall pick in the 2021 draft. That night, he immediately showed his personality and charisma that could make him a star off the field. On the field, and specifically on the mound, he has the kind of stuff that could make him an All Star. Petty is blessed with a big arm. He regularly touched triple-digits with his fastball, reportedly hitting 102. While he stands just 6-1, he is lean and has the potential to add strength. But beyond the fastball, Petty throws a slider, a curveball and a changeup, and he has worked on more pitches. After signing, he worked at the Twins complex in Ft. Myers. However, he got into two games at the end of the FCL Twins. He gave up three runs over five innings. He also struck out six batters with just one walk. In games, he was sitting 96-98 mph with the fastball. (Personally, I see this as a good thing) In summary, these five pitchers did not get many professional innings in 2021. They all have potential, and after throwing some innings, we may find that these five and the top five could be pretty interchangeable. This is a group with a ton of potential. Duran is the one that could see big-league time in 2022 if healthy. Povich and Hajjar could be fast movers, and they're left-handed which is certainly an added bonus. Raya and Petty are all about ceiling and upside and the organization should and will be patient with them. This grouping should be a fun list to discuss. I know I'm excited about this group. Discuss these players, their rankings and feel free to ask questions. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10
  15. Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. 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  16. Here are four Twins minor leaguers who could be the organization's top prospect ahead of the 2023 season. The assumption here is that prospects such as Austin Martin, Royce Lewis and others will already be in the big leagues. Chase Petty, RHP Current TD Ranking: 9 Petty was Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2021, and his scouting reports are certainly something for fans to get excited about. He was a regular on the national showcase circuit, where he touched triple digits with his fastball. Petty mixes in a slider and changeup keep batters off balance. With any young pitcher, there can be questions about command and delivery. By 2023, the Twins will have a better idea of what Petty can be for the long-term, especially after getting into full-season ball. Keoni Cavaco, SS Current TD Ranking: 10 Cavaco, the number 13 overall pick in 2019, has under 100 professional games under his belt. He’s spent the majority of his age-20 season at Low-A, where he has hit .240/.297/.311 with ten extra-base hits in 57 games. All but 27 of his at-bats have come against older pitchers, so there is some room for optimism. During last year’s pandemic, Cavaco worked to refine his swing and add muscle. Over the next two years, Twins fans can hope he starts to see the results of this hard work. Noah Miller, SS Current TD Ranking: 15 The Twins took Miller with a competitive balance pick at the end of the first round. He is an advanced hitter for his age, which might help him move ahead of the other hitters on this list. Current scouting reports have his arm and fielding ability as two of his best tools, which should allow him to stick at shortstop as he continues to develop. Miller has a chance to be one of the team’s top-5 prospects in two years, but will he put it all together and take over the top spot? Misael Urbina, OF Current TD Ranking: 18 MLB Pipeline picked Urbina as the team’s top prospect in 2023, which might make sense for where he is in his development path. He’s younger than Cavaco, and he has played at the same level as him for the entire season. It’s his first season playing in the States, and he saw his slugging percentage increase every month from May through July. Even with his struggles this year, he can start 2022 at Low-A and still be younger than the competition at that level. Which prospect do you think will be the team’s top prospect in two years? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. 10. SS Keoni Cavaco (20-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .242/.314/.332, 49 G, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB, 63/18 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #6 It's been a rough year for the Fort Myers offense. Cavaco's .242 batting average is something that will need to improve. Yet before we double down on the guy, let's remember, he's 20-years-old! While he played 25 games in 2019, this is Cavaco's first 'true' season. The guy is an incredible athlete and has shown moments of brilliance in the field and at the plate. Plagued by injuries this season, Cavaco's 2022 season will be a big indicator of his future with the Twins. There's a lot of potential if he can stay healthy. Check out his interview with Seth Stohs from earlier this year! 9. RHP Chase Petty (18-years-old) Season Stats: No Stats Previous Rankings: Not ranked, Minnesota Twins 2021 Top Draft Pick Chase Petty may have been the most electrifying pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. The New Jersey-native can hit triple digits, has good off-speed, and name dropped Mike Trout in post-draft interview. Petty was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey this past year. His fastball speaks volumes but he's also got an excellent slider in his arsenal. Yes, Petty is only 18. Yet he has the confidence of an MLB ballplayer and that is going to work miracles for him as he navigates professional baseball. Expect the Jersey boy to climb the ladder quickly. 8. RHP Matt Canterino (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 5 GS, 20 IP, 0.90 ERA, 0.65 ERA, 16.7 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #4 Matt Canterino didn't drop on our rankings because of poor performance. The Twins' 2019 second-round draft pick was sidelined by an elbow injury for a majority of the summer and just recently hit the bump again. Canterino recently began rehabbing at Low-A Fort Myers. In his August 8th return he was perfect, striking out two and giving up zero hits or walks in two innings. Prior to his injury Canterino was electric, giving up only two earned runs in 10 innings. In that span, hitters racked up a meager .154 batting average against him. In his young professional career Canterino has a 1.20 ERA and 0.64 WHIP. At 23, the young man has an unbelievable upside and a healthy 2022 season will benefit him as much as anyone on this list. 7. RHP Joe Ryan (25-years-old) Season Stats (Triple-A): 57 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 11.8/1.6 K:BB Previous Rankings: N/A (previously in Rays organization) A product of the Nelson Cruz trade with Tampa Bay, Joe Ryan was previously unknown to most Twins fans. That changed when Ryan grabbed the attention of the nation when he helped guide the United States Olympic team to a Silver Medal in Tokyo. Ryan started two games for Team USA, tossing 10 1/3 innings of nine-hit, two-run baseball, while striking out eight and only surrendering one walk. It's clear that Ryan can deal. The 2018 seventh-round draft pick has touted a sub-four ERA in each season since his professional debut. Before being traded to the Twins the San Francisco native was 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA on the Durham Bulls staff. Ryan has started 11 games this season with opposing batters hitting .175 against him. With the Olympics serving as a confidence booster, it will be exciting to see what Ryan can do with the Saints for the remainder of the season. 6. 3B Jose Miranda (23-years-old) Season Stats (Double-A + Triple-A): .342/.406/.596, 21 2B, 23 HR, 4 SB, 65 RBI Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #5 Don't be fooled that Miranda is a spot lower than he was a few months back. In fact, Miranda has been as good as he's been all season in the past few days. Miranda recorded a multi-hit game on Thursday night and knocked the go-ahead homer to push the Saints to a win in extra-innings on Wednesday. Miranda has slashed an impressive .338/.402/.606 in just 38 games at Triple-A this season. His numbers were just as strong (if not better) at Double-A Wichita. The best part? Miranda is improving as he increases levels of play. Don't be surprised if the best story of the 2021 Twins organization gets a shot at the MLB level before the 2021 season ends.
  18. While this year’s draft of 20 rounds was still only half of the usual 40, it pretty much felt like a return to normalcy after last year’s draft only had five rounds. The Twins had a clear approach of wanting to draft players that they knew they could sign, as they targeted high schoolers with both of their picks on night one, and then drafted exclusively college players on days two and three. When asked about this in an interview after the draft, Twins scouting director Sean Johnson had this to say, “Once you get past the second round a lot of those high school players that you would like to bring on board become a little less signable… so you get out of that high school group pretty quick starting in the second or third round.” With the 26th overall pick in the first round, the Twins took a fireball high school pitcher from New Jersey named Chase Petty. In showcases last summer and leading up to the draft, Petty’s fastball has routinely been clocked in the triple digits and has reached as high as 102 mph. Petty also has a breaking ball and a changeup that show potential to be above average pitches as he develops them. As a result of his makeup, along with how high school fireball pitchers have fared in the past, Petty was seen as a risky pick. However, with the Twins picking late in the first round, it made perfect sense to bet on the high upside of Petty, as his ceiling is as high as most of the players taken with the first ten picks of the draft. Just ten picks after they selected Chase Petty, the Twins were on the clock again, this time closing out night one of the draft in Competitive Balance Round A. Again, they went the high school route as they selected Noah Miller, a shortstop from Wisconsin. Miller is a well thought of defensive shortstop who could stick there at the professional level. Offensively, Miller is a switch-hitter with more of a contact approach. While the power is still a bit of a question mark, Miller has time to develop that as he gets into the Twins player development program. The focus early on day two was college pitching, as four of their first five picks were college pitchers. While each of those four pitchers are seen as more pitch-ability guys, with potential to be back of the rotation starting pitcher or long relief options, second round pick Steven Hajjar does have some middle of the rotation upside if he can tack on a few more MPHs on his fastball. With the rest of their picks on day two, the Twins focused on filling out their infield and catcher positions. In the fourth round they selected Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who is a third baseman from Oklahoma State with some power potential with the bat. They also drafted back-to-back catchers in the 8th in 9th rounds to continue to build depth at that position within the organization. On day three it became all about filling out the rest of their class with as many quality players as they could. Again the focus early was on pitching, as three of the first four picks on day three were pitchers. Sandwiched between those pitchers was the first and only outfielder the Twins took in the entire draft, as they selected Big East Player of the Year Kyler Fedko out of UConn. Another theme of this draft was taking multiple players who played for the same university. In the 8th and 15th rounds, the Twins selected catcher Noah Cardenas and middle infielder Mikey Perez from UCLA. In the 9th and 12th rounds, the Twins took a pair of UConn Huskies in catcher Pat Winkel and outfielder Kyler Fedko. Texas Tech was also well represented in this year’s Twins draft class, as a pair of Red Raiders in right-handed pitcher Brandon Birdwell and second baseman Dylan Neuse were taken in the 11th and 17th rounds, respectively. One thing everyone wants to know is, how good will this draft class be, and I can promise that the guys within the Twins organization who made these selections are wondering the same thing. The truth is, nobody knows and we likely won’t be able to accurately judge this class for another five to ten years. One this is true however, the Twins just added a number of new and exciting players to their ranks, and all Twins fans should be excited to see what these guys can do.
  19. “We’ve loved Chase Petty for a long time, and we’ve had a crush on Noah Miller for a long time too. Walking out of the (draft) room with two guys that you love is a feeling you want to have after Day 1. Our group in that room is thrilled.” Twins Scouting Director Sean Johnson at the end of a long, but exciting first day of the 2021 MLB Draft. For the first time, the MLB Draft took place on All Star weekend in the city of the All Star game, Denver, Colorado. Several of the draft prospects were in attendance including the Twins top pick. When the time came for the Twins’ first pick, the commissioner announced that the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Chase Petty from Mainland Regional High School in New Jersey. Petty is touted for having hit triple-digits with his fastball, but on Sunday night, he displayed plenty of personality too. LaTroy Hawkins represented the Twins in Denver at the draft - after managing the American League team of prospects in the Futures Game earlier in the day. Asked if he approved of the pick, Hawkins said, “I didn’t have to approve of it. I liked his personality.” During Petty’s interview on MLB Network, it was mentioned that he threw a no-hitter this year against Millville High School, Mike Trout’s old stomping grounds. Petty nonchalantly said that he’s been in contact with Trout (who was also taken with the 26th overall pick), and that he had texted with him a couple of hours before the draft. He then pointed out that he is having dinner on Monday night with Fernando Tatis, Jr., and Manny Machado (they belong to the same agency). Petty and fellow draft prospect Joe Mack developed their “bromance” and appear to have named themselves Shake-and-Bake. Mack was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Miami Marlins. His older brother, Charles Mack is a catcher for the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels and was in Denver for the event with his family. Petty said that the two got to know each other. In addition, Petty said that he has trained with Twins 2019 draft pick from St. John’s, RHP Sean Mooney, as well. Last summer, Vanderbilt Jack Leiter texted him and they spent some time working together. Leiter was the second overall pick in the 2021 draft. If there is one knock on Chase Petty that Twins fans may have, it might just be this. “I’m a Yankees fan. My first ever game was at the original Yankees Stadium. It’s by far my favorite stadium I’ve been to.” While Petty has always played middle infield, primarily second base, when he’s not pitching, his favorite players have been a couple of Mets pitchers. “My favorite players, personally, are Marcus Stroman and Jacob de Grom which is funny because they’re on the same team. I’ve talked to Stroman. He and I have developed a little bit of a relationship.” Chase Petty has all the connections. In addition to his personality, Johnson noted his arm strength, “spin talent” and a feel for his changeup. Twins area scout John Wilson coached Petty in the East Coast Pro Showcase last summer and got to know him. The two developed a great relationship there. The Twins also had several Zoom meetings with him last winter. They had medical personnel review his video. So did several in the Twins Player Development group. Let’s start with the velocity. It’s hard to ignore. As you have seen, Petty has hit 102 mph on the radar gun. He said that it has been a process to gain velocity. Petty said it really started his sophomore year when he began training at Baseball Performance Center. “I really started seeing improvements in velocity and everything. They put me on a really tough lifting schedule that obviously worked out. Over the years, I’ve put on more weight. I’ve worked on my mechanics a lot, and through that whole process is when I saw the jump.” When was the first time he hit 100 on a radar gun? Petty, who said he is now 6-1 and 200 pounds, said, “It was in July of last summer.” Asked if there is more in the tank? Petty laughed and said, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah!” Petty is both confident and competitive. “I think you (Twins fans) got the strongest competitor in the draft. I’m going to go out there and do everything I can to help my team win, help the organization win, and I’m just going to give it my all.” But as we know, pitchers in today’s game need more than a fastball to sustain long-term success. Petty said, “I throw a four-seam (fastball), a sinker, a slider and a changeup. Right now, I’m really just working on perfecting everything, perfecting my craft, getting bigger, getting stronger still. And really just putting in the work in the weight room and at my training facility.” Johnson thinks that Petty can be much more than a one-pitch pitcher. “We think he has ceiling to all of his pitches. Obviously he doesn’t need to throw any harder. 101 is definitely a good number, to start with. We see a lot of upside to both breaking balls, especially the slider which we think is going to be a really good pitch, as well as the change. He’s had command of those pitches, especially the change. He’s thrown strikes when we’ve seen him.” Johnson pointed out, “I’m not sure it was a real analytical decision that we used to push us over the hump with Chase. It was more of a scouting evaluation. We loved him. We had him in the first round. Our player development people and everyone else that looked at him and got to know Chase were all on board. As a scouting director, you’re looking for confidence from the group to make the selection.” Johnson continued, “I would say that with both of our picks tonight, our group loved both players equally. We wanted those players, and it feels good to walk out of that room - and I know we’ve got more work to do the next two days - but getting two guys in the barn that you love is a good feeling.” Ten picks after taking Petty, the Twins selected shortstop Noah Miller with the 36th pick, the final pick of Competitive Balance Round A and the final pick of the night. Miller is a shortstop from Ozaukee High School in Wisconsin. His brother Owen made his MLB debut with Cleveland earlier this year. Johnson said, “You can just see the competitiveness in him that he got from his brother, and his family and being in that environment.” Players don’t get selected this high in the draft without incredible baseball tools and talent, but it’s clear that the Twins really the character of both of their Day 1 picks. However, let’s start with Miller’s skill set. Johnson noted, “It’s rare anymore to see a player you believe has hit skills from both sides of the plate. Switch-hitters are pretty rare anymore. He has a great swing from both sides. We think that he will have power from both sides. He’s extremely instinctive as a defender. He’s not the fastest shortstop in the world, but we think that has a chance to stay there for a long time. He’ll profile whether he plays short forever or not. Great hands. Great feet. Great clock. It’s all the things you want to see. He’s super advanced, more advanced than a lot of the college guys you see.” Johnson added, “I’m glad we got him. One of our favorites. You walk into the draft room and there’s certain guys that you don’t want to miss on. And Noah Miller, after the first round, was a guy we did not want to miss on. To get him today was a great feeling.” Joe Bisenius was the Twins area scout and he got to know him really well. The Twins (and likely other teams) benefited from the draft moving from early June to mid-July. Miller didn’t play in the Area Code Games last summer. The Twins were aware of him and liked him, but the extra five to six weeks gave the Twins plenty of time to play catch up. Johnson said, "It doesn't take long to realize that Noah Miller is a rock star." The Twins selected high school players with their first two picks in the draft for the first time since 2016 when the Twins selected four high school hitters with their first four picks in Deron Johnson’s final draft as Scouting Director. Before that, Johnson selected Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios with the team’s first two picks in 2012’s draft. It was a long day for the Twins scouting department. They got to Target Field about noon and then after Day 1 was complete, they continued to work. Starting at noon on Monday, Day 2 begins. Second through tenth round picks will be made. Johnson said, “We’re going to plan scenarios. We’ll come up with some ideas. Some guys may have become signable. Some guys may have fallen short of and decided to go to college, that slipped out of the first round. A lot of conversations with agents, advisors, and with players and get a feel for what our board is going to look like so we are ready to go with our next pick.” What will the Twins do on Day 2? Find out throughout the draft and discuss in the Day 2 Thread.
  20. The Twins had to wait until pick 26 to make their first selection, but they wound up with a guy that has the upside to eventually be one of the best players in the entire draft class. Chase Petty is a high school right-handed pitcher from Mainland Regional High School in New Jersey. He is consider by many to be a high-risk, high-reward prospect that if all goes well could one day shine at the front of the Twins starting rotation. I had Petty ranked as the 20th best prospect in the draft. Here is what I wrote about him prior to the draft. "New Jersey prep pitcher Chase Petty is most well-known for his incredible fastball that has been clocked as high as 102 MPH. That pitch is not only my highest graded fastball of any pitcher in this draft, but it is tied for the highest graded pitch thrown by any pitcher in this class. However, Petty is not just a one pitch pitcher, as he also features an above average slider, and occasionally throws a changeup that has a lot of promise as he develops it further. The hang-up with Petty is his command, as he is still a very raw product and can get wild out of the strike zone at times. Petty is also the classic case of a right-handed power pitcher that is very exciting, but tends to fall in the draft, usually due to a high asking price, developmental concerns or a combination of both. If he does fall, the college route would not be a bad option for him, as the University of Florida has built a reputation for developing pitchers in recent years." If you want to get to know Chase Petty even further, I would highly suggest watching this feature of No Days Off that was done on him. Let us know you throughts on the pick. Do you like the potential high upside pitcher the Twins got late in the 1st round, or would you rather have seen them go in a different direction?
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